At the February 29 meeting of the Golden Gears Car Club, an election was held to install the officers and directors of the newly revived car lovers organization. Deputy mayor of South Dundas, Jim Locke, was on hand to swear in the duly elected board and to outline for all club members the duties associated with each position. From the left are Jim Locke, Brian Erratt, 1st vice president, Henry Swank, president, Jim Millard, secretary, Ken Hasson, treasurer, Wayne Barkley, past president, Stephane Aube, director, Jeff Beaupre, membership chairman and Garry Tracey, director. Absent from the photo is Gaby Swank, public relations and communications chair person. The next general Meeting of the Golden Gears is Thursday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m. at the Iroquois Legion. New members are very welcome.
Local MPP Jim McDonell was quick to react to Winchester District Memorial Hospital’s announced bed closure last week.
Within a few hours of the announcement McDonell issued a press release from Queen’s Park.
“Winchester District Memorial Hospital announced the permanent closure of 14 beds earlier today, which equates to more than 22 per cent of their total capacity,” reads the release.
The MPP is concerned with the impact this will have on the community.
“At a time when the senior population of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry has increased and requires access to acute and chronic healthcare, the Government’s funding approach is causing local beds to close,” said MPP McDonell.
“We have seen the present government slowly and silently eroding the provision of health services. While they may claim to be encouraging home care and other alternative health provisions, they focus more on creating expensive levels of administration and agencies such as Local Health Integration Networks, rather than actually delivering patient services. WDMH provides an essential service in an area that does not have easy access to either the Cornwall area or Ottawa hospitals – their ability to respond to any health situation that may arise is dependent on their capacity.”
“WDMH is an essential service for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, providing excellent care and stable, local skilled jobs. Enough is enough. The funding cuts that led to this closure are unacceptable and the Minister of Health must be held to account. I have created a petition against the closure of the 14 beds at WDMH, I encourage the community to sign in so that I can present it in the Legislature and show the Minister the terrific support for our highly recognized hospital. It is available on my website and at my office.”
MORRISBURG-Since she was a young girl, singing has brought her joy, and now Joanne Laurin has decided to share that joy.
“I can remember being a child in church, about seven years old, and an older couple tapping me on the should to tell me I should keep on singing, that I could be a professional one day.”
“Then in high school, I remember being asked to sing on stage. But I was way too shy back then to let out what has been buried all my life.”
Now,” says Joanne, “here I am, in my late 40’s and finally ready to let people hear what I have been hiding.”
After receiving encouragement from a friend at work, John Mondoux, Joanne signed up for singing lessons and is now preparing to sing in public.
What she didn’t know, when she set out on this “magical” journey, was how much there is to learn and how much hard work there would be.
But Joanne is extremely happy balancing her home life with husband Mike, a demanding career as a Health Care Aid working at the Villa in Long Sault and the demands of her singing.
“After work each day, I do exercises for my throat and on my days off, I sing for upwards of four hours.”
“It’s more than I ever thought. How you learn to find your voice is magical.”
One of her first lessons involved learning where her voice was coming from. “I was actually singing in my speaking voice. There is a lot of homework and a lot of practise.”
Joanne says she owes her decision to pursue her singing to Mondoux, a co-worker and also a very talented singer and guitarist.
After Mondoux heard Joanne sing at the nursing home, he encouraged and worked with her as did Ingleside singer Candy Rutley, “who spent hours teaching me how to find my chest voice.”
“And John really helped get me on my feet. He mentored me.”
With their encouragement, Joanne is now enrolled in singing lessons with “a highly gifted and professional teacher, Siaca from Melody Makers”. She attends one lesson each week.
“It’s all about learning about your vocal chords, the do’s and don’t’s. I am learning what phrasing is, and tempo, and working on my facial expressions, making my eyes match the song. There are so many things to learn. It is so interesting. And, oh my gosh, breathing is so important when you sing.”
“There is also a lot of memorization. I started school in January, and I have now learned eight songs. So in four months, I have done a lot of work.”
“I never thought in a million years there would be so much to learn. But I love it, and I can’t wait to make this happen.”
As for finally hitting the stage and sharing her joy of singing with others, Joanne says she is taking baby steps. She says her band is named “It’s Just Joe”, that being herself, a CD, and a microphone.
“The patients (at Woodlands) are my little rookies,” she says of her first gig set for June. “They are all excited for me to come and sing for them in June. They are going to hear my summer road show before anyone else.”
At this point, Joanne’s summer road show will include a performance during a St. Lawrence River cruise with the Thousand Island Cruise Line in June, and a July 1st Canada Day performance on the Lost Villages’ stage.
She expects her ultimate experience will be when she sings a solo on the professional stage at Aultsville Hall in Cornwall next spring during the annual Festival of Music.
Down the road she would like to sing at local events, perhaps at weddings and funerals.
“The reason I like to sing is to put happiness and joy into people’s lives. I want to make people feel happy because I’m happy when I’m singing.”
“I want to sing anywhere people can hear me,” she concludes.
Sunny, blue skies graced the Remembrance Day ceremony held in Iroquois on Sunday, November 6.
Veterans, members of the Royal Canadian Legion, police and firefighters, business and civic representatives, scouts and families and ordinary citizens of South Dundas gathered at the Iroquois cenotaph following a memorial service at the Legion, branch #370.
The Legion padre, the Reverend Janet Evans, reminded those gathered for the act of Remembrance, that the names etched on the gray stone monument are eternal reminders that many of those who enlisted from South Dundas never came home again.
For many area families, the cenotaph is the final marker for lost sons, husbands and fathers.
Traditional wreaths were laid in honour of the fallen by both the very young and the very old during the cenotaph ceremony. Pipe Major Mike Durant of the Kemptville Pipe Band played the Last Post followed by Reveille, after those gathered observed two minutes of silence.
At the end of the service, the reverend Janet Evans, spoke the ancient words,
“They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old…At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, We will remember them.”