Joy and Leanne Casselman of Old Homestead Farm welcomed several two-legged and four-legged guests to their farm September 11, when the Giddy-Up for Bonnie fundraising ride passed through South Dundas. The seven people, and eight horses, were riding from Lindsay to St. Andrew’s West, to raise funds for a dear friend battling cancer. The 440 kilometre journey, included most of the group on horseback, with a team hitched to a covered wagon. Joy was thrilled that the group found her farm, where they camped for the night. The organizer of the ride had driven the back-roads route a few weeks before, stopping at various farms suitable to overnight the camping riders’ horses. They were here on day 12 of their 14 day journey. The ride was more challenging than they anticipated. However, making it a little easier were the people they encountered along the way.
Get ready, members of Canada’s Dragons’ Den. Derrick Jansen, Brett Fodey, Liam Adams and T.J. Barnhardt may only be in grade six at Iroquois Public School, but they already have serious entrepreneurial plans, and an eye to saving the environment at the same time.
The four students of Madame Chantal Lacroix have entered the Innovation, Creativity, Entrepreneurship competition sponsored by the Upper Canada District School Board which will take place on May 1, 2015. They could take home a $500 prize in the junior category should they win.
The challenge set by ICE: How Can You Change the World?
Working on computers, paper, and the classroom SmartBoard, Derrick, T.J., Liam and Brett have designed a unique web page. Every Monday, following research and planning, the site posts a new environmental challenge. By accepting and acting on the challenge, consumers could actively affect their community.
“Something like global warning is just too big for us to deal with directly,” explained Derrick. “We decided to centre on our own community.”
“As part of our page, we put up quotes which show people how they can change their own environment one step at a time,” said Liam.
For example, the challenge issued two weeks ago on the page had to do with shopping habits. “When you go to the grocery store,” Brett explained, “pick up at least one thing to put in the Food Bank Bin. That directly helps people in this area.”
“Another week, we challenged people to choose a different way to go to work,” said Derrick. “The point is to find a new way to look at the scenery and to rediscover our local area. That will make you happier, and nicer to be around, and you will get more done at work.”
“Brain storming, problem solving, this whole project is student driven,” said Mme. Lacroix. “All the teacher can do is assist the students.”
To win the May 1 competition, the four students must go on stage alone before a judging panel. On stage they must “make a (personal) pitch.” While they have access to a projector for PowerPoint, a microphone, and the right to bring in prototypes or product samples, the boys must directly address the audience, and the judges.
They have two minutes to set up on stage, and 10 minutes to present. Following their presentation, they must respond to questions from the judges, just like the format in Dragons’s Den. Later, they will learn if their pitch has been successful.
“We are really nervous,” T.J. said, “but we are working on our script and we will practice a lot.What we want is to get noticed, to get people to pay more attention to their environment. We’ll really have to know our stuff.”
The four boys and their teacher travelled to a special planning day, on March 26, held at Kemptville Municipal Centre where they took part in an ICE workshop involving inspirational videos, planning and presentation, and goal setting.
“We really focussed on the different parts of making a pitch,” said Derrick.
The students have already gone themselves into the community to connect with local businesses and with the media to develop awareness of their project.
At this point, the IPS website is only on FaceBook and Twitter.
“We want to create an Application,” said Brett. “The junior prize would allow us to launch an App.”
These young Iroquois student entrepreneurs are definitely planning to be noticed in the board competition on May 1.
“Bluegrass is the best music in the world, with its songs, stories and links to the past,” said Chris Coole, a member of the Foggy Hogtown Boys, who were the headliners at the 2013 Galop-Canal Bluegrass Festival, held at the Iroquois Point June 14-16. “Bluegrass might have begun in Appalachia, but its appeal is now world wide. This kind of folk music is ageless, and the crowd here is really enjoying it.”
With attendance at the 3rd annual Bluegrass Festival up 35 per cent over last year, Geraldine Fitzsimmons, on the organizing committee for the event, admitted that she was tired but “very happy.”
Last year, 98 campers stayed at the point. This year, the campground was nearly full with over 140 campers taking advantage of the stunning setting and the 10 terrific bands which performed over the weekend. And a little rain on Sunday did not seem to dampen anyone’s spirits.
“Overall, this was a very successful festival,” Fitzsimmons said. “The quality of the bands we had on the program was outstanding. I was especially impressed with our headliners, The Foggy Hogtown Boys. And I feel that having all these people staying locally was a perfect way to showcase South Dundas. Our Festival was really good for the local economy.”
“This year we had an all-Canadian line up of talent,” said Mike Anderson, a committee member, a musician and emcee for the Festival. “We increased out band budget some and brought in performers from farther away. We also ran really well attended free workshops in the guitar, mandolin and banjo. There was even an impromptu fiddle workshop led by Wade Foster, here with the Dusty Drifters.
Performers like Darwin Thom and Gilles Leclerc and Foster are real ambassadors for bluegrass,.They share their talents freely on stage and in the workshops.”
Fitzsimmons had a lot of praise for the months of hard work put in by the Festival committee members, all volunteers. She particularly noted the Basket Case in Morrisburg. “Hanna (Rycroft) and Carl (McIntyre) on their own raised over $5,000 in support of the festival.” Many other individuals and businesses offered up their time, their energy and their financial support.
Upper Canada Playhouse artistic director Donnie Bowes stepped in as Friday night’s emcee when mayor Byvelds, SD councillors and committee members officially cut the opening ribbon.
This year, the Bluegrass Festival also partnered with the volunteers of Love South Dundas.
“Our Father’s Day free breakfast was organized by Love South Dundas, and it was delicious. Rev. Geoff Howard and his family were wonderful, and contributed so much to the weekend.”
While rain on Sunday kept many classic vehicles at home, a few members of the Golden Gears Car club did make it to the Point as part of the celebration.
“And I can’t tell you how many members of the different bands came up to tell me that the food cooked and served up by the Iroquois-Matilda Lions was just great,” Fitzsimmons said.
Matt Elwood, performing with the Unseen Strangers, and presenter of the banjo workshop, summed up the entire weekend.
“This was my first visit to the Iroquois Bluegrass Festival, and I’m loving it here.”
A three year old, a lighter and disabled smoke alarms are a recipe for disaster, but luckily that disaster was averted by a local family this weekend.
Firefighters were called to the scene of a mattress fire, Saturday morning, shortly before 8 a.m. When they arrived, they found the occupants of 65 Augusta Street in Morrisburg, outside wrapped in blankets. The fire, located in the second floor bedroom, was extinguished and firefighters removed the burnt mattress and debris.
“I spoke with the tenants of the home and the grandmother said that she smelled smoke and discovered the second floor bedroom on fire,” said Chris McDonough, fire chief of South Dundas Fire and Emergency Services. “She woke her son and got her three year old grandson out of the bedroom.”
“As it turns out, the three year old boy had set fire to the bedroom with a lighter that was in his father’s pants next to the bed,” said McDonough. “This could very easily have been a fatality.”
According to McDonough, the smoke alarm on the second floor had been removed and the battery had been removed from the smoke alarm on the main floor of the home.
A $235 charge will be laid for not having working smoke alarms in the home.
“I would like to remind everyone that you must have a working smoke alarm on every storey of your home and that they should practice their home escape plans,” said McDonough.