Forty teams participated in the Renegade Bass Classic XX held this year in Morrisburg. Although Renegade Bass tournaments have experienced some amazing tournaments here in Morrisburg in the past, the participants this year generally said that weather conditions made for tough fishing. Although the fishing was tough, there were still some great catches, like this 6.12 pound large mouth bass that the team named Linda. This was the big fish of the tournament snagged by Jack Lavert (pictured) and teammate Steve Barnett. Although they nabbed the big fish, the team finished 23rd. “The weather really put a hurtin’ on us,” said Lavert. The Renegade Bass Classic XX was won by David Chong and Doug Brownridge who over the two-day event weighed in 45.66 pounds of bass.
It was a sad day on October 7th when the Dunbar Recreation Hall was devastated by fire.
With sighs of relief and several shout-outs of “thank you,” the South Dundas council decided on December 6th that the hall will be rebuilt.
Until that meeting, local residents had been very concerned about the fate of the former hall. So much so, in fact, that they came out in droves to the December 6th council meeting to hear the council’s verdict.
Clerk Brenda Brunt recommended to council that they choose one of four options to determine the fate of the former hall. The first option was also the only one that allowed for the hall to be rebuilt on the same spot.
Deputy-Mayor Jim Locke quickly chose option one saying, “prior to the fire the building was not slated to close. We have full replacement cost insurance. We have a committed community group. I believe it’s an asset in that part of the township.”
Councillor Evonne Delegarde suggested council consider option two, “use the depreciated value of the building and put towards an existing building.”
Delegarde pointed out that while the building hadn’t been slated to close, it was also not being used very much. She suggested that the township building in Williamsburg would be available in the near future and could possibly become a replacement for the lost hall.
Councillor Archie Mellan, choosing option one, said, “these little communities make South Dundas great. They rally around their communities. They rally around South Dundas, and I think we should rally around them.”
Mayor Steven Byvelds also chose option one, pointing out that “it gives us our asset back and it is covered by insurance.”
He also pointed out that the well and the sewer on the site would need to be investigated. Should either require a lot of work and financing to bring to code, then “we’d have to come back to this because that could change things.”
However, at this time, Byvelds wanted to make it clear to the inhabitants of the hall’s community that “they are part of South Dundas, not part of Chesterville, and we want them to know they’re part of South Dundas.”
He concluded: “let’s take the opportunity and rebuild it.”
On October 17, 2012, at a scheduled meeting of the Canadian Club, Catherine Merkley, a Morrisburg resident, will be reuniting with her now famous former boss, Robert R. Fowler.
Merkley worked for Fowler when he was the Deputy Minister in the Department of National Defence (DND) in Ottawa in the early 1990s. He was then posted to be a Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in 1995.
Merkley went to New York for an “all girls weekend” in 1996 and visited Fowler and his family at his residence in downtown New York City.
From 1990 to 1995, Merkley was Fowler’s Administrative Assistant dealing with the Prime Minister’s Office, Privy Council Office, Minister of National Defence, all other Group Principals within the DND and Other Government Departments, at a trying time for DND, that being during the Somalia Affair and the disbanding of the Airborne Regiment.
When Fowler was posted to the UN, Merkley was transferred to a Staff Officer position in the Personnel Group working for Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire (now a Quebec Senator) and working with General Rick Hillier, (who later became the Chief of the Defence Staff, the highest ranking military position in the DND).
Merkley’s next position was that of the first female civilian Coordinator after the move of the Canadian Army Headquarters to Ottawa, then she became an Administration Manager for the first DNDCanadian Forces Ombudsman, Andre Marin, and finally she was promoted to the Human Resources Manager position with the Judge Advocate General (the military lawyers for DND).
Merkley took early retirement, after 28 years service as a civilian with DND, in 2005 to move back to her roots, near Chesterville.
In 2008, when Fowler was kidnapped by the Al-Qaeda, Fowler’s former personal staff of 10 employees, including Merkley, most of whom are still in the National Capital Region, were in constant contact via E-mail. The minute Fowler was released they sighed a huge sigh of relief.
As soon as Fowler’s book “A Season in Hell – My 130 Days in the Sahara with Al Qaeda” was published, Merkley rushed out to buy a copy and hopes to have it personally autographed by him at the meeting.
October 17, 2012 will be their first time seeing each other since 1996.
In 2007, Merkley, with her husband, Kevin, moved to their retirement home on County Road 4 just outside of Morrisburg. Since that time, Merkley has been a Family Law Assistant for the local law firm of Gorrell, Grenkie and Remillard, acting as Family Law Assistant to J. Douglas Grenkie.
The Reverend James Tripp, who received his call to serve at the Morrisburg Pentecostal Tabernacle in March of this year, is already starting to feel at home with his new congregation and in his new community.
“It’s wonderful that this is not just a church in the community, but really a church that is very much a part of this community,” Rev. Tripp said. “We could feel that this was a church deeply involved with its community, with a strong tradition of service, and that really attracted me.”
Pastor Tripp, and his wife, Sarah, an elementary teacher, both in their 30’s, have moved to South Dundas and are currently living in Iroquois. They are expecting their first child in October so they are particularly pleased to be safely settled into their new home.
Tripp preached his first sermons as pastor at the Morrisburg Pentecostal Tabernacle in May. He assumed the full time position following the retirement of long-serving pastor, Duncan Perry, who retired late last year. The Reverend Lorna Casselman has been the interim pastor while the Morrisburg Pastoral Search Committee looked for a full time candidate.
“I believe the Pastoral Committee got my resumé from our District Office,” Rev. Tripp explained. “They seemed to feel I might be a good fit with this congregation. We did an initial telephone interview, followed by a face-to-face. Then I was presented to the congregation to ‘preach for the call’. The entire membership of the church makes the final decision, on the recommendation of the Committee.”
Pastor Tripp brings a wealth of experience to his new charge.
An only child, he grew up in Mount Bridges, Ontario, attending high school in Strathroy. “I knew that I would be a pastor at a very young age,” he said. “I truly felt it was my calling, my purpose. I was about seven or eight. My parents were definitely alright with this decision as church was a strong part of our family experience.”
He completed his theological education at Eastern Pentecostal Bible College, now known as Master’s College and Seminary in Peterborough. He served five years at Bethel Church in Bobcaygeon, Ontario, in the Kawartha cottage country. Before that, he was an assistant pastor at a church in New Hamburg, in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. He did 10 years of student ministry at different churches before he went to Bobcaygeon.
Pastor Tripp has also been involved in missions and cross cultural work.
He spoke at a conference in Trinidad and worked in Poland, Cuba and the Czech Republic. “These were short term experiences. We were partnered with local churches, “church planting” or starting up churches in communities without them.”
He hopes that somewhere down the road, the possibility of going overseas again will continue to be an option. “Perhaps one day I will be able to take teams from Morrisburg,” he said.
He praises the outstanding staff he has at the Tabernacle. He also has a new assistant pastor, Sharon Bretz, who just started work a week ago.
“I think that this church is very welcoming to families. We encourage people to come to us ‘just as they are.’ I think, too, that it is our mission to serve this community, and I am definitely looking forward to all the challenges ahead,” said pastor James Tripp.
“Our church doors are open, and we would love to meet people. Please feel free to drop in.”