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Ottawa plane crash brings dramatic end to family vacation

A terrifying slide off the runway at Ottawa International Airport during torrential rainfall was not the ending that the reverend Janet Evans, her husband Michael McQuaid and their daughter, Hilary, expected to their family vacation in Disney World.

The family was on board United Airlines Flight 3363, carrying 44 passengers and three crew.

“We’d had a great time on holiday, and for two hours the flight from Chicago to Ottawa was totally uneventful,” Evans told the Leader. “But as we came in to Ottawa around 3:40 p.m. (on September 4), we could see out the window that it was getting much, much darker. It was also raining heavily at the airport.

I now think there must have been a torrential burst just as the pilot touched down.”

The United Airlines Flight skidded off the Ottawa runway, overshooting the tarmac and spinning 180 degrees. It hit the grass, and then banged up on its side. The plane sustained some damage to the undercarriage and one wing, and fire crews, emergency vehicles and hazardous materials teams surrounded it within minutes.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada, which is investigating the crash, has possession of the plane’s flight recorder.

The accident was the third at the Ottawa Airport involving an Embraer 145 plane. The first occurred in 2004, and in 2010, another United Express flight also overshot the runway.

Evans and McQuaid were seated together in row 16, over the wing of the plane, with their daughter Hilary across the aisle from them.
“When you land,” Evans remembered, “normally there is that jerk from the reverse thrust that tells you the plane’s brakes have engaged. Not this time. Mike and I both knew the plane was going way too fast: there was no sense of braking at all.

There was no warning that anything was wrong from the cockpit: there really wasn’t time.

But the passengers knew.

We were definitely hydro-planing. We were tipping from side to side, back and forth, and then the entire plane spun around. It was pretty terrifying. People were screaming and yelling. Mike and I were, I think, fairly calm, but Hilary was stricken. At the last moment I reached out and held her hand as everything was happening. If the plane had buckled or flipped, well, we wouldn’t be here to tell this story.”

Evans does not fault the pilot.

“I’ve been reading some blogs and comments about the pilot, and most are very negative,” she said, “one even calling him an idiot. Well, as far as I can tell those remarks are all being made by people who weren’t on the plane, weren’t even at the airport.

That pilot had to have tower clearance to land the plane, and he couldn’t have anticipated a burst of torrential rain. He compensated on the spot for the hydro-planing and kept us alive.”

The passengers sat on the plane in “a sudden silence” after the landing, while the flight attendant urged everyone to stay calm. The wait seemed long to Evans, especially as there was a strong smell of fuel throughout the plane. (The plane was covered with foam after the passengers disembarked).

When they finally got out (“on regular stairs, no chutes; kind of anti-climatic,” Evans smiled), the passengers stood on the rain soaked tarmac for a further 10 or more minutes waiting for transport. Fire and medical personnel were on hand and Evans has high praise for their efficiency and care.

Finally, “of all things, an OC Transpo bus came up to collect us. There didn’t appear to be any airport transport. The bus was too small for all 44 of us to sit, so many had to stand to the terminal. There it was the same problem. We were separated from other passengers as we had to leave all our luggage, including passports on the plane, and we were put in a small room for several hours. Again, there was not enough seating for everyone. The Ottawa airport just didn’t seem to be prepared to deal with an emergency like this.”

Still, there were moments of laughter that Evans said definitely helped diffuse anxieties.

“On the bus, the driver said, ‘Everyone needs a stiff drink, I bet.’ A voice at the back shouted out, ‘Stiff drink! I need the whole bottle!’
And then this little girl, no more than seven, who had smiled throughout the whole ordeal, piped up, ‘Mommy, what’s a stiff drink?’

“Later, one man said to me, ‘I guess we’ll all have lots of stories to tell.’ I said, ‘I’m a minister. Just wait until next Sunday’s sermon!’”

“It was a frightening experience,” Janet Evans said. “You only realize in retrospect how terrifying it truly was. I think we can thank the good Lord that we came out of it well and alive. Mike and I will fly again for sure. Hilary is still a little ambivalent. But I do feel that this entire incident will have to be very thoroughly investigated by the authorities.

None of the passengers or crew on Flight 3363 was injured. We were lucky.”

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Morrisburg Legion Branch 48 newsletter

The general meeting will take place on Wednesday, September 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Fraser Hall.

There are many business items up for discussion, so please be there if you want to be heard. There will be a report on the executive meeting next week.

The meat draw on the 11th was won by Charles Bailey. Again? The draw was for boneless pork chops. Great weather for a barbecue.

Saturday’s appreciation barbecue was well attended. It was a sunny day, and the music of John Mason created a good time. Thanks to Donna Dillabough for organizing the event and Mo Praine for his help. Last steak night thank yous failed to mention all our salad providers. Without salads, the meal would certainly be lacking.

On September 16, our Ladies will cater a Playhouse dinner, and the Real Deal will entertain in the pub.

September 18 is the Terry Fox Run and once again Scott Robertson and Audrey Henophy are at the helm. Registration will take place at 8 a.m.

September is also Child Awareness Month and many events are taking place across all of Canada. Please help if you are able.

Membership cards are now at the bar in the pub. Be an early bird and possibly you will win one of the prizes.

Ontario Command volunteers annually accumulate over 458,000 hours. With the Poppy Campaign coming up shortly, we will be adding to Branch #48 volunteer hours.

Let us all believe, as Helen Keller did, that we can do something.
 

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Ground breaking begins on playground

The excitement is definitely mounting. On Monday morning, September 12, volunteers began the initial excavation work around the site of the new kids’ playground. They will be on site all this week.

Trucks, a back-hoe, an excavator and folks carrying picks and shovels began clearing top soil and preparing Earl Baker Park for the arrival of the highly anticipated new playground equipment, which is being shipped in on September 22.

The actual construction date is September 24.

“The excavator is digging out the area on a grade to ensure drainage,” said Jack Barkley, member of the Playground Committee. “Once that is done, we must dig holes for each of the poles which will support the play equipment. Cement is poured into the 12 inch sauna tubes to firmly anchor the poles which hold up the projects. The equipment will be firmly supported and safe.”

Barkley had much praise for all the volunteers turning out to help with the ground clearing, and especially for Les Cruickshank who “was instrumental in arranging for the equipment and digging.”

The old playground equipment had to be completely dismantled and will be reassembled north of the site later on.

Barkley, whom Les describes as site “manager” for the dig, had about seven volunteers with him.

“We are also going to need strong volunteers on September 22 to unload the new equipment, but each volunteer must be able to lift 100 pounds of weight to work that day,” Barkley said.

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Meanwhile, back at the Branch … Branch 370 news

After more years of playing crib than anyone can remember, Comrade Willis Douglas was blessed with his first-ever perfect hand of 29 points! He was dealt the Jack of clubs and three 5’s, when the 5 of clubs was cut for his nibs. Willis was playing with Mike Lavery against Ted Grattan and partner Roger Coulter. Congratulations Willis.

Speaking of crib, the IL (Iroquois Legion) crib league is gearing up for play starting Saturday, September 10th at 1pm. All crib enthusiasts are welcome, and the afternoon’s play consists of nine games with partners or opponents drawn at random from those present. Call Roger Coulter for more information.

The monthly steak barbecue at the IL held its own, even considering there were a couple of other functions going on in the community. The barbecue crew was little, but those that were there pitched in and got the job done. You did a great job crew… the evening was a success, with 76 steak dinners being served.

The next steak barbecue will be held on September 17th. It is highly recommended to get your tickets early because a large crowd is expected, as the event is listed as part of Applefest.

I received a call last week from a very important project that is going on in our nation, dedicated to recording the stories of our war veterans. A project that is sponsored in part by Canadian Heritage and Historica-Dominion Instuitute, this is a project that is currently working against time to digitally record the stories of our World War II veterans. On their website you can listen to the stories of the veterans in their own voices, or you also have the option to read the interview verbatim. It is truly amazing.

The stories are interesting and informative, and as well, the classroom project is proving to be very successful. It is the foundation’s aim to someday have this project included in the education curriculum. Veteran speakers will also go into the classroom, college or other functions to tell their stories.  

In checking out their website, I was disappointed that I couldn’t find any veterans stories from our area at all. If you are a WWII veteran or have a family member or friend who served in the second great war, please call 1-866-701-1867 or email memory@historica-dominion.ca. This truly is a race against time as we are losing our veterans at an alarming rate now.

There were seven tables seated at August 9th euchre. In first was Cecil McDermott, followed by Martha Whitford in second. Betty Shaver was third.

On August 16th, there were nine tables, with Gladys Parks finishing first. In second place there was a three-way tie between Jean Dunbar, Sandra Julien and Jack Shaver.

This Friday’s hot lunch will be beef strips and sauce served with rice pilaf, with Mexican fruitcake for dessert.

Have a great week everyone! Cheers.

Thought of the Week: For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone. Audrey Hepburn 1929- 1993.

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The True North

This summer, the Prime Minister took his sixth tour of the North. These visits have not been sightseeing tours. The Prime Minister is making a statement with these visits. They have been carried out to demonstrate to Canadians, and to the world, that Canada’s North is a priority for our administration. The Arctic is at the heart of our Canadian identity – from ancient Aboriginal cultures to famous explorers, to iconic Canadian artwork, literature, and landmarks.  

Our government under the leadership of Prime Minister Harper has made a commitment to the residents of Northern Canada that we will do everything possible to ensure the “land of the mid-night sun” realizes its full potential. Our Government is committed to promoting tourism and economic development in Canada`s North and invest in arctic infrastructure.

Since elected in January 2006, our government has realized the three Territories play a significant part in Canada’s future. If we are to maintain our position as a leading country on the world scene, we must develop and protect our north. The northern part of this great country has the potential to make Canada a leader in the world economy. Because of advances in technology and science, it is now possible to explore and develop the vast resources contained in our northern hemisphere to their full potential.

I am pleased the Prime Minister is taking a leadership role by actively demonstrating to the world that Canada’s north belongs to Canada and we are prepared to protect what is rightfully ours.  The North has not been a priority for previous governments. Other nations have made attempts to encroach on our sovereignty by making outlandish and false claims of ownership in the area. Countries like Russia and China have been trying to lay claim to parts of this vast area. We must be diligent in the defense of our assets.

I believe the words “True North Strong and Free” contained in our national anthem will mean more than they ever have as our country continues to grow and prosper in the years to come.

Guy Lauzon
Member of Parliament
Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry

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World Suicide Prevention Day

September 10th has become World Suicide Prevention Day with communities around the world bringing attention to this tragic reality.
It is hoped that by discussing the topic, lives will be saved.

According to their recent press release, “This year the Suicide Prevention Coalition/Champlain East are urging our community to take time to learn about suicide, the warning signs and what to do.”

“Suicide is preventable and requires every person’s participation. Any one of us could play a part in helping to save a life.”

An article released by the same source pointed out: “The Eastern Ontario Health Unit released its Injury Report for Eastern Ontario in 2009 and suicide was found to be the highest in terms of mortality and intentional injury in most populations in our region for both men and women.”

Suicide is a real threat for communities at home, across the country, and around the world.

Communities all over Ontario and Canada are finding their own ways of bringing voice to suicide prevention with drum circles, butterfly release rituals, conferences, cycling and hiking tours – just to name a few.

Closer to home, in their recent press release, “LivingWorks Education Inc., the Ottawa Suicide Prevention Coalition and the Collateral Damage Project will host a concert on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at Ottawa’s Centrepointe Theatre headlining Inuk singer/songwriter, Susan Aglukark.”

“The event will celebrate the “Building Suicide Safer Communities” initiative, a Canadian campaign hosted by LivingWorks Education and the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. The initiative advocates for nation-wide suicide prevention and saving lives lost through this highly ignored community health tragedy.”

This same release continues, saying that “this first time event held in Ottawa will be an opportunity to commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day in Canada and start the discussion about a National Strategy for Canada on Suicide Prevention which remains long overdue.”

So, what can you do?

The Champlain East Suicide Prevention Coalition  is encouraging open acknowledgement and education of suicide for everyone. Recognize the warning signs and know what to do.

Most importantly, ask for help.

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Kitchen Witches ‘brewing’ at the Playhouse

Something’s cooking at the Upper Canada Playhouse and artistic director Donnie Bowes and director Walter Learning are keeping a lid on the ‘brewing’ excitement.

At a press conference for the Playhouse’s upcoming production of Caroline Smith’s The Kitchen Witches, Bowes and Learning and the cast, which includes Linda Goranson, Jocelyne Zucco and Parris Greaves, were a tight-lipped about what’s on the menu for the Playhouse’s final run of the summer season.

“It’s a different show. It’s going to be fun for the audience,” said Bowes.

“It is a different show,” agreed Learning chuckling as he added,“It’s not one of your farces where doors are slamming everywhere…but there are doors that do slam.”

“It’s about two ladies and a cooking show…it’s a love story, it’s about friendships and there are a lot of laughs. There are also some very touching and insightful moments,” said Learning.

The Kitchen Witches stars two talented veterans of the Canadian stage, Linda Goranson and Jocelyne Zucco, who performed in the play twice before and once together.

Goranson is playing Dolly Biddle whose gimmick in her television show is playing an eccentric Ukranian cook with a love of vodka.

Her final show (it’s been cancelled) is interrupted by long-time friend and rival Isobel Lomax, played by Zucco. Upon her arrival, the cooking show begins to heat up as the two cooking divas go at each other.

The cooking show’s director is Dolly’s son Stephen, played by Greaves, who attempts to referee the on-camera battle.

“My character (Dolly) lives to be on a cooking show,” says Goranson. “Her whole world has been Stephen and the cooking show. Dolly loves life but her heart gets hurt by other people.”

“My character (Isobel) returns to stir things up in the stable Biddle world,” says Zucco.

Both Goranson and Zucco are delighted to be back on the Playhouse stage. They are enjoying the opportunity to perform in The Kitchen Witches again and enjoying the new discoveries they are making.

“We have a new Stephen, a new actor who is going to create different reactions, a new set and a director with new and wonderful ideas,” says Zucco. “All of that allows you to discover new things.”

“It’s like a long rehearsal period,” says Goranson. “You get to go deeper and deeper. It just gets richer and richer and richer every time you get to do a play again.”

Although not a problem, stage manager Jackie McCormick says The Kitchen Witches has been a challenge.

“This is probably the prop heaviest show I have ever done,” says McCormick of the over 24 containers of difference sizes, numerous kitchen utensils, wooden spoons and on and on. “On top of that is all the food. It’s been a challenge, but a good challenge.”

McCormick explains it is all about where everything is, in the right place at the right time.

Bowes admits to becoming somewhat of a shopping guru….He claims that when you are in a local store, filling your shopping cart with 90 containers of whip cream, 90 tart shells, 60 taco shells and more, people tend to take notice.

And how that food is used in the play remains a mystery that Upper Canada Playhouse audiences are going to enjoy.

“Tomorrow we get the actual whip cream and yogurt,” said Goranson as Thursday’s press conference wrapped up.

“And we won’t be wearing costumes the first time,” said Learning with a chuckle.

The Kitchen Witches runs September 8 through October 2 with shows on Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be booked at uppercanadaplayhouse.com or by calling the box office at 613-543-3713.

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Holy Trinity’s lychgate roof back resting where it belongs

Last Thursday, September 1, the 108-year-old lychgate roof was re-laid to rest, where it belongs, at the entry to Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Riverside Heights.

The historical lychgate provides entry onto the Holy Trinity church grounds where the grave site memorials to Sir James Pliny Whitney, (the sixth premier of the Province of Ontario),  the Whitney and Sarah Crysler-Pliny families and Colonel J. Munro (a famous officer of the 1st Royal Yorkers) are located.

In February 2009, its roof was removed from its two supporting pillars due to safety reasons.

The lychgate, a surrounding fence and Holy Trinity Church were relocated to their present location at the time of the Seaway project. It was one of only two area churches that were deemed historically significant enough to be spared demolition.

The current church land is very low, and water and frost upheaval over the past 52 years had damaged both the lychgate and a fence that surrounds the property.

The two columns that support the lychgate roof had shifted to the point where the roof was being damaged and had become unsafe.

Estimates for repairs to the lychgate and fence, prior to the roof’s removal were as high as $250,000, a figure that was way beyond the means of the small church congregation.

“We cannot lose such an important piece of Ontario’s history,” said MPP Jim Brownell at the time. “There aren’t too many lychgates left in Ontario, if there are any. It’s a tragedy and we have to find some way of getting it back.”

Two years later the call was answered, not by the province or any of its ministries, but by local resident, Les Cruickshank.

“I was starting to worry it wasn’t going to happen,” said Isobel Tuttle who is the People’s Warden at Holy Trinity. “A big thank you goes to Les (Cruickshank) for taking this on all by himself. It looks wonderful having it back up.”

“When I got the news from Les that he thought the lychgate needed to be put back in place, it was one of those things that truly is a gift from God,” said Rev. Sue McCullough. “It was cost prohibitive for the congregation, but it was part of the church that needed to be put back. Les recognized that.”

“Thanks just don’t cover what we feel about what he has done.”

“Basically, what we did was put reinforcement between the two posts,” said Cruickshank of the work carried out by his company’s (Cruickshank Construction)employees. “We poured concrete with a rebar, so the two posts are now like one. When you come back here in 50 years, they’ll still be up.”

“We excavated down to the footings and hydraulically jacked everything back into place,” explained Cruickshank employee Ron Dingwall when interviewed during the work that took place in July. “We poured concrete to stabilize them, and Polywrap(ed) and insulated both columns coming up from the footings.”

Dingwall said the east pillar footing was originally poured in two parts and that had shifted apart.  “The pillar had shifted to the north and was leaning about six inches towards the church. It had also moved in a counter clockwise direction and was off the footings by three inches. The west pillar had a 10 inch shift from top to bottom and it was leaning to the south.”

“We dug between and around the two pillars, laid insulation and then poured a reinforced concrete pad below the surface to tie the two columns together.”

“There is lots of water in the ground here. It is possible this area is below the water level of the St. Lawrence. Hopefully, what we have done will last another 100 years. We don’t want to come back in 10 years times and see the roof leaning again.”

Once the pillars were levelled, the completion of the project awaited the availability of Cruickshank manpower and heavy equipment needed to lift the estimated 3,500 pound lychgate roof back onto the support pillars.

That all came about last week under the direction of Stan Keyes and two very skilled Cruickshank heavy equipment operators.

A support base was built from steel beams salvaged from the 401 overpass rebuild at Iroquois (a job currently being done by Cruickshank Construction). The lychgate roof was lifted by crane onto the base and moved to the lychgate area early last week. Then Thursday, two front end loaders worked in unison to lift, position and lower it onto the awaiting pillars.

The positioning took a lot of jockeying, an inch at a time, until the roof was perfectly lined up and dropped into place.

To complete the project, the Lychgate roof is now in need of some repair and paint, to restore it to its former beauty.

But that is not the last of it says Cruickshank who is now prepared to lobby the provincial government for money to repair the fence, landscape the Whitney Memorial area, and provide long-term maintenance to the area.

“A premier is buried here, the province should be doing something,” says Cruickshank. “We should make this an election issue, get something done here.”

From a tourism point of view Cruickshank suggests signage on the 401, signage at strategic locations on Cty. Rd. #2 and signage at the site.

“If we could get a one shot deal (to repair the fence and landscape the memorial areas) and some annual maintenance money that would be good.”

Sir James Pliny Whitney was the Premier of Ontario from 1905 to 1914, a remarkable era in Ontario politics, which saw significant legislation  in regards to workmen’s compensations, temperance, hydroelectric development and urban transit.

It was under the Whitney government in 1906, that legislation was passed to create the permanent Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario that would later, during the St. Lawrence Seaway/Power Project, expropriate the land where Sir Whitney was buried.

At the time of the Seaway, Holy Trinity was dismantled stone by stone and moved to Riverside Heights. At the same time, the memorials were deemed an integral part of the original memorial and moved to their location behind the church. Sir Whitney’s remains were not moved.
 

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Extra, extra, read all about it: movie being filmed at UCV this September!

Upper Canada Village is opening its doors to Siloam Entertainment from September 10th to the 14th.

Brian Lutes, writer, director and actor, needs 150 to 200 extras for  his movie, Percy Harris.

According to Lutes, the movie, a period western, “is a film about a confederate soldier apprehended while returning home from the war and is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. He’s sentenced to hang.”

“With several twists and turns (sort of a combination of Wizard of Oz meets Rambo), we follow Percy on his quest for freedom, struggling against bounty hunters, brutal terrain and a legion of inner demons.”

To view some of the scene captures, Lutes suggests going to the Facebook page for “Percy Harris the movie.”

So, what about those extras?

Lutes predicts that the biggest number of extras will be needed on Sunday the 11th and Monday the 12th. Shooting happens between 8:00 and 5:30.

“Unfortunately, wardrobe is in limited supply with that many extras… So, we’re asking people to go through their closets and bring the most “period” friendly clothing they have.”

“They could dress as a farmer, cowboy, or townspeople.”

If you are interested in being an extra, email Brian Lutes at blutes@storm.ca or Anik Rompre at nykkytta@gmail.com.

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New principal for MPS

Children at Morrisburg Public School (MPS) will be seeing a new face in the hallways and around the schoolyard this year.

Beverley Bethune, MPS’s new principal, is making the 75km commute from South Lancaster, a town east of Cornwall.

The new principal at MPS brings a strong background in special education as well as in steering a school in a positive direction.

In 1975, Bethune received a Bachelor of Physical Education as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Geography, both from McMaster.

Bethune received her Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Ottawa in 1992, qualifying her to teach intermediate and secondary in the areas of physical education and geography.

Bethune added computers and special education to her teaching credentials in the 1990’s. Qualifications for junior division were added in 2005.

Also in 2005 Bethune also began  working to complete the requirements to become an Ontario school principal. This she achieved in 2006.

The position with MPS is Bethune’s first time serving as principal. To back her in her new position she brings extensive  experience as a vice-principal.

Bethune comes directly to MPS from her position as Vice-Principal of T. R. Leger’s Eastern Region where she worked with at risk students.

Prior to that Bethune served as Vice-Principal at Rothwell Osnabruck K-13 School in Ingleside.

Her first stint as a vice-principal lasted for five years at Cornwall’s General Vanier Intermediate School.

Before becoming a vice-principal, Bethune taught at General Vanier when it was a secondary school and continued to teach there when it became an Intermediate School in 2002.

Principal Bethune believes that  students are “all teachable” and she wants to see “that each individual student reach their own potential.”

In terms of plans for the school, Principal Bethune said that her “focus is [on] student learning.”

She went on to say that her “passion in education is the at risk student.”

When asked what she’d like to say to readers of the Leader, Bethune said that she is a “strong believer in community partnerships and community focus on schools.”

She ended the interview with an invitation to the community: “I welcome anyone who wants to volunteer.”

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