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Doug MacLeod Blues Concert at Morrisburg United Church


“I pretty much believe the blues chose me,” said Doug MacLeod, in his slightly drawling, mellow voice, at the outset of an interview with the Morrisburg Leader. “To sing the blues, you’ve got to be singing from the heart.”

MacLeod, who is reckoned one of the finest blues singer-songwriters in North America, is coming to Morrisburg for a one night only concert on Friday, November 11. Blues by the Lakeshore will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the United Church of Morrisburg. 

From California MacLeod shared insights into his life and music and why, for over 28 years, he’s been a blues man.

Born in New York City, MacLeod grew up in the 60’s. 

“I had a turbulent childhood,” he laughed, “and the result was I had a big chip on my shoulder. Then my family took a trip to St. Louis, and I heard people singing the blues for the first time. I was stunned. I couldn’t believe the sheer joy those singers had.”

Blues has its roots in the black experience of the American South. 

From the outset, MacLeod found himself drawn to these black musicians who, despite facing widespread prejudice (so much part of the 60’s scene) and often all the drawbacks of poverty, none-the-less expressed themselves in rich and soulful music. 

“I thought to myself, I want to be around this joy,” MacLeod said. 

He began to play and to sing with some of these Old Masters, gradually absorbing their culture,  and living their lives, making the blues his own. 

“What I learned is singing the blues really means making a negative life positive. Maybe you don’t have control over every thing that happens to you in life, but you can survive. I find that I am comfortable with this music. It speaks to my soul. And,” MacLeod added, laughing, “you gotta be what you are, not what you ain’t.” 

A born story teller, whose warm and witty songs reflect his own experiences and his out look on life, MacLeod has been given the title Master of Original Acoustic Blues. He’s played gigs with some of the greatest blues men, performers like Big Joe Turner, George Smith, Pee Wee Crayton, and Joe Louis Walker. 

MacLeod’s songs have been featured in TV movies and on the show In the Heat of the Night. Two of his songs are on Grammy nominated albums by Albert King and Albert Collins. 

He hosted Nothin’ But the Blues on Los Angeles’ KLON-KKJZ radio for five years and is a noted authority on finger style acoustic guitar. 

MacLeod has released 18 studio albums, several live records and a live performance DVD. During his Morrisburg concert he will be performing some numbers from his March 2011 release, Brand New Eyes.

MacLeod said that his blues inspirations are definitely varied and often anchored in his own experiences.

“I’m honest about my life and honest in my music when I sing about love and hard times,” he explained. 

“Truth be told, although I have a wonderful life now and I’ve been happily married for years, let’s just say there’s a lot of girls out there in my past who may not have a lot of kind things to say about me,” he laughed. “Ernest Banks once told me never write or sing about what you don’t know about.”

He hasn’t ignored so-called ‘issues’: he penned the Outspoken Politician Blues and he’s written about lies and liars. However, blues, MacLeod said, “make a mighty big canvas. You can write love songs, sad songs, protest songs.  I think Willie Dixon put it this way, ‘blues is the true facts of life.’”

Doug MacLeod will be performing solo during his Morrisburg concert. While he has worked with bands, especially in his first four albums, he admits that he is more comfortable performing alone.

“I often change my songs somewhat from performance to performance. The way I sing a song on Friday isn’t exactly the way I sing it on Saturday. It can drive a band crazy when you do that: they don’t know where you’re going to start or go.”

Audiences attending Doug MacLeod’s concert on November 11, at The United Church of Morrisburg, can look forward to a memorable evening with a colourful, multi-talented and charming musician. 

“I love telling stories around my songs. I tell stories from my life, some poignant, some humorous, all true. When I sing, I invite the audience into the song. I invite them to become part of the music.”

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert are on sale for $25 each at the Basket Case in Morrisburg,   by calling 613-887-9210, or by booking online at


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Sears fashion fund raiser


Time to step out in style with a little help from Sears and River Rat Treasures. 

On Sunday, November 6,  beginning at 1 p.m., Seaway District High School parents council is joining Sears, Iroquois, in putting together a bold, bright show of the latest Sears fashions as part of a school fund raiser. 

“Every year, Sears and River Rat Treasures stages a fashion fund raiser,” said Candace Menges, co-owner of Sears and River Rat Treasures in Iroquois, “and chooses a local charity or organization as the recipient. This year we were approached by the Seaway District High School parents’ council. Chair Leslie Disheau explained the school is raising funds for classroom equipment and learning materials, such as SmartBoards,  We were glad to help: Seaway will be this year’s recipient of proceeds from our annual fashion show.”

Also lending their support in the community will be Scotia Bank, Morrisburg, which has agreed to match any funds raised by the fashion show. 

With the backing of corporate Sears, Menges has arranged for over 16 volunteer models, ages seven to 70, to walk the runway at the afternoon show. 

“Our models are a wide variety of ages, shapes and sizes,” she said, “because Sears offers a wide variety of stylish clothing in all shapes and sizes. Among the models for the show will be Seaway principal Terry Gardiner and guidance head, Mark Lewis.”

With a Mardi Gras theme, and all the colour and fun of Carnival, this fashion show is sure to thrill guests. 

Local vendors will have displays around the Seaway gymnasium, (where the fashion show will take place). They will be offering some great deals, discounts and specials to visitors. Look for outstanding door prizes and enjoy some delicious refreshments served by the parents council. 

As an additional bonus, the first 100 ticket holders who arrive at the show will receive a very special gift. 

With the Christmas party season nearing, and, for some lucky travellers, upcoming cruises, this timely fashion event will show off great clothing ideas from Sears.

“We’ll be showing every day wear, evening, party and cruise wear for both men and women,” Menges said. “There will be some wonderful fashions for guests to enjoy.”

Tickets for the Carnival of Fashion are $10 for adults, $5 for youth and children under four, free. 

Advance tickets can be purchased at Sears Iroquois and Morrisburg and from the Seaway parents council.

Don’t miss the Carnival of Fashion Fund Raiser on November 6 at Seaway High School. 


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If you build it, they will come


 Quick, answer this question: How many hiking trails are within close distance to where you live?

Thanks to South Nation Conservation (SNC) you can add a new one to the short list. Two Creeks Conservation Area, just off County Road 2 between Morrisburg and Iroquois, is free and open for visitors.

At the October 18th South Dundas council meeting, SNC Assistant Works Superintendents David Fitch and Mike Leger gave a presentation on the progress made and the plans that remain. SNC Board Chair Lawrence Levere was also present.

The 400 acres of property previously owned by Domtar became available for purchase when Domtar closed. 

SNC took the opportunity to purchase the land and credits Don Graham for the find: “he was a great help to us to get this thing started.”

Graham, a member of DIAMONDS Conservation Land Trust (DCLT), had an agreement with Domtar whereby the land was used for trails and open to the public.

Graham explained that when Domtar began “to pull out of things locally, we (DCLT) had to get out too because we didn’t have an agreement” with anyone else for use of the land.

DCLT and Graham talked with SNC and left information about the area and the situation in the hope that they would pick up the land, and with it the project.

“Their purposes are exactly what Diamonds were,” said Graham. “I supplied background information” to help SNC.

“The future now looks rosy; looks like it could be fun for Morrisburg, Iroquois and South Dundas,” he said. Two Creeks is “a real boon to the township.”

Fitch reported to council that local contractors, Lloyd McMillan Equipment Ltd. of Iroquois and Cruikshank Construction of Morrisburg, have been helping out on the park.

It’s been “very good for us and for the township, working together on this,” said Fitch.

He told council that one of the first steps, “getting the parking lot back in order and usable,” is now completed.

In addition, the first trail section is “about 99 per cent completed.” The second and third trail sections will take longer, probably  years, to complete. The “time frame depends on usage of the park.”

As for the trail that’s completed, Fitch reported: “Right now we have about four and a half kilometers of trail that’s been reestablished.”

“We’ve had to put a lot of hard work into this (as there was) quite a lot of bush hogging in there to get it cleared out.”

“Approximately 150 tons of gravel” was used due to wet and low areas. Fitch estimates that by the time SNC is done they’ll have used “half a million tons of gravel.”

“Because of the length of the trail, we can’t do it all in one shot,” he explained. Also, due to the “creek that runs through the property, (SNC) had to build a bridge across.”

Building the bridge required a permit and an on site inspection. The trails are five feet wide and the bridge, which has been “heavily constructed to hold vehicles (is) 52 feet long with ramps down both sides.”

The “possibilities are endless with this park,” Fitch said, predicting: “You’ll find there’s going to be a lot of use in this park.”

He showed council a picture of  the “Two Creeks Conservation Area” sign that SNC plans to erect on County Road 2, saying, “this should bring a lot more people to the park.”

South Dundas Deputy Mayor Jim Locke complimented SNC saying, it “looks like a job well done. (There’s) a lot of potential.”

“This is going to get used quite a bit,”  he predicted.

While motorized vehicles are prohibited on the trails, bicycles are welcomed.

In terms of money spent on the project, Fitch told council that so far SNC has spent “about $6,000 to $7,000 in materials.”

“We didn’t waste anything,” he continued. It was “all planned out; we knew what we needed.”

The “parking lot was the biggest expense, “ he explained. It “might have been under $10,000 total.”

“Over the years there will be quite a bit of money put into it. Eventually there will be over ten kilometers of trails.”

Councillor Evonne Delegarde inquired as to whether the trails would be open in winter. Fitch replied, “most are closed in the winter time, but are used year round, 24/7.”

He further explained “closed” meant that the trails are not groomed during winter, but the area is still “open” and accessible to the public.

SNC’s Levere added, “we’re not in the business of keeping people out of our parks for legitimate uses.”

Many people use SNC trails for hiking, bird watching, cross-country skiing, biking and more.

According to their website, SNC “encourage all watershed residents to become familiar with the unique beauty of your natural surroundings and understand the importance of maintaining our local environment.”

They ask that visitors “take only pictures and leave only footprints.”

South Dundas Mayor, Steven Byvelds said, “I hope we can promote this together.”

Levere responded with a slightly altered quote from the movie Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.”


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Canada supports economic growth in Eastern Ontario


Eastern Ontario businesses and communities will benefit from a renewed investment in the region announced today by Guy Lauzon, Member of Parliament for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).  

A Government of Canada investment of $30 million over the next three years will support the renewal of the Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP), resulting in a greater number of economic development initiatives and improved partnerships throughout Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. 

“I am happy that the Minister has made the decision to approve funding for a three year period,” said Lauzon, “this will permit EODP to develop a multiyear strategic plan.”

“I am proud today to announce that our government is moving forward with its commitment to create jobs and economic growth here in eastern Ontario,” said Minister Goodyear. “This additional investment in the Eastern Ontario Development Program will offer new opportunities for the people, businesses and communities in this region.” 

 The Program is managed by FedDev Ontario and funding will be delivered by 15 Community Futures Development Corporations located throughout rural Eastern Ontario.

“This announcement is welcome news for SD & SG,” said Carma Williams, Vice Chair SD & G Community Futures Development Corporation, “it will allow us to do multi-year planning.”

Press Release

“The Eastern Ontario Development Program has been a catalyst for business and community development across eastern Ontario for a number of years,” said Dan Stanford, Chair of the Eastern Ontario CFDC Network. “We are pleased to continue our partnership with the Government of Canada so that Community Futures Development Corporations can support projects that will grow and diversify the regional economy.” 

To find out more about the Eastern Ontario Development Program and how to access program funding, please refer to the backgrounder or visit the FedDev Ontario website at 


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Commemorating the War of 1812

News Release – October 11, 2011

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE– The Harper Government today launched the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. 

This War helped establish our path toward becoming an independent and free country, united under the Crown with a respect for linguistic and ethnic diversity.

“The heroic efforts of those who fought for our country in the War of 1812 tell the story of the Canada we know today: an independent and free country with a constitutional monarchy and its own distinct parliamentary system,” said James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. 

“The 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 is an opportunity for all of us to take pride in our history, and we look forward to taking part in the events and activities that will mark this important anniversary for Canada.”

Over the next four years, the Government will invest to increase Canadians’ awareness of this defining moment in our history. 

This will include support for: a pan-Canadian educational campaign focused on the importance of the War of 1812 to Canada’s history; support for up to 100 historical re-enactments, commemorations, and local events; a permanent 1812 memorial located in the National Capital Region; interactive tours, six exhibits, and improvements to three national historic sites across the country; investments in infrastructure at key 1812 battle sites, such as Fort Mississauga and Fort York, Ontario; celebrating and honouring the links that many of our current militia regiments in Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada have to the War of 1812. 

October 2012, will also be designated as a month of commemoration of the heroes and key battles of the War of 1812.

“Had the War of 1812 ended differently, the Canada we know today would not exist. The war laid the foundation for Confederation and the cornerstones of our political institutions,” said Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. 

Details on planned activities will be made available on the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 website at


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South Dundas public speaks up

For those with something to say, South Dundas council members were all ears on October 17th.

Mayor Steven Byvelds, along with Deputy Mayor Jim Locke opened the “round table” discussion to the public at 7 p.m. in Matilda Hall. Also in attendance were Councillors Evonne Delegarde, Jim Graham, Archie Mellan, and Clerk Brenda Brunt.

In addition to council, 27 members of the South Dundas public showed up to voice their concerns, make requests, or simply say thank you for a job well done. Members of the public also had the opportunity to talk with council members one-on-one before and after the two hour meeting.

Byvelds began the meeting saying, “This is something I thought would be a good idea (for) the public to bring ideas, discuss concerns – it’s a better opportunity (to be heard) than coming to a council meeting.”

“I can’t promise that everything will be acted on, but (we) will listen.”

Union Gas 

The first issue of the night came from a resident of Iroquois who requested council’s help in convincing Union Gas to bring natural gas to his home and to the homes of his neighbours. 

Jim Graham volunteered to look into it and help out in whatever way possible. 

Taxpayers Funding Alcohol

The next issue raised at the meeting took account with the council holding a retirement party paid for by taxpayers that included an open bar. 

Byvelds responded: “We did have one recently – a dinner with an open bar at the Legion. (It) cost less than $1,000.”

It was suggested by Carl McIntyre “that this policy should be reviewed” as he did not think it appropriate for taxpayers to be paying for council’s alcohol.

Volunteers in South Dundas

The  huge topic of concern for many that night was the status of volunteers in South Dundas. This topic was raised several times covering the expanse of insurance, money, paperwork, and more.

It was suggested by John Gleed that “something has to be done to improve the whole process in dealing with volunteers.”

He was not alone in this as several other members of the public rose to speak on the same issue. 

He went on to say that “rather than helping, in a lot of cases roadblocks are being set up.” In this he was referring to the new policy guidelines as well as the abundance of paperwork involved in applications.

In terms of insurance, he said that “the truth of the matter is – the policy of downloading is incredibly negative to any activity that is going on. Staff can tell you it’s a myth, but it’s not.”

David Lapier raised issue with the fact that the insurance for the Williamsburg Harvest Festival, which normally doesn’t ask for monetary help from the township, had gone up more than $500 from last year’s price.

Several other dedicated members of the public were concerned with having their names on the insurance policies for these volunteer-run events. 

People inquired as to council’s decision making process in relation to grant applications. They asked about the total amount in the budget and what portion was actually used for volunteer community events.

In the end, Byvelds said that council had “heard it loud and clear.” He acknowledged that people would like council to “make the process as simple as we can make it (and that council) find some funding for it.”

Byvelds and fellow council members also made it clear that they do appreciate the time, hard work, and passion put into these events by dedicated volunteers. Graham said, “nobody wants to deter volunteers in any shape or form because we can’t do it.” Mellan pointed out, “I think council appreciates the value of our volunteers (and our) community groups.”

“We will do what we can. If it (policy) has to be tweaked down the road, it’s tweakable.”

Boat Launch Fees

Roger Coulter raised issue with the fees charged at the launch ramp. He pointed out that the many other township recreational services like the beach, the park or the outdoor rink require no fees whatsoever.

“We have a lot of boaters in this township and it bothers them that they  have to pay a launch fee as well,” he said.

There’s “a double launch in Cardinal (that) doesn’t cost a cent. Many (areas) don’t have cost for ramps,” he reported.

Byvelds said that the launch fees “generate a pot of money to (be) put back into infrastructure (like the) deck in Morrisburg.” 

Grass Needs Cutting

An Iroquois resident raised issue with the lack of grooming being done on vacant lots. He requested that council mow the lawns of buildings they’re responsible for on a more regular basis. He also suggested that council deal with people who are not caring for their lawns properly.

Another Iroquois resident also brought the issue of overgrown ditches to council’s attention. Most notably, the ditch on Carmen Road heading toward the Lockes.

Parlow Road River Access

A Morrisburg resident was upset by a sign displayed on a property next to a water access point at the base of Parlow Road. The sign infers that the road and access point is private when, in fact, it is not.

Mayor Byvelds said that he was familiar with the property and the water access point in question and would look into the matter. He verified that it is public property.

Tourism in South Dundas

Hanne Rycroft from the Basket Case Cafe in Morrisburg  wanted “some insurance that we’re getting a better tourist bureau.”

She pointed out that the bureau is often closed and, when it’s not closed it is often run by someone not trained or not concerned with tourism.

Rycroft also inquired about several tourism brochures that mentioned South Dundas. The one in question had two South Dundas businesses and Rycroft wanted to know what the process was for deciding who made it into the brochure.

Candace Menges of River Rat Treasures in Iroquois agreed that the state of tourism in South Dundas needs some assistance from council.

She brought attention to the lack of communication between the economic development officer and the actual businesses in South Dundas. 

Hosaic Creek Beavers

Robert Byvelds, a dairy farmer East of Williamsburg, requested an update on the status of Hosaic Creek.

The Hosaic Creek Committe, along with the South Nation Conservation (SNC), released a report in 2010 calling for a solution to the overpopulation of beavers.

The dams built in the Creek are causing drainage issues for local farms and farmers.

Trevor Tolley pointed out that this is a natural drainage system that has been cut off by the beaver population. He said that while “SNC is staffed with people who are experts on a variety of aspects of Hosaic Creek,” the one thing they aren’t experts on is agriculture and “human beings” in this area.

Byvelds said, “You want drainage there; I don’t know if it’ll ever get to a point where you have drainage there.”

He did say that the issue hadn’t been discussed in a while and that he would look into it further.

Sewage Treatment Plan

An Iroquois resident asked for an update on the Sewage Treatment Plan.

She was told that a tender would be going out shortly.

Councillor Evonne Delegarde reported, “everything is still on schedule” for a March 2014 completion date.

Snow Removal

John Devries wanted to talk about snow removal. He asked if it were possible for the service to begin “a little earlier in the morning for school buses and the milk truck.”

Councillor Archie Mellan said that “it will be looked at.”

Garbage Removal

The question of large item garbage removal was also raised, specifically freezers and fridges.

There is no pick up for these items, but there are drop off places available.

The resident in question was concerned with the lack of “user friendly” scheduling. There is a drop off in Iroquois between 8 a.m. and Noon on Fridays, but many people work during those four hours. 

Council agreed to look into the situation. 

It was pointed out, at this time, that electronics could be taken to the North Dundas Fire Department or to the House of Lazarus in Winchester.

Bylaw Inspector

Inquiry was made as to whether or not South Dundas had indeed hired a bylaw inspector. It was noted that many people park illegally in the Morrisburg Plaza parking lot, but nothing appears to be done about it.

Council confirmed that there is a bylaw officer, but that much of his time is consumed by “big stuff.”

Locke pointed out that “most bylaws are enforced by complaint.”

Old High School

David Lapier wanted to know “how (council was) going to set a limit on cost” in terms of “moving council to the high school in Morrisburg.”  More to the point, he wanted to know what the cost would be for taxpayers.

Byvelds outlined the necessity of moving council from Williamsburg to Morrisburg saying “there’s not enough room; (there are) air quality issues; it really doesn’t suit; (and,) in 1998 it was a temporary move, a political move.”

“There’s no way to make that work. I would like to have the entire staff under one roof.” He pointed out that the bylaw officer’s “office” is in the middle of the hall while the fire chief is working in “a building that  we’ve condemned.”

In terms of finances, Byvelds believes that the high school is “still going to be the best option in the end.” 

He pointed out that it won’t “happen overnight (as it’s) a long-term process.” Right now there are “fairly reasonable rates” available for getting this done.

He suggested that people check out the Prescott Municipal Office if they wanted to get an idea of what things might be like when finished.

Outdoor Rink

When asked if there would be an outdoor rink this winter, Byvelds said, “we’re working on it. It’s a necessity.”

Surplus Buildings

Inquiries as to the status of surplus buildings rendered the following response from Byvelds: they’re “still on our radar.”

He informed the group that Delegarde had recently asked for a tour of the buildings because some  of the council members hadn’t yet seen them. 

He also said that council was concerned with making balanced decisions about what to do with the surplus buildings in each community.

Thanks for a Great Job

In addition to complaints and requests, the public also wanted to say thank you, acknowledging the work of council. 

Carl McIntyre: “I think this council has done a great job. I’ve agreed with every decision you’ve made. I’m only here to talk about what hasn’t been done” yet.

Roger Coulter wanted to thank council for the bike and walking paths in Iroquois.


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Baby owl rescue was a ‘hoot’

Laura-Lee Cholette, assistant superintendant at the Upper Canada Golf Course, is someone who gives a ‘hoot’.

In May of this year, following a big windstorm, Laura-Lee spotted what she thought was a chunk of paper near the trees north of the par three third green. On closer inspection, the chunk of paper turned out to be a baby bird, later identified as a Great Horned Owl.

So began Laura-Lee’s rescue,  which included the Owl’s turn over to the Wild Bird Centre in Ottawa, its summer spent growing up at the Owl Foundation near Niagara Falls and its subsequent release back home on Sunday, October 9 at the Upper Canada Bird Sanctuary.

“They estimated it was only two weeks old when I found it and explained to me that at that age it wasn’t at the branch stage yet,” says Laura-Lee. (The branch stage, about six weeks old, is when the young owl is old enough to sit on a branch and wait for its parents to bring food.)

Initially, Laura-Lee left the unidentified bird, but after finishing work and returning home, she couldn’t get if off her mind.

She contacted the Wild Bird Centre in Ottawa and was instructed to return it to the tree and wait for three hours to see if the parents would return.

So back she went, a ladder was located, and she set the baby bird back up on a branch. After three hours, the parents had not showed up, and she returned home.

“The next day it was on the ground again.”

“It could stand up with no problem and its claws were huge. It even hissed at me.”

Fearing it was unlikely the baby would survive, Laura packed it up and took it to the Wild Bird Centre.

“It was neat,” she says. “They actually got four at the time, because of the wind storm.”

It was there that the baby bird was identified as a Great Horned Owl.

From the Wild Bird Centre, the baby was sent to The Owl Foundation, an owl rehabilitation centre located at Vineland Station in the Niagara Peninsula, where it was raised to the age it could survive on its own.

“They had a foster mom who took in six babies,” says Laura-Lee. 

When release time came, Laura-Lee was contacted. Also being returned to the area was a Screech Owl that had been found in Cooper’s Marsh in August. Preferred releases are done within a reasonable distance from where the owls are originally found.

“I was supposed to pick her up in Napanee, but luckily Patty Summers from the Wild Bird Centre in Ottawa was in Guelph and she was able to drive them here.”

Laura-Lee says she was totally impressed with the beautiful bird that was returned to her.

“Her wing span was three feet, and she was probably 1.5 feet tall. She was gorgeous.”

The Screech Owl, (later released at the Marsh) was “very tiny. It was the size of my guy’s head.”

In front of family and friends, Laura-Lee released the Horned Owl at the Bird Sanctuary. 

Per instructions, the box was opened near trees “so she could look for a perching option. The last I saw of her, she was flying off over the trees.”

“They explained to me that if there is room she will stay, but if there is already a pair around she will move on. I actually wanted to take her home. She was beautiful.”

Describing her feelings as happy “because it is now free” and sad “because it is alone”, Laura-Lee says the rescue was a “wonderful experience”. She says she has certainly learned a lot about owls.

The Great Horned Owl is the most widely distributed true owl in the Americas. It can have a wingspan of 40-60 inches and the females are larger than the males. They have large ear tufts,  reddish brown or grey faces, and their irises are yellow. 

All mated Great Horned Owls are permanent residents of their territories. After hatching, they move onto tree branches at about six weeks and fly about one week later. They stay with their parents for several months.

As for Laura-Lee, she will now be listening for ho-ho-hoo, hoo, hoo, the call of a Great Horned Owl, and wondering if it is her rescued baby.


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The PussyCat Hotel, a ‘purr’fect kitty getaway

If you are a cat owner who enjoys holidaying in the sun, and being pampered and fed in a luxurious hotel, but feel a tinge of guilt at leaving your favourite feline behind, then the PussyCat Hotel could be the answer for you.

The PussyCat Hotel, located just east of Glen Stewart on the South Branch Road, is owned and operated by Judy Amo and Ian Leverett. The two have turned a cattle barn into a palatial cat resort that provides luxurious accommodations for our furry friends.

The Hotel, however, doesn’t answer just the needs of those heading off on vacation. Cat owners who travel for business and those who have to be away from home or unable (temporarily) to care for their cat(s) due to health reasons are frequent customers.

Judy and Ian have filled the hotel’s central catwalk with regular home furnishings…a dining room set, couches and chairs, and a television that on most days features all the things a cat is interested in.

“I like to leave it on through the day so they can watch it,” says Judy, who often heads to the hotel to spend the evening watching television with the cats while Ian catches a sports program back at the house. 

Off the catwalk are the cat suites, that range from the ‘royal suites’ (up to four cats), to ‘economy’ (one cat). The hotel has 22 rooms. All were filled during the 2010 Christmas holiday, the first holiday the PussyCat Hotel was in operation.

When Ian and Judy first met 20 plus years ago, they owned and bred Persian and Himalayan Cats.

After cleaning homes, Judy took a dog grooming course and worked in that business for a number of years.

Ian has tried his hand at a government position and running a craft business. He built a busy disc jockey business in the Ottawa area, ‘700 dances a year” then a successful snow ploughing operation, “which was worse.”

The couple eventually settled in the Kemptville area where they launched a pet sitting business which developed into their boarding dogs in their own home.

“We went to our first home where there was a dog chained outdoors,” says Ian. “It was 40 below, so we decided to take the dog home, and that’s how it started. We eventually had 500 clients.”

Unfortunately, caring for upwards of 20 dogs in their home at any one time became a health/safety issue for Judy, when she had a knee replacement. 

They sold the business and moved to their new home on the South Branch Road in the spring of 2010, with the intent to build a boarding kennel for dogs. However, a clause in the sale of their Kemptville business and municipal regulations led them down a slightly different path…a return to their first love, cats, and the resulting PussyCat Hotel.

“We love it here,” says Judy of the six acre farm. “It’s so quiet and the neighbours are so friendly. When we opened (November 2010) we had an open house and all the neighbours came.”

In designing the PussyCat Motel, Ian says, “we figured cats don’t belong in cages just like dogs, so we designed the rooms. Most places just have cages and the animals are confined to the cages for weeks on end.”

“We spent a lot of money on this. It was a horse and cow stable.”

Ian’s vision included pillars which run the length of the central hallway. Each of the suites opens off the grande hallway with screen doors.

The top room is the (up to four cat) ‘king suite’ which measures a little more than eight by seven feet. Located on the west side of the Hotel, it offers maximum afternoon sunshine which shines onto window perches. There are also climbing ramps, poles and extra large cat trees.

The (up to three cat) ‘queen suites’ catch the morning sun Slightly smaller than the ‘kings’, they too feature ramps and large cat trees. The 40 square foot ‘royal suite’ houses up to two cats as does the 36 square foot ‘presidential’. The 30 square foot ‘economy condo’ has no window and is designed for one cat.

Litter boxes and feeding stations are located in each room.

Prices are per room (not per cat) and range from $30 per day for the ‘king’ down to $14 per day for ‘economy’.

During their stay, the feline guests can roam freely throughout the hotel. Some cats are quite comfortable around the other guests, while others take a couple of days to warm up to the idea. A few choose to remain in their rooms. 

The cats are confined to their rooms at night. “Then we know they are safe,” says Judy. “During the day they have their freedom. They don’t get bored. There is always something for them to do. I come in and play with them or watch TV.”

Last Wednesday, there were nine guests and two expected to arrive on Thursday. Two were catnapping on their window ledges, while Smokey and Sheeba (ragdolls) were hiding, like cats do, under the couch. Then there was the very curious Hawkeye who joined Ian and Judy for the interview on the dining table.

Smokey and Sheeba were on an indefinite stay while their owner recuperates from a medical issue. “The lady who owns them phones every day. She misses them,” says Judy.

The beautiful decor, featuring pillars and chandeliers and laminate (wood) flooring that runs down the centre of the PussyCat Hotel are only surpassed by the pristine cleanliness of the entire operation. 

With the exception of a few wisps of cat hair (an unavoidable part of the business), the hotel is immaculate. 

First time visitors can expect to be ‘wowed’ with what they see.

Judy cleans every day. She says she seldom has problems with the cats and all use their litter boxes. 

Judy has also returned to dog grooming which she does in a specially adapted room in the couple’s home well away from the PussyCat.

Ian’s philosophy is, ‘if you offer a service a lot of people need and a lot of people like, then you are going to be successful.”

With reservations now being made for the upcoming Christmas season and winter travel time, Ian and Judy are hoping that indeed the PussyCat Hotel is a service folks and their felines need. It is certainly one that any fuzzy, fur ball can’t help but like. After all, The PussyCat Hotel is billed as ‘Canada’s largest and most luxurious cat hotel’ and it’s located right here in South Dundas.

For more information and pictures or for reservations at the ‘purr’fect kitty getaway contact the PussyCat Hotel at or call Ian and Judy at 613-652-9082.


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Marching to a positive drummer

 “If everybody gave 100 per cent all the time, most of the problems on this planet could be solved. We need to focus that incredible energy at all times. Give the best you can to the world,” said Mitch Dorge, on October 4, 2011, addressing a very enthusiastic audience of grades 7-8 students at Seaway District High School.

Dorge, who is probably much better known to Canadians as the drummer for the band Crash Test Dummies, presented two assemblies to the intermediate and high school students. The thrust of his dynamic and upbeat discussion was to encourage students to find positive and healthy ways to affect the world. 

“If we can stop lies and myths about drugs and alcohol, the door to communications is open,” Dorge said. “I try to tell kids that life is short. Go after your dreams, but make the right choices along the way.”

Dorge made his points through humour and anecdotes tied in to his life as an artist who has performed with the Dummies throughout the world. Personable and outgoing, he brought student volunteers forward, demonstrating the strength of positive energy and a bright outlook on life. 

Mitch Dorge appeared at Seaway under the sponsorship of the Co-operators Insurance.

“Co-operators has small town roots itself,” said Brent McKean, an agent with the company, who came to Seaway with Dorge. “Our company has a real desire to make a difference in communities. Head office saw and heard Mitch speaking and working with students, and knew that his is a powerful message concerning drugs and alcohol. Co-operators has been working with him for four years now. 

His message is very pro-active, encouraging young people to live life positively.”

While Dorge has successfully addressed audiences of up to 2,000 young people, he enjoys working with smaller crowds like those at Seaway.

“I interact a lot with kids directly. I like to get close and talk directly to them,” Dorge said following his presentation. “Energy and joy should be the focus of a young person’s life. I tell kids to be comfortable in their own skins.”


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363 Local Residents Notified of Possible Exposure to Infection

News Release – October 18, 2011

CORNWALL – 363 residents in the five Eastern Counties are among the patients who will be receiving registered letters following the investigation into a private Ottawa-area medical clinic. 

During the investigation, it was discovered that the clinic did not always follow some infection prevention and cleaning protocols. As a precaution, letters are being sent to approximately 6,800 patients who underwent endoscopic procedures at the clinic between April 2002 and June 2011. 

The clinic, operated by Dr. Christiane Farazli, is located at 1081 Carling Avenue, Suite 606.         Dr. Farazli has worked with Ottawa Public Health (OPH) during the investigation and has co-signed the letter to her patients. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has been in regular contact with OPH concerning the matter.

“Even though the risk of getting an infection is very low, patients who receive a letter should contact their physician to discuss testing,” states Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.

In fact, the risks of associated infections are believed to be less than 1 in 1 million for Hepatitis B, less than 1 in 50 million for Hepatitis C, and less than 1 in 3 billion for HIV. 

The letters include information for patients who would like to be tested. These are free blood tests and patients will need to go to a laboratory to have blood taken. If a patient would like to be tested they have several options which are outlined in the letter. 

Ottawa Public Health has established a dedicated information line for residents who have questions related to this issue. Any person who underwent endoscopy in the facility during the time period mentioned and who has not received a letter by Tuesday, October 25th should contact Ottawa Public Health.

The OPH dedicated information line’s number is 613-580-2888. 

The phone line will be available between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. (Monday to Friday) and from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday). 

For additional information, please visit 

The information line was open until midnight on Tuesday, October 18 and Wednesday, October 19. 

Patients are being advised not to go to a hospital emergency department for blood testing. Hospitals will re-direct patients seeking blood tests for this issue to call OPH.