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Opinion

As the seasons change…

I love October. I love Thanksgiving. I love autumn. Seriously, what’s not to love?  Nature becomes a treat for all the senses with the changing colours, the cool temperatures, the smells of roast turkey and pumpkin pie… the taste and touch of comfort. 

Every October I’m reminded of a famous Bible verse, which I’m almost positive most of you have heard at one point or another. It begins: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun.”

Autumn is a time for change. It’s a time when the earth takes a much needed rest, readying herself for a full period of growth in the coming spring.

This past weekend, with the Seaway District High School graduation and the Thanksgiving holiday we found “a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” It was a time to reminisce over memories of yesterday and talk about our hopes for tomorrow.

Graduates have entered a new phase of their lives and, just in time for Thanksgiving, they were able to share their successes (and disappointments) with friends and family. Change has embraced them and they’re being challenged to step up and be their best.

As teens transition toward adulthood, residents in the SD&SG riding prepare to make a transition of their own: a political riding that has long been red has emphatically changed its colour to blue.

Conservative Jim McDonell is replacing retired Liberal MPP Jim Brownell. 

There is “a time to keep silent and a time to speak.” On October 6th, did you speak up by voting or did you stay silent? How did the choice you made on the 6th contribute to the outcome of the election?

Will our new MPP be able to meet the challenges of his new position? More to the point, will he be able to make things happen for this riding when he is a Progressive Conservative working in the shadows of a Liberal Premier? On that note, will our Liberal premier be able to work effectively with a minority government? 

With so many questions left unanswered, can we be sure of anything? Yes, we can. “To everything there is a season…”

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No Picture
Opinion

Around the Township.

Tomorrow, Thursday, October 6, we go to the polls to elect our provincial government. For some, it seems to have been an election that has garnered little interest…although some sources indicate it has been heating up in the last couple of days. Be sure to exercise your right to vote and choose the person you most feel will represent us the best. What is that term the kids use in their chats…oh yeah…lol. It stands for something like ‘laughing out loud’.

My gosh the days are getting shorter, aren’t they. Monday, the alarm went, and I was sure (completely and positively sure) something had gone wrong with the clock. In fact, with eyes still closed and curled up in the warmth of the comforter, I informed the hubby “there had to be something wrong with the clock.” It was still dark outside and there was no way it was time to get up. A quick trip to the kitchen to check the clock there finally convinced us. Why even the animals weren’t yet up and going, and for sure the cat is always ready for her breakfast as soon as the first alarm sounds. If we don’t move fast enough, she usually hits the bed and perches impatiently on a pillow above our heads until we do get going.

This weekend many of our young folks return home for Thanksgiving, (generally their first good meal since they left for school way back at the start of September) and for the graduation exercises  at ‘dear old’ Seaway High on Friday night.

That being said, it’s time to talk turkey. Roast turkey with all the fixings. Better yet, roast turkey with all the fixins and some pumpkin pie. Just a few thousand calories, but who’s counting. Following Thanksgiving, we have 74 days to work off a few pounds before the next big turkey time, with all the fixins, that takes place in late December. That’s right just 74 days until Christmas. Can you believe it?

That means we have to get going…squeeze in those last few games of golf, clear out the flower beds, put away the garden furniture, complete the fall house cleaning and re-hang the Christmas lights. And for some of us there is a lot of juggling as we are knee-deep in hockey and curling and all of our favourite winter activities.

Where does the time go. Any wonder we don’t believe the alarm clock when it sounds off to tell us it is time to get up. lol…..

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No Picture
Opinion

Stand up. Use your voice. Be heard.

The question most frequently asked to election candidates – in some form or another – is “What about me?”

Each and every person has their own story of how they’ve been affected (or more aptly, forgotten) by government and politics. Most often what I hear are people wondering why they have been overlooked by those people they helped vote into office in the first place. 

And, consequently, at election time people are often heard speculating on whether or not there’s even  a point to voting. Will it make a difference? Does this person care about me and my family? Will they work to ensure that I find a job? Will they work to ensure that I have a family doctor? Will they protect my children’s rights to a good education?

Basically, what we’re really asking is “Do I matter?” OR “Is my voice important?”

We, as members of a democratic society, elect fellow members – no better and no worse than we – who will represent us and our needs. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, it is really hard for one person to meet the needs of every single person, especially when many of those needs will inevitably clash.

However, the majority of people are the ones who aren’t heard. They’re the ones,  living in poverty, who seem invisible to government, to government officials, and oftentimes to neighbours. What about people on social assistance who want to work, but need help making that happen? What about people working minimum wage jobs who can’t afford to pay the rent or buy groceries? What about the single mom with three small children who is trying to work, take care of her children while maintaining her sanity, all on her own? 

There are so many people with so many stories from all backgrounds, culture, religions, age groups, and so on who need to be heard. Is it the responsibility of the elected representative to know what you – specifically you – need? Or is it your responsibility to come forward and ask for what you need?

Rather than sit back – complaining, moping and feeling victimized by the system – why not contact your representative, explain your situation, and ask for some help? Stand up. Use your voice. Be heard.

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No Picture
Opinion

A Time to be Thankful

It may be because my wife and I have been preparing for a Missions trip to Africa lately, and all the information we’ve been receiving about what we can expect to experience when we get there, but I have been really conscious lately of all the things I have to be thankful for.

Of course, this weekend is Thanksgiving and so it is timely to write about being thankful.

In my own life, I find that I do need to stop occasionally and reflect on the blessings of being in a country such as ours as well as taking the time to look around me and be grateful for family and friends.

Maybe you are not like me, but may I ask, when was the last time you turned on the tap at home and enjoyed a good clean drink of water? It’s easy for us to do that without even thinking about it. But, where we’re going in Africa, that is virtually impossible.

So, I’m thankful for clean water. I’m thankful for local government that sees to such things even though it may cost me more in taxes to enjoy that benefit.

While I’m at it, let me say I am thankful for my family. My wife is a great blessing to me as are my two sons and my daughter and their spouses. They have given me six grandchildren for which I am truly thankful. I realize that may be a bit personal, but I am thankful and we often don’t let them know.

I am thankful also for the church I pastor here in Morrisburg. I’m amazed at their love and care for each other and for people in general. I have been blessed to be with them over the past number of years.

Most of all, I’m thankful for the love of God. Ephesians 2:4-5 says, “But God is so rich in mercy and He loved us so much that even while we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead”.

David the great songwriter penned the words, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord and to sing praises unto His name”.

Lloyd John Ogilvie, the wonderful Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood, in his book God’s Best For My Life, says, “God’s grace, plus our gratitude, equals greatness. When we give God the glory, greatness grows in our character”.

There’s an old hymn written by Johnson Oatman Jr. back in 1897. The words of the refrain are these:

Count your blessings name them one by one,

Count your blessings see what God has done.

Count your blessings name them one by one

Count your many blessings see what God has done.

Maybe this is a good time to stop and consider all the things you have to be thankful for. Maybe because of some loss or tragedy in you life you think you have nothing to be thankful for. 

May I encourage you to take a few moments to look around. I expect you too will be surprised at all that God has blessed you with. Why not give Him thanks this glorious Thanksgiving season? Blessings to you all!

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No Picture
Opinion

Maud Street Paving

Although at the time of the Seaway re-construction of Morrisburg, the above paving job was being done on Park Avenue on November 12, 1957. Today, this is the west end of Maud Street. Note: the side walk is in and some of the mature trees of today have obviously not been planted.

 

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Opinion

‘Let them be kids’

Saturday, residents of the South Dundas community showed their true colours…their wonderful community spirit…when some 250 plus showed up at the Earl Baker Park in Morrisburg to assist with the building of the ‘Let them be kids’ playground that has now been dedicated to the SD&G Highlanders.

It was a wonderful, wonderful event for this entire community. In fact the whole project from start (in June) to finish (on Saturday) has really captured the interest and support of this community. It was a wonderful thing to see.

From the start those directly involved in the committee have kept a low profile and let the community step forward, and while we are in awe of the community response, we do have to thank those who launched the project, steered it through some very busy fund raising events, and then pulled on their gloves and went to work on Saturday.

In all events there are leaders, and in all successful events these leaders are exceptional people…they lead by example…they motivate…they garner support…and they organize…and in this case they did it all in a pleasant, inspiring way.

So we would like to thank each and every one of the committee members for all of their hard work, their long hours and their dedication to the project…Matt McCooeye, Ben Macpherson, Lois Casselman, Mike Domanko, Janet Martel, Joe McCooeye, Brian Shaver, Rosemary Laurin, John Morrow, Jack Barkley and Steve Morrow.

Also a big thank you to all of the people who worked so closely with this core group. You know who you are. We know who you are and the kids probably know who you are. So anytime you want to stop in at the park and swing a swing, or slide a slide, by all means you are most welcome.

South Dundas Community playground is up and running…for the whole community, young and not so young, to come out and enjoy.

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No Picture
Opinion

Around the Township…

Not everyone was able to dig in and help with the South Dundas Community Playground build in the Earl Baker Park on Saturday. For those of you who could, and obviously for those of you who did, we have tried to include as many photos as possible in this week’s edition of The Leader. For even more photos of everyone who took part and of the massive amount of work carried out, you are invited to check out the Cruickshank Amphitheatre website (www.cruickshankamphitheatre.com) where Bill and Sonja Laurin have made more than 300 photos available for everyone’s enjoyment.

That’s one busy weekend down and another busy weekend is just around the bend. That is this Sunday, October 2 when the volunteers at the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary host their annual Nature and Wildlife Day. The annual event will run this Sunday, rain or shine from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is a major fund raiser for the Sanctuary and admission is $6 (cash only) per person. Children 12 years and under are invited a no cost. Again this year, visitors will enjoy a number of shows including the Birds of Prey Show, Falcons Environmental, Reptiles of the World and the Muskoka Wildlife Centre Native Animal Presentations. Children will be able to participate in wild duck banding, enjoy the petting farm, and participate in a number of children’s activities and arts and crafts. Be sure to take a few extra dollars for the silent auction or for a bite to eat  at the on-site canteen.  The annual Wildlife Day provides a wonderful fall outing for the whole family, and we highly recommend it to anyone who has never attended. Children will have the opportunity to ‘get up close and personal’ with a number of animals…sometimes a skunk or two, often times a snake and definitely some wild ducks. It provides a wonderful learning experience for kids and adults alike and is presented in a most fun way.

Last week we wrote this column at the last minute (we do that pretty much every week)…and asked our fellow workers…is tomorrow the first day of fall (September 21st). The answer yelled back was of course, ‘yes’. Wrong! Fall didn’t officially arrive until Friday, but quite frankly with the weather we have been getting, we wonder if perhaps they are all mistaken and it won’t be here for at least another couple of days. We do realize this has got to come to an end sooner or later. This week’s discussion has been on apple pie…tis the season. The best way to eat apple pie remains up in the air…with cheese, warm with ice cream melting on top or smothered with maple syrup…or how about all three of the above.

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No Picture
Opinion

Perspectives – A Time for Responsibility

The time for responsibility to our province is upon us once again. We are in the throes of a political campaign to help us decide who will be the next governing party in our province. I am awed by the lack of political campaign signs along the roadways and on lawns.

Does this mean that the people who are running for office don’t have the funds to mount a huge campaign with lots of signs and fliers in the mail? Does it mean that the party who has been governing most recently is complacent about this being a “shoe in?” Does it mean that there is a malaise about the whole idea of going to the polls to elect those who will be making decisions for us?

I have, over the years, thought that being “apolitical” was the way to be when one was a Christian.

What I have discovered, to my delight and to my chagrin, is that we should be very political. We should be standing up for what we believe and ensuring that those who want to be elected know precisely what we think is necessary for us to live in a province where everyone counts.
When you look at the gospel stories, Jesus was anything but “apolitical.” He wasn’t shy about telling the powers that be what needed to be done in order for there to be justice for all.

More often than not, Jesus was challenging the political leaders of his time. More often than not, too many of us cannot be bothered to exercise our right to choose.

I ask each of you, please, take the time to find out what the candidates stand for. Find out if there is someone who represents what you believe. Attend all-candidates meetings if you can.

But most important of all be sure that you have a voice on October 6th. Vote for the candidate of your choice.

Whew, now that I have that out of my system, I want to share with you that October 17th marks 10 years that the Dundas County Food Bank has had a branch in Morrisburg.

It’s difficult to know how to observe this anniversary.

If there has to be no food bank in Dundas County, let it be as a result of people having enough resources to buy food rather than there not being enough resources for us to continue to serve those people who need our assistance.

I ask you to support you local food bank in whatever way you can – through food donations, through financial donations or through donations of your time as a volunteer.

Jesus said  “when you feed the hungry, you feed me.”  Our responsibility carries on as we love one another, as Jesus loves us.

Cheers,
Rev. Sue McCullough
Anglican Parish of Morrisburg, Iroquois & Riverside Heights

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No Picture
Opinion

Election dilemma

Elections supposedly give voters the opportunity to choose the person and/or party that will represent their interests in government.

I must ask the obvious: how can one person realistically represent the interests of each and every constituent? What happens when the elected official must choose between two constituents with opposing interests? Indeed, what happens when the elected official, full of good intentions, can’t actually follow through on election promises because of numerous insurmountable roadblocks?

One of the most common issues for voters, I believe, is whether to vote for a specific person regardless of the party they represent OR vote for the party regardless of the individual candidate. Oftentimes, people find that they respect a person based on past actions, but they completely disagree with that candidate’s party agenda. Or, vice versa.

On October 6th, who do we vote for? Libertarian candidate Darcy Neal Donnelly? Progressive Conservative candidate Jim McDonell? Green Party candidate Justin Reist? Elaine MacDonald, candidate for the New Democratic Party? Or, Mark A. MacDonald, Liberal candidate?

The answer is, “I don’t know.”

You might be a staunch and steady supporter for the PC’s, but do you know why? Do you vote Liberal because that’s what your parents did? Or, do you vote NDP because you want to steer clear of the PC and Liberal parties? Do you vote Libertarian or Green Party because you want to be different or take some sort of stand or make a statement…?

Life is about balance in everything we do. The same goes for voting. Make a list of what’s important. List the pros and cons of each party versus each candidate. Choose the candidate (or party) that most closely answers your needs.

The answer will undoubtedly be different for everyone. What’s important to remember is that no matter who gets elected, some promises will be kept and some probably won’t. No one person and no one party is the perfect answer to all of our problems. We must learn to take the good with the bad. Or, better yet, learn to work together as one team.

Vote. See what happens. Deal with the outcome and move on by making the best of whatever situation arises.

S.Casselman             

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No Picture
Opinion

Around the Township. . .

Well it’s all over for another year. Summer leaves today and fall arrives, but that’s okay. It’s time to enjoy our always colourful and spectacular  autumn season, enjoy a break for a Thanksgiving get together and settle into our winter sports.

Coming up this Saturday, September 24, is the much-anticipated and long-awaited South Dundas Community playground build. A lot of people have worked very hard on this project and a lot of community-minded residents have thrown their support behind it to raise a whopping amount of money. Saturday, it will all come to fruition with the actual build.

For those who are heading down to the Earl Baker Park on Saturday to help with the build or just to check it all out, the group responsible for the Earl Baker Park gardens at the northwest corner of the park are looking for some perennials that will enable them to switch the gardens from annual plantings. If you are dividing or digging perennials of any sort….peonies, daisies, irises, phlox, back-eyed Susans, cone flowers and on and on, you are invited to share your beauties with the community in the park gardens. Plants can be dropped off for planting anytime after 8 a.m. The location of the gardens is full sun, so perennials that would do well in these conditions are welcome.

Also coming up this Saturday is the 20th annual Fall Festival at Williamsburg. The event runs Friday and Saturday,  and everyone is invited to come out and enjoy fall fun at its finest. As always the popular fall parade will highlight Saturday’s activities at noon and all of the popular events from past festivals are returning. The entire village is to be decorated in a Hillbilly Fall Theme.

On Sunday, the community is invited to participate in the Homes on the St. Lawrence House Tour 2011, organized as a fund raiser by the Park Pals Committee for the South Dundas Off-Leash Dog Park located in Morrisburg. Advance tickets at $20 each can be purchased at Mustard’s Variety in Iroquois and Cardinal Flowers in Morrisburg. For more information on the house tour see the story that appears on page 3.

Bryan Shaver and the Easter Seals Ball Hockey tournament are now looking for teams for this year’s event scheduled for Saturday, October 15 at the outdoor rink in Williamsburg. This is the 10th annual ball hockey tournament which raises some very important funds for Easters Seals children and youth who live in Dundas county. The ball hockey teams are made up of both fellas and gals and prizes are up for grabs for the top pledge getters. Funds raised provide transportation, communications equipment, camp experiences and much more for local kids.

For more information please call Bryan at 613-543-0383.

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