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Basket Case Welcomes Authors

December 14, 2011 Editor

 

“We were very privileged to have these authors join us December 3 at the Basket Case to launch their new books,” said Hanne Rycroft co-owner of the Basket Case. 

Discussing their latest works with local visitors were authors Bill Smallwood, Craig Armstrong, Joel Fawcett and Pat Jamieson, along with Jamieson illustrator, Gail Stephenson.

Craig Armstrong, who was born and raised in Morrisburg, described his book, Shadows on Your Right Hand, as a work which celebrates the three “passages we all go through in life, the morning when people make decisions, the afternoon when we are in the fight of life and the evening, when we are meant to enjoy life. My emphasis is that we all possess one gift, one special skill which we need to find and make better all our lives to find contentment.”

Joel Fawcett’s Stained Glass concerns a young man’s picaresque journey across North America. Also owner of Chickadilly Bookbinding, Fawcett said of his novel, “I met many characters in my travels, became a character myself, I think, as the story took shape. This is a novel for young and old alike, colourful and often funny. I am currently turning it into a screen play”

The Raindrop That Wanted to be a River, a children’s picture novel written by Pat Jamieson and illustrated by Gail Stephenson, is the tale of a tiny raindrop with very large ambitions. “Eventually, he learns that everyone must work together to do a very big job,” said Jamieson. Illustrator Stephenson said that collaborating with the children’s author “was exciting and fun and its own adventure.”

 Author Bill Smallwood, after careers with the armed forces and civilian support, finds inspiration for his books in the events of Canada’s history, particularly those reflecting the rich heritage of Nova Scotia. “The stories in my novels, like Abuse of Power: The Acadians, are based on real events, the expulsion of the Acadians by the British, and how that expulsion affected settlers, soldiers and native peoples alike.”

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Successful Playhouse Auction

December 14, 2011 Editor

 

 Upper Canada Playhouse held its 2011 Annual Christmas Auction on November 19 at the Morrisburg Meeting Centre and co-ordinator Geraldine Fitzsimmons reports that it was a tremendous success. 

This year’s auction raised $17,000. 

The Playhouse Auction is the Playhouse’s one major fund raiser and is always a popular event with the community. It is one of the first Holiday events in the area and those attending enjoy a fine meal, socializing and the fun of bidding on a wide range of products and services donated by businesses, organizations and individuals within the community. 

Fitzsimmons stressed that she was amazed at the generosity of these donors and also with the extent the community turns out to play a role in the future of Upper Canada Playhouse as a valued cultural aspect of the area and a significant contributor to the local economy and tourist trade. 

The auction funds will be used to create an additional storage area for the theatre’s production department and also new seats in the future. 

Fitzsimmons also thanked her team of volunteers for their time and effort, the OETIO for the great space and wonderful meal and all of the supporters who helped to make this year’s Auction one of the most successful in recent years.

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Beyond 21 aids adults with developmental disabilities

December 14, 2011 Editor

 

Beyond 21 is a new initiative focused on connecting young adults living with developmental disabilities to a variety of community services.

The program, in partnership with the Upper Canada Leger Centre of Education and Training (UCLCET), plans to begin mid-January 2012, and is open to adults over the age of 21.

Interim Executive Director Kevin Cooper says the purpose of the program is to help those who are no longer eligible for the school system to continue to use valuable community services in a structured, community-based, and simplified way.

Cooper says Beyond 21 truly is a grass roots program that started at home.

“My wife Cathy was concerned about the lack of opportunities for our niece who had recently completed high school,” he said. “We invited some interested community members and educators to come to our home to discuss the issue. We met once a month and we learned a lot in the first little while.

“Later, in association with UCLCET, we held a town hall meeting where more than 100 people attended,” he added. “We created working groups. Retired principal Garry Atchison and I travelled around the province to see similar grass roots programs. There were programs in Brantford, Markham, Orillia, North Bay and more. We analyzed the commonalities.”

Now, with a board of directors, the Beyond 21 program will be offered out of a space in the former General Vanier Intermediate School (GVIS) building.

“I was part of a group of people who were increasingly concerned about the resource issues pertaining to supporting students graduating from our programs,” Cooper said. “It’s so important for these young adults living with developmental disabilities to maintain that structure, connection and opportunity that they once had in the school system. We want to provide them with something to look forward to every day; somewhere they feel safe.

Cooper emphasizes the fact that Beyond 21 is to be a community hub.“We are very much committed to developing a community-based program,” he said. “In no way do we want Beyond 21 to be a segregated, stand-alone entity.”

Cooper says Beyond 21 has already partnered with local food programs including Healthy Eating for Better Learning, Cornwall Green Food Box, and All Things Food to help participants gain valuable skills  and confidence.

“One of our goals is to start producing some of the products for the Healthy Eating for Better Learning breakfast program,” Cooper said.  “Plus, we want to assist in getting those products to the schools.

“In addition, we’re going to help with the distribution program for the Cornwall Green Food Box initiative,” he outlined. “These are some very exciting partnerships.”

Cooper says that he looks forward to starting the program, and seeing how it evolves. 

“We have a great board with very committed folks,” he said, noting that the first director of Beyond 21 was Tish Humphries of Lancaster. Above all, Cooper is grateful for the guidance and leadership of David K. Thomas, Chair of the UCLC.

Contact 613-933-5595, EXT. 0, 613-932-7170 or Beyond21@uclc.ca for additional information on the program. 

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Gingerbread House Grand Prize Winner

December 14, 2011 Editor

 

 Every year the gingerbread houses entered into the contest held during Upper Canada Village’s Alight at Night Festival seem more creative, more spectacular. This year, 2011, was no exception. 

Winner of the grand prize of $1,500, announced on Saturday, December 3, was Catherine Beddall of Ottawa. 

The gingerbread house competition, now in its third year, attracted 35 entries this year from around the region. Over $4,000 in prize money was available in various categories through event sponsor, Genivar of Ottawa. Entries were judged in professional and amateur divisions by Diana Fredrick and three students from Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute. 

Upper Canada’s Alight at Night draws some 40,000 visitors a year. By carriage, wagon or on foot, people can take in sound and light spectaculars, enjoy delicious food and unique shopping opportunities,  ride the Toy Train and admire the fantastic lights festooning the many historic Village buildings.

The gingerbread houses will remain on display at Crysler Hall. Winners in the adult, teen/youth and culinary arts category, as well as all the other entries, will be available for viewing until January 7, 2012. 

“We really appreciate the countless hours of work and patience that all of the competitors put into these works of art,” said Jancis Sommerville, St. Lawrence Parks Commission Special Events Officer. 

“We try to change things each year and this year we opened up the Culinary Arts Category to cooking school teachers and students. The Gingerbread competition has been a great addition to Alight at Night, and I want to thank everyone who took part.”

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Seaway Valley Singers to perform

December 14, 2011 Editor

 

 For most of South Dundas, it just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without a concert by the Seaway Valley Singers. The 32-voice choir, which has been bringing the joy of music to the community for 18 years, traditionally welcomes the Christmas season with a concert that will delight the entire family.

This year, on December 16, Nutcracker Jingles (the choir’s laughing take on the Nutcracker Suite) will feature a program of both religious and secular music.

“We will feature some fun pieces, some happy and traditional Christmas music,” said long time musical director, Robert Jones, just before a rehearsal at the Williamsburg Christian Reformed Church. “But there will also be some beloved carols. One of these is “Twas in the Moon of Wintertime,” better known as the “Huron Carol.” We are also doing a bit of a light-hearted take-off on the Nutcracker, with some Jingle Bells worked in.” 

Among the outstanding additions to the evening program will be performances by the Junior Handbell Ringers from Winchester United Church, a multi-generational family of talented young musicians. 

“We will also feature Dan Edwards on violin,” Jones said, “and a quartet from within the Singers performing “I Stand Here at the Cradle Side”. Flautists Lorraine and Jennifer Howard will be joining us, as well as Colleen Howard on an African drum. And Margaret Whisselle (who is also our accompanist) will be singing a beautiful duet with Monique O’Rourke.”

The Seaway Valley Singers’ concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. at Iroquois United Church December 16. Tickets are $10, $5 for children, available from the choir, at the door or at Seaway Valley Pharmacies. Come and enjoy the gift of music.  

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For People Who Need People

December 14, 2011 Editor

 

A very special Christmas tradition for many people in the community is once again underway as organizers prepare for the 15th annual Community Christmas Dinner on December 25 at the Morrisburg Legion.

Each year on Christmas Day, this very special event is arranged by the Apple Tree Ministry of St. James Anglican Church in Morrisburg and brought to its delicious conclusion by a huge number of volunteers “for people who need people”.

The Apple Tree Ministry began in the early 1990s under Rev. Bill Byers and then Pastoral Assistant Pat Martin who was ordained in 2000. Its early mandate was to raise funds for the local food bank, and one of its first outreach programs was Martha’s Kitchen for young and single moms. 

For that program, Jane Lee who, with her husband Nick, has been involved with the Apple Tree Ministry since its inception, explains that “we brought in a food advisor to talk about nutritious meals and how to cook them. Then we cooked the meal and participants took the food home.”

Although Martha’s Kitchen is thriving today, it has evolved into a once weekly ‘soup’ luncheon for ‘anyone and everyone’ in the community.

“Pat Martin started the Christmas dinner for ‘people who needed people’,” recalls Lee. “It was a natural progression from Martha’s Kitchen.”

Lee remembers the challenges of the first year. “We had no idea how many people would come. We tried to get people to register, but some just showed up. We probably fed about 80 that first year and then the next year we served 100. The highest number we have ever had is 200.”

The Community Christmas Dinner includes the traditional turkey with all the fixings, a visit from Santa with gifts for the children, and music which, for a good 10 years was provided by Betty Barkley and her band.

“The Legion generously provides us the hall at no cost, and we spend the whole day there, the day before getting ready.”

As much of the food as is possible is prepared ahead. “We arrange for as many as 30 pies to be made by the church community and people cook the turkeys the day before in their homes. Some people donate the turkeys and others donate their time to cook them.”

After 14 years and countless lists,  the preparation, the cooking, the service and the cleanup are now “down to a science”.

“It’s wonderful,” says Lee who coordinated the dinner for its first 10 years. “Every item of food is donated. Some of our volunteers show up as early as 8 a.m. on Christmas day to start the dressing. By the time the cleanup is finished it’s about 3 p.m. when they are finished.”

Considering that it is Christmas Day, it is amazing that “we get so many helpers it is hard to find jobs for everybody to do. It’s Christmas time, and they want to be part of it.”

The dinner attracts people of all ages. Children come with their moms and dads and whole families have come. Many are older people, some of whom have been coming year after year.

Anglican Church minister, Rev. Sue McCullough experienced her first Community Christmas Dinner last year. 

“To me it’s people living Christmas and the message that we proclaim but have a reluctance to act upon. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s great to see the people enjoy a good meal and enjoy some fun and fellowship. Going and being there last year kind of rejuvenated me.”

When Rev. Martin left the area, Shirley Testerink took over as the Ministry’s coordinator.

While Martha’s Kitchen and Community Christmas Dinner are the better known programs of the Apple Tree Ministry, Testerink explains, “the heart of the Apple Tree Ministry is the behind the scenes things. We are an unofficial advocate for people. We quietly reach out to help people. Sometimes it’s the elderly, sometimes it’s children and sometimes it is the working poor.”

And sometimes the help is as simple as cooking a turkey…or making a pie for ‘people who need people’ .

That is especially true for those who without the Community Christmas Dinner might otherwise spend Christmas day alone.

Reservations for this year’s  15th annual Community Christmas Dinner can be made by calling 613-543-0722 by December 20. There is no charge but free will offerings are accepted. Limited transportation is available. 

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Take a shuttle bus to Ottawa

December 14, 2011 Editor

 

“We’ve heard that there are many here interested in the service,” said Nanda Wubs of Wubs Transit in Winchester.

Wubs was discussing her company’s plans for a shuttle bus service to Ottawa from Morrisburg. “We have about 15 people committed. We’re looking for 30 to 35 people before we move ahead with that,” she informed South Dundas council at the December 6th meeting.

As reported in August, Wubs Transit already has a route, which includes multiple stops in both Chesterville, Winchester and Ottawa.

They offer monthly passes, single trip tickets, passes for one-way trips, and a book of 10 one-way tickets. The monthly pass is actually an OC Transpo pass that includes the Wubs Transit Daily Line Run. A monthly pass for Chesterville is $258. A pass for Morrisburg would be comparable.

For more information, phone the Wubs Transit office at 613-774-6618 or visit their website at www.wubs.ca.

Following Wubs presentation, Mayor Steven Byvelds said, “I think this is a service we will hopefully get off and running. I wish you success in that venture.”

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Holiday fun for Helping Hands

December 14, 2011 Editor

 

This month’s meeting of the Helping Hands of Matilda group was held on December 6th and featured the talents of the OPP Auxiliary’s, Coppertones.

Helping Hands is a group of like-minded seniors who meet the first Wednesday of each month. The group’s purpose is twofold: to give people a venue to come together, socialize, and make a difference and, at the same time, to reach out to those who are “shut in.” 

The order of events for most meetings includes discussion of business, luncheon and, then, entertainment.

The group disbanded in September after their last meeting, where there were 24 members in attendance. 

Lorne Strader, recognizing the importance of the group, took it upon himself to bring the Helping Hands of Matilda back together in November, where he welcomed a whopping 55 members to the ‘restart’ meeting.

It was then that the group decided to have a Christmas celebration for their December meeting. 

Members were greeted with music during the morning, which was supplied by Ralph Jollota.

The Coppertones were invited to entertain after the luncheon, which was provided by the Iroquois Legion Branch #370 Ladies Auxiliary.

The Coppertones delighted the group with popular Christmas songs punctuated by a hilarious, if sometimes scandalous, joke between each song. The audience roared with laughter.

Sound like fun? Well, if you are aged 50 or older, you can join the group! Contact Lorne Strader at 613-652-2260. It’s only five dollars for an entire year’s membership.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Helping Hands will be held on Wednesday, January 4, 2012.

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Docksyde will return in 2012

December 14, 2011 Editor

 

Many residents of South Dundas and many visitors from outside the township have all had the chance to enjoy a yummy snack while visiting Morrisburg’s waterfront.

The Docksyde, a canteen offering both hot and cold items, will once again be in operation for visitors to the waterfront in the summer of 2012.

The Morrisburg and District Lions Club have been leasing the land space for their canteen since 2004. At the time, South Dundas council approved the request provided the Lions Club take responsibility for all costs associated with the request, including water and sewer.

The lease was extended for a second three-year period in 2007. On November 3rd of this year, Lions Club President Bob Bechard sent council a letter requesting permission to extend the lease to include the 2012 season. In addition, he requested permission to lay brickwork under the tent where the picnic tables are located. 

Council members, at the December 6th council meeting, debated the issue of laying bricks, but in the end decided in favour of the request. 

It looks like residents and visitors can, once again, enjoy the flavours of the Docksyde for another summer.

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Hall will rise from the ashes

December 14, 2011 Editor

 

It was a sad day on October 7th when the Dunbar Recreation Hall was devastated by fire.

With sighs of relief and several shout-outs of “thank you,” the South Dundas council decided on December 6th that the hall will be rebuilt.

Until that meeting, local residents had been very concerned about the fate of the former hall. So much so, in fact, that they came out in droves to the December 6th council meeting to hear the council’s verdict. 

Clerk Brenda Brunt recommended to council that they choose one of four options to determine the fate of the former hall. The first option was also the only one that allowed for the hall to be rebuilt on the same spot.

Deputy-Mayor Jim Locke quickly chose option one saying, “prior to the fire the building was not slated to close. We have full replacement cost insurance. We have a committed community group. I believe it’s an asset in that part of the township.”

Councillor Evonne Delegarde suggested council consider option two, “use the depreciated value of the building and put towards an existing building.”

Delegarde pointed out that while the building hadn’t been slated to close, it was also not being used very much. She suggested that the township building in Williamsburg would be available in the near future and could possibly become a replacement for the lost hall.

Councillor Archie Mellan, choosing option one, said, “these little communities make South Dundas great. They rally around their communities. They rally around South Dundas, and I think we should rally around them.”

Mayor Steven Byvelds also chose option one, pointing out that “it gives us our asset back and it is covered by insurance.”

He also pointed out that the well and the sewer on the site would need to be investigated. Should either require a lot of work and financing to bring to code, then “we’d have to come back to this because that could change things.”

However, at this time, Byvelds wanted to make it clear to the inhabitants of the hall’s community that “they are part of South Dundas, not part of Chesterville, and we want them to know they’re part of South Dundas.”

He concluded: “let’s take the opportunity and rebuild it.”

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