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Teens focused on their future

December 7, 2011 Editor


Are high school graduates ready for the next step?

The principals and teachers at Seaway District High School are doing everything they can to ensure the answer to that question is a resounding “yes!”

Seaway is just one of many schools taking part in the new Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program introduced by the Ontario government. Each student graduating from the program will get an SHSM seal on their diploma.

According to Principal Terry Gardiner, SHSM “engages students and gives them a purpose.”

He went on to say, “I feel it’s my job to set  people up to meet their potential and have something meaningful after their high school experience.”

The SHSM program allows students to focus on a career path that matches their skills and interests. At the same time, they’re able to meet the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

Students who take part in the SHSM program gain important skills on the job. They also earn industry certifications like standard first aid and CPR.

The SHSM program consists of specialized sectors. Most schools choose one sector of specialty. They are: arts and culture; aviation and aerospace; business; construction; energy; environment; forestry; health and wellness; horticulture and landscaping; hospitality and tourism; information and communications technology; justice, community safety, and emergency services; manufacturing; mining; non-profit; sports; and transportation.

Seaway’s specialized sector is agriculture. There are career options for students choosing a path to apprenticeship; to college; to university; or, straight to the workplace. Regardless of the path chosen, there are many possibilities for a rewarding career.

According to Gardiner, Seaway has “eight students on track to graduate with the seal this year.”

In addition, in September he said there were 18 grade 11 students signing up. He pointed out that the program begins in the 11th grade for those who are interested.

With the SHSM program, students are  “allowed to be part of experiential learning.”

“They do better in school,” he continued. Also, “students with learning disabilities do better.”

Gardiner credits the success of the SHSM program to the fact that students can see the relevance of what they’re doing. They’re engaged and can see a purpose for their hard work.


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Just in time for Christmas

December 7, 2011 Editor


Ron Patterson of Cardinal was the lucky winner of the $1,000 Christmas Draw sponsored by the Iroquois Matilda Lions Club. The balance of the proceeds will go to the club’s charities, which include the Dundas County Food Bank and the Christmas Exchange. 


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Having a baby? WDMH is the place to be

December 7, 2011 Editor


 “We provide a service beyond what you expect,” said Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH) CEO, Cholly Boland.

On November 17th, WDMH hosted a Coffee and Conversation period with the press to talk about the hospital’s obstetrics program.

Susan Castle, Clinical Manager of Medical/Surgical and Obstetrics at WDMH told reporters: “We’re classified as a Level One hospital. Any really sick moms or babes have to go to Ottawa. To go up a level, we’d need a nursery, which we don’t have.” 

In terms of what WDMH offers, she said, “we have three female obstetricians. We have six midwives. We offer anesthesia service – epidurals. We take the pain situation very seriously here.” 

“We give mom options,” Castle continued. “Patients can choose what they feel comfortable with.”

“We have four birthing rooms and eight postpartum rooms.”

Boland interjected, saying “we have birthing rooms that are home-like, not like a hospital room.”

Continuing, he said, “maternity is right next door to surgery if a cesarean section is required.”

Dr. Ejibonmi Adetola, Chief of Obstetrics at WDMH since March 2011, says the “cesarean section rate is about 22 per cent.”

“You don’t find a lot of Level One hospitals with three obstetricians with a 24 hour service.”

“That’s what draws the women to us. It’s the word of mouth,” continued Dr. Adetola. “It is really nice here. Nurses are really dedicated.”

Castle agreed, saying, “we have a stable non-turnover group of nurses who take pride in their work.”

She explained that the nurses are specially trained to work in the obstetrics unit, adding, “I have nurses coming from Ottawa applying here, which is great because they’re highly experienced.”

“Our postpartum service is open 24/7 as of November 1st,” said Castle. Here, she continued, “RNs are specifically trained to work with mom now that she’s delivered.”

According to Boland, there were approximately 200 births at WDMH in 2006.

Castle said there have been approximately 400 births per year since 2006 and this year, in 2011, the total is approximately 600 births.

According to Dr. Adetola, “patients come from all over Ottawa, from as far as Brockville and Cornwall, as well as all the neighbouring towns. People come from everywhere.” 

Boland emphasized, “we have this expert surgical coverage. People need to understand it can happen in a community this size.”

Having a baby at WDMH is “a safe experience, a comfortable experience, it’s a small town home experience,” said Boland.

According to Castle, “everybody gets a knitted hat,” thanks to volunteers and to the WDMH Foundation,  

The Foundation also offers parents, grandparents, friends or neighbours the opportunity to purchase a “shiny red wooden apple with baby’s picture, name and birth date on it” for a minimum of $60 in celebration of the hospital’s 60th anniversary. The apple is hung on the apple tree wall in the obstetrics unit for one year. On baby’s first birthday the apple is returned home as a keepsake.

Money raised through the apple program “will help the hospital grow, supporting equipment purchases to enhance the excellent care programs for your friends and family.”


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Ontario Power Generation gives to food bank

December 7, 2011 Editor


Ontario Power Generation Gives to Food Bank
On November 23rd, Linda Halliday, Public Affairs Officer of the Ontario Power Generation (OPG), met with Brenda Millard, Chair for the Dundas County Food Bank (DCFB), at their Morrisburg location. DCFB is one of many food banks that have received a $500 donation from OPG this season. According to Halliday, OPG gives to every food bank “everywhere in the province where we have generation.” If OPG has a nuclear thermal or a hydro electric generation in the area, then all local food banks will receive a $500 donation this year. Millard said the donations being received by DCFB from now through to December “helps us finance the winter. We depend on that support at the end of the year.” 


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Jazz Henriques Style at St. Lawrence Stage

December 7, 2011 W. Gibb – Leader staff


Ben Henriques is a man of few words. He prefers to let his saxophone talk for him.

On Saturday, December 3, at the St. Lawrence Stage, he “talked” to the audience with passion and fire as he performed classic and highly original contemporary jazz during his performance. Backed by the musical artistry of members of Trio Bruxo, Henriques delivered jazz his way.

Alternating between soprano and tenor saxes, Henriques  almost seems to lose himself in his music when he performs. His fingers flying, his eyes closed, he is a study in musical intensity. Whether his style of jazz is necessarily everyone’s taste doesn’t really matter: it is impossible to miss the passion, the artistry in his work.

A quiet, almost diffident speaker between numbers, he seemed comfortable letting David Ryshpan of Trio Bruxo make most of the introductions.

Since this was an evening that featured original compositions by Ryshpan along with many works by Henriques himself, it was an arrangement that worked. 

“You’ve just heard a piece of Ben’s called ‘Paranoia is a Flower’,” Ryshpan laughed, following a number by times dreamy, a little sexy, a little wild. “He called it that because he says both grow the more you put into them.”

Later, Henriques showed a flash of his own humour when he introduced ‘All of Me’.

“This piece has been ‘remelodicized’ into Background Music by Owen Marsh. Remember folks, you heard it here first.”

Expertly backed by bassist Nicholas Bédard, drummer Mark Nelson and pianist Ryshpan, Henriques performed in a way that was often non-traditional, and unrestricted musically. In an earlier interview with The Leader, Henriques said that in contemporary jazz, “we seek to write music in a different way.” He clearly loves the freedom to improvise that modern jazz allows him. 

Numbers like ‘Captain Awesome’ or ‘Fortress of Solitude’ showcased Henriques’ skill and virtuosity. A quiet duet between just Ryshpan’s piano and Henriques’ sax was a memorable moment to me. 

Solo spots highlighting the  formidable talents of Nelson, Bédard and Ryshpan rounded out the evening. 

“Thank you, Morrisburg,” Ben Henriques said, “for supporting live jazz.”

Tickets are currently going very fast for the upcoming St. Lawrence Stage January 21 concert featuring Don Ross, with Graham Greer opening.


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Help the House of Lazarus win cash

December 7, 2011 Editor


Due to its success the first time around, Kraft Food for Families will be running their program once again, giving people another opportunity to help their local food banks win money each and every week!

The second phase of the program began on December 2nd. It will last for 10 weeks, ending February 10th. To help your local registered food bank win, go to and add your name. Mountain’s House of Lazarus is the local food bank registered in the program for this area.  

Each name added will equal one vote for the House of Lazarus. Every week, the food bank that receives the most names of support for that week will receive a $1,000 donation from the Kraft Food for Families program.

Note that each week the totals reset to zero. So,  please remember to revisit the site, add your name, and help your local food bank win the money for that week.


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Learning to respect power of electricity

December 7, 2011 Editor


“What uses electricity in your home?”

This was the first question, Brian Carter, a retired safety consultant for Electrical & Utilities Safety Association, asked the grade 3/4 class of St. Mary’s – St. Cecilia’s Catholic School in Morrisburg.

Carter was at the school on December 1st giving presentations on “electrical safety and conservation.”

Rideau St. Lawrence Utilities hires Carter to give the presentation to schools in their service area every three years. In the last two weeks, Carter has visited elementary schools in Cardinal, Iroquois, Morrisburg, Prescott, and Westport.

According to Carter, the presentation’s purpose is to give students “a basic knowledge and awareness of what could happen and what they should do if something does take place.”

Most importantly, he said, is to teach children to have respect for electricity: “It’s a wonderful thing  folks, as long as we respect it.”

Carter’s presentation included demonstrations, audience participation, hands-on activities, and a short film, “Power Line Safety the Buddy Way.”


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Malawi: the warm heart of Africa

December 7, 2011 Editor


On November 27th, Pastor Duncan Perry of the Morrisburg Pentecostal Tabernacle, shared his life-changing experiences from his recent Mission Trip to Africa during a Sunday evening service.

Perry left for Africa this past October with his wife Sandra and 14 other like-minded individuals. They left Canada on October 12th, headed for the Village of Hope – Malawi, in Lilongwe, where they spent three weeks breathing in all things Africa through work, play, and prayer. 

The group of missionaries raised over $10,000, all of which went to the children in Malawi. The money was used to buy things like furniture for the dormitory they helped to complete.

In addition to personal items, each traveler was permitted one hockey-sized bag full of items on the airplane. The group carried along things like clothes, tools, food, Tim Horton’s coffee, and anything they thought might be needed by the village’s people.

In addition to finishing one of the dormitory buildings, including furnishing it, the group also did various repair jobs, painting, yard work, and other menial, but necessary, tasks.

Members of the group also helped in the schools, ministered, played with the children and socialized with the adults.

While Perry and his group accomplished much on the trip, there is still more to be done.

As for this article, he asked that the pictures focus on the children, not on him or his group because, as he said, “it’s about them.”

Listening to Perry talk about the children, about the village, and about the neighbouring towns causes a host of emotions to flow. While his appreciation and awe for the beauty of Africa shines through, it is also very clear that his heart has been deeply touched by the hardships and loss these young orphans face on a daily basis.

In September, prior to his trip to Malawi, Perry told the Leader that he expected his outlook on life to be drastically changed after the trip. As he will attest, he was right. 

Perry shared that knowing children are starving in another part of the world is different from seeing it first hand. He tears up each time he talks of the orphans who receive food only three days of the week.

He also spoke, in admiration, of their spirit, their love for God, and their unwavering belief in God despite the daily hardships they face. 

Perry encourages others to remember these children and to show compassion for their plight.


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Basket Case holds crafts show

December 7, 2011 Editor


“This is something we look forward to doing,” said Hanne Rycroft, co-owner of the Basket Case in Morrisburg. “This is our second annual Christmas Craft show, and also the fourth anniversary of our business here in Morrisburg. This is a joint celebration.” The craft show on December 3 offered many delicious home baked goods and goodies to visitors as well as the opportunity to see many crafts, including a Christmas tree completely decked out in locally made decorations. The Basket Case also presented some new authors to the community and collected goods for the Dundas Food Bank. “People have been very generous,” Rycroft said. Above, Cynthia Foss (left) and Sue Jarvis pose with some of the colourful sock monkeys (created by Foss) up for “adoption” at the Basket Case this Christmas.


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A Christmas Carol supports WDM Hospital

December 7, 2011 Editor


Over 175 people come out to enjoy a very special dramatic reading of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on Sunday, December 4, a fund raiser to help Winchester Hospital with the purchase of new cardiac monitors. Lakeshore Drive United Church in collaboration with Upper Canada Playhouse sponsored the event, which raised close to $5,000, according to ecstatic organizer Gail McCooeye, with some funds still coming in.  Ticket sales are being matched by Scotiabank. “I couldn’t have chosen five better readers than the ones we had. They did an excellent job,” McCooeye said. “The Seaway Valley Singers added to the Yule spirit with Christmas carols and Margaret Whisselle sang a beautiful solo.” With the Seaway Singers in the background, the readers (l-r), in full Victorian costumes, are Joan Farlinger, Donnie Bowes, Paul Coolican (emcee), Wayne Domanko, Doug Grenkie and Wendy Gibb.