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OPP are in full force for festive RIDE program


SD&G – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Festive Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (R.I.D.E.) Campaign is underway and goes from November 25, 2011 to January 1, 2012.

From November 25th  to December 6th, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry OPP officers have charged three drivers with Impaired Driving and issued one three-day suspension to another driver. Police encourage motorists to report suspected impaired drivers.

SD&G OPP conducts R.I.D.E. checks throughout the year but increases enforcement over the holiday season to enhance its efforts to keep area roads safe.

Impaired driving remains the leading criminal cause of death in Canada. 

OPP officers will be out in full force across the United Counties conducting checkstops at various locations and times in an effort to remove the threat of impaired drivers.

“It is imperative that everyone make responsible choices over the Holiday Season when it comes to travel” states Inspector Mike McDonell, SD&G OPP Detachment Commander. 

He adds “If you’ve been drinking, call a cab or find a sober driver to take you home but whatever you do, don’t drink and drive!”

On behalf of SD&G OPP, we wish all a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!!


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Boil water protocol update


 It has been several months since the “boil water advisory” was issued for parts of South Dundas.

At the December 6th South Dundas council meeting, CAO Stephen McDonald advised council that “we do have a draft protocol and my plan was to bring it forward to council on December 20th.”

An update on this will be made available in the December 28th edition of the Leader.


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IPS Gives Back to the Community


Students at Iroquois Public School picked up some mighty fine bargains, not to mention some very special gifts for their moms and dads and sisters and brothers last week.

Friday marked the school’s annual White Elephant Sale when students are given the opportunity to complete their Christmas shopping from tables heaped with great gift selections.

Organized by the school’s student council under prime minister Alyssa Grant, this year’s sale raised $444.69 for the Iroquois/Matilda Lions Club. Last year, the students raised $373 for the Lions.

“The students are giving back to the community through the Lions,” said council advisor (and IPS teacher) Margaret Phifer. “This is a perfect way for the little ones to do their Christmas shopping, and a wonderful way for the school to say thank you to the community, because the community is so wonderful to us.”

“This year we added gift wrapping and that is a big hit.”

The sale is made possible thanks to the generosity of the school family as the sale items are all donated by the students and their families. Even the wrapping paper was donated.

Representing the Lions club was Jim Mustard who after taking a turn at the wrapping table, thanked everyone at the school.

“This is really appreciated,” said Mustard. “And it shows the respect the kids have for the Lions club. Many of the children have benefitted from a contribution from the Lions.”

Mustard pointed out the Lions keep very busy in the community. Several are preparing to hit the stage next spring for their bi-annual theatre production. Next October they will celebrate the 65th anniversary of their charter with a gala banquet. 

Also marking their community involvement at the day’s sale were six Stock Transportation employees who were manning the sales tables, helping the children and wrapping the gifts.

Stock Transportation Ltd. at Iroquois has 51 routes in the Upper Canada District School Board, 10 of those at IPS.

“We have four of our drivers here today plus my safety manager,” said Stock general manager Janet McKinnon. “They are all loving it. It is so rewarding to give back to the community. And being drivers, they obviously love kids.”

McKinnon explained that the business, with locations across Ontario and in several other Canadian provinces, has launched a corporate initiative that each location adopts a school for a year. “This is a really great initiative,” said McKinnon.

“They approached us and asked us if they could come in and help out at the school,” said IPS principal Kelty Grant of the Stock initiative. “Some have been mentoring students while others come in and read to the kids. They spend one on one time with the children. Today they are here helping us with the White Elephant Sale.”

“Anything we ask, they come in and do it. They are excellent.”

“It’s all about the kids, being part of the community and doing what we can to help out,” said McKinnon.


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Basket Case Welcomes Authors


“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


 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


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 for additional information on the program. 


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Gingerbread House Grand Prize Winner


 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


 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


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


“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

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.”