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Seaway goes solar


If you’ve entered through the front doors of the school recently, you may have been wondering why there’s a television mounted above the gymnasium doors.

Well, Seaway Intermediate and District High School was home to some major additions this year. One of these additions is a power generating unit of solar photovoltaic panels on the roof and the monitor above the gymnasium keeps everyone up-to-date on the energy being produced.

The solar panels are a new wave sweeping across the region, thanks to the Ontario Government. Seaway’s solar addition came by way of the Renewable Energy Funding for Schools.

Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) received a grant for the total of the Seaway solar project, which cost $193,494.

UCDSB Manager of Design and Construction, Peter Bosch, began preparing the application for the grant two years ago. He applied for funding for three separate schools and all three were accepted.

According to Bosch, selling the electricity produced by Seaway’s solar panels back to the grid will allow UCDSB to earn approximately $9,000 to $11,000 per year in revenue.

Other than start-up cost, which was funded by the provincial government, the panels will need very little by way of ongoing financial upkeep.

Seaway Principal Terry Gardiner explained that the panels do not require “battery back-up.” Also, the school is not “storing” as the power “goes directly to the grid.”

Gardiner explained that Seaway was chosen because it was an “ideal candidate” meeting the required conditions: direct sunlight, free space, and a roof that will allow for the load.

Bosch confirmed this saying that Seaway offers an unobstructed view with major sun exposure in the southeastern direction.

The 10 by 100 foot long structure consists of 52 panels, which are “set to maximum exposure.” Industrial Electrical Contractors Limited (IEC) from Brockville installed the panels.

While they “haven’t been back for briefing on” seasonal maintenance, Gardiner believes, in terms of snow and ice, that the panels are mostly “maintenance free.” 

According to Gardiner, the solar unit “will become more of an educational tool,” but, for now, “we are just getting used to it.”


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Dust-free Seaway


Seaway Intermediate and District High School’s shop class has become a “dust-free” zone. Well, as close to “dust-free” as possible at this point.

The sawdust collector was a summer addition and, as UCDSB Manager of Design and Construction, Peter Bosch, explained, part of the Ministry of Education’s Regular School Renewal Capital program.

Seaway was chosen for the project because of the need. The old system was, in fact, “really old” and, in addition, it “wasn’t working well.”

The sawdust collector – (yes, they really do call it that) – is a vacuum that draws in the sawdust and wood bits, sending them directly to an enclosed bin outside the school. In addition to being attached to the machines directly, there are also loose vacuum hoses. The machines will not run unless the vacuum has been turned on.

Seaway Principal Terry Gardiner explained that it “modernizes the wood-shop construction classroom.”

In addition to keeping the room relatively clean, it provides a safer and more air-friendly environment for students. “Not only is it a newer one, but it’s much safer,” said Bosch.

Bosch told the Leader that the sawdust collector cost approximately $194,000 in total from removing the old unit to completing the installation of this newer unit.

According to Gardiner, the sawdust collector “fits well with Seaway’s direction to encourage students for all pathways.”

“All students benefit: (those interested in) architecture, design, engineering, or hands on programming.”

In addition to the new dust-collector, Bosch also revealed that in 2010 Seaway was one of the schools retrofitted to “reduce carbon footprint.” The T12 fluorescent lights were replaced with T8’s, which provide a more natural light. This change alone reduces energy consumption and prevents toxic chemicals.

UCDSB received a rebate cheque through the Ministry of Education’s Energy Efficiency – Small Equipment Grant for replacing the T12 lighting.


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Africa visits Morrisburg


In early November, local Morrisburg resident, Gail Hamilton, held a dinner at her home in honour of Bishop Winnie Owiti of Kenya, Africa.

Owiti’s Canadian visit was sponsored by Prescott-based charity, Canadians for the Children of Africa, to which Hamilton is a contributing member.

Hamilton first met Owiti in 2009 during a “working vacation” to Kenya. Hamilton, along with others in the charity, visited Owiti’s Ebenezer Life Center, a home for about 300 orphaned children.

In talking about her time in Africa, Hamilton said, “there’s a lot of beauty, but a lot of sadness too.”

Owiti and her husband, Archbishop Silas Owiti founded the Kenyan orphanage in 1993 in response to the growing number of orphans living on the streets without food or shelter. 

Their ministry, Voice of Salvation, was founded by Silas in the 1960s and is also stationed in Kenya.

Canadians for the Children of Africa was founded by Lorraine and Paul Casselman of Prescott after Lorraine heard Winnie Owiti’s story at an Ottawa church many years ago. 

So far they have raised over $100,000 for the orphanage and its children in Kenya.

The charity hosted an evening in honour of Owiti on November 12th at the Prescott Legion where Owiti was able to show, through slides and stories, the rewards of the charity’s many donations.

Hamilton is looking forward to joining others in the charity on their next trek to the Ebenezer Life Center in 2013.

For those interested in joining the group in their efforts, contact Paul or Lorraine at 613-925-2252. For those wishing to donate to the cause, the charity promises that every dollar raised goes directly to the orphanage and its children.

On her return from Africa, Hamilton brought back letters from the children at the orphanage. She then distributed the letters to schools in the area. She asked that they include an envelope with a return address and sufficient postage.

For those interested in writing: Ebenezer Life Center, P.O. Box 410, Ahero, Kenya, Africa. 


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McDonell is hard at work


Recently elected MPP for SD & SG, Jim McDonell made an appearance in Williamsburg on November 25th for the Williamsburg Non-Profit Housing Corporation’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

In a free moment, the Leader was able to speak with McDonell about his time in Toronto. He revealed, “there’s lots of reading to get up to speed.”

As for the environment, he said, “people are friendly and helpful.”

“You need alliances on both sides of the house. Friendships cross the party line. We have the same goals, just a different way of getting them done. Everyone is there for the right reason.”

“It’s busy though. They’re talking in the House about sitting at night now.”

As for residents in SD&SG, McDonell has an office in Cornwall on Montreal Road. Right now, he said, “we’re getting organized. We’re starting to bring some of the concerns of the residents to the government.”

To contact the Cornwall office, phone 613-933-6513 or email at


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Give the perfect gift


Media Release -Nov 21, 2011

WINCHESTER –  As retailers scramble this holiday season to re-stock their shelves with holiday gifts, Canadian Blood Services is asking eligible Canadians to take one hour of their busy schedule to ensure our shelves are replenished with the gifts that will make a difference to hospital patients this season. 

Between November 21 and January 2, Canadian Blood Services is asking Canadians to give the “perfect gift” this holiday season – give blood.  Over 101,000 life-saving “gifts” are needed this holiday season for hospital patients from coast to coast. In Eastern Ontario, 8,856 gifts are needed to help local hospital patients. 

The average Canadian will send out 50 holiday cards this season to friends and family. If that many people gave blood, one car accident victim could be saved. 

Many treatments and procedures require blood products from several donors. That’s why, Canadian Blood Services is rallying communities across the country this holiday season to come together – Rally Together to Save Lives – as a way to show that collectively, blood donations can make a positive impact on someone’s life. 

There are plenty of opportunities to donate blood this holiday season. Making a blood donation before or after the holidays helps ensure an adequate supply for those in need. 

Please bring a friend or family member and donate either just before or after the holiday season. Call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236 6283) or visit us online at  to book an appointment and give the perfect gift this holiday season. To help meet the continuing need for blood, donors who have an appointment in the coming weeks are urged to honour it. 

There is an upcoming blood donor clinic in Winchester at the Winchester Public School located at 547 Louise Street South. The clinic will be held on November 24 from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 


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Lions continue their commitment to the ‘No Child Without’ program


Students attending Morrisburg Public and St Mary’s/St Cecilia’s schools continue to have access to the No Child Without (NCW) program thanks to the sponsorship of the Morrisburg & District Lions Club in partnership with the Canadian MedicAlert Foundation.

The goal of No Child Without is to provide elementary students with MedicAlert bracelets or necklets, custom-engraved with the child’s medical information, member ID and the MedicAlert 24-hour Emergency Hotline number, free of charge.  

The initiative focuses on children who suffer from childhood diabetes, asthma and allergies (like peanut allergies). It also protects children with other pre-existing medical conditions.

By calling the Hotline, school staff or health care providers have immediate access to vital information from the child’s electronic health record, including existing medical conditions. 

This service is available to all children in our community, ages four – 14 with pre-existing medical conditions or allergies to ensure first responders have access to the student’s vital health information during a medical emergency.  

The emergency numbers found on the back of the MedicAlert bracelets provide the elementary schools in Morrisburg with important information to assist a student in an emergency situation. 

In addition, parents are immediately notified by MedicAlert when the Emergency Hotline receives a call about their child. 

Parents of children who wear MedicAlert bracelets or necklets have peace of mind knowing they will be advised in the event their child has a medical emergency and furthermore the comfort that proper care was quickly provided.

Dart tournaments hosted by the Morrisburg & District Lions Clubs during February over the past three years have raised the funds for this initiative. 

These tournaments have been organized and chaired by Lion Brian Erratt who joined the Morrisburg & District Lions Club over four years ago. 

In addition to be instrumental in making the NCW program happen Lion Brian, together with Lion Keith Robinson, implemented the popular Docksyde Classic Car Cruise In on Monday evenings throughout the summer.

For more information about the NCW program, parents are encouraged to complete the forms provided by the school their child attends or to contact the appropriate school in Morrisburg.



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Hot Jazz on a Cool Night: Ben Henriques at St. Lawrence Stage


  Do you like your jazz hot, with pulsating Latin overtones?

Do you like your jazz cool and contemporary, far removed from a paint-by-numbers approach?

Whatever your musical  tastes, Montreal jazz artist and composer, Ben Henriques, promises to present a concert at the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage on Saturday, December 3, that will leave audiences breathless.

“I love playing the traditional jazz standards that go back a hundred years or more, and I love playing my own jazz compositions,” Henriques said during a recent interview with The Morrisburg Leader. “When I play, I guess you could say I switch hats to  perform in both genres.”

Henriques, who performs on both the tenor and soprano saxophones, saw his CD, Ben Henriques and The Responsibility Club voted number two album of 2009 by Radio Jazz Plus. A noted performer in North American jazz clubs, Henriques is actually performing at Upstairs  Montreal on November 30, then turning the recording of that show into a new album in late December, 2011. 

Henriques is bringing three talented backup performers with him to his Morrisburg concert. Noted artists themselves, they are no strangers to the St. Lawrence Stage. Accompanying Henriques will be members of Trio Bruxo, who presented their unique Brazilian jazz at a concert last November. 

Pianist David Ryshpan, bassist Nicolas Bédard and drummer Mark Nelson are joining Henriques for the concert. 

“I’ve been playing with these guys for years,” Ben Henriques said. “Mark and Nick actually joined me in The Responsibility Club. I think audiences will find some distinct Latin overtones in this Morrisburg performance. We are all very fluent in a number of jazz genres, so I feel,” he added, “that you will definitely hear a very cool combination of sounds on the stage. Certainly some improvising will be going on. I’m very excited about this concert.” 

Jazz doesn’t fit into neat musical pigeon holes. Performers and music lovers alike talk of smooth jazz, of fusion jazz, of pop-jazz and cross-over jazz. 

When I asked Henriques about this, he admitted that it was difficult for him to “define my style. I guess contemporary jazz is the best description. Traditional jazz sees harmony as functional and logical. In contemporary jazz, you could say that we seek to write music in a different way. You can incorporate a large ensemble in contemporary jazz, mixing instruments, even electric ones, that just aren’t part of the traditional approach.” 

I asked Henriques when he first fell in love with jazz.

He laughed. “I first played the saxophone in the school band. The truth is, I picked what I thought was going to be the least hard instrument to learn, especially when I knew I was not good at reading music at all.”

However, the experience of jazz, and the freedom it gives a musician to improvise, started Henriques on a life time love affair with the sax. He is currently working on a Masters Degree in Jazz performance at McGill University. 

Along the way, a number of artists have had a profound effect on him. 

Mike Allen and Campbell Ryga, West Coast musicians, were Henriques’ teachers and mentors.  “Remy Volduc of Montreal was a big influence. But my absolute favourite artist is Sonny Rollins (a Grammy award winner whose many compositions are considered jazz standards). Rollins has the big sound, and the saxophone was the focus of his performances.”

Whether a person is new to the jazz sound, or a long time fan, Ben Henriques’ December 3 concert should be a must-hear event. 

“Hopefully people will feel that  they have seen something special on the stage,” Henriques said. “I think this concert will be a unique experience for concert goers, especially for those who may not have experienced a lot of the jazz scene. Hopefully, they will be happy. I’m really looking forward to the Morrisburg experience.”

The concert will be held at the Meeting Centre at 7 p.m., December 3. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, at The Basket Case, Strung Out Guitars or at 


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Come play! It’s fun and free!


Are you looking for a community playgroup for you and your toddler?

The Ontario Early Years Centre (OEYC) returned to Morrisburg on November 7th at the St. James Anglican Church on High Street and every Monday, except for holidays, parents and caregivers are invited to bring their little ones for some social time.

OEYC offers a “comfortable, safe learning environment where parents/caregivers with children 0 – 6 years can come to play and interact with each other. You will find a variety of creative and learning activities during free play, circle time and story time.”

According to OEYC Family Resource Co-ordinatior, Fiona Carr, the sessions are free and the facilities are many. 

The church facilities come complete with an elevator. This comes in handy for those who can’t tackle the stairs with two toddlers, a stroller, and a sleeping baby.

In addition, there is a change room as well as a washroom. There is a room for nursing or for quiet play. The main activity room comes complete with a large play space, snack table, and a  playdough and crafts table. 

The toys are washed frequently in the adjoining kitchen. 

Generally, the first couple of hours are for free play and fun. Then, at 11:30, it is time for clean-up and then circle time.

Circle time is filled with songs, stories, instruments, and guided fun.

 Carr revealed, “we’re happy here and it’s such a nice space. The parents seem to really like it.”

Go to for more information. The South Dundas Playgroup has two sites: St. James Anglican Church in Morrisburg  (613-360-9934) and Iroquois Public School in Iroquois (613-652-1100).


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Graduates in a philosophy of care


 “For death begins with life’s first breath; And life begins at touch of death,” wrote John Oxenham.

On November 23rd, the Dundas County Hospice (DCH), located on Villa Drive in Williamsburg, saw a group of 13 volunteers graduate from their 10 week/ 30 hour Hospice Palliative Care course. 

According to material provided by DCH, “volunteers make the difference. DCH volunteers are special people who are warm and caring, and offer emotional support.”

DCH defines hospice as “a philosophy of care,” which basically sums up their purpose: “DCH recognizes the uniqueness of individuals and their families, and how life-threatening illness affects them. Compassionate care is directed at improving their lives physically, emotionally and spiritually.”

The hospice offers service seven days per week. They provide trained volunteers, support groups for anyone suffering from a life-threatening illness, support groups for families, and bereavement support. Loans of specialty equipment, books, videos, or video recording equipment are also available.

Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement, once said “families need support and help to draw on their own strengths and patients’ understanding of their emotional problems and aid in their spiritual search for meaning, sense of self and the possibility of growth through loss.”

For more information on available services, or to find out more about the next Hospice Palliative Care course, to be held in the spring of 2012, phone 613-535-2215 or go to the DCH website at

Dame Cicely Saunders is quoted on the first page of DCH’s yearly newsletter saying, “you are as important on the day that you die as the day you were born.”


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Top marks for Iroquois Public School ‘food drive’


The results of Iroquois Pubic School’s annual food drive for the Dundas County Food Bank are in, and once again the students, their families and the teaching staff have achieved a passing grade. 

Actually, it was more like first class honours with 419 items added to the Food Bank shelves.

The drive was run by the student council under Prime Minister, Alyssa Grant who announced the success of the drive at the school’s regular monthly assembly on Friday morning. 

“This is the last day of our food drive, and we are having a pyjama day to celebrate,” said Grant. “I am very proud of our school for doing this. Everyone did a great job.” 

Following the assembly, the council reps met with Food Bank chair Brenda Millard. 

Thanks to the fine record keeping of Margaret Phifer’s grade 5-6 class, Millard was told the collection resulted in 294 canned goods, 117 dry goods and eight other. 

“I see some soups, some beans and lasagna,” said Millard as she checked out the wonderful pile of donations. “We don’t often get things like cereal and baby food, so they are important too.” 

With the school’s food drive following on the heels of the recent Stuff a Cruiser and before that the Halloween, door to door, collection,  Millard says the Food Bank is in fairly good shape. 

Although the Bank never has too much food, “we are in good shape now and should have enough to get through to February. Our three main food drives all happen in November, which is good because we need the food in December. And they help us get through the winter.” 

At the schools’ monthly assembly, a number of achievements were recognized beginning with the success of the fund-raising (bracelet sales) effort for the annual Ecole de Neige trip. The top fund raisers were recognized and Shelby Martineau was named top sales lady. 

Named as artists of the month and having their framed artwork on display in the school’s front showcase were Hannah Rolfe at the junior level, SheeAnne Hunter at the primary level and Anthony Walsh in kindergarten. 

Thirteen students were awarded for various accomplishments including enthusiasm, attentive  listening, being a good friend, showing kindness to a friend in need, for being a great mentor etc. 

It was also announced that the school’s Cookie Dough fund raiser resulted in some $15,000 worth of dough being sold for a profit of $4,000 for the school.

The money raised from this project is used to enhance technology and expand the selection of books in the school’s book room.  

Travis Walters was the top salesman with $778 in sales,  and he was presented a pair of Sens hockey tickets and a family movie pass. 

Draws were made for prizes donated by the school’s staff. The students received tickets for their sales and then placed them in the draw for the prizes they most desired. This is the major fund raiser of the year, done by the school. 

The parents council runs other events to raise money for playground equipment.