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Serena Ryder concert sold out at St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage

“We are thrilled to get such a popular performer, Serena Ryder, to our venue,” said Jeanne Ward, a member of board of the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage. “I think it is because of the reputation of the St. Lawrence Stage and its terrific audiences that we have been successful in getting this line up. Artists really want to play here.”

The St. Lawrence Stage is welcoming 2008 Juno Award winning Canadian singer-songwriter Serena Ryder to the Morrisburg stage on Saturday, September 24.

Ryder has taken the Canadian and international music scene by storm since her second album, If Memory Serves you Well, came out on the EMI label in November 2006. She opened for Aerosmith during their 2007 tour, jammed with Tim Hus and his Rocky Mountain Two in 2008 and recorded the duet, “You Can Always Come Home” with former American Idol contestant Jason Castro, for his first solo album, Jason Castro, in 2009.

Along the way she won the 2008 Juno for New Artist of the Year and her album Is It O.K. won the Juno for Adult Alternative Album of the Year. In 2010, Ryder won the Juno Award for Video of the Year with “Little Bit of Red.”

Ranging musically between folk, roots, country and adult contemporary music, Serena Ryder possesses a five octave vocal range and has toured in Australia and throughout North America. Reviewers have compared her voice to a “teenaged Aretha Franklin” (Elle) and noted her “impressive fearlessness” (Boston Globe).

“We are truly looking forward to her powerhouse vocals and musical energy,” Jeanne Ward said. “Fans are coming from all over, Montreal, Kingston, Ottawa to catch Serena in this intimate St. Lawrence Stage venue.”

Opening for Serena Ryder at the September 24 concert is newcomer to Canada, Matt Longo, a native of New York city, whose new album Lowlife is due to come out soon.

“Matt Longo’s music is honest and true,” said Ward. “His mix of New York folk pop is fresh and impressive. It’s no wonder Serena Ryder has chosen him to support her tour as the opening act.”

Longo told The Leader that he grew up with classic country, but there are other influences in his music as well. “I try not to think about genres,” Longo said. “I have no pre-conceived notions when I compose. However, I don’t get offended when anyone else describes my work a particular way,” he laughed. “I’m just flattered they’re listening.”

Longo finds inspiration for his music among those people who are or have been very close to him. “I’m sort of a people watcher, and people intrigue me. I write about pain or love, whatever is affecting me, and I think this focus on people resonates with audiences.

When I was younger, I went through a period of writing dark and brooding music, but who really wants to listen to that?” he laughed. “I see humour now in my songs. I find I can step back and see things differently.”

Lowlife was lovingly made in an old studio beneath the school in Harlem where Matt Longo teaches. “Every song went through revisions as my drummer and I got the sound we ultimately wanted. I’m excited about the release.”

He is also excited about sharing the acoustic stage with Serena Ryder.

“I haven’t worked with her before in actuality, but in my mind, many times. I’m a very big fan. I’m also looking forward to the St. Lawrence stage, to a concert where the audience is specifically coming to really listen and to enjoy the music. I will be performing numbers from my new album. I hope people enjoy the experience.”

While the Serena Ryder concert on September 24 is completely sold out, upcoming concerts at the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage promise to be dynamic, exciting and popular.

For information or to book future shows contact


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SMSC celebrates Sports Day in Canada

Students at St. Mary/St. Cecilia’s school out to enjoy Friday’s sunshine as they celebrated National Jersey Day on September 16 and Sports Day in Canada which fell on Saturday, September 17.

To mark the two ‘Days’ the grade 8 students organized an afternoon crammed with activities which include Tug O Wars, a Flag Game, Soccer Race, Alien Tag, and Obstacle Course, a Bean Bag Toss and a rest station where the weary athletes took a break to enjoy the taste of one of this fall’s MacIntosh apples.

“National Sports Day is a celebration of all the sports we play,” said teacher Chris Veltkamp who worked with the students to set up the events. “I thought it would be fun for the kids. It is just the second week back to school and it is good to get outdoors and have some fun.”

The key to the afternoon activities was ‘fun’. There were no prizes, no winners.

Also participating was the teaching staff, which this time out, defeated the Grade 8’s two out of three times, despite some of the Grade 8 students predicting “it would be over in short order and we will win.”

The closest to a win the kids came was in the third round, when the teachers produced an ‘upset’…an upset of the grade 8s that is when they unexpectedly released the tug o war rope.


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People pleasing music at Bluegrass festival

“You don’t have to go far from home to hear great music,” said Bev Anderson of Brockville, just one of the fans who turned out for the 5th Annual Upper Canada  Bluegrass Festival held at Upper Canada Campground September 16-18.

Hosted by campground owners David and Ruth Wells, with the musical talent organized by Mike Anderson, over 110 campers and  a large number of day visitors came out to enjoy some of the best bluegrass music around. “We had great weather all weekend,” Wells said, “and there are a lot of die hard fans for bluegrass out there. The people who come to these events are terrific.”

Although Wells reported that numbers were somewhat down from other years, due, he thought to the economy and high gas prices, it was an exciting two day event.

“It’s been a great turn-out,” said Terry Joe Banjo, who acted as emcee for the festival, performed with a number of groups and staged workshops throughout the weekend. “We had eight good bands performing. A lot of exciting music here.”

Mike Anderson, who performed with his own band Northwind, organized the musical line-up,  and felt it had been an excellent festival. “We had a lot of support. The workshops in instruments like guitar, banjo and mandolin also drew many people. No question, top performers love to run workshops and share their skills and knowledge.

That’s what’s so great about bluegrass.”

Bands performing included Hard Ryde, Grassland, Dave Nichols & Spare Change, Jan Purcell & Pine Road, Bill White & White Pine, Concession 23, Northwind and Maple Hill.


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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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(To)morrow’s skaters get started

First year skaters in the Morrisburg and District Figure Skating Club’s (MDFSC) CanSkate program got a ‘big lift’ this year thanks to Steven and Trisha Morrow and their belief that “all Canadian children should have the opportunity to learn to skate”.

Steve explained Monday night during the first CanSkate skate night, that due to the costs of ice, coaches and insurance, the cost of skating for kids today is excessive, and he and Trisha wanted to find a way to help out.

“We feel that all kids should be able to learn to skate and finances shouldn’t be the deterrent,” added Trisha.

After discussing how they could help, the Morrows decided they would make a donation through their business, Morrisburg Chiropractic.
“Steven and Trisha have given us a donation to reduce the CanSkate ice fees for all of our first year skaters in the CanSkate Level I program,” explained figure skate club president, Julie VanHoof. “Basically, they came to us with their thoughts that every kid should have the opportunity to learn to skate.”

“What they have done is wonderful for the club and for the skaters,” said VanHoof. “We are hoping more skaters will take advantage of it and register with us over the next couple of weeks.”

According to VanHoof, MDFSC  has 45 youngsters in the CanSkate program and about half of them are first time skaters in the Stage One Level who benefitted from the Morrow’s donation. Another 30 skaters, skate at the Intermediate/Senior level StarSkate program and one skater is in the competitive stream.

Skaters can register through online forms, through registrar Laurie Pilon, or by popping into the arena (figure skate room) on Monday nights or Saturday mornings when the CanSkate program is on the ice.

“It came as such a wonderful surprise that someone would step up and help out our skaters like this,” said VanHoof. “It’s amazing for our club and really says something for our community.”

“We hope that at least this gives more children the chance to try skating, receive some coaching and as a Canadian learn how to skate,” says Trisha. “We are doing this for the first year skaters in the Stage I CanSkate program. Then if they like it (skating) they can make the choice to continue.”

The Morrows have two of their three children enrolled in the CanSkate program, Emma in her second year and Kai as one of this year’s crop of new skaters.

Registration fees for the CanSkaters vary according to the number of times per week they skate and the length of time on each of the nights.

The CanSkate Stage I skaters (3-5 years) can choose to skate either once or twice per week for 30 minutes sessions, while the Stage two (older youngsters) for the first time this year are on the ice for 50 minutes, again either once or twice per week. The CanSkate ice slots are on Monday nights and Saturday mornings.

“The parents can choose to have their child do both or either session, but the more they skate the sooner they will see their goals reached,” says VanHoof.

It is for that reason that Skate Canada is promoting the longer 50-minute CanSkate program available at Level II.

The Morrisburg club has three professional coaches and 17 program assistants on the ice to work with the CanSkaters.

In addition to the longer ice time for the Level 2s, the CanSkate program now includes more circuits so the skaters move more from one station to another.

“This is to make it more fun, to engage the little ones more,” explains VanHoof.


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Something for everyone at 20th Williamsburg Fall Festival

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are turning colours and the pumpkins are in the fields.

That can mean only one thing.

The 20th annual Fall Harvest Festival is coming to Williamsburg on Friday and Saturday, September 23-24, and everyone is invited to come out and enjoy two days of fun and excitement.

“This is a real community event,” said David Lapier, president of the Williamsburg Community Association, which organizes the two day celebration. “We really couldn’t do the Harvest Festival without the support of many groups in our community, our sponsors, area churches, scouts, firefighters and businesses. No doubt about it, team work makes everything happen.”

Lapier says that there will be some new events at this year’s Festival.

“In our noon parade, we will have a marching band from Cornwall, a first for us. Also new this year is an ATV group ride, which will take place at J.C. Whitteker Park Saturday morning. That should be a lot of fun. And I think kids of all ages will enjoy the visit from Maple the Cow especially since there will be free ice cream bars. For adults, Jed the Mechanical Bull, will be coming to the Saturday night dance at the Matilda Hall where Landmark will be performing. As in other years, we’ll be running a bus from Williamsburg to and from the dance.”

Lapier points out that all the popular activities from previous fall festivals will also be returning.

The entire village will be decorated in a Hillbilly fall theme this year. Children are invited to come out in their best Harvest-themed costumes on Saturday morning for the judging. There are many activities for youngsters including colouring and poster contests, pumpkin carving, biggest vegetable contests, ball hockey, face painting, mini-putt and a petting zoo, Tribeck Inflatables and water games with the Williamsburg Fire Department.

For adults and the young at heart there are a photo contest, a scavenger hunt, the Allan Doherty Memorial Horseshoe Tournament, a flea market, a farmers’ market and a colourful craft show at the J.W. MacIntosh Seniors’ Support Centre.

“The great thing about our Fall Festival is that everything, with the exception of the food, is absolutely free,” David Lapier said. “There are no admission fees, no fees for games and rides. Everyone can come out and have a good time.”

The Fall Festival weekend will kick off on Friday night with a firefighters’ softball game at 8 p.m. and movie night at the Oddfellows Hall at 6:30 p.m.

“We’re looking for great weather for our Williamsburg Fall Harvest Festival,” said David Lapier, “but it’ll be a good time no matter what.”

For additional information contact 613-535-2264.


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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.



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Strong start for Junior Lions

The Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey season got underway in Kemptville on the weekend, and for the Morrisburg Lions, it wasn’t a bad start.
After losing their opening game in the second annual Fall Classic, 3-1 to the Ottawa West Golden Knights on Friday night, the Lions turned it around Saturday, for a 5-3 win over the Stittsville Royals.

In their opener against the Knights, the two were tied 1-1 after two periods, before the Knights capitalized on a bad Lions’ clearing attempt, to set them up for a late power-play goal to seal the game.

Alex Steingruber scored the lone Lions’ goal in the second period with the assists going to Ryan Ward and goaltender Mikael Dion, who was called upon to make 37 saves during the game.

“I was pleased with our effort against a very good Ottawa West team,” said Lions’ coach Thom Racine. “We showed if we move our feet and skate like we can, shift after shift, we can play with these good teams.”

“We made them earn the win, and we have to take something from that.”

On Saturday night, against the Stittsville Royals, the Lions got off to a slow start, but got out of the first period in a 1-1 tie.

It was a big goal for both the Lions and Drew Veenstra who collected his first Junior B goal after going the entire season without one last year. He was assisted by team captain Matt Ouimet.

Early in the second period, Ouimet put the Lions ahead, 2-1, on a pretty set up from Ty Hodgson on the power play.

Unfortunately, the Lions couldn’t hold on and gave up two late period goals to trail 3-2 after 40 minutes.

A relentless forecheck to begin the third period saw Sylvester Bzdyl tie the game, 3-3, just over a minute in, from a Drew Veenstra rebound.
Brayden Girard then scored on a solo effort to push it to 4-3 at 2:44.

The fifth and final goal, at 7:47 of the third, came on a Clark Veenstra set up to Michel Thurler who rifled a wrist show low to Erik Miksik’s glove side.

Dion was in net for the Lions first win of the 2011/12 regular season.

“Clark Veenstra was huge all night long, as he frustrated the Royals defenders with punishing body checks,” said coach Racine.

As a result Veenstra was named the game star to join goaltender Dion who was the named the Lions’ game star in the loss to Ottawa West.
The Fall Classic was sponsored by the Ottawa Senators who provided 88 home game tickets for the MVPs on both teams of each of the 22 games played, as well as Senator ball caps.

Coach Racine says he was very happy with the weekend split.

“I looked at our division before the second game, and I knew we had to win to keep pace (everyone else that had played had earned a point their first games), and the kids really responded.”

“The win can be enjoyed, but we get the defending champs (Winchester) Sunday in our home opener and that will be another early season test.”

The Alexandria Glens and the Casselman Vikings both won their Fall Classic games for four points each. The Hawks posted a win and a tie for three points, and the Lions are next with two points. Akwesasne produced one tie and Char-Lan lost both games.

The Lions are at home this Sunday, September 25 to the Winchester Hawks at 2:30 p.m.

Their next action is on Friday night, September 30 when the Char-Lan Rebels come to town for an 8:30 p.m. game.


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New Community Playground dedicated to SD&G Highlanders

On September 24, the South Dundas Community Playground will be built by volunteers.

On the same day, a very special memorial will also be unveiled at the site.

At the entrance to the playground, the South Dundas Community Playground Committee will place a commemorative plaque, dedicating this new park to the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Highlanders, the “Glens.”

The plaque, donated by Prescott Memorials, reads: May our youth strive to protect our freedoms using the example of past generations whose traditions are carried on today by the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Highlanders to whom this playground is dedicated this 24th day of September 2011.

Matt McCooeye, chair of the Playground committee, said that members had been looking for a group of people or  local person to whom to dedicate the new park.

“Our criteria was we wanted that group or person to possess characteristics that we would want our kids to possess.”

At least two individuals, not on the committee, suggested the Glens to them.

“Rosemary Laurin and I decided to learn more,” McCooeye said. “About four weeks ago we contacted the Cornwall Armory and did some reading. We were also told to get in touch with Bill Shearing. I’ve lived in this community all my life and I found I didn’t know enough about the Highlanders and the sacrifices they made for us. Our playground is located on the very ground the Glens protected 200 years ago.”

As the committee linked the idea of protecting Canada’s freedoms to the children of today, the dedication to the Highlanders seemed the “perfect match.”

On September 6, the committee officially adopted the dedication to the Glens.

Bill Shearing, former honourary colonel of the SD&G Highlanders, said that he may have been the last to know about the committee’s plans, but “I think it’s great.”

He was able to share stories about many local people who have served in, or been involved with, the Highlanders through both Wars, and going right back to 1812. Many young men and women from the South Dundas community currently serve in the forces.

“We want to remember the people of the past, and look to those who will serve in the future,” McCooeye said. “No other group or person really fit the philosophy and outlook of our community like the SD&G Highlanders.”

McCooeye reported that 175 volunteers have officially signed up to help September 24 and he expects more may just “show up.”

“We have surpassed $115,000 in our fund raising,” McCooeye said. “The not-for-profit group Let Them Be Kids has matched us in purchasing power for everything in the park. They have also provided us with a blue print for making Saturday’s construction run smoothly.”

The official Playground opening ceremony will take place at the park at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Attending will be Bob Brooks, honourary lieutenant-colonel of the SD&G Highlanders and former and current members of the militia.

“Our opening and dedication ceremony is to thank the community for an incredible amount of support over these last three months,” Matt McCooeye said. “We will especially thank certain key people at our ceremony.

However, there will be no traditional ribbon cutting. Instead, all the kids of our community will ‘run through’ the ribbons opening their park. After all, children raised $6,500 themselves for the park and selected the play structures.”

McCooeye invites everyone to link up to on Saturday, September 24, beginning at 8 a.m. to follow the construction and opening of the South Dundas Community Playground live all day long.


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Tribeck Inflatables, Canadian Tire Get Behind New Playground

“It was really a great idea to have this event. It’s important to raise money for our community. Community is everything,” said Don Denneny.
Denneny, with his daughter Nicole, seven, was just one of the many parents, children and supporters who came out to enjoy the fund raiser, featuring Tribeck Inflatables, Saturday, September 10, on behalf of the new children’s playground scheduled for con-struction in Earl Baker Park on September 24.

Michel Proulx, owner of the Morrisburg Canadian Tire, provided “a location and manpower” for the Tribeck Inflatables, as well as “doing some fund raising in the store.”

“I have been behind this kids’ park since day one,” Proulx said. “My store manager, Brian Shaver, is one of the executive on the playground committee. This is an important event for the community, and it’s great that we can fund raise in a fun venue.”
Trevor Beckstead and Rebecca Cooper, owners of Tribeck Inflatables, are also strong supporters of the community playground. They provided all their equipment free of charge for the entire day.

“I’ve got three girls myself,” Trevor Beckstead said. “My kids will have the chance to play in that park, and we hope as a family to picnic there. I wanted to show that Tribeck Inflatables has grown as a South Dundas business and that we can serve this and surrounding communities. This new kids’ park is very important to my whole family.”

Playground committee mem-bers, including Jack Barkley and Rosemary Laurin, were thrilled with the generosity of Tribeck and Canadian Tire.

“Tribeck Inflatables is providing all this equipment for us free of charge,” Laurin and Barkley said, “and Canadian Tire has given us a wonderful site. We are very grateful.”

Visitors attending the fund raiser on September 10 were asked to make a donation to the playground as their admission.

Candy apples and candy floss were available, with part of the sales coming back to the playground. Mark Staughton, a volunteer with Family Mission, in the guise of Zany the Clown, produced incredible balloon creatures for kids, and then donated proceeds to the playground as well.

“It’s just amazing how this community has come together to support us through events like this one today,” said Jack Barkley.