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Gordon Garlough is DFA Volunteer of the Year


Williamsburg farmer Gordon Garlough, who has given much of his time to volunteering, both in the farming community and in the Dundas community in general, was recently honoured as the Dundas Federation of Agriculture’s ‘Volunteer of the Year’.

The Awards were made to mark the Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s 75th Anniversary. Regional and county level volunteers were recognized and from these one volunteer was recognized as the overall provincial leader.

The provincial award was won by Donna Lunn from Elgin County located along the north shore of Lake Erie.

Garlough, who lives on the Bouck’s Hill Road at Williamsburg, was nominated at the local level by the Dundas Federation of Agriculture (DFA).

In her nomination proposal, DFA president Jacqueline Kelly-Pemberton said, “Gordon Garlough for over three decades has given endlessly of his skills, time and energy to help agriculture move forward, locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.”

“His volunteer experience holds a long list of community involvement with the United Church of Canada-Williamsburg Congregation and the Canadian Food Grains Bank. He has hosted, through the International Livestock Management Schools, farm students from Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Indonesia and Latvia. and he has participated with the CFA and the Agricultural Institute of Canada in two partners projects with the former  Soviet Union.”

At the Dundas County level, Garlough has served as a director, president and vice-president. He was a provincial director with OFA from 1981 to 1992.

“…Gordon exemplifies the word volunteer, by always demonstrating his career commitment to agriculture.

As one of the regional/county Volunteers of the Year, Garlough received a commemorative anniversary farm gate sign. 

The OFA represents 37,000 farm families across Ontario. Based in Guelph, it works to champion the interests of Ontario Farmers.



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Skaters strong in Prescott


Twenty-one skaters represented the Morrisburg Figure Skate Club at the annual Prescott competition on the weekend of January 21-22 and it was a job well down.

When the final jump had been landed, the Morrisburg and area skaters found themselves in second spot overall in team points, behind the Glen Cairn skaters from Kanata.

In total the Morrisburg skaters collected six gold medals from Erika Jordan (pre-preliminary freestyle), Alexis Engwerda and Abby MacMillan (preliminary freestyle), Jessica Thompson (gold interpretive), and Trina MacPherson-Dykstra and Reagan Belanger (pre-preliminary freestyle).

Right behind them with second place skates were Katherine Lee (introduction interpretive), Alice Cameron (pre-preliminary) and Ali Van Hoof (intro interpretive).

For the overall standings skaters are awarded points for the finishes from first place down.

Adding fourth place points to the Morrisburg team score were Abigail Jordan, Ashley Bouwman and Olivia Hart in pre-preliminary, Kaitlyn Stewart  in preliminary,  and Teisha Mullin and Logan Patterson in junior bronze.

Other contributors to the team effort were Taylor Pilon in prelininary and introductory interpretive, Kathleen Nicolaassen and Kristyn VanHoof in preliminary, and Cameryn Broad and Kendra Buter in pre-preliminary.



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South Dundas Recreation launches logo competition


 On January 19th, South Dundas council approved Recreation Program Coordinator Ben Macpherson’s request to create a new logo for South Dundas Recreation.

This week, Macpherson is launching the South Dundas Recreation Logo Competition, which is open to South Dundas residents of all ages, except for those who are employees of the township.

In addition to incorporating the title ‘South Dundas Recreation’, Macpherson is looking for a logo whose artwork “reflects the values of the township of South Dundas and South Dundas Recreation in so much that any artwork will be tasteful and reflective of healthy living.”

As for why Macpherson has chosen to pursue the creation of a logo, he said, “South Dundas Recreation wants to make healthy active living a priority and in doing so want to become more visible in the community.”

“Branding will, over time, help develop an instant recognition of any program or activity run by or in partnership with South Dundas Recreation and the township.” 

“The underlying goal is to foster community ownership.” What do you think a South Dundas Recreation logo should look like? The township is giving residents artistic reign; giving residents ownership of the final product. 

“As part of the competition, the winning artist and logo will be launched on the cover of the next South Dundas Recreation Guide, due out the first week of March.”

“The guide will be delivered to every household in South Dundas and will also be available to pick up at a variety of places throughout the township,” said Macpherson.

He challenged, “we want to see the creativity that we know exists in the Township of South Dundas.”

The contest will close at 4:30 p.m. on February 21st. For a list of guidelines, see the accompanying advertisement.


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Gerrit ‘Gerry’ Oosterhof


A resident of the area for the past 50 years Gerry Oosterhof passed away at Winchester District Memorial Hospital on Sunday, January 22, 2012, following a brief illness.  He was 95.

Gerry was born in Ouderhorne, The Netherlands on February 8, 1916, to his parents Bonne and Sjoerdje (nee Degroot).  He met his wife Hendrikje while working as a farm hand; they married in May of 1940  and subsequently had three children during the Second World War, one child died as an infant.  They had one more child in the Netherlands before joining the wave of immigration to Canada in 1952.

Once in Canada Gerry and his family lived in Morrisburg where he first worked as a farm hand for his sponsor family and then worked in construction during the creation of the Seaway.  After his time on the Seaway project was completed he moved on to work as a builder on the Dupont site at Maitland.  When the Seaway went through the home in which they lived was in the path of the water and the family moved to a farm north of Iroquois where their youngest daughter was born.

His final 12 years of employment were spent at Upper Canada Village where he worked with the animals.  He drove a team of oxen during the summer months and helped take care of the animals in the barn during the winter months.  He enjoyed talking to people and particularly liked to surprise visitors from the Netherlands by answering their questions in Dutch. Following his retirement Gerry continued to farm north of Iroquois until 1986 when he and Hendrikje moved back to Morrisburg.  

Never one to sit still he transformed his back half of his property into a large garden that fed not only themselves but all of his family, friends and neighbours as well.  It was only this past year that he decided that the garden was too large and he made it smaller.  

Gerry was a combination of many things, a hard worker, helpful to his friends, and loving to his family.  He had a wonderful dry sense of humour, a ready smile and wee bit of temper.  He loved music and dancing and he especially enjoyed polkas and waltzing.  

One of the blessings that Gerry had was the ability to make friends and he made many during his lifetime.  

Gerry is survived by his children Jean (Bob) Christie of Ottawa, Bonna (Bertha) of R.R.# 2 Brinston, Sue Roos (Ken Whitfield) of Ottawa and Helen (Doug) Tupper of Stampville.  He was the Proud Papa of Julie and Mark Christie, Stephen (May) Roos, Michael (Lindsay) Roos, Peter (Louise) Oosterhof, Lynn Oosterhof (Bucky Markell), Christopher, Nicholas and Lesley-Ann Tupper.  Papa’s legacy continues in his great-grandchildren Emily Hitsman, Cameron, Tristan and Trinity Oosterhof.  He was the dear brother of Geertje of Holland.  He was predeceased by his wife Hendrikje, an infant son and sisters Sjoukje and Anneke.   He is also survived by nieces and nephews.  

Friends called at the Marsden McLaughlin Funeral Home, Williamsburg, on Tuesday from 7-9 p.m. and Wednesday, January 25th from 10 a.m. until time of the service at 11 a.m. which was conducted by Rev. Arlyce Schiebout.  

Interment followed at New Union Cemetery, Williamsburg.  Pallbearers were his grandchildren Peter Oosterhof, Lynn Oosterhof, Julie Christie, Stephen Roos, Lesley-Ann Tupper and son-in-law Doug Tupper.

Donations to the C.N.I.B. or the Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated by the family.  Online condolences may be made at



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Perspectives by Rev. Clarence Witten


For the Love of Hockey

Tuesday night is a highlight of my week. It’s the night that a bunch of us guys get together at the arena to play some pretty decent hockey – the good old fashioned kind, not part of any league, not played with refs, just two teams going at it. Why?

Why do these guys go to out late in the evening (likely waking up groggy the next morning) to play Canada’s favourite sport week after week? (And there are 10s of 1000s doing the same thing all across this great land of ours.) 

Why? Dreams of glory are long past. If you play too intensely some guy might mutter that there are no scouts in the house. Neither are there any fans in the stands. And of course nobody gets paid a plug nickel.

In fact, after we lose, some guy might say, “No big deal. We’re all getting paid the same.” So why do these guys go out? Sure, it’s to get out and spend time with the guys. And it’s to get a bit of a workout. Some of us older guys (there’s a few of those, no offense) may be trying to offset aging, as if that’ll ever happen.

So why do guys all through the week and in arenas everywhere keep playing? 

I’d venture to say that for the most part it’s for the love of the game. Pure and simple.

When you think about it, that’s why we do lots of things. Out of love. Why do we crawl out of bed and head off to work everyday? Maybe it’s because we love our jobs. And likely needing the money has a lot to do with it. 

But I suggest that for many of us, it’s out of love for our families. Right? Why do we make meals and do laundry for our families? Why do we run ourselves ragged driving our kids here and there? I figure it’s because of love, love, love.

Love for someone or something is a great motivator. Because of love, we buy flowers. Because of love, we help out a buddy. Because of love, we work for the Food Bank. 

When you love, you don’t need a pat on the back for what you do. You don’t need people to notice.

If you get this it’s easy to “get” God. Everything he’s ever done, he did out of love. Think about it. 

Why did he make such a gorgeous world? Out of love for us. Why did he send his son into this world? Out of love for us. Why did his son Jesus suffer and die for the sins of this world. Out of love for us. People really do amazing and even surprising things motivated by love.

Of course the same is true of those who have personally discovered the love God has for them. Overwhelmed by God’s love, they love God in return. That love motivates them to do things for God, things like serving others, caring for the poor, or fighting for justice. They even do things like going to church or living clean lives.

Love. It makes the world go round. It’s why we do much of what we do. Whether it’s staying up late for a game of hockey or waking up early to head off to work. 

The preacher inside me would say, may all that love we see around us (and all it motivates us to do), help us see that love still higher and deeper than all our love put together, God’s. Just as we are, with all our failures, he loves us and offers us forgiveness in his son. In his love he waits for us to respond. To admit our need and receive his love.



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Concussion ends season for Morrisburg Junior B Lions captain Matthew Ouimet


In mid December, Morrisburg Junior B Lions’ captain Matthew Ouimet, 22, had to put his love for hockey aside,and consider his health and his future.

In a mid-December game, the talented defenceman, an anchor for the local team, took a hit, “not a severe hit and not a dirty hit”, but a hit that resulted in a concussion. 

It wasn’t his first, so he knew immediately what was happening.

 When he gets a concussion Matthew explains, “I feel very lost right after the hit, and I feel nauseous if it’s bad enough. Sometimes there is memory loss and it’s not clear to me what’s happened.”

Ouimet started playing hockey at the age of four in the Cumberland house league. At the age of 10, he tried out for the Cobras of the Eastern Ontario AA, and then at age 16 he was drafted to the Central Junior Hockey League.

Over the next three years, he played for the Hawkesbury Hawks, Kemptville 73s and the Kanata Knights.

In 2009, he moved to Junior B and played for the Ottawa Junior Canadian and the Alexandria Glens before coming to the Morrisburg Junior B Lions in a trade in the fall of the 2010-2011 season.

Although he missed half of last season due to a concussion, he wanted to return to the Lions for his final year of junior hockey as an overage player.

The decision ended up giving him just over two months of hockey before he called it quits in December.

Ouimet says he can’t rule out having had concussions while he played minor hockey, but “they started getting severe when I started junior hockey. The first few were pretty severe, and they were from some very dirty hits, blind sides and elbows to the jaw.”

As a defenceman, Matthew says many of the hits that resulted in a concussion occurred in the corners, after the opposing team has dumped the puck in.

After his first couple of concussions, it no longer required a a dirty hit, or even a very severe hit. “As time went on it required less force. They weren’t obviously bad hits, the concussions just came on easier.”

In addition to the immediate symptons of the concussion, Matthew says there were times when after a couple of weeks he was still getting severe headaches and was having trouble concentrating at school.

He admits that when he was hit this past December, he was already at the point where, “I was questioning if I should be risking my whole life.”

Matthew is currently a volunteer with the Clarence Rockland Fire Department, where he is gaining experience to become a full-time firefighter.

“There is a point where you have to look at your future. It was very hard for me to have to stop playing hockey.”

And he admits, “I have enjoyed my time here with the Lions, more than any other team I’ve been with. The coaching staff here is amazing. I absolutely love this team.”

Matthew came to the Lions at time when he was losing his enthusiasm for the game.

“Matt Ouimet is the example of commitment and playing for the love of the game,” says Lions coach Thom Racine. “He played high level hockey all his life and when we got his rights, he was contemplating quitting hockey…too many chances and too many broken promises had clouded his desire to play.”

“I picked him as our captain this year for two reasons: he wanted to play again this year hoping we could string out the late season success of last year; and as a last year player, he wanted to be the team leader, which I knew he could be. The younger kids look up to Matt, and that is important especially when the middle of the pack respects him.”

“I’ve had many tough decisions over my three seasons, but letting Matt go from our roster at the deadline was very tough. But his health was far more important than a dozen hockey games.”

Matthew says he wants to make young players and their parents aware of the symptoms of a concussion. “They could be denying it after they get hit, or just aren’t aware of what is going on.”

He says that when he was a younger player it wasn’t a big deal and hockey teams didn’t talk about it.

But now, with it getting more attention, he wanted to share his experiences and his symptoms.

Since he hung up his skates in December, Matt continues to show his strong character. He attends as many of the Lions games as he can to support his teammates.

Now feeling good and playing a bit of recreational hockey with friends, he says, “I’ll never have hockey out of my life. For sure, I’ll continue to play recreational hockey in my future.”



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Reinventing the United Church


Change is in the air for many of the United Churches within the Seaway Valley Presbytery.

Presbytery Chair, Wendy Wright MacKenzie revealed that last year the Seaway Valley Presbytery received “a number of requests from the people in the pews for help in addressing over-all declining membership.”

“We realized that the people knew their community better than anyone else,” said Wright MacKenzie, “and so in January 2011, 85 people gathered to dream about what the church might look like in a changing world.”

“In March 2011, over 800 people gathered at North Dundas High School for a vote to divide the Presbytery up into districts in order to continue a process of visioning and change. There was an overwhelming YES vote.”  

“Since that time, the congregations have been doing self-reflections and analysis. By November 28th, all congregations within the Seaway Valley Presbytery voted on whether they wanted to be in conversation with other churches to discuss possibilities for the future,” she continued.  

“At this time, we have 13 churches already in conversation, visioning and dreaming of what it might look like when following a different model of being ‘church’.”  

Iroquois United Church Reverend Janet Evans revealed that the “Iroquois United Church has a team of four people who will be meeting with some local churches – Brinston, Hulbert Valley, Williamsburg – to see where we might go from here.”

 The United Church in Williamsburg was recently listed for sale. The congregation, like so many  others, has grown too small to manage the upkeep of such a large and outdated building. 

Retired Reverend Ralph Taylor recently joined the Williamsburg United Church to help the congregation through the upcoming changes.

Taylor said that he is there on a renewable six-month contract, but will stay “as long as it takes.”

As for the decision to sell the church in Williamsburg, Taylor admitted that it wasn’t an easy choice to make for the congregation. “Some are more excited than others and some are anxious,” he said.

“The congregation is getting older and the cost of maintaining (the church) means they’d just be focused on maintaining, not on missions,” said Taylor.

He admitted that the choice is ‘heart wrenching’. “But what other choice do we have at this point?”

Currently, Williamsburg’s United Church congregation is meeting at the J.W. MacIntosh Seniors Support Centre on Sundays.

The congregation will return to the church in March, if it hasn’t sold. When it does sell, the congregation will seek an alternative location in the area.

Taylor admitted that “eventually they’ll be joining another congregation, but it will take a little while.”

With this news, comes the question of what will happen to the many other United Churches within South Dundas. How will they fare in the months and years to come?

According to Evans, “people from Iroquois United Church are both excited and nervous about the changes that will inevitably come our way.”

“Iroquois United Church, for example, has been able to support a full-time minister which means that the present minister has time to care for all of the shut-ins who are associated with our congregation,” she explained.

“Perhaps more people will have needs when several churches work together under a new model. Lay people may have to undertake more of the church’s work.”

“No one really wants to lose their building but that may or may not happen under a new structure,” she said, adding, “new structures could mean, however, more people coming together to offer their gifts and talents in God’s service.”

Wright MacKenzie said, “we realize that everything in life changes.” 

“The way to experience our worship needs an extreme makeover,” she added, pointing out that “the world is changing and so we have to look at new ways of what it means to reach out to the community. The way we ‘do worship’ does not appeal to the younger generation so we need to also look at some other options.”

“This is still very much a work in progress so it is exciting to see what the congregations come up with as they talk together.”

“Change is always somewhat nerve wracking but God will be with us as we journey into the future,” reminded Evans.

The Presbytery, according to Wright MacKenzie, will continue to offer help and support in whatever way possible.

As for the years to come, she said, “time will tell what this looks like in the future. This is completely in the hands of the people in the pews.”