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Stuff a Cruiser local success

“This was our first year collecting in Iroquois,” said Dundas Food Bank secretary, Celeste Guse, “and the people here have been incredibly generous. We’ve received all kinds of food, and many people have given cash donations as well.”

“We’ve had an excellent turn-out here in Morrisburg,” said OPP Constable Theresa Lauzon. “People have really been getting into the spirit of giving, and it’s been great for the Food Bank. We’ve already filled three cruisers.”

Stuff-a-Cruiser was the initiated by Auxiliary Staff Sergeant, Alan Jodoin. The event represents a joint effort by the OPP and the OPP Auxiliary to help Food Banks ensure that shelves are well stocked during the Christmas season. This year the campaign brought in 1,000 items of food. “We also received $1,500 in donations from the Morrisburg/Iroquois locations,” said Donna Quesnel, on the board of the Dundas Food Bank.

 Pictured above, taking donations and groceries outside Foodland in Iroquois, (l-r), are Auxiliary Sergeant Jason Flaro, Celeste Guse and Jim Wilson, a member of the Dundas Food Bank. Below, set up outside of valu-mart in Morrisburg, (l-r), are Auxiliary Constable Tyler Kelly, volunteer Sage Barkley, the Reverend Sue McCullough, board member, OPP Constable Theresa Lauzon and volunteer Chris Plant.


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Evalyn Parry’s Spin is exciting show

A story teller has to amuse, to entice, to astonish an audience. In the process, she must also give her listeners something to think about.

Evalyn Parry is a story teller. 

And there was much to entice, amuse and astonish in her splendid, thought provoking show, Spin, performed at the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage on Saturday, November 24. 

Parry is an amazing, versatile performer, with a strong vocal range and an equally strong acting range. On Saturday night she shared her stage with fellow musician Brad Hart, and with an unexpected performer, a vintage 1972 CCM bicycle. 

I say ‘performer’ because the bike was an integral part of the Parry’s show, as its frame and wheels were made to ‘sing’ and to accompany her musically at intervals throughout the production. It was really a revelation to me, and I suspect to many in  the audience, to discover how a bike could be such an innovative force in a musical production.

But then, Evalyn Parry’s entire show revolved around bicycles. It also revolved around the extraordinary computer generated images on a stage screen behind her. 

Parry’s focus was the story of Annie Londonderry, a name clearly unknown to virtually all of us in the audience. 

Yet in 1892, this 23 year old mother of three left her husband and children to become the first woman to ride a bicycle around the world. She had numerous adventures, survived through every type of terrain, shrewdly sported the logos of several Victorian sponsors on her evolving riding costumes, and, in the process, could be said to have started a female ‘revolution.’

“What would you do for a fee?/

What would you do to be free?/

What would you do to prove what a woman can be?” Parry sang.

In Parry’s show, Annie and the bicycle become the metaphors for change. 

“…trying to stay free in a world spinning webs to catch us../

We’d never get anywhere without resistance like a foot on a pedal…”

Evalyn Parry’s show was unique, an exciting blend of music, of original vocals, of acting and of technology. She effortlessly slipped in and out of characters on the stage: the pompous businessmen who saw Annie as a kind of travelling billboard, the preachers thundering that bicycles meant the downfall of womankind, since the bicycle was a “sterility machine.”

Spin is full of music, full of sound, full of visual interest. With humour and insight it celebrates the awakening of the female spirit, still carrying on in women today.

Spin is a musical tour de force for artist and story teller, Evalyn Parry.

I have the feeling that she very firmly agrees with the words of H. G. Wells, which were projected on the screen behind her when the show opened.

“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” 


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Christmas Show is magic at Upper Canada Playhouse

 You’d have to have a heart 10 sizes too small not to fall in love with the spirit of Upper Canada Playhouse’s holiday production of Robert More’s Everything I Love About Christmas. It really does manage to bring together all those things, both magical and ordinary, that mean Christmas.

“There are many ways to tell a story about Christmas,” Grandad Barnes (Doug Tangney) informs the audience at the start of the play. “But there are a few things you must have: a tree, a house and a family.”

The family is the Barnes family, father Ted (Jeff Mulrooney), mother Maggie (Meredith Zwicker), daughter Gracie (Jody Osmond) and son Robbie (Clayton Labbe). 

There is one other daughter, Susan (Katie Edwards). And therein lies the difficulty for the Barnes family this Christmas eve. A terrible snow storm has swept over the countryside, and Susan is all alone, stranded at a deserted bus station. It will take some kind of miracle to bring her home in time for Christmas.

Miracles can sometimes come with rather pointy ears.

Four elves (Parris Greaves, Ryan Jacobs, Jess Vandenberg and Bruce Tubbe) come to the rescue because “every year somebody gets stuck and we arrive to help them out…” Helping the Barnes family be reunited with their eldest daughter will call for considerable elf ingenuity, and an “alpha cable” sent directly to Santa, who is “somewhere between Hawaii and Vancouver” this Christmas eve. (Alpha cables can only be sent by elves. Don’t try it at home.)

A further complication this busy night will be the Brannigan family, just down the road from the Barnes. There is very little to be joyful about this Christmas for them. Father Brad has lost his job. Their savings are gone. There are no presents, no dinner, very little hope in their household.

Another miracle is needed.

Will these dilemmas somehow be resolved by Christmas Day? Will Susan get home? Will the Brannigans find new hope? Will Santa appear in the very nick of time?

Well, this is a children’s show, so…

The entire cast of Everything I Love About Christmas is strong, and their ability to sing and dance is wonderful. Meredith Zwicker, who is also the production musical director, has showcased the actors’ considerable talents. “The level of energy and enthusiasm in this cast is stupendous,” director Donnie Bowes said. “I know the audience can feel it too.”

This is a show both adults and children can enjoy together. There is much whimsical humour in it that delights. 

Santa (wedged into a chimney): “Memo to Mrs. Claus. Stop making all those Christmas goodies.” 

Santa (still stuck, moments later): “Memo to self. Stop eating all those Christmas goodies.”

The stage, designed and lit by Sean Free, is versatile and striking, and makes exciting use of a revolving section and some unique special effects. 

Toss in the mighty “Rammer”, (you’ll see!) a shadow puppet version of the Christmas story and some serious magic, and you have a winning production at Upper Canada Playhouse.

Tickets for the show (which runs until December 16) are still available, but they are going very fast.

Incidentally, I’m not sure I recall a hippopotamus called Amber at the manger in the original Christmas story. Then again, I might be mistaken. After all, Everything I Love About Christmas proves that anything is possible.


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Santa and Mrs. C guests at Seniors Christmas Party

 Good food, good desserts, good music and good company were the order of the day on Saturday, November 24, when the annual Seniors Christmas Party took place at Matilda Hall. The party was jointly planned and hosted by the Morrisburg and District Lions Club and the Iroquois-Matilda Lions Club.

Nearly 250 seniors from the area enjoyed homemade food and some serious toe-tapping music from Good Time Country.

And dropping in to enjoy the festivities, despite a very busy schedule at the North Pole, were none other than Santa and his charming wife, Mrs. Claus. They greeted seniors throughout the hall before they had to rush off and catch an early sleigh back to the workshop.

The Iroquois-Matilda Lions president Steve Wilson and Morrisburg and District Lions president, Bob Bechard, were on hand to greet guests.

“The party has gone very well,” Wilson said. “We have over 30 Lions and spouses helping out today.”

“People really seem to look forward to this celebration,” added Bechard. 

“At 1:30 p.m. the Hall was packed even though the party didn’t start until 2 p.m.” 

The presidents praised the committee members who planned the event, including Paul and Ruth Robertson, Keith and Linda Robinson, Brian Erratt, Shirley Pettinger, Evonne Delegarde, Carol Thompson and Earl Wood. Members of the Morrisburg Leos, standing in for Santa’s elves, were lively additions to the party.

Morrisburg Lion Wayne Domanko acted as MC for the party. Judging from the laughter (and one or two groans) he was in fine form with his jokes and commentary.

“This party would not have been possible without a lot of area support,” Bechard said. “McEwens in Morrisburg has been sponsoring us for years, and the Hartford Retirement Centre also supported us. But many businesses and individuals donated food, or time or helped out financially with the celebration. We are very grateful to them all.”

Christmas must be just around the corner: the area Seniors Party is recognized as the unofficial ‘official’ start to the holiday season.


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Seaway Honours Undergrads


 Parents, teachers and fellow students gathered at Seaway District High School on Thursday, November 22, at 7 p.m., to celebrate the undergraduate winners of academic honours last year. Welcomed by principal Terry Gardiner, the recipients were from grade nine to grade 11.

“It was really a wonderful evening,” said Mark Lewis, guidance counsellor at Seaway. “It is always great to honour this school’s finest award winners. The ceremony was very well attended by staff, students, families and the community.”

It is a long standing tradition at Seaway to recognize the efforts of grades 9-11 students in a special assembly in the late fall. 

This year 85 students were presented with awards in all different subject areas, including co-op, by their teachers and administration. The awards are based on highest academic standing in a given subject area. Also presented at the ceremony are special Character Education Awards, from the Upper Canada board, that recognize solid citizenship.


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Saturday is Parade Day

No matter how many times the Morrisburg Santa Claus Parade takes to the streets of this town, no one ever tires of the fun and enjoyment it brings to the hundreds who will line the parade route this Saturday to take in the festivities.

“It’s the same route as it has always been,” says perennial organizer George Davies. It starts at Giant Tiger winds its way through town and ends after the procession has made its way through the Morrisburg Plaza. 

Davies says that people can expect to see about the same things as they do every year. 

As Davies starts to talk about the number of bands, incidentally six this year which is more than usual, the at least four dozen floats he expects to see join the parade at 11 a.m this Saturday, and the van full of costumes, everything from Dora to the Grinch, that will be worn by volunteer walkers during the parade, Davies’ smile widens and his eyes get that sparkle reminiscent of the Jolly Old Elf who always steals the show parade day.

“I always look forward to it,” says Davies of the Morrisburg Santa Parade that he has been organizing for 19 years. “And, I’m already working on next year’s which will be the 20th anniversary.”

Speaking of the Jolly Old Elf, Davies mentions that he has recently spoken to Santa about this Saturday’s parade. 

“He told me, it looks like it’s going to be a real good one again this year,” said Davies. 

Santa also asked Davies to remind everyone that after the parade he will be at the firehall handing out peanut free candy canes, to all those who want to meet him. There will be enough chocolate milk and hotdogs for about 400 kids.

Students from Morrisburg Public School will be collecting donations for the local food bank along the parade route.

“The weather looks just about perfect for a parade,” says Davies, who just like the rest of us, can hardly wait for the big day – parade day!


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Local Diamond Jubilee recipients announced

A handful of South Dundas residents are among the 30 residents of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarrry who will be receiving a special decoration on December 9th.

Monday, SDSG Member of Parliament, Guy Lauzon, announced the names of local community leaders who have been selected as recipients of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

“We were overwhelmed with the response to nominations and the number of worthy candidates for the Medals,” said MP Lauzon. 

“We are so blessed to live in such a great community and country. These individuals have truly made a difference and are excellent examples of leaders and Canadians who make us proud.”

The following SDSG residents were named as recipients: Joan Farlinger, Doug Grenkie, Dr. Graham Houze, Trevor Tolley, Helen Tupper, Sean Adams, Bill Bresee, Pastor Thurland Brown, Jim Brownell, Wayne Burns, Father Bernard Cameron, Shirley Coons, Mamie David, Rose Desnoyers, Barbara Ann Glaude, Ernie Filion, Ken Heagle, Sandy Lalonde, Rachelle Lamond, Gilles Latour, Rick Marvell, Dr. Mary Randlett, Gerald Samson, Josee Sauve, Rick Shaver, Sue Tarle, Theresa Taylor, Karen Torrie-Racine, Sandy Weagant and Miriam Wheeler.

A new commemorative medal was created to mark the 2012 celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. 

The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal is a tangible way for Canada to honour Her Majesty for her service to this country. At the same time, it serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians. A formal ceremony to present the honors will take place on Sunday, December 9th at the St. Andrews Catholic Church in St. Andrew’s West. The event will begin at 1:30 pm and is open to the public to attend.


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Evonik calls out emergency services

Emergency services descended on Evonik Oil Additives Canada Inc. Industries of Morrisburg November 23, not for a real emergency, but for real training, in case of a real emergency. 

“As a Responsible Care® company, this is a good measure that we undertake to protect our employees and our community,” says Carmine Bonacci, Evonik President, Plant manager, of Friday’s training exercise that had local emergency service personnel from the South Dundas fire department, Cornwall and SD&G EMS and the SD&G OPP called to the scene of a ‘fire’ in a storage building. 

Bonacci explained that Evonik regularly takes the lead role in ensuring that the community of South Dundas and its emergency response personnel are prepared to appropriately respond to an emergency at the site industry which manufactures oil additives. “At the end of the day, we need to make sure our people and the community are safe.” 

According to Bonacci, most of the additives manufactured are non-hazardous polymers, but some are hazardous raw materials are used during the manufacturing process. 

Friday’s emergency training exercise had been a few weeks in the planning, but only a handful of the employees who left the building following a 9:30 a.m. fire alarm knew that the fire was simulated. 

The emergency responders however did know that the call was simply a training exercise and their response to the scene was quick, as it would be in a real situation. 

Those staff who did know of the drill were on hand to evaluate the scene for later critique to determine how the situation could be better handled in the case of a real emergency. 

“Here we rehearsed a scenario where there was a fire in a storage building,” explained Chris McDonough, Fire Chief for South Dundas Fire and Emergency Services. “When we arrived on scene, we learned that two people were unaccounted for, so we assume that they are in the building. So, our priority is to search for the victims before we suppress the fire.” 

Upon arrival Chief McDonough also received an update concerning what chemicals were in the building in question, that information would be relayed to a hazardous materials team in Cornwall for evaluation. 

“This is a good exercise for all the emergency services,” said McDonough. About 20 South Dundas firefighters, three paramedics and one OPP officer attended the scene. At the end of the scenario, all had the opportunity to discuss areas for improvement. 

“By doing exercises like this, we find out what we can improve on, and that’s what it’s all about,” said McDonough. “It’s a good exercise for them (Evonik) and it’s a training bonus for us.” 

McDonough would like to see South Dundas Fire and Emergency Services participate in a training exercise like this at different locations in the municipality once every year. 

“It is a costly endeavour,” said McDonough referring to the firefighters need to take time off work and for plant production to shut down during the exercise. “But, it’s worth it, because now, in the case of an emergency, we all know exactly what we need to do.”


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Campaign tops $25,000


So far, over $25,000 has been raised in support of local prostate cancer care, and Tom Clapp, the chair of the Dare to Flash a ‘Stache campaign, and many of the campaign participants are smiling broadly under their now re-growing ‘staches.

“We had no idea what to expect, but people have really supported it,” said Clapp of this first time endeavour. “We are very pleased to say the least.”

South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds is only of one of the many community members participating in the fund raiser.

Byvelds says that the community has responded to his challenge to raise $1,000. As of today he has collected just over $1,800. He adds that maybe $2,000 should be his new fund raising goal. Anyone who wishes to sponsor any of the participants can do so at and Byvelds will also continue to collect donations by contacting him directly.


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Coming changes for popular craft show and sale


Almost 700 people attended the annual Morrisburg and District Arts and Crafts Association show and sale at the Morrisburg Legion over the weekend, a number that pleased the exhibitors and the association alike.

Linda Schenck, the association’s chairperson explained that this was the first year that she kept track of attendance, but said the crowd definitely seemed bigger this year than past years.

The hall was packed with the products of 27 vendors.

“I think everyone enjoyed themselves. I hope everyone knows how much we appreciate everyone who played a part in this great show,” said Schenck. “From the exhibitors who set up such nice displays to the people who showed up and spent their money, to the newspaper for providing such great coverage.”

Next year the show, which has been taking place for more than 30 years, will see a couple of major changes.

It will change from a three day show to a two day show.

“We are eliminating the Friday night,” said Schenck, explaining that a lot of the crafters work, so they find it tough to get set up in time for the Friday night. She hopes that attendance will still remain high over the Saturday and Sunday.

Another major change for next year will be a small admission charge at the door for those attending. “People will be asked to give $1 or to donate a non perishable food item at the door next year,” said Schenck. The sole purpose of this admission will be to allow another charity to benefit from the event.

“The whole point of this event is to help out different organizations in the community,” said Schenck, explaining that this change will enable them to help out the food bank, which helps those in the community in need.

In addition to expanding the charity network of the show, Schenck hopes to expand the event’s social network by creating a Facebook page.