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New Hope for Brave Little Boy

Their deep belief that the future can indeed be brighter for six-year-old Charlie, took the family of Matthew and Kelly DeJong thousands of kilometres around the globe to Quigdao, China, in the early fall of 2011. 

“Charlie has cerebral palsy,” said mother, Kelly DeJong. “However, his long term prognosis at age six was very poor.”

Charlie had no independent functions. He was unable to chew and swallow solid food, which meant that he would probably have to be attached to a feeding tube in the near future. Spastic muscles refused him the ability to sit up independently, walk or speak. He was unable to regulate his circulatory system, suffering extremes of cold and heat. He could not control his eyes well enough to focus on many things. 

“Yet Charlie is a healthy, happy little guy,” his mother said. “We wanted to give him better opportunities. We hoped for any improvement in his quality of life.”

The DeJongs contacted the doctors of the Beike Institute, China, specialists in pioneering stem cell research and treatments. Following intensive medical testing and examinations, the Institute agreed that Charlie was a candidate for treatment. 

Through the year-long efforts of neighbours, family, businesses, service groups (including the Iroquois-Matilda Lions Club) churches and the simple generosity of caring strangers, the family was able to raise the $50,000 needed to pay for the out-of-country treatments.

On July 14, Charlie and his mother, along with cousin Hanke DeJong Thompson, left Ottawa on the first leg of a journey that would take them to Vancouver, then to Hong Kong and finally to Qingdao, mainland China. Father Matthew and siblings Abigail and Thomas joined Charlie and Kelly in China for the final two weeks of the six weeks of treatments.

During those challenging weeks, doctors at the Beike Institute kept Charlie on a series of treatments that would have been tough on an adult, let alone a small boy. 

He received his first two stem cell treatments through IVs, but the next six were delivered through spinal injections, two a week, under general anaesthesia. This was ultimately very hard on him: a decision was made to give his last two injections intravenously. 

He faced intensive deep tissue massage, acupuncture treatments and electric wave therapy every day. 

A foot ball player from Canada, also undergoing spinal cell treatments,  actually refused any further spinal injections after the first. “Later he told us that Charlie was the bravest kid in the hospital,” Kelly said. 

On her second day in China, Kelly slipped on the “beautiful but lethal” granite walkways around the hospital and broke her foot.  

To Charlie’s “mortification, I ended up on the same table as him, getting therapy on my foot as he was receiving it on his arms and legs,” Kelly recalled, laughing. 

The DeJongs learned there are some profound differences between Eastern and Western methods of treatment.

 “In China, symptoms are treated in a very business like manner. Chinese doctors are very passionate about their jobs, but they have little patience with unco-operative or semi traumatized patients. Children are treated like mini adults and expected to behave as such,” Kelly explained. “There are none of the emotional connections, the  compassion between doctor and patient expected in Western medicine. When I broke my foot, essentially I was told to walk it off, to not make a fuss.”

“Yet,” said Matthew DeJong, “the people we met in China would have done anything for us. Patients stay on special floors at the Chengyang People’s Hospital, and translators are with families day and night. These people were always ready to interpret medical information (doctors seldom speak English) to deal with all our concerns and issues. Everyone, even street vendors, offered their help. This is a beautiful country. I think we all left part of our hearts in China.”

Has the family seen changes in Charlie since his return from China?

“Absolutely,” said Kelly. “He is now able to regulate his own body temperature. His muscle control is greatly improved; he is moving his body more easily and he seems to have developed much more stamina. This is incredible in a child who is spastic. He is struggling harder than ever to control the muscles in his mouth. I think he really wants to speak.”

“Charlie could never focus well on anything,” Matthew said. “Since he came home he has been able to focus on television and computer screens, following the action and dialogue and roaring with laughter at the comedies. His ability to pay attention has really improved.”

For Charlie one change that is highly significant is his new ability to chew. 

It first appeared after his fourth stem cell injection. 

For his entire life Charlie has only been able to eat puréed baby foods. His spastic bite reflex would not allow him to control chewing muscles. If he did attempt solid food of any kind, he threw up or choked. 

“I was eating a grilled cheese sandwich one day,” Kelly said. “and he indicated he wanted some. He actually chewed and swallowed some tiny pieces. This was a phenomenal change. I have since been able to introduce lasagna, eggs, hamburgers, things he could never have touched. He chews slowly, but he chews. He has reduced the future need for a feeding tube by 80 per cent with this change.”

The long treatments in China ended on September 8 with a joyous family re-union in Ottawa with grandparents Albert and Reina DeJong and Heather and Dick Hamill. 

“The doctors and staff in China often heard me telling Charlie to ‘keep your head up,’” said Kelly DeJong. “They began calling him ‘Taito’, which in Chinese means Head Up.”

Charlie DeJong is a determined young man, one definitely facing a challenging future with his ‘head up.’


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Around the Township.

Oops! About 32 days left until Christmas. That’s scary, if, like me, you haven’t actually begun shopping. But I mean to get started. Any day now. Really. And speaking of shopping, be sure you check out all the gifts and gift ideas right here in South Dundas. Our local businesses have lots of wonderful products for under the Christmas tree.

All the fun and celebrations of the holiday season are definitely underway as we count down the days to Santa’s visit.

This Saturday, November 26, the Morrisburg & District and the Iroquois-Matilda Lions Clubs are co-hosting the 6th annual South Dundas Senior Christmas Concert at the Matilda Hall in Dixon’s Corners. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. with a concert featuring Ron Whitteker and his band, Good Time Country, providing the entertainment. The event runs at the Hall from 2-4 p.m. and is absolutely free to area seniors. There will be plenty of great food and plenty of fun at the party, and rumours are that a certain Jolly Elf, himself quite a senior, is planning to drop in. For information, or to book free transportation to the Concert, call 613-652-2307 or 613-543-3292.

The Upper Canada Playhouse debuts its annual Christmas production this week as Dear Santa opens at the theatre. Written by popular Canadian playwright Norm Foster, Dear Santa is a show full of laughter, music and dance, just made for the whole family. With Doug Tangney in the role of Santa, (who has just discovered several major North Pole crises three days to Christmas!), this will be a real holiday treat. By the way, 30 local children are in the choir in the show. Don’t miss it.

Another must see holiday special coming on December 4, at 7 p.m., is a dramatic reading of Charles Dickens’ beloved classic, A Christmas Carol. Lakeshore Drive United Church Outreach Program in collaboration with Upper Canada Playhouse is staging the holiday classic at the Church. It will feature five performers in traditional Victorian costumes, as well as wonderful music and refreshments. The funds raised will go to purchase new cardiac monitors for Winchester District Memorial Hospital. Pick up tickets at area Scotiabanks.

Don’t forget, Santa is planning to make his annual visit to Morrisburg on December 3, and he’s bringing floats, bands, elves, candy and a whole lot of fun with him. The Santa Claus parade is just two weeks away. What better way to celebrate this delightful season of joy and giving.

Speaking of giving, the South Dundas Christmas Exchange is counting on friends and neighbours to make this the best Christmas ever for many families in our area. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had a delicious dinner on Christmas Day? (If you are a South Dundas resident who needs a Christmas dinner basket this year, contact 613-543-2005 until November 26.) 

Please think about donating some money or some gifts or some time to one of the many good charities in need of help this holiday season.

And on a bit of a sour note, we have just learned that computer scammers have been bilking some local people.

If you receive a phone call from some one claiming that there’s a problem with your computer, it may be part of a scam to get your credit card number. Computers with either Microsoft or Windows programs are being targeted in this area. If this phone number comes up, 1-888-495-8501, on your phone display, when you receive a call, be warned. This is a scammer. Immediately contact who are equipped to back trace the phoney company.  

There will be a full story on this scam in next week’s Leader.

Meanwhile, celebrate. Christmas is coming.



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Novice B win B championship

The South Dundas “River Rats Treasures” Novice B Lions capped off a winning weekend by downing the Kemptville Panthers 3-2 here Sunday, after winning the “B” Championship at a Gananoque tournament on Saturday.

The Lions participated in a 10 team, Novice tournament on Saturday, in Gananoque, and made it to the “B” final against their division rival Brockville #2 Braves. 

The Lions jumped on their opportunities in the first few minutes of the game grabbing a 3-0 lead on goals by Kayne McCadden and Ben Lapier.

 Kolby Latulippe sent McCadden away twice on right wing breakaways, and both times be beat the goalie over the glove to the top corner. 

Ben Lapier followed that up with a rush of his own and scored to give the Lions a 3-0 lead three minutes into the game.

In the second period, the Lions got into some penalty troubles and on back to back power plays, Brockville’s Rhys Gibbons was able to beat Lions goalie Brendan Shaver to cut the lead to 3-2.

After another Brockville rush, Lion’s defensemen Emytt Fetterly made a clearing pass to Joshua Broad who beat the Braves defensemen and made a short pass to Ben Lapier who broke in on the Braves goalie and netted his second of the game.

The Braves responded with another Gibbons goal to cut the lead to 4-3, but the Lions Kayne McCadden put the game away with 1:37 left netting his third to give the Lion’s the “B” Championship.

The Lion’s  missed out on making it to the “A” final by just three goals in round robin play. 

In their opening game, they came up against a really good team in Port Hope, and they needed outstanding goaltending from Brendan Shaver to give them a chance to squeak out a 2-2 tie.

With Shaver on the bench for an extra attacker, Kayne McCadden intercepted a Port Hope clearing pass and quickly moved the puck to Ben Lapier who scored the tying goal with 27 second left. Lapier had scored earlier off a scramble with Joshua Broad providing the assist.

In their other round robin game, the Lion defeated a Kingston Novice Select Team, 9-2. Early on it was a battle just to get a lead as Kingston grabbed a 2-1 advantage, but the Lions would not be denied, as they battled hard to the win. 

Scoring highlights: Nolan Henry with one goal and two assists and Joshua Broad with five assists; Kayne McCadden had two goals and assists went to all the defense crew-Spencer Barclay, Trent Rae, Cassidy Bilmer and Emytt Fetterly; Ben Lapier was the offensive machine with six goals.

In league play Sunday afternoon, the Lions battled the west Division Leading Kemptville #3 Panthers and needed a third period goal from Kolby Latulippe to break up the 2-2 tie for a 3-2 win. 

The Panthers pressed in the final minute with their goalie on the bench for an extra attacker and the Lion’s killing a penalty, but they were unable to get a shot through to the net.

The Lions had the lead twice at 1-0 and 2-1 on goals by Ben Lapier, the first assisted by Owen Fetterly.

In the second period, Broad who was fore checking on the left wing got the puck and made a pass to Lapier near the goal line. Lapier attempted a pass to Fetterly in the slot, but the puck deflected off two Panther players into their own net.

With the game tied at two, McCadden grabbed a loose puck near the Panthers blue line and circled into the slot where he let a wrist shot go that was saved. However, Kolby Latulippe was “johnny on the spot” to knock the rebound into the net.

The South Dundas “River Rats Treasures” Novice B Lions next home game is Sunday, November 27th at 1 p.m. Local hockey fans are invited to come out and cheer on the Lions.


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Architects have been hired

The former Morrisburg Collegiate Institute will soon be getting a new lease on life.

South Dundas CAO Stephen McDonald put forth three recommendations in reference to the old high school at the November 15th council meeting.

He began, saying, “I’m actually quite pleased to be presenting this report tonight. The process has been quite long and at the same time it’s allowed for lots of time for input from the clinic and the public.”

He recommended that council approve “the intended uses as illustrated in the conceptual floor plans” for the clinic and for the municipality.

The second recommendation asked that “the Mayor and the Clerk be authorized to execute an agreement with Colbourne & Kembel, Architects Inc. (CKAI)for the provision of Architect’s Services.”

McDonald’s third and final recommendation asked that the “CAO be directed to investigate and report to Council on the options available for financing this project both during and after the construction.”

He told council that CKAI “were retained by the Project Managers earlier this year to provide design development including concept building elevations and preliminary floor plans. They  have submitted a proposal to provide architectural services for the remaining phases of the project, utilizing the services of Eastern Engineering Group Inc. for engineering services. Our experience with CKAI to date has been positive as has been our past experience with Eastern Engineering and we have no hesitation in recommending that they continue with this project.”

“The True North Group estimated the cost to renovate the existing building for the proposed uses to be $2,572,470,” he reported.

McDonald believes it may be possible to “bring that number down to somewhere between one and a half to two million dollars.”

He also told council, “the total cost of architectural work is eight per cent of the contract.”

He suggested that “completion and turnover” of the project is expected by the end of July.

Mayor Steven Byvelds said he “thinks the partnership we’re going to have with the St. Lawrence Medical Clinic makes it well worth it.”

He believes South Dundas will be “a more efficient municipality for it.”

“I’m looking forward to watching this project progress,” he said.


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Watch your speed

I’ve been accused of being “heavy-footed” when it comes to the gas pedal in my trusty little car. 

After all, it’s so very easy to let that speedometer needle creep up, to come to that perfect rolling stop at a rural sign, to convince yourself that arriving at your destination 4.5 seconds sooner really justifies that extra 20 kph over the limit. 

I’ve never received a ticket; I may have deserved one.

If you are an habitual speeder, however, you’d be advised to rethink that habit next time you travel through Williamsburg on County Road 31. Apparently, according to OPP Constable Lalonde ( the Standard-Freeholder, Nov. 11, 2011) Williamsburg has one of the highest rates of speeding in SD&G. A recent traffic survey indicates that the “prevailing speed through Williamsburg is between 60-70 kph even though the (clearly posted) maximum speed is 50 kph.” 

This is dangerous and reckless driving in the heart of a small town and it has to stop.

That is the view of the County Roads Department, the OPP, the Township of South Dundas and a number of community members. It is also the view of the council for the United Counties of SD&G.       

The council has decided to establish its first Community Safety Zone on County Road 31. Under the Highway Traffic Act, this designation allows the OPP to double the fines for anyone, day or night, 365 days a year, who speeds through the community of Williamsburg.  It means that going 20 kph over the speed limit will result in a fine, not of $95, as it currently is, but rather of $180. The higher your speed, the more the fine doubles. 

The Safety Zone designation comes into effect the moment new signs indicating the change are put in place; within three weeks according to the council press release. 

The highway is very close to homes in Williamsburg; there are hard to see intersections cutting across the road (despite flashing lights); pedestrians are difficult to spot at all times.

So slow down. Speeding in Williamsburg won’t be cheap.


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Junior B Lions fall short in must-win weekend

The Morrisburg Junior B Lions got off to a bad start in their weekend St. Lawrence Division action Friday night against the CharLan Rebels, and then, just barely managed to cross the finish line ahead of the Akwesasne Wolves on Sunday.

Friday night the Lions lost 7-3 to the Rebels in front of their hometown fans. Sunday they eked out a 5-4 win against the Wolves after giving up a 5-0 lead held early in the second period.

“Friday night was our biggest game of the year, and we just didn’t respond,” said coach Thom Racine. “CharLan has had their team together since the start of the year and the fact that they are all on the ice to practice makes a big difference. They were able to show us what hard work is. That combined with our inability to convert a goal was the difference.”

Friday night in Morrisburg, the Rebels went up 2-0 in the first period. The Lions charged back to win the second period 3-2, but that would be it.

The Rebels beat Lions’ goaltender Mikael Dion for another three in the third for the 7-3 win.

Patrick Bzdyl, with help from Michael Poapst and Brayden Girard, put the Lions on the scoreboard at 1:21 of the second.

That was followed by a pair of Rebel tallies that gave them a 4-1 edge. The Lions charged back for another two to end the second period down 4-3.

Lance Hodgson got it started at 15:57 with Taylor Wilson and Marc Antoine Kamel providing the assists. Then it was over to Alex Steingruber at 17:35 for what would end up being the Lions final counter.

Ryan Ward and Clarke Veenstra provided the set up on the Steingruber marker.

The Rebels counted one power play marker in four opportunities while the Lions were zero for three.

Sunday, the Lions were on Cornwall Island where they quickly took command of the game against the Akwesasne Wolves. 

They went up 4-0 in the first period on goals by Kamel (from Brayden Girard), Michael Poapst (short-handed from Kamel), Steingruber (from Ward and Paquette) and Clarke Veenstra, (unassisted).

Their power play, just over a minute into the second period pushed them to a 5-0 advantage with Matt Ouimet finding the net and Kamel and Bzdyl providing the help.

“We needed a win to keep pace with the Rebels,” said Racine. “The first period was good. We had a 4-0 lead in the first period, but we got in there and got fat.”

“After 20 minutes of play, the dressing room was light. You figure you got the game won.”

“But you have to respect the other team. Ryan (Winter) is one of those coaches with a never say ‘die’ attitude. They just weren’t going to quit.”

And indeed they didn’t as they got it started with 1:58 left on the second period clock with a goal from Matthew Bouroassa.

Then in the third period the Wolves took charge for three goals, the first on their power play from Pat Gendron, the second from Keith Sloan with 6:34 left and the fourth, which had them nipping at the Lions’ heels, from Ryan Leckie with 1:58 left on the game clock.

“A credit to the kids though, in the last  minute, the Wolves had their goalie out and they were never in our zone.”

That allowed the Lions to hold on for the 5-4 win, their  sixth of the season which, combined with the loss Friday night leaves them tied with the Rebels for the St. Lawrence Division’s fourth spot.

Coming up this Friday night, November 25, the Lions travel to Winchester to take on the first place Hawks at 8:15 p.m. Sunday they are on the road to Cardinal for a 2:30 p.m. match against the Rideau Division’s fourth place South Grenville Rangers.


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Students welcome Spartacat

The student body at Iroquois Public School reaped the rewards of Mary Wilson’s grade 3-4 class reading skills last Wednesday, when, the Ottawa Senators Spartacat stopped in at the school for a visit.

Registered by their teacher in the Sens at School Program, the students read 10 minutes per night, and when they were done they had amassed 5,100 minutes of reading.

Their effort was rewarded when they were notified that they had won a school visit from Spartacat.

It was a big day at the school, with excitement running at fever pitch in anticipation of the special visitor who would first participate in a school assembly and then visit the grade 3-4s in their classroom.

In the gym, Sparty and Emily Knight who is the coordinator, Fan & Community Development for the Ottawa Senators and Scotiabank Place, led the students in a number of activities and games  all geared towards reading, with a  little hockey trivia thrown in.

“It was really fun,” said Wilson following the assembly “This has been a huge boost for these kids. Today they were really wired. They must have asked me 1,500 times ‘when is he coming’.”

It was an extra big day for the grade 3-4s when they were presented two tickets per student to the Sens’ Sunday night game against the Carolina Hurricanes, a reward given to only one (lucky) winning class per month.


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Morrisburg Legion News

Another stirring Remembrance Day at Branch #48. Fraser Hall was filled with wreaths, crosses and people. Morrisburg and area does remember. The walls were decorated with many entries in the poster campaign. Thank you to our Ladies Auxiliary for the delicious lunch.

Business arising from the meetings on the 7th and 9th involved donations to the Santa Claus Parade in the amount of $500, a $200 donation to Camp Sheldrick, $100 to the War Museum and $500 for a new memorial being build at R.C.A.F. base Trenton. This memorial will honour the veterans from the Afghanistan conflict. There were several other business items which will be covered at a later date. 

On November 16, the Ladies Auxiliary will cater the Canadian Club dinner. Bingo resumes on November 17 and from November 18-20, Fraser Hall will be filled with the crafts from the Morrisburg and District Show. 

November 25 will once again be barbecue night and on November 26, Zone cribbage will take place with 160 guests expected. There is one Saturday left open in Fraser Hall before Christmas.

There will be a New Year’s party at Branch #48. More details on that later. 

On a sadder note, Branch #48 offers our sympathy to the family of Ladies Auxiliary member Elva Baker. Yes, we do remember.


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Signs, signs, everywhere signs


Does South Dundas have too many traffic signs or not enough?

At the November 1st council meeting, Deputy Mayor Jim Locke introduced an issue with traffic signs in South Dundas.

“It’s been brought to my attention there are a couple of roads that don’t have any signage.”

“I’ve been looking around,” Locke continued, “I think we need to address our signage policy.”

“We have a number of intersections without any signage. We have more yield signs than I realized.”

Hugh Garlough, Manager of Public Works, spoke up saying, “I don’t think we have a signage policy as such. We can’t just put a yield sign up without a by-law. If we change a yield to a stop, we have to have a by-law.”

“I can look at the whole situation,” he offered.

“I have a map that shows all those yield and stop signs,” Garlough continued, “We’ve gone through that process.”

Mayor Steven Byvelds weighed in saying he’d like staff to come back with some sort of report on how much it would cost to have a thorough review of all our intersections.

“I’d like to hear what the villages think,” he added.

Garlough said, “I’d like to get a comment from Brenda (Brunt, Clerk) and the insurance people about taking stop signs away where they’re used to having them.”

“We don’t want to be pounding a post in and hit a Bell line or a gas line,” he added.

Byvelds thought that staff should “at least look at it.”

In the end, it was decided that the issue would be added to unfinished business as it doesn’t need to be done immediately.


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Police issue safety reminders


On November 4th the SD&G OPP sent out the following reminders:

Road Condition Enquiries

With winter related driving conditions approaching and for your safety, SD&G OPP is reminding the public not to call OPP Communication Centres for road conditions and closures.  These calls tie up emergency lines.

This is a time of year when the weather directly affects driving and road conditions, resulting in a significantly larger volume of callers reporting motor vehicle collisions to the Communication Centres.  These are emergency calls.

At the same time, OPP Communication Centres are being swamped with phone calls from people looking for general road condition information.  OPP Communication Centre call takers have reported that some people are even dialling the 9-1-1 emergency only number to obtain information about road conditions.  The public is reminded that these phone numbers are not intended for this use.

The public is asked to call the Ministry of Transportation province-wide toll-free inquiry line at 1-800-268-4686 to obtain information about road conditions and closures.  You can also visit their website at

Furthermore, cooler temperatures cause frost to form on vehicle windows. Please ensure your vehicle is fully defrosted (and clear of snow if the case) prior to departure for your destination. Driving while looking through a small opening on the windshield is not only dangerous, it’s against the law (Section 74-Highway Traffic Act-No clear view=$110.00 fine).

Safety on our roadways is everyone’s responsibility…be ready this coming winter!

Drivers: Watch for Wildlife

SD&G OPP wish to remind motorists of the dangers of wildlife on roadways this time of year. More movement in the deer population results in the creatures being near and crossing roadways in rural areas. 

Following simple driving techniques will reduce the chance of being involved in a collision.

Be extra vigilant during morning (dawn) and evening (dusk) commutes as visibility is reduced and wildlife are more active. Reduce your speed accordingly.

Be aware of signage in areas known for deer crossing. Deer seldom run alone, if you see one, chances are there will be more.

When safe to do so, use high beams when driving at night and scan the ditch area.

If you need to avoid deer on roadways, do not swerve, brake firmly and stay in your lane so as not to lose control of your vehicle.

If you are in a collision with a deer, report same to police.

By being a safe and cautious driver, fewer collisions occur, resulting in a reduction of injuries and lives saved.

Hunter Safety

With the hunting season upon us, SD&G OPP, in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) wish to remind those engaged in the popular pastime to exercise caution. 

Proper handling of firearms and ensuring safety should be a main priority. Hunters should follow rules and regulations pertaining to current legislation and be respectful of property owners in getting approval to hunt on their land.

It is everyone’s responsibility to practice safety and report any incidents observed. SD&G OPP and MNR officers will be out conducting joint patrol.