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Hall will rise from the ashes

 

It was a sad day on October 7th when the Dunbar Recreation Hall was devastated by fire.

With sighs of relief and several shout-outs of “thank you,” the South Dundas council decided on December 6th that the hall will be rebuilt.

Until that meeting, local residents had been very concerned about the fate of the former hall. So much so, in fact, that they came out in droves to the December 6th council meeting to hear the council’s verdict. 

Clerk Brenda Brunt recommended to council that they choose one of four options to determine the fate of the former hall. The first option was also the only one that allowed for the hall to be rebuilt on the same spot.

Deputy-Mayor Jim Locke quickly chose option one saying, “prior to the fire the building was not slated to close. We have full replacement cost insurance. We have a committed community group. I believe it’s an asset in that part of the township.”

Councillor Evonne Delegarde suggested council consider option two, “use the depreciated value of the building and put towards an existing building.”

Delegarde pointed out that while the building hadn’t been slated to close, it was also not being used very much. She suggested that the township building in Williamsburg would be available in the near future and could possibly become a replacement for the lost hall.

Councillor Archie Mellan, choosing option one, said, “these little communities make South Dundas great. They rally around their communities. They rally around South Dundas, and I think we should rally around them.”

Mayor Steven Byvelds also chose option one, pointing out that “it gives us our asset back and it is covered by insurance.”

He also pointed out that the well and the sewer on the site would need to be investigated. Should either require a lot of work and financing to bring to code, then “we’d have to come back to this because that could change things.”

However, at this time, Byvelds wanted to make it clear to the inhabitants of the hall’s community that “they are part of South Dundas, not part of Chesterville, and we want them to know they’re part of South Dundas.”

He concluded: “let’s take the opportunity and rebuild it.”

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Docksyde will return in 2012

 

Many residents of South Dundas and many visitors from outside the township have all had the chance to enjoy a yummy snack while visiting Morrisburg’s waterfront.

The Docksyde, a canteen offering both hot and cold items, will once again be in operation for visitors to the waterfront in the summer of 2012.

The Morrisburg and District Lions Club have been leasing the land space for their canteen since 2004. At the time, South Dundas council approved the request provided the Lions Club take responsibility for all costs associated with the request, including water and sewer.

The lease was extended for a second three-year period in 2007. On November 3rd of this year, Lions Club President Bob Bechard sent council a letter requesting permission to extend the lease to include the 2012 season. In addition, he requested permission to lay brickwork under the tent where the picnic tables are located. 

Council members, at the December 6th council meeting, debated the issue of laying bricks, but in the end decided in favour of the request. 

It looks like residents and visitors can, once again, enjoy the flavours of the Docksyde for another summer.

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Ontario Power Generation gives to food bank

 

Ontario Power Generation Gives to Food Bank
On November 23rd, Linda Halliday, Public Affairs Officer of the Ontario Power Generation (OPG), met with Brenda Millard, Chair for the Dundas County Food Bank (DCFB), at their Morrisburg location. DCFB is one of many food banks that have received a $500 donation from OPG this season. According to Halliday, OPG gives to every food bank “everywhere in the province where we have generation.” If OPG has a nuclear thermal or a hydro electric generation in the area, then all local food banks will receive a $500 donation this year. Millard said the donations being received by DCFB from now through to December “helps us finance the winter. We depend on that support at the end of the year.” 

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Having a baby? WDMH is the place to be

 

 “We provide a service beyond what you expect,” said Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH) CEO, Cholly Boland.

On November 17th, WDMH hosted a Coffee and Conversation period with the press to talk about the hospital’s obstetrics program.

Susan Castle, Clinical Manager of Medical/Surgical and Obstetrics at WDMH told reporters: “We’re classified as a Level One hospital. Any really sick moms or babes have to go to Ottawa. To go up a level, we’d need a nursery, which we don’t have.” 

In terms of what WDMH offers, she said, “we have three female obstetricians. We have six midwives. We offer anesthesia service – epidurals. We take the pain situation very seriously here.” 

“We give mom options,” Castle continued. “Patients can choose what they feel comfortable with.”

“We have four birthing rooms and eight postpartum rooms.”

Boland interjected, saying “we have birthing rooms that are home-like, not like a hospital room.”

Continuing, he said, “maternity is right next door to surgery if a cesarean section is required.”

Dr. Ejibonmi Adetola, Chief of Obstetrics at WDMH since March 2011, says the “cesarean section rate is about 22 per cent.”

“You don’t find a lot of Level One hospitals with three obstetricians with a 24 hour service.”

“That’s what draws the women to us. It’s the word of mouth,” continued Dr. Adetola. “It is really nice here. Nurses are really dedicated.”

Castle agreed, saying, “we have a stable non-turnover group of nurses who take pride in their work.”

She explained that the nurses are specially trained to work in the obstetrics unit, adding, “I have nurses coming from Ottawa applying here, which is great because they’re highly experienced.”

“Our postpartum service is open 24/7 as of November 1st,” said Castle. Here, she continued, “RNs are specifically trained to work with mom now that she’s delivered.”

According to Boland, there were approximately 200 births at WDMH in 2006.

Castle said there have been approximately 400 births per year since 2006 and this year, in 2011, the total is approximately 600 births.

According to Dr. Adetola, “patients come from all over Ottawa, from as far as Brockville and Cornwall, as well as all the neighbouring towns. People come from everywhere.” 

Boland emphasized, “we have this expert surgical coverage. People need to understand it can happen in a community this size.”

Having a baby at WDMH is “a safe experience, a comfortable experience, it’s a small town home experience,” said Boland.

According to Castle, “everybody gets a knitted hat,” thanks to volunteers and to the WDMH Foundation,  

The Foundation also offers parents, grandparents, friends or neighbours the opportunity to purchase a “shiny red wooden apple with baby’s picture, name and birth date on it” for a minimum of $60 in celebration of the hospital’s 60th anniversary. The apple is hung on the apple tree wall in the obstetrics unit for one year. On baby’s first birthday the apple is returned home as a keepsake.

Money raised through the apple program “will help the hospital grow, supporting equipment purchases to enhance the excellent care programs for your friends and family.”

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Just in time for Christmas

 

Ron Patterson of Cardinal was the lucky winner of the $1,000 Christmas Draw sponsored by the Iroquois Matilda Lions Club. The balance of the proceeds will go to the club’s charities, which include the Dundas County Food Bank and the Christmas Exchange. 

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Teens focused on their future

 

Are high school graduates ready for the next step?

The principals and teachers at Seaway District High School are doing everything they can to ensure the answer to that question is a resounding “yes!”

Seaway is just one of many schools taking part in the new Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program introduced by the Ontario government. Each student graduating from the program will get an SHSM seal on their diploma.

According to Principal Terry Gardiner, SHSM “engages students and gives them a purpose.”

He went on to say, “I feel it’s my job to set  people up to meet their potential and have something meaningful after their high school experience.”

The SHSM program allows students to focus on a career path that matches their skills and interests. At the same time, they’re able to meet the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

Students who take part in the SHSM program gain important skills on the job. They also earn industry certifications like standard first aid and CPR.

The SHSM program consists of specialized sectors. Most schools choose one sector of specialty. They are: arts and culture; aviation and aerospace; business; construction; energy; environment; forestry; health and wellness; horticulture and landscaping; hospitality and tourism; information and communications technology; justice, community safety, and emergency services; manufacturing; mining; non-profit; sports; and transportation.

Seaway’s specialized sector is agriculture. There are career options for students choosing a path to apprenticeship; to college; to university; or, straight to the workplace. Regardless of the path chosen, there are many possibilities for a rewarding career.

According to Gardiner, Seaway has “eight students on track to graduate with the seal this year.”

In addition, in September he said there were 18 grade 11 students signing up. He pointed out that the program begins in the 11th grade for those who are interested.

With the SHSM program, students are  “allowed to be part of experiential learning.”

“They do better in school,” he continued. Also, “students with learning disabilities do better.”

Gardiner credits the success of the SHSM program to the fact that students can see the relevance of what they’re doing. They’re engaged and can see a purpose for their hard work.

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Callers ‘love’ 211 helpline

 

Media Release – Nov 23, 2011

SD&G – 211, the information helpline for Ontario’s community and social services, won a coveted award for highest customer satisfaction from SQM Group. 

With a 92% satisfaction level, 211 achieved the highest ranking for any call centre in the government industry. SQM benchmarks over 450 leading North American call centres.

“This award represents good news for 211 and our callers,” said Bill Morris, Executive Director, Ontario 211 Services Corporation. 

“We’re proud to have been able to maintain our high standards of quality even as we expanded the reach of 211 province-wide. And, we are very pleased 211 was able to help so many callers address their needs with one call.”

211 is currently available to 94% of Ontarians. The goal of reaching all Ontario residents will be met in the coming weeks through launches in Cochrane, Temiskaming, Nipissing, Sudbury, Lambton, Elgin, Prescott and Russell.

“211 represents an exceptional partnership by Ontario’s United Ways, municipalities, community data contributors, the Government of Ontario and Canada to work together,” said Morris. 

“Recently an agency in London secretly tested 211 on behalf of the London Free Press. I really can’t say it better than to quote the editorial headline, “In helping the public, 211 service hits a home run.”

By connecting callers with the right community and social services, 211 prevents problems from spiralling into a crisis. 211’s information and referral specialists answered more than 560,000 calls in 2010. 

They have access to information on more than 56,000 agencies, programs and services across Ontario. 211’s free, anonymous and confidential helpline is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and is available in more than 150 languages. 

In the five months that 211 has launched in SD&G and Cornwall the service has received just over 700 calls says Karen Turchetto, executive director of United Way of S.D. & G.

Ontario 211 Services Corporation is a non-profit supported by the Province of Ontario, individual municipalities, local Ontario United Ways, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Dial 211 or search www.211ontario.ca to find the right community and social services.

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Apprenticeship system issues

 

Media Release – Nov 30, 2011

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario is currently facing the paradox of having high unemployment at the same time as a growing shortage of skilled trades workers. 

Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak said today that modernizing Ontario’s apprenticeship system is a practical solution that will help fix both problems by creating 200,000 new skilled trades jobs.

Ontario is losing 100 private-sector jobs every hour, contributing to a jobless rate that has remained above the national average for almost five years. 

At the same time, Ontario’s shortage of skilled trades workers – from ironworkers to electricians to plumbers – is reaching an alarming level, and is expected to top one million vacancies within a decade.

The issue is Dalton McGuinty’s refusal to modernize an outdated apprenticeship system that requires businesses to employ three, four or even five journeymen to train a single apprentice – a more restrictive ratio than almost all other provinces in Canada.

Hudak renewed his call today to reduce the ratio of journeymen to apprentices 1-to-1. Reducing the ratio frees up more journeymen to train more apprentices.  Those apprentices eventually become journeymen themselves and train apprentices of their own – creating a job creation cycle that would see 200,000 new skilled tradesmen on the job in just four years.

“Yesterday, over 50 apprenticeship students attended Queen’s Park, relating their problems in completing their programs, due to the 3:1 ratios.  In fact, during the session, every one of them identified a classmate that had to move to Western Canada to finish their program.  We need action now by this Liberal government to fix this ratio issue, address the huge shortage of trades people that is forecasted over the next 5 years and to create 200,000 new, high paying skilled jobs.”

–Jim McDonell, MPP

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Old Home Week returns in 2015

 

Almost everyone has heard the famous saying: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” 

In the case of Morrisburg’s Old Home Week, the organizing committee is hoping the “proverb” is true. The next Old Home Week will be held in 2015.

The organizing committee met on November 21st and unanimously decided, after months of discussion, that the week-long event should run every five years.

The group brought the event back-to-life in 2010 for the town’s 150th Anniversary. Prior to that, Chuck Irvine, a representative for the group, said Old Home Week hadn’t been in existence in Morrisburg for almost 30 years.

Originally the group, which has about 15 active members, hadn’t intended the event to be a yearly undertaking. However, due to the success and the feedback after the 2010 festivities, the group decided to bring it back once again in 2011.

According to Irvine, funding for the event was made simple with the outstanding support of everyone from local businesses, to neighbours, and even to South Dundas council.

“The community support was unbelievable,” he said.

The group will still be holding their popular Jukebox Trivia Event and Motorcycle Rally in 2012. In addition, Irvine says they “hope to participate in the parade again for the Tubies.”

What it comes down to: Old Home Week “would be a better event every five years than it would be every year.”

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Specialized hearing services at WDMH

 

News Release – Dec 5, 2011

WILLIAMSBURG – Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH) is pleased to welcome Robillard Hearing Centre, as one of our newest healthcare partners providing care close to home.

“Patients told us that we should offer a clinic at WDMH,” explains Sophie Robillard, a board-certified hearing aid specialist who leads the clinic. “Hearing needs are increasing and we’re pleased to be here to respond to local communities.”

“We are happy to have Robillard on-site offering specialized hearing services,” adds Cholly Boland, WDMH CEO. “Our goal is to bring together services that our local communities need and hearing support is definitely one of them.”

Robillard Hearing Centres are family owned and operated and have been serving the Eastern Ontario region for more than 50 years. Qualified hearing healthcare professionals evaluate hearing issues and provide remedial recommendations to family doctors for hearing instruments, assistive hearing devices. They can also fill any hearing instrument prescription.

The clinic is offered on Wednesdays and is located in the Dillabough Building. To make an appointment, please call 1-877-498-3301 or visit www.hearingisbelieving.com

If you would like to provide comments or suggestions about hospital services, contact Cholly Boland, President and CEO, Winchester District Memorial Hospital at 613.774.1049 or by email at cboland@wdmh.on.ca.

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