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OPP needs your help

SD&G OPP need the public’s help in identifying the driver of a motorcycle that was involved in two incidents over the long weekend.

The motorcycle was observed travelling at very high rates of speed and passing other motorists in a dangerous manner on County Road 31, Dundas Township.

The motorcycle is described as a Blue & White “Ninja” type bike with a front fairing.

The operator is described as wearing a full leather suit with matching colors.

It’s everyone’s responsibly to help keep our roadways safe, if you observe an aggressive driver please call your local OPP detachment.

Anyone with information is asked to call SD&G OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


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Iroquois & District celebrates the McIntosh Apple

What better way to honour the 200th anniversary of the McIntosh apple than to hold a major festival?

The Iroquois & District Celebration Festival Committee, chaired by Candace Menges, has organized a fun-filled, exciting all day Apple Festival in Iroquois in honour of the famous McIntosh apple on Saturday, September 17. Working in conjunction with Sandra Beckstead of Smyth’s  Apple Orchard, organizers have seen to it that there are events, crafts, contests, entertainment, vendors, food, tours and historical displays that will tie into the heritage of the McIntosh apple.

“The Dundela McIntosh apple is the parent to all McIntosh apple varieties throughout the entire world, and also to many other apple varieties like the Cortland, which has the McIntosh as one of its parents,” said Sandra Beckstead of Smyth’s Apple Orchard. “We are very excited that there is going to be a big celebration of the McIntosh this weekend.”

This 200th anniversary of the McIntosh has been recognized nationally.

“The Apple Commission held a celebration in honour of the McIntosh at the Harbour Castle in Toronto,” Beckstead said. “We have also received congratulations from Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty and prime minister Stephen Harper.”

Sadly, the last known first-generation tree grown from a graft of the original McIntosh apple tree died this summer and had to be cut down.

However, twigs were cut from the tree and have been grafted to root stock at Upper Canada Village. Three seedlings have survived. Sandra Beckstead remains very hopeful the original strain can be preserved.

The Iroquois Apple Festival  September 17 promises to be a great day for everyone.

“We are trying to revive summer festivals here in Iroquois,” said Candace Menges. “We wanted to bring our community back together for a new celebration.

Our committee of volunteers came up with the idea of celebrating the 200th anniversary of the McIntosh.”

Events run all day long with the farmers’ market opening at 8 a.m. on Saturday. There will be numerous vendors and sidewalk sales as well as plenty of food, entertainment and activities.

Most major events will be free.

“We have a visitors’ centre set up in the former Little Rikki’s restaurant in the plaza,” Menges said. “Smyth’s has set up an historic display there about the McIntosh with trivia sheets. People can also catch a shuttle there to the orchard for a tour. We will be registering pies and desserts, the baby contest and offering kids games and crafts at the centre.”

Petting zoos, pony rides, Tribeck Inflatables, face painting and plenty of contests will be the order of the day.

“We have the Howard sisters singing during our opening ceremonies, and the local band Landmark performing starting at 11 a.m.

We do ask people to come with their own lawn chairs.”

Iroquois Lawn Bowling is sponsoring the lunch barbecue. Apple bingo will be held at the Iroquois Legion, followed by a steak barbecue (tickets available at the Legion) with DJ Dave Farcey providing evening entertainment.

“We hope everyone will join us at the Apple Festival in Iroquois and revive community spirit,” Menges said. “We are excited to be part of the celebration of the famous McIntosh apple.”


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Solar PV Sytem in South Dundas

Jane and Robert Sachs opened their backyard to the South Dundas Chamber of Commerce, local politicians and the press on September 8th.

The Sachs hired Joey van Koppen, owner of We Can Contracting, to install a new solar unit in their backyard.

Sanyo, one option for solar panels, explains: “In Photovoltaics, the sun’s radiation energy is transformed into electric energy. This is accomplished by means of solar cells.”

“Photovoltaic systems have a power inverter or AC inverter. The inverter converts the direct current generated by the cells into alternating current, which can then be used for household purposes or to be fed into the public electricity grid.”

Robert Sachs, who has a wind turbine in the backyard as well as a solar hot water heater, explained: “we always wanted solar.”

He went on to say that the couple had been contemplating solar for quite some time, but hadn’t been enthusiastic about the roof unit options.

“What really sold me (on this Sovello unit) was that this is 60 per cent Canadian,” said Jane Sachs.

She went on to explain that solar power had been a dream of her father’s for quite some time. The Sachs’s solar unit is dedicated to Jane’s parents, Karl and Anna Gross.

The Ontario Power Authority’s (OPA) microFit Program is receiving a lot of credit for the increase in Solar PV systems.

From the OPA’s microFit Program Overview: “If you are a homeowner, farmer or small business owner, or if you manage an institution such as a school or place of worship, you have the opportunity to develop a very small or “micro” renewable electricity generation project – of 10 kilowatts or less in size – on your property.”

“You’ll be paid for all the electricity you produce through the microFit Program.”

Also, in the OPA’s overview document: “The microFit Program is a stream of OPA’s Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) Program for renewable energy in Ontario. It is intended to encourage the development of “microscale” renewable energy projects across the province.”

“Owners of these projects will be paid a fixed price for the electricity they produce.”

Sachs has a 20 year contract with OPA for the fixed amount of 64 cents per unit. The system is set up as a business, Jane’s Solar Farm, which comes with tax benefits.

Those who contracted for a system prior to July of last year receive 80 cents per unit regardless of whether they have a ground or a roof system. Today, roof units receive 80 cents per unit while ground units will receive 64 cents per unit.

The unit became operational July 27th and the Sachs received their first receipt from hydro last week for approximately $1,000.

In response to whether there is a wait before receiving the first receipt from hydro, Jane Sachs said, “It’s a matter of doing the paperwork properly.” She also credited van Koppen for his help with paperwork as well as with being an intermediary for the Sachs with hydro and the government.

According to Sachs, the payment system works one month behind – a receipt stating how much was earned will come at the end of a month and the direct deposit will come the following month.

The 10 kilowatt unit installed in the Sachs backyard, according to van Koppen,  gives “the best return on investment for the size and cost of the unit.”

A unit similar to the one the Sachs had installed will cost approximately $75,000. According to Robert Sachs, the return on investment with a solar panel far outweighs any other investment options available.

The Sachs should see a return on their investment within approximately eight years.

For those considering installing solar panels on their house or property, it was pointed out that the contract between homeowner and hydro can be transferred to new owners and that the cost of the solar panel will be factored into the price of the house.

In terms of taxation, South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds confirmed that the property’s present designation will stay the same. For example, if it’s residential, it will stay residential.

Also of note, the cost of insurance for the unit “isn’t much” says Jane.

As for how the unit works, van Koppen informed visitors that “it tracks the sun.” The system has “sensors that tell it exactly where to be” and there are “two DC motors (that) power it.” The amount of power used is reported to be minute.

There are two hydro lines connected to the unit: one draws power and the other delivers power.
The Solar PV system at the Sachs house is made with German parts from Sovello, which were assembled in Toronto, Ontario.

Van Koppen uses Sovello because of its reputation for making quality products. He is working on his fifth installation and has four more customers in line. His focus for these systems is to “do more quality than quantity.”

Guests to the presentation included Jim Brownell as well as members of the South Dundas council.

Brownell who is no longer the “official” MPP for the area now that the writ has dropped and the election campaigns have begun, stated that he is “still very interested and very involved” in the happenings of the area. He insists that he won’t actually be retired until the appointment of a new MPP on October 6th.

In his speech he thanked the Sachs for the invitation, claiming that this was his “first time to get up close and personal to a solar panel.” He went on to comment about solar energy and expanding opportunities.

South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds expressed his gratitude at being invited to the event saying, “I’m here to learn along with everyone else.”

In addition to van Koppen, Atel Air of Williamsburg also installs Solar PV systems.

According to Jimmy Thom, Atel Air uses Sanyo panels. The company has installed approximately four units so far, one ground and three roof units.

The price of installations at Atel Air are comparable to that of We Can Contracting.

Thom admits that there is a “lot of bureaucracy to get a solar system up and running,” but Atel Air workers are there to do the “leg work” for customers.

In terms of popularity, Thom reveals that there seems to be a lot of hesitation on the part of consumers because of the government control involved.

However, for those willing to make the investment and accept whatever risk may be involved, there is the opportunity for great return on investment.

Both companies provide on-site consultations and recommendations. Atel Air offers financing options.

In terms of product? Sanyo offers 10 year warranty on materials and labour and a 20 year warranty on “constant productivity for the system.” Sovello offers a 5 year warranty on materials and labour and a 10 year warranty on the system’s productivity output.

As for Solar PV systems in South Dundas and Glengarry, Mayor Byvelds remarked that “it’s good to see new technology in the area.”


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Ottawa plane crash brings dramatic end to family vacation

A terrifying slide off the runway at Ottawa International Airport during torrential rainfall was not the ending that the reverend Janet Evans, her husband Michael McQuaid and their daughter, Hilary, expected to their family vacation in Disney World.

The family was on board United Airlines Flight 3363, carrying 44 passengers and three crew.

“We’d had a great time on holiday, and for two hours the flight from Chicago to Ottawa was totally uneventful,” Evans told the Leader. “But as we came in to Ottawa around 3:40 p.m. (on September 4), we could see out the window that it was getting much, much darker. It was also raining heavily at the airport.

I now think there must have been a torrential burst just as the pilot touched down.”

The United Airlines Flight skidded off the Ottawa runway, overshooting the tarmac and spinning 180 degrees. It hit the grass, and then banged up on its side. The plane sustained some damage to the undercarriage and one wing, and fire crews, emergency vehicles and hazardous materials teams surrounded it within minutes.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada, which is investigating the crash, has possession of the plane’s flight recorder.

The accident was the third at the Ottawa Airport involving an Embraer 145 plane. The first occurred in 2004, and in 2010, another United Express flight also overshot the runway.

Evans and McQuaid were seated together in row 16, over the wing of the plane, with their daughter Hilary across the aisle from them.
“When you land,” Evans remembered, “normally there is that jerk from the reverse thrust that tells you the plane’s brakes have engaged. Not this time. Mike and I both knew the plane was going way too fast: there was no sense of braking at all.

There was no warning that anything was wrong from the cockpit: there really wasn’t time.

But the passengers knew.

We were definitely hydro-planing. We were tipping from side to side, back and forth, and then the entire plane spun around. It was pretty terrifying. People were screaming and yelling. Mike and I were, I think, fairly calm, but Hilary was stricken. At the last moment I reached out and held her hand as everything was happening. If the plane had buckled or flipped, well, we wouldn’t be here to tell this story.”

Evans does not fault the pilot.

“I’ve been reading some blogs and comments about the pilot, and most are very negative,” she said, “one even calling him an idiot. Well, as far as I can tell those remarks are all being made by people who weren’t on the plane, weren’t even at the airport.

That pilot had to have tower clearance to land the plane, and he couldn’t have anticipated a burst of torrential rain. He compensated on the spot for the hydro-planing and kept us alive.”

The passengers sat on the plane in “a sudden silence” after the landing, while the flight attendant urged everyone to stay calm. The wait seemed long to Evans, especially as there was a strong smell of fuel throughout the plane. (The plane was covered with foam after the passengers disembarked).

When they finally got out (“on regular stairs, no chutes; kind of anti-climatic,” Evans smiled), the passengers stood on the rain soaked tarmac for a further 10 or more minutes waiting for transport. Fire and medical personnel were on hand and Evans has high praise for their efficiency and care.

Finally, “of all things, an OC Transpo bus came up to collect us. There didn’t appear to be any airport transport. The bus was too small for all 44 of us to sit, so many had to stand to the terminal. There it was the same problem. We were separated from other passengers as we had to leave all our luggage, including passports on the plane, and we were put in a small room for several hours. Again, there was not enough seating for everyone. The Ottawa airport just didn’t seem to be prepared to deal with an emergency like this.”

Still, there were moments of laughter that Evans said definitely helped diffuse anxieties.

“On the bus, the driver said, ‘Everyone needs a stiff drink, I bet.’ A voice at the back shouted out, ‘Stiff drink! I need the whole bottle!’
And then this little girl, no more than seven, who had smiled throughout the whole ordeal, piped up, ‘Mommy, what’s a stiff drink?’

“Later, one man said to me, ‘I guess we’ll all have lots of stories to tell.’ I said, ‘I’m a minister. Just wait until next Sunday’s sermon!’”

“It was a frightening experience,” Janet Evans said. “You only realize in retrospect how terrifying it truly was. I think we can thank the good Lord that we came out of it well and alive. Mike and I will fly again for sure. Hilary is still a little ambivalent. But I do feel that this entire incident will have to be very thoroughly investigated by the authorities.

None of the passengers or crew on Flight 3363 was injured. We were lucky.”


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Morrisburg Legion Branch 48 newsletter

The general meeting will take place on Wednesday, September 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Fraser Hall.

There are many business items up for discussion, so please be there if you want to be heard. There will be a report on the executive meeting next week.

The meat draw on the 11th was won by Charles Bailey. Again? The draw was for boneless pork chops. Great weather for a barbecue.

Saturday’s appreciation barbecue was well attended. It was a sunny day, and the music of John Mason created a good time. Thanks to Donna Dillabough for organizing the event and Mo Praine for his help. Last steak night thank yous failed to mention all our salad providers. Without salads, the meal would certainly be lacking.

On September 16, our Ladies will cater a Playhouse dinner, and the Real Deal will entertain in the pub.

September 18 is the Terry Fox Run and once again Scott Robertson and Audrey Henophy are at the helm. Registration will take place at 8 a.m.

September is also Child Awareness Month and many events are taking place across all of Canada. Please help if you are able.

Membership cards are now at the bar in the pub. Be an early bird and possibly you will win one of the prizes.

Ontario Command volunteers annually accumulate over 458,000 hours. With the Poppy Campaign coming up shortly, we will be adding to Branch #48 volunteer hours.

Let us all believe, as Helen Keller did, that we can do something.


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Ground breaking begins on playground

The excitement is definitely mounting. On Monday morning, September 12, volunteers began the initial excavation work around the site of the new kids’ playground. They will be on site all this week.

Trucks, a back-hoe, an excavator and folks carrying picks and shovels began clearing top soil and preparing Earl Baker Park for the arrival of the highly anticipated new playground equipment, which is being shipped in on September 22.

The actual construction date is September 24.

“The excavator is digging out the area on a grade to ensure drainage,” said Jack Barkley, member of the Playground Committee. “Once that is done, we must dig holes for each of the poles which will support the play equipment. Cement is poured into the 12 inch sauna tubes to firmly anchor the poles which hold up the projects. The equipment will be firmly supported and safe.”

Barkley had much praise for all the volunteers turning out to help with the ground clearing, and especially for Les Cruickshank who “was instrumental in arranging for the equipment and digging.”

The old playground equipment had to be completely dismantled and will be reassembled north of the site later on.

Barkley, whom Les describes as site “manager” for the dig, had about seven volunteers with him.

“We are also going to need strong volunteers on September 22 to unload the new equipment, but each volunteer must be able to lift 100 pounds of weight to work that day,” Barkley said.


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Maritime history comes alive at Doran Bay Model Ship Museum

Doran Bay Model Ship Museum, located on County Road #2 east of Iroquois, opened its doors on September 9th.

Among those welcomed to the new museum by Burt and Simla Cunningham were Max Keeping, former MPP Jim Brownell, MP Guy Lauzon, Mayor Steven Byvelds, Deputy Mayor Jim Locke, Councillor Evonne Delegarde, and the Chamber of Commerce’s Brian Cox.

The ceremony began with Keeping  who claimed that “the time couldn’t be better” for the opening of the maritime museum. The anniversary of the War of 1812 is next year and included in the exhibit are models of both Canadian and American ships.

Keeping went on to say that this is an “opportunity not to go back to war, but to celebrate the two countries and how their friendship has developed.”

Brownell complimented the detail in the design of the models, which were built from original plans using exotic woods.

He ventured that the museum will have a beneficial effect on tourism and infrastructure in the area.

In Lauzon’s address, he said that he “welcomed to South Dundas, this expansion of business. This is a jewel in our riding. The community is so supportive.”

Byvelds agreed with Lauzon, saying that the museum “certainly is going to be another jewel in South Dundas’s coffers.”

Cox thanked the Cunninghams for their contribution, declaring that he was “really looking forward to the [museum] bringing in the tourism and bringing in the people.”

Cunningham claims that “Doran Bay Model Ship Museum contains one of the finest collections of historic model ships in the world.”

Remarking on the genesis of the project, he shared a little bit about his life leading up to this point.
He “spent the last few years on paradise island” where he met his wife, Simla.

The island in question is the Mauritius. It was there that Cunningham “discovered a small group of people who had this craft” for building model ships.

He “befriended these artisans (and later) employed them to do these ships.”

“As I was doing a lot of research,” stated Cunningham, “a lot of this history seems to have been lost.”

Earlier in the ceremony, Keeping pointed out that “Canada is a great maritime nation.”

And, what better way to honour that then with a ship museum whose collection, according to Cunningham, “traces the history of sail around the world with emphasis on famous Canadian and U.S. ships.”

Cunningham continued, saying that his family “had this house sitting here idle,” giving the perfect opportunity to display the model ships.

Currently the museum occupies the ground floor of the house. At the moment, only about half of the ships in Cunningham’s collection are on display.

Cunningham plans to monitor the response from the public and,  if substantial, he will expand, allowing for more of the collection to be seen.

He went on to say that this has “been a family project (and that) it’s a private collection, but we’re opening it up to the public.”

Cunningham invites: “see maritime history come to life.”


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The True North

This summer, the Prime Minister took his sixth tour of the North. These visits have not been sightseeing tours. The Prime Minister is making a statement with these visits. They have been carried out to demonstrate to Canadians, and to the world, that Canada’s North is a priority for our administration. The Arctic is at the heart of our Canadian identity – from ancient Aboriginal cultures to famous explorers, to iconic Canadian artwork, literature, and landmarks.  

Our government under the leadership of Prime Minister Harper has made a commitment to the residents of Northern Canada that we will do everything possible to ensure the “land of the mid-night sun” realizes its full potential. Our Government is committed to promoting tourism and economic development in Canada`s North and invest in arctic infrastructure.

Since elected in January 2006, our government has realized the three Territories play a significant part in Canada’s future. If we are to maintain our position as a leading country on the world scene, we must develop and protect our north. The northern part of this great country has the potential to make Canada a leader in the world economy. Because of advances in technology and science, it is now possible to explore and develop the vast resources contained in our northern hemisphere to their full potential.

I am pleased the Prime Minister is taking a leadership role by actively demonstrating to the world that Canada’s north belongs to Canada and we are prepared to protect what is rightfully ours.  The North has not been a priority for previous governments. Other nations have made attempts to encroach on our sovereignty by making outlandish and false claims of ownership in the area. Countries like Russia and China have been trying to lay claim to parts of this vast area. We must be diligent in the defense of our assets.

I believe the words “True North Strong and Free” contained in our national anthem will mean more than they ever have as our country continues to grow and prosper in the years to come.

Guy Lauzon
Member of Parliament
Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry


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World Suicide Prevention Day

September 10th has become World Suicide Prevention Day with communities around the world bringing attention to this tragic reality.
It is hoped that by discussing the topic, lives will be saved.

According to their recent press release, “This year the Suicide Prevention Coalition/Champlain East are urging our community to take time to learn about suicide, the warning signs and what to do.”

“Suicide is preventable and requires every person’s participation. Any one of us could play a part in helping to save a life.”

An article released by the same source pointed out: “The Eastern Ontario Health Unit released its Injury Report for Eastern Ontario in 2009 and suicide was found to be the highest in terms of mortality and intentional injury in most populations in our region for both men and women.”

Suicide is a real threat for communities at home, across the country, and around the world.

Communities all over Ontario and Canada are finding their own ways of bringing voice to suicide prevention with drum circles, butterfly release rituals, conferences, cycling and hiking tours – just to name a few.

Closer to home, in their recent press release, “LivingWorks Education Inc., the Ottawa Suicide Prevention Coalition and the Collateral Damage Project will host a concert on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at Ottawa’s Centrepointe Theatre headlining Inuk singer/songwriter, Susan Aglukark.”

“The event will celebrate the “Building Suicide Safer Communities” initiative, a Canadian campaign hosted by LivingWorks Education and the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. The initiative advocates for nation-wide suicide prevention and saving lives lost through this highly ignored community health tragedy.”

This same release continues, saying that “this first time event held in Ottawa will be an opportunity to commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day in Canada and start the discussion about a National Strategy for Canada on Suicide Prevention which remains long overdue.”

So, what can you do?

The Champlain East Suicide Prevention Coalition  is encouraging open acknowledgement and education of suicide for everyone. Recognize the warning signs and know what to do.

Most importantly, ask for help.


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Kitchen Witches ‘brewing’ at the Playhouse

Something’s cooking at the Upper Canada Playhouse and artistic director Donnie Bowes and director Walter Learning are keeping a lid on the ‘brewing’ excitement.

At a press conference for the Playhouse’s upcoming production of Caroline Smith’s The Kitchen Witches, Bowes and Learning and the cast, which includes Linda Goranson, Jocelyne Zucco and Parris Greaves, were a tight-lipped about what’s on the menu for the Playhouse’s final run of the summer season.

“It’s a different show. It’s going to be fun for the audience,” said Bowes.

“It is a different show,” agreed Learning chuckling as he added,“It’s not one of your farces where doors are slamming everywhere…but there are doors that do slam.”

“It’s about two ladies and a cooking show…it’s a love story, it’s about friendships and there are a lot of laughs. There are also some very touching and insightful moments,” said Learning.

The Kitchen Witches stars two talented veterans of the Canadian stage, Linda Goranson and Jocelyne Zucco, who performed in the play twice before and once together.

Goranson is playing Dolly Biddle whose gimmick in her television show is playing an eccentric Ukranian cook with a love of vodka.

Her final show (it’s been cancelled) is interrupted by long-time friend and rival Isobel Lomax, played by Zucco. Upon her arrival, the cooking show begins to heat up as the two cooking divas go at each other.

The cooking show’s director is Dolly’s son Stephen, played by Greaves, who attempts to referee the on-camera battle.

“My character (Dolly) lives to be on a cooking show,” says Goranson. “Her whole world has been Stephen and the cooking show. Dolly loves life but her heart gets hurt by other people.”

“My character (Isobel) returns to stir things up in the stable Biddle world,” says Zucco.

Both Goranson and Zucco are delighted to be back on the Playhouse stage. They are enjoying the opportunity to perform in The Kitchen Witches again and enjoying the new discoveries they are making.

“We have a new Stephen, a new actor who is going to create different reactions, a new set and a director with new and wonderful ideas,” says Zucco. “All of that allows you to discover new things.”

“It’s like a long rehearsal period,” says Goranson. “You get to go deeper and deeper. It just gets richer and richer and richer every time you get to do a play again.”

Although not a problem, stage manager Jackie McCormick says The Kitchen Witches has been a challenge.

“This is probably the prop heaviest show I have ever done,” says McCormick of the over 24 containers of difference sizes, numerous kitchen utensils, wooden spoons and on and on. “On top of that is all the food. It’s been a challenge, but a good challenge.”

McCormick explains it is all about where everything is, in the right place at the right time.

Bowes admits to becoming somewhat of a shopping guru….He claims that when you are in a local store, filling your shopping cart with 90 containers of whip cream, 90 tart shells, 60 taco shells and more, people tend to take notice.

And how that food is used in the play remains a mystery that Upper Canada Playhouse audiences are going to enjoy.

“Tomorrow we get the actual whip cream and yogurt,” said Goranson as Thursday’s press conference wrapped up.

“And we won’t be wearing costumes the first time,” said Learning with a chuckle.

The Kitchen Witches runs September 8 through October 2 with shows on Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be booked at or by calling the box office at 613-543-3713.