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People pleasing music at Bluegrass festival

“You don’t have to go far from home to hear great music,” said Bev Anderson of Brockville, just one of the fans who turned out for the 5th Annual Upper Canada  Bluegrass Festival held at Upper Canada Campground September 16-18.

Hosted by campground owners David and Ruth Wells, with the musical talent organized by Mike Anderson, over 110 campers and  a large number of day visitors came out to enjoy some of the best bluegrass music around. “We had great weather all weekend,” Wells said, “and there are a lot of die hard fans for bluegrass out there. The people who come to these events are terrific.”

Although Wells reported that numbers were somewhat down from other years, due, he thought to the economy and high gas prices, it was an exciting two day event.

“It’s been a great turn-out,” said Terry Joe Banjo, who acted as emcee for the festival, performed with a number of groups and staged workshops throughout the weekend. “We had eight good bands performing. A lot of exciting music here.”

Mike Anderson, who performed with his own band Northwind, organized the musical line-up,  and felt it had been an excellent festival. “We had a lot of support. The workshops in instruments like guitar, banjo and mandolin also drew many people. No question, top performers love to run workshops and share their skills and knowledge.

That’s what’s so great about bluegrass.”

Bands performing included Hard Ryde, Grassland, Dave Nichols & Spare Change, Jan Purcell & Pine Road, Bill White & White Pine, Concession 23, Northwind and Maple Hill.

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Apple Festival is apple pie perfect

The weather was perfect. The apple pies and apple desserts were perfect. And the large crowds were perfectly happy to enjoy games, rides, music and lots of good food during the Iroquois Apple Festival held on Saturday, September 17.

Candace Menges, chair of the Iroquois & District Celebration Festival Committee, which organized the event, said that organizers were “extremely pleased with the day.”

“The only complaint we’ve heard thus far is that there was no where to park,” Menges laughed. “I think I kind of like that complaint, as you don’t hear that too often in the Iroquois Plaza.”

The theme of the 2011 festival was tied in to the 200th anniversary of the McIntosh Apple.

Descendents of the McIntosh family and other guests came from Toronto, Niagara Falls, Ottawa, Cornwall and the United States to visit the community and enjoy the festival.

“We want to offer many thanks to Smyth’s Orchards for providing tours of their orchards and for setting up the McIntosh Apple Visitors’ Centre,” Menges said. “The family was great to work with, and we are very thankful that they have sustained the McIntosh Apple within our community where it originated.”

With members of the McIntosh family assisting, South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds and members of council officially opened the Festival by cutting the red ribbon. Mayor Byvelds praised the work of the organizers. With councillor Evonne Delegarde he presented McIntosh descendents with specially created commemorative coins in honour of the 200th anniversary.

An all day farmers’ market, colourful vendors, Tribeck Inflatables, a petting zoo and lots of fun contests for kid and adults alike were popular at the Festival. Children especially enjoyed the music of H&S Express, while the beat of Landmark rocked the plaza in the afternoon.

Members of the South Dundas council were also called upon to judge desserts and pies. (Some had to sample each offering two or three times just to be sure.) The apple pie winner was Lori Link, while Anne Hartle won top apple dessert.

Cutest apple dumpling baby under age one was Addisyn Blanchette while Kacey Claxton took honours in the one to two year old category. Sarah Steward, Mateo Lacroix and Amber Bailey were judged best in the colouring contests in their age categories. Ethel Merkley won the peeling contest with an apple peel measuring 31.5 inches, while Sharron Miller was the winner of the apple trivial challenge. Lynne Jamieson was the 50/50 draw winner. 

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Advance polls open today

Advance polls open in some locations today. Voters who are ready to cast their vote now can do so.

The Iroquois Civic Centre located at 1 Dundas Street East in Iroquois will be holding advance polls from September 21st through to the 25th.

The McIntosh Country Inn & Conference Centre located at 12495 County Road 2 East in Morrisburg will be holding advance polls from September 26th through to the 30th.

There are also advance poll stations in Chesterville, Winchester, Ingleside, Long Sault, Finch and Cornwall. For more information go to the elections website:  www.wemakevotingeasy.ca.

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Fun, education and safety: SD fire fighters keep busy

On September 18th volunteer fire fighters from the Iroquois, Morrisburg and Williamsburg stations came together as one unit at the Morrisburg fire station.

The stations, no longer separate entities, comprise what is now the South Dundas Fire & Emergency Services (SDF&ES).

Fire Chief Chris McDonough met with the Leader on September 14th to discuss some of the exciting changes taking place at SDF&ES, including the upcoming safety and educational programs coming to South Dundas.

According to McDonough, “the past few months our fire service has been upgrading a lot of our personal protection equipment (PPE) such as self contained breathing apparatus, helmets and boots.”

“Also, along with that Iroquois purchased a new pick-up for SDF&ES as a support vehicle for personnel transport and training.”

He explained that the money required for the purchases came directly from the stations’ fundraising endeavours with each station funding their own purchases.

McDonough feels that “the community needs to be aware of the commitment these fire fighters have for their community.”

With the amount of time each volunteer gives per week, McDonough says that “it’s like they have two full-time jobs.”

In addition to general meetings, fire fighters also meet on a regular basis for training, cleaning of the firehouse and equipment, fundraising, and more.

One of the requirements of becoming a volunteer fire fighter is the willingness to be on call even during the day.

At the moment, the Iroquois and Williamsburg stations are beginning interviews to add a few more volunteers to their rosters. Morrisburg’s numbers are fine.

Each station in SDF&ES has a Deputy Fire Chief as well as officers and fire fighters.

In the next couple of weeks fire fighters will be canvassing all of South Dundas.

During this door-to-door campaign, fire fighters will check to see that each home is outfitted with the correct number of functioning smoke alarms. Should a residence be missing a smoke alarm, the fire fighters will provide and install a new one free of charge.

In addition to ensuring that all homes in South Dundas are equipped with the requisite smoke alarms, the South Dundas Fire & Emergency Services will also be hosting Fire Prevention Week from October 9th to 15th.

Fire Prevention Week will kick-off on Saturday, October 8th with  an open house at each fire station location. The event will last from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

McDonough says they “haven’t done this in a number of years.”

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Elaine MacDonald: “working for change in the community”

The Leader met with NDP candidate Elaine MacDonald on September 16th to discuss  the upcoming election on October 6th.

MacDonald got started in politics through volunteering and getting involved in different issues at work. Initially, many of her accomplishments were in defense of women and worker rights.

She pointed out that “systems evolve and sometimes people get lost in the shuffle.” MacDonald felt drawn to help make things better for those around her.

As a founding member of the Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry Coalition for Social Justice, she is a strong advocate for every person’s right to be heard.

In touring Stormont, Dundas, and South Glengarry and talking to constituents, she discovered that the government programs put into place to help people are, in many situations, causing difficulty with unrealistic expectations coupled with a lack of concrete assistance.

Among the many people she has met, there are those who are working multiple minimum wage jobs trying to pay for essentials. They’re “not just treading water, but falling behind.”

She believes that today’s climate “blames the poor” for being poor when, in fact, that is not the case.

When asked how she planned to address the issue of poverty, MacDonald stated that the NDP “platform hasn’t been released yet.”

However, she did share that her party plans to “ensure more affordable housing” which will, in turn, “equate to more disposable income.”

In addition, upon being elected the NDP intend to “raise minimum wage to $11 per hour right away.” MacDonald claims that the NDP will then, “index it to inflation from here on in” with the “same (being done for) WSIB and ONDSP.”

Continuing the discussion on poverty, the Leader questioned MacDonald about the Poverty Free Ontario debate at the Agape Centre on September 15th where she was condemned for her refusal to participate in the Do the Math Challenge, which challenged candidates to eat from a food bank basket for five days.

MacDonald, who admits that she is “a bit plain spoken” told the Leader that: “I rarely commit to something I don’t think I can do.” She believes that “to do (the challenge) honestly, you have to be able to give it some attention.”

“It’s extremely complicated. You have to watch what you eat.” Logistically, she couldn’t commit to giving the challenge the attention and dedication she believes it deserves.

Moving the discussion back to the main issues for people of this riding, MacDonald focussed on jobs, taxes, healthcare and other public services.

She pointed out that “people rely on public services” and government “has to stop rationing them.”

In addition, she brought attention to the fact that “people are falling through the cracks.”

One example: “66 per cent of complaints from people who didn’t get their full wages (worked for) companies that were actually solvent.”
MacDonald points out that in a lot of cases, individual people are being taxed while the corporations are getting the breaks.

“So many of our policies advocate for people in the counties.” These include policies in healthcare, education, and jobs. For instance, MacDonald’s NDP plan will “reward job creators with up to $5,000 per year.”

When asked what voters need to know most about her, MacDonald stated: “I am a progressive woman who wants to see government move in the direction of the triple bottom line: that is that we base our decisions on environmental and social values as well as financial. That is the way to develop a sustainable economy.”

During the interview with MacDonald, she referred to 211. She later expressed concern that people be made aware of the phone number, which connects Ontarians with information and referrals to community and social services in their province. The website is www.211ontario.ca.

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath visited the riding on September 20th at MacDonald’s campaign office in Cornwall.

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Jim McDonell: “dedicated and committed to our community”

Progressive Conservative MPP candidate for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry,  Jim McDonell “enjoys working with people.”

During a phone interview with the Leader on September 16th, McDonell said that he’s “been involved in community for many years (and he’s) talked to a lot of people.” He admitted that it’s “exciting to get out there.”

He went on to reveal, that people are “not asking (government) to do a lot, just for a fair deal.”

McDonell would like to “encourage people to follow basic principles. It’s the whole basis of Canada – work hard, play by the rules.”

He credits the lack of this attitude in government for pushing him into running for MPP.

It “bothers me that I see things misrepresented (and) things that are not good for the community happening.”

McDonell shared that he  comes from a small town and  he sees that what the government has been doing is “not a smart way of doing things.”

Among other issues, he refers to the decreased service in rural areas, the loss of businesses in rural small town areas, and the migration of rural population to bigger cities in the hunt for work.

McDonell believes that  the main issue  in this area of Ontario is “unaffordability.”

He recognizes that “income is much less in this area. Things are a little tougher around here.”

“There’s a higher percentage of seniors  on fixed incomes. The majority have no pensions.”

“Their children and grandchildren are not getting work locally. Schools are closing because there are no kids to put into them.”

McDonell also sees the apprenticeship program’s current restrictions as an issue for voters in this riding. He believes there will be “a huge shortage of labour in the future but (the current government) is not looking at a program that allows (for the need.)”

McDonell said that the ratio for apprenticeships should be   “1:1 instead of 3:1” for craftsmanship jobs such as electricians, plumbers and brick layers.

He maintains that , for example, most brick layers today are around the 65 year age range.

Discussing how he would make things better for the local constituents, McDonell referred to his party’s plan to remove HST from  home heating. He also mentioned the debt retirement charge, lowering income tax, and income splitting for couples.

In addition to these money saving plans, he also stated that his party plans to “remove a lot of the red tape” from government services. He stated that there is a “target of 30 per cent” and if the party doesn’t meet the target, then “ministers will take a cut in pay.”

McDonell wants to “make government less complicated.” He is “committed to making government more open to the public.”

When asked what makes him the right choice for voters in South Dundas, McDonell stated, “I’m dedicated and committed to our community.”
Also, he “has a practical sense on how to do things.” He refers to his farming background and rural roots, saying that he is “someone who can relate back” to the people in the rural areas of his riding as well as those in the urban areas.

McDonell says that he wants to “stop the withdrawal” from the rural small town communities.

When asked about the issue of poverty, he replied  that he would “focus on getting jobs for a good portion of the population.”

When asked about character, in terms of integrity, responsibility, and accountability, McDonell stated: “I don’t make promises I can’t maintain.”

Tim Hudak joined McDonell for a campaign rally on September 19th at the Ramada Inn in Cornwall.

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Mark MacDonald: “passionate about the job” he wants to do

On September 16th, Liberal candidate Mark A. MacDonald spoke with the Leader to discuss  the upcoming October 6th election.
MacDonald revealed that he has “always  been politically aware.” He believes that “everything is political. Every move that we make from stopping at a stop sign.”

MacDonald says that he “knew something wasn’t right” politically when “at a very early age, dad lost his job” and, subsequently, his father’s “license plate was removed from the car” to identify the change in status.

He adds, as a matter of interest, that “we were one of the first families to live in social housing in Cornwall.”

In terms of what he feels is most important to the constituents in his riding, MacDonald believes that “the economic situation is driving everything at this time.”

He claims that “Ontario is leading the way with our economic policies” and that Ontario’s “education system is ranked fifth in the world.”

MacDonald strongly encourages everyone to “look at the news and judge for yourself. The facts speak for themselves.”

He also claims that in terms of the environment, “Ontario’s policies are getting looked at.” He added that “David Suzuki is backing the liberals.”

In following MacDonald’s plea for self-education, an exploration of the David Suzuki Foundation website reveals: “Besides its platform, a governing party will also be judged on its record, and a fair assessment of both the Liberal platform and record would call them good but mixed.”

The David Suzuki Foundation website blog goes on to discuss  the advantages and disadvantages for each of the parties, but doesn’t appear to come out in favour of one over another.

MacDonald, who believes that the riding is approximately “fifty per cent Cornwall and fifty per cent rural, claims: “I have a sense for rural issues as well.”

In discussing how MacDonald and the Liberal party plan to address poverty, he chose to discuss the Poverty Free Ontario debate at the Agape Centre in Cornwall on September 15th and, more specifically, the Do the Math Challenge where he agreed to take part in the challenge to eat from a food bank hamper for five days.

In support of his claim to good character, MacDonald stated: “Everybody you meet has an issue. I generally find that if I can meet people face to face I can at least steer them in the right direction.”

Prior to the interview, MacDonald held a press conference to discuss municipal uploads.

He told the Leader that he felt compelled to speak out because of certain events at a recent council meeting in Cornwall.

A September 16th press release explained: “A recent decision by Cornwall City Council to postpone discussion to hire a city firefighter, until municipal budget deliberations, illustrates the need for the province to continue its upload of costs from municipalities.”

In the same release MacDonald claimed, “Fortunately, under a Liberal government, municipalities – like Cornwall – can be assured that the province will continue to upload costs from them, which will free up room in their budgets to invest in local priorities, such as hiring a firefighter.”

During the phone interview with the Leader, MacDonald said that this particular issue “strikes at the very heart of the campaign.”

He believes that it is important to “take pressure off municipalities to pay their bills.”

In terms of why he should become this riding’s next MPP: “I’m passionate about the job that I want to do and I want to do the best job I can possibly do and I want to be the best representative that I can possibly be for you and your family.”

In response to an inquiry about whether Premier Dalton McGuinty plans to make an appearance, MacDonald stated: “As of yet we have not received any information in regards to him visiting the riding.”

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Debate updates

If you missed the candidates debate at the Agape Centre in Cornwall on September 15th, there are still more opportunities remaining to hear the candidates discuss the issues.

The North Dundas Chamber of Commerce with the Dundas Federation of Agriculture is hosting a candidates debate on Thursday, September 22nd from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Winchester Arena.

In addition, there will be a debate on Wednesday, September 28th from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Civic Complex in Cornwall, hosted by the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce.

Attendance for the debates has been a bit unbalanced so far. The candidates for the NDP, Liberal, and PC parties were present for all debates. However, more often than not, the Libertarian and Green party candidates have been conspicuously absent.

The Poverty Free Ontario (PFO) debate at the Agape Centre in Cornwall saw only three of the five candidates.

PFO’s slogan, “Let’s Vote for a Poverty Free Ontario,” was the theme for the debate.

For more information, go to www.povertyfreeontario.ca.

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New generator for Williamsburg?

On September 6th, South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan raised the issue of a back-up generator for the Williamsburg waste treatment plant.

According to Mellan, “the previous council had recognized the need for one and had set up a plan to set aside money over a five year period to purchase one.”

He suggested that council  “should go ahead and finance the generator – sooner rather than later.”

Manager of Public Works, Hugh Garlough, agreed saying he would meet with Treasurer Shannon Geraghty to determine how much money has already been set aside versus how much it will cost to buy one.

Geraghty stated that he believed, but would need to verify, that council had been putting $8,000 aside per year for three years. He went on to estimate the cost being somewhere in the vicinity of $40,000.

Mayor Steven Byvelds ended the discussion saying, “Let’s see if we can find the dollars to do it.”

Mellan informed the Leader later that “council felt it would be better to be proactive on this matter to try and avoid a situation where a power outage could cause a problem for the residents of Williamsburg.”

“It should be noted that Morrisburg’s new waste treatment plant and the water plant have back-up power and Iroquois’s new waste treatment plant will have back-up power when completed.”

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Morrisburg Legion Branch 48 News

This is Legion Week, and it will be a quiet one at Branch #48. It has been a busy year with the celebration of our 85th anniversary and will continue into November with the honours and awards dinner and Remembrance Day.

The last two weeks have seen bingo players number in the 70s. There is good fun and good prizes.

The meat draw on September 18 was for ground beef and was won by Edith Sypes. It is still barbecue weather.
Monday, September 19, the men’s dart league will begin, and on Tuesday the 20th mixed darts will begin.

Our Ladies Auxiliary will cater the Canadian Club on Wednesday, September 21, as the Club’s fall and winter series begins. They will also cater a country supper for the Playhouse on September 23. They still find time to play euchre. Three teams will play district euchre at Branch #297 in Cornwall in October.

Business from the general meeting on September 14 saw a donation of $1,000 going to the Terry Fox Run and $1,500 going to restoration of the mural of the old train station depicted on the wall of Giant Tiger. This restoration is expected to last for 10 years and will hopefully display the Branch #48 logo. It was reported that four bursary applications have been received to date and are being considered.

Friday, September 30, is steak night, so mark your calendar for another great meal and for good music as Fergus Entertainment will play in the pub.

Senior games in Smith’s Falls in August saw several local names appear including Jim and Judy Scott in darts, Monique Patenaude, Nancy Warner, Elise Muir, Joan Findlay in golf and Dale Swerdfeger in golf. We may be seniors, but many are still active.
Last week, in mentioning September, it is Childhood Cancer Awareness month.

Until one has loved an animal, part of the soul remains unawakened.

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