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House of worship to become family home

The Williamsburg United Church has been conditionally sold.

On March 14th, Reverend Ralph Taylor confirmed that the church’s congregation had indeed accepted an offer made to purchase the building.

With things not quite finalized, Taylor felt it best not to pinpoint anything for certain. What he did say, however, is that the church has been ‘sold’ to a young couple who wish to turn the church into a home.

At the moment, he revealed, that the church officials are working with the township of South Dundas to change the current zoning for the lot to residential.

Taylor also indicated that they are “in the process of negotiating  with somebody who bought a former school within the general area” for a possible lease on a temporary worship center. He pointed out that a contract has not yet been signed.

Should things work out, “this is going to be our tabernacle while we work on our future.”

“There might be other churches in the Presbytery looking for some partnerships and rather than tie ourselves down, this (school) will be our interim kind of place.”

Taylor told his congregation: “we’re like the people with Moses; we’ve gone out in the wilderness.”

All decisions involved in the selling of the church went through the congregation for discussion and approval, said Taylor.

“In a way we were surprised, we thought we’d be listed for a long time.”

“There’s a sadness and a joy,” said Taylor, referring to the years of worship and memories attached to the church.

With that said, however, Taylor added, “we made the right decision. We’re on the right road to our future.”


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Support grows for South Stormont in funding issue

“I’ve been in politics a long time and I’ve never had so many thank yous,” said  South Stormont Mayor Bryan McGillis.

Earlier this year, McGillis and the township of South Stormont chose to withhold funds from the Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH). South Stormont was opposed to CCH’s new designation under the  French Services Language Act (FSLA). 

South Stormont had committed to donating $300,000 to the CCH, making $30,000 installments yearly between 2006 and 2015. Council decided to withhold this year’s donation.

On March 9th, McGillis reported that some people are “so surprised as to why we’re doing this. We have created awareness  by withholding funds.”

McGillis said this is an issue involving human rights and equality. This is not, he pointed out, a language issue. It is an equal opportunity issue. “There are people who have been there for years who have been passed over for years. A lot of doctors are saying there’s a problem.”

McGillis said the outpouring of support at the March 3rd protest rally in front of the CCH proves that there “certainly is an issue there.”

“90 per cent of the calls and emails I’ve received have been positive. I know what I’m doing is the right thing. People elected me to work for the people.”

“I’ve shed some light on this issue,” he said, and “the support is overwhelming.”

“I’m hoping that everything works out and it’s a lot more fair for everyone. Let’s all work together.”

On February 16th, South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds commented on the situation: “South Stormont acted on what they  thought were concerns to them.  South Dundas has no commitments to the Cornwall Hospital.”


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Helping Hands seniors group embracing life

Helping Hands of Brinston, a seniors group, began meeting in 1974 at the old hall in Brinston. In 2012, almost 40 years later, the group continues to gather, but now meet at Matilda Hall and refer to themselves as the Helping Hands of Matilda.

According to group President Lorne Strader, Helping Hands meets the first Wednesday of every month at Matilda Hall in Dixon’s Corners.

He explained that the original group lobbied for the building of Matilda Hall and raised $20,000 for the cost. The “new” hall opened in 1978, and the group moved in with the agreement that they use the hall one day per month, rent-free.

Strader, a life-long resident of Brinston, often organizes the meeting’s entertainment. Whether the entertainment falls into the category of informative speaker or lively musical performance, Strader takes his task seriously.

On December 6, 2012, for example, the Helping Hands seniors enjoyed the comedic jokes and festive singing of the local OPP Auxiliary’s Coppertones.

At the last meeting on March 7th, the group was treated with a performance by two guitar-playing songsters, Bill Horner and Ralph Jollotta. Strader is hoping to have the fire marshal visit for the next meeting on April 4th. 

Seniors from all over the area, in and outside of South Dundas, meet to chat, share information, catch up on news, have a little lunch, and enjoy some entertainment. 

The 12 o’clock luncheon is a pot luck deal which, according to Strader, “turns out good every time.” Each attendee brings something for the feast and Corrie Byker of Iroquois makes the soup.

In addition to bringing an item for the luncheon, each member drops $2 into a basket along with their name. After the feast, two names are drawn and those two receive their money back.

Things aren’t just all fun and games, however. Members also take care of group “business” at the beginning of the meeting, including the production of cards for local seniors who are ill and unable to attend the gathering.

The business portion of the meeting generally begins around 11:15 a.m. with the singing of Oh Canada. Jean VanGilt of Chesterville performs the duties of secretary.

Following the national anthem, Treasurer Doris Stewart of Iroquois, provides a financial report.

Birthdays, anniversaries, “get well cards” come next, followed by a period of devotion with scripture and prayer.

With the saying of grace before lunch, the business portion of the meeting comes to an end.

At the March 7th meeting, Strader talked about his great aunt Nelda Madeline (Irvine) Willis who passed on January 26th at the age of 103 years old. 

He pointed out that Willis’ mother, Ida Gilson was a sister to his grandfather, Charles Gilson, a blacksmith in Brintson for over 70 years.

Strader’s admiration for his aunt’s zest for life came through loud and clear. Willis, while in her 70s, traveled the world extensively visiting places like  China, Bali, Singapore, Israel, Egypt, Thailand, and more.

In a memoriam honouring Willis, she was quoted saying that “people do have many  highs and lows in their lives. I do not believe I ever took the time to consider if any of the projects would be in a high or low category. I always seemed to be catapulted into the next round. There was sure to be someone or something waiting in the wings.”

Strader’s aunt’s philosophy of life exemplifies what Helping Hands seems to be all about: embracing life in its senior years by enjoying each day,  each moment, each experience, and each person who enters, as it comes.

“For age is opportunity no less than youth itself, though in another dress, and as the evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day,” wrote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Helping Hands of Matilda has 62 paid members. Membership costs just $5 per year. Membership, however, is not a prerequisite for attending meetings. Anyone over the age of 50 is welcome to attend, said Strader, “bring something to eat, put it on the table and you can eat with us.”


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Stewart trust helps Dundas agencies

Three local Dundas Country agencies, Linking Hands, the J.W. MacIntosh Seniors Support Centre and the Dundas County Food Bank were all recipients of 2012 grants from the John Stewart Estate Memorial Trust Fund. The money is investment income derived from the 1991 sale of the John Stewart Home in Cornwall. Representative Adele Eyman said the board looked at the “sustainability of each organization, as well as the numbers of people it served” in determining recipients. These Dundas groups “are all good neighbours in their communities,” she added, presenting the checks on Saturday, March 10, at the Seniors Support Centre in Williamsburg. Linking Hands will use its $400 to continue to develop its Lunch and Learn program through the House of Lazarus. The Dundas County Food Bank will use the grant of $1,166 to help “keep stocking our shelves with healthy food,” said Food Bank administrator Donna Quesnel. Janet Levere, executive director of the J.W. MacIntosh Senior Support Centre hopes to use the $400 grant towards subsidizing vital transportation costs. Pictured (l-r) are Nancy Christie of the House of Lazarus, Janet Levere, Adele Eyman, Alvin Runnalls, chair of the Dundas County Food Bank and Donna Quesnel. 


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CWL celebrates St. Patrick’s Day

Shamrocks and leprechauns and plenty of wearin’ o’ the green were evident at the annual St. Patrick’s Day tea and bazaar organized by the St. Mary’s and St. Cecilia’s Catholic Women’s League. 

The popular event was held at the Morrisburg Legion on Saturday, March 17, with close to 40 volunteers coming out to help.

Perfect spring weather brought many people out to enjoy shopping  as well as a home made lunch.

“We had plenty of baked goods for sale,” said CWL president Trudi McGinn, “as well as jams, jellies, candies and crafts for people to enjoy. Our plants table was popular with all this spring weather. We also offered many door prizes for visitors.”

The tea and bazaar, which has been around for well over 30 years, is a major fund raiser for the two parishes. 

“The money we bring in goes to lots of different things,” McGinn explained. 

“We support three higher education bursaries for local students. We also supply flowers to both our churches. Area charities like the Christmas Exchange are assisted by the CWL. The funds also help to support a family in India.”

Also on hand for the bazaar were members of the Knights of Columbus, who were offering raffle tickets on new vehicles in order to raise funds for the Arthritis Society.

Last year over 300 people came out to the bazaar, and organizers were hoping for a good crowd in 2012.


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Golden Gears executive takes office

At the February 29 meeting of the Golden Gears Car Club, an election was held to install the officers and directors of the newly revived car lovers organization. Deputy mayor of South Dundas, Jim Locke, was on hand to swear in the duly elected board and to outline for all club members the duties associated with each position. From the left are Jim Locke, Brian Erratt, 1st vice president, Henry Swank, president, Jim Millard, secretary, Ken Hasson, treasurer, Wayne Barkley, past president, Stephane Aube, director, Jeff Beaupre, membership chairman and Garry Tracey, director. Absent from the photo is Gaby Swank, public relations and communications chair person. The next general Meeting of the Golden Gears is Thursday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m. at the Iroquois Legion. New members are very welcome.


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New members for Morrisburg & District Lions

The Morrisburg & District Lions Club recently inducted two members, a husband and wife team, at a general meeting of the club. Pictured above, l-r, are Lion Mae Pederson (sponsor for both new members), new Lion Jim Martin, new Lion Viviane Martin and Morrisburg & District Lions Club president Bob Bechard.



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Feeding the people: Lutheran Parish gives to food bank

On March 15th, Pastor Norine Gullons along with a few congregants met with Terry Triskle, vice-chair of the Dundas County Food Bank board, and Donna Quesnel, administrator for the food  bank. They were celebrating the recent $2,000 Synod Antipoverty Grant received by the food bank from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Eastern Synod as part of their Compassionate Justice initiative. The grant was issued to the food bank for their Newborn Necessities project for which the objective is “to meet the needs of those with young children coming to the food bank for emergency assistance by providing them with formula, baby food, and diapers.” According to Quesnel,  the Synod Antipoverty Grants received over the past five years have become pivotal to meeting babies’ needs locally.” Last year, in addition to the grant, the South Dundas Lutheran Fundraising concert raised approximately $450 for the food bank.

The Dundas County Food Bank is currently in need of the following: canned fruit and vegetables, canned pasta and pasta sauce, cereals and peanut butter, brown beans and kidney beans, canned tomatoes, Kraft Dinner, fruit cups, pudding cups, and bars of soap. Also needed: empty baby food jars, small jars, and juice bottles.


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South Dundas honours commitment to health

During budget deliberations, South Dundas council learned that this year, 2012, marks the completion of a pledge commitment to the Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH).

The final pledge installment of $70,000 will be paid to WDMH this year, thus ending 10 years of payments. With this year’s payment, South Dundas will have fulfilled its pledge of $700,000.

Treasurer Shannon Geraghty confirmed that 2012 is also the final year of a four year agreement with three doctors who have been practicing in South Dundas.

“The Township offered an incentive to new doctors coming to South Dundas in the form of $10,000 per year for four years with a return of service agreement between the doctor and the township.”

“Council reviews the need for the program on an annual basis as part of budget discussions,” he added.


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Broken Second relocation plan

At the March 6th South Dundas council meeting, Don Lewis, Planning and Enforcement Manager, presented council with SAI Engineering’s three options for the relocation of the Broken Second Drain in Iroquois. 

Lewis recommended council choose option two whereby the west section of the drain would be relocated along the south side of County Road 2, costing approximately $20,800.

Mayor Steven  Byvelds said, “I disagree with your report. I would go with option three. It would save a lot of work, save a lot of construction, and save a lot of maintenance down the road.”

In the end, after some deliberation, council chose not to follow Lewis’s recommendation, but instead went with the least expensive option whereby the ditch will be relocated perpendicular  to County Road 2. The cost estimate for this option is $1,600.