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Luke Whitteker is selected Race 101 ‘premier driver’


When Luke Whitteker first spoke to The Leader about his racing, it was August 2005. He was 11 years old and was busy preparing for the final lap of his first year of competitive kart racing. He would enter grade 7 at Iroquois Public School in September.

Today, the 18 year old is a first year student at Carleton University, Ottawa, where he is studying mechanical engineering.

Recently, he became the first Canadian to win the prestigious Race 101 Premier Driver Award having graduated the one year scholarship program based in North Carolina with top honours.

He claims that had he been asked during that first interview, he would not have thought that seven years later he would be a veteran Dirt track racer about to experience his first ride in a late model car.

Asked if he is about where he wants to be at this time in his racing career, he says, “Right now I’m a Dirt racer, and I’m going to learn about asphalt racing.”

That is what the Premier 101 Driver Award will provide in the coming months. For the Iroquois youth, that is a good place to be.

Race 101 is an educational and consulting program for the auto racing industry. It offers yearly scholarships for up and coming racers and was founded in 2009, by veteran racing crew chief Tony Blanchard, longtime motorsports marketing/Pr consultant Annamarie Strawhand and television announcer Adam Ross. 

Students experience the driving, mechanical and marketing sides of motorsports and at the end of the year,  the ‘premier’ driver is announced.

The premier driver is then given the opportunity to drive the  Race 101 Howe super late model ‘house car’ in actual competition.

Luke says the program was “heavily weighted towards public relations, how to get money and how to establish yourself.”

Most of the program was delivered on line in weekly webinars. “We could all see each other on line, and we got the lectures together. We got together every week for the whole year.”

In addition, Luke travelled to North Carolina four times, Charlotte, North Carolina twice and to Florida once.

He explains that he was aware of the program through a friend who had gone through it. He applied on line and was thrilled to be selected as one of the 16 students for 2011.

He was even more thrilled when he was named the premier driver at the February 11, 2012, awards banquet held in Hickory, North Carolina.

For the premier selection, he admits “I wasn’t the best on the technical and I wasn’t the best in the marketing, but I was good enough at both to win the overall. I put my honest effort into both.”

He figures he did well in  the situations the students were put into at various events, that he did well in his radio interview and that he had three great references (which were a requirement) from a local O. P. P. officer, a fellow Dirt Car star and from a very good friend and Motivational Speaker.

As the Race 101 premier driver for 2011, Luke says his job now “is to represent Race 101. You can say I’m hired to represent 101.” He points out, however, that it is a two way track, so to speak, as he too will benefit  from the exposure.

“I’m guaranteed three events with the car and however much practise I need. This is special. In our area we are saturated with Dirt track racing. Down there it’s more asphalt tracks.”

With the 2012 season fast approaching the Whitteker Motorsport Team is now busy getting ready. Last year, Whitteker competed at the popular Autodrome Granby track in Drummondville where he was named Top Rookie Driver.

Attracting sponsorships is important for racers and the Whitteker Motorsport team is now in the process of securing sponsorship for the upcoming season. 

Since he first began racing in 2005, Luke has been sponsored by Rust Check and Parcoll Products/Napa Auto Parts. Some other major sponsors include Toy Storage & Boat Transport, the 730 Truck Stop, Steve Summers and C Double J Harvesting. Another eight businesses, several of them local, were on board in 2011.

As he wraps up his current semester at Carleton, Luke is busy putting the marketing portion of his Race 101 studies to the test for the first time as he approaches would-be sponsors for the 2012 race year.



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Perspectives by Rev. Janet Evans


Count Our Blessings

“Nature, time and patience are the three great physicians”

Having had some major surgery on January 26, I try to remind myself of these words  when I feel a little frustrated.

Being housebound has, however, granted me the opportunity to reflect upon how God walks with us on life’s journey.

These weeks have also reminded me of my many blessings.

I give thanks for:

•my friends and parishioners who have sent over casseroles, soup, cookies etc.

•those who have had flowers delivered to my door

•Betty and Bill who have taken me to my doctor’s appointments in Ottawa

•chocolates and prayers

•my husband who is now doing all of the dog walking and most other household chores

•cards and phone calls saying – “just checking in”

It is good to give thanks for those people who touch our days–who are our “angels” here on earth.

Sometimes, life is sad and gray, and we neglect to praise God for His grace. We fail to respect the day. Yet God loves us and will guide us as we greet each new dawn.

This week, I urge everyone to count their blessings. Share of God’s love with another person. Forgive one who has wronged you. Confess your wrongdoings and be reconciled with your neighbour.

And have hope–that in life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are never alone.

Praise be to the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Amen.

Rev. Janet Evans

Iroquois United Church


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Spartans are tops on SD&G volleyball courts


For the second consecutive year, the Seaway Spartans junior and senior girls volleyball teams have topped the SD&G ‘A’ school volleyball circuit.

The very powerful Seaway Senior girls kicked it off Friday afternoon when they defeated Char-Lan in three straight sets, 25-0, 25-12 and 25-9 for the SD&G championship.

Then as the senior Spartans, did their celebrating, the junior Spartans went to work for their SD&G championship against Glengarry District High School.

The junior Spartans had a little more difficulty against the Gaels in claiming their win. 

They got it rolling by winning the first set 25-17, but then the Gaels charged back in the second for a 25-20 win.

Seaway eked out a close 25-21 victory in the third set, and put it away in the fourth with a 25-18 win.

Both of the Seaway teams went into their respective finals as the defending 2011 SD&G champs.

This year’s seniors were coached by Lilace MacIntyre, who moved from her position as junior coach last year with four of her graduating junior players.

This year’s Senior Spartans were undefeated in 27 sets (nine games) played during the regular season. They competed in three tournaments, won one and finished third in the other two.

As they head towards EOSSAA, which will be hosted this Thursday by Seaway, the very experienced Spartans are expecting some very tough opposition from last year’s OFSSAA champs from Embrun.

Last year’s senior Spartans competed at EOSSAA but fell short of bringing home silverware. Their experience, along with the experience of the four rookies who last year were EOSSAA A school junior champions should make them very competitive.

“I am expecting some really tough competition for the girls this Thursday,” said McIntyre who was extremely pleased with the team’s regular season results.

As for the junior Spartans, who too finished in first place in this year’s regular season, their coach Lyndsay Waddell said, “I am really proud of them today. They’ve worked really hard.”

Although they won first place in the regular season, it was by a slim, one set ahead of Glengarry.

That made Friday’s game the ‘big showdown’ of the year and it was close all the way through.

The Junior Spartans have seven first year players, five from grade nine and two grade 10s.”

As for what she expects at the Junior EOSSAA championships this Thursday in Brockville, Waddell says “we should be competitive. They work really hard and they are a great bunch of girls. We are a pretty resilient team when we need to be.”


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Dr. Suru Chande honoured with Long Term Service Award


 “I enjoy what I do very much,” said Dr. Suru Chande. “I will admit that I am not a morning person, but once I am on the road, on the way to work, I am always looking forward to the day ahead.”

Father of three, grandfather of three, for over 40 years, Dr. Chande has served the South Dundas regions both at the St. Lawrence Medical Clinic. Morrisburg, and at Winchester District Memorial Hospital. 

In late December of 2011, his dedication to medicine was recognized at WDMH with a Long-Term Service Award.

“We are incredibly fortunate that a surgeon of Dr. Chande’s calibre has devoted his career to caring for the patients in this area. It represents a more than 40 year commitment to serving our community,” said Cholly Boland, CEO of Winchester Hospital. 

On Wednesday, February 8, after a typically very busy day, Dr. Chande sat down to reflect on a long career devoted to caring for others. 

He was born in a small community in Tanzania, receiving most of his high school education in that country. He took his medical training at Birmingham University, one of the largest universities in England. 

“Back in the 60’s and 70’s, there were limited spots in specialty training in England, and the process often took a number of years,” Dr. Chande recalled. “It seemed a good idea to come to Canada to do my residency.”

Dr. Chande received his FRCSE (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh) in 1968 and his FRCSC  (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada) in 1971.

“I am called a general surgeon,” he explained. “The term general surgery has no definite meaning, unlike terms such as cardiac surgeon or neuro-surgeon. Doctors of my vintage, trained as general surgeons, definitely gained a fairly extensive repertoire because we have always been called on to do many different types of surgery.” 

Dr. Chande was completing his residency at Ottawa Civic Hospital when he decided to reply to an ad in a medical journal from the St. Lawrence Medical Clinic. 

The clinic was started in 1960 by doctors Gerry Rosenquist and Don Robertson. In 1971, Dr. Chande recalls, they were looking to replace a doctor who was leaving. Chande and his wife, Dr. Ann Chande, came to Morrisburg, looked at the area, and decided to sign with the St. Lawrence group.

Dr. Chande laughed when I asked him what made his family choose to put down roots in very rural Ontario.

“Well, my home town may have been small, but Dar es Salaam in Tanzania is a huge city, and so is Birmingham. Frankly, to me, Ottawa seemed little. But we found we loved the small town life in South Dundas. It was easy to make friends within the medical community. We could send our kids to school here, since we were big believers in the public school system. 

And I love to play golf and tennis, and it’s much easier to do those things in South Dundas than in the big city.  

The doctors at the Clinic are amazing people. If they have left here before retirement, it has never been due to medical issues, but for personal reasons. They love being here in this area.”

In forty years serving this region, Chande has seen a number of changes in the medical profession, and in the actual Winchester Memorial Hospital. 

The  building additions to WDMH and the professional growth of its staff, as well as its transition to a teaching hospital with university affiliations have been exciting changes. Laparascopic surgery, for example, is very different from when Dr. Chande began his career.  And regular in-hospital programs for training young doctors have taken Dr. Chande, in the last few years, into another aspect of medicine: teaching. It is an area he has found he truly loves.

“Most of us want to pass on our medical knowledge to students. Teaching is very important; I believe it is vital to introduce young doctors to rural medicine.  And I think that you have to have lived life to be a good physician. 

Life’s experiences shape your views and approaches to medicine,” he added. “We teach young doctors every time we bring them (with the patient’s permission) into the room with us, even when we must give a patient bad news. How else can future doctors learn?” 

Dr. Chande has worked with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the regulatory body of the medical profession. Licensed medical practitioners take courses and seminars throughout their careers to keep abreast of changes and innovations in medicine.

“I am not an inspector,” Dr. Chande explained. “Rather I go out on arranged visits to look at the practices of other doctors. When I visit, I try to create a dialogue to make it a learning experience for both of us.”

This year will mark Dr. Suru Chande’s final year as practicing physician. “I continue to absolutely love what I do,” he said, “but it is time to contemplate retirement.” 

And although he may be retiring in the near future, Dr. Chande remains thoughtful about the direction of medical care in Canada.

“I think the medical profession and the government will have to work very closely together to develop solid, workable medical care for our population. And I think there will never be one ‘magic bullet’ cure for cancer. We will need to find different approaches to different concerns.  We must be realistic about the quality of life as our population ages.”

At the end of the interview, I commented that he has been a vital, much respected member of this community for many years, and his retirement will be keenly felt.

“It’s nice to find that people are going to miss me,” Dr. Suru Chande smiled.

Indeed they will. 


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Snowarama in Riverside making the most of winter

The first annual Riverside Heights Winter Carnival continued its second weekend of activities with a “3 on 3 hockey tournament” on February 11th at the George Jowett Recreation Hall.

While the planned toboggan races and snowman building contest were a bust thanks to uncooperative weather, the breakfast, hockey and supper events went forward as planned.

The hockey tournament had four teams of three. These hearty hockey lovers braved the freezing temperatures and had lots of fun doing it.

Each player contributed $20 to join the tournament, which included a Saturday morning breakfast. Jamie Robinson and Joey Dufresne, organizers of the event, have earmarked the money raised from the event to help a local resident in need.


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Youth making a difference

On February 11th, the Morrisburg and District Leos held a food drive at Riley’s Valu-Mart in the Morrisburg Plaza. The Leos, a youth division of the local Lions Club, “has been a group for almost two years now,” said Katie Prevost (right), President of the Leos. Both Prevost and Leos Secretary Sheldon Dunkley (left) arrived at the store before 8 a.m. in the hopes of collecting as much money and food for the Dundas County Food Bank, as possible. “People have been donating a lot,” said Prevost, “they’ve been really generous.” Someone even donated $100, said Dunkley. In total, the Leos collected 203 items and $447 for the food bank. According to Prevost and Dunkley, the Leos keep very busy fundraising, doing clean-ups and helping out wherever they can. Their next big project? A talent show in March. Prevost said the group is looking for anyone between the ages of 7 and 18 to sign-up for the talent show. Contact the Morrisburg and District Lions Club for more information.


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Dunbar Hall still waiting

At the February 7th South Dundas council meeting, Deputy-Mayor Jim Locke inquired as to the status of Dunbar Hall. 

Clerk Brenda Brunt revealed that staff is still waiting to meet with Aviva. The insurance agent, she reported, was currently away. Upon return, staff will meet with the agent and move forward from there.

Locke expressed concern over the length of the process.


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Fire dispatch and paging services

At the February 7th South Dundas meeting, council passed a by-law to enter into an agreement with Brockville for fire dispatch and paging services.

Chief Administrative Officer Stephen McDonald reported that “it will probably be the end of March before we’re up and running. We’re waiting for some equipment to be delivered.” 

“There will probably be a two to four week period where we’re running duplicate systems, where there’s an overlap,” he added.


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Update for strategic plan

South Dundas Economic Development Officer Nicole Sullivan is looking to complete an update to the South Dundas Strategic Economic Development Plan.

At the February 7th South Dundas council meeting, council agreed with Sullivan’s request and granted approval for a funding application to the Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP). 

Sullivan had reminded council that the South Dundas Strategic Economic Development Plan, adopted in 2005, recommended periodic updates. However, she pointed out, “the township of South Dundas is now over half way through the ten year planning period and there has yet to be formal review of the plan.”

She submitted the project “for consideration as a 2012 capital budget item,” pointing out that “if EODP funding for the project is approved, it would offset the associated costs.”

“The timing is right,” agreed Deputy-Mayor Jim Locke.


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Doran Creek is on its own

“The motion is lost,” said South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds at the February 7th council meeting.

He was referring to Councillor Evonne Delegarde’s motion  that South Dundas “be responsible for road maintenance from this point on” at Doran Creek Estates, near Iroquois.

 While Deputy-Mayor Jim Locke once again spoke in favour of the motion, it was not enough. 

Mayor Steven Byvelds said, “one of the challenges that Swanks didn’t consider is that this is normal business. In talking to other municipalities, they do not do maintenance until final construction is done.”