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Commemorating the War of 1812

News Release – October 11, 2011

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE– The Harper Government today launched the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. 

This War helped establish our path toward becoming an independent and free country, united under the Crown with a respect for linguistic and ethnic diversity.

“The heroic efforts of those who fought for our country in the War of 1812 tell the story of the Canada we know today: an independent and free country with a constitutional monarchy and its own distinct parliamentary system,” said James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. 

“The 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 is an opportunity for all of us to take pride in our history, and we look forward to taking part in the events and activities that will mark this important anniversary for Canada.”

Over the next four years, the Government will invest to increase Canadians’ awareness of this defining moment in our history. 

This will include support for: a pan-Canadian educational campaign focused on the importance of the War of 1812 to Canada’s history; support for up to 100 historical re-enactments, commemorations, and local events; a permanent 1812 memorial located in the National Capital Region; interactive tours, six exhibits, and improvements to three national historic sites across the country; investments in infrastructure at key 1812 battle sites, such as Fort Mississauga and Fort York, Ontario; celebrating and honouring the links that many of our current militia regiments in Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada have to the War of 1812. 

October 2012, will also be designated as a month of commemoration of the heroes and key battles of the War of 1812.

“Had the War of 1812 ended differently, the Canada we know today would not exist. The war laid the foundation for Confederation and the cornerstones of our political institutions,” said Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. 

Details on planned activities will be made available on the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 website at


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Airplane used in law enforcement

SD&G – Over the Thanksgiving weekend, members of the HSD (Highway Safety Division) as well as SD&G OPP officers took part in a traffic initiative involving the use of the airplane on Highways 138 and 401. 

HSD Sgt. Paul Sabourin stated that “some drivers were surprised when they were stopped and issued a Provincial Offence Notice for speeding; once they were advised to look skyward they realized that they had been observed by the airplane.” 

The long weekend initiative resulted in the following charges: 3 Radar Warning Devices; 11 Stunt Driving; and 148 Speeding. 

SD&G OPP would like to remind the motoring public to time manage and respect all the rules of the road when travelling on our  highways.  


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Ladies night fundraiser is a model for success

What do you think about when you hear Ladies Night Out?

Community Living Dundas County (CLDC) held their third annual Ladies Night Out Fundraiser on October 13 at Matilda Hall in Dixon’s Corners complete with entertainment, shopping, prizes, refreshments and friendly conversation.

The event began at 6 p.m. with a variety of vendors showcasing their products and services. Their displays were arranged on the walls surrounding the twenty tables set up beautifully for guests.

Matilda Hall had a full house that night with at least 200 guests. 

On entering the hall, ladies were greeted with the sound of Claude Plamondon playing guitar and singing his songs.

Staff from the South Mountain branch of Scotiabank welcomed guests at the door. The bank also volunteered to match whatever proceeds were raised from the entrace fees.

At the entrance of the hall, Amber Rothwell welcomed guests by handing out free reusable CLDC logo bags.

Some of the food for the “ladies tea” was donated by Giant Tiger in Morrisburg, Riley’s Valumart in Morrisburg, Mike Dean’s Superstore in Winchester, and Andy’s Foodland in Winchester.

CLDC Executive Director Debbie Boardman reported, that CLDC “received cash donations and items for the silent auction from numerous businesses and organizations in South Dundas and North Dundas.”

The vendors in attendance “were extremely generous with donations for the door prizes.”

Two of the vendors provided the main entertainment of the evening by way of a fashion show.

Annette Quesnel from Juli Fashion Essentials in Morrisburg  along with  Amy Baker’s Jockey Person to Person from Winchester organized and presented some lovely fashions for the audience.

Quesnel’s volunteer models consisted of Chelsea Bosman, Leeanne Stata, Stephanie Barkley, Mary Roderick, Theresa Robillard, and Florence Oglestone.

Baker’s modelling volunteers were, in order of first appearance, Tracey Porteous, Joanne McCaslin, Wendy Hyndman, Julie McDonald, and Doris Baker. Tracey worked double duty filling in for an absent Juli model.

In addition to the many door prizes, there were also three draws. The first place prize was donated by Aura Escapes with a “girls get-away” package for four people in Cornwall including accommodations and meals. Elaine Whitteker was the winner.

The second place prize consisted of a spa bundle from Lakeshore Massage Therapy. The winner was Jeannie Fox-Dibble.

Agnes van Dodewaard won the third place prize of a Stokefire Gift Certificate.

After the fashion show and prizes, but before the finish of the silent auction, three board members rose to speak: Terry Boyd, Eunice Eldridge, and Marja Smellink.

Boyd began saying “we’re here tonight to share with you why CLDC is so important in so many ways.”

“We (Boyd, Eldridge, and Smellink) are all mothers of a child that has a disability. It’s only when you have a loved one with a disability in your family that you realize how important it is to have an agency like CDLC in your area.”

“They have made a difference for our families and so many others.”

As for CLDC, their website states: “CLDC supports the inclusion of people with an intellectual disability to the same extent that all people are included.”

“The thrust of current services and supports is to shift away from costly services that isolate family and friends, and towards services that include people in their community.”

“All people with an intellectual disability are entitled to be a part of Dundas County – to live, work, be educated and enjoy all that this community offers its citizens.”

The proceeds from the CLDC’s Ladies Night Out Fundraiser will go toward three projects, according to Boardman, first being transportation as there is an accessibility issue “due to lack of public transit and accessible vehicles.”

Another project includes repairs and updates to the Snoezelin Room, which is “open to anyone requiring an environment in which all of our senses may be stimulated.”

The third project earmarked for the fundraiser proceeds is a “new funding initiative, the George Davidson Family Resource Fund.”

Boardman reported: “This fund was created in the memory of George Davidson, a founding pioneer of the community living movement in Dundas County. As a long-standing member of the Board of Directors of our Association, George was an advocate for families as well as his own daughter, Susan. In his memory, his wife Barb has graciously donated money to set up the George Davidson Family Resource Fund.”

“The objective is to provide opportunities for training, resource materials, and communication supports.”

As for the Ladies Night Out event, Smellink had this to say during her speech: “Each and every one of you have been a part of making tonight a success.”

She thanked everyone for coming, saying “I’m grateful to live in a very compassionate and generous region.”

Amount raised was unknown at press time.


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Mustard’s Variety supports Crime Stoppers

Seaway Valley Crime Stoppers had its 50/50 winning ticket picked on October 15th at Jim Mustard’s Variety store in Iroquois. Jim Mustard has been a supporter of the program since its inception in 1992. The winning ticket for the 50/50 was sold at the Williamstown fair this past August; the winner was Denis Tousignant of Greenfield, North Glengarry Township ($1550.00).  The winning ticket was pulled by Nelson Zandbergen in front of Mustard’s Variety store. 


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Merchants beware of scam!

Over the past few days, SD&G OPP has received two reports of suspected scams.

The incident consists of a female entering a local store and speaking with the employee at the cash register. After a short time three to four more people come into the store and start asking the employee questions about the merchandise that is for sale.

When the employee is distracted a member of the group goes behind the counter or into a storage area looking for cash or valuables.

SD&G OPP want to remind merchants to be aware of this possible scam and to not to be distracted. If more than one person starts to engage in questions advise them to speak one at a time and be firm as to where they are allowed to go in the store.

If any merchant experiences this type of incident please take note of the description of the criminals and what type of vehicle they are using and call your local police detachment.


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Laurier Drive being looked at

 Are you one of the many people who drive Laurier Drive to County Road 2 on a daily basis?

On October 13th, Hugh Garlough, Manager of Public Works for South Dundas, gave the Leader an update on where things stand with the patch of road at the north end of Laurier in between Beavers Dental and Ultramar.

The piece in question, which is approximately the length of one car, has been quite bad for a good length of time with its pot holes and uneven pavement.

According to Garlough, “the counties own all intersections along any county road and any culvert that crosses an entrance to (a non-county) road.”

This means that the fate of Laurier Drive lies “in the hands of the counties.” Garlough was told that the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry would be doing an investigation before getting back to him on the road’s future.

The Leader followed up with County Engineer Ben De Haan the same day.

De Haan said he had “been out on site” but couldn’t say much about the state of the road as it was “covered in stone dust.” Ironically, the Township of South Dundas has been spreading stone dust in an attempt to make the road drivable.

He also said he “did look at the culvert (and there was) no significant issue with the culvert.”

In terms of the road itself, De Haan did admit there was “pretty deficient asphalt; deterioration of the asphalt.”

As for repairs or replacements? The outlook doesn’t seem likely. “We (Counties) don’t have it on our plan for this year.”

He did, however, say that the Counties are required to keep the road at a minimum code and, “if (there’s) patching to be done, we’ll (Counties) look after that.”

When questioned about the possibility of the road being put on next year’s budget agenda, De Haan didn’t seem optimistic.

He ventured that “it will be looked at (but that it’s) subject to approval.” 

Upon hearing this news, South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds had this to say: “Things are being looked into. Stay tuned.”


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363 Local Residents Notified of Possible Exposure to Infection

News Release – October 18, 2011

CORNWALL – 363 residents in the five Eastern Counties are among the patients who will be receiving registered letters following the investigation into a private Ottawa-area medical clinic. 

During the investigation, it was discovered that the clinic did not always follow some infection prevention and cleaning protocols. As a precaution, letters are being sent to approximately 6,800 patients who underwent endoscopic procedures at the clinic between April 2002 and June 2011. 

The clinic, operated by Dr. Christiane Farazli, is located at 1081 Carling Avenue, Suite 606.         Dr. Farazli has worked with Ottawa Public Health (OPH) during the investigation and has co-signed the letter to her patients. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has been in regular contact with OPH concerning the matter.

“Even though the risk of getting an infection is very low, patients who receive a letter should contact their physician to discuss testing,” states Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.

In fact, the risks of associated infections are believed to be less than 1 in 1 million for Hepatitis B, less than 1 in 50 million for Hepatitis C, and less than 1 in 3 billion for HIV. 

The letters include information for patients who would like to be tested. These are free blood tests and patients will need to go to a laboratory to have blood taken. If a patient would like to be tested they have several options which are outlined in the letter. 

Ottawa Public Health has established a dedicated information line for residents who have questions related to this issue. Any person who underwent endoscopy in the facility during the time period mentioned and who has not received a letter by Tuesday, October 25th should contact Ottawa Public Health.

The OPH dedicated information line’s number is 613-580-2888. 

The phone line will be available between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. (Monday to Friday) and from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday). 

For additional information, please visit 

The information line was open until midnight on Tuesday, October 18 and Wednesday, October 19. 

Patients are being advised not to go to a hospital emergency department for blood testing. Hospitals will re-direct patients seeking blood tests for this issue to call OPH. 


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Marching to a positive drummer

 “If everybody gave 100 per cent all the time, most of the problems on this planet could be solved. We need to focus that incredible energy at all times. Give the best you can to the world,” said Mitch Dorge, on October 4, 2011, addressing a very enthusiastic audience of grades 7-8 students at Seaway District High School.

Dorge, who is probably much better known to Canadians as the drummer for the band Crash Test Dummies, presented two assemblies to the intermediate and high school students. The thrust of his dynamic and upbeat discussion was to encourage students to find positive and healthy ways to affect the world. 

“If we can stop lies and myths about drugs and alcohol, the door to communications is open,” Dorge said. “I try to tell kids that life is short. Go after your dreams, but make the right choices along the way.”

Dorge made his points through humour and anecdotes tied in to his life as an artist who has performed with the Dummies throughout the world. Personable and outgoing, he brought student volunteers forward, demonstrating the strength of positive energy and a bright outlook on life. 

Mitch Dorge appeared at Seaway under the sponsorship of the Co-operators Insurance.

“Co-operators has small town roots itself,” said Brent McKean, an agent with the company, who came to Seaway with Dorge. “Our company has a real desire to make a difference in communities. Head office saw and heard Mitch speaking and working with students, and knew that his is a powerful message concerning drugs and alcohol. Co-operators has been working with him for four years now. 

His message is very pro-active, encouraging young people to live life positively.”

While Dorge has successfully addressed audiences of up to 2,000 young people, he enjoys working with smaller crowds like those at Seaway.

“I interact a lot with kids directly. I like to get close and talk directly to them,” Dorge said following his presentation. “Energy and joy should be the focus of a young person’s life. I tell kids to be comfortable in their own skins.”


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The PussyCat Hotel, a ‘purr’fect kitty getaway

If you are a cat owner who enjoys holidaying in the sun, and being pampered and fed in a luxurious hotel, but feel a tinge of guilt at leaving your favourite feline behind, then the PussyCat Hotel could be the answer for you.

The PussyCat Hotel, located just east of Glen Stewart on the South Branch Road, is owned and operated by Judy Amo and Ian Leverett. The two have turned a cattle barn into a palatial cat resort that provides luxurious accommodations for our furry friends.

The Hotel, however, doesn’t answer just the needs of those heading off on vacation. Cat owners who travel for business and those who have to be away from home or unable (temporarily) to care for their cat(s) due to health reasons are frequent customers.

Judy and Ian have filled the hotel’s central catwalk with regular home furnishings…a dining room set, couches and chairs, and a television that on most days features all the things a cat is interested in.

“I like to leave it on through the day so they can watch it,” says Judy, who often heads to the hotel to spend the evening watching television with the cats while Ian catches a sports program back at the house. 

Off the catwalk are the cat suites, that range from the ‘royal suites’ (up to four cats), to ‘economy’ (one cat). The hotel has 22 rooms. All were filled during the 2010 Christmas holiday, the first holiday the PussyCat Hotel was in operation.

When Ian and Judy first met 20 plus years ago, they owned and bred Persian and Himalayan Cats.

After cleaning homes, Judy took a dog grooming course and worked in that business for a number of years.

Ian has tried his hand at a government position and running a craft business. He built a busy disc jockey business in the Ottawa area, ‘700 dances a year” then a successful snow ploughing operation, “which was worse.”

The couple eventually settled in the Kemptville area where they launched a pet sitting business which developed into their boarding dogs in their own home.

“We went to our first home where there was a dog chained outdoors,” says Ian. “It was 40 below, so we decided to take the dog home, and that’s how it started. We eventually had 500 clients.”

Unfortunately, caring for upwards of 20 dogs in their home at any one time became a health/safety issue for Judy, when she had a knee replacement. 

They sold the business and moved to their new home on the South Branch Road in the spring of 2010, with the intent to build a boarding kennel for dogs. However, a clause in the sale of their Kemptville business and municipal regulations led them down a slightly different path…a return to their first love, cats, and the resulting PussyCat Hotel.

“We love it here,” says Judy of the six acre farm. “It’s so quiet and the neighbours are so friendly. When we opened (November 2010) we had an open house and all the neighbours came.”

In designing the PussyCat Motel, Ian says, “we figured cats don’t belong in cages just like dogs, so we designed the rooms. Most places just have cages and the animals are confined to the cages for weeks on end.”

“We spent a lot of money on this. It was a horse and cow stable.”

Ian’s vision included pillars which run the length of the central hallway. Each of the suites opens off the grande hallway with screen doors.

The top room is the (up to four cat) ‘king suite’ which measures a little more than eight by seven feet. Located on the west side of the Hotel, it offers maximum afternoon sunshine which shines onto window perches. There are also climbing ramps, poles and extra large cat trees.

The (up to three cat) ‘queen suites’ catch the morning sun Slightly smaller than the ‘kings’, they too feature ramps and large cat trees. The 40 square foot ‘royal suite’ houses up to two cats as does the 36 square foot ‘presidential’. The 30 square foot ‘economy condo’ has no window and is designed for one cat.

Litter boxes and feeding stations are located in each room.

Prices are per room (not per cat) and range from $30 per day for the ‘king’ down to $14 per day for ‘economy’.

During their stay, the feline guests can roam freely throughout the hotel. Some cats are quite comfortable around the other guests, while others take a couple of days to warm up to the idea. A few choose to remain in their rooms. 

The cats are confined to their rooms at night. “Then we know they are safe,” says Judy. “During the day they have their freedom. They don’t get bored. There is always something for them to do. I come in and play with them or watch TV.”

Last Wednesday, there were nine guests and two expected to arrive on Thursday. Two were catnapping on their window ledges, while Smokey and Sheeba (ragdolls) were hiding, like cats do, under the couch. Then there was the very curious Hawkeye who joined Ian and Judy for the interview on the dining table.

Smokey and Sheeba were on an indefinite stay while their owner recuperates from a medical issue. “The lady who owns them phones every day. She misses them,” says Judy.

The beautiful decor, featuring pillars and chandeliers and laminate (wood) flooring that runs down the centre of the PussyCat Hotel are only surpassed by the pristine cleanliness of the entire operation. 

With the exception of a few wisps of cat hair (an unavoidable part of the business), the hotel is immaculate. 

First time visitors can expect to be ‘wowed’ with what they see.

Judy cleans every day. She says she seldom has problems with the cats and all use their litter boxes. 

Judy has also returned to dog grooming which she does in a specially adapted room in the couple’s home well away from the PussyCat.

Ian’s philosophy is, ‘if you offer a service a lot of people need and a lot of people like, then you are going to be successful.”

With reservations now being made for the upcoming Christmas season and winter travel time, Ian and Judy are hoping that indeed the PussyCat Hotel is a service folks and their felines need. It is certainly one that any fuzzy, fur ball can’t help but like. After all, The PussyCat Hotel is billed as ‘Canada’s largest and most luxurious cat hotel’ and it’s located right here in South Dundas.

For more information and pictures or for reservations at the ‘purr’fect kitty getaway contact the PussyCat Hotel at or call Ian and Judy at 613-652-9082.


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Baby owl rescue was a ‘hoot’

Laura-Lee Cholette, assistant superintendant at the Upper Canada Golf Course, is someone who gives a ‘hoot’.

In May of this year, following a big windstorm, Laura-Lee spotted what she thought was a chunk of paper near the trees north of the par three third green. On closer inspection, the chunk of paper turned out to be a baby bird, later identified as a Great Horned Owl.

So began Laura-Lee’s rescue,  which included the Owl’s turn over to the Wild Bird Centre in Ottawa, its summer spent growing up at the Owl Foundation near Niagara Falls and its subsequent release back home on Sunday, October 9 at the Upper Canada Bird Sanctuary.

“They estimated it was only two weeks old when I found it and explained to me that at that age it wasn’t at the branch stage yet,” says Laura-Lee. (The branch stage, about six weeks old, is when the young owl is old enough to sit on a branch and wait for its parents to bring food.)

Initially, Laura-Lee left the unidentified bird, but after finishing work and returning home, she couldn’t get if off her mind.

She contacted the Wild Bird Centre in Ottawa and was instructed to return it to the tree and wait for three hours to see if the parents would return.

So back she went, a ladder was located, and she set the baby bird back up on a branch. After three hours, the parents had not showed up, and she returned home.

“The next day it was on the ground again.”

“It could stand up with no problem and its claws were huge. It even hissed at me.”

Fearing it was unlikely the baby would survive, Laura packed it up and took it to the Wild Bird Centre.

“It was neat,” she says. “They actually got four at the time, because of the wind storm.”

It was there that the baby bird was identified as a Great Horned Owl.

From the Wild Bird Centre, the baby was sent to The Owl Foundation, an owl rehabilitation centre located at Vineland Station in the Niagara Peninsula, where it was raised to the age it could survive on its own.

“They had a foster mom who took in six babies,” says Laura-Lee. 

When release time came, Laura-Lee was contacted. Also being returned to the area was a Screech Owl that had been found in Cooper’s Marsh in August. Preferred releases are done within a reasonable distance from where the owls are originally found.

“I was supposed to pick her up in Napanee, but luckily Patty Summers from the Wild Bird Centre in Ottawa was in Guelph and she was able to drive them here.”

Laura-Lee says she was totally impressed with the beautiful bird that was returned to her.

“Her wing span was three feet, and she was probably 1.5 feet tall. She was gorgeous.”

The Screech Owl, (later released at the Marsh) was “very tiny. It was the size of my guy’s head.”

In front of family and friends, Laura-Lee released the Horned Owl at the Bird Sanctuary. 

Per instructions, the box was opened near trees “so she could look for a perching option. The last I saw of her, she was flying off over the trees.”

“They explained to me that if there is room she will stay, but if there is already a pair around she will move on. I actually wanted to take her home. She was beautiful.”

Describing her feelings as happy “because it is now free” and sad “because it is alone”, Laura-Lee says the rescue was a “wonderful experience”. She says she has certainly learned a lot about owls.

The Great Horned Owl is the most widely distributed true owl in the Americas. It can have a wingspan of 40-60 inches and the females are larger than the males. They have large ear tufts,  reddish brown or grey faces, and their irises are yellow. 

All mated Great Horned Owls are permanent residents of their territories. After hatching, they move onto tree branches at about six weeks and fly about one week later. They stay with their parents for several months.

As for Laura-Lee, she will now be listening for ho-ho-hoo, hoo, hoo, the call of a Great Horned Owl, and wondering if it is her rescued baby.