News

Deputy Chief Palumbo retires after 30 years of police service

 

Deputy Police Chief Pat Palumbo retired April 17 after roughly 30 years in policing, the last half of which in Amherstburg. An open house to bid farewell to Palumbo, which included a cake, was held at the Amherstburg police station.

Deputy Police Chief Pat Palumbo retired April 17 after roughly 30 years in policing, the last half of which in Amherstburg. An open house to bid farewell to Palumbo, which included a cake, was held at the Amherstburg police station.

By Ron Giofu

 

After three decades as a police officer, Pat Palumbo is hanging up his badge.

The Amherstburg deputy chief bid farewell last Friday as an open house was held at the police station on his final day. As he heads into retirement, Palumbo is at ease with his decision to retire and to pass the baton to fellow officers, including his successor Ian Chappell.

“It feels good,” said Palumbo. “At every beginning, there is an end and I’m at that point.”

Palumbo said he has got his health and is looking forward to his retirement years.

“It was time to go,” he said. “I felt I did everything I wanted to do. I just thought it was a good time for me to go home.”

The people is what he said he will miss the most but the Amherstburg resident still plans on being around the community so he doesn’t see his transition into retirement being a difficult one.

“I want to enjoy my time off,” said Palumbo, adding he has no real plans for retirement except to travel and “see the world more.” He also plans to remain involved in Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club.

Palumbo joined the Amherstburg Police Service over 15 years ago after starting his career with the OPP. After being moved to four different communities early in his career, he said he decided to switch to municipal policing to provide stability for his family.

“When I came back here, I didn’t have to uproot my kids anymore,” said Palumbo. “This was an opportunity to police in my hometown so I took it.”

Regardless of what the job entailed, Palumbo said he appreciated doing it.

“I enjoyed it,” he said. “Whatever I did, I liked. I enjoyed doing training but I enjoyed everything. From general policing to whatever, it’s all good.”

Palumbo was grateful for the time he spent serving the community.

“I want to thank the community for the time I spent here and it’s been a pleasure to serve,” he said.

Chief Tim Berthiaume wished Palumbo well but added his retirement will be felt. Berthiaume said Palumbo was a dedicated member of the Amherstburg Police Service for over 15 years.

“He’s going to be missed by the people he works with,” said Berthiaume. “We wish him and his wife the best.”

The chief added that they could still hear from Palumbo, if need be.

“Pat has already said he won’t be too far if we need him. He’s only a phone call away,” he said.

Berthiaume added Palumbo always had the best interest of the community at heart.

“We’re going to miss him but we’re happy for him,” said Berthiaume. “It’s time for him just to relax. After 30 years of service, he deserves a rest.”

Town council approves five per cent increases for both water and wastewater rates

 

The Amherstburg wastewater treatment plant.

The Amherstburg wastewater treatment plant.

By Ron Giofu

 

Town council has adopted five per cent increases for the water and wastewater rates for the coming year.

The rates were passed at a budget meeting held last Tuesday. Director of finance/treasurer Justin Rousseau said the passage of the two rates is consistent with the plan adopted by the previous council.

“The council is taking the stance of following the five-year plan of five per cent increases,” said Rousseau.

An average water bill in Amherstburg is roughly $420 annually, said Rousseau. With a five per cent increase, he said that would see the overall bill go up to approximately $429.

The average wastewater rate is currently $745 per year and the five per cent increase would see that go up to $753, he added.

“We’re not talking significant increases,” said Rousseau.

Water and wastewater rate increases often result in water conservation, he added.

There are roughly $30-32 million in capital projects proposed over the next decade, he noted.

While this year is the final year of the previous council’s five-year plan, Rousseau a noted strategic financial plan administration is proposing calls for possible increases in the 3.25 per cent range in future years. Savings could be possible, however, if the town elects to bring services they currently subcontract for in-house, Rousseau noted.

Town administration recommended the continuation of the 2011 plan as it “will address the short- term needs of the water and wastewater budgets of the town based on the assumptions used in 2011 to establish the plan.”

The administrative report added: “It is important to note that at the time the plan was developed, administration did not include a long-term strategy to establish a reserve for water and wastewater that would address future capital infrastructure challenges.”

The 2015 water operating budget that council approved consists of $4,480,000 in revenues and $4,186,974 in expenses with a capital budget of $595,000. Council also approved the 2015 wastewater operating budget of $6,097,695 in revenues and $5,901,094 in expenses with a wastewater capital budget of $3,768,000.

PARC hears pleas from parents, students to keep Western and other schools

 

Susan Cote addresses members of the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) during a Program and Accommodation Review (PARC) meeting held at Western Secondary School April 13.

Susan Cote addresses members of the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) during a Program and Accommodation Review (PARC) meeting held at Western Secondary School April 13.

By Ron Giofu

 

The third meeting of the Program and Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) brought forth pleas for the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) to save the schools under review, including the school that hosted the meeting.

The meeting, held April 13 at Western Secondary School, brought forth both parents and students alike to appeal to GECDSB administration to spare their schools as the board proceeds to find possible solutions to their accommodation issues.

Dawn Beneteau, a parent of a student attending Western, said that she never would have predicted she would have a child in need of an individual education plan (IEP) 24 years ago. She failed to see how the GECDSB could predict what those needs could be in the future.

“How is it possible to guarantee who is going to need IEP in the future?” she asked.

Beneteau appealed to school board officials to keep Western Secondary open, noting how important it is for the students who attend it.

“Don’t let Western fall through the cracks,” she said. “It’s important. It would be sad if you voted to close the school.”

Susan Cote questioned public board officials as to a study that was requested on the closure of Century Secondary School and its amalgamation into the new Westview Freedom Academy. Public board superintendent Todd Awender noted it was early to tell but “we believe it’s a success.”

Cote added that until more details are available on that closure, Western should be spared.

“If that didn’t work out, obviously this won’t work out either,” she said.

Respecting people with disabilities was another point raised by Cote, believing it to be an “abject failure” if the rights of people with disabilities aren’t respected.

Erika Kelly, a graduate of Harrow District High School, recalled being told she shouldn’t attend her hometown school due to the threat of closure. She said she remained committed to attending Harrow and now will be attending Queen’s University for kinesiology.

“I want everyone to have the same opportunities I had at Harrow District High School,” she said.

Claire Salter, a parent from Harrow, called for “new and innovative ways to use the schools” and to “put the students first.” She said that closing schools is “not a solution” and that it would be an “easy way out” for the school board.

“Closing schools is setting students up for failure,” she said.

Other parents called for cost savings and other ways to create revenue for the board, including looking at installing solar panels on the roofs of schools.

“Use the government,” said James Long. “Everyone else is doing it.”

The PARC process encompasses Western, Harrow, General Amherst and Kingsville high schools as well as Harrow Public School. The board has stated that those four high schools account for 25 per cent of the empty spaces in the 71 schools in the system with “significant renewal needs” also being an issue.

Anthony Leardi, who was engaged by town council to work on behalf of the town on the PARC matter, was in attendance at the meeting.

“My job is to report to town council and I shall do so,” said Leardi.

The timing as to when he provides his report “will depend on the schedule that council directs me to follow.”

Asked for specifics as to what the report might state, Leardi replied: “It will be relevant to the PARC process.”

The fourth and final PARC meeting is scheduled to be held in Kingsville May 12.

Pet owners need to be wary of coyotes, say police

 

Aburg Police Logo Rev-webThe Amherstburg Police Service is warning residents to be aware of coyotes when letting pets outdoors.

Police state that in the early morning hours Wednesday, a resident in the area of Concession 2 North and Essex County Road 10 (Middle Side Road) let their small dog out in their back yard.

After a short time outside, police state that the dog was attacked and dragged away by a coyote.

Amherstburg police are asking residents to take extra care when letting their pets outside, especially smaller animals.

The town and the Amherstburg Police Service are also providing a link to the Ministry of Natural Resources on what to do if an animal like a coyote is encountered.

That website can be accessed at the following link: www.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/preventing-and-managing-conflicts-coyotes-wolves-and-foxes

Fire department honors retirees and long-time members

 

The Amherstburg Fire Department held its annual awards night Saturday at the Verdi Club. Retiring firefighters and long-time members were recognized at the dinner. Bottom row (from left): Firefighter Chris Lucier, Capt. Ron Meloche, Capt. Jack Quinn, retired Firefighter Mike McLean, retired Capt. Bill Pillon, retired Capt. Dan Laramie, retired Firefighter Bart DiPasquale, Capt. Brad Brush. Top row (from left): Firefighter Tim Beneteau, Firefighter Mark Girard, Firefighter Jason Durocher, Fire Chief Randy Sinasac, Firefighter Bill Scott, Deputy Fire Chief Jim Ouellette and Firefighter Jason McLean. Absent is Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Brad Amlin.

The Amherstburg Fire Department held its annual awards night Saturday at the Verdi Club. Retiring firefighters and long-time members were recognized at the dinner. Bottom row (from left): Firefighter Chris Lucier, Capt. Ron Meloche, Capt. Jack Quinn, retired Firefighter Mike McLean, retired Capt. Bill Pillon, retired Capt. Dan Laramie, retired Firefighter Bart DiPasquale, Capt. Brad Brush. Top row (from left): Firefighter Tim Beneteau, Firefighter Mark Girard, Firefighter Jason Durocher, Fire Chief Randy Sinasac, Firefighter Bill Scott, Deputy Fire Chief Jim Ouellette and Firefighter Jason McLean. Absent is Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Brad Amlin.

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Fire Department officially bid farewell to over 100 years of experience but took time to recognize those firefighters who are on their way into retirement.

Capt. Bill Pillon, Capt. Dan Laramie, Capt. Mike McLean and Firefighter Bart DiPasquale were all honored for their service to the community as all four have retired. Deputy Fire Chief Jim Ouellette said the department loses four individuals who practiced and promoted the “core values” of firefighters, which are loyalty, unity, respect and trust. He urged other firefighters to continue to show those core values by staying involved in the community, not just while on duty but continuing with fundraising efforts as well such as the volleyball tournament, Goodfellows, Miracle League and Muscular Dystrophy.

Pillon, who worked out of Station 3, retires after 22 years of service. Pillon battled Multiple Myeloma several years ago but that didn’t dampen his passion for firefighting, noted Ouellette.

Stating that his fellow firefighters and those at Station 3 in particular were “so good to me,” Pillon admitted there was a time when he didn’t think he would make it until retirement.

“I didn’t think I’d be here right now but you’ve got to keep pushing,” said Pillon.

Laramie retired after 27 years of service and was also based at Station 3. Ouellette acknowledged that Laramie had lost his wife and that he received notice from Laramie not long after that his decision to retire.

“It’s been awesome,” he said of his firefighting career. “I love all you guys.”

Laramie said his wife “was a big part of it” and told his colleagues “your wives are a big part of it.

“You guys all know that, just never forget it,” he continued. “When it’s gone, it’s a different feeling out there.”

Laramie recognized firefighters he fought with in the past and believed the Amherstburg Fire Department is in good shape going forward.

“You are in good hands,” he stated.

DiPasquale, credited as a hard working and passionate firefighter, thanked his colleagues including those at Station 2.

“It’s not about Stations 1, 2 or 3,” he added. “It’s about the firefighters, the brotherhood and sisterhood, and what we do.”

DiPasquale retired with 30 years of experience with the fire department.

McLean, based out of Station 1, retired after 35 years of service. He also thanked his family, noting that calls often came in at “all hours of the night” and required his family to have to get up as well.

“Continue on with what you’re doing because you do it well,” he told his fellow firefighters.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo noted most firefighters have full-time jobs but still show dedication in battling fires at all hours of the day and night. DiCarlo noted the pride they show in serving the community and added that one of the privileges he has as mayor is to recognize firefighters for their volunteerism and contributions to the community.

DiCarlo, Essex MP Jeff Watson, Chief Randy Sinasac, retired chief Rick Murray and Merv Richards, the latter representing Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, all presented awards to the retiring firefighters and those receiving exemplary service medals and bars. Among those receiving exemplary service medals and bars for 20 years of service were Bill Scott (Station 1), Ron Meloche (Station 2), duty officer Jason McLean, duty officer Jason Durocher, and Tim Beneteau (Station 2).

Recognized for 25 years of service were Sinasac, Jack Quinn (Station 1), Chris Lucier (Station 2) and Brad Brush (Station 1).

Sinasac recognized his family and noted “everyone here is my family as well. It’s been a privilege to serve you as your chief.”

Mark Girard was honored for 30 years of service with Girard based out of Station 1. Assistant Deputy Chief Brad Amlin was absent but is being recognized for his 35 years of service to the Amherstburg Fire Department.