News

Amherstburg Heroes celebrating 10th anniversary at March 28 fundraiser

 

 

Eva Penner dribbles the basketball during the  Amherstburg Heroes basketball program Jan. 28.

Eva Penner dribbles the basketball during the Amherstburg Heroes basketball program Jan. 28.

Eric Laapotti takes a shot as Tom Specht looks on Jan. 28.

Eric Laapotti takes a shot as Tom Specht looks on Jan. 28.

By Ron Giofu

 

It will be a celebration that has been ten years in the making.

The Amherstburg Heroes Athletic Club will be holding its annual dinner fundraiser March 28 and organizers plan for it to be the largest yet. The fundraiser has moved to the Verdi Club and 300 tickets have been printed for the event.

The dinner usually sells out and Heroes co-founder Michelle Jones-Rousseau said the move to the Verdi Club allows them to sell roughly 100 more tickets. Due to it being the tenth anniversary, the event will feature the band “Bigg Wiggle” and a photo booth with Jones-Rousseau stating those are being added to the event thanks to a donation from The  Jones Group.

A number of dignitaries are also going to be invited to the fundraiser with local councils also being invited. The invitation to other councils besides Amherstburg town council is reflective of the expansion of the Heroes program, said Jones-Rousseau.

“Amherstburg Heroes has evolved to where it provides opportunities for people throughout Essex County and Windsor,” she said. “We’re hoping there will be representation from other areas.”

The Amherstburg Heroes Athletic Club is a one-of-a-kind service for people with intellectual disabilities, as Jones-Rousseau said they are the only non-competitive organization around. They were approached about becoming affiliated with Special Olympics, but opted to stay a “recreational, non-competitive” team.

“Special Olympics is a wonderful organization but we have many people who didn’t want to be or couldn’t be in a competitive sport,” she said. “They wanted it to be light and fun.”

Jared Pszczonak (right) fends off Robert Wilson during a basketball game played as part of the Amherstburg Heroes Athletic Club program Jan. 28. The basketball program is played at General Amherst High School.

Jared Pszczonak (right) fends off Robert Wilson during a basketball game played as part of the Amherstburg Heroes Athletic Club program Jan. 28. The basketball program is played at General Amherst High School.

The dinner has regularly seen many local businesses sponsor it and donate door prizes towards it and organizers hope that trend continues this year. A highlight of the evening will also be the presentation of the Robert Pillon Memorial Award. A video is also being prepared by Heroes athlete Kate Chant and her mother Phyllis.

Organizers also hope the dinner will increase the group’s profile. It has grown from 17 athletes in its first year to approximately 60 currently, but there are still people in the community who don’t know who they are and what they do, said volunteer coach Elke Leblanc.

“We’re hoping Amherstburg Heroes will get the exposure it deserves,” said Leblanc.

The athletes are excited to attend the dinner, Leblanc said, with that feeling being echoed by other volunteer coaches.

“I am very excited for the celebration and so it my whole family,” said Tina Leblanc.

The Amherstburg Heroes Athletic Club is jointly sponsored by the Amherstburg Police Service and Community Living Essex County (CLEC).  The program has expanded beyond basketball and now includes baseball at the Libro Centre during the summer months as well as taking athletes bowling and to hockey games.

Tickets for the March 28 fundraiser are $20 and are available at CLEC’s Channel Resource Centre on Bathurst St., Amherstburg town hall, the Amherstburg police station and CLEC’s main office in Essex.

MADD outfits Amherstburg police with new toques as part of partnership

 

Sr. Const. Shawn McCurdy shows the new toques Amherstburg police acquired in partnership with MADD Windsor-Essex County.

Sr. Const. Shawn McCurdy shows the new toques Amherstburg police acquired in partnership with MADD Windsor-Essex County.

Sgt. Mike Cox, Const. Steve Owen, MADD Windsor-Essex County Community Leader Chaouki Hamka, Sr. Const. Shawn McCurdy  and Sr. Const. Rocco Pelaccia wear the new toques MADD delivered to the police station Jan. 28

Sgt. Mike Cox, Const. Steve Owen, MADD Windsor-Essex County Community Leader Chaouki Hamka, Sr. Const. Shawn McCurdy and Sr. Const. Rocco Pelaccia wear the new toques MADD delivered to the police station Jan. 28

By Ron Giofu

 

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Amherstburg police have continued their partnership with  local police officers now outfitted with new toques featuring the MADD logo.

Chaouki Hamka, community leader with MADD Windsor-Essex County, was at the Amherstburg police station last Wednesday afternoon where he presented 50 toques to officers. The toques simply say “POLICE” on one side with the MADD logo on the other side.

Hamka said MADD tries to work with area police forces to strengthen ties as he noted that better results occur when relations are strong.  The partnership with Amherstburg police has lasted six years, he continued.

Hamka worked with Sgt. Mike Cox on the toque initiative.

“This was a combined initiative of MADD Windsor-Essex County and Amherstburg police,” said Hamka.

Cox stated that the toques will not only keep officers warm when they are on the road, they help spread the message not to drink and drive.

“Road safety and enforcement is the number one priority,” said Cox. “Keeping the community safe is what it’s all about.”

Cox added that Amherstburg police will still be setting up RIDE programs in town to keep an eye out for those who are drinking and driving.

Town council to seek RFP for legal services

 

Town hallBy Ron Giofu

 

Town council has agreed to seek a Request for Proposals (RFP) for legal services but some wanted to go another route.

Councillor Joan Courtney made the motion to seek an RFP, stating she was not trying to say anything negative about the town’s current law firm. Courtney said the town has used Mousseau DeLuca since 1991 but thought it was time to see if there could be financial savings by putting legal services up for bids.

“I just think it is fiscally responsible,” said Courtney, adding her belief that there are other firms that could give a competitive rate to the town.

According to Courtney, town council spent $1.4 million in legal fees from 2010-14 and was “very upset” to find out the town went over-budget in most of those years only coming in under-budget in 2013.

Councillor Rick Fryer agreed to try and find other ways to lower legal costs but was skeptical of going the RFP route. He said hiring an in-house lawyer would be “a lot cheaper” and that he didn’t want to put out an RFP and “end up with someone we don’t really want.”

Councillor Leo Meloche believed trying to get an estimate on legal fees was “a shot in the dark” and cautioned the town to ensure they get a firm qualified to handle the types of matters a municipality deals with.

“We have to know the law firm and know they can take on the nature of the work we have,” said Meloche.

“Kicking the tires” was something Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale said he wasn’t opposed to but noted Mousseau DeLuca is already handling legal cases for the town and he didn’t want to pay a new firm to get up-to-speed on matters already being handled. He noted that other municipalities have hired internally but cautioned those municipalities “still have to farm out some of it.”

Councillor Diane Pouget suggested that the town’s current firm could still work on ongoing cases but believed it was time to put legal services out for an RFP.

Town council approves terms of reference for audit & finance committee

 

Town Logo Small-webBy Ron Giofu

 

A new audit and finance committee is one step closer to reality, as is a new economic development advisory committee.

Town council approved the terms of reference for both committees at their regular meeting Monday night. The process to recruit new members for these committees will begin as soon as possible, noted Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, with appointment of council members to sit on those committees coming in the near future as well.

“Primarily, it is to deal with the Deloitte report recommendations,” said DiCarlo, of the audit and finance committee. “As well, it is for the residents to be involved with the financial aspects of the town.”

DiCarlo said the audit and finance committee would be able to give a different perspective of town operations and give members a chance to provide their input to town council. People with a financial background will be given preference as recruitment of members proceeds.

“It’s another set of eyes,” said the mayor. “We are trying to make the town into a very transparent position and I think this move screams of this.”

Administration has been asked to give town council a count on exactly how many of the 41 recommendations contained in the Deloitte report have been dealt with, DiCarlo added.

“I think the residents will see we are checking things off pretty quickly,” he said.

The audit and finance committee will consist of two council members, five members of the community and one representative of the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce.

The economic development advisory committee will feature two council members, four members of the community and one ACOC member with terms of reference not indicating that any special profession or skillset being required.

Council did make some appointments to committees Monday night with Councillor Rick Fryer being appointed to the Accessibility Advisory Committee and Councillor Leo Meloche being council’s appointment to the Co-An Park Board and the Heritage Committee. Councillor Joan Courtney and Councillor Diane Pouget were appointed to the Parks Advisory Committee while Fryer and Councillor Jason Lavigne were appointed to the Recreation and Culture Advisory Committee.

Layperson appointments were also made during the Jan. 26 town council meeting. Kenneth Houston, Angela Kelly, Andrew Bolley and John Mitchell were appointed to the Accessibility Advisory Committee and administration was directed to re-advertise for one additional layperson and one community stakeholder, as per the Committee Terms of Reference for two additional weeks and provide council with further applications for consideration once received.

Sherry Ducedre, David Cozens, Alex Smith, Donald Shaw, and Michael Prue were appointed to the Committee of Adjustment. Murray Sellars and Chris Drew were named to the Fence Viewers Committee as well as the Livestock Valuer Committee and the Co-An Park board. Administration was directed to re-advertise for one additional member of the Fence Viewers Committee as per the Line Fences Act for an additional two weeks. Administration will also re-advertise for an additional layperson for the Co-An Park board.

Robert Honor, Shirley Curson-Prue, Simon Chamley, Meg Reiner, Paul Hertel, Dante Pagliaroli and Mical Palumbo were appointed to the Heritage Committee. Pagliaroli, Paulette Drouillard, Rosa White and Mical Palumbo were named to the Parks Advisory Committee while Pagliaroli, Pat Catton, Allison Beaudoin, Curson-Prue and White were appointed to the Recreation and Culture Advisory Committee.

Bob Rozankovic was appointed by town council to the Amherstburg Police Services Board.

Victoria St. Manor to be put up for sale

 

Victoria St. Manor is now vacant and has been declared surplus by the County of Essex.

Victoria St. Manor is now vacant and has been declared surplus by the County of Essex.

By Ron Giofu

 

Victoria St. Manor is going up for sale.

The building that used to house a  supportive seniors care facility has been declared surplus by the County of Essex and that will lead to it being put on the market. Essex County council voted to declare the property at 184 Victoria St. S. surplus at its meeting last Wednesday night.

Director of corporate services/treasurer Rob Maisonville noted that the senior care facility is now unoccupied and has “ceased operations.” The previous county council decided late last year to shut down the facility after being informed by administration that the health and safety obstacles were too difficult to overcome in the event of an emergency.

Cost factors were also cited in discussions as to whether the wood-framed home could be upgraded.

The property has been declared surplus and will be put up for sale according to the county’s bylaw that governs disposal of property. Property valuation will be done in consultation with the county’s real estate broker of record, Buckingham Realty, appraiser Ray Bower and MPAC valuation, Maisonville added.

Maisonville also reported to county council that the county’s management team discussed potential uses of the Victoria St. Manor building, but no current or long-term uses were identified.