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Minor injuries, roughly $170,000 in damage after Malden Hill Dr. fire

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A fire at a home on Malden Hill Dr. caused approximately $150,000 damage to one home and an additional $20,000 to a neighbouring property, states the Amherstburg Fire Department.

A home on the Malden Hill Dr. caught fire Thursday around 5 p.m. with the fire department stating it appears to have started “in the vicinity of a barbecue on an exterior deck.” One side of a home was severely damaged with a neighbouring home also suffering siding and electrical damage.

A home on Malden Hill Dr. gets doused with water after it caught fire Thursday evening. A barbecue is the suspected cause of the blaze.

A home on Malden Hill Dr. gets doused with water after it caught fire Thursday evening. A barbecue is the suspected cause of the blaze.

“We all just heard a loud boom and it all went up in flames,” said Wendy Munro, who lives a few homes away.

Munro said she was getting ready to leave when she heard the noise.

“I looked at the back (of my home) and there was nothing there but then I came to the front and it was in flames,” said Munro. “It went up so fast. You couldn’t believe it.”

The loud noises that were heard were propane tanks releasing and was not an explosion, said assistant deputy fire chief Ron Meloche.

“They did their job. They released,” he said.

Amherstburg firefighters work on the roof of the Malden Hill Dr. home that caught fire Thursday night. There were minor injuries to one person and roughly $150,000 damage to the home. A neighbouring home sustained an estimated $20,000 damage as well.

Amherstburg firefighters work on the roof of the Malden Hill Dr. home that caught fire Thursday night. There were minor injuries to one person and roughly $150,000 damage to the home. A neighbouring home sustained an estimated $20,000 damage as well.

Meloche said crews were on hand until about 6:30 p.m. or so but he was on scene assisting the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) with their investigation until about 10 p.m.

“There was no sign of any explosion at all,” he said.

One person suffered minor injuries, said Meloche, with those injuries being a slight burn to a homeowner’s forearm.

“The firefighters did an excellent job of knocking (the fire) down,” added Meloche.

Essex-Windsor EMS welcomes 17 new recruits

 

By Ron Giofu

 

There are some new faces added to the ranks of Essex-Windsor EMS.

A total of 17 new paramedics were added to the region’s EMS service during a ceremony last Friday afternoon. The new hires include Michelle Benjak, Adrien Bezaire, Jonathon Croley, Jamieson Gemmell, Jonathan Hogan, Melissa Hopkins, Trevor Iles, Joshua McCarton, Joseph Monette, Cassidy Morrow, Rose Pizzuti, Chelsea Pronkewich, Matthew Renaud, Michael Sherwood, Elena Ung, Vanessa Walters and Jeffrey Warren.

Seventeen new Essex-Windsor EMS recruits were officially welcomed as paramedics during a ceremony last week.

Seventeen new Essex-Windsor EMS recruits were officially welcomed as paramedics during a ceremony last week.

“It’s so great to have the new recruits on board,” commented Warden Tom Bain. “You never know what is going to happen.”

Bain recalled a recent story where his wife saw a 96-year-old neighbour fall in his driveway with Essex-Windsor EMS pressed into sudden service to assist the man. He stated that paramedics don’t always know the types of situations they will be facing from day-to-day.

Essex-Windsor EMS chief Bruce Krauter said over 200 applied to be paramedics with 17 making the cut. He noted, “the path to recruitment is lengthy” with many other paramedics, staff and medical professionals being engaged in their futures.

“You should be proud of your accomplishments that led you to this point,” Krauter told the new recruits.

Of the 17 new paramedics, 13 of them were educated at St. Clair College. Krauter referred to St. Clair College as “a sibling to Essex-Windsor EMS.”

Krauter said the new paramedics will still be mentored by more experienced paramedics and that the new recruits can count on their colleagues for assistance.

“Do not be afraid to reach out to learn and listen,” said Krauter.

The profession of paramedic is not so much a job, but a passion, the Essex-Windsor EMS chief added.

“You will have good days, you will have bad days but you have a family, both personally and professionally, to lean on,” Krauter told the 17 new paramedics. “You just have to talk.”

Krauter urged the paramedics to treat patients as if they were one of their own and Dr. Paul Bradford, medical director of the Southwest Ontario Base Hospital program, added paramedics often work in “very personal” situations.

“They do a lot of work in patient’s living rooms or bathrooms,” he said.
Bradford added they often have to work in unfavorable weather conditions and if a vehicle ends up in a ditch, paramedics have to go into the ditch to help.

There is a “huge journey” to become a paramedic, Bradford stated. Also an ER doctor, Bradford pointed out paramedics have to make quick diagnoses in order to have doctors and nurses give them the best care possible once the patient arrives at the hospital.

Paramedics from Friday’s commencement ceremony got to work right away, with many having weekend shifts.

Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show motors on through rain

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Despite rain showers through a portion of the event, this year’s Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show soldiered on anyway.

Numbers were down due to the weather but co-founder and organizing committee chair Eleanor Renaud was in good spirits at the conclusion of Sunday’s car show.

“Even though it rained, it cooled things off,” she said, referencing the high heat the area had experienced in the few days prior.

Ken and Gail Reder won the “Paulie Award” for their 1934 Buick “Woodie” during Sunday’s Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy Show. The “Paulie” goes to the car judged best in show.

Ken and Gail Reder won the “Paulie Award” for their 1934 Buick “Woodie” during Sunday’s Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy Show. The “Paulie” goes to the car judged best in show.

Renaud noted that “it wasn’t a heavy rain” and that people still strolled the downtown streets with their umbrellas looking at the vehicles. The band Bigg Wiggle performed to a large crowd under a tent in Toddy Jones Park, she added, which was something they enjoyed.

“(The rain) put a damper on things as far as our numbers go,” she admitted.

There were over 360 cars registered for this year’s car show, down at least 150 from last year, but considering that the rain had been forecast heading into Sunday, the decline was anticipated.

Mark Feltoe checks out a classic pickup truck as he heads back to Fort Malden.

Mark Feltoe checks out a classic pickup truck as he heads back to Fort Malden.

“That’s not a bad turnout for the weather we were expecting,” said Renaud. “We were fortunate not to have the oppressive humidity we had (Saturday).”

Crowds were down in terms of people strolling through, she added, but in discussing it with organizers of other car shows in the area, it is typical of what has been happening regionally.

“Numbers are down,” she said. “We’re fortunate to have gotten what we did.”

Jim Crichton, anchor of CTV’s Windsor newscasts, and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo helped with the awards ceremony with Ken and Gail Reder of Amherstburg capturing this year’s “Paulie Award” for best in show. Renaud added that a number of car clubs joined in at the show as well.

“The volunteers were awesome, as always,” she said. “We’re fortunate we don’t have incidents. People are friendly and co-operative. It was just a great day.”

The Reders brought their 1934 Buick, known as a “Woodie.” Ken said “Woodies” were not created in 1934 so he took the frame of his vehicle and built it in the model of a “Woodie,” which he said came out around 1940 or so. He spent two days per week over the past three years constructing the vehicle and he and Gail recently drove it to St. Paul, Minnesota without a problem.

Val Pelaccia stands beside his 1957 Chev Bel Air that was parked at the corner of Dalhousie St. and Rankin Ave.

Val Pelaccia stands beside his 1957 Chev Bel Air that was parked at the corner of Dalhousie St. and Rankin Ave.

“The wood is from the farm we used to own,” Gail added.

Jerome Johnson of Colchester came with his 1964 Ford Fairlane 500. He came to the Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show three years ago and returned this year.

Janice Patterson and Jerome Johnson stand with Johnson’s 1964 Ford Fairlane. This was one of about 360 vehicles at the Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show.

Janice Patterson and Jerome Johnson stand with Johnson’s 1964 Ford Fairlane. This was one of about 360 vehicles at the Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show.

“I like meeting people. They are all nice people,” said Johnson.

Johnson added he was able to meet some people who will help him with his car as he made at least two contacts for parts.

Johnson, accompanied by Janice Patterson, said they go to about three or four shows per year.

“This is one of my favourite shows,” said Johnson. “It’s just fun. It’s a nice show.”

A Blues Brothers tribute act performs on stage during the Amherstburg's Gone Car Crazy show.

A Blues Brothers tribute act performs on stage during the Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show.

Val Pelaccia of Amherstburg and his 1957 Chev Bel Air was parked just down Dalhousie St. from Johnson. He said he attended roughly 4-5 car shows last year and plans to do more now that he has recently retired as an elementary school teacher.

“I’ve been to Amherstburg every year, even with my other car,” said Pelaccia, whose other car is a 1981 Monte Carlo. “It’s my local town show. I like being in Amherstburg with my friends and highlighting our cars. There are a lot of friendships here.”

Mardi Gras thrills the downtown crowds over the weekend

 

By Adam D’Andrea

 

Downtown Amherstburg was a sight to be seen last weekend as the streets flooded with crowds, magicians, bands and even a space-age Elvis Presley.

For the second year in a row Dalhousie Street was transformed into Bourbon Street during the 2016 Mardi Gras Street Party. The event was hosted by the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce with the hopes of attracting around 5,000 visitors to the downtown core.

Silver Elvis entertains crowds in front of the Waterfront Ice Cream Parlour  during the Mardi Gras Street Party last Friday evening. (RTT Photo by Adam D'Andrea)

Silver Elvis entertains crowds in front of the Waterfront Ice Cream Parlour during the Mardi Gras Street Party last Friday evening. (RTT Photo by Adam D’Andrea)

“We’re expecting about the same as last year with a little bit more. Last year we had 4,300 people. We’re hoping to hit around 5,000, maybe around 2,500 per night,” said Chamber of Commerce general manager Monica Bunde last Friday. “That’s a nice-sized crowd and that’s a manageable crowd for the police, security and our volunteers.”

(UPDATE: The Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce estimates the crowd at approximately 2,000 for Friday and Saturday combined. That figure was given late Tuesday afternoon.)

Entertainment throughout the weekend was provided by buskers such as magician Bill Nuvo, Silver Elvis, the Stilt Guys and Jojo’s Bizarre Circus, as well as a number of local bands from throughout Essex County. An increased entertainment budget was one of the major changes made from last year’s event.

The Stilt Guys strike a pose during the Mardi Gras Street Party on Dalhousie St. last Friday. (Photo by Adam D'Andrea)

The Stilt Guys strike a pose during the Mardi Gras Street Party on Dalhousie St. last Friday. (Photo by Adam D’Andrea)

“We found last year that’s what the people wanted. They wanted more music, more bands and more buskers,” Bunde said. “They wanted to see them throughout the streets.”

In addition to an increased budget, the Chamber of Commerce also increased the physical size of the festival this year.

“The footprint has been extended to the Dalhousie Bistro on Rankin Avenue and Dalhousie Street, so it gave us an extra block and four more restaurants,” Bunde said. “The Dalhousie Bistro, The Cellar, the Beacon Ale House and Waterfront Ice Cream.”

Tap performs during the Mardi Gras Street Party on Dalhousie Street last Friday evening.

Tap performs during the Mardi Gras Street Party on Dalhousie Street last Friday evening. (RTT Photo by Adam D’Andrea)

Bunde said the Chamber of Commerce is already planning for next year’s Mardi Gras festival. One of the initial steps they’re taking in the planning process is to survey festival goers and use opinions to their benefit.

“We try hard with these festivals and we listened and surveyed people last year. We have people doing surveys Friday and Saturday with the Canada Festival Network,” she said. “They’re going to do some surveys for us and give us some data so we can move forward and hopefully next year we can have an even more successful event.”

According to Bunde there is a high demand for new and exciting festivals in the area and pointed to the Windsor Essex Harvest Festival, which will take place at Fort Malden in September, as an example.

Rachel Pitre tosses a ring onto magician Bill Nuvo’s head during the Mardi Gras Street Party on Dalhousie Street on July 22. Photo by: Adam D’Andrea

Rachel Pitre tosses a ring onto magician Bill Nuvo’s head during the Mardi Gras Street Party on Dalhousie Street on July 22. Photo by: Adam D’Andrea

“The community needs these festivals. They come together,” Bunde said. “The sponsors that we have, they’re all so excited to sponsor these types of events. There’s great response from the community and I think everybody wants it.”

This year’s festival was sponsored by LiUNA! 625, Amherstburg Audiology and Hearing Aids, Rivertowne Dental, Joe Meloche Ford, CIBC and ReMAX.

Kickoff held for September fundraiser benefiting local autistic boy

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Nearly 40 people gathered Sunday afternoon at the Verdi Club all to plan a benefit to help a local boy with autism.

Two-year-old Myles Heinrichs will be the subject of a Sept. 18 fundraiser at the Verdi Club with the aim to raise at least $57,000 to help fund Myles’ treatment at a school in Windsor. His parents, Christina and Tim Heinrichs, currently pay out-of-pocket for his treatment with Christina stating it costs them $1,200 every two weeks. She is a stay-at-home mother of two while Tim is employed as a mechanic.

“We’re running out of money,” she said.

Christina said Myles attends the Therapeutic Learning Centre at the corner of Erie St. and Parent Ave. in Windsor.

“They just opened in January,” she said. “Myles was diagnosed in October.”

The fundraiser is being spearheaded by members of the Heinrichs and Menna families with Rosemary Menna, chair of the organizing committee stating in a letter to service clubs that: “The program that Myles is presently attending is entitled IBI (Intensive Behaviour Intervention) which is an intensive, comprehensive treatment strategy designed for young children on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is used to teach new skills and behaviours to children with autism. The goal is to help children catch up developmentally to peers their own age.”

Two-year-old Myles Heinrichs will be the subject of a Sept. 18 benefit at the Verdi Club.

Two-year-old Myles Heinrichs will be the subject of a Sept. 18 benefit at the Verdi Club.

The fundraising benefit will help the family pay for Myles’ schooling until he is accepted in the provincially funded program. Christina said they want to obtain provincial funding as soon as possible, but they were able to get on the waiting list in February. It could take 12-18 months before the family is accepted.

Christina added that not only is the schooling expensive, but they still have other expenses like clothes, a mortgage and food to look after.

Marc Gomes, a friend of the family, called young Myles “an inspiration in many ways.

“He’s got a heart of gold,” said Gomes. “He’s just a wonderful child.”

Joe Menna, a third cousin to Myles, noted the meeting Sunday at the Verdi Club was the third meeting and was the largest yet. They obtained just over $2,000 in donations, but still want to get to $57,000 as that would pay for his schooling for one year.

They hope to sell 600 tickets, Menna added, and are planning the Sept. 18 fundraising benefit as “a family event.”

Sarah Garnet, a great-aunt to Myles, said children have a “God-given right to express themselves and advocate for themselves.” The treatment Myles has received thus far has allowed him to do that.

One of the donors was Audrey Festeryga, who donated on behalf of her law firm. The former federal Liberal candidate said her family has friends that have a child with autism.

“We were really touched by what this family is trying to do,” she said. “We are honoured to be able to help kick off this event. We are pleased to see the efforts moving forward. Change can happen when a common goal is put into place.”

Those wishing to contribute to the Myles Heinrichs Autism Fund are invited to make donations. Cheques should be payable to the Myles Heinrichs Autism Fund at 10 Laird Ave. North, Amherstburg, Ontario N9V 2T6.

The fundraiser is that Sunday at the Verdi Club from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. with children’s activities from 12 noon-2 p.m. The buffet dinner is pasta, chicken, salad, coffee and tea.

Tickets are $50 for adults, which Menna said translates into one hour of treatment, with children 7-12 being $7. Children ages six and under are free. There will be prizes and entertainment.

For tickets, call Rose and John Menna at 519-736-6934 or Helen and Bill Henrichs at 519-733-6062.