News

Gibson Gallery presenting “Student Pix” through May 7

 

 

By Danica Skakavac

 

For the Gibson Gallery, nothing matters more than bringing together families and friends in light of original artwork.

The Gibson Gallery is hosting the “Student Pix: Student Digital Photography GECDSB” exhibit until May 7. The idea of the event is to create the opportunity for public board students from Grades 1-12 to enter in their photographs in hopes of winning the contest.

River Town Times editor Ron Giofu was one of three judges for the Gibson Gallery's "Student Pix" exhibit, which runs through May 7.

River Town Times editor Ron Giofu was one of three judges for the Gibson Gallery’s “Student Pix” exhibit, which runs through May 7. (RTT Photo by Danica Skakavac)

The entry categories are Junior (Black and White, Colour and Digitally Altered Using Computer Software), Intermediate (Black and White, Colour and Digitally Altered Using Computer Software) and lastly Senior (Black and White, Colour and Digitally Altered Using Computer Software).

The gallery works with Shelley Pike, teacher consultant K-12 Computers and 21st Century Skills, Business Studies and Computer Science with the Greater Essex County District School Board.

Judges for the “Student Pix” event included River Town Times editor Ron Giofu, freelance reporter and Gibson Gallery board member Jonathan Martin and professional photographer Phyllis Chant.

The awards for the winners and participants will be held May 7 at 3 p.m.

The walls of the Gibson Gallery are filled with the photography talents of students from within the Greater Essex County District School Board.

The walls of the Gibson Gallery are filled with the photography talents of students from within the Greater Essex County District School Board. (RTT Photo by Danica Skakavac)

“My favourite part of the event is the closing day when the students and families come together to honour the winners and to celebrate the successful contest and exhibit,” says Pike. “The media is there and our superintendent gives out awards. It is a very big deal for the students and a day that they will never forget!”

Pike also added in her opinion of the showcase, saying that reading the descriptions the students write with their entry photographs about what their images mean to them allows a little glimpse into their values that we may not know.

The Gibson Gallery is located at 140 Richmond St. and can be found online at www.gibsonartgallery.com. Their Facebook site can be found at www.facebook.com/GibsonGallery. To find them on Twitter, visit www.twitter.com/ARTamherstburg.

Their hours are Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

 

Live History group planning performances at Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

An Ottawa-based touring group is bringing their live historical performances to Amherstburg.

The group, known as “Live History,” will be featured in over 50 venues in six countries in 2017 with one of those venues being Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada. There will be three performances May 6 and two more May 7.

“It’s probably like nothing you’ve ever seen before,” said Live History founder Jasmine Bowen.

The interactive performance – called “In Time” – will see the audience divided up and go off with one of the actors presenting the show. The description states: “Directly following the successful siege of Detroit, General Brock, his aide-de-camp Lt-Col Macdonell and you, his militia, have returned to Fort Amherstburg. The next great victory lies ahead, at Queenston, and morale is high. However, there are a few among you who are not as they appear. The War of 1812 created divided loyalties, and those who would do anything to see victory for their side. The local healer has family on all sides of the war, her loyalty in question as the conflict rises. The young Lt-Col is struggling to find his place in the world around him; a protege on a pedestal he’s not sure he belongs on. General Brock is already eager for his next battle; but will it be a success? It’s up to you, the local militia, to keep the camp safe and help the troops move out within the hour, before disaster strikes. Lives are at stake; history could be changed. Will you be ‘In Time’?”

In TimeWEB

“It’s completely interactive live theatre,” said Bowen.

There will be four historical characters portrayed during the performances, with each likely not to exceed 30 audience members.

Live History has partnered with Parks Canada and comes to Amherstburg with a story that is geared towards history relevant to the area. They worked with Fort Malden staff to come up with stories they could portray.

“We tell lost stories more than famous stories and it all comes together,” said Bowen.

Live History will travel to such locales as Whitehorse, Yukon, the United Kingdom and Bermuda this year, she added.

The May 6 performances are at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. while the May 7 shows are at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets are $14.70 per person and available by calling 519-736-5416 or 519-562-0408. People can also e-mail ont.fort-malden@pc.gc.ca for details. Tickets are limited and the “In Time” show is recommended for people ages 14 and over.

Ribbon cut for new laundromat

 

 

By RTT Staff

 

The ribbon has been officially cut for the town’s laundromat.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo joined owner Luigi DiPierdomenico and his staff at the Amherstburg Laundromat, located at 131 Gore St., last Thursday evening where the mayor cut the ribbon. DiCarlo called the new laundromat a “good investment in the town” and said the DiPierdomenico family’s investments “speaks volumes” about their commitment to Amherstburg.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo (left) cuts the ribbon at the Amherstburg Laundromat. At right is owner Luigi DiPierdomenico.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo (left) cuts the ribbon at the Amherstburg Laundromat. At right is owner Luigi DiPierdomenico.

DiPierdomenico said he recalled hearing complaints about the former laundromat, which stood on Sandwich St. S. just south of Simcoe St. After the land was sold and redeveloped into what is now the WFCU property, people were concerned about the lack of a laundromat.

DiPierdomenico said he decided to build a laundromat himself and while the original plan of building one next to the car wash was too high, he eventually helped redevelop the former Custom Cleaners building on Gore St. and put the laundromat there.

The laundromat has double and triple loaders, a snack machine, Wi-Fi, a soap dispenser and an ATM, he said, noting it was roughly a $350,000 investment to gut the building and turn it into a laundromat.

Amherstburg Fire Department honours retirees, long-serving members

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Fire Department paid tribute to nine retirees and eight long-serving firefighters as part of their annual banquet.

The retirement and awards banquet was held Saturday night with the retirees alone amounting for 264 years of service to the community. Retirees included former deputy chief James Ouellette (46 Years of Service), Frank Beaudoin (45 years), Kenneth Tytgat (35 years), Mike Dikan (30 years), Brian Gibb (26 years), Rodney Ferriss (23 years), Marcy Laframboise (21 years), Rob Taylor (20 years) and Russell Deslippe (18 years).

Also honoured was Al Reaume, who spent his last official day as fire chief Saturday night before re-entering retirement. Essex MP Tracey Ramsey thanked Reaume for the work he put in during his two years as chief and all of the award recipients as well.

Top (left to right) Captain Brad Brush, Firefighter Rob Taylor, Firefighter Tom Morand, Captain Jerry Ferguson, Captain Frank Beaudoin, Captain Paul Bastien, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey. Bottom (left to right) Captain Rick Wismer, District Chief Ken Rose, Firefighter Brian Gibb, Firefighter Marcy Laframboise, Firefighter Ken Tytgat, Chief Al Reaume, Firefighter Rodney Ferriss.

Top (left to right): Captain Brad Brush, Firefighter Rob Taylor, Firefighter Tom Morand, Captain Jerry Ferguson, Captain Frank Beaudoin, Captain Paul Bastien, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey. Bottom (left to right): Captain Rick Wismer, District Chief Ken Rose, Firefighter Brian Gibb, Firefighter Marcy Laframboise, Firefighter Ken Tytgat, Chief Al Reaume, Firefighter Rodney Ferriss.

“I thank you for your service to the community,” said Ramsey.

Ramsey also thanked the families, noting all the time and sacrifices they have to endure in addition to the sacrifices made by the firefighters themselves.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo noted that Reaume was already retired when the town called him to assume command of the department two years ago when it was being restructured. He also praised the firefighters for the job they did during those difficult circumstances.

“You have remained focused, dedicated and professional,” DiCarlo said.

DiCarlo also reiterated what Reaume told the River Town Times in the April 12 issue. Reaume’s quote was: “The firefighters here are phenomenal. They’ll give you 100 per cent. They are doing the job for the right reasons.”

Leading is not always glamorous, the mayor added, and said Reaume came to Amherstburg in less than ideal circumstances. Despite the workload or challenges Reaume was faced with, DiCarlo said the chief was “unflappable” and did his job professionally.

“Amherstburg is a better place because of you and we wish you well as you go back into retirement,” DiCarlo told Reaume.

Chief Al Reame presents Capt. Rick Wismer (right) with the Fire Chief’s Medal of Excellence during the Amherstburg Fire Department's award banquet April 22.

Chief Al Reame presents Capt. Rick Wismer (right) with the Fire Chief’s Medal of Excellence during the Amherstburg Fire Department’s award banquet April 22.

Reaume also presented Capt. Rick Wismer with the Fire Chief’s Medal of Excellence. Wismer was getting ready to head to a medical call in the early morning hours of July 15, 2016 when he looked across the road from Station 2 and saw a house on fire. The residents were still sleeping because, as Reaume stated, the fire started in the garage and went into the attic thus going above where the working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms were situated. Wismer checked the home and was able to get the family out safely.

Wismer said it goes to show what the firefighters learn and that they fall back on their training in emergency situations.

“It’s very special,” he said, of receiving the medal. “Some people go a career without receiving something like this. I wasn’t expecting it for sure.”

Receiving the award from Reaume was special as well, Rick Wismer added, with Reaume being “like a father figure to us.”

Rick Wismer also received his 20 year service medal with other medals and bars going to Paul Bastien (45 years), Jerry Ferguson (35 years), Bradley Brush (30 years), Dikan (30 years), Tom Morand (20 years), Ken Rose (20 years) and Taylor (20 years).

Rose, a district chief, and Capt. Randy Wismer paid tribute to the other retirees. Randy Wismer said Beaudoin has been through many changes over the years and said his life is “honestly a remarkable life of service” and one that people should aspire to. Wismer called Ferriss someone who was honest and bold and also “a welcome sight to see on fire calls when I was promoted to captain.”

Laframboise was Amherstburg’s first female firefighter and Wismer noted that while there were challenges, she met them and became an important asset. He praised Laframboise for her work at medical calls.

Rose called Dikan a “wizard” who knew the capabilities of what could be done. Deslippe is a “super loyal guy” who was very knowledgeable and a person who “had your back” at fire calls.

Tytgat proved to be a “very versatile guy” at fire calls, Rose continued, and was also a good person when it came to organizing fire safety initiatives and Christmas parties. Gibb is funny, endearing and a “jokester” while Taylor was a “real pro” who took special interest in auto extrication and sharing his knowledge with his fellow firefighters.

The retirees in attendance made a few comments of their own, with Tytgat thanking all of his colleagues at Station 3. He added the spouses and families deserved a lot of credit as well for the sacrifices they make.

“We’ve got a good group of firefighters at all three fire stations,” said Gibb, adding the residents can be proud of the dedication of their firefighters.

Beaudoin said he was proud and honoured to work with his fellow firefighters and said his career went by quickly.

“It goes by fast, especially when you enjoy what you do,” said Beaudoin.

Laframboise said she was proud to be able to work with the Amherstburg Fire Department.

“It was an honour to have met you all and work with you all,” said Laframboise.

Taylor also praised the firefighters and encouraged everyone to “keep up the good work” while Ferriss said he will have nothing but good memories from his time on the fire department.

Bruce Montone, the new chief of the Amherstburg Fire Department, said he was struck by the “sense of family” that exists within the department.

“I am very honored to have been given the opportunity to work with you and earn my place hopefully as part of your family,” Montone told the large crowd at the AMA Sportsmen Club. “I hope very much to do that.”

Montone said when new firefighters are brought on, they bring a “two-for-one” value as their spouses also come as part of the package.

Reaume recalled the accomplishments in his two years as chief, including complying with the 23 orders from the Ministry of Labour, upgrading and servicing equipment with the help of town council, establishing health and safety committees and correcting about 175 deficiencies they found, initiating an Ontario Fire Marshal review with the goal to help with training, getting $30,000 from the Ministry of Health to assist with emergency management and partnering with the Rotary Club on a carbon monoxide detector project.

Deputy Chief Lee Tome said he worked with Reaume for 33 years and worked with Montone for five years and “I can assure you we are going to continue the progress we’ve made.” Tome agreed that “firefighters are doing it for the right reasons” and also praised the families.

“I enjoy it here so much,” said Tome. “It’s been such a great experience.”

 

Town to donate $100,000 of $738,000 surplus to Cypher Systems Greenway

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town finished 2016 with a surplus of $738,000 and $100,000 of that will be donated to the Cypher Systems Greenway.

Town council heard from Susan Stockwell Andrews, president of the Essex Region Conservation Foundation (ERCF), who told the elected officials that the ERCF is the one who raises the money for the greenways, such as the Cypher Systems Greenway and the Chrysler Canada Greenway. While the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) operates them, no money comes from the ERCA levy to develop them, said Stockwell Andrews, and that the foundation pays acquisition and development costs.

Stockwell Andrews said they ran into unexpected costs in Amherstburg with that including drainage. Councillor Leo Meloche voiced concerns with people parking on the shoulders of roads near entrances to the Cypher Systems Greenway with ERCA general manager Richard Wyma indicating that the plan is to develop community entrances – which include parking areas – much like there are along the Chrysler Canada Greenway.

Cypher Systems GreenwayWEB

Councillor Rick Fryer, who is also chair of the ERCA board of directors, made the motion to give the donation and said this region is “a place for life” and healthy living. The surplus, he noted, was administration showing its due diligence.

Many are already enjoying the Cypher Systems Greenway, Fryer added, noting the official grand opening doesn’t take place until Thursday morning.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the $783,000 surplus is “big news” and that “we spread it around.” In addition to the donation to the greenway, $15,000 went into an economic development reserve while $20,000 went into a Gordon House working capital reserve. The Libro Centre reserve will receive $100,000 while $292,291 goes into a police reserve. Debt reduction to the Texas Road project covers the rest, amounting to $255,711.

DiCarlo pointed out the importance of reserves and that the surplus “translates very well for Amherstburg’s financial situation.” The town’s financial standing has improved and he is confident of the town’s direction, but noted there is still outstanding debt that is currently locked in.