Amherstburg Community Services celebrates 45th anniversary



By Ron Giofu


Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) has reached a milestone.

The local independent not-for-profit agency is celebrating its 45th anniversary. ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo said the agency was founded in 1973 and incorporated in 1976.

“It was founded by a group of local people who were concerned with seniors and their nutritional needs,” said DiBartolomeo. “Forty-five years later, we now have over 20 services for the community and we’ve expanded into four different communities.”

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo (third from left) cuts the cake as she is surrounded by staff last Friday afternoon. ACS is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year.

Residents in Amherstburg, Harrow, LaSalle and McGregor can utilize such services as Meals on Wheels, Teen Health Counselling, Friendly Visiting for Seniors, Security Reassurance, Friendly Social Seniors, Youth Recreation Subsidies, Coats for Kids, free hearing tests, CareLink Health Transit, Keep the Heat, income tax clinics, medical footcare, a Legal Aid Lawyer, credit counselling, Hiatus House, OESP intake, the Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, Stuff-a-Stocking for Seniors, Service Canada, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Over the past year, there were 16,625 meals delivered, 5,852 CareLink rides provided, 611 reassurance calls, 289 Friendly Visits, 272 tax clinics, 387 stockings delivered to seniors at Christmas, 26 families given winter coats through Coats for Kids and 63,460 given to subsidize recreation fees. They are currently accepting donations for a new accessible van and people can donate by their office or online through

They also team up with local agencies and organizations, with two such examples being partnering with the Amherstburg Fire Department and the Rotary Club of Amherstburg on a carbon monoxide alarm project for residents in need and partnering with Mealtime Express and the Amherstburg Police Department for a Secret Santa toy drive.

ACS also teamed with the Town of Amherstburg recently for the first ever Active & Aging Well Expo.

For many years, ACS had services under multiple roofs at the same time however they have been able to amalgamate all of their services at one location. Their office is currently located at 179 Victoria St. S. in Amherstburg.

ACS has over 100 volunteers, DiBartolomeo stated, and while they are always welcome to new partnerships and programming, funding is a constant challenge.

A ribbon cutting is pictured as part of an open house that occurred when ACS was located in the Teeter Building, at the corner of Sandwich and Gore. (Submitted photo)

“We rely heavily on the support of the community through fundraisers and donations,” she said.

That said, Amherstburg Community Services is looking forward to the future.

“Moving forward, we are looking at some exciting changes,” she said. “As the community’s needs change, so have we. We change our mission to keep up with the demands. We’re excited to continue to grow, expand and bring on new programming to meet the challenges of our community.”


Alhambra teams with area marina on special boating day


By Jonathan Martin


Local people with intellectual disabilities got a break from the heat this past Saturday.

Alhambra Garcia Caravan #230 and LaSalle’s Park Haven Marina joined forces with local first responders to offer up boat rides on the Detroit River.

Marina members took passengers for short outings on the water, where the coast guard sprayed them down with massive hoses.  When they got back on dry land, attendees could take part in a barbecue, dance party, or simply hangout and be social.

Dylan Sabi and Ashley Sutton relax on a couch in a leisure vessel they took for a ride last Saturday.

Richard Prieur, who founded the chapter with his brother, said the tradition began to satiate the need for social activities felt when Boblo Island Amusement Park closed down in 1993.

Since then, members of Park Haven Marina have donated their time, boats and nautical skill to bring the community Alhambra serves out onto the water.

“It’s a big deal,” Alhambra branch president Therese Barichello said.  “They’re using their own gas, their own equipment to put on this event.  It’s incredibly generous.”

Russell Mino doesn’t see it that way, though.  He spent the day taking people out on his 32-foot 1972 Pacemaker.

Aaron Rupert enjoys the sunshine and waves on the Detroit River last Saturday. Alhambra Garcia Caravan #230 teamed with Park Haven Marina on a boating day for people with intellectual disabilities.

Mino and his wife have been taking part in the event for between 10 and 12 years.  He said every year, he comes away feeling better than the year before.

Ashley Sutton and Tortia Wysymski brought five people with them that Community Living Essex County supports onto Mino’s craft.

“Being out on a boat is really stimulating for people with autism or intellectual disabilities,” Sutton said.  “All of them had smiles on their faces while they were out on the boat.”

Wysymski said CLEC has been coming to the event for around a decade and she’s been attending for just as long.

“Another major benefit of this event is the opportunity it affords (the people we support) to interact with the larger community,” she said.


Barichello said the community keeps growing.  She said every year, Alhambra sees more people come out to take part in the event.  This year, she estimates that the boat and barbecue day drew more than 200 attendees.

Alhambra’s membership numbers, though, are dwindling.  Barichello said that as the group’s base ages, more and more members are dropping out of active participation.

“We would really like to have some new members,” she said.

The International Order of Alhambra is an organization of Catholic men and women that assists people who are intellectually disabled or physically handicapped.

Barichello said her branch meets for one hour per month for nine months out of the year.

The boat and picnic day will return next summer.

Alhambra Garcia Caravan #230 is based out of McGregor. For more information on Alhambra Garcia Caravan #230, visit People can also call 519-919-6462 or 519-726-6494. More information on the Alhambra organization can also be found at


Richmond Terrace resident celebrating 100th birthday


By Ron Giofu


A resident of the Richmond Terrace Long-Term Care Home is celebrating a milestone birthday.

A celebration was held last Monday for Betty Sul on the occasion of her 100th birthday, with her actual birthday being July 18. Sul said she was surprised for the recognition, though called it “absolutely beautiful” and “absolutely perfect.”

“I’m just so happy that I’m going to cry,” said Sul.

Sul’s tears were held back as she smiled and enjoyed her special moment. A musician in the main floor activity room dedicated songs to Sul to commemorate her 100th birthday.

Dianna Lovell, one of Sul’s two daughters, said her mother also has four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Lovell pointed out that Sul came to Canada in 1946 after marrying a Canadian soldier during World War II.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale (left) presented a plaque to Betty Sul last Monday afternoon at Richmond Terrace Long-Term Care Home. Sul was recognized for her 100th birthday with her actual birth date being July 18.

“She’s from England,” Lovell explained. “She was one of the war brides.”

Sul came to North America and originally landed in New York before coming to Canada and settling in Windsor. Lovell said her mother dedicated her life to helping others through nursing.

The celebration at Richmond Terrace was something Sul didn’t expect.

“She’s totally surprised,” said Lovell. “This is a wonderful surprise for her.”

Sul was recognized by the Town of Amherstburg, as Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale was on hand to present her with a framed certificate.

“It’s a proud, proud time for everyone,” DiPasquale told Sul. “It’s a big accomplishment.”

Schools celebrate eco-school status



By Ron Giofu


St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School has undertaken environmental initiatives for a number of years but now they are being recognized for it.

The Catholic secondary school has been awarded gold status and teacher Andy Paling said this is the first time they have put in for any sort of designation. Villanova has been performing a number of environmentally-friendly activities for years, he stated, and that is the reason they achieved gold so early in the designation process.

Anderdon Public School’s eco-team helped earn their school platinum status.

Among the projects undertaken at Villanova have been recycling, composting, creation and maintenance of a butterfly garden, a number of tree plantings, maintenance of a trail around their County Road 8 property. They also have an “eagle’s nest” program where Paling said they can view a nest on a neighbouring property through a telescope.

“It’s bringing awareness of what is going on around us,” said Paling.

Anderdon Public School achieved platinum status again this year. Their eco-team performed many different activities with Harrison Kulic explaining one of those was a “boomerang lunch” where garbage is brought home so parents can see how much trash is created.

Anderdon encourages re-usable containers with Claire Brown stating they do garbage audits and have litter-less lunches as well. Sofia Kulic said such things as plastic straws and bags were banned on eco-day with Ava Soucie stating there have also been “lights out lunches” as well where the lights were turned off to save on utilities.

Other projects have included trying to attract bees, recycle batteries and working with a Harrow church to turn milk bags into blankets for those in third world countries. They also compost and do a variety of other environmentally-themed activities.

St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School earned gold status the first time they entered as an eco-school.

Teacher and eco-team supervisor Jodi Nolin said they have diverted probably in the neighbourhood of 10,000 milk bags from the landfill over the years.

Nolin added that Anderdon Public School welcomes community groups and parents to help them with projects.

Amherstburg Public School also achieved a gold eco-schools status for the most recent school year as did St. Joseph School in River Canard. Stella Maris School earned a silver designation.

Bogus U.S. $100 bills making the rounds in Amherstburg



Local businesses are asked to be wary of people trying to pass $100 U.S. bills in Amherstburg.

The Amherstburg Police Service report that several complaints have been received by businesses of fraudulent $100 U.S. bills that people are trying to pass. Police advise that, for the time being, businesses not accept large foreign bills as the phony U.S. $100 bills look very close to the real thing.

Amherstburg police say that people are trying to buy a small amount of merchandise with the phony U.S. $100 so they can get a large amount of change back. Businesses are asked to be diligent and check with police or their bank if there are any questions about money they received from a customer.

Thefts   The Amherstburg Police Service reports that $800 worth of tools was stolen from a shed in the 300 block of Front Road North. Police say the shed was forced open as the lock was cut by the suspect(s). It was reported to police last Friday around 4:22 p.m. There are no suspects at the present time but anyone with information is asked to call the Amherstburg Police Service at 519-736-3622 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 519-258-8477 (TIPS). People can also report information online at

*Amherstburg police state that a complainant reported that her purse was stolen during the recent Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The complaint was filed last Tuesday around 10:40 a.m. but the theft is believed to have occurred July 8 around 5:30 p.m. The purse contained identification and around $900, police state. There are no suspects at the present time.

*An e-bike was reported stolen last Wednesday afternoon from the 200 block of Sandwich St. S. Amherstburg police say the red New Yorker e-bike was taken from near the Amherstburg Public Library with the e-bike being valued at approximately $1,000. It was reported to police around 4:45 p.m. There are no suspects.

*A bicycle was stolen from a residence early last Wednesday morning. Police say around 4:40 a.m., a blue and black 13-speed Trek men’s mountain bike was reported stolen from a home in the 100 block of Park St. There are currently no suspects.

*A theft was reported at the Amherstburg laundromat last Thursday morning around 8:15 a.m. Police say a number of items were taken but there were no further details.


Accidents    Amherstburg police say out of 11 motor vehicle collisions that were reported the week of July 9-16, only one resulted in charges.

Amherstburg police say a single vehicle accident was reported on Concession 4 North Sunday morning around 7:20 a.m. A vehicle went into the ditch, police state, with the 23-year-old Amherstburg male driver charged with failing to drive in marked lane. There were no injuries.


Stats   There were 13 traffic-related charges laid last week. Amherstburg police state there were also five 911 hang-up calls and eight alarm calls that officers responded to.


-All information courtesy of the Amherstburg Police Service