Aldo DiCarlo

LaSalle not to give Amherstburg a bid on police services

 

By Ron Giofu

 

And then there were two.

Should Amherstburg town council vote to switch policing services away from the existing Amherstburg Police Service, the choices will be between the Windsor Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). That is because LaSalle has opted not to submit a bid to police Amherstburg.

LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya noted that there was a large discrepancy between Windsor and the rest of the field on dispatching and that showed “we don’t have the economy of scale” to match up.

Windsor’s dispatching bid came in at $653,000 over a five-year period with LaSalle police’s bid being over $1.48 million over that time frame. Owen Sound police and Strathroy-Caradoc police also submitted bids with those bids being just under $1.48 million and $1.54 million respectively.

“It’s difficult for smaller municipalities to match that,” said Antaya.

When it comes to bidding for the overall service, Antaya indicated that LaSalle believes they couldn’t offer up the cost savings Amherstburg is looking for.

“We recognize the economic scales involved here. Amherstburg is looking at saving costs and we are not sure we can give them the savings they are looking for,” Antaya said.

The LaSalle mayor added his community is happy with the policing they receive and there were some concerns about “watering down” the LaSalle Police Service should resources have been necessary to include Amherstburg. With it now being possible that municipalities are non-contiguous can get to police one another, it now means LaSalle doesn’t have to be part of the equation, Antaya added.

Safety is the most important thing to LaSalle residents, Antaya added.

LaSalle council will discuss possibly giving Amherstburg a police costing Jan. 26.

LaSalle council will discuss possibly giving Amherstburg a police costing Jan. 26.

The news that LaSalle wasn’t going to submit a bid wasn’t the best news Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo has heard, but he was understanding of why it happened.

“Overall, my biggest reaction is disappointment more than anything else,” said DiCarlo. “With no disrespect to other mayors or other municipalities, they have to do what is best for the interests of their municipalities.”

DiCarlo indicated he is a fan of municipal policing, but believed a regional policing model would be cost-effective for those municipalities involved.

“As was stated when we first started this process, this council is the first one to do its due diligence in getting the numbers,” said DiCarlo.

An advisory committee has been set up and DiCarlo believes they have done a good job articulating what Amherstburg wants in a police force. He said Amherstburg has gotten used to a level of service and doesn’t want to lose it, adding that bidders will have to provide a similar method of policing to what exists currently.

The town issued an RFP and the deadline is mid-October. While DiCarlo anticipates there will be some savings, “if Windsor or the OPP can’t do it cheaper, that’s not a bad thing.” He said that is affirmation that the Amherstburg Police Service is providing a good service for a good price.

Saving are in the resources, he added, noting police salaries are roughly the same across the board.

DiCarlo emphasized that retaining the existing Amherstburg Police Service is an option council will have as well. Even though he anticipates a savings from bids from Windsor police and the OPP, DiCarlo said the question then would be whether those savings are enough to not keep the Amherstburg Police Service.

“That is ultimately up to council.”

Ontario Provincial Artistic Gymnastics Championships coming to Amherstburg

 

Special to the RTT

The best young gymnasts in Ontario will converge on Amherstburg’s Libro Credit Union Centre to compete in the Ontario Provincial Artistic Gymnastics Championships next April.

This sporting event is both a Championship and a qualifier for high level events such as the Eastern Canadian Championships and the National Canadian Championships.

The championships, which start April 5, 2018, run over four days and will see

athletes ranging in ages from 8 to 18+ competing in events as seen in the Olympics. The levels will range from provincial to national and high performance (Olympic) levels.

Libro Centre

“This will be Rose City Gymnastics’ fifth time hosting the event. To put this on, it requires many volunteers, donations and community involvement. We are very excited to once again be hosting and especially to be hosting in the Town of Amherstburg,” states Tom Deslippe, general manager of Rose City Gymnastics. “Amherstburg continues to demonstrate that we are a tourism destination, whether it be cultural or sport”, notes Mayor Aldo DiCarlo. “We have an outstanding volunteer base and the administrative expertise to host any event and work to enhance the town’s strategic vision. Collectively, we will be ready to support this event, proving once again that Amherstburg is the place to be.”

The event will draw over 1,200 athletes competing for gold in the various men’s and

women’s events. The championship is expected to also draw over 5,000 spectators to the town for the four-day event.

DiPietro receives “Key to the Town”

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Michael DiPietro’s hockey talents have led him to the Windsor Spitfires with those same talents opening doors for him in Vancouver.

However, his hometown of Amherstburg has given him the “Key to the Town” and the knowledge that the door is always open for him to come home.

DiPietro, 18, backstopped the Spitfires to a Memorial Cup in June and was presented the key by Mayor Aldo DiCarlo Thursday morning in front of town hall. DiPietro said the recognition was something that he will cherish.

“It’s a great honour,” said DiPietro. “Being from Amherstburg and to be able to get the first key ever handed out by the mayor to the town, is something I hold very dear to me. I’m very humbled.”

Windsor Spitfires goalie and Vancouver Canucks draft choice Michael DiPietro (left) accepts a Key to the Town from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

Windsor Spitfires goalie and Vancouver Canucks draft choice Michael DiPietro (left) accepts a Key to the Town from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

DiPietro was joined by many friends and family members and was quick to give credit to his family for the honour.

“I’m grateful for all they’ve done for me and continue to do for me,” said DiPietro.

Noting he was glad to have so many people there for the ceremony, the Vancouver Canucks’ third round draft choice added it was a lot of hard work and dedication to get where he is and his family has been a big part of it.

Even with a ceremony in his honour, DiPietro continues to work on his craft and getting to the next level. He awoke at 5:30 a.m. Thursday and trained in the gym and said he was scheduled to be on the ice in the afternoon.

“It’s a good busy,” he said of his schedule. “I’m definitely not complaining on how busy I am.”

Training camp for the Spitfires starts Aug. 27 and DiPietro adds he heads to Penticton, British Columbia for the start of the Canucks’ training camp Sept. 6. He anticipates having more of a leadership role with the Spitfires this season and hopes to teach younger players and “bring them along.”

DiCarlo acknowledged that a “Key to the Town” is usually given to “people of age with a lifetime of achievements behind them.” He added that “Amherstburg is rebuilding, riding a three-year positive turnaround with a very bright future.”

The mayor said “it follows that the first key go to someone young, a youth from our community – Amherstburg’s future.

“I can think of no better example than Michael DiPietro,” said DiCarlo. “At his young age, he has already accomplished a great deal with a lifetime of achievements still ahead of him.”

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and Councillor Diane Pouget congratulate Michael DiPietro (second from left) on receiving the Key to the Town

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and Councillor Diane Pouget congratulate Michael DiPietro (second from left) on receiving the Key to the Town

DiPietro’s hockey career started when he was six-years-old with the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association. He advanced to Sun County AAA when he was ten-years-old. In 2015, he was the first goalie selected in the OHL draft when the Spitfires drafted him in the second round. He also won a gold medal for Team Ontario at the Canada Winter Games and competed for the Canadian national men’s U17 team.

In 2016, he competed for the Canadian national U18 team with 2017 being a big year so far with the Memorial Cup and World Junior Camp invite as well as being drafted by the Canucks.

“Michael’s talent, continued hard work and dedication to his sport has undoubtedly allowed him to reach his goals,” said DiCarlo. “It will continue to propel him forward and will undoubtedly have a positive influence as an exemplary role model on the youth of our community.”

DiCarlo added that no matter where DiPietro’s career takes him, “he will always be welcome in Amherstburg” and hoped that DiPietro considers the town home for the rest of his life.

G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. holds official ribbon cutting ceremony

 

By Jolene Perron

 

A local craft brewery is honoring their heritage, and supporting tourism in Essex County with their new business.

Described as a small family owned and operated brewery in rural Essex County, G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. is owned by Dwayne Grondin, his wife Jen, his brother Greg and his wife Cathy. While it’s been open for approximately five weeks, they had their official ribbon cutting and opening over the weekend.

“The business is loosely based on my father’s business,” explained Dwayne. “In 1977 he opened up G.L. Heritage Motors in Amherstburg here right by town hall. We have kind of followed his spirit of entrepreneurship and decided to open up a little business of our own. The whole idea of the August 13 grand opening date was that, that was their grand opening 40 years ago.”

Brothers Greg (right) and Dwayne (left) gave Mayor Aldo DiCarlo a tour of the brewery before the ribbon cutting ceremony over the weekend.

Brothers Greg (right) and Dwayne (left) gave Mayor Aldo DiCarlo a tour of the brewery before the ribbon cutting ceremony over the weekend.

Dwayne explained his father and a fellow employee at Ford’s left and decided to open their own business. The logo they came up with for their craft brewery is based on a photo that they as children remember hanging on the business wall. It was his father and his company partner shaking hands at their grand opening on August 13, 1977. Their logo is the silhouette of those two people.

The land the craft brewery is on is family land, which has been in the family for 150 years. They had five acres of barley planted on site, which has been harvested and will be sent for testing over the next few weeks, and the team is hoping to have it malted and used in a seasonal beer later this year or early next year.

“We thought we’d make another stop, a different stop, there are a lot of wineries, and the growth of the area is doing really well,” said Dwayne. “The distillery is down the road, we wanted to add something to this area. We started brewing about 18 months ago, creating recipes, trying it out on family and friends. It came down to the four recipes we’ve opened with and we’ve had a lot of good feedback so far.”

 

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo cuts the ribbon to offically open G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. last Saturday.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo cuts the ribbon to offically open G.L. Heritage Brewing Co. last Saturday.

On site to cut their ribbon was Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo. He said he didn’t know he liked beer, until he tried craft, and now he has a soft spot in his heart for craft breweries. He said it’s something he has been bragging about since before they opened their doors.

“To have this in town of Amherstburg is just amazing,” said DiCarlo. “Not just on a personal level, but on a town level, especially the town’s future level, it fits in beautifully to what we do in the town of Amherstburg. Our tourism is our function. Their logo, their family history, their family in the town of Amherstburg, their business in the town of Amherstburg, it’s just everything that Amherstburg stands for – family, community and business, all working together for the benefit of our region. It’s an amazing business to have here.”

Currently, the brewery is only offering tasting and retail at their location from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. They just released their canned beer at the beginning of August, and every weekend gets a little bit busier. They’ve also been able to get their beer into a couple local restaurants, including Shooters in Harrow, the Beacon Ale House and Lord Amherst in Amherstburg, and The Blind Owl in Windsor.

For more information on their brewery, visit glheritagebrewing.ca, look them up on Facebook or pop by their location at 8728 Howard Ave., just north of Malden Community & Cultural Centre.

Thousands come to Amherstburg to “Canuck It Up!”

By Ron Giofu

 

The Civic Holiday weekend’s “Canuck It Up!” Festival downtown and the accompanying Raiders, Rebels and Redcoats event at Fort Malden National Historic Site brought large crowds to Amherstburg.

Nicole Bertrand of Amherstburg takes a selfie with the World’s Largest Rubber Duck Sunday afternoon.

Nicole Bertrand of Amherstburg takes a selfie with the World’s Largest Rubber Duck Sunday afternoon.

The town was hopeful for 40,000 people and estimates exceeded that, with Amherstburg’s tourism department believing they may have at least doubled that amount.

Despite the large numbers, the festival didn’t always run smoothly thanks to winds and associated damage from the wind. The heavily hyped World’s Largest Rubber Duck failed to inflate on Saturday due to winds and minor damage caused during an attempted inflation, causing many to be disappointed and angry. Town officials and volunteers fielded complaints and social media was abuzz about the deflated duck, but things turned around Sunday when the duck was repaired, inflated and ready to go.

The Diplomats Drum & Bugle Corps march down Dalhousie St. to Toddy Jones Park where they played a Canada 150 concert.

The Diplomats Drum & Bugle Corps march down Dalhousie St. to Toddy Jones Park where they played a Canada 150 concert.

“We redeemed ourselves today,” Rota said Sunday afternoon.

While disappointed about the duck on Saturday, Rota said there was still a lot to do as the West Coast Lumberjacks performed, bands played in Toddy Jones Park and Navy Yard Park, a children’s area proved popular and the events that took place at Fort Malden.

“People were just happy to be in Amherstburg,” said Rota.

The tall ship Appledore V was also late arriving due to wind gusts, but did make it to Amherstburg Saturday night in time for an evening re-enactment at Fort Malden. The ship was in town courtesy of Parks Canada.

“I’m seeing a lot of new faces,” Rota said Sunday afternoon.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo tries log rolling during one of the West Coast Lumberjack shows.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo tries log rolling during one of the West Coast Lumberjack shows.

Vendors were running out of food and she said outdoor patios at downtown restaurants looked to be doing well.

“There were so many activities,” she said. “Every square inch of the (Navy Yard) park, Fort Malden and the new waterfront site (at Duffy’s) had something for everyone. I believe everyone loved coming out to the events.”

Rota called it “a great team effort” by staff and the over 200 volunteers the two-day event had.

“We couldn’t do it without being a team,” she said.

Two of the recipients of Canada 150 medals that weren't in attendance Canada Day got them on Canuck It Up! weekend. Mayor Aldo DiCarlo (centre) presented medals to police chief Tim Berthiaume (left) and Sandra Braendle.

Two of the recipients of Canada 150 medals that weren’t in attendance Canada Day got them on Canuck It Up! weekend. Mayor Aldo DiCarlo (centre) presented medals to police chief Tim Berthiaume (left) and Sandra Braendle.

Rota added the event was well received overall and “I can see the town of Amherstburg doing something of this magnitude again.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo agreed the town bounced back after Saturday’s problems.

“It was a lot of disappointment and I think that was more than reasonable,” said DiCarlo. “It was difficult to see all the kids disappointed. If anyone was more disappointed than me, I’d be surprised.”

Some people were more upset than others, the mayor added, but noted it was a weather-dependent event.

“As soon as we could, we got it up,” he said. “It’s great to see it up.”

DiCarlo said Sunday afternoon he has been receiving positive feedback and most people were “very positive.”

The World's Largest Rubber Duck emerged from overtop of the trees Sunday as people looked west from Richmond St.

The World’s Largest Rubber Duck emerged from overtop of the trees Sunday as people looked west from Richmond St.

“Duck or no duck, we put on an amazing event,” said DiCarlo. “There was a lot happening. It was an extension of our Canada 150 celebration.”

People got a chance to meet each other and “have a great time in Amherstburg,” the mayor added.

“I think the event was an absolute success,” he said. “We really have to thank the people in our tourism department. They got a lot of support from volunteers. They pulled off an event this big with a small department. I think it’s amazing the kind of people we had in Amherstburg.”

Log cutting competitions were part of the West Coast Lumberjack show.

Log cutting competitions were part of the West Coast Lumberjack show.

Allan and Rose Clemens came out to the festival and took pictures near the duck Sunday morning. The Elmira couple said they were not aware of the issues the day before and loved what they saw Sunday.

“We’re actually renting a cottage in Oxley and we came here to see the duck,” said Allan.

“I love it,” added Rose. “It’s fun.”

Diane Bradford of LaSalle said she came with family Saturday but returned Sunday when the duck was inflated.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “We came here yesterday but came back today to see the duck.”

Donna Gorrell of Amherstburg said Saturday it was very busy but “it’s nice to see this many people in town.”
Gorrell said her children were hoping to see the duck but were understanding of why it wasn’t erected that day.

“They understand,” she said. “It’s windy.”

The roar of the cannons joined the firing of the muskets during one of the re-enactments at Fort Malden.

The roar of the cannons joined the firing of the muskets during one of the re-enactments at Fort Malden.

Gorrell added she was excited to see small businesses open and welcoming customers during the festival hours.

Ivan and Christine Ouellette came in to Amherstburg Saturday and Ivan said they were disappointed the duck wasn’t blown up. He said that was the first place they went to but were going to walk around and see what else was going on.

“We’re kind of disappointed the big duck is not blown up but that’s OK,” Jennifer Marshall said Saturday afternoon. “It looks like there’s a lot of other stuff to do.”

Kathy Hay added Saturday that she was not disappointed in the least, saying it was great to see so many people enjoying themselves in Amherstburg.

“I think it’s something we can definitely use. It really puts Amherstburg on the map,” she said. “I don’t see anyone too disappointed.”

For the most part, people were happy at Fort Malden National Historic Site as well. Roughly 7,000 people attended the Raiders, Rebels and Redcoats event.

“It was a huge success for us,” said Fort Malden team leader Corrine Ross. “The battles were well attended. A lot of people from all over Ontario visited.”

Rhythm of a Nation performed in the parkette.

Rhythm of a Nation performed in the parkette.

Ross added that there were a lot of people who reacted to the battle re-enactments and many were engaged by what they experienced.

“For us, it was a huge success,” said Ross. “We’re very happy.”

Elizabeth LeBlanc, public relations and communications officer with Parks Canada’s Southwestern Ontario Field Unit, was also happy with the weekend’s festivities at Fort Malden.

“I think we had a phenomenal weekend,” she said.

Kingston Gardin rings the bell aboard the Appledore V tall ship.

Kingston Gardin rings the bell aboard the Appledore V tall ship.

LeBlanc said she believed many were re-visiting Fort Malden for the first time in a few years. The 7,000 attendance figure compared favorably to last year’s Military Heritage Days, which drew just under 1,000 people.

“Participants had a wonderful time,” said LeBlanc. “It was a super-positive experience.”

The Appledore V tall ship added to the weekend and although the Bayside, Michigan vessel was late, “we were just thrilled that given the winds and weather that we started the weekend with, they were able to participate in the battle Saturday night.

Crowds pour through Navy Yard Park Sunday to see the World's Largest Rubber Duck and the other attractions.

Crowds pour through Navy Yard Park Sunday to see the World’s Largest Rubber Duck and the other attractions.

“They were a huge hit on Sunday,” LeBlanc added.

LeBlanc said the general admission is still free to Parks Canada sites and responded to complaints over the $1.90 fee by saying it was due to enhanced programming and helped to cover costs over and above what is usually offered at Fort Malden.

“I don’t think we could have had a better weekend,” LeBlanc concluded. “It’s great to partner with the town of Amherstburg.”

To see more photos from the busy weekend, visit our Facebook album.