Aldo DiCarlo

Sidewalk snow removal gets passing grade from council members

 

 

By RTT Staff

 

The initial year of the town’s sidewalk snow removal program has received positive feedback from council members.

Councillor Rick Fryer, the liaison to the Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee, believe the program went well since it was initiated with the committee also being “very, very supportive” of the initiative.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo agreed, saying he also heard “very little negative feedback” on the sidewalk snow removal program. He noted it is a positive program for seniors and those with disabilities.

“It’s a welcome service,” added Councillor Leo Meloche.

(Photo taken from Town of Amherstburg advertisement)

(Photo taken from Town of Amherstburg advertisement)

However, it was noted that in some areas of Amherstburg, there was damage to some lawns as the snow removal machine chewed up strips of grass and dirt on residents’ properties.

CAO John Miceli pointed out the sidewalk snow removal project was a pilot project and said they will find ways to try and make it better. He urged the public to bear with the town and allow for further enhancements to be made.

The town agreed to institute the pilot project in January. In all, Amherstburg has 58 kilometers of public sidewalks with the goal being to allow the town to be in a better position to defend itself in case of liability.

The town had previously been clearing sidewalks along Front Road North while others areas were done on a complaint basis.

Former Windsor fire chief looking forward to starting in Amherstburg

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Bruce Montone may have retired as fire chief in Windsor but he has no plans on leaving firefighting.

Montone was officially named as the new fire chief in Amherstburg and will start his new duties April 24. Current fire chief Al Reaume will resume his retirement at that point.

“You can’t believe how much I’m looking forward to it,” Montone told the RTT prior to Monday night’s council meeting.

Montone’s contract with Windsor expired at the end of March but he decided he didn’t want to leave firefighting altogether.

“I decided that retirement won’t fit me very well, at least not yet,” he said.

Montone said he has seen the work Reaume has done in Amherstburg since coming on in 2015 and the “significant changes” the Amherstburg Fire Department has embarked upon and that made his decision to come to Amherstburg somewhat easier.

After talking to Reaume, he spoke with CAO John Miceli about the position and talks progressed to where Montone agreed to take the chief’s job in Amherstburg.

Bruce Montone, who retired as Windsor fire chief March 31, is the new Amherstburg fire chief. He assumes his new duties April 24.

Bruce Montone, who retired as Windsor fire chief March 31, is the new Amherstburg fire chief. He assumes his new duties April 24.

“It was not a difficult discussion (with Miceli), let’s put it that way,” said Montone.

Montone had a five-year contract with Windsor but said he agreed to extended it to have a transition put in place. Now that the transition in Windsor has come to fruition, he said he is coming to Amherstburg to continue the work Reaume started and to “continue to move the department in the direction he set.”

One of the major priorities for Montone will be the creation of a new master fire plan for Amherstburg.

“Obviously, we are going to need significant input,” said Montone, noting the input has to come from the firefighters and the public at large. “It’s very, very important to listen to what the community expects of their fire service. We want to hear what the public thinks and expects for the next five to ten years.”

That plan will also see the input of the province and town council, he added.

The incoming chief has nearly 41 years of experience including stops in municipalities similar in size to Amherstburg. He has been a volunteer firefighter, a career firefighter, a fire prevention officer and fire chief in northern Ontario. Montone worked with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office from 1987-2002 and was also a deputy fire chief in Ottawa where he was responsible for the communications division, special operations division, comprised of Haz-Mat/CBRNE, all rescue activities including water and ice, auto-extrication, high angle, confined space, trench and USAR Operations. His biography includes stating that the Divisions of Fire Prevention, Training, Safety, and Maintenance were also part of his portfolio.

“My impression of the town of Amherstburg is that there is a huge amount of community pride and commitment by its residents. People in Amherstburg are very proud of what they have,” he said, adding he believes his career has come full circle.

Miceli also outlined Montone’s qualifications, including an Ontario Public Safety Award and the Fire Chief of the Year Award, the latter being from the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs. Both of those awards came in 2016.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said Reaume expressed a desire to go back into retirement and Miceli was aware of Montone’s contract expiring in Windsor. He noted that the timing was perfect as it is also time for the new master fire plan and Montone could start on it from the beginning rather than taking over mid-stream.

DiCarlo said Montone has a “very healthy CV” and believes Amherstburg is very well situated with both Montone and deputy chief Lee Tome at the helm.

Fire chief Al Reaume (left) receives a plaque from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo during Monday night’s town council meeting. Reaume was recognized for his two years of service to the town. He retires April 24.

Fire chief Al Reaume (left) receives a plaque from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo during Monday night’s town council meeting. Reaume was recognized for his two years of service to the town. He retires April 24.

“(Montone) has got a pretty decorated past as far as firefighting goes,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo added that Montone has retired from Windsor, not from firefighting and that by the time Montone is ready to leave Amherstburg, the town’s fire department will be in a better position in terms of succession planning from within.

Reaume’s last official function for the department will be the awards banquet April 22 and Montone will take over as chief officially two days later.

As for his retirement, “I’m going back to do what I was doing when I got the call (about coming to Amherstburg) – I’m going back to playing golf.”

Reaume only planned to stay for one year but with provincial orders not complete at that time, he stayed for another year to ensure those orders were dealt with.

“It’s been extremely positive,” he said of his time in Amherstburg. “The firefighters here are phenomenal. They’ll give you 100 per cent. They are doing the job for the right reasons.”

Reaume told council that “we’ve come a long way” since he took over in 2015, noting it was “a rocky start.”

The 45-year firefighting veteran also said the “timing is just right” to retire again, noting Montone can start fresh with the master fire plan. When he was approached about his thoughts about the town hiring Montone, he said the latter was “the perfect replacement for me.”

ACS one of the focuses of “Amherstburg Night” at Windsor Express game

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

There was a bit of an Amherstburg tone to the Windsor Express-St. John Riptide National Basketball League of Canada game Saturday night.

Part of the promotions for the game at the WFCU Centre in Windsor was that it was “Amherstburg Night” with it also being St. Clair College Night, the latter in recognition of the college’s 50th anniversary.

Kelsey Sutton from James H. Sutton Funeral Home and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo deliver the basketball to centre court just prior to the start of the Windsor Express-St. John Riptide game. Also pictured are Brian Addison of the Riptide (left) and Noel Moffatt of the Express.

Kelsey Sutton from James H. Sutton Funeral Home and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo deliver the basketball to centre court just prior to the start of the Windsor Express-St. John Riptide game. Also pictured are Brian Addison of the Riptide (left) and Noel Moffatt of the Express.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and Kelsey Sutton from the James H. Sutton Funeral Home delivered the ball to centre court just prior to the opening tip-off of the game, won by the Riptide 111-107. A contingent of people from Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) were sitting near the court as the Express partnered with ACS on the night.

ACS received a portion of the proceeds of the tickets they sold, with community awareness/fundraising co-ordinator Austin Tyrrell estimating the proceeds to be at least $450. Amherstburg Community Services sold 30 tickets valued at $25 with another 18 tickets sold valued at $5 each. Tyrrell seemed pleased with that number, noting they had less than a week to sell the tickets.

“We’re proud we were the agency that came to mind when (the Express) thought of Amherstburg,” said Tyrrell.

Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director of ACS, said they were glad to be part of a fun night and were honoured that the Express were recognizing Amherstburg.

“I was very pleased when (Express owner) Dartis Willis Sr. contacted me after our March for Meals campaign and wanted to have an Amherstburg Night with some of the proceeds coming to our agency,” said DiBartolomeo. “I was very thrilled.”

The Amherstburg Community Services logo was put on the scoreboard at the WFCU Centre.

The Amherstburg Community Services logo was put on the scoreboard at the WFCU Centre.

DiCarlo said like many of those type of events, it was to shine a spotlight on a local cause, such as ACS in this case.

“Hopefully we can help raise awareness of Amherstburg Community Services,” he said.

The mayor added he was happy to represent Amherstburg and enjoyed the game with his wife Laura.

“It’s just a fun night out,” he said.

He joked prior to the ball delivery that it was all he was doing, not actually taking a shot, and said he didn’t want to mess it up.

“March for Meals” initiative promotes Meals on Wheels

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The “March for Meals” campaign to promote Meals on Wheels received assistance again this year thanks to local politicians and officials.

Meals on Wheels is operated locally through Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, police chief Tim Berthiaume and deputy fire chief Lee Tome delivering meals to Amherstburg residents.

LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya and the respective police and fire chiefs of his community – John Leontowicz and Dave Sutton – delivered meals in their town as well as part of the “March for Meals” initiative.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, police chief Tim Berthiaume, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and deputy fire chief Lee Tome helped promote Meals on Wheels last Wednesday morning.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, police chief Tim Berthiaume, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and deputy fire chief Lee Tome helped promote Meals on Wheels last Wednesday morning.

“We are very pleased to have local leaders from Amherstburg and LaSalle help to spread the word about seniors and their needs,” said DiBartolomeo.

DiBartolomeo said Meals on Wheels assists in many ways, including allowing seniors to stay in their homes longer.

Having local dignitaries endorse the program by delivering meals helps assure people who may have questions about Meals on Wheels, she added.

“We hear lots of misconceptions about who Meals on Wheels are for and what its benefits are,” DiBartolomeo said.  “Having such respected individuals come out to support us will hopefully bring more attention to the program and spur people to take a closer look at how Meals on Wheels can change their lives and the lives of their loved ones.”

Tome said it is a good partnership the Amherstburg Fire Department has with ACS, noting the Meals on Wheels event is also a chance for fire officials to get into homes and help ensure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.

“(The initiative) allows the fire department to get into homes we don’t normally get into,” he said.

Tome said they know that many seniors may have difficulty maintaining their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, so by him being allowed into the home to deliver the meals, it allows him to help the homeowner and check the alarms for them.

Donato DiBartolomeo (centre) received a meal last Wednesday from police chief Tim Berthiaume, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Meals on Wheels volunteer Graeme Hutchinson and Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Donato DiBartolomeo (centre) received a meal last Wednesday from police chief Tim Berthiaume, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Meals on Wheels volunteer Graeme Hutchinson and Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

The Amherstburg Fire Department is proud to be part of the program and to assist the residents that ACS serves, Tome added.

Berthiaume said he was happy to help bring awareness “to this valuable community program.

“I think we all know of someone who has received benefits of the Meals on Wheels program,” Berthiaume continued. “It really is an invaluable service.”

Berthiaume’s mother used to receive Meals on Wheels and had strong praise for the program.

“They are just wonderful. The people are all volunteers,” said Berthiaume. “This community is made up of terrific people.”

The mayor said it was an opportunity to meet people in the community he might not normally meet, as some have mobility issues that don’t allow them to get out as much.

“This is one time a year I get the opportunity to do what people do day in and day out,” said DiCarlo. “It is a privilege and an honour they invited me.”

DiCarlo called Meals on Wheels “an essential service” and hopes all communities have such a service or something similar. People who need something to volunteer for, including retirees, can get involved with the program.

“There’s always something to volunteer for,” said DiCarlo. “This is a great cause.”

“I dare say, that the Meals on Wheels program is the most thoughtful, caring, humane service we provide to the community,” Antaya said.

Antaya used to deliver meals, and still does when his schedule allows it.

“It is providing a service to those who need it. It empowers those who are delivering the service,” he added. “If you can brighten somebody`s day with a hot meal, plus a short visit of a few minutes, it restores our faith in human nature, if only for a moment. I love doing it.”

Ursula Eldracher, a long-time community volunteer, now is serviced by volunteers as she started receiving Meals on Wheels two months ago.

“It’s the best thing that has happened to me because I hadn’t been eating well,” she said. “All the meals are good. This gave me a chance to get more nutritious meals into my body.”

Eldracher received her meal Wednesday not only from volunteer Graeme Hutchinson, but DiBartolomeo, DiCarlo and Berthiaume as well with Tome being on another route. The amount of dignitaries, and media, that attended her home was something that made her “feel like a real VIP,” she remarked.

Donato DiBartolomeo received a meal at his home as well. He said he enjoys the food and that it allows him to eat healthier as well.

 

Nature and wildlife enthusiast presses council for answers

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A local resident and wildlife enthusiast returned to town council at its most recent meeting and pressed elected officials to try and do more to protect an area of the Big Creek watershed.

Greg Nemeth wants town council to take a greater role in protecting the area north of Alma St., with Nemeth showing the vast number of species he has photographed in that area. His delegation was slow to get off the ground, after a brief dispute with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo over the time he was going to be permitted. Nemeth believed the area was worthy of being a provincial park and that he was trying to help protect the habitat of the area “and you can’t give me five minutes,” he told DiCarlo, believing his delegation would take slightly longer than the five minutes DiCarlo was providing.

DiCarlo said the town has shown support for Nemeth and his requests. Once the time constraint issue was put behind them, Nemeth told council his belief that more should be done.

“If this area is done up right, this area could attract more people than Navy Yard Park,” he said.

Greg Nemeth addresses town council about the Big Creek watershed area north of Alma St. He wants additional protection given to the land noting the rare species that use the area.

Greg Nemeth addresses town council about the Big Creek watershed area north of Alma St. He wants additional protection given to the land noting the rare species that use the area.

Nemeth said it is an extremely important natural area and that more needs to be done to take care of it but DiCarlo said the town simply doesn’t have the jurisdiction to do what Nemeth was asking. Much of the land in question is privately owned and CAO John Miceli said it would either have to be purchased or expropriated to do what Nemeth is asking.

The mayor believed it to be a matter that the province should be looking at but Nemeth argued that a recommendation from council would go a long way.

“You guys have power. You don’t want to do it,” said Nemeth, with DiCarlo disagreeing with his statement.

“Do it, take the initiative,” Nemeth pressed, adding it wasn’t about him, but it was about saving the wildlife in that area.

Councillor Rick Fryer, who is the chair of the Essex Region Conservation Authority, said Nemeth needs to give his information to provincial agencies, adding it takes a long time to get ministries together. Miceli commented there is the potential for a meeting with the Ministry of Natural Resources in April, a meeting that would be eight months in the making.

DiCarlo thanked Nemeth for his passion and confirmed administration is actively trying to get a meeting with provincial officials.

Council agreed to allow Miceli to take a walk with Nemeth through the area and discuss their ideas further.