Amherstburg Community Services

Town to investigate transit system

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Inspired by the recently launched transit system in LaSalle, Amherstburg will investigate the idea of bringing one here.

However, one local service agency is reminding people about their own services in that regard.

Councillor Diane Pouget said she has been approached by residents about the possibility of bringing a transit service to Amherstburg.

“Years ago, council tried to work with other municipalities to get public transit. At that time, it was not feasible,” explained Pouget. “Now that LaSalle has it, our residents want us to look at it again and that is why we directed administration to begin discussions as to whether or not it is feasible.”

Pouget said it would be a help to seniors and students get where they need to go. With LaSalle on board, Pouget believes it could make things more feasible for Amherstburg but Pouget added council still needs to know the financial implications before a final decision is rendered.

“I think it’s a good fit for us to join,” she believes. “At least we’re going to look into it.”

It could be one more step to a regional transit service, she added.

“If Amherstburg gets on board, then another municipality might,” said Pouget.

However, Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) is pointing out their own services and the fact they already assisting local residents with transit. ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo was respectful of council’s decision, and noted that ACS is always interested in solutions to transit issues.

“It’s exciting to see council take this issue seriously. There are plenty of people in Amherstburg who don’t drive for a variety of reasons and we’re glad to see council take notice of their unique challenges,” said DiBartolomeo. “We hope that council explores every possibility and considers the tools that are already available to them.”

DiBartolomeo pointed out that ACS has provided accessible transportation for seniors in Amherstburg since 1984.

“If council decides that we should be part of the conversation, we would be happy to help wherever we can,” said DiBartolomeo.

ACS is also part of a team that offers local residents a student shuttle service.

“We do provide transportation to students at St. Clair College and we are looking at ways we can improve this service to better match the needs of Amherstburg’s youth,” she added.

Registration open for county-wide student shuttle service

 

Special to the RTT

 

Vanessa Dafonte still has plenty to take care of before her fall semester starts up at St. Clair College. Buying textbooks, finding out where her classes are and getting used to a new schedule is both exciting and stressful. Despite living about half an hour away from St. Clair College though, one thing Dafonte doesn’t need to stress about is how she is getting to those classes.

“Without this service, I’d have to put a pretty big burden on the people in my life to get me to class – it would have been so much harder without this option.” Dafonte, a Chemical Laboratories Technology student at the college said. “When I signed up I really only expected to get a ride to class. I didn’t expect how friendly the drivers would be.”

The St. Clair Student Shuttle, which offers an accessible, county-wide transportation service to and from the St. Clair College main campus has provided a simple solution to a problem faced by so many living in Essex County. The shuttle has been provided to students since 2013 through a collaboration of three local non-profit organizations: South Essex Community Council (SECC), Essex Community Services (ECS), and Amherstburg Community Services (ACS).

ACS logo2

“This service has become so important to so many people – for some it is absolutely life changing,” said Kathy DiBartolomeo, the executive director at Amherstburg Community Services. “The challenge of connecting the rural Essex County with the city has been discussed plenty of times but this is a service that’s available now and ensures that no matter your situation or where you live, you have the opportunity to better yourself.”

Registration for the St. Clair Student Shuttle is now open, and any interested students must register in advance. There is a monthly user fee of $240 to offset the costs incurred by the organizations. Once a student has registered, they will be given information on pick-up and drop-off times and locations. Seating is limited and will be provided on a first come, first served basis. Students may call the organization closest to their residence to register.

For more information, contact Amherstburg Community Services at 519-736-5471 or visit www.amherstburg-cs.com.

 

ACS assessing community needs through survey

 

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) has started a campaign with the goal of helping their staff better serve the communities they operate in.

The charity, which is based in Amherstburg and serves residents of Amherstburg, LaSalle, Harrow, and McGregor, currently offers over 20 different services that aim to support local seniors and low-income families.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo says this campaign is vital to ensuring that community needs are being met and that their services continue to fill the changing needs within the region.

“We can’t encourage others to strive to better themselves without doing so ourselves,” DiBartolomeo said. “As an organization, we know we can never stand still. This campaign will help us see exactly what the residents in our region want in their communities so that as we move forward, we can be confident we are moving in the right direction.”

DiBartolomeo explains that this campaign is a great way for people to have their voices heard, share their ideas, and spark the changes they would like to see in their community.

Services-Available

The staff has already issued service-specific surveys to existing clients. However, the organization is looking for input from the public on topics such as services and activities for adults, public transportation and employment and job searches, with a focus on the specific needs of the communities of Amherstburg, LaSalle, Harrow, and McGregor.

The survey has been posted online at www.amherstburg-cs.com/survey2017.

It has also been made available at the ACS office, located at 179 Victoria St. S., in Amherstburg.

The surveys will be collected until Sept. 1.

ACS is also looking for individuals to participate in in-person interviews and focus groups during this same period. If anyone is interested in being interviewed, they are asked to call ACS at 519-736-5471.

Amherstburg Fire Department, Ribfest, ACS team up on CO safety

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Fire Department is teaming with the Amherstburg Rotary Club’s Ribfest committee and Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) on a carbon monoxide (CO) safety program.

A total of $9,500 was used to purchase 623 carbon monoxide alarms that will be distributed free of charge to vulnerable residents in the community. The Ribfest committee kicked in $5,000 of the $9,500 total with an additional $2,500 coming from a Rotary International grant. The remaining $2,000 was funded by the fire department.

The Amherstburg Fire Department is teaming with the Amherstburg Rotary Club’s Ribefest committee and Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) to launch a program that will help over 600 vulnerable residents obtain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. From left: Chief Bruce Montone, Ribfest committee chair Carl Gibb, Ribfest committee members Shirley Bondy, Tony Ross and Ann Marie Favot, Rotary Club president Laura George, ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, Ribfest committee member Lena Lazanja and Deputy Chief Lee Tome.

The Amherstburg Fire Department is teaming with the Amherstburg Rotary Club’s Ribefest committee and Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) to launch a program that will help over 600 vulnerable residents obtain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. From left: Chief Bruce Montone, Ribfest committee chair Carl Gibb, Ribfest committee members Shirley Bondy, Tony Ross and Ann Marie Favot, Rotary Club president Laura George, ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, Ribfest committee member Lena Lazanja and Deputy Chief Lee Tome.

Deputy Fire Chief Lee Tome said it is “an excellent partnership” and said it was initiated when Rotary Club president Laura George and Rotary Ribfest committee chair Carl Gibb approached him about it. Tome said Chief Bruce Montone worked with First Alert and their parent company Jarden Canada on acquiring them.

Tome said during last Wednesday morning’s announcement that it was just the beginning of their partnership, as they now have to distribute the CO alarms to those most in need.

“We’re really excited to partner with the Rotary Club and ACS,” said Tome. “This is a partnership that is going to be lasting for some time.”

Montone agreed that this is “just the beginning” for the partnership.

Deputy Fire Chief Lee Tome speaks to the crowd during the launch of the CO detector program, being run in conjunction with the Rotary Club Ribfest committee and Amherstburg Community Services (ACS).

Deputy Fire Chief Lee Tome speaks to the crowd during the launch of the CO detector program, being run in conjunction with the Rotary Club Ribfest committee and Amherstburg Community Services (ACS).

“Carbon monoxide is a silent killer,” said Montone. “It’s tasteless and odorless and very much deadly.”

Carbon monoxide is a by-product of incomplete combustion of many types of common hydrocarbon fuels. A new law amended the Ontario Fire Code in October 2014 to ensure that every home and residential building with a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or an attached garage must have a working carbon monoxide alarm.

Montone said people impacted by carbon monoxide often show flu-like symptoms. The alarms sound differently from smoke alarms and if it goes off, people need to remove themselves from their homes and call 911 immediately.

Montone offered his thanks to Jarden Canada and First Alert, noting the fire department was able to achieve a 63 per cent price reduction on the CO alarms.

George said the Rotary and the Ribfest committee is pleased to partner with the Amherstburg Fire Department and ACS to donate the carbon monoxide alarms to vulnerable residents. She said the success of the Ribfest led to them turning the money back into the community.

“We are here today as a result of the hard work, dedication and long hours that have been given by an extraordinary group of volunteers,” said George.

George thanked Montone and Tome for their support and efforts to make the project a success as well as ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo for also becoming a partner.

Fire Chief Bruce Montone installs a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm at the home of Nelly Main May 31.

Fire Chief Bruce Montone installs a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm at the home of Nelly Main May 31.

DiBartolomeo said ACS immediately agreed when the idea of partnering with Rotary and the Amherstburg Fire Department was brought to them.

“At ACS, we have many clients in the vulnerable sector,” she said. “We know the dangerous and tragic result of carbon monoxide poisoning. We look forward to working with the Amherstburg Fire Department to have these carbon monoxide alarms installed in many of the homes of the residents we assist.”

Tome said the distribution of CO alarms would just be part of the service the Amherstburg Fire Department would offer. He said firefighters are also asking to check smoke detectors, go over home escape plans and look for things such as extension cords under carpets and other potential fire hazards.

“Our goal is to protect the residents of Amherstburg, not just through the carbon monoxide alarm program, but for anything else we see,” said Tome. “We want to make sure every resident is safe.”

For more information on how to qualify for a free CO detector, call the fire department at 519-736-6500.

Sold out crowd for Amherstburg Community Services’ “Wine ‘n Hop”

 

By Jonathan Martin

Once again, a sold-out ACS (Amherstburg Community Services) Wine n’ Hop set local restaurants abustle.

More than 100 people from around Windsor-Essex pleased their palates with fare from the Beacon Ale House, the Dalhousie Bistro, the Artisan Grill, Rosa’s Italian Restaurant and the Fort Malden Legion.

The proceeds from ticket sales, which ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo said she hoped would amount to around $6,000, will go towards a new ACS bus. By press time, no exact number was available.

But, given the success of the past few Wine-n’-Hops, DiBartolomeo said she hopes to expand the event.

“We’d like to start involving the (local) art galleries and retail stores in the next (Wine n’ Hop),” she said. “We’re hoping to have art on display and maybe some stores can model some of their fashions.”

The next Wine n’ Hop is scheduled for September.

Amherstburg Community Services Wine n' Hop patrons sit down for drinks and fingerfoods at The Beacon Ale House in Amherstburg last Wednesday evening.  Other restaurants involved with the event were Rosa's Italian Restaurant, The Dalhousie Bistro, The Artisan Grill and the Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Amherstburg Community Services Wine n’ Hop patrons sit down for drinks and fingerfoods at The Beacon Ale House in Amherstburg last Wednesday evening. Other restaurants involved with the event were Rosa’s Italian Restaurant, The Dalhousie Bistro, The Artisan Grill and the Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Sara Palmer, owner of the Beacon Ale House, said the event is a boon to both businesses and the community as a whole.

“It’s give-and-take,” she said. “We like to get involved and help out with Amherstburg Community services, but it also introduces the people coming out on this tour to our establishment. They’re potential future customers.”

Rosa’s Italian Restaurant was a last-minute addition to the Wine n’ Hop roster after The Cellar backed out due to a family emergency.

DiBartolomeo said she appreciates the way Rosa’s staff stepped up.

“I know it’s hard on the restaurant,” she said. “They only had a short while to put together their menu item.”

Palmer said the preparation involved is substantial, but well worth it.

“We like to put our best foot forward,” she said. “We really want to show what we have to offer. (The Wine n’ Hop patrons) are only here for a few minutes before they’re off to the next restaurant, so we want to give them a reason to keep coming back.”

DiBartolomeo said Amherstburg Wine n’ Hop, itself, will definitely be coming back. She said patrons “spoke very highly” of all the restaurants they visited.

“I can’t wait for September!” she said. “I’m very excited!”