Carolyn Davies

Public meetings held regarding proposed nurse practitioner-led clinic



By Ron Giofu


The Town of Amherstburg hosted two public meetings last week on a proposed nurse practitioner-led clinic for the community.

The first meeting was held last Wednesday evening at Amherstburg town hall while the second was held Friday morning at the Libro Centre with the bulk of the attendees being seniors. Those fielding questions included CAO John Miceli, Essex County Nurse Practitioner-led Clinic executive director Pauline Gemmell, members of Gemmell’s team and local nurse practitioner Carolyn Davies.

Miceli told residents that the aim is to have the clinic open later in 2018 or by early 2019 and the clinic would take up about 4,300 square feet of the roughly 30,000 square St. Bernard School building. The town and Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board are currently in arbitration trying to settle a dispute on the value of the building, located at 320 Richmond St., as the town wants to purchase it for a seniors’ hub.

The town is undertaking a seniors’ master plan to confirm programming and community needs “for the fastest growing sector of our town’s population,” Miceli said, adding that plan should be completed this year.

AO John Miceli and members of the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic make a presentation at a public meeting held last Friday morning at the Libro Centre.

While nurse practitioners may consult with a physician, they would provide primary care to residents themselves. People of all ages can use a nurse practitioner-led clinic and such clinics can offer a variety of services from chiropractors, physiotherapists, diabetes care, nutrition and cooking, women’s health and social work.

It was also learned at the public meetings that those enrolled in a nurse practitioner-led clinic may also be eligible for home visits from staff.

“It’s very exciting,” said Michael Lavoie, president of the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-led Clinic’s board of directors. “It’s something new, something innovative.”

Lavoie quoted statistics from a recent survey the clinic had done which showed those enrolled at the clinic were overwhelmingly satisfied with the care they received with 98 per cent of people stating they would recommend it to family and friends.

“I’m excited for the future of health care not just for our clinic, but for our region,” said Lavoie.

Whether or not such a clinic comes to Amherstburg depends on funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care but Miceli said it would have a major positive impact if approved.

“If we get the funding for this, it’s going to increase the quality of life for many of our residents,” said Miceli. “I truly believe that.”

Tina Heeren said she looks after some friends and believed “there are a lot of health issues in this town.” Heeren said there are many who need help “and they are not getting it” as many have difficulty leaving their homes.

Local nurse practitioner Carolyn Davies fields a question at a March 2 public meeting at the Libro Centre.

John McDonald called a nurse practitioner-led clinic an “intriguing” option and suggested outreach into churches to gain further access and knowledge of who needs assistance. Kathy Hay said she hopes it does come, as people of all ages could use the clinic.

Gemmell said services at a nurse practitioner-led clinic are funded by OHIP and emphasized that people would receive primary care from a nurse practitioner.

“It’s a different kind of care,” she said.

Kate Bolohan, a nurse practitioner and clinical lead at the Essex County clinic, said appointments are roughly 15-30 minutes in length and can involve other health professionals to help treat the needs of the specific patient.

Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic executive director Pauline Gemmell and board chair Michael Lavoie listen to a question during a March 2 public meeting.

“We all work together,” said Bolohan. “It’s a great collaborative effort from all angles.”

Gemmell pointed out she has received letters of support from a wide range of people in the community and provided letters of support that were left at town hall that people can sign, if interested. Those letters will be given to Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, who will bring them to the Ministry of Health.

No timelines were given for when a funding announcement could be made, but Gemmell indicated there are rumours that something could be announced before March 31.

Nominations open for ACOC’s Business Excellence Awards

By Ron Giofu


The best of the best in Amherstburg’s business community will be on display April 27 but now is the time to let the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce (ACOC) know who the public thinks is the best.

Nominations are now open for the ACOC’s Business Excellence Awards with the public invited to let the Chamber know who they think the winners should be. ACOC president Carolyn Davies pointed out they have modified the categories slightly, with the major change being elimination of Large Business of the Year and Small Business of the Year and going with Business of the Year and New Business of the Year instead.

There are 11 categories in all with the Welcoming Accessibility Award being a new addition for this year. Davies said that award is geared towards businesses who have taken steps to allow those with disabilities greater access to their establishments.

Other categories include Excellence in Customer Service, Most Attractive Improvement, Community Service/Community Involvement, Growth & Expansion, Investing in a World Class Workforce, Excellence in Food Services, Business Legacy and the ACOC Director’s Choice Awards.

Davies said it is a chance to recognize hard working local businesspeople for the efforts they do and the commitment they make.

“Business owners work hard trying to provide a good service,” she said, adding for many it’s a 24/7 commitment.

The ACOC Business Excellence Awards are a way for the community to show their appreciation to the business community, Davies noted.

Nomination forms can be dropped off at Gibb Insurance, the River Town Times, the Dan Gemus Real Estate, Duby’s Home Centre or people can visit The awards will be handed out April 27 at Pointe West Golf Club. Tickets are $50 per person and available at the same locations.

ACOC reflects on the past year during recent AGM



By Ron Giofu


Board members with the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce (ACOC) gathered at the Lord Amherst Public House restaurant for their annual general meeting and reflected back on their most recent year.

Among the board executive in attendance were president Carolyn Davies, treasurer Chris Gibb and directors Ray Bezaire, Janet Willoughby and Dan Gemus and they looked back on some of the ACOC’s more recent accomplishments.

“We got a lot of successful networking projects done,” said Davies.

The ACOC also supported local events, such as the town’s Canuck It Up! Festival.

“It’s been a very busy year,” she said.

Gibb pointed out the chamber had “successful lawsuit” regarding the 2015 Mardi Gras with organizer Ian France ordered to pay back overpayments amounting to $8,607.64, plus interest, as well as legal fees. The total amount of the reimbursement, according to ACOC officials, was $10,812.30.

“We got a settlement we worked a long time for,” said Gibb. “We’re glad to have that behind us.”

Dan Gemus, Carolyn Davies, Janet Willoughby, Ray Bezaire and Chris Gibb discuss the business of the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce as part of the organization’s AGM Feb. 15.

Bezaire noted they are going to reinvest that money back into the membership, stating they are guardians of other people’s money.

Davies said plans for the future include focusing on direct support for businesses, whether that be through networking support, social media or other means at the ACOC’s disposal.

Bezaire noted the chamber wants to work with the Town of Amherstburg on business attraction and retention. Davies added they meet quarterly with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo to discuss “issues of importance” to the business community.

“We are going to be having the Business Excellence Awards,” Davies stated. “That will be happening at the end of April.”

With the municipal election being Oct. 22, the ACOC also plans on hosting all-candidates nights.

The Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce currently has 154 paid members, a number that they are pleased with.

“It’s huge for a town like Amherstburg,” added Gibb.

For more information on the ACOC or to join, visit, e-mail or call 519-736-2001.

Amherstburg encouraging residents to shop local this Black Friday



By Jolene Perron


Rather than joining the crowds bombarding the border chasing after deals in the U.S., Amherstburg merchants are aiming to keep resident’s money local with their incredible deals this holiday season.

Black Friday has been an iconic U.S. event for years. The deals have recently spread into the Canadian market, and Amherstburg merchants are looking to keep shoppers in their stores.

“The Black Friday event in Amherstburg is all about strengthening our local economy,” explained Carolyn Davies, president of the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce. “With the growing participation by Amherstburg businesses in the Black Friday event there has been an expanding success of keeping local shoppers looking for great deals in Amherstburg. More shoppers are realizing they can get great bargains here at home, save the cost of crossing the border, the higher rate of exchange and taxes. The more businesses who participate, the more shoppers who become committed to spending their dollars at home and invest in their own town’s success.”

Davies explained, the Black Friday event in Amherstburg is all about strengthening our local economy. When residents shop local and put their hard earned money back into their own local economy during what she refers to as the “off season” for merchants, it gives local businesses the support they need and they will in turn continue to invest in our town.

Lynn Sinasac, owner of The Village Shoppe, a small independently run family business is giving it their best shot to compete with the U.S. Black Friday sales.

“Black Friday benefits our business by bringing together the local businesses and having one big event, bringing in old and new customers and giving them some much appreciated savings,” explained Sinasac. “We have a great time with our customers with our annual Balloon Pull which gives them an extra 5-50 per cent off their total purchase at check out. Being a small family run business, we truly appreciate our customers and their support. Online shopping has made it easy for people to never leave their homes. This affects our small local shops.  Please support your local vendors and your neighbours that they may employ.”

The Amherstburg Black Friday event runs Nov. 24-26. Be sure to check out the special section in The River Town Times, which will include 16 pages of deals and will come out Nov. 22.


ACOC holding “Twelve Days of Christmas” scavenger hunt again this year



The Christmas carol, “12 days of Christmas” has been a traditional song that has been sung for 237 years. It was written by Fredrick Austin in 1780 and has become a favourite melody during the Christmas Holiday season around the English-speaking world ever since.

Honoring that Christmas tradition, the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce (ACOC) is holding its second annual “Twelve Days of Christmas Scavenger Hunt” starting Nov. 7 at noon ending Nov. 18 at noon.

“This gives participants lots of time to take ballot cards and find the treasures hidden around town,” said ACOC president Carolyn Davies. “No purchases are required to take part.”

Davies said the ACOC has taken this theme and created a scavenger hunt “to have some fun and enhance the holiday spirit.”

“The purpose of the event is to highlight local Amherstburg businesses by creating an incentive for participants to explore shops and restaurants in different parts of Amherstburg,” she said. “The contest will give businesses an opportunity to show case their products and encourage participants of the hunt the opportunity to discover Amherstburg businesses that they may not have been aware of in the past and get to know the local shopkeepers better.”

The “Twelve Days of Christmas” scavenger hunt, presented by the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce, will help kick off the 11th annual River Lights Winter Festival.

There will be 12 Amherstburg businesses that will be involved in the scavenger hunt, she added. All interested businesses are invited to send their request into the ACOC by Sept. 30. They will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis.

“Those who are interested in supporting the contest but missed out on the limited slots can still participate in a modified way. More details will be provided to participating and supporting businesses once the locations are determined,” said Davies.

Scavenger hunters can start their hunting Nov. 7 at noon and will have 12 full days to seek out all the other locations, ending Nov. 18 at noon sharp. Davies said the ballot boxes will then be picked up and the draw for the winner will take place Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. as part of the Downtown Holiday night event.

“There is one grand prize of approximately $600 value of gifts contributed

by participating merchants equaling $50 each,” Davies explained. “Each participating merchant and supporting merchants are also encouraged to offer in-store incentives with each purchase made by scavenger hunters.”

Davies added that “anyone and everyone can participate in the scavenger hunt by going to one of the participating stores who will provide the required ballots with all the participating stores and the clues to items they will be seeking.”

The ACOC looks forward to the community participation in this “Spirit of the Holiday” contest, she continued.

“As the slogan says, Amherstburg, You’ll love it here.”

The Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce’s phone number is 519-736-2001 and their website is Their e-mail address is