Laura George

Current district governor encourages fellow Rotarians to “go bold”

By Jolene Perron

 

During their regular meeting, which is now at Shooter’s Roadhouse, the Amherstburg Rotary Club had a chance to meet their new district governor for the current year.

“I have found that Rick is a person of action,” explained assistant governor Peggy Little. “You’ll find, as I have found, Rick’s commitment to Rotary, but I think what really shows through is Rick’s passion. His passion for Rotary, his passion for his work, his passion for helping people and his passion for the district and coming around and talking with everybody.”

Members of the Rotary Club of Amherstburg gather with their district governor Rick Caron for a group photo after last Wednesday night’s meeting at Shooter’s Roadhouse in Amherstburg.

Rick Caron explained his commitment to Rotary, and how everyone who knows him knows that he is a part of Rotary. He proudly wears his pins, displays his mugs with the Rotary logo, and much more. But for many years it wasn’t that way.

“I would hesitate wearing a Rotary shirt if it was not a Rotary function, I wouldn’t always have my membership pin on,” explained Caron. “But then I started to become committed to the ideals of Rotary and I thought, if I don’t tell people about Rotary, they don’t get to join. Why would I want to rob them of that opportunity of being a Rotarian?”

Caron posed the question “What is Rotary?” He explained, that’s a hard question to answer, and as the district governor, he should know, but because Rotary is so much in so many ways, it becomes difficult to pinpoint what Rotary is exactly.

“Is Rotary building the Miracle League Park? Is Rotary doing Ribfest? Is Rotary committing to your community, dedication and hours and service and money and fundraising, is that what Rotary is? Well yes, it is. Rotary builds communities, that’s part of what we do,” explained Caron. “But that’s not all of what we do, we do more than that.”

Rotary solves problems, Caron continued.

The Rotary Club of Amherstburg gave district governor Rick Caron a tin lantern from the Park House Museum during their meeting at Shooter’s Roadhouse Oct. 18. Making the presentation is Rotary Club of Amherstburg president Laura George.

“It is everyone in our local club, all of the clubs in the district, all of the districts in the zone and all the zones in the world working together, networking, and making the world a better place,” he said.

He added there are 1.2 million Rotarians and 35,000 clubs around the world.

“I say “Go Bold” and that means I want everyone here to do something a little bit more,” said Caron. “I learned this from my grandfather. You don’t have to be retired to die in place. Anyone at any age can stop living by not having any ambition. If you don’t want to be more than what you are you stagnate. That’s why you need to go beyond what you normally do. You need to give back and do something meaningful. You need to be a part of Rotary and you need to share that Rotary story with other people.”
For more information on the Rotary Club of Amherstburg call 519-982-2684 or e-mail rotary.amherstburg@gmail.com. People can also visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/amherstburgrotary.

Park House Museum receives cheques from Ribfest Committee, Rotary

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Historic Sites Association, the board that operates the Park House Museum, received some good financial news last Tuesday night.

The board received a $5,000 cheque from the Rotary Club of Amherstburg and an additional $1,114 from the Ribfest Committee, the latter being a sub-committee of Rotary. The latter cheque was the share designated for the Park House from the 50/50 draws held during the July festival.

Bill Wark, president of the Amherstburg Historic Sites Association, was happy to receive the cheques.

“We are very thankful for the support from the Rotary Club,” said Wark. “The donations are critical to the operation of the Park House.”

Wark added the Amherstburg Historic Sites Association (AHSA) has a great partnership with the Rotary Club and wants to see it continue.

Rotary Club president Laura George said the service organization may be undertaking an event to assist the Park House Museum, noting they “feel the pinch” as well as they need volunteers and help with projects.

“More hands make for lighter work,” said George.

The Amherstburg Historic Sites Association, which operates the Park House Museum, received a $5,000 from the Rotary Club and a $1,114 cheque from the Rotary’s Ribfest committee last Tuesday night. From left: Bert McLellan, Janet Gardiner, AHSA president Bill Wark, Hazen Price, Rotary president Laura George, Peter Mingay and Fred Roberts.

Park House Museum curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak agreed that the donations are “crucial” in helping the museum operate and offer programs. She said upcoming events include their All Hallow’s Eve event and a “ghost tour,” the latter having “a lot of buzz” surrounding it.

Pouget-Papak also pointed out the Park House Museum will also continue its school tours and Christmas programming in the coming months.

Wark said the Park House Museum did well with its “Music off the Back Porch” series this summer. The museum will also be holding a fundraising dinner Oct. 21 at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 with $20 tickets being available at the Park House Museum.

Wark pointed out the event starts with a social at 4 p.m. with the dinner being at 5:30 p.m. There will be a raffle and prizes as well, he added.

Hazen Price, whom Wark called “one of the main cogs” of both the AHSA and Rotary, said the link between the Park House Museum and the Rotary Club of Amherstburg dates back many years.

“The Park House was a Rotary project to begin with,” said Price.

For more information on the Rotary Club, visit http://www.amherstburgrotary.com, e-mail George at rotary.amherstburg@gmail.com or visit their Facebook page.

For more information on the Park House Museum, visit www.parkhousemuseum.com or call 519-736-2511. The museum is located at 214 Dalhousie St.

Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest draws over 13,500 people

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest was held over the weekend with a strong crowd of 13,513 people in attendance.

The three-day event took place in Centennial Park with four ribbers – Ribs Royale, Memphis Blazin’ BBQ, Dinosaur BBQ Pit and Texas Rangers – and a variety of craft vendors, children’s activities and other food and drink vendors participating.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

“Except for Friday night when we had to evacuate everyone for safety reasons (due to a storm), it’s been a great weekend,” said Carl Gibb, an Amherstburg Rotarian and chair of the Rotary’s Ribfest committee. “The support from the community, as always, has been fantastic.”

Gibb noted the variety of food and crafts and “everyone seems happy.”

“Overall, it was a great weekend,” added Amherstburg Rotary Club president Laura George. “The attendees we had came and enjoyed the ribs. We definitely thank everyone for coming out because without them, the Rotary Club and Ribfest committee couldn’t have pulled off this weekend.”

Gibb and George thanked the committee, the volunteers, sponsors and all who participated in the three-day event. They also thanked the town of Amherstburg for waiving the fees to use Centennial Park and the equipment and for relaxing restrictions on the sign bylaw to help them promote the Ribfest.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

“It’s nice to know that, in the end, they know the value of what this festival brings to town and that they know the work of the Rotary Club,” said George.

The Ribfest was up against two other events in the area – including the Fork & Cork in Windsor and the Essex Fun Fest – but the Amherstburg event still managed to draw a strong crowd.

“It says a lot about the town of Amherstburg,” said George.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

People line up for ribs at the eighth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest. The event was July 7-9 at Centennial Park.

George acknowledged the break-in that occurred to the grounds early Saturday morning that saw items stolen from several vendors. She said they are working with the Amherstburg Police Service to resolve the matter and extra security was brought on board for the next night.

Gibb pointed out they put all proceeds back into the Amherstburg community. He noted such Rotary projects as the fully accessible playground at Toddy Jones Park, the Miracle League field at the Libro Centre and the acquisition of 600 carbon monoxide detectors that will go into those in the homes of vulnerable residents. The latter project is in conjunction with Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Amherstburg Fire Department.

The Memphis Blazin’ BBQ was the only ribber that hadn’t been to Amherstburg before but they liked what they saw.

The band Moondog Howlers perform Saturday night at the Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest.

The band Moondog Howlers perform Saturday night at the Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest.

“I’m loving it,” said Matthew Kershaw, as he prepared ribs Friday night. “This town is awesome.”

Those who attended enjoyed it as well, with people from Windsor-Essex County and beyond coming to Amherstburg.

“It was nice. I enjoyed it,” said Bernadette Kuzniak of Belle River. “The ribs were good and so was the sauce.

Kuzniak attended with her husband Norm and it was their first time to the Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest after moving back to the area from Waterloo.

“The music is not too bad,” added Norm.

Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone sinks  his teeth into some of the ribs during judging held July 9.

Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone sinks his teeth into some of the ribs during judging held July 9.

Kevin Girard and Kait Fox of Tecumseh also enjoyed themselves.

“We love it,” said Girard. “Our stomachs are full and our fingers are sticky.”
Fox added they were at the Ribfest several years ago and said they plan on coming back.

The Ribfest also drew people from a family reunion, including those from Sugar Grove, Illinois and Jackson, Mississippi.

Arthur Davis, from Jackson, said they stopped in as they were driving back to the United States and wanted to try the Ribfest. Sharon Phillips added they found people in town to be “very friendly” and they gave the experience “two thumbs up.”

“It’s been a beautiful experience,” she said.

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.

Council approves 14-day extension for Rotary Ribfest signs

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Rotary Club’s Ribfest will get 28 days to display signs after all.

After originally being turned down a month ago, town council did an about face and voted 5-1 to allow a 14-day extension for Ribfest signs. Instead of the ten signs the Rotary Club has for Ribfest going up for 14 days, they will now go up for 28 days.

A delegation request from economic development advisory committee chair Bob Rozankovic was refused, with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo citing information learned at an in-camera training session about already having dealt with the matter as the reason. However, council waived rules of order and Councillor Leo Meloche made the motion to allow the extension.

Meloche said the Rotary Club has been “very good to the community” and that they bring value to the community. He said council regularly grants variances and similar requests and believed there was a “humanitarian aspect” that had to be considered in the Ribfest’s case.

Councillor Rick Fryer wanted administration to study what other municipalities do and how long they allow similar signage. He said there was “no slight to Rotary” but if every group were to have the bylaw waived, there was no point to having a bylaw.

Members of the Rotary Ribfest Committee, an event that operates under the umbrella of the Amherstburg Rotary Club, are disappointed with the guidelines they have to operate under to comply with the sign bylaw. Town council upheld the current sign bylaw at the March 20 meeting.

Members of the Rotary Ribfest Committee, an event that operates under the umbrella of the Amherstburg Rotary Club, are disappointed with the guidelines they have to operate under to comply with the sign bylaw. Town council upheld the current sign bylaw at the March 20 meeting.

“We do have obligations we do need to adhere to,” said Fryer.

Fryer said he ultimately voted in favour of the request due to timing issues, as there wouldn’t be enough time this year for administration to bring back the information he requested and allow the Ribfest committee to proceed with their plans.

Fryer added he was in favour of seeing what other municipalities do and being consistent. He did like the fact there were ten locations with the signs professionally done, adding it will be aesthetically pleasing for people like Communities in Bloom judges.

DiCarlo believes the signage issue will keep coming up, noting there will be a balancing act between promoting events and keeping the community “clean and uncluttered.” He said the Ribfest request was for a specific type of signage and that the town knows where and how many signs will be erected.

“We’re obviously pleased with the outcome,” added Amherstburg Rotary Club president Laura George. We appreciate council taking the time to hear our concerns again.”

Having the support of the economic development advisory committee helped keep the issue in the forefront, she added, and said “it’s with their support we feel we’re successful.”

George also said the backing of Meloche “has been extremely powerful and greatly appreciated.

“We hope our efforts have opened council’s eyes and they will look into this bylaw further,” George added. “As for us, we’ll be focusing our efforts and attention on this year’s Ribfest July 7, 8 and 9.”