Tim Berthiaume

Local residents celebrate a century of living

 

By Jonathan Martin

In the early morning of April 9, 1917, 150,000 Canadian soldiers poured out of their trenches and shell holes into the snow-swept wasteland surrounding Vimy Ridge.

It was the first wave of what would become Canada’s most celebrated military achievement. It was also the day Herman Glonek was born in Poland, which, at the time, was split between German and Russian control.

The assault lasted four days. By the late afternoon of April 12, the four Canadian divisions making the advance had captured their objectives and pushed German forces back five kilometers. As if in celebration, Jean Farr entered the world in St. Thomas, Ontario that same day.

Ninety-nine years, 364 days later, on April 11, 2017, Glonek and Farr sat at a table together in Amherstburg. Both are living at Seasons Retirement Community. Though their home countries were at war when they were born, today they are friends, and hugged each other in mutual celebration. After all, a century of life is no small feat.

Some of the staff of Seasons Retirement Community surround Jean Farr (front, left) and Herman Glonek (front, right) as they celebrate their birthdays at Seasons in Amherstburg last Tuesday morning.  Glonek turned 100 April 9 and Farr turned 100 April 12.

Some of the staff of Seasons Retirement Community surround Jean Farr (front, left) and Herman Glonek (front, right) as they celebrate their birthdays at Seasons in Amherstburg last Tuesday morning. Glonek turned 100 April 9 and Farr turned 100 April 12. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

“My life was hard,” Glonek said in his sharply-accented English. “I struggled so.”

At 21, he joined the Polish army and soon found himself fighting against two of the era’s most influential military forces: Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. The invaders swept across Glonek’s home and swallowed the country whole in just over a month.

Along with millions of other Poles, Glonek was captured and taken to a forced-labour camp. He spent the rest of World War Two starved and struggling on a German farm.

“I have such stories from that time,” he said. “I often tell myself I will write a book.”

Following Poland’s liberation in 1945, Glanek bought his way into Canada.

“I hated the (second world) war,” said Farr. She was living in St. Thomas while Glonek was making his way to Canada. She remembers welcoming some veterans home and noting the stinging absence of others.

“I hope there’s never another one,” she added. “But who’s to know?”

Jean Farr stands behind her 100th birthday cake at Seasons Retirement Community last Tuesday.  Farr is the third person to celebrate a 100th birthday at Seasons as of April 12.  The first was Marie White, who turned 100 last year.

Jean Farr stands behind her 100th birthday cake at Seasons Retirement Community last Tuesday. Farr is the third person to celebrate a 100th birthday at Seasons as of April 12. The first was Marie White, who turned 100 last year. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Farr moved around a little during her century of life, but always stayed in Ontario. She finally found her way into Essex County following the death of her husband, when she moved into Harrow with her niece. From Harrow, she made the jump into retirement living at Seasons.

“I have no words for these people who take care of me,” said Glonek, referring to the Seasons staff. “I give thanks to God that I am here.”

For Glonek, getting to where he is took some doing. The Polish native said he entered Canada with a contract. He would work on a farm near Montréal for one year. After that, he would be on his own. When the contract ended, he moved to Windsor.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale (right)  presents Herman Glonek with a framed certificate at Seasons Retirement Community last Tuesday.  The certificate reads, in part, "Congratulations & Best Wishes on the Occasion of Your 100th Birthday." (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale (right)
presents Herman Glonek with a framed certificate at Seasons Retirement Community last Tuesday. The certificate reads, in part, “Congratulations & Best Wishes on the Occasion of Your 100th Birthday.” (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Decades later, the two centenarians found themselves being handed a piece of cake with a large, blue “100” printed on its top after being addressed by Amherstburg deputy mayor Bart DiPasquale and Amherstburg chief of police Tim Berthiaume.

DiPasquale spoke to both Farr and Glonek individually before presenting each with a certificate declaring that the “Council of the Corporation of the Town of Amherstburg votes to extend Birthday Wishes” to them.

Berthiaume presented each with a commemorative coin, on which the town’s police logo is emblazoned.

“You get one every hundred years,” Berthiaume told them. “I guess you better start clearing space.”

Farr and Glonek laughed, then exchanged a look.

 

For more photos from that day, visit our Facebook album.

“Sunshine List” released for 2016

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The public salary disclosure – a.k.a. the “Sunshine List” – has been released for 2016.

The salaries are released under the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act which requires most organizations that receive public funding from Ontario to disclose annually the names, positions, salaries and total taxable benefits of employees paid $100,000 or more in the previous calendar year.

According to a news release sent by the province, the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act applies to the provincial government, Crown agencies and corporations, Ontario Power Generation and subsidiaries, publicly funded organizations such as hospitals, municipalities, school boards, universities and colleges, and not-for-profit organizations that meet a funding threshold.

The $100,000 threshold has not changed since the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act was enacted in 1996, and has not been adjusted to keep up with inflation. If the salary threshold were adjusted for inflation, it would be $149,424 in today’s dollars, reducing the number of employees included in the compendium by 84 per cent.

The “Sunshine List” saw 36 employees of the town of Amherstburg on it, up two from 2015. That includes 25 members of the Amherstburg Police Service, the same as the year prior.

The top three earners in the town were CAO John Miceli, who earned $181,193.60 in 2016 followed by police chief Tim Berthiaume ($167,857.83) and deputy police chief Ian Chappell ($140,806.08).

CAO John Miceli earned $181,193.60 in 2016.

CAO John Miceli earned $181,193.60 in 2016.

Among the police sergeants on the list were Matt Capel-Cure ($126,490.06), Melissa Taylor ($125,530.19), Don Brown ($132,243.82), and Scott Riddell ($115,301.01). Constables on the list include Rory Bennett ($121,238.13), Viktor Burany ($112,433.51), Rocco Pelaccia ($111,668.98), Paul Smith ($119,226.43), Nick D’Amore ($113,049.31), Christopher Dean ($105,042.28), Kim Rathbone ($103,435.23), Fred Adair ($110,881.86), Andrew Challans ($109,232.01), Aaron Chambers ($104,573.89), Nicholaus Dupuis ($111.421.54), Tim Ford ($108,270.62), Sean Gazdig ($108, 309.35), Nathan Harris ($116,119.21), Shawn McCurdy ($104,994.13), Margaret O’Brien ($113,408), Ryan Pizzala ($100,619.29), B.J. Wiley ($115,214.59) and Don Zimmerman ($103,707.61).

Other members of town administration on the list are director of engineering and public works Antonietta Giofu ($120,415.08), director of corporate services and treasurer ($120,415.60), manager of engineering and operations Todd Hewitt ($101,055.56), manager of planning services Rebecca Belanger ($105,022.56), manager of information technology Dave Carpenter ($106,323.16), manager of roads and fleet Eric Chamberlain ($104,403.61) and director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin ($116,397.38).

Firefighters on the list include Jason Durocher ($110,974.90), former chief Randy Sinasac ($104,792.64) and Randy Wismer ($104,844.76).

The County of Essex also had 36 of its employees make the Sunshine List, with 20 of them being affiliated with Essex-Windsor EMS. County CAO Brian Gregg was the top earner in 2016 with a salary of $181,643.64 while director of corporate services/treasurer Rob Maisonville was the second highest earner with a 2016 salary of $151,434.60. Deputy EMS Chief of planning and physical resources Chris Grant earned $141,337.03 while director of transportation services Tom Bateman and Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter earned $130,425.60 and $130,285.48 respectively.

Other Essex-Windsor EMS members on the list include district chief John Fast ($117,291.70), paramedic Lance Huver ($106,726.48), district chief John Jacobs ($117,673.43), paramedic Anthony Jaroszwicz ($105,893.20), paramedic Arnold Wenzler ($103,802.72), Capt. Dawn Arsenault ($101,356.04), paramedic Tim Branch ($105,125.31), district chief Shawn Davis ($120,914.82), district chief Michael Jacobs ($126,282.32), deputy chief Justin Lammers ($101,708.14), district chief Denis Mcfarlane ($120,980.05), district chief Mechelle Murphy ($113,096.90), paramedic Paul Stromme ($102,093.15), district chief Jean-Pierre Bacon ($104,804.29), district chief Sarah Bezaire ($116,472.39), district chief Tyson Brohman ($127,602.57), paramedic Justin Campeau ($102,222.37), Capt. Cathy Hedges ($102,113.33), paramedic Chris Kirwin ($105,153.97) and deputy chief Ryan Lemay ($116,394.69).

essex_logo_final

County administration on the list also includes director of council services/clerk Mary Brennan ($120,691.95), Sun Parlour Home administrator Lynda Monik ($127,225.89), human resources director Greg Schlosser ($119,929.63), manager of transportation and development Jane Mustac ($108,032.24), manager of construction services Peter Bzuik ($105,228.67) and manager of maintenance operations Kenneth Newman ($111,981.03).

Nursing staff that are on the county’s list include Sun Parlour Home director of nursing Linda Desjardins ($107,652.91) and registered nurses Kendra Powell ($105,926.68), Juliette Jeremias ($105,004.80), Kristine Malott ($105,179.52) and Nancy Morand ($104,800.60).

The Greater Essex County District School Board also released its list for 2016 with it including Amherstburg Public School principal Mark Campbell ($122,478.20) and vice principal Christina Pottie ($104,435.98). Anderdon Public principal Kerry Green-Duren earned $123,413.29 while vice principal Victoria MacPherson-Blencoe earned $125,002.86.

General Amherst High School principal Hazel Keefner made the list with a 2016 salary of $130,511.68 while vice principal Joe Marusic earned $104,194.72.

The Sunshine List for the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board shows that St. Thomas of Villanova principal Amy Facchineri earned $119,947.30 while vice principals Sam Sleiman and Laura Beltran earned $112,493.75 and $112,303.51 respectively.

Stella Maris School principal Sophie DiPaolo earned $119,216.54 while St. Joseph School principal Linda DiPasquale had a 2016 salary of $119,887.

A number of teachers also made the list, with the full Sunshine List found at www.ontario.ca and searching public sector salary disclosure.

Business plan completed for Amherstburg Police Service

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Police Service’s business plan has been completed and presented to town council.

The report came before town council at the March 20 meeting and received praise from town council members with Chief Tim Berthiaume telling the River Town Times last week they took different measures this time around to get public input for the three-year plan.

“We’ve always had a difficult time getting people to come to advertised meetings,” said Berthiaume.

While they still had advertised public meetings, the Amherstburg Police Service also went to the public to meet in different settings as well.

“We targeted groups. We targeted service clubs. We targeted organizations and we targeted seniors centres,” said Berthiaume. “We basically went to them.”

The police service was greeted well at the meetings and Berthiaume said Amherstburg police learned a lot as well. There were even some issues addressed that weren’t thought of by police going in, including timing of street lights and crosswalk signals.

“The elderly residents appreciated the visit to their buildings,” he said. “They described to us they have a hard time getting out. We received wonderful feedback. We learned a lot from all of our site visits.”

The Amherstburg Police Service performed well in the various criteria they were scored on with the lowest scores being 95 per cent and 91 per cent for how the service handles damage to property and traffic complaints respectively.

Aburg Police Logo Rev-web

“Traffic, year after year, is a concern for residents of the town of Amherstburg,” said Berthiaume.

Noting that the business plan “is about how we are going to police the town over the next three years,” the chief said they have goals of maintaining a high level of service to the community, continuing to seek feedback from the public, continuing to identify the public’s needs and expectations and to maintain good response times.

Preventing property crime is a target over the next three years, he added. Thefts from vehicles continues to be a major issue and “target hardening” neighbourhoods is what police will push for. That includes simple measures as encouraging residents to lock their doors and secure their property.

“This is where we need the community to help us and the rest of the community by simply locking your doors,” said Berthiaume. “As long as people get something by stealing, they will continue to do so.”

With spring arriving, Amherstburg police expect a rise in thefts from vehicles as thieves will also be taking advantage of the warmer weather.

Berthiaume said the Amherstburg Police Service is committed to being open and providing an efficient police service. They acknowledge not only the input from the community in making up the plan, but from officers as well.

“Their feedback was crucial in the development of this,” he said.

Councillor Diane Pouget thanked Berthiaume at the March 20 meeting for the report. She called it “a very good and detailed report” and pointed out the majority of residents believe Amherstburg police is doing a good job.

Pouget noted the increase in property crime, but acknowledged much of that can be attributed to people leaving their vehicles unlocked.

Much of the feedback from the community was about the OPP costing, he added. Berthiaume noted a business plan has to be created by Amherstburg police every three years and the two issues weren’t interconnected.

“A lot of residents want to talk to us about the OPP costing,” said Berthiaume, noting he was glad to have Amherstburg Police Services Board members at the meetings to help with such questions. “The Amherstburg Police Service and OPP costing are two different things but the OPP costing appears to be on everyone’s mind.”

“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.

 

Amherstburg Police Service to appoint mental health officer

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Police Service will soon have a specially assigned mental health officer.

Chief Tim Berthiaume said the police department gets roughly $170,000 in grants annually with the province asking that money be re-purposed. The officer, who has yet to be appointed, will be a full-time officer in that position, receive special training and work in collaboration with the LaSalle Police Service and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.

It will be a redistribution of current resources, the services stated in a tweet Tuesday morning.

“We’re hoping the officer will start April 1 in their new role,” said Berthiaume.

Police carWEB

The chief said the idea behind having a full-time mental health officer would be to reduce calls for service and allow the Amherstburg Police Service to be proactive. The officer would meet with people in the community, give them options and advise them about what services there are available.

The officer would also be able to build and maintain relationships with people who may need mental health resources, Berthiaume added.

Berthiaume stated they have been tracking mental health calls for the last three years and there has been a “steady incline” in the amount of calls that Amherstburg police have been receiving. There were 67 mental health related calls in 2016, Berthiaume said, but that number does not include calls with charges. The chief indicated there could be other incidents with a mental health component but classified as something else due to a charge being laid.

Berthiaume added that collaboration with LaSalle police would include the mental health officers covering each other off when the other is unavailable.

The officer is expected to be appointed soon as Berthiaume stated there is a competition within the police service as to who will get the position. Once that officer is assigned, he or she will be given special training to assist them with their new duties that start April 1.