Election season ramping up, time to get to know the candidates



By Ron Giofu


Election season is ramping up and a pair of organizations are gathering the candidates in one place so that voters can hear what they have to say.

The Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce (ACOC) is hosting a pair of “Meet the Candidate” nights, both to be held at Western Secondary School. Both will have a similar format, with the 14 councillor candidates to be the focus of the Oct. 3 evening while the four deputy mayor candidates and two mayoral candidates will be the focus Oct. 4.

There will be a meet and greet with the candidates starting at 6 p.m. with introductions to follow at 6:30 p.m. A question and answer period will come after introductions with closing statements to follow. The evenings are scheduled to conclude at 10 p.m. with the same format both nights.

According to ACOC treasurer Chris Gibb, the councillor candidates will each get five questions while deputy mayor candidates will face 5-10 questions. Candidates for mayor will receive 10-15 candidates.

A pair of AM800 reporters will moderate the evenings. Teresinha Medeiros will moderate the Oct. 3 evening with the councillor candidates while Patty Handysides will moderate the Oct. 4 evening with the deputy mayor and mayor candidates.

Gibb said it is an “added plus” to be holding the event outside of the core of Amherstburg noting that it “helps remind people and candidates that Amherstburg is a very big township and sometimes the people in the core and our politicians need to be reminded of that. Also, it is good to remember Amherstburg has two high schools, we can sometimes forget about that.” Gibb added: “The location is fully accessible, has plenty of parking, and is a great facility that many residents have never been in.”
It is important for the ACOC to hold such “Meet the Candidate” events, Gibb noted, as decisions made around the council table impact chamber members and the public at large.

“The people who get elected make many decisions that affect the livelihood of our members and an event like this is the best way for our members and the public to get to know their candidates,” said Gibb.

Western Secondary School is located at 5791 North Town Line (County Road 8), but the entrances are off of Concession 6 North.

The Amherstburg Citizens for Responsible Government (ACRG) is also bringing back its own version of a candidates night, with that returning to the AMA Sportsmen Club. That will be held Oct. 11 from 7-10 p.m. with ACRG representatives John McDonald and Beth Hobbs describing it as an informal way to get to know the candidates.

McDonald noted that candidates will be set up in alphabetical order, not in order of the office they are seeking.

“We had an all candidates night at the very same location four years ago,” McDonald stated. “It was very successful. We were very encouraged by that.”

The evening will be apolitical, said McDonald.

“We’re not backing any potential candidate or a political issue,” he stated.

The event, he continued, will be a chance to meet face-to-face with candidates and address the issues and concerns they have. While it will be an informal event, the ACRG is asking that “hometown courtesy” be exercised.

“The idea is to have a free flow of ideas,” McDonald stated, adding the candidates will be able to go “eyeball to eyeball” with people to talk about their issues.

Hobbs added that candidates will be invited to distribute their own literature that night. McDonald pointed out that the “vast majority” of candidates have agreed to come out.

“It’s very informal,” added Hobbs. “It was very successful in 2014 and we’re hoping for the same thing this year.”

The AMA Sportsmen Club is located at 468 Lowes Side Road.

Also, reminder that the River Town Times will be publishing a special section with the candidates in the Sept. 26 issue. Candidates were sent the same five questions with all five to be published in the Sept. 26 paper for mayor and deputy mayor candidates. Due to space limitations, three of the five answers for the councillor candidates will be published in the print edition while all five answers will be online at

Candidates who have not already submitted their answers back to the RTT are asked to do so by Monday, Sept. 17 at 9 a.m.

Festival of Hawks returns to Holiday Beach Conservation Area



Special to the RTT


All eyes will be on the skies this September as local birders and nature lovers take in one of North America’s greatest migrations.

These watchers will call the Holiday Beach Conservation Area home as they take in a grand spectacle: tens of thousands of hawks and raptors flying overhead on their annual journey to nesting grounds in the south.

In recognition of the amazing sight, Essex Region Conservation, in partnership with the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory (HBMO), will host the 2018 Festival of Hawks. The festival, which takes place over the weekends of September 15-16 and 22-23, features a range of free educational activities and nature-themed programming.

HBMO experts will be on-site conducting hawk banding and adoptions. Event goers will get up close and personal to a variety of raptors as experts measure, tag, and then release these birds back into the wild. Visitors will also be in awe at the live raptor display of Kingsport Environmental, a local organization that rescues and rehabilitates raptors and promotes falconry through education programs.

The Festival of Hawks returns to Holiday Beach Conservation Area Sept. 15-16 and 22-23.

Free educational programs will complement the ongoing banding and live hawk display throughout both weekends. Local experts will be on-site to teach on a wide range of birding and nature-related topics. These programs include:

  • HBMO’s Bob Pettit will be on hand to provide expertise on identifying hawks in flight.
  • Ted Kloske, of Henry’s Windsor and Maple Grove Studios, and Glenn Gervais, of Southshore Outdoor Photography, will help budding photographers get their best nature shot.
  • Jeremy Bensette will share stories of his travels across Ontario in 2017 while breaking the current ‘Ontario Big Year’ record, locating and documenting 346 bird species.
  • HBMO’s Jeremy Hatt will share his tips and tricks on using mobile applications like iNaturalist
  • ERCA’s Gina Pannunzio will host an interactive workshop focusing on the mystery of one of our local iconic species, the Monarch Butterfly.

“Holiday Beach Conservation Area has been identified as one of the 10 best sites in all of North America to experience the raptor migration,” notes Danielle Breault Stuebing, ERCA’s director of communications and outreach.  “Whether an expert birder or nature-loving family, there’s something for everyone at the annual Festival of Hawks.”

The Festival runs from 9am to 3pm on September 15-16 and 22-23. Visitors can also enjoy lunch provided by the Essex County Field Naturalists’ Blue Kestrel Café or HBMO’s BBQ Booth.

All programs are free with the festival admission fee of $15 per vehicle. The final list of programs is available at

The best raptor viewing time is from 9 a.m. until 12 noon when the hawks fly low. The Holiday Beach Conservation Area is located on County Road 50, on Lake Erie near Malden Centre approximately 15km southeast of historic Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada, a half hour drive from Highway 401 and only 40 minutes from the Ambassador Bridge for those coming from Detroit.

“Africa Revisted” comes to the Gibson Gallery



By Ron Giofu


Two years ago, Donovan Alp made his debut with his exhibit “Out of Africa” exhibit.

After some additional trips to South Africa, Alp has returned with “Africa Revisited.”

“This is the result of another couple of trips to South Africa,” Alp said during a Sunday afternoon reception.

Alp works in various different types of mediums with works being in painting, drawing and photographic form. They have been worked on the last several months, with Alp noting his most recent trip to South Africa being in April 2017.

A recent trip saw him visit four countries and five game reserves. Alp, who now lives in LaSalle, was originally born in Zimbabwe.

Donovan Alp stands with one of his works that are currently featured as part of the “Africa Revisited”
exhibit at the Gibson Gallery. The exhibit runs through Sept. 23.

“Every painting has a picture of a photo under it so you can see what I was working from,” he said.

Alp said he always has enjoyed going to game reserves and started painting the animals he was taking pictures of after he retired. He noted that some of the animals may not be around for the long term due to poaching and trophy hunting.

There are 16 new paintings or drawings part of “Africa Revisited” with one drawing that was in his 2016 show. Alp said he doesn’t show his work that often, with the two exhibits at the Gibson Gallery being his only one-person shows. He also submits work to Association of Representational Artists (ARA) shows.

“I just think it’s a wonderful gallery,” stated Alp. “It’s a wonderful place to exhibit.”

“Africa Revisited” will be on exhibit through Sept. 23.

The Gibson Gallery is located at 140 Richmond St. and their current hours are Thursday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

For further information, call 519-736-2826 and or visit their website at Their Twitter account can be found at while their Facebook account is found at


Public engagement sessions on possible town re-branding Wednesday afternoon and evening

The public is reminded that the town is holding two information sessions with regards to its proposed new branding strategy Wednesday afternoon and evening.

The town has partnered with marketing agency Cinnamon Toast New Media Inc. to develop the branding strategy, as well as “an innovative new tourism website” to attract visitors, guests and investors.

Cinnamon Toast has aimed to gather information about what makes Amherstburg unique to other municipalities and what elements stakeholders would like to see reflected in the town’s future brand and logo.

Information is also being sought on how often the town’s website is accessed, and what visitors to the site find most valuable, including ease of use, information about events, attractions including restaurant and accommodation recommendations.

“Amherstburg continues to be progressive in meeting the growing interests of new markets. We encourage everyone to participate in filling out the short survey to help us in the creation of an exciting new logo and tourism website,” manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota stated in a press release published online last month.

There will be two public consultations sessions Aug. 29 and those sessions will be led by Cinnamon Toast New Media Inc. and attended by town representatives. The first session will be at 3 p.m. with an evening session planned for 6 p.m. Both will be held at the Libro Centre.

The town agreed in May to spend up to $75,000 plus HST on a branding strategy, which will also include a communications strategy and a “brand identity manual.”

The Town of Amherstburg is encouraging the public to find the survey on its “Talk the Burg” online feedback website and at its main website of

Variety of events coming to Park House Museum


A number of different events are forthcoming to the Park House Museum.

The next installment of “Music off the Back Porch” returns Sept. 7 from 6-8 p.m., weather permitting. The featured performers will be Linda Girard & Hospice Friends. There is no admission but free will donations are appreciated. People are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs.

The Park House is also having another public paranormal investigation Sept. 14. Sessions will run from 7-9 p.m. and 9-11 p.m. and the cost is $20 per person. Only 20 tickets are available (ten per each time slot).

A “Witches Tea Tasting” takes place Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. It is $10 per person and all ages are welcome. Reservations are required.

The Park House Museum is also hosting Ghost Tours Oct. 19-20.

For more information about any of these events, contact the Park House Museum at 519-736-2511 or e-mail Their website is

The Park House Museum is located at 214 Dalhousie St.