Sewer work to temporarily close intersection of Gore St. & Bathurst St.

An intersection near the downtown core of Amherstburg will be closed temporarily due to construction.

The intersection of Bathurst St. and Gore St. will be closed to all thru traffic commencing starting Monday to facilitate sewer works.

According to the Town of Amherstburg, this intersection closure is expected to last nine days, weather permitting. The town states that local traffic will be maintained and residents will be allowed access to their homes.

The intersection of Gore St. and Bathurst St. will be closed from Dec. 10-19, weather permitting, for sewer work, according to the Town of Amherstburg.

The town reminds residents that during construction, traffic disruptions may occur and some delays may be experienced. Drivers are requested to please slow down, obey all obey all traffic signage and watch for flag persons in the construction zone.

The town further states it is thanking drivers and residents for their patience while work to complete this capital improvement project is being performed.

The company performing the work is South Shore Contracting of Essex County, the town stated in a notice distributed to residents in the area.

For more information, please contact the Engineering and Public Works Department at 519-736-3664.

Former Vietnamese refugee returns to his Canadian “hometown”


By Ron Giofu

When Quyen Kam Phung fled Vietnam in the late 1970’s, he would eventually find his way to Canada.

While Toronto was his first official stop, Quyen would soon be sponsored by St. John the Baptist Church, the Basilian Fathers and Father Vincent Thompson and adopt Amherstburg as his first Canadian hometown.

Quyen was one of thousands of people that fled Vietnam after the Vietnam War, after South Vietnam was taken over by communist North Vietnam.

Quyen Kam Phung (bottom row, centre, holding 1979 Windsor Star newspaper article) returned to Amherstburg Dec. 2. Amherstburg was his first hometown in Canada after he fled Vietnam in the late 1970’s. He originally stayed at St. John the Baptist Church and revisited the church recently with his family and reconnected with the church community. Bottom row (from left): daughter Winnie Phung, wife Mary Phung, Quyen, Father Brian Jane, son-in-law James Hiu. Back row (from left): associate pastor Father Seejo John, Mary Ferguson, Bill Ferguson.

“The North came and took control and all of our lives changed,” he said.

Quyen explained that his father owned a painting machine but that was soon taken from him and Quyen went to a friend’s farm and became a beekeeper.

“Then I got a chance to escape,” he said, noting that he actually escaped Vietnam twice. He said his boat was designed for 170 people but actually had 300 on it.

After becoming what was known as one of the “boat people,” his second attempt at escaping saw him flee to Malaysia. His original choices to go were Australia or the United States but it was Canada he would end up in and he arrived 40 years ago. Many refugees didn’t want to go to Canada, believing it was too far and too cold.

As it turned out, Quyen is happy where he landed.

“I’m so lucky,” he said.

Quyen lived 11 months in the rectory of St. John the Baptist Church. He recalled his first job was at a farm even though he didn’t know how to use the farming tools. His first pay cheque was for $70 and he used some of that for medications he sent back to family in Vietnam.

Now a real estate area in the Scarborough area, Quyen said his first job saw him hitch hike back and forth to work.

“I didn’t need a car. I hitch hiked,” he said. “Every day, someone gave me a ride.”

Quyen Kam Phung looks out of the window of the room he stayed in when he lived at St. John the Baptist Church. He came to Canada from Vietnam in 1979.

Other jobs locally saw him work as a janitor as well as at Canadian Tire. He also befriended the Delisle family, whom he said now have moved to British Columbia.

Quyen, joined by members of his family, toured St. John the Baptist Church Sunday morning and he saw his old bedroom in the rectory. While he has been back in the 40 years he has been in Canada, it was his first visit to town since 1992.

“This is my hometown,” he said. “Amherstburg is my first hometown in Canada.”

Essex Powerlines employees help out at Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission



By Ron Giofu


Essex Powerlines Corporation (EPL) states they are “committed to making a difference in the communities they serve” and have gone to some area food banks and missions to prove it.

Staff from Essex Powerlines were at the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission recently helping to prepare the noon meal and Amanda Panetta, marketing and conservation analyst with Essex Powerlines, said it is part of their campaign to have customers switch to paperless billing. For the first 1,000 customers who switched by Dec. 7, Essex Powerlines will make a $10 donation to local food banks.

“Part of the (campaign) is getting out into the public and see what goes on and see how we can help,” said Panetta.

Chris Carr, customer service manager with Essex Powerlines, said it was a good chance to get out in the community and see firsthand how non-profit groups work.

“We thought it was a good opportunity to find out what they do and help out,” said Carr.

Amanda Panetta, Chris Carr, Alicia Gewarges and Joe Tracey from Essex Powerlines were at the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission recently helping to serve the noon meal. Mission president Tim McAllister is second from left.

Carr said they work in the communities every day, so it was a chance to also get educated about some of the good work that is happening. They are also planning on helping out in Leamington and Tecumseh.

Workers of Essex Powerlines also visited St. Andrew’s LaSalle Community Food Bank last week to lend a helping hand. The volunteers helped with storage of assorted food items.

St. Andrew’s LaSalle Community Food Bank provides nutritional and healthy foods to approximately 70 families in need on a monthly basis.

“The people of LaSalle never cease to amaze us. Just when you think you can’t be surprised, someone (EPL) from the community steps up. That’s the joy of a small community!” said Deb Wilkinson, St. Andrew’s LaSalle Community Food Bank.

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister was happy for the extra hands.

“It’s very important for people to see what we do here to help the community,” said McAllister.

“It brings us great joy to be able to give back to the communities we serve. We recognize that there is a greater need to support our local food banks leading up to the holiday season and are happy to help wherever we can. Signing up for paperless billing presents a simple way for our customers to give back to the community and help make a difference,” stated added Joe Barile, general manager of Essex Powerlines.


Local pop-up shop brings value to customers



By Christian Bouchard


Two local entrepreneurs are teaming up to turn their love for business into steady revenue.

Linden Crain, owner of Crainer’s Closet and Cam Snively, owner of Furnish Refurbish are two local entrepreneurs who ran a pop-up shop up Pittao’s Auto Care recently.

Crain and Snively displayed their furniture and vintage clothing throughout the one-day event. Crain sold vintage clothing, ranging from snapback hats, name brand hoodies and shoes while Linden was also displaying his furniture, ranging from tables and chairs to couches.

According to Snively, the two put on the event to see how much revenue they could generate from last minute notice and last-minute advertising.

“It was more of a test today, but we’ve had a pretty good turnout already,” said Snively. “The revenue will be put back into the business, so we can keep growing.”

inden Crain (left) and Cam Snively (right) pose with a closet full of shoes at their local pop-up shop.

Crain and Snively both attend the University of Windsor where they study business. They credit their love for business to a mentorship program they took back when they were students at General Amherst.

“We were both in a program called YouThrive,” said Crain. “They teach students how to become an entrepreneur and start their own business. Cam won the competition and from there he’s built his business and striving to continue that.”

The two entrepreneurs have each experienced roadblock along their way to financial success, however, they view them as learning opportunities to work together to grow their businesses

“Having a part-time job and going to school at the University while maintaining a social life has been the biggest struggle for me,” added Snively. “Carving time out of the day to dedicate to my business was tough but working with Linden, we can motivate each other and reach our goals.”

For Crain, promoting his business was his biggest challenge. He has utilized social media to his advantage and said he is working on a website to put their furniture and clothes online, so it can be accessed worldwide.

While final numbers are not yet available, the two entrepreneurs are happy with the turnout they received and excited for the future of their businesses.



New town council sworn in at inaugural meeting



By Ron Giofu


The new town council is officially on the job.

The Town of Amherstburg held its inaugural meeting for the new council with all seven members taking their oaths. Mayor Aldo DiCarlo was sworn in for his second term with Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche also being sworn in again, only this time in a new role as he was a councillor from 2014-18.

The five new councillors also were sworn into office with Peter Courtney, Donald McArthur, Michael Prue, Marc Renaud and Patricia Simone now officially elected officials in Amherstburg.

DiCarlo said “it’s a bit of a relief,” as “there’s a weird limbo from the day you find out you won to the day you are sworn in. Tonight is the night that makes it real for everyone.”

Calling it a “far cry from where we were four years ago,” DiCarlo said he likes who he will be working with.

“I’m very happy with the new council,” he said. “I’m very excited to be working with them. I think we’ve got a great new council. With the new council comes new ideas and perspectives. I think it’s going to work out really well for the town.”

The inaugural meeting for the 2018-22 town council was held Monday night at the Libro Centre. Front row (from left): Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo. Back row (from left): Councillor Donald McArthur, Councillor Michael Prue, Councillor Patricia Simone, Councillor Peter Courtney and Councillor Marc Renaud.

There will still be tough decisions to make, DiCarlo pointed out, but “we’ll work through it.” Immediate goals will be to get some of the recently announced projects moving such as the hotels and the condominiums, something the mayor said is “very big news for Amherstburg.” He added that a business owner told him of the hotels that “you can’t build that thing fast enough.”

“I think we need to get some of the good news projects under our belt,” said DiCarlo.

There are also bylaws and procedures that still have to be updated with 2019 budget deliberations also looming in the new year.

Long term goals include upgrading roads and infrastructure, he said.

“Roads and infrastructure are going to continue to be a challenge for us,” DiCarlo stated. “I always hate passing the buck and I’m not going to in any respect, but I want residents to know that we are not alone with regards to infrastructure.”

DiCarlo said that many municipalities across the province are facing similar challenges and that with the current Progressive Conservative government, money may not be flowing as much as it once did to municipalities.

“We’re not sure how much government money is coming our way,” he stated.

Meloche said “it feels great” to be sworn in as the town’s new deputy mayor, noting that he likely wouldn’t have thought he would be in that spot four years ago.

“Hard work has got me here,” said Meloche. “I’m looking forward to working with the new council.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo (left) is presented his gavel by clerk Paula Parker as CAO John Miceli observes. The 2018-22 town council was sworn in Monday night.

The 2014-18 council “paved the way” for the 2018-22 council, he believed, and made a lot of progress in Amherstburg.

“I think the new council will continue the momentum, continue the progress and continue to show that Amherstburg is a good place to live, work, raise a family and visit,” he said.

Meloche is a new member to Essex County council and he said he has been through an orientation meeting there and has also had one-on-one meetings with the two candidates vying to be the next warden – Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos and Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara. He also met with county administration.

“There’s an education process with regards to roads and the direction the county is going the next four years,” said Meloche. “It’s an exciting time for me.”

Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche is sworn in Monday night by clerk Paula Parker. Meloche will also join Mayor Aldo DiCarlo on Essex County council.

Meloche also thanked his supporters.

“Thank you to all of the people who put their trust in me Oct. 22,” he said.

CAO John Miceli addressed the crowd at Monday night’s inaugural meeting at the Libro Centre, noting that the new council has taken on “a very, very large responsibility, a responsibility that can’t be taken lightly.”

Amherstburg is rich in history, culture and tradition, said Miceli, and it is not an easy task to be an elected official. He said administration will support the new council and called for the community to support them as well. Miceli noted that the council members are also members of families and that they all want to make the town a better place.

“You cannot make progress without making decisions,” he said.

Councillor Peter Courtney puts his arm around his mother Joan following Monday night’s inaugural meeting of town council. Peter was sworn in as a councillor just days after his mother’s term as a councillor ended. Joan was a member of town council from 2014-18.

Clerk Paula Parker, who officially swore in the new council members, said there will be difficult times and there will be criticism levied by members of the public, but she pointed out public service is also gratifying. She said some decision of council will not be popular, but there will be successes that will be rewarding.

“Leadership is not about the next election,” said Parker. “It is about the next generation.”