École St.-Jean Baptiste welcomes exchange students from New Brunswick



By Ron Giofu


A group of 23 exchange students from New Brunswick were in Amherstburg over the past week learning about the town and area.

The students from École commmunautaire L’Etincelle in the small village of Ste-Marie-St-Raphaël, New Brunswick were in Amherstburg for nine days as part of an exchange program with École St.-Jean Baptiste. The students from New Brunswick stayed with the students from Amherstburg and that relationship is expected to be reciprocated in June.

The New Brunswick students went home last Friday.

“It’s very neat,” said Shane McGraw, a Grade 7 student at École St.-Jean Baptiste. “You get to learn about another culture and learn new things. You get to find out about them.”

Students went to Pointe Pelee National Historic Site, Niagara Falls and Fort Malden National Historic Site as part of exchange program.

“We learned a lot about the War of 1812,” said Rosalie Larocque, a Grade 8 student at École commmunautaire L’Etincelle.

Students from École St.-Jean Baptist gather with exchange students from École commmunautaire L’Etincelle for a group photo. (Submitted photo)

Frédéric Thériault, a teacher at the New Brunswick elementary school, said the cost of the trip was about $400 per student. The two schools participated in an exchange program and were paired up together.

Larocque said they have been welcomed into the families of the Amherstburg students.

“We follow them everywhere we go,” she said. “We learn how they live.”

The New Brunswick town is small, Larocque added, and has a lot more snow on the ground than in Amherstburg. About four inches of snow was still on the ground out east when they came to Amherstburg.

“That’s the biggest difference – no snow,” said Thériault.

Lewis Lapointe, Shane McGraw, Rosalie Larocque and teacher Frédéric Thériault stand beside the sign at École St.-Jean Baptiste April 18.

Thériault added that the schools in New Brunswick also have cafeterias and they were surprised not to find one at École St.-Jean Baptiste.

Amherstburg and surrounding areas are also a lot bigger than what the students are used to.

“It’s small where we live,” added Larocque. “It’s really big (here) and there’s a lot of people around.”

The students from New Brunswick enjoyed their stay and Larocque said she would like to participate in an exchange program again.

“It’s fun,” added Lewis Lapointe, a Grade 6 student.

McGraw added the local students are looking forward to heading east later this year.

“I’m looking forward to learning about another culture,” said McGraw.

Two Amherstburg businesses win Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber BEA awards



By Ron Giofu


Two businesses from Amherstburg captured Business Excellence Awards (BEAs) at the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce Awards.

The Dan Gemus Real Estate Team won the Professional of the Year category, beating out naturopathic doctor Meighan Valero and AM800 radio host Lisa Williams.

“It’s such an honour to have received the ‘Professional of the Year’ award. Being nominated with Dr. Meg Valero and Lisa Williams an old co-worker of mine at AM800 was amazing! Both of them so deserving in their own rights.”

Gemus said he was “humbling” to be nominated.

“It’s all still a bit of a blur,” he said.

Dan Gemus, surrounded by his real estate team, won Professional of the Year” at the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards. (Submitted photo)

Gemus added he is thankful for his friends, family, team and clients for the honour.

The award was presented last Wednesday night at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts in Windsor.

Wolfhead Distillery won the award for New Business of the Year, with other nominees being Exodus Escape Rooms and Thrive Benefits Group Inc.

Larry Girard, executive chef and vice president at Wolfhead, said they had no idea they were going to win the award.

“It’s a great feeling of achievement,” said Girard. “It was an important award for us.”

Girard, who is partners with Tom and Sue Manherz at Wolfhead, credited the staff and said they empower their employees at Wolfhead.

“Our team carries the ball for us,” he said.

Larry Girard and Sue Manherz from Wolfhead Distillery accept the New Business of the Year Award. (photo by John Liviero,

Girard added that most of their products, upwards of 85 per cent, is local and said “we can’t expect them to support us if we don’t support them. The only way we can be sustainable is if everyone supports local.” On the restaurant side, everything is free and on the alcohol side, they are piling up awards including eight at the recent competition in California.

Smashed Apple Catering Inc. was the third finalist from Amherstburg. However, Iron Kettle Bed and Breakfast won in the Tourism and Hospitality Award. The other nominee was Food & Beverage (F&B).

The complete list of award winners was:

Mid-Size Company of the Year Award – Sponsored by RBC Royal Bank

Baron Championship Rings


New Business of the Year Award – Sponsored by EPICentre, University of Windsor

Wolfhead Distillery Inc.


Believe Windsor Essex Award – Sponsored by WFCU Credit Union

Michael Schlater, CEO, Domino’s Pizza of Canada


Innovation Award – Sponsored by Union Gas

Inspire HUB Technologies Inc.


Small Company of the Year Award – Sponsored by Families First

Forest Glade Tecumseh Veterinary Professional Corporation


Pillars of our Community Award – Sponsored by Motor City Community Credit Union

Transition to Betterness


Young Professional of the Year Award – Sponsored by Libro Credit Union

Dr. Abby Jakob, Optometrist/Owner, EYES Optometry


ATHENA Award – Sponsored by BELL

Pat Soulliere, President, Soulliere Financial Group


Tourism & Hospitality Award – Sponsored by Caesars Windsor and OLG

The Iron Kettle Bed and Breakfast


Professional of the Year Award – Sponsored by TD Bank Group

Dan Gemus, Owner/Broker of Record, Dan Gemus Real Estate Team


Entrepreneur of the Year Award – Sponsored by St. Clair College

Vince Schiller, Owner/President, Southwestern Manufacturing


Large Company of the Year Award – Sponsored by BMO Bank of Montreal



Local artist spreading her talents, developing others at “paint parties”



By Ron Giofu


Julie Robinson has been painting for much of her life and now she is helping to show others how.

Robinson, along with friend, event planner and business partner Serena Koehl, have started a unique venture called “Julie’s Paint Party” where they set up shop in a person’s home or at a business, teach people to paint and have fun doing it.

“It has probably been about a year-and-a-quarter that I’ve been doing this,” explained Robinson.

It started when a friend asked her to have a paint party for her family and caught on from there, as Robinson pointed out she is passionate about painting and fell in love with teaching others. She posted about it on Facebook and got some bookings through that but Koehl is now helping her expand the business.

“We’re ready to grow, which is exciting,” said Robinson. “It’s really rewarding. I definitely reap the benefits of feeling good and making other people feel good.”

Robinson said that most people say they never painted before but usually leave happy with their work. She said paint parties are an “uplifting, positive experience” with a few laughs thrown in.

“It’s the coolest job in the world,” she said.

Local artist Julie Robinson is offering “paint parties” for people and businesses. “Julie’s Paint Party” is accepting bookings as they hope to develop artistic talents and have some fun at the same time.

“It’s such a good vibe,” added Koehl.

Koehl added that Robinson has been in art and music her whole life and that helps her connect with people. Robinson stated that people need an outlet for their creativity and that people get a chance to come together and have a good time doing it.

“It helps people relax and build confidence,” said Robinson.

“I think the most common thing we hear is ‘I didn’t know I could do this’,” added Koehl.

Prices range depending on the size of the venue and what type of paint party they would like to have. It can range from just helping people paint to having Robinson and Koehl provide food and refreshments.

“Serena is such a wonderful planner,” said Robinson.

Parties can range from 6-10 people or as many as 40-50 people.

Noting that they are currently having about five paint parties per month on average, Robinson said the goal is at least ten per month. She also works at a pre-school and brings her love of art there.

For more information, e-mail, visit or search Julie’s Paint Party on Facebook and Instagram.

Amherstburg police investigating home B&E



The Amherstburg Police Service is investigating a break-and-enter at a home on Cherrylawn Cr.

Police say they immediately responded to the call to the home Monday around 9:30 a.m. after the homeowner observed two males inside the home on his surveillance system. Both men had their faces covered but one was wearing blue pants and a blue hoodie while the other appeared to be wearing a grey track suit. Officers were unable to locate the two males.

Amherstburg police say entry was gained through a window and that the window was forced open as a mechanism inside the window was broken. It is currently unknown what, if anything, was taken.

The matter is under investigation and anyone with information is asked to call Amherstburg police at 519-736-2252 or Crime Stoppers at 519-258-TIPS (8477).

*A theft of about $2,000 in jewellery was reported from a home in the 6100 block of Concession 6 North Sunday, though police say the theft actually took place sometime over the past three weeks. There was no forced entry reported.

*An ATV was reported stolen from the side of a shed at a home in the 3900 block of Concession 3 South. It was reported Sunday at 7:15 p.m. The 2000 Polaris Trail Boss is described as red with black seats with a value of about $2,000.

*A vehicle was entered in a garage in the 1400 block of Front Road South. Personal items were stolen. Police remind residents to keep their vehicles locked. IT was reported April 10 at 12:40 p.m.

*A purse was stolen from the common area of a multi-unit dwelling in the 200 block of Dalhousie St. There are no suspects and was reported last Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.

Fraud   A local resident was scammed out of money after being sent an e-mail claiming that, if money was sent back, the person would receive a debit card with a large amount of money able to be accessed with the card. Police believe the person was scammed out of about $30,000. The e-mail looked to be from a legitimate bank, police say, but urge people to check things out before paying alleged insurance fees and deposit fees that are asked for.

*Another person received a call from an alleged Canada Revenue Agency representative asking for money, claiming that the person would be arrested. Police advise that the CRA would usually contact a person via letter and urge people to call the CRA or police themselves if suspicious. Police say they would not arrest people in such matters and ask that people be careful with personal information.


Stats   Amherstburg police laid 34 traffic-related charges, responded to three 911 hangup calls and 10 alarm calls.


-All information courtesy of the Amherstburg Police Service

Belle Vue Conservancy “rocks” thanks to musical performance



By Ron Giofu


The Belle Vue Conservancy and musician Rick Rock teamed up for a fundraiser Friday night with the aim of restoring the 200-year-old Belle Vue home on Dalhousie St.

“Rockin’ for Belle Vue” was held at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 with Rock performing music from different eras following dinner. Michael Prue, treasurer with the conservancy, said the expectation is that the roof will be replaced later in the spring.

Following completion of the roof, the next phase of the restoration project will be the windows.

“One day, it is going to be open for all of us,” said Prue.

When it was built in 1816-19 by Robert Reynolds, the deputy assistant commissary general at Fort Malden, it was seen as a symbol of hope. The home, also occupied by Reynolds’ sisters when it first opened, is now seen as symbol of the town’s resurgence in the modern day as well, Prue indicated.

“It will be the pride and joy of the community,” he said.

The conservancy was pleased to team with Rock, with Prue stating that “Rick is a well-known fixture in the town.”

Rick Rock performs during “Rockin’ for Belle Vue” April 13 at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157.

The next scheduled fundraising event for Belle Vue is “Music for Belle Vue’s Renaissance.” The May 1 event features the return of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra (WSO) and is being held at Christ Anglican Church, located at 317 Ramsay St., starting at 7 p.m.

Tickets for “Music for Belle Vue’s Renaissance” are $25 and available at the Gibson Gallery, Sobeys Amherstburg and the Gordon House. They are also available online by visiting and clicking on the “Events” tab.

The direct link for “Music for Belle Vue’s Renaissance” tickets is

A reproduction of Peter Rindlisbacher’s painting of Belle Vue is displayed at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 during the “Rockin’ for Belle Vue” event. Rock performs in the background.

Following the WSO concert, the next fundraiser is planned for May 27. That will be the Amherstburg Rhododendron Garden Tea Party in King’s Navy Yard Park.

The Downton Abbey-themed event, run in partnership with the town’s tourism department, will feature 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. sittings in the park among the blooming rhododendron gardens.

The tea party portion will be a ticketed event and will feature a unique garden dress display. A Downton Abbey- inspired costume contest for women, men and children to denote the fascinating eras of Belle Vue, is one of the highlights of the program, the town stated in a recent press release.

For more information on the Amherstburg Rhododendron Garden Tea Party, visit or People can also phone 519-730-1309. Tickets are $30 and available at The Dalhousie Bistro, the Gordon House, Sobeys and Amherstburg town hall.