Local scholarship founder hits first of two fundraising targets



By Ron Giofu


A local scholarship founder has hit her first fundraising target and is now aiming to finish the job.

Cessidia De Biasio, founder of the Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship (ADL), announced that they have reached the first fundraising milestone of $25,000.  She stated the ADL Scholarship needs the community’s help in reaching their ultimate fundraising goal of $40,000 and has put out a “call to action” to raise the remaining $15,000.

By reaching, their first fundraising target of $25,000, De Biasio said the first of two scholarships will be able to be awarded to either a graduating University of Windsor student or a student in second year or above. The first presentation will be in January.

The remaining $15,000 needed will allow for a second scholarship to eventually be awarded.

According to De Biasio, “to sustain the values inherited from our ancestors and to teach future generations about overcoming adversities, this endowment needs to raise $40,000 so that each year, two first-or second-generation Canadian University of Windsor student leaders can each be given a $1,000 scholarship. Everyone receives a tax receipt for their donation. Every donation counts! The ADL Scholarship appreciates donations from everyone and also welcomes organizations, businesses, and community groups who hold fundraising events to benefit The ADL Scholarship.”

Cessidia De Biasio holds one of the brochures promoting the Addolorata De Luca Leadership (ADL) Scholarship. She founded the scholarship and recently hit the first of two fundraising targets.

De Biasio, 24, graduated from the University of Windsor’s School of Social Work in 2015 and just recently graduated with a business degree.

“We are excited to be announcing our first milestone. It has been 2.5 years in the making, and I cannot wait until we reach $40,000,” she said. “I fundraised all by myself. It was a lot of hard work.”

The scholarship is named for her grandmother and “to commemorate Addolorata De Luca’s perseverance and strength as an immigrant to Canada,” De Biasio founded The Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship in November 2015. De Biasio stated that her grandmother “taught her children about the importance of hard work, perseverance, and determination.”

Addolorata De Luca grew up in a poor family, obtained a Grade 3 education and raised five children after being widowed. She came to Canada and provided for her family, doing whatever it took, including washing dishes, planting vegetables for local farmers and working long hours picking tomatoes.

DeBiasio said the values taught to her by the grandmother inspired her “to ‘pay-it-forward’ to help other students.” She stated “this charity acknowledges the selflessness and determination of all immigrants while giving back to the next generation of leaders. The students who will receive this scholarship must be first-or second-generation Canadians and demonstrate leadership in his/her community and at the University of Windsor.”

The ADL Scholarship values the importance of collaboration and partnership. The charity works closely with various community members, businesses, and organizations.

“I’m grateful for all the Windsor-Essex support thus far. So many companies and leaders have come forward and contributed and we are so grateful” said De Biasio, a lifelong Amherstburg resident and graduate of St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School.

For more information or to donate, visit the charity’s website at or e-mail

De Biasio also states the public can keep up on the ADL Scholarship on Facebook @theadlscholarship and Instagram @theadlscholarship.

Mission trying to raise money for new chairs



By Ron Giofu


Faced with the cost of having to replace their chairs, the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission is hoping the community can help them out.

The current chairs at the mission are becoming damaged and worn out, so the mission’s board is replacing them with 100 new ones. They are looking for people to sponsor the chairs at a cost of $50 each, though vice president Shirley Hitchcock says that covers not only the cost of the chairs but upgrades to the tables as well.

Hitchcock said the mission got the chairs seven years ago from a restaurant that was going out of business.

“We have golf balls on the legs so they won’t wreck our floors,” she said. “These chairs are terrible to sit on. You feel like you are going to fall off.”

“The vinyl is cracking,” added mission president Tim McAllister.

The new chairs are built to hold 400 pounds and have a seven-year warranty. The first 50 come later this month while the second 50 arrive early next year. The mission is searching for a place to store the extra 50 chairs, which will be used on holidays and for other special occasions such as the mission’s tambola event.

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister (left) and vice president Shirley Hitchcock show the board where people have their names posted after sponsoring a chair.

“Tambola is a big event,” said McAllister. “We fill all the chairs.”

Hitchcock said the order for 100 chairs was based on the estimate of McAllister and his experience in knowing what the mission requires.

“Whatever he needs here, it’s based on his needs,” said Hitchcock.

The mission has roughly one-quarter of the chairs sponsored, she added. Hitchcock said Amherstburg and surrounding areas are “second to none” when it comes to helping charitable causes and people in need.

“There’s no community that supports people like the Amherstburg area,” said Hitchcock.

The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission offers a specialized service that is hard to find in the area, with both a food bank and hot meals among the services it offers.

“We are unique,” said McAllister.

“There’s nothing like us in the area,” added Hitchcock.

Some people, Hitchcock continued, just come for the fellowship and to speak with McAllister and the other volunteers at the mission.

“The mission is for everyone,” she said.

While the mission is run by volunteers, even those that are helped by it have adopted tasks that they call their own from clearing tables to helping with the dishes.

“We’re all the same here,” said McAllister. “Respect is what we require. We want people to be happy here. It doesn’t matter what they look like.”

To sponsor a chair, people can visit the mission or mail a cheque to it with the address being 298 Victoria St. S., Amherstburg, ON, N9V 2K5. People can also donate through their website at


Local mother hoping to have daughter treated in Hamilton



By Ron Giofu


A local mother is hoping to have her daughter treated by a specialist in Hamilton and would like to see the waiting list trimmed down.

Cathy Roberts would like to have her daughter Cassidy treated by a specialist in Hamilton as it is believed she suffers from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), a form of dysautonomia. POTS is a form of orthostatic intolerance that is associated with the presence of excessive tachycardia and many other symptoms upon standing.

Cathy said Cassidy’s symptoms have gotten progressively worse and that she has been fainting to the point where the family also wants her to have a service dog.

“It’s been a rough ride,” said Cathy.

Cassidy was bullied from the age of six until about 15, Cathy said, and complained of headaches and stomach issues during that time. Her condition was chalked up to depression and anxiety.

“It’s true probably at the time a lot of it was due to that,” said Cathy, adding Cassidy attempted suicide four times.

Now 18-years-old, Cassidy has seen her medical problems mount.

Cassidy Roberts and her family want her to be treated in Hamilton as it is believed she suffers from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). The 18-year-old Amherstburg resident is on the waiting list but her family hopes she can be examined by a specialist sooner rather than later. (Special to the RTT)

“Year after year her symptoms got so much worse. Now she is at the point she cannot walk too far,” Cathy said. “From a seating position her resting heart rate goes from around 50 bpm and can reach up to 130 or more. That often results in her passing out.”

The family has switched her to another family doctor and is now seeing a cardiologist in Windsor. Cathy said they want her to see the specialist in Hamilton, who specializes in POTS and other dysautonomic disorders. Cassidy is home now, her mother said, and trips to hospitals in Windsor are not helping but through no fault of the hospitals and medical professionals therein. Part of the reason Cathy went public with this issue is not only to try and get her daughter treated in Hamilton quicker, but to raise awareness of the disorder.

Cassidy has not been officially diagnosed with it, Cathy pointed out, but is currently being treated as if she has it.

“Unfortunately, since this a virtually unknown disorder, there are limited doctors to treat it. My daughter is thought to have this disease and is progressively getting worse,” Cathy said. “If I take her to the hospital, what are they going to do? What can they do? They don’t know enough about the disease to help her.”

Cathy said Cassidy was unable to finish school and is unable to work, adding she fluctuates between 80 and 95 pounds. Smells immediately effect her stomach and she gets nauseous.

“Basically, she is a prisoner in her own room unable to enjoy anything that a normal teenager can,” said Cathy. “I’ve seen enough of this child sick. I’m getting really tired of it. I want her to finish school and be more of a kid.”

The waiting time is about seven to nine months to get into the specialist, Cathy added, but notes they have started a GoFundMe campaign for the service animal in the meantime.

“She is very, very sick,” said Cathy. “She knows she is not faking. She’s not putting one over on us. She’s a very sick young lady.”


Young offender charged after driving stolen vehicle



A male young offender faces a number of charges after he was stopped after allegedly driving a stolen vehicle.

Amherstburg police made a vehicle stop Sunday around 4 p.m. in the 200 block of Lowes Side Road. Police say after running the plate on the vehicle, it was determined to be stolen. The young offender was charged with possession of property obtained by crime, failure to comply with a sentence and possession of a scheduled substance.

Break-ins   Amherstburg police are investigating the theft of a furnace and central air unit stolen from a home under construction in the 100 block of Meadowview. It was reported to police last Saturday and anyone with information is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers.

*A barn in the 1100 block of Concession 2 was entered and garden tools and other small equipment was stolen. Police say it was reported Saturday morning and that the barn was unlocked.


Mischief   A 35-year-old Amherstburg man was charged with mischief after police say he allegedly smashed a window out of a vehicle on Main St. It was reported to police Aug. 7 at 11:10 a.m.

*A home on King St. was egged, police state. It was in the 200 block and there are no suspects at the present time. It was reported to police Monday around 9:45 a.m.


Accidents   A 59-year-old Windsor woman was charged with failing to stop at a red light after a two-vehicle accident at Middle Side Road and County Road 20. The accident occurred last Thursday.

*A 45-year-old Amherstburg woman was charged with failing to drive in marked lane after a two-vehicle crash on Richmond St. It was reported Monday around 7:55 a.m.


Theft   A 16-foot Kevlar Chippewa canoe valued at $2,000 was reported stolen from a dock in the 1000 block of Front Road South. It was reported to police Sunday. There are no suspects but anyone with information is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.


Stats   There were 17 traffic-related charges over the past week. There were also 21 911 hang-up calls and nine alarm calls over the past week as well.


-All information courtesy of the Amherstburg Police Service

Council votes down zoning bylaw amendment


By Ron Giofu


Town council has unanimously refused to grant a zoning bylaw amendment for a Concession 6 North property that has raised the ire of its neighbours.

The property is home to numerous dogs and both neighbours and council members have been concerned about activities at the site for at least the last month, as the matter was also talked about at a July planning meeting. Concerns raised included the breeds of dogs, the proximity of activity to neighbours, whether activities such as dog boarding and the sale of goods was occurring, and the timing of permit applications as opposed to when building activity actually occurred.

The issue was addressed at Monday night’s town council meeting where neighbours Tom and Suzana Siimes again voiced concerns with the property and said a building that had been proposed for the land “is not a minor variance.” The Siimes family said they located where they did, 2,000 feet from the road,  for peace and quiet. That followed up on a July presentation to council where they said it was “not your regular kennel.”

Suzana told town council is was “not fair” that neighbouring landowners have had to abide by the law and endure noise and other issues from the home in question.

“If you amend (the bylaw) to favour him, this will become horribly big and out-of-control,” she said Monday night. “Tonight we ask you to deny the application.”

Suzana added they have to put up with “insane noise” on a regular basis.

Ken Blanchette, another neighbour, also called for council to deny the application and wanted peace and quiet in the neighbourhood. In July, he also voiced concerns regarding a secondary driveway near his home and the lights that shine in when people use that driveway at night.

Councillor Leo Meloche said he visited the area and there are a “number of issues.” While he “totally understands where (the neighbours) are coming from,” he asked to hear from the applicant as well. Planner Jackie Lassaline, who works with the applicant Aladdin Khalifa, was not permitted to speak Monday night but at July’s meeting, she stated “in my professional opinion, the proposed dog kennel is consistent with the PPS (Provincial Policy Statement) in a rural area.”

The kennel would have mitigating measures such as security fencing, trees, berms and screening, she also told council last month, and that the proposed new building to was to have sound proofing.

“Other local municipalities such as the Town of Essex allow 60 metres from a kennel to an existing residence,” she said at the July planning meeting.

Dogs are his hobby, Khalifa explained at the July meeting, adding that he constructed eight-foot fencing and installed sheets of zinc around the perimeter of his property so that they couldn’t dig under them. Khalifa added that he stopped boarding dogs after meeting with the town’s bylaw officer. He said the only dogs on the property are his dogs and “you can’t hear my dogs.”

At Monday’s meeting, Councillor Jason Lavigne said he was not in favour of amending the zoning bylaw. He said there was an ad online where the kennel was looking for people to work there and added that issues such as the amount of dogs on the land could be addressed through future motions from council.

Councillor Diane Pouget outlined a series of concerns, and was the one who made the motion to deny the zoning bylaw application.

“I feel very, very strongly we can’t allow this request to proceed,” she said.

CAO John Miceli cautioned that without an amendment, it might limit the town’s powers on what it can do to enforce regulations at the site including enforcing how many dogs are permitted on a property.

“Without an amendment, the town will have difficulty having any control over the property,” he said.

Meloche said he was concerned over how to “get a handle” on the matter, and called for a report believing that more problems could be created without it but director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin said a report was prepared but that administration sought further direction and clarification.

Manager of licensing and enforcement Nicole Rubli said “there’s an open investigation” into what breeds of dogs are on the property.

At the July meeting, Khalifa’s lawyer Nick Souilliere described the dogs as “absolutely sweet” and that all were licensed with Khalifa telling council at the time the dogs were mastiffs that played with children at local festivals.

Chief building official Angelo Avolio added that five permit applications have now been put in, but no permits have yet been issued.