Aldo DiCarlo

“Can-Dunk-A-Dunk” fundraiser tops 2017 total

 

By Ron Giofu

The Amherstburg LCBO store held its annual fundraiser for United Way Aug. 1 and it topped the 2017 event.

This year’s event was “Can-Dunk-A-Dunk,” with the main attraction being a dunk tank that was alongside the Sandwich St. S. store. Staff from the LCBO went inside, including Elaine Marton and Marylynn Bartlett, with those two being two of the main organizers of the event. Mayor Aldo DiCarlo also went in the water several times late in the afternoon.

The Amherstburg LCBO raised $1,200 through a Can-Dunk-A-Dunk fundraiser Aug. 1 and $3,900 overall over a two week span for United Way. LCBO staff member Elaine Marton sits in the dunk tank surrounded by volunteer Pauline Imeson, Ermanna Filice from United Way and LCBO manager Marylynn Bartlett.

Bartlett noted that they also raised money through a raffle of a gift basket and by raffling off gift certificates as well.

Many people also got a hug in lieu of a chance to dunk someone.

“So many people in town didn’t want to dunk us,” explained Marton. “They wanted to make a donation.”

The staff were the ones going in the dunk tank earlier in the day and had to put up with cool temperatures along with the cold water.

Bartlett said shortly after 4:30 p.m. they had passed the $1,000 that was made during last year’s “Pick Your Poison” event. They ended up raising $1,200 from the event itself and $3,935 over a two week period for United Way through that and other fundraising.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo goes in the water (above) as does LCBO staff member Elaine Marton.

“My town never lets me down,” added Marton. “They support me on everything.”

“It’s a very supportive community,” added Ermanna Filice, relationship manager and account executive with the United Way.

Filice called it a “heartwarming” event that was put on and the support speaks well of both Bartlett and Marton.

Matt Pritchard won $290 worth of gift certificates, said Marton, while Lorelei Goodchild won a one-hour message from RMT Vanessa Strickland, one of the event’s sponsors. Marton added that Amherstburg has a “C” level store yet still raised the second most of any LCBO store in the district.

New blood lab officially open in Amherstburg

 

 

A new blood lab has opened in town.

The Amherstburg Blood Lab is now open and is located within the Amherstburg Health Care Centre, located at 433 Sandwich St. S. The lab is staffed by head lab technician Charlene Seguin and office manager Patricia DiPierdomenico.

A ribbon cutting was held last Tuesday afternoon at the clinic, located in suite five of the newly-expanded building.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo cuts the ribbon at the new Amherstburg Blood Lab, located at the Amherstburg Health Care Centre. At left is office manager Patricia DiPierdomenico and head lab technician Charlene Seguin.

The Amherstburg Blood Lab is open from 8-11:30 a.m. but DiPierdomenico says they are hoping to work with the company they are affiliated with to expand hours to include availability in the afternoon.

“All patients are welcome,” said DiPierdomenico. “The lab is open to all.”

The full service blood lab, DiPierdomenico noted. She said it eliminates the drive to Windsor or another surrounding municipality if a patient needs such a service and takes away any concerns over travel time and traffic.

Patients do need to be referred from a health care professional such as doctor, nurse or nurse practitioner.

“This was long overdue,” said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, after cutting the ribbon. “This is a concern I’ve heard constantly. We’re almost 22,000 people and we’ve been operating with one blood lab for as long as I can remember.”

TACCA members visit Amherstburg Freedom Museum

 

By Jonathan Martin

 

Around 50 Thornhill African Caribbean Canadian Association (TACCA) members came through town on a large bus with the words “York Regional Police” emblazoned on its side.

The group made the lengthy journey from Thornhill, along the northern border of Toronto, to visit the Amherstburg Freedom Museum.

York Regional Police (YRP) provided the group with transportation as part of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Bureau programming.  When the police bus arrived at the site, the Amherstburg Police Service was there to greet its brother and sisters in blue.

Amherstburg mayor Aldo DiCarlo speaks with TACCA president Vernon Hendrickson at the Amherstburg Freedom Museum.

“York region is a microcosm of the world,” said YRP Superintendent #545 Ricky Veerappan.  “A lot of the work we do as a bureau is outreach and learning about how best to serve a very multicultural community.”

According to official 2016 figures, 49 per cent of the population of York Region were visible minorities.  In 2016, Amherstburg’s visible minorities made up 3.5 per cent of the population.

Vernon Hendrickson is one of York Region’s minorities.  He’s also the president of TACCA.

He said he believes Canada can be made better by focusing on shared experiences and developing mutual understandings.

“That’s why we decided not just to read about what happened here, but to see it for ourselves,” he said.

Amherstburg Freedom Museum assistant curator Lorene Bridgen-Lennie said that she believes Hendrickson is on the right track.

“There were different stories for different groups in different regions,” she said.  “The experiences (of African Canadians) in Toronto may have been different than those here in Amherstburg.”

Hendrickson said he was especially impressed by the Nazrey African Methodist Episcopal Church.

“It is so striking that slaves found their ways to freedom and the first thing they do is build such a breathtaking church,” he said.

Const. Nick D’Amore of the Amherstburg Police Service poses for a photo beside Const. Nina Rahravan of the York Regional Police. The two police services met up when the York Regional Police escorted the Thornhill African Caribbean Canadian Association (TACCA) to the Amherstburg Freedom Museum earlier this month.

The Nazrey AME Church was built in 1848 by a mix of former slaves and free blacks.  The congregation, however, was founded a couple decades earlier by African American refugees.

The church was used as a sanctuary space on the underground railroad, where escaping slaves could rest and regroup on the long road to freedom.

“I think it’s important to touch on what happened after the underground railroad, too,” Bridgen-Lennie said.  “The history doesn’t just stop once people reached Canada.  There was this amazing life people build in places like Amherstburg – and Toronto – so it’s important to learn about that too.”

“We have such a proud history in Amherstburg,” said Amherstburg mayor Aldo DiCarlo, who greeted the group personally and presented them with an official letter of welcome on behalf of the town. “I think sometimes it’s good to see our history through the eyes of a visitor and be reminded just how spectacular it really is.”

 

 

 

Swinton vying to become Amherstburg’s new mayor

 

By Ron Giofu

 

There will be a mayor’s race in Amherstburg as Glenn Swinton is seeking the town’s top political job.

Swinton filed his nomination papers last Thursday and will be challenging incumbent Aldo DiCarlo for the job. He said he was going to challenge DiCarlo if it looked like DiCarlo was going to be acclaimed and he followed through on that.

“There was no way I was going to let him be acclaimed,” he said. “We have to have a second option.”

The decision to abolish the Amherstburg Police Service and contract the service to Windsor was the key issue which drove Swinton to run.

“It’s the whole policing issue that drove it right over the top,” he said.

Swinton said his first objective if elected mayor would be to review the town’s contract with the Windsor Police Service “and look for an out.” He said he doesn’t believe that the residents of Amherstburg were heard during the process.

“I don’t feel they were listened to,” said Swinton.

Swinton opposed the police switch and said he hasn’t received many of the answers he was seeking.

“There’s so many things in the policing contract where I’d ask a question and it would go unanswered,” he said.

Glenn Swinton filed last week and is running for mayor.

Stating he doesn’t have “a big, long list of things I don’t like,” Swinton said there are other issues as well that he would like to keep his eye on if elected. He said that he wants to make sure the town sticks to the agreement regarding the Belle Vue property and ensure that no taxpayer money is used on its restoration.

The plans for the Duffy’s property are also something Swinton would like to be a part of. He said he looked at the proposal for the site but he said that plan doesn’t fit on the size of the property. He also noted the development of a nearby condominium unit and wondered if building an amphitheatre is the best use of the land.

While believing the current proposal is not realistic, Swinton would like to see the property developed.

“We have it now, so let’s do something with it,” said Swinton.

As for the town’s finances, Swinton said the town is “just looking better” as much of the debt is still locked in. That said, he added he wants the town to keep looking better. The deferral of development charges is a program that is working and he believes that it is a good idea.

“We’re building all over,” he said. “The town is booming. I want to keep that momentum.”

Swinton said he has heard from people who believe the town is overstaffed and there are unnecessary positions that have been filled.

“They need to be looked at,” he said.

The mayor should have the answers and not have to look to administration as much, he believed, and that the mayor should be able to clarify items for council members.

If there are still unanswered questions at the time of a vote, the vote should be deferred.

“I want to move the role of mayor back to the head of council,” said Swinton.

The mayor should be more active and immersed in what is going on, he added.

Swinton said he believes he can handle the role of being on Essex County council.

“It’s going to be a learning curve, absolutely,” he said of being on county council.

Swinton added he is not looking to have a “smear campaign,” adding that is not the objective. He added there are a lot of great festivals in Amherstburg and the town does have a lot going for it.

“We’ve got good momentum going,” he said. “I want to keep it going.”

Swinton added: “We’re working on building a plan. Hopefully we can get some support and make it happen. My number one goal is to do what is best for the town and the people in it.”

 

Amherstburg LCBO planning United Way fundraiser for Wednesday

 

By Ron Giofu

The LCBO store in Amherstburg is planning a United Way fundraiser for Aug. 1.

The store is holding “Can-Dunk-A-Dunk,” which features a dunk tank, with all proceeds benefiting the United Way. Marylynn Bartlett, manager of the local LCBO outlet, said numerous organizations within Windsor-Essex County stand to benefit.

Bartlett added that local businesses have also been stepping up to help out.

Marylynn Bartlett (left) and Elaine Marton are helping to organize an Aug. 1 “Can-Dunk-A-Dunk” fundraiser at the LCBO store in Amherstburg.

“We had to rent the dunk tank and Tim (Good) from Shooter’s agreed to pick up the bill for it,” said Bartlett. “All proceeds from the day will be going to the fundraiser.”

Bartlett said there has been “amazing community support” with local RMT Vanessa Strickland donating a $100 gift certificate for the most bottles collected in a bottle drive the local LCBO store is doing concurrently with the dunk tank event.

Elaine Marton, another staff member at the Amherstburg LCBO store, noted that her garage was filled twice with empties that were brought there from the local store for storage.

A lot of other businesses are also donating gift cards, with Bartlett stating those will be given out during the “Can-Dunk-A-Dunk” fundraiser. Marton said they are receiving support from surrounding municipalities as well, adding that Mayor Aldo DiCarlo will be on hand in the dunk tank at 4 p.m. She said that she is hopeful of getting more local dignitaries involved in the fundraiser.

“It’s going to be a fun day,” she said.

Bartlett added that last year’s “Pick Your Poison” fundraiser, which included pies in the face and staff eating jalapeno peppers, raised $1,000.

In conjunction with its Aug. 1 dunk tank fundraiser, the Amherstburg LCBO has also been hosting a bottle drive.

“We’d like to beat last year’s total,” she said. “We need all the community support we can get.”

There will also be a “hug jar” available where people will be able to make donation in exchange for a hug. Marton and Bartlett both noted some of the staff involved with the fundraiser are coming in on their day off.

The “Can-Dunk-A-Dunk” fundraiser is scheduled to run from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

The location of the LCBO store in Amherstburg is 495 Sandwich St. S.