annual general meeting

Kusmierczyk takes over for Fryer at ERCA chair

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

There is a new chair at the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA).

Windsor city councillor Irek Kusmierczyk moved up to the chair’s position after spending two years as vice chair. Kusmierczyk was acclaimed as chair while Tecumseh councillor Tania Jobin was elected as vice chair. LaSalle councillor Sue Desjarlais was the other candidate for vice chair.

The positions alternate between the County of Essex and the City of Windsor every two years.

Kusmierczyk takes over from former Amherstburg councillor Rick Fryer. Before departing the board, Fryer paid tribute to his fellow board members.

“Together, we have done a great job in advancing environmental sustainability in the Place for Life,” he said, referencing the ERCA slogan. “I am pleased we had strong relationships with each other over the past few years.”

Fryer also praised ERCA administration, noting they are busy throughout the year. He said Windsor-Essex County is comparable to the Toronto area in terms of the number of permits issued for work being done in their respective areas.

Noting he went to a “dark place” in his own life, Fryer also promoted mental health initiatives including the “Bell Let’s Talk” day happening Jan. 30.

New ERCA chair Irek Kusmierczyk presents a framed photo of Big Creek to outgoing chair Rick Fryer during last Thursday night’s annual general meeting of the Essex Region Conservation Authority.
(RTT Photo by Ron Giofu)

“I don’t want anyone to go to that place,” he said. “It took a toll on me and it took a toll on my family.”
Fryer added it is “very, very difficult” to be an elected official in the age of social media and encouraged others to keep loved ones in the loop if there is something bothering them.

“Hug your family,” he said. “Talk about what is going on.”

Kusmierczyk thanked Fryer “for his leadership and courage, especially tonight,” and presented Fryer with a framed photo of Big Creek as a token of his appreciation for his time as the chair.

Kusmierczyk said a healthy economy and healthy citizens are linked and said he is looking forward to working with his colleagues around the ERCA board table. He considered it “an honour” to be named as the chair.

“The leadership ERCA demonstrates on things like flooding, climate change, urban forest restoration, urban management in terms of managing the growth in our cities as well is absolutely critical to the health of our community,” he said.

Kusmierczyk added that ERCA is in a “great place to demonstrate leadership” as it relates to implementing policies to combat flooding and climate change.

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission holds AGM

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission held its annual general meeting (AGM) last week and handed out some awards in the process.

The AGM was held last Wednesday night at the mission with board president Tim McAllister outlining the year that went by. He also thanked board members, volunteers and those who have supported the mission.

“We have had a good year thanks to all of you and the tremendous support from our community,” McAllister told those in attendance. “You have all made a difference through helping with donations and collecting tangible items.”

McAllister noted that the roof was recently replaced and that the hot water tank was also replaced.

“Things happen,” he said. “We trust God and He will provide.”

The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission will soon start fundraising for a new van.

“Changes are and will always be occurring here at the mission because it is a basic condition of life, necessary for growth,” McAllister stated.

Board members with the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission include (back row, from left): president Tim McAllister, secretary Shannon Dobson, Jim Ferrar, Paul Kascjak. Front row (from left): Tammy Pasceri, vice president, Anne Fox and Lana Talbot. Not pictured are Sheila Jaroszewicz, Violet McAllister and Kim Cabanaw. All are volunteers.

McAllister said the mission is in its 23rd year and that he will continue to serve as president. He said the board is made up of volunteers who live up to the motto of “people helping people.”

“I ask that you all stay tuned because the best is yet to come!” said McAllister. “We will continue to work diligently to build and pursue new partnerships and maintain our current ones. We will continue to modify programs to meet the needs of the community with the resources available.”

The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission encourages people through its Wednesday breakfasts, hot meals throughout the week, the baby food program, the emergency food bank and computer programs with McAllister stating that could only be done through monetary donations and the dedication of the volunteers and supporters.

“As we continue to partner with the Essex County court system, the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission provides a placement for young offenders,” said McAllister. “We also support school students who seek voluntary hours for academic requirements. We continue to modify our system with the Windsor-Essex Food Bank Association and have implemented procedures and requirements that satisfy our funders.”

Mission president Tim McAllister (left) presents a volunteer award to Inez Zapata-Fox.

McAllister added the mission’s reporting is transparent and assures that it is accountable in utilizing public funds appropriately.

“Our community’s needs continue to increase and change. As we focus on tailoring our services, our efforts will remain on meeting the greatest needs within our community,” he added. “People in Amherstburg and the surrounding communities are still finding it difficult to make ends meet and the number of people accessing our services for hot meals, both adults and children, continues to increase.”

The number and effectiveness of the volunteers is stable, McAllister reported, and events run smoothly.

“Our funding campaigns continue to be strong,” he said. “Once again, I am glad to report that we have successfully established annual events that continue to grow each year.”

Such events that the mission has presented include the brunch at Ducks on the Roof, a barbecue at Sobeys, a fundraiser at No Frills, having all 100 of their new chairs sponsored, the annual golf tournament and the tambola.

“We would like to put emphasis on our fundraising efforts as we continue to rely on our volunteers, their ideas, their efforts and their passion,” said McAllister. “At the same time, we continue to rely on the generosity of our community.”

Marilyne Fortune (right) receives a volunteer award from Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister.

McAllister added that “everyone contributes in their own way and that’s what makes the mission a special place.”

The mission’s board also includes vice president Shirley Hitchcock, John Drop, Paul Kascjak, Tammy Pasceri, Sheila Jaroszewicz, Lana Talbot, Shannon Dobson, Anne Fox and Jim Ferrar. The operational support team includes Violet McAllister and Kim Cabanaw.

“We all do what we can when we can,” said Hitchcock.

Hitchcock noted that so far this year, the mission had served over 10,000 hot meals this year and distributed 329 food baskets.

Mission president Tim McAllister blows out candles on his birthday cake. His 64th birthday was celebrated the same night as the mission’s annual general meeting Sept. 19.

The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission also honoured a pair of its volunteers. Inez Zapata-Fox and Marilyne Fortune were honoured this year for their contributions to the mission.

“It’s part of my daily routine,” said Fox, with Fortune added that she greatly enjoys working at the mission.

The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission is located at 298 Victoria St. S. and their phone number is 519-736-9140. For more information, visit www.aburgmission.ca or “like” them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AmherstburgMission.

 

ERCA holds AGM, honors Conservation Award winners

 

 

The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) held its annual general meeting (AGM) last Thursday night with a number of people from the region honoured during the evening as well.

Eight organizations and individuals were honoured with Essex Region Conservation Awards for their efforts in making the Windsor/Essex/Pelee Island region the “Place for Life.”

The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) honoured its Conservation Award winners Jan. 18 in Essex. (Special to the RTT)

“It’s always inspiring to learn more about those who have made tangible contributions to our regional environment,” said ERCA chair Rick Fryer, who is also an Amherstburg town councillor.  “There are so many actions being taken to sustain our region as the Place for Life, and it is a privilege to celebrate them.”

Among the winners were Jerome Deslippe, who posthumously received the Conservation Farm Award for the use of conservation farming practices and a lifetime of dedication to agriculture in the community.

“He was very passionate about being a steward of the land,” said daughter Rochelle, who accepted the award on her father’s behalf.

Rochelle said her father was “very, very active in the community” with his biography indicating that he was past president of the Essex Soil & Crop Improvement Association and was also a director with that organization for over 30 years. He was described as “a proud supporter of his community” through many agricultural projects such as the Essex County Plowing Match, the Essex County Steam and Gas Engine Museum and the Ontario Plowman’s Association.

Jerome was also described as being “instrumental” in the establishment of the Essex County Demonstration Farm at Holiday Beach in 1996 and was an early adopter of conservation tillage practices on his own farm and member of the Essex Conservation Club.

Jerome Deslippe was inducted into the Essex County Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1997.

Rochelle Deslippe (centre) accepts the Conservation Farm Award on behalf of her late father Jerome. Making the presentation were ERCA chair Rick Fryer (left) and vice chair Irek Kusmierczyk. (Special to the RTT)

Other winners included:

  • the Iler Family – John R. Park Homestead Award for her preservation of local agricultural history in our community.
  • Peter Berry – Education Award for educating and engaging the community to improve the health of the Detroit River and the lands that surround it.
  • Darlene Burgess – Volunteer Award for protecting, raising and releasing Monarch butterflies.  As a volunteer citizen scientist, she tracks and reports on the monarch migration.
  • Dr. Doug Haffner – Environmental Achievement Award for decades of mentoring students, teaching the next generation of scientists, and conducting significant research which continues to support the management of Canada’s Great Lakes.
  • Rotary Club of Windsor (1918) – Volunteer Organization Award to celebrate a century of service, including tree plantings, stream cleanups, global sanitation and water initiatives, support of ERCA’s outreach program and creating the Rotary (1918) Centennial Hub.
  • Town of Tecumseh – Robert Pulleyblank Award for Municipal Environmental Achievement recognizes the Town’s leadership in protecting Fairplay Woods, tree planting efforts, creating Lakewood Park, innovative solar use and leadership in trail development.
  • Vivian Kennedy – Dennis Chase Staff Award for two decades of dedication, conscientiousness, kindness and compassion to colleagues, customers and partners.

ERCA also reviewed the accomplishments of the past year, including the creation of the Place for Life policies, opening the Cypher Systems Group Greenway and the Rotary (1918) Centennial Hub, restoring over 92 acres of habitat and engaging over 12,000 students in outdoor education, and strengthening organizational resilience.

Fryer also highlighted the planting of “many trees” this year, with the annual report showing that number to be 92,500 trees.

“I continue to say that this is the ‘Place for Life’,” Fryer stated.

Among the other 2017 accomplishments that ERCA touted were aiding municipalities in responding to the significant rainfall event that occurred in late August, initiating steps to develop a regional climate change strategy, the opening of the new cottage at Holiday Beach, initiating a feasibility study with Ducks Unlimited to design and operate a new 70-acre controlled wetland adjacent to the Canard River and assisting five member municipalities with their Official Plan updates.

Amherstburg Food & Fellowship Mission celebrates 22 years of operation

 

By Jolene Perron

 

“As there is an apparent need in our community for the Mission’s work, we will continue to work diligently to build and pursue new partnerships and maintain our current ones. We continue to modify programs to meet the needs of the community with the resources available. Our motto is people helping people.”

Tim McAllister, president of the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission addressed the board and attendees of the annual general meeting Sept. 20, explaining they have had a good year thanks to the people in the community who help with donations, both monetary and tangible items.

“We encourage people through our Wednesday breakfast, hot meals, baby food programs, our emergency food bank and computer programs,” said McAllister. “We can only do this through your generous monetary donations, your untiring dedication and efforts to others.”

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister presents Kim Cabanaw with an award of appreciation during their Annual General Meeting September 20.

The meeting also included a pizza dinner, which was donated by Dominos, Bulls Eye, Naples, Rosa’s, Armando’s, Golden Crust, Capri and Little Caesars.

Shirley Hitchcock, a board member with the mission, said in 2016 they served 14,546 hot meals at lunch, which runs from Monday until Saturday and every special holiday. This year, from January until the end of August, they have served 9,618 meals and their busiest time is yet to come.

This year’s board of directors include Paul Kascjak, Lana Talbot, Tammy Pasceri, Shirley Hitchcock, Anne Rene, Sheilagh Jaroszewciz , Anne Fox and Tim McAllister. Absent from the meeting and photo, Jim Ferrar, John Drop and Shannon Dobson.

In 2016, Hitchcock said they prepared 619 food baskets for people to take home to feed themselves and their families. So far this year, they have already prepared 372 food baskets.

“The people in here, when you come in and you see them sitting down for five minutes at the table, believe me they are just resting up until they have to do the next thing,” said Hitchcock.

As for the financial side of the organization, in order to save costs they don’t do an official audit but rather a non-audited statement, according to financial advisor Michael Greenaway. He said after having a look at the records, he believes they are a “fair representation of what has happened,” and he has prepared financial statements which have been approved by the board.

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister presents his wife Violet McAllister with an award of appreciation during their Annual General Meeting September 20.

“It cost about $90,000 to run the place last year and the organization was able to raise through donations and fundraising $93,000,” explained Greenaway. “They are really on a tight ship and don’t spend more than they have. The organization is running, I think, very responsibly.”

The board also presented awards for appreciation to Renee Jackson, Kim Cabanaw
and Violet McAllister.

The mission is currently looking into the future, and will be launching a new website shortly. They are also looking for gently used clothing for fall and winter as they head into the cooler season.

 

Mission president surprised with award during organization’s AGM

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Another year is in the books for the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission and this year’s annual general meeting (AGM) had a surprise for its president.

Vice president Shirley Hitchcock presented president Tim McAllister with a plaque in recognition of his years of service with the mission. McAllister has been with the mission since the organization’s beginnings and has served 16 of the 21 years of the mission’s existence as its president.

The Amherstburg Food & Fellowship Mission held its annual general meeting last Wednesday night. Several long-time volunteers were surprised with awards, including board president Tim McAllister. Presenting him his award is vice president Shirley Hitchcock.

The Amherstburg Food & Fellowship Mission held its annual general meeting last Wednesday night. Several long-time volunteers were surprised with awards, including board president Tim McAllister. Presenting him his award is vice president Shirley Hitchcock.

“He always has time to listen to people needing his support,” said Hitchcock. “Tim has a lot of patience even when people expect so much of him.”

McAllister has a lot of responsibilities at the mission and even sleeps at the mission Christmas Eve to ensure the turkeys are prepared properly for the Christmas Day dinner. His son Winston said his father taught the family never to take anything for granted and people should help others when it is needed.

Winston also credited the other volunteers at the mission as they contribute to the success.

“You guys are a part of this,” said Winston. “It’s (Tim’s) but it’s yours as well.”

Board member Lana Talbot added Tim McAllister “is always there helping. He makes certain he has enough food.” She added: “There’s so many people that can’t help themselves and he’s there for them.”

The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission honoured long-time volunteers at its annual general meeting last Wednesday night. President Tim McAllister presents an award to Joanne Guitar (above)

The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission honoured long-time volunteers at its annual general meeting last Wednesday night. President Tim McAllister presents an award to Joanne Guitar.

Fellow board members Anne Fox and John Drop also paid tribute to McAllister, with Drop stating “this is why the mission is a blessing for all of us.” Fox referred to McAllister as “a lot of fun.”

Fox was another recipient of an award, as Tim McAllister presented her with an award for over 20 years of service. Rose Kascjak also was a recipient but she was unable to attend the AGM. Joanne Guitar was the third of three recipients of an award from McAllister.

Guitar said she has always been rewarded when she has sat on boards of directors because of the people she has met. She called the mission a “family” and thanked them for their work.

“You’ve been really supportive and you’ve helped me in any way you can,” said Guitar.

Tim McAllister gave his president’s report, stating that “fresh perspectives are always helpful and welcomed” from old and new members alike.

“We have had a good year where, thanks to all of you and the people in our surrounding community, who have made a difference by leaving donations and tangible items to support our efforts,” said McAllister.

McAllister said he has a positive outlook for the coming year and that changes “are and will always be occurring” at the mission “as change is a basic condition to life in general and in consistent growth.” This past year, the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission received new ovens, a deep fryer, hot plate and a new stove from an anonymous donor. They also received new computer stations thanks to the Bieszk family, in memory of Adam Bieszk.

“Also, we had improvement to the mission in painting and decorating work,” said McAllister.

McAllister stated they will look to maintain current partnerships and build new ones within the community.

The mission partners with the Essex County court system to provide placement for young offenders. They also host high school students, who need 40 hours of volunteer work for graduation. They also work with the Windsor-Essex Food Bank Association.

“Our reporting is transparent and assures that we are accountable and are utilizing public funds appropriately that are entrusted to our management,” said McAllister.

The mission will also modify programs to meet the needs of the community with the resources available.

“Our motto is ‘people helping people’,” said McAllister. “It can mean different things to different people but what that means to me is – what do people need when they are struggling? What do people need when they need to be challenged to do something out of their comfort zone? What can change the life of another person?”

The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission honoured long-time volunteers at its annual general meeting last Wednesday night. President Tim McAllister presents one of the awards to Anne Fox.

The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission honoured long-time volunteers at its annual general meeting last Wednesday night. President Tim McAllister presents one of the awards to Anne Fox.

Life can be challenging, he added, and people need help along the way to offer support and “get behind us” to help achieve goals.

“We encourage people through our Wednesday breakfast, hot meals, baby food program, emergency food bank, and computer programs,” said McAllister. “We can only do this through your generous monetary donations, your untiring dedication and efforts to others.”

The need continues to be strong, he added, but so too are the funding campaigns the mission undertakes. The mission reports the Sunday brunch at Fox Glen Golf Club earlier this year was a success as was the mini-barbecues at Walmart and Sobeys. Meloche’s No Frills helped with a World Hunger Awareness Fundraiser. The golf tournament, organized by Winston McAllister, also was successful as was their Tambola, the latter being a “major event for us over the past 12 years.”

“The main thing we would like to put emphasis on is our fundraising efforts as we continue to rely on volunteers, their ideas, their efforts and their passion,” said Tim McAllister. “At the same time, we continue to rely on the generosity of the community.”
The mission has received donations of school supplies and others who have contributed vegetables from their garden.

“We have many people stepping up in so many different areas and in many different ways,” he added. “It is much needed and it is really appreciated.”

“We all do what we can do and a lot of things happen here,” said Hitchcock.

Hitchcock pointed out that from Sept. 2015 to last Wednesday night’s AGM, the mission had served 16,094 meals and distributed 669 food baskets.

“We’ve just been so blessed this year because of the community we live in,” she said.