ACS needs new vehicle, hopes for public’s support



By Ron Giofu


Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) needs a new vehicle and is looking for the public’s assistance in acquiring it.

ACS had to take one of its buses off the road in late 2017 due to the costs of maintaining the vehicle, which was an accessible vehicle capable of accommodating 16 people. That vehicle was roughly ten-years-old and removing it from the road left ACS short a vehicle, said executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

The non-profit organization states it has provided almost 25,000 rides to Amherstburg and LaSalle seniors in the past three years. ACS is aiming to raise $75,000 to purchase a new accessible eight-person vehicle.

Local rides have been reduced by a day and DiBartolomeo said they want to restore that as soon as possible and not risk any further cutbacks. Reducing the amount of days seniors and others with accessibility issues have to use their vehicles “snowballs,” said DiBartolomeo.

“That means seniors that use the service have to cancel appointments at specialists they may have had to wait months for,” she said.

There is also a “Day Away” program that also could be impacted, as family members and caregivers have to rearrange plans if the vehicle service is not available.

“Of our three remaining vehicles, two of them are over ten years old, and frankly, if and when any of those need to be repaired, we might find ourselves in a spot where we need to turn people away,” DiBartolomeo said. “If ever there’s a time we need help from our community, now is that time.”

ACS keeps its vehicles in the best condition possible, added community awareness and fundraising co-ordinator Austin Tyrrell.

“Maintenance costs don’t go down with age,” he said. “These vehicles are well maintained but the costs to maintain them are significant. The new vehicle will help us reduce those costs.”

DiBartolomeo pointed out that it isn’t as easy as just making an application to the government for money. While ACS will request help from the Erie-St. Clair LHIN, the local agency is in competition with other agencies for funding and it could be a process that may take years before any funding is granted.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo stands beside of the agency’s buses, being driven by Dawn Laliberte. ACS had to take one of its vehicles off the road recently and is fundraising for a new one.

There may also be restrictions placed on how use of a government-funded vehicle could be utilized.

“By having your own vehicle, you can give more people access to a ride,” she said.

ACS wants to be a solution to the issue of accessible transportation, DiBartolomeo added.

DiBartolomeo says that Amherstburg Community Services have already sent out letters to local businesses requesting donations. They also started selling tickets for their annual 50/50 lottery draw with the cost being three tickets for $5 until their SOUPer Wednesday fundraiser Feb. 21. Tickets for that fundraiser are also on sale now.

DiBartolomeo has asked that anyone interested in donating to ACS can do so by cash or cheque at their office at 179 Victoria St. S. in Amherstburg, or by credit card through their website, www.amherstburg-cs.com/make-a-personal-donation.


Registration open for county-wide student shuttle service


Special to the RTT


Vanessa Dafonte still has plenty to take care of before her fall semester starts up at St. Clair College. Buying textbooks, finding out where her classes are and getting used to a new schedule is both exciting and stressful. Despite living about half an hour away from St. Clair College though, one thing Dafonte doesn’t need to stress about is how she is getting to those classes.

“Without this service, I’d have to put a pretty big burden on the people in my life to get me to class – it would have been so much harder without this option.” Dafonte, a Chemical Laboratories Technology student at the college said. “When I signed up I really only expected to get a ride to class. I didn’t expect how friendly the drivers would be.”

The St. Clair Student Shuttle, which offers an accessible, county-wide transportation service to and from the St. Clair College main campus has provided a simple solution to a problem faced by so many living in Essex County. The shuttle has been provided to students since 2013 through a collaboration of three local non-profit organizations: South Essex Community Council (SECC), Essex Community Services (ECS), and Amherstburg Community Services (ACS).

ACS logo2

“This service has become so important to so many people – for some it is absolutely life changing,” said Kathy DiBartolomeo, the executive director at Amherstburg Community Services. “The challenge of connecting the rural Essex County with the city has been discussed plenty of times but this is a service that’s available now and ensures that no matter your situation or where you live, you have the opportunity to better yourself.”

Registration for the St. Clair Student Shuttle is now open, and any interested students must register in advance. There is a monthly user fee of $240 to offset the costs incurred by the organizations. Once a student has registered, they will be given information on pick-up and drop-off times and locations. Seating is limited and will be provided on a first come, first served basis. Students may call the organization closest to their residence to register.

For more information, contact Amherstburg Community Services at 519-736-5471 or visit www.amherstburg-cs.com.


School bus/SUV collision results in non-life threatening injuries


An accident between a school bus and SUV at the corner of Sandwich St. S. and Alma St. saw three people treated for injuries by Essex-Windsor EMS.   The Amherstburg Police Service and Amherstburg Fire Department also responded to the call Tuesday at approximately 8:17 a.m..
Amherstburg police say the three people in the SUV – the driver and two passengers – were sent to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
There were no students on the school bus. Police state that the bus driver was not injured.
Amherstburg police said Tuesday morning the matter is still under investigation and that charges are pending.


Motorcycle crashes The Amherstburg Police Service investigated a pair of single vehicle crashes over the past week involving motorcycles.

An Amherstburg man remains in hospital after a crash around 12:44 a.m. Saturday after an accident in the 3400 block of Concession 3 North. Amherstburg fire and Essex-Windsor EMS were also dispatched to the scene. Amherstburg police state that crash is still under investigation.

The second crash occurred on Thursday in the 100 block of Sandwich St. S. around 5:10 p.m. Police say a male was transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Aburg Police Logo Rev-web

Accidents   A 17-year-old youth was charged with following too closely after a two-car motor vehicle collision on Alma St. last Thursday around 11:40 a.m. There were no injuries.

*An accident on McLellan Ave., also reported around 11:40 a.m. Thursday, saw a 70-year-old man charged after he allegedly backed out of his driveway and struck another vehicle.

*A crash on County Road 20 last Tuesday around 7:31 a.m. saw a 50-year-old Windsor man charged with disobeying a stop sign. It was a two-vehicle accident, police say.


Thefts   A home on Scott Dr. was entered on the weekend with electronics stolen. Amherstburg police add that there was no forced entry to the home and it appears to have been unlocked. It was reported Sunday morning around 8:35 a.m.

*A vehicle on Hunter Dr. was entered with items such as phone cords and other small items taken. There are no suspects and police ask that people lock their cars to ensure people can’t go through them.

*A license plate was reported stolen by a resident on Golfview Dr. Police say the resident was advised it was being used on a vehicle in the Niagara area and the resident contacted police.

*A garden hose was reported stolen from a home in the 100 block of Pickering Dr. It was reported June 12 around 9:40 a.m.

*Amherstburg police say a resident in the 1300 block of Front Road South spotted someone trying to steal a dinghy. Police say the attempted theft was by someone driving a newer model, blue Chrysler mini-van. It was reported Sunday around 4:20 a.m.


Mischief   A 22-year-old man was charged after an incident on Hawthorne Cr. last Wednesday around 7:55 p.m. where car windows were allegedly smashed out. In addition to a mischief charge, he was also charged with uttering threats and theft.

*A rear window of a vehicle in the 2100 block of Concession 2 was reported to have been smashed. It was reported to police last Thursday morning and is believed to have occurred overnight.


Stats   There were 234 calls for service last week including 30 traffic-related offenses. There were 13 alarm calls and 21 911 hang-up calls, the latter prompting police to remind people to be careful when dialing their phones as police have to respond to every 911 call.


-All information courtesy of the Amherstburg Police Service

Local students take the “Tour for Humanity”


By Ron Giofu


A $1.2 million mobile classroom built by the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies made its way to a pair of Amherstburg schools this week.

The “Tour for Humanity” bus was in the first week of a two-week tour of the area and was brought to the region by the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board. It was at St. Bernard School Wednesday and Stella Maris School Thursday.

Students at Stella Maris School prepare to watch a video regarding the holocaust during the Tour for Humanity's stop at the school May 12. It was brought to the area by the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies and the WIndsor-Essex Catholic District School Board.

Students at Stella Maris School prepare to watch a video regarding the holocaust during the Tour for Humanity’s stop at the school May 12. It was brought to the area by the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies and the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board.

Danny Berman, an educational associate with the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, said they tour all year long with the bus and have been doing so since it was built two years ago. They try to hit all parts of Ontario.

“We’re pretty much booked every day of the school year,” said Berman. “(The students) leave pretty impressed with the bus and it motivates them to make a change and a positive impact.”

Not only do educational associates like Berman talk about the horrors of the Holocaust, they also share messages of racism, slavery, Japanese internment camps, and hate. The presentation also discussed cyber-bullying and Berman told students that is “a great way to spread hate” without feeling they are exposed the same level of consequences in doing so.

Educational associate Danny Berman speaks to a local class May 12.

Educational associate Danny Berman speaks to a local class May 12.

“We show how they are all connected,” said Berman, adding they want people to take action against such things, not be a bystander to them. The centre encourages people to make a positive change.

The presentations also pointed out those who have made a positive difference in the world such as Martin Luther King Jr., Anne Frank and Mahatma Gandhi, though students were also told even small acts of kindness do make a difference.

“At our present point in history, with all of the issues and conflicts our world is currently facing, the need to educate our students about the virtues of acceptance, respect, and understanding has never been more vital or urgent,” said WECDSB director of education Paul Picard in a press release. “These ideals are already woven throughout our curriculum, but with its high-tech capabilities and expert facilitators, the Tour for Humanity’s message will resonate with our students on an entirely new level.”

The bus, once it has finished its stops in the area May 20, will have visited four secondary schools and six elementary schools.

The Tour for Humanity mobile classroom sits outside Stella Maris School May 12.

The Tour for Humanity mobile classroom sits outside Stella Maris School May 12.

“After touring concentration camps in Poland and visiting Israel with the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, we were extremely impressed by the organization’s depth of knowledge and expertise, and its commitment to promoting human rights,” added WECDSB superintendent of education Mike Seguin, who has been helping organize the local tour. “We felt their message was far too important to limit to just a one-day visit, and we wanted as many of our students as possible to participate in this amazing experience.”

For further information on the Tour for Humanity, visit http://tourforhumanity.com/