Laura George

Rotary Club of Amherstburg earns 2018 Fire Safety Award



By Ron Giofu


A project undertaken by the Rotary Club of Amherstburg, in partnership with the Amherstburg Fire Department and Amherstburg Community Services, has resulted in an award for Rotary.

The Rotary Club has received a 2018 Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council Fire Safety Award. Rotarians Laura George and Carl Gibb were in Toronto recently to pick up the award.

“It was a total surprise,” said George, who was president in 2017 when the project was initiated. “(Amherstburg Fire) Chief (Bruce) Montone came up to us at a council meeting and said he had nominated us.”

The project was to have carbon monoxide (CO) alarms placed in the homes of those in need, such as seniors or low income households.

“Out of 11 recipients, two were Rotary Clubs which says a lot for what Rotary does in their communities,” said George.

George said over 600 carbon monoxide alarms were purchased. The Rotary Club, with funds generated by the Ribfest, contributed $2,500 and obtained a matching grant of $2,500 through Rotary International. The town contributed another $2,500, George added.

“It was nice to get to work with Chief Montone. It was one of his first projects when he came to Amherstburg.”

The Rotary Club of Amherstburg received a a 2018 Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council Fire Safety Award in Toronto recently. From left: Amherstburg deputy fire chief Paul Acton, chair of the awards committee Dan Langlois, Rotarians Carl Gibb and Laura George, Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone and Fire Marshal of Ontario Ross Nichols. (Special to the RTT)

George and Gibb thanked ACS for their assistance as well, as ACS helped identify homes that the CO alarms went into.

“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have been able to keep the project going,” said George.

The idea was generated thanks to a similar project done by the Rotary Club of Amherstburg, as several years ago, the local club embarked on a smoke detector project.

“If not for all of the volunteers and the hours they put in at Ribfest, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we did,” George added, noting “it’s nice to keep the money locally.”

Montone called working with the Rotary Club and ACS “a significant partnership.”

“It was beginning to unfold when I arrived in Amherstburg,” said Montone.

The partnership had a positive impact on those who are most vulnerable and noted he was able to reach out to First Alert so that the donated funds could be used to purchase the CO alarms at cost rather than at retail value.

“That has a significant impact on the number of people you are protecting,” said Montone.

Noting there were 600 CO alarms purchased, the fire chief noted that translates into roughly 3,000 people who are protected.

“That is worthy of being recognized,” said Montone. “It was awesome (the Rotary Club of Amherstburg) was selected.

Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest this weekend, volunteers needed



By Ron Giofu


The ninth annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest is this weekend and volunteers are still needed.

Carl Gibb, chair of the Ribfest committee, acknowledged that “we need volunteers” but said plans are coming together nicely nonetheless.

“Things are going well,” said Gibb.

Four ribbers – Ribs Royale, Texas Rangers BBQ, Dinosaur and Fat Boys BBQ – are anticipated to converge at Centennial Park in what will be the final Ribfest at that location. There will also the return of the Golden Onion, Elephant Ears, ice cream, specialty fries, hamburgers, desserts and more.

A wide variety of vendors are also expected to be on site.

The bands, organized this year by an entertainment committee led by Rick Rock and John D’Alimonte, feature such performers as Bad Romance, Soul Minors, Soul Delegation and Buck Twenty Friday night, the Rio Michaels Trio, Johnny Toronto, Throwback Kings, Jody Raffoul, Dusty, No Drama and South River Slim on Saturday with Sunday’s lineup featuring Adam Butcher, Back to Back, The Delvitos, and Chris Borshuk and Kelly Hoppe.

“It’s an exciting time this year because of the bands we have,” said Laura George, a Rotarian and member of the Ribfest committee.

“We’re hoping for big crowds due to the bands we’ve got,” added Gibb.

The Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest returns to Centennial Park July 6-8. Volunteers are still needed for this year’s event. It will be the final Ribfest at Centennial Park.

Organizers are hoping for the biggest Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest yet.

As for next year, the search continues for a new location. Centennial Park will be unavailable as 15 of the 27 acres was sold to the Greater Essex County District School Board for a new public high school.

“We hope to continue to work with the town. The town is attentive to our needs,” said George.

Gibb added it’s a good feeling that both the public and the ribbers want to come back every year.

The Ribfest committee will enter the weekend thinking of one of its members, as Barb Brookbanks recently passed away.

“It’s kind of left a hole,” said George. “We were able to rally and we tried to fill her shoes.”

For more information, visit and click on the “Ribfest” tab at the top of the screen.

To volunteer, contact Ann Marie Favot at 519-980-7697 or George at 519-982-2684.

The Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest runs from 12-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 12-7 p.m. Sunday.

Rotary Ribfest has requests approved, looking for 2019 location


By Ron Giofu


The 9th annual Amherstburg Rotary Ribfest is returning to Centennial Park July 6-8, and the town is offering some help to organizers in presenting it.

However, the Ribfest committee is seeking additional help from the town in securing a location for next year’s event.

Carl Gibb and Laura George, both members of the Rotary Ribfest committee, appeared before town council and had the first two of their requests granted. Town council agreed to waive the fees for use of the park and also will allow them to use nine sign posts for 28 days prior to the event instead of 14 days, as stated in the town’s sign bylaw.

The latter was a point of concern for Councillor Joan Courtney, who worried the town would be setting a precedent. She suggested three weeks prior to the event instead of four, but the Ribfest committee members said they had four weeks for the sign posts last year.

Gibb said they have been looking for a 2019 location, as this year will be the final year at Centennial Park due to a portion of it being sold to the Greater Essex County District School Board for a new public high school. Gibb said they need approximately four acres and have yet to come across a suitable site.

“Council has to decide whether they want it or not,” he said.

Councillor Rick Fryer suggested the Libro Centre, stating there is room for festivals there, but Gibb said part of the attraction of Centennial Park is it has fencing. Fencing costs rise three times if it is moved to any other site, he said.

CAO John Miceli said the fencing and track will be removed from Centennial Park as condition of sale with the Greater Essex County District School Board. He said he will work with Gibb and the committee to try and find a suitable location. He added there are 178 acres at the Libro Centre that can still be developed.

Current district governor encourages fellow Rotarians to “go bold”

By Jolene Perron


During their regular meeting, which is now at Shooter’s Roadhouse, the Amherstburg Rotary Club had a chance to meet their new district governor for the current year.

“I have found that Rick is a person of action,” explained assistant governor Peggy Little. “You’ll find, as I have found, Rick’s commitment to Rotary, but I think what really shows through is Rick’s passion. His passion for Rotary, his passion for his work, his passion for helping people and his passion for the district and coming around and talking with everybody.”

Members of the Rotary Club of Amherstburg gather with their district governor Rick Caron for a group photo after last Wednesday night’s meeting at Shooter’s Roadhouse in Amherstburg.

Rick Caron explained his commitment to Rotary, and how everyone who knows him knows that he is a part of Rotary. He proudly wears his pins, displays his mugs with the Rotary logo, and much more. But for many years it wasn’t that way.

“I would hesitate wearing a Rotary shirt if it was not a Rotary function, I wouldn’t always have my membership pin on,” explained Caron. “But then I started to become committed to the ideals of Rotary and I thought, if I don’t tell people about Rotary, they don’t get to join. Why would I want to rob them of that opportunity of being a Rotarian?”

Caron posed the question “What is Rotary?” He explained, that’s a hard question to answer, and as the district governor, he should know, but because Rotary is so much in so many ways, it becomes difficult to pinpoint what Rotary is exactly.

“Is Rotary building the Miracle League Park? Is Rotary doing Ribfest? Is Rotary committing to your community, dedication and hours and service and money and fundraising, is that what Rotary is? Well yes, it is. Rotary builds communities, that’s part of what we do,” explained Caron. “But that’s not all of what we do, we do more than that.”

Rotary solves problems, Caron continued.

The Rotary Club of Amherstburg gave district governor Rick Caron a tin lantern from the Park House Museum during their meeting at Shooter’s Roadhouse Oct. 18. Making the presentation is Rotary Club of Amherstburg president Laura George.

“It is everyone in our local club, all of the clubs in the district, all of the districts in the zone and all the zones in the world working together, networking, and making the world a better place,” he said.

He added there are 1.2 million Rotarians and 35,000 clubs around the world.

“I say “Go Bold” and that means I want everyone here to do something a little bit more,” said Caron. “I learned this from my grandfather. You don’t have to be retired to die in place. Anyone at any age can stop living by not having any ambition. If you don’t want to be more than what you are you stagnate. That’s why you need to go beyond what you normally do. You need to give back and do something meaningful. You need to be a part of Rotary and you need to share that Rotary story with other people.”
For more information on the Rotary Club of Amherstburg call 519-982-2684 or e-mail People can also visit their Facebook page at

Park House Museum receives cheques from Ribfest Committee, Rotary



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Historic Sites Association, the board that operates the Park House Museum, received some good financial news last Tuesday night.

The board received a $5,000 cheque from the Rotary Club of Amherstburg and an additional $1,114 from the Ribfest Committee, the latter being a sub-committee of Rotary. The latter cheque was the share designated for the Park House from the 50/50 draws held during the July festival.

Bill Wark, president of the Amherstburg Historic Sites Association, was happy to receive the cheques.

“We are very thankful for the support from the Rotary Club,” said Wark. “The donations are critical to the operation of the Park House.”

Wark added the Amherstburg Historic Sites Association (AHSA) has a great partnership with the Rotary Club and wants to see it continue.

Rotary Club president Laura George said the service organization may be undertaking an event to assist the Park House Museum, noting they “feel the pinch” as well as they need volunteers and help with projects.

“More hands make for lighter work,” said George.

The Amherstburg Historic Sites Association, which operates the Park House Museum, received a $5,000 from the Rotary Club and a $1,114 cheque from the Rotary’s Ribfest committee last Tuesday night. From left: Bert McLellan, Janet Gardiner, AHSA president Bill Wark, Hazen Price, Rotary president Laura George, Peter Mingay and Fred Roberts.

Park House Museum curator Stephanie Pouget-Papak agreed that the donations are “crucial” in helping the museum operate and offer programs. She said upcoming events include their All Hallow’s Eve event and a “ghost tour,” the latter having “a lot of buzz” surrounding it.

Pouget-Papak also pointed out the Park House Museum will also continue its school tours and Christmas programming in the coming months.

Wark said the Park House Museum did well with its “Music off the Back Porch” series this summer. The museum will also be holding a fundraising dinner Oct. 21 at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 with $20 tickets being available at the Park House Museum.

Wark pointed out the event starts with a social at 4 p.m. with the dinner being at 5:30 p.m. There will be a raffle and prizes as well, he added.

Hazen Price, whom Wark called “one of the main cogs” of both the AHSA and Rotary, said the link between the Park House Museum and the Rotary Club of Amherstburg dates back many years.

“The Park House was a Rotary project to begin with,” said Price.

For more information on the Rotary Club, visit, e-mail George at or visit their Facebook page.

For more information on the Park House Museum, visit or call 519-736-2511. The museum is located at 214 Dalhousie St.