luncheon

Town honours volunteers with special luncheon

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Town of Amherstburg and its tourism department took time out to pay tribute to community members that give back.

A special volunteer luncheon was held at the Libro Centre last Thursday where approximately 70 volunteers were recognized. Tourism co-ordinator Sarah Van Grinsven said it was a town event but the tourism department has the data on the volunteers that help at town events.

Van Grinsven added that community groups were also consulted in order to get their volunteers as well. Sports teams and groups were also part of the event with volunteers receiving recognition.

“We really wanted to recognize volunteers that make a difference in our community,” she said.

Van Grinsven said the hope is to make it an annual event. They know there are a lot more volunteers out there but there is only so much room to hold them at any one time.

Roughly 70
volunteers from around the Amherstburg community were honoured last Thursday
afternoon at the Libro Centre.
A special volunteer luncheon was presented by the Town of Amherstburg and the town’s tourism
department.

“Hopefully we can recognize more next year,” said Van Grinsven. “There are thousands of people who volunteer  in the community and help out. Our goal is to recognize volunteers every single year and let them know they are appreciated.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, who presented certificates from the town. “It came from the tourism department. They are the department that is the most affected by the number of volunteers in town.”

DiCarlo said special events and groups couldn’t be presented or do what they do without the assistance of volunteers.

“I think it’s a great initiative on their part to finally recognize the volunteers in a formal way,” DiCarlo added. “We could not do what we do without the number of volunteers that we have.”

Van Grinsven added that that” we are always encouraging people to get involved and volunteer.” If they would like to fill out an application to volunteer they can go to https://amherstburg.formbuilder.ca/2018-Volunteer-Form.

Essex County warden promotes region, collaboration with Windsor

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The warden of Essex County took centre stage Friday afternoon and used his “Warden’s Luncheon” to promote the area and to call for even further collaboration with Windsor.

Essex County Warden Tom Bain (seated) accepts best wishes from Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkins  during the March 4 Warden’s Luncheon.

Essex County Warden Tom Bain (seated) accepts best wishes from Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkins
during the March 4 Warden’s Luncheon.

Tom Bain’s address was the featured attraction in front of a packed house at the Ciociaro Club with political figures, local leaders and interested business owners on hand. The luncheon was presented by the Windsor-Essex District Chamber of Commerce and Libro Credit Union.

Bain said he is generally an optimistic person but admitted his optimism is tested by the region’s 9.6 per cent unemployment rate, a rate that is higher than Ontario (6.7 per cent) and national (7.2 per cent) averages. He said the way out of that situation is to promote what this area does best and create the environment where job creators will want to locate here.

“Municipalities rarely create jobs,” Bain stated. “Our focus as municipal leaders is to create the conditions that will provide economic growth.”
Essex County has its “financial house in order,” the warden stated, touting its AA credit rating, a budget that calls for regular upgrades and maintenance to the county’s $440 million road network and CWATS plan, and tax increases that are typically lower than the rate of inflation. Bain believes the county meets today’s challenges while also being ready for the future.

Both Essex County and Windsor have committed to funding the $200 million local share for the proposed new Windsor-Essex Hospital System, the focal point of which is the new mega-hospital proposed for County Road 42 and Concession 9.

“Make no mistake, our region is in competition with five other regions across the province,” said Bain. “There are only so many $2 billion cheques that will be issued across the province.”

Bain encouraged the community to support the plan, one that will give Windsor-Essex County a more modern health care infrastructure.

Warden Tom Bain addresses the sold out room at the Ciociaro Club during his Warden's Luncheon March 4.

Warden Tom Bain addresses the sold out room at the Ciociaro Club during his Warden’s Luncheon March 4.

“Do not allow the province to use local friction as an excuse to bypass us,” Bain urged. “The province needs to hear one strong collective voice from Essex County and Windsor.”

The warden called for greater communication in the region, believing some of the “buzz” has been lost since the area made the top seven in the Intelligent Communities Forum’s 2011 list of smartest communities. He said the “momentum has started to fade” and “we must do better.”

The region must be prepared to compete globally, he added.

“We can’t escape that the world is going less local and more global,” said Bain. “Municipalities can’t be isolated onto ourselves. We need to know what others are thinking. We need better communication.”

The gateway to Canada is through Windsor-Essex County, the warden added.

“Those rumours of our demise are greatly exaggerated,” said Bain. “Collectively, we will prove the naysayers wrong. Ontario does not end in London.”

Also exaggerated were reports of friction between Essex County and Windsor, stated Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkins. Dilkins said there is good leadership in the city and the county and they work together well.

“The warden and I are in contact on a frequent basis,” said Dilkins.

Essex County warden looks to future, promotes regional collaboration

 

Essex County Warden Tom Bain addresses the crowd at the “Warden’s Luncheon” held last Friday. The luncheon was presented by the Windsor-Essex District Chamber of Commerce.

Essex County Warden Tom Bain addresses the crowd at the “Warden’s Luncheon” held last Friday. The luncheon was presented by the Windsor-Essex District Chamber of Commerce.

By Ron Giofu

 

Essex County Warden Tom Bain acknowledged the area has its challenges but also sees opportunity.

Bain’s message was delivered Friday afternoon during the annual “Warden’s Luncheon,” presented at the Ciociaro Club by the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Re-elected to lead county council last December, Bain said there are six new members around the table and believes county council has “the makings of a great team” that will “gel soon and hit our stride.” Over the next four years, Bain said he wants to see the county continue “to get the fundamentals right” and to focus on community development.

“They must be intertwined,” said Bain, who is also the mayor of Lakeshore.

While efforts have been made to diversify the economy and to work with agri-food businesses, Bain said there is still work to be done.

“The economic turbulence remains all around us,” he said. “Locally, our rate is stubbornly high at 9.4 per cent.”

Essex County is the “best place to live, work, play and visit,” he stated, and that the county will not shy away from its challenges.

“The county cannot or will not be timid and we will be bold,” said Bain. “We will be deliberate, not reckless, and will do things for the right reasons.”

Stating that municipalities have to create the conditions for investment, Bain touted the county’s “pay as you go” financial practices, pointing out there is no long term debt, yet are spending millions in maintaining its infrastructure. He praised the work of the Essex-Windsor EMS as well as pointing out the significant investments being made in the Essex County library system.

Essex County Warden Tom Bain delivers his speech at the Warden's Luncheon March 13.

Essex County Warden Tom Bain delivers his speech at the Warden’s Luncheon March 13.

The area is known for having skilled workers but the warden believed the time is now to convert that asset into something more tangible.

“The time is upon us to convert all of that knowledge into action,” he said.

Expanding and improving high-speed internet across the county is being planned for, he continued, with the use of fibreoptic technology. The western wardens’ caucus is trying to bring such technology to the entire western section of the province.

“This will connect points from Amherstburg to Owen Sound and every point in between,” Bain stated.

The site for the new mega-hospital could be announced by the summer and Bain said regardless of which site is chosen, Windsor-Essex County residents should rally behind that choice so that there won’t be any risk of having the province invest elsewhere.

“We need a new hospital. We deserve a new hospital. We deserve better health care,” said Bain.

There also will be a requirement to fund the hospital to the tune of ten per cent and the county has started to budget for that cost.

Improving health care in the area also means the province should provide more funding for the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, with Bain noting the local health unit is the lowest funded health unit per capita in Ontario.

Essex County is continuing to invest in the County-Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS), an effort which will see trails and bike lanes across the region when complete.

The county and other municipalities face “infrastructure gaps” meaning local governments need to press for higher and more sustainable levels of funding from senior levels of government, he said.

Bain rounded out his address by promoting regional co-operation. He noted he has already met with new Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkins and said he is confident there will continue to be a strong, collaborative relationship with the city. Bain added the area’s “cupboard is by no means bare” and that success will be achieved through “collaboration, collaboration, (and) collaboration.”

“Soup-er Wednesday Luncheon” produces better than expected results

 

Armando’s was named “People’s Choice” winner at Amherstburg Community Services’ first “Soup-er Wednesday Luncheon” with Gianni Rigotti accepting the plaque from ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Armando’s was named “People’s Choice” winner at Amherstburg Community Services’ first “Soup-er Wednesday Luncheon” with Gianni Rigotti accepting the plaque from ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Meals on Wheels had one of the entrants with Darlene Menard and Sue Laprade serving it up.

Meals on Wheels had one of the entrants with Darlene Menard and Sue Laprade serving it up.

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Community Services’ first-ever “Soup-er Wednesday Luncheon” is being branded as a success.

Over 200 people came to the Knights of Columbus Hall on Richmond St. last Wednesday for the event, which featured ten competitors vying for the “People’s Choice” Award. Restaurants included Artisan Grill, Kin Folks, Smashed Apple Gourmet Catering, Gilligan’s, Armando’s, Lord Amherst, Maria’s, Rosa’s and the Dalhousie Bistro with ACS’ Meals on Wheels kitchen also participating.

Armando’s spicy shrimp corn chowder, prepared by chef Leanne Copeland, was crowned the winner.

“Our turnout was better than expected,” said ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo. “We have gotten very positive feedback. People are looking forward to attending next year.”

Austin Tyrell, communications co-ordinator with ACS, called the feedback “phenomenal” and that the soups offered went over well.

“I haven’t heard a bad thing about the soups,” he said. “Everyone enjoyed them.”

DiBartolomeo said the Soup-er Wednesday Luncheon was a chance to let the community sample what local restaurants have to offer all the while learning what ACS is all about. She said the agency is thankful for those who helped serve the soup, the volunteers that helped run the event, the restaurants for participating and the people who attended.

The success of the event was attributed to not just the soups offered, but the generosity of Amherstburg.

“I think it comes down to Amherstburg being a very giving community,” said Tyrell.