Rick Daly

OBA Bantam “C” championships come to Amherstburg



By Ron Giofu


Some of the finest bantam baseball teams in the province came to Amherstburg over the Labour Day weekend.

The Amherstburg Minor Baseball Association (AMBA) hosted the four-day tournament with games played at the Libro Centre, Malden Centre Park and in Harrow. It was a 12-team tournament with local teams including Kingsville and the host Amherstburg Cardinals, both of which played in the Sun Parlour Baseball Association.

Mitchell won the tournament Monday morning with a come-from-behind 8-5 victory over Listowel.

The Mitchell Astros won the OBA Bantam “C” title with an 8-5 win over Listowel Monday at the Libro Centre.

Dan Hebert, umpire-in-chief with the AMBA and one of the volunteers working at the tournament, said it was a bantam “C” division tournament, with the “C” designation being as a result of the size of the centre.

“We’re ‘C’ based on the population compared to other centres,” he said.

It has been at least a decade since Amherstburg has hosted an OBA tournament and Hebert said they hope to get more in the future.

“We’re trying to impress and get more people coming to Amherstburg,” he said.

Aiden Foreman connects with a pitch during Amherstburg’s game against Wyoming last Friday night at the Libro Centre.

Comments about the Libro Centre were positive, Hebert added, with AMBA trying to make it not just the centre of the county for baseball but also now trying to let the province know about the facilities here.

The Amherstburg Cardinals made it to Sunday’s games and ended with a 2-2 record. After losing Friday night to Wyoming under the lights at the Libro Centre, the Cardinals bounced back Saturday with wins over Woodstock and Kingsville. However, a loss Sunday morning to Mitchell resulted in the Cardinals being eliminated from the double-elimination tournament.

Rick Daly, manager of recreation services for the town, said bringing in an OBA tournament was a positive for the community.

“This is huge because it’s a provincial championship,” said Daly. “That’s what we’re trying to do at the Libro Centre.”

Amherstburg’s Ben Hodgson fields a ground ball at second base Saturday afternoon against Kingsville.

Daly said it takes time but they are attracting provincial and national events to Amherstburg. It was held the same weekend that the Canadian national women’s sledge hockey team had a selection camp indoors at the Libro Centre.

The diamond was closed last Thursday to prepare for the OBA tournament “to let facility staff polish and shine it for everyone,” said Daly. “We really want to put our best foot forward when it comes to events like this.”

ACS, town co-host town hall meeting for seniors



By Ron Giofu


Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Town of Amherstburg reached out to the senior community in an effort to try and hear what they want and need.

A town hall meeting was held at the Libro Centre with about 40 people in attendance. Attendees were asked what they required in terms of medical care, recreational amenities and accessibility among other topics.

“This started in late 2017,” explained Rick Daly, the town’s manager of recreation services.

Daly said there was a stakeholder information meeting in which the town and ACS tried to find out what is being offered to seniors and what services are still needed. How the gaps in services get eliminated is part of the process, he added.

“We need to find opportunities for all of our residents,” he said.

Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director with ACS, said the agency is often approached about what they can do for seniors. ACS offers such programming as lunches, transportation and programs where seniors are called and visited along with programs such as Meals on Wheels. They will continue to work with the town on additional programming, she indicated, and that consultations with the community will continue.

Amherstburg Community Services executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo fields a question from a resident as part of the seniors town hall meeting ACS held in conjunction with the Town of Amherstburg Aug. 16.

“These talks will be ongoing,” she said. “It’s not a one-off meeting.”

Ideas ranges from bringing in medical specialists, having exercise classes, educational sessions for singles and couples on such topics as cooking, alternative medicine, year-round pickleball, and having a community garden. Stephanie Thomson commented that she moved to Amherstburg from Toronto and was lucky to find someone to help her get acclimated to the town.

Thomson suggested a service where people could socialize and introduce new residents to the town.

“Social isolation will kill you,” she said.
John Miceli, the town’s chief administrative officer (CAO), said he saw a greeter service manned by volunteers when he visited Chicago. He believes something similar could work in Amherstburg.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for the town,” said Miceli.

Miceli added that the town is planning on erecting electronic signage at the north and south ends of town and that will help advertise additional town programs. He believes those signs will be erected by late fall.

Questions over the seniors hub at the former St. Bernard School site were raised, with Miceli stating “we’ve got some major partners” that are coming. However, he said he can’t share a lot of details at the moment.

Local naturalist Greg Nemeth speaks about his hobby at the Aug. 16 town hall session for seniors at the Libro Centre.

Miceli added that a partnership with the Greater Essex County District School Board will allow for “a tremendous amount of opportunities for seniors programming” at the new public high school that will be erected on 15 acres of Centennial Park.

Greg Nemeth, a local naturalist, spoke on how he took up that hobby when he retired and was diagnosed with epilepsy. He suggested a boardwalk on lands within the Big Creek watershed would be useful, as he regularly walks and photographs wildlife in the area between Thomas Road and Concession 3 North.

“When you are walking with nature, it’s a different experience,” said Nemeth. “It’s calm. It’s relaxing. Put a boardwalk in for seniors. They’ll really enjoy it.”

ACS and the town hosted seniors expo earlier this year, DiBartolomeo pointed out, adding they hope it gets “bigger and better” every year.

“Every year, we hope to expand it,” she said.

Daly added he would like to see an advisory committee for seniors established, one that would report to town council. He said an advisory committee would have “the ear of council.”

New operator of pro shop at Libro Centre decided upon



By Ron Giofu


The pro shop at the Libro Centre will soon be back in business.

Nantais Athletic Inc. has been approved as the new tenant at the town’s recreation complex and will fill the space formerly operated by Canadian Tire. The latter gave notice to the town they would no longer lease the space and closed at the end of March. According to a report from manager of recreation services Rick Daly, four businesses submitted “unsolicited offers” to take over the space and continue to operate it as a pro shop and skate sharpening facility.

Administration then advertised for a Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI).

“With the concern voiced by residents and user groups that the space should continue to be utilized as a pro shop, administration called for a REOI from potential respondents wishing to operate a sporting goods store and skate sharpening centre at the Libro Centre,” Daly stated in his report. “As this was an REOI, and not a proposal call, the level of detail required to be provided in a submission was to demonstrate that the potential tenant was experienced and capable of providing the required services and was interested in establishing a full time, year-round business at the Libro Centre.”

Daly said that a five-year term, subject to renewals, was sought, and that four submissions were received. He added that all four firms were contacted for “a more detailed supplementary submission to include items relating to the proponent’s experience and products, service, image, intended hours of operation and business approach.”

One proponent asked to be removed from the process and the remaining three bidders were evaluated by director of planning, development and Legislative Services Mark Galvin, Daly, a financial planning administrator and an outside consultant.

“The evaluation criteria was equally weighted on: experience, hours of operation, level of service (multi-sport and community involvement) and overall business plan,” Daly stated.

Daly added: “In addition to sporting goods and skate sharpening services, Nantais Athletic Inc.’s owners have been highly involved on the developmental side in many sports played in Amherstburg, including hockey, football and baseball.”

The space is 695 square feet in size and Daly said the previous tenant was charged $11.32 per square foot plus HST. Nantais will be charged $13.50 per square foot for the first two years with the lease to be increased using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the remaining years.

“The estimated revenue shortfall of $1,424 for 2018 results from a three-month vacancy for the leased space. Entering into a rental agreement with a new tenant will mitigate any further revenue shortfall,” Daly said in his report.



ACS, town happy with first-ever Active & Aging Well Expo



By Ron Giofu


Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) teamed with the town’s recreation services department with seniors being the focus.

The first-ever Active & Aging Well Expo was presented last Monday and Tuesday at the Libro Centre with over 40 vendors, cooking demonstrations, financial presentations and other presenters giving senior citizens a chance to see what is out there.

“I think as far as a first year, I’m pleased,” said ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo. “I’m hearing a lot of good feedback from attendees.”

“I think vendors are pleased with the set up and how they were treated,” added Rick Daly, manager of recreation services with the town.

Lou Cote (left) demonstrates pole walking with
ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

DiBartolomeo said it was an opportunity for businesses and service providers to not only show what is out there for seniors, but a chance to network amongst themselves as well. Seniors were also able to learn about some volunteer opportunities in the area.

“I think the main goal is to show how they can stay active,” she said.

Daly said many seniors were able to have issues and concerns addressed.

“If there are questions that older adults have, they were answered for them,” he said.

A Taoist tai chi demonstration was held last Tuesday afternoon as part of the Active & Aging Well Expo presented by Amherstburg Community Services and the Town of Amherstburg.

A variety of exhibitors and interactive demonstrations left a big impression on attendees of the first-ever Active & Aging Well Expo.  The event had attendees like Carol Hrycay glad they took the time to see what all the fuss was about.

“It was the best five bucks I ever spent,” Hrycay said of the event. “I was very surprised to see so many vendors with such diversity yet still all focused on seniors. It really hit home just how much is available to people like me.”

In addition to the cooking classes provided by Matthew Johnston, the owner of Amherstburg’s Artisan Grill, and Beau Velduis, the executive chef at Seasons Retirement Communities in Amherstburg, attendees were given the chance to try activities like Taoist tai chi, pickle ball and pole walking.

DiBartolomeo stated the chance to try something new was what left a real impression on the event-goers.

“We look at this event as a chance to really change the discussion around aging,” DiBartolomeo said.  “Age isn’t just a number – it’s an opportunity to experience new things and this event helped people do just that.”

Plans are already being formulated for 2019, she added.

Over 40 vendors took part in the first Active & Aging Well Expo (AAWE) held last Monday and tuesday at the Libro Centre. The event was held in partnership with Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Town of Amherstburg. (Submitted photo)

“We’re getting some feedback from vendors on what they like and what is important for next year,” stated Daly.

Daly added ACS will be an even more important service going forward as the population is aging and there are a number of services offered by ACS that can help.

The Active & Aging Well Expo brought vendors from across Windsor and Essex County to allow older adults, seniors and caregivers a chance to discover services, activities and programs specifically for them, all in one place.  Admission was $5 and included a lunch and access to all vendors and demonstrations.


—With information provided by Austin Tyrrell, community awareness/fundraising coordinator with ACS

Amherstburg Community Services partnering with town to deliver two-day Seniors Expo



Special to the RTT


Dozens of organizations, businesses and individuals will be making their way out to Amherstburg June 11-12 to help seniors in the region discover services, resources and activities specifically designed for them.

The 2018 Active & Aging Well Expo, hosted and organized by Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Town of Amherstburg, is described as “a one-stop shop for everything from home health care to yoga demonstrations curated specifically for seniors, older adults and caregivers.”

“We really wanted to appeal to as many people as we could,” Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director at ACS said. “We all age differently and find ourselves with a variety of different needs.  Some of us are looking for activities and hobbies to keep us busy, others will be looking for services that provide support for a specific need.  We’re excited that this event will cover all of that and more!”

Rick Daly, the manager of recreation Services with the Town of Amherstburg, says he is excited by the responses seen by businesses that have been invited to take part in the event.

“Amherstburg’s population is getting older. It only makes sense that we offer programming, activities and events that cater to our older adult population,” Daly said. “With the response that Amherstburg Community Services is getting, the Expo looks to become an annual event that will educate and entertain our seniors on the many activities and services offered in our town.”

The 2018 Active & Aging Well Expo will take place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both June 11-12 at the Libro Credit Union Centre in Amherstburg.

Over 35 different vendors will be at the event, with demonstrations and presentations taking place throughout the day.  Admission will be $5 at the door and will include a boxed lunch and access to various raffle prizes.

For more information, please contact Amherstburg Community Services at 519-736-5471.