Tim Berthiaume

Amherstburg well represented among MP’s Canada 150 medal recipients

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey recently awarded approximately 40 Canada 150 medals and Canada Sesquicentennial Pins to people from around the riding and Amherstburg was no exception.

Ramsey said the medals were to “incredible people of Essex (County) who have really inspired me. I knew they should be recognized for their efforts.”

Ramsey said that being the area’s Member of Parliament since 2015 has opened her eyes to all of the work taking place in the area.

Eleven-year-old Gabby Wilkinson of Amherstburg (left) was one of about 40 recipients of Canada 150 medals presented by Essex MP Tracey Ramsey.

“You can live here your whole life and not realize the work being done around us,” said Ramsey. “In the past two years I was able to meet and connect with incredible individuals who have inspired me. I have the wonderful opportunity to work with people in our communities who dedicate themselves every day by showing how much they care about their neighbours, making life better for all those around them.  I am honoured to be able to recognize them for their outstanding efforts to make our community a better place with these special symbols of Canada 150. I want to thank every recipient for their continued generosity of spirit that makes our riding of Essex and Canada the best place in the world to live.”

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) presents a Canada 150 medal to ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Among the recipients was Gabby Wilkinson, a student at Amherstburg Public School. Wilkinson was six-years-old when she had problems in math class with patterns. She received help in making patterns and that led to her making bracelets.

From there, Wilkinson started selling the bracelets at an Alzheimer fundraiser in Windsor and raised $68. “Gabby’s Gifts” evolved out of that and the local youth continues to volunteer and sell treats, crafts as well as her bracelets for numerous local charities and causes, including helping the homeless.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) presents a Canada 150 medal to Amherstburg Freedom Museum board president Monty Logan.

“I was nervous and excited,” Wilkinson said about getting the award. “It was a nice surprise.”

Wilkinson is now 11-years-old and in her fifth year of helping others.

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission Tim McAllister was another local recipient. Born in Barbados, McAllister came to Canada and attended St. Clair College and became a welder. The married father of four worked in that field for several years before an auto accident involving a drunk driver cut his career short.

McAllister started volunteering with the mission with founders Andy and Pat Gervais and would eventually become president, a position he has held for the last 17 years. He is also a board member at Matthew House in Windsor. He has also won other numerous awards for his efforts.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) presents a Canada 150 medal to Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister.

“As president of the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission, I have found great pleasure in our motto ‘People Helping People’,” said McAllister. “I didn’t volunteer to receive this award but on behalf of my board of directors and volunteers, I do it with a humble and thankful heart. For all of those who volunteer and support the mission, I thank you.”

Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director at Amherstburg Community Services (ACS), was another of the medal recipients. DiBartolomeo started volunteering with ACS in 2007 as a way to give back and to support the community. She worked her way up the ladder and by 2009, she had shown the skills and passion to become the executive director.

With DiBartolomeo at the helm, ACS is in the Amherstburg, McGregor, Harrow and LaSalle communities and assists thousands of people who are vulnerable, elderly or in need. She is also willing to volunteer her time to assist other organizations who need a helping hand.

“I am very honoured and humbled by this Canada 150 medal,” DiBartolomeo stated. “To be recognized for what you love to do is rewarding and gives me and my staff the encouragement to continue serving  our community.

Team Ontario – a group of Essex-Windsor EMS members who won back-to-back gold medals at the Ralleye Rejviz international paramedic competition – were honoured by Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (centre) with Canada 150 medals. Amherstburg native Lance Huver is second from left.

Monty Logan was also recognized with a Canada 150 medal and pin. Logan, president of the Amherstburg Freedom Museum’s board of directors, was elected to that position in 2012, after joining the board the previous year.

Logan has helped guide the museum through key strategic, infrastructure, programming and fundraising initiatives as well as a transformation from the former identity as the North American Black Historical Museum to the Amherstburg Freedom Museum. Two elements of the transformation are complete – the curated archive on the Underground Railroad and the Amherstburg Freedom Summit. The final component is the Amherstburg Freedom Institute, which will focus on promoting solutions to address social and economic challenges facing young people today.

“It’s awesome to be honoured for the work we do at the museum,” said Logan. “More importantly, it’s getting our name out there. It’s an honour to be recognized for the work we do.”

Several police officers were among the medal recipients, including Amherstburg police chief Tim Berthiaume. Berthiaume, who has spent his entire career in Amherstburg, was contacted by the RTT and he said he was happy to be recognized.

“I am honoured and humbled to be recipient of the Canada 150 Medal,” said Berthiaume.

Team Ontario, the group of Essex-Windsor EMS paramedics that won gold at the Rallye Rejviz international competition, was also honoured. EMS Team Ontario members Chris Kirwin, Shawn May, Lance Huver and Mike Filiault made up the 2017 team with Huver being an Amherstburg native.

Amherstburg Police Service recognizes officers, civilians… and a dog

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Police Service’s annual awards night honoured those with two legs as well as those with four last Tuesday night.

The awards dinner, held at Riccardo’s Italian Restaurant, saw four officers, two civilians, an organization and – for the first time ever – a dog recognized as part of the night.

A Citizen Recognition Award went to Macie, a golden retriever owned by the Morden family. Macie went outside through her doggie door the morning of Aug. 19 and noticed something strange. She began barking loud enough so her owners would check what was going on.

The winners of awards at the Amherstburg Police Service awards dinner gather for a group photo. From left: Chief Tim Berthiaume (with Grant Morden and Macie), Jodi Ouellette and Joanna Conrad from the Essex County Diversion Program, town fleet mechanic Randy Riediger, Pauline Gemmell, Sr. Const. Margaret O’Brien and Sgt. Mike Cox. Absent are Sgt. Don Brown (25-year service award) and Sr. Const. Sean Gazdig (10-year service award).

“When Julie Morden looked out the window, she noticed that her vehicle door was open,” said Const. Steve Owen, the community services officer and master of ceremonies for the award presentations. “As a result, police were contacted and within 15 minutes a male was arrested in the area with several stolen items located on him that had been taken from numerous vehicles in the area.”

Also honoured with a Citizen Recognition Award was Pauline Gemmell, who served on the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB).

The Community Partnership Award went to the Essex County Diversion Program. Youth justice case manager Jodi Ouellette (left) and executive director Joanna Conrad (right) accept the award from Chief Tim Berthiaume.

“During this time, the service has maintained a competitive budget while improving the look of our police vehicles and implementing new equipment such as less lethal shotguns, carbine rifles, and body cameras. The town was also one of the safest town’s in Canada during her tenure,” said Owen.

Chief Tim Berthiaume presents a Citizen Recognition Award to Pauline Gemmell.

The Essex County Diversion Program was honoured with the Community Partnership Award.

“The Essex County Diversion Program seeks to promote and foster a healthy community by providing timely and effective intervention with at-risk youth. For those who are not familiar with extrajudicial measures, it is a program that allows youth to avoid going to court and receiving a sentence, by taking responsibility for their actions and making amends for the wrongs that they have done, through methods such as rehabilitation, community service, paying for damages, and apologizing to those they have affected,” Owen stated. “They also offer outreach programs which act as a preventative strategy to educate youth on a variety of topics such as bullying, sexting, drugs abuse, and video game addictions to name a few. Youth Diversion is a strong partner of the Amherstburg Police service and the community of Amherstburg.”

Sr. Const. Margaret O’Brien receives a 25-year service award from Chief Tim Berthiaume.

Officers receiving long-service awards included Sr. Const. Sean Gazdig, who was recognized for ten years of service. Gazdig was unable to attend the dinner.

Gazdig began his policing career in 2005 with the London Police Service and was later hired in 2007 by the Amherstburg Police Service. He began working in general patrol and is now in the traffic enforcement unit. He is a trained police motorcycle operator and he acts as a coach officer to newly hired constables.

“Each year Sean participates as an instructor for annual firearms training for the officers of both the Amherstburg and Windsor police,” Owen added.

Two officers were recognized with 25-year service awards.

Chief Tim Berthiaume presents Sgt. Mike Cox (left) with a 30-year service award.

Sr. Const. Margaret O’Brien began her policing career with the Amherstburg Police Service in 1992. She is currently a detective in the criminal investigations division.

“Maggie has received training in interviewing and interrogation, search warrant writing, asset forfeiture, and is a certified property and evidence specialist to name a few of the assets she brings to the service,” Owen pointed out.

Sgt. Don Brown, who was also unable to attend the dinner, also began with the Amherstburg Police Service in 1992. His background includes being a patrol constable, marine operator, patrol sergeant and is now the detective sergeant in the criminal investigations division.

Randy Riediger (left) receives a Chief’s Award of Excellence from Chief Tim Berthiaume.

“Don has been trained in many areas including investigating offences against children, investigative interviewing and has been a trained breath technician,” said Owen.

Receiving a 30-year service award was Sgt. Mike Cox, who began his policing career in Amherstburg in 1987.

“Mike Cox was a community police officer before there was community policing. Mike has been a fixture with our local community living organization and with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics,” said Owen. “In 2004, Mike co-founded the Amherstburg Heroes, a basketball league for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Despite not seeking recognition, Mike has been recognized for his work by the community several times. Mike has received the Exemplary Service Medal, the Chief’s Award of Excellence, the Windsor Parade Corporations 911 Community Service Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the CanDo 150 Award of Distinction.”

Cox has been trained as a breath technician and coach officer to name a few of his specialties, Owen added. He has served in many roles including constable, patrol sergeant, operations sergeant, and has previously co-ordinated our auxiliary program.

Chief Tim Berthiaume recognizes Macie, a golden retriever, with a Canine Recognition Award. Holding Macie is one of her owners, Grant Morden.

The Chief’s Award of Excellence is described as “the highest award of the Amherstburg Police Service.” It is awarded to an individual, organization or institution that has made a significant contribution to the Amherstburg Police Service or the community.

Randy Riediger, a fleet mechanic with the town since 2004, was this year’s recipient and was described as “one of the hardest workers the town of Amherstburg has known.”

Owen stated “the doors at his garage are always cycling vehicles in and out and keeping our town vehicles and notably our police vehicles on the road. His relentless work ethic has allowed our police vehicles to remain in-house for service and allowed our operating budget to remain competitive and has saved money for the taxpayers.”

Riediger’s efforts assist the Amherstburg Police Service in doing its job, Owen added.

“When our residents call police for assistance and we show up, they just see the police car pull up and the police officer get out. What they don’t see are the people like Randy who keep our service operating effectively and efficiently,” said Owen.

Chief Tim Berthiaume said the awards night was created to honour officers, residents and partners of the police service.

“Taking the time to recognize their contributions brings us together and allows us to grow together,” said Berthiaume. “Our success is dependent on all of us coming together in a positive way.”

Berthiaume thanked town staff for their roles in assisting the Amherstburg Police Service and managing its $6 million budget. Berthiaume also thanked the Amherstburg Fire Department, but joked “thanks for making the Amherstburg Police Service look so good.”

Berthiaume said working together assists everyone.

“The benefit of all this hard work is the community, our community,” the chief added.

Rumble strips headed to Alma St./Howard Ave. intersection

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Both sides of Alma St. will feature rumble strips at the Howard Ave. intersection with the aim of improving safety in the area.

Councillor Leo Meloche brought the issue forward at the last town council meeting after having it addressed the intersection’s safety previously. Statistics were available at the most recent meeting from the Amherstburg Police Service.

“We average about an accident a year, sometimes none,” said Chief Tim Berthiaume. “I am working with Mr. (Mark) Galvin on improving safety in the area.”

Berthiaume suggested one measure could be flashing lights on the stop signs.

Mark Galvin is the town’s manager of planning, development and legislative services.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said statistics show that, between 2008-17, either there were no collisions at the Howard Ave./Alma St. intersection or there were none. The exception was 2015, when there were four collisions. Some of the accidents are rear-end collisions, he added.

“The data says it is not an excessive accident area,” said DiCarlo.

Galvin said they have to “peel the onion” and examine all factors in the accidents as well as determining whether there is commonality among the accidents. The solutions the town come up with should include measures that address the accidents that are actually happening.

The town resolved to ensure rumble strips are carved into the roadways on both sides of Alma St. to ensure drivers know they are approaching the intersection.

An two-vehicle accident in late-September at that rural intersection claimed the life of a 58-year-old Harrow woman.

Town of Amherstburg asks for review of Joint Powers Agreement

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

A motion has been carried for the request from The Town of Amherstburg to review the 1994 Joint Powers Agreement, and administration will be contacting the county solicitor on how to proceed with the review.

In the 1990s, the approval of the creation and implementation of a centralized communication system, known as the 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone Reporting was created. The Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commissioner approved Bell Canada as the subscriber biller. Municipalities were responsible for providing the service, which would answer and transfer those 9-1-1 calls from the Bell lines through to the correct Remote Agency, which would then dispatch the emergency personnel.

“The Joint Powers Agreement gave the county the authority to enter into an agreement on behalf of all the joint parties for this central emergency reporting bureau,” explained Mary Birch, director of council services/clerk. “The county was billed, and then each municipality was billed based on their population. That agreement was most recently reviewed with the OPP December 13, 2015, which will last to December 12, 2020, at an annual cost, of $99,824.34 based on the residential population of 177,940.”

Birch explained, in June, a report went to Town of Amherstburg Police Chief Tim Berthiaume in regards to transferring the 9-1-1 call taking from the OPP to the Windsor Police Service. At that time, the resolutions included that transfer, and the Police Chief was directed to enter discussions with the county to terminate the agreement for the provision of 9-1-1 central emergency reporting bureau between the Ontario Provincial Police and the County of Essex.

Birch stated in her report “In July, 2017, a legal opinion was sought from County Solicitor Christine Riley, regarding implications on the Joint Powers Agreement and Agreement for CERB services with the OPP, if the Town of Amherstburg opted to terminate their participation. Ms. Riley indicated that: “Article 7 provides that no party can terminate or amend the Agreement except as provided in that section. Article 7(b)(i) states that ‘the parties may, by mutual agreement, amend or terminate this Agreement.’”

The county will be looking in to how to proceed.

 

Amherstburg police switching dispatch services to Windsor

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Police Service will be dispatched out of Windsor by year’s end with a cost savings also coming as part of a new five-year agreement with the city.

The Amherstburg Police Services Board agreed at its meeting last week that the Windsor Police Service be awarded a five-year contract for dispatching services. Currently, Amherstburg police is dispatched out of LaSalle but that will come to an end at the end of the year when the new contract with Windsor kicks in.

Windsor’s bid came in at $653,000 over the five-year period with LaSalle police’s bid being over $1.48 million over that time frame. Owen Sound police and Strathroy-Caradoc police also submitted bids with those bids being just under $1.48 million and $1.54 million respectively.

“The LaSalle Police Service will continue to provide dispatching services until the Windsor Police Service takes over. We estimate that transition should be completed by mid-December,” said Chief Tim Berthiaume.

The start-up costs with Windsor are estimated at $295,000 for hardware and software needs. Another $50,000 will be allocated for “incidental and/or unexpected expenses” related to the transfer.

“Any incidental or unexpected expenses will be funded from the existing police reserves,” said Berthiaume.

There would have been no start-up costs had Amherstburg police remained with LaSalle police for dispatching services but there would have been costs relating to upgrading equipment, including computers.

Berthiaume said dispatching costs this year are estimated at $323,000 with that being increased to about $340,000 in 2018 had the contract with LaSalle been extended, as that contract included an automatic five per cent increase. Excluding set-up costs, the chief said dispatching services from Windsor are expected to cost $71,000 next year.

Aburg Police Logo Rev-web

“This is the third time in approximately 15 years the Amherstburg police has switched dispatching providers. None of the previous providers were located in Amherstburg. As with other transitions the Windsor Police dispatchers and police personnel will be offered opportunities to ride along with our front line staff,” said Berthiaume.

The chief pointed out that the last time dispatching services were switched was when they went from Leamington to LaSalle in 2010.

The Amherstburg Police Services Board in collaboration with the Chief of Police is committed to the perpetual pursuit of finding efficiencies and costs savings, he said. Berthiaume added that the issue of dispatching was first raised at the board level in early 2016.

“During my examination of each budget line, I brought dispatching to the attention of the Amherstburg Police Services Board,” said Berthiaume. “A committee was struck to put out an RFP for dispatching services.”

The committee that examined the Request for Proposals (RFP’s) included police services board chair Patricia Simone, vice chair Bob Rozankovic and Berthiaume.

“We are very pleased with the cost saving,” said Berthiaume. “We’re always looking for efficiencies. It never stops.”

The motion passed last week accepts Windsor police’s proposal for dispatching services, Berthiaume added, and authorized Simone and Rozankovic to enter into contract talks with them. As for what would happen should council elect to switch to OPP or a regional policing model, that remains unclear.

“The exact details of the contracts are being worked on. As soon as the contract is signed it will be available to the public,” said Berthiaume.

It is anticipated that the public will not notice the change in dispatching service, the chief stated.

The switch from LaSalle police to Windsor police for dispatching services is strictly a matter of dollars and cents, Berthiaume emphasized.

“I think it’s important to acknowledge the LaSalle Police Service. The switch from LaSalle to Windsor is about cost savings, not service,” said Berthiaume. “LaSalle is a first-class police service. They are more than just a neighbouring organization. They are a valued partner.

Berthiaume said LaSalle police features Amherstburg’s friends and colleagues and “I am committed to maintaining the valued relationship we have built with them.”