Tim Berthiaume

APSB thanks officers, recognizes service at recent dinner

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Police Service and the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB) recognized officers for their service as well as the service itself last week.

A dinner was held at Riccardo’s Italian Restaurant last Tuesday night and featured current and past members of the Amherstburg Police Service and the APSB in attendance. Among the former members that came back were retired chief Roger Hollingworth, former mayor Wayne Hurst, former councillor John Sutton as well as Pauline Gemmell and Frank Cleminson.

Bob Rozankovic, the current APSB chair, said he thanked the officers for their service to the town and to “remind the officers that the community loves them.” He said the officers’ careers are rooted here and that the town will always appreciate their service.

Const. Nick Dupuis (left) receives his five-year award from Chief Tim Berthiaume. (Submitted photo)

Chief Tim Berthiaume recalled that he wanted to become a police officer when he was a youth and his aspirations came true.

“I’ve been living my dream the entire time,” said Berthiaume.

Berthiaume thanked the men and women of the Amherstburg Police Service, calling them the “backbone” of the service.

“You are the very best at what you do,” Berthiaume told them. “Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.”

Berthiaume said the board has been always been very supportive of him during his eight years as chief, and praised the current board as it had to endure stress and issues as part of the process which saw town council vote to switch policing to Windsor.

“This board has gone through a very difficult time,” said Berthiaume. “You got blamed for things you had nothing to do with. You persevered. You have got us through the toughest time the Amherstburg Police Service has ever experienced.”

Const. Shawn McCurdy (left) accepts his 25-year award from Chief Tim Berthiaume. (Submitted photo)

Berthiaume also praised APSB secretary Nancy Leavoy, calling her “the glue that holds us together.” He also thanked Hollingworth, with Berthiaume noting that he had tough shoes to fill after Hollingworth retired. He said the board “took a chance on me” as chief and “you allowed me to be me.”

Saying that serving the community is “God’s work,” Berthiaume added that his service could not have been done without the support of his wife Mary and their family. He continued to praise the officers by noting the police work often sees officers have to miss holidays and birthdays but praised the families for allowing them to do it.

As part of the dinner, Const. Nick Dupuis was recognized for his five years of service. Const. Shawn McCurdy was also recognized with McCurdy honoured for his 25 years of service.

 

Hazen Price recognized for his 95th birthday, seven decades in Rotary

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Rotary Club of Amherstburg paid tribute to its longest-serving member last week though he was a little taken aback at being the centre of attention.

“I don’t think I’m going to live long enough to live up to the expectations,” quipped Hazen Price, as he addressed fellow Rotarians and guests last Wednesday night at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157.

The Rotary Club of Amherstburg presented a special celebration in Price’s honour as Price has now been a Rotarian for 70 years. He also was honoured for his 95th birthday, which actually arrived last Saturday.

Despite honours from dignitaries and fellow Rotarians, Price remained humble and said after the celebration that he was “very embarrassed to say the least.” He said he has always enjoyed the fellowship within the club.

“I’ve always enjoyed the Rotary Club and I probably wouldn’t be here as long if I didn’t,” he said.

Councillor Leo Meloche (right) presents Hazen Price with recognition on behalf of the Town of Amherstburg. Price has been in the Rotary Club 70 years and just turned 95-years-old.

Price pointed out the saving of the Park House Museum as one of his major accomplishments, though his name has also been attached to the Gibson Gallery, Gibb House, John R. Park Homestead and a second pensioner’s cottage. The progress made to eradicate polio is another accomplishment Price has seen in his years in Rotary.

There have been changes to the club itself in his seven decades, Price noted. When he started, women were not allowed to be members. Attendance was also important early on, as regular meeting attendance was required but that has since been relaxed.

Price said he was the young member of the Rotary Club of Amherstburg when he first joined.

“Ol’ Doc Hutchinson Sr. came to the farm and asked if I would consider joining,” he recalled. “I was 20 years younger than everyone else.”

Despite being in an uncomfortable position as the guest of honour, Price said he was grateful for the kind thoughts and gifts.

“I appreciate their thoughts about the work I’ve done,” he said. “It’s really nice to be appreciated.”

Patti Hayes, outreach and community assistant with Essex MPP Taras Natyshak’s office, represented both Natyshak and Essex MP Tracey Ramsey.

“Your volunteerism is an inspiration to everyone,” said Hayes.

Rotary Club of Amherstburg president Dan Hunt (right) bestows praise on Hazen Price April 25. Price just turned 95-years-old and has been a Rotarian for 70 years.

Councillor Leo Meloche, representing the Town of Amherstburg, said he researched what it means to be a Rotarian, with his research concluding that “being a Rotarian is a way of life and can be a satisfying lifelong adventure for those who are willing to give of themselves to enjoy and benefit from all that Rotary has to offer.”

Meloche added that “Hazen Price truly exemplifies what a Rotarian is.”

Police chief Tim Berthiaume thanked Price “for all that you do” and said many don’t realize how much the Rotary Club accomplishes in the community. Price was presented a “Chief’s Award of Excellence” with Berthiaume stating that Price would have earned such recognition 50 years ago.

Assistant Rotary District Governor Peggy Little also thanked Price for his accomplishments and for his dedication with past District Governor Neil McBeth pointing out Price was one of the first people he met in Rotary.

“It is because of dedicated members like you that we are Rotarians making a difference,” said McBeth.

Laura George, a past president of the Rotary Club of Amherstburg, pointed out that a $100 donation was made to the Park House in Price’s honour. She called Price her biggest supporter and that when she was deciding whether or not Rotary was for her, Price gave her helpful advice.

“You have a very special place in my heart,” George told Price.

Rotary Club of Amherstburg president Dan Hunt also had kind words for Price.

“He is a very special man,” said Hunt.

Magnitude 4.1 earthquake rumbles through town

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Where were you when the earthquake hit?

At approximately 8:01 p.m. Thursday night, an earthquake shook southwestern Ontario and southeastern Michigan with the epicentre of the quake being reported near Alma St. and Concession 5.

It was originally confirmed as a Magnitude 3.6 earthquake by the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) but has since been upgraded to a Magnitude 4.1 earthquake by Natural Resources Canada. It was felt throughout Windsor-Essex County and parts of Michigan.

The depth of the earthquake was reported at

The RTT was covering an event at General Amherst High School Thursday night when the quake hit. People in attendance questioned what the rumbling was as the floor shook but the event – a meeting on the various pathways students can take during and after high school – carried on without major interruption.

The Amherstburg Fire Department activated the “Amherstburg Alert” mass notification system later in the evening and informed residents of the situation. The update also confirmed that there was no danger from the Fermi II nuclear power plant in Monroe, Michigan.

“Amherstburg officials and Fermi Nuclear Plant have been in contact. It is confirmed that Fermi has been shut down since the last weekend and is at no risk of damage from the earthquake,” stated Amherstburg fire chief/community emergency management co-ordinator Bruce Montone in a press release.

No injuries or damage have been reported but if there are people who sustained damage, they are asked to report it to emergency officials.

Terry Hall, who lives on the top floor of an eight-storey apartment building on Dalhousie St., initially thought it was a quarry blast.

“There was a loud rumble in the building,” said Hall. “The dishes started shaking. My kitchen floor started going up and down. I was wondering what had happened.”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said he was “stunned” when he learned that it was an earthquake but was pleased with the town’s response. He said he was at home when the earthquake occurred.

“I was just settling down to relax a little bit for the night and watch TV in the basement,” said DiCarlo, “and boom, it came rolling in.”

The epicentre of an April 19 earthquake was in Amherstburg. It was originally pegged as a Magnitude 3.6 earthquake but was upgrade to a Magnitude 4.1 quake. (Image from USGS website)

DiCarlo said his first impression was that of some type of explosion, such as a gas line or fuel tank. He was also reminded of what quarry blasts felt like at his home, though noted the quarry blasts were “moderate and properly done.

“It was the same sensation with a boom and some shaking,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo said he immediately contacted Montone and police chief Tim Berthiaume and while there was some initial thought it was a sonic boom, it was quickly determined it was an earthquake. He said they had to get confirmation from Canadian officials but stated there were “boots on the ground” ensuring the town’s infrastructure was fine and that there was no damage.

Another inspection of area infrastructure was scheduled for Friday.

There was no immediate danger to the public, DiCarlo added, and if there was any danger to the public, an alert would have went out quicker. They also wanted to confirm as much information as possible before relaying it to the public.

“It made no sense to say ‘we felt it too, we’ll get back to you’,” said the mayor.

DiCarlo added he was happy with the initial real-world use of the Amherstburg Alert system and they are taking feedback from the public on how it worked. Those who haven’t signed up for the alerts can do so at www.amherstburg.ca/alert. Thousands of land lines were already registered into the system but those who would like to register cell phones, e-mail addresses and fax numbers can still do so.

“Operations-wise, it went phenomenal,” said DiCarlo.

Town leadership quickly assembled at town hall and firefighters and police officers were out in the community to check for damage or any other issues.

“Communication was excellent,” said DiCarlo.

“Sunshine List” released for 2017

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The “Sunshine List” is out showing public sector salaries for 2017.

The salaries are released under the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act which requires most organizations that receive public funding from Ontario to disclose annually the names, positions, salaries and total taxable benefits of employees paid $100,000 or more in the previous calendar year.

The Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act applies to the provincial government, Crown agencies and corporations, Ontario Power Generation and subsidiaries, publicly funded organizations such as hospitals, municipalities, school boards, universities and colleges, and not-for-profit organizations that meet a funding threshold.

The $100,000 threshold has not changed since the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act was enacted in 1996, and has not been adjusted to keep up with inflation.

In Amherstburg, a total of 38 municipal employees made the list, up from the 36 that made the list last year. Of the 38 employees that made the over $100,000 in 2017, 25 of them were members of the Amherstburg Police Service. That is the same number of police officers that appeared on the “Sunshine List” for both the 2015 and 2016 disclosure years as well.

Four members of the Amherstburg Fire Department made the list for 2017.

CAO John Miceli earned $196,523.43, the most of any Amherstburg employee in 2017. Police chief Tim Berthiaume was second with earnings of $171,643.54 while deputy police chief Ian Chappell earned $139,278.33.

Other Amherstburg employees on the list included, in alphabetical order, Const. Fred Adair at $109,627.39, manager of planning services Rebecca Belanger at $111,354.44, Const. Rory Bennett at $119,386.30, Const. David Bohdal at $120,208.52, Sgt. Don Brown at $133,618.56, Const. Viktor Burany at $109,048.47, Sgt. Matt Capel-Cure at $129,675.50, firefighter/training officer Andrew Challans at $117,953.62, Const. Aaron Chambers at $109,636.39, Sgt. Mike Cox at $109,286.27, Const. Nick D’Amore at $117,990.19, Const. Chris Dean at $108,502.64, Const. Nicholaus Dupuis at $115,288.69, firefighter Jason Durocher at $129,601.41, Const. Tim Ford at $106,727.99 and director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin at $136,096.31.

The list of Amherstburg employees making over $100,000 last year also includes Const. Sean Gazdig at $113,550.64, director of engineering and public works Antonietta Giofu at $124,137.74, Const. Nathan Harris at $115,510.91, manager of engineering and public works Todd Hewitt at $104,704.34, Const. Shawn McCurdy at $105,771.82, Const. Margaret O’Brien at $113,106.57, Const. Rocco Pelaccia at $114,592.52, Const. Ryan Pizzala at $106,810.60, Const. Christian Pottle at $103,032.70, Const. Kim Rathbone at $102,545.77, Const. Chris Renaud at $103,666.59 and Sgt. Scott Riddell at $118,598.16.

Also on the list were manager of human resources Michelle Rose at $112,274.87, treasurer Justin Rousseau at $124,137.74, Const. Paul Smith at $110,619.89, Sgt. Melissa Taylor at $126.315.35, Const. B.J. Wiley at $115,685.23 and firefighters Rick and Randy Wismer at $124,475.63 and $127,398.76 respectively.

There were 33 employees with the County of Essex that made the Public Salary Disclosure List for 2017. That list includes 15 members of Essex-Windsor EMS.

The county’s list includes the former and current CAO’s as Brian Gregg, who retired in the fall, was listed at $150,965.62 while Rob Maisonville, who had been director of corporate services/treasurer before taking over for Gregg as CAO, earned $162,855.83.

Others making the county’s list for 2017 included EMS district chief Jean-Pierre Bacon at $111,646.97, director of infrastructure services Tom Bateman at $133,607.89, manager of budget and administration Paula Beattie at $100,393.49, EMS district chief Sarah Bezaire at $106,727.71, director of county and community services/clerk Mary Brennan at $124,988.98, EMS district chief Tyson Brohman at $114,790.94, director of nursing at the Sun Parlour Home Jayne Brooks Keller at $107,609.49 and manager of design and construction Peter Bziuk at $108,429.78.

The Essex Civic Centre

The County of Essex also saw others on the “Sunshine List,” including advanced care paramedic Justin Campeau at $114,324.54, advanced care paramedic Ziad Fatallah at $109,443.54, EMS district chief John Fast at $119,077.87, EMS deputy chief of planning and physical resources Christopher Grant at $144,298.15, registered nurse Kim Hodgson at $100,470.47, EMS district chief John Jacobs at $122,423.19, EMS district chief Michael Jacobs at $122,921.10, advanced care paramedic Anthony Jaroszewicz at $100,000.58, primary care paramedic Nicholas Jovanovic at $102,404.76, manager of accounting Michael Kappl at $110,699.78 and manager of planning Bill King at $100,699.83.

The Public Salary Disclosure List for the county also included EMS Chief Bruce Krauter at $109,308.35, EMS deputy chief of professional standards Justin Lammers at $109,940.80, EMS deputy chief of operations Ryan Lemay at $125,504.53, registered nurse Kristine Malott at $100,346.11, EMS district chief Denis McFarlane at $118,614.36, Sun Parlour Home administrator Lynda Monik at $131,131.08, EMS district chief Mechelle Murphy at $120,045.69, manager of transportation, planning and development Jane Mustac at $108,359.78, manager of maintenance operations Kenneth Newman at $119,629.03, director of human resources Greg Schlosser at $123,450.57, manager of information technology Wendy St. Amour at $105,153.67 and primary care paramedic Arnold Wenzler at $104,794.73.

 

Cost of police clearances becomes a concern of council members

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg town council lent its voice to the issue of volunteers having to pay for multiple police clearances.

The matter arose due to a letter that was included on the agenda as part of Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB) minutes on the matter. Amherstburg St. Vincent de Paul Society member Dan Laing wrote the board with concerns about the organizations volunteers having to repeatedly pay for police clearances.

Long-time volunteers have had to obtain clearances and, with those volunteers also having to be fingerprinted, it brought the cost to $85 for one clearance, the letter stated.

“It is a common theme that most of our male members should now be fingerprinted like common criminals to prove their identity,” Laing’s letter stated. “I think this is ridiculous and no way to treat volunteers who are doing their best to keep Amherstburg the safest community in Canada.”

Laing wrote that volunteers from other organizations have been experiencing similar issues.

“Our SSVP conference is composed of single ladies and 15 couples ranging in age from 60 to 92. Most of the couples who go out on calls together, never alone, have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary,” the letter added. “As well most of us have lived in this community our whole lives and if we were law breakers it would be well known to the local police. I would appreciate it if we could be excused from the fingerprinting requirement at this time or at least the cost of this pointless exercise.”

Laing added: “A new policy concerning the treatment of volunteers who are requesting police clearance would also be most helpful.”

Councillor Joan Courtney raised the issue, noting such volunteers don’t get paid for what they do and are “trying to make life better for residents of Amherstburg.”

Chief Tim Berthiaume said that it is employers and insurance companies who are the ones that seek police clearances and the rules are governed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

“We are working on a policy to help these groups out,” said Berthiaume.

Councillor Rick Fryer called for the fingerprint policy to be changes, stating “once you have the fingerprints once, you have the fingerprints on file.”

Not so, stated Berthiaume.

The police chief stated the fingerprints are not kept in town and are sent electronically to the RCMP. The RCMP doesn’t retain the fingerprint copies, he added.

“It’s not our rule, it’s an RCMP rule,” said Berthiaume. “That’s what leads to the frustration.”

Councillor Jason Lavigne said the RCMP isn’t allowed by law to keep the fingerprints and said the APSB may be able to absorb some of the costs. Fryer voiced concern with that possibility, stating “it’s going to come out of our budget.”