News

ERCA hosts annual Festival of Hawks

 

A great horned owl is fed at the Canadian Peregrine Foundation’s tent during the Festival of Hawks 2014 at Holiday Beach Conservation Area on Sept. 14. Photo by Adam D’Andrea

A great horned owl is fed at the Canadian Peregrine Foundation’s tent during the Festival of Hawks 2014 at Holiday Beach Conservation Area on Sept. 14. Photo by Adam D’Andrea

Former Holiday Beach Migration Observatory president Bob Hall-Brooks shows a cardinal to a crowd during the Festival of Hawks 2014 at Holiday Beach Conservation Area on Sept. 14. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

Former Holiday Beach Migration Observatory president Bob Hall-Brooks shows a cardinal to a crowd during the Festival of Hawks 2014 at Holiday Beach Conservation Area on Sept. 14. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

By Adam D’Andrea

 

Local bird enthusiasts flocked to Holiday Beach Conservation Area last weekend, armed with binoculars, cameras and an eagerness to learn about their favourite animals.

Hosted by the Essex Region Conservation Authority and the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory, the first weekend of the 2014 Festival of Hawks gave bird lovers a chance to see thousands of migrating hawks, songbirds, hummingbirds, dragonflies and butterflies. Various workshops and walks were also held during the weekend, including amphibian, dragonfly and monarch butterfly walks.

“People will travel all around the world to Amherstburg for fall migration and it’s something we have right here in our backyard,” said Danielle Stuebing, ERCA’s director of community outreach services.

According to Stuebing, Holiday Beach is a great spot to witness the migration because of the narrow crossing point across the Great Lakes, as birds prefer not to fly across open water. “It’s almost like a geographical funnel.”

Stuebing was happy with the attendance throughout the first weekend of the festival, which will resume Sept. 24-25 and feature activities such as digiscoping, blue sky photography workshops and dark sky night star gazing. One popular aspect of the event is the Adopt-a-Hawk program, where participants can have their pictures taken with birds before allowing them to go back to the wild.

“We actually having a banding program so people can see them very closely and have a chance to adopt a bird, hold it and release it back into the wild,” Stuebing said.

Distracted driving, not wearing a seatbelt factors in Sept. 6 fatal accident : Amherstburg police

 

Amherstburg police investigated a fatal crash Sept. 6 on Concession 2 North. Eighteen-year-old Emily Bernauer of LaSalle was killed in the crash.

Amherstburg police investigated a fatal crash Sept. 6 on Concession 2 North. Eighteen-year-old Emily Bernauer of LaSalle was killed in the crash.

Texting while driving and not wearing a seatbelt are contributing factors to the crash that killed 18-year-old Emily Bernauer of LaSalle, states the Amherstburg Police Service.

The accident occurred in the early evening hours Sept. 6. Amherstburg police state the car left the road and crashed into a front yard of a residence on Concession 2 North after striking a mailbox and partially ejecting Bernauer from the vehicle. Police say that investigators have determined that distracted driving (texting) is a contributing factor in the cause of the accident. Investigators have also determined the Bernauer was not wearing her seatbelt at the time of the accident and this was a contributing factor in her death. “This is accident is a tragic lesson in why we have laws for texting while driving and wearing your seat belt. This unfortunate accident was preventable,” said Sr. Const. Shawn McCurdy, Amherstburg police’s media relations officer, in a press release.

The Amherstburg Police Service is advising that it is an offence under the Highway Traffic Act to text and/or use your cell phone while driving a motor vehicle without a hands free device. The set fine for using a hand held communication device is $280, police say. It is also an offence under the Highway Traffic Act to not wear your seatbelt with the fine for failing to properly wear seatbelt being $250.

“However more importantly, these careless acts can be a danger to you or someone else’s life!” the release added. “Please do not text and drive and please always wear your seat belt!”

The accident investigation will continue.

Anyone with information or may have witnessed the accident is asked to contact the Amherstburg Police Service at 519-736-3622 or Windsor/Essex Crime Stoppers at 519-258-8477.

Adler aims to bring business, marketing and media background to mayor’s chair

 

Marty Adler

Marty Adler

By Ron Giofu

 

A business owner and former media personality has thrown his hat in the ring and is seeking the mayor’s chair.

Marty Adler, a former show host and sports broadcaster, is running for mayor. Adler stated he would joke with Mayor Wayne Hurst that if Hurst didn’t run, he would and when Hurst announced his intention not to run in July, Adler began seriously thinking about a run himself.

“I come from a world of business, marketing and media, all things I think Amherstburg could benefit from,” said Adler.

Council needs a “makeover,” he believed, adding that he could help in that regard.

In addition to his broadcasting background, Adler noted that he started Jupiter Computer Games in the mid-1970s before selling it in the early 1980s and then founded Great Lakes Television during a strike at CBC in 1982. He noted he has written and produced several commercials and shows as well as corporate videos.

“I never started any business until I could pay for the business,” said Adler. “I didn’t buy anything unless I knew I had the money or the money coming in, something that’s been an issue in this community.”

Adler believes all members of council love their community but doesn’t believe they received financial information in the past that was complete or as informative as they should be.

“They have to be able to think with their heads, not their hearts,” said Adler.

The perception of Amherstburg has to change, he believes, and he said he would avoid saying “no comment” on issues. If he had to, Adler said “I would tell you why I’m saying ‘no comment’.” Stating what the media has been reporting about Amherstburg has been correct and factual, Adler said the media is looking at the town with a “half-empty” point-of-view.

“I will look at things as half-full,” he said.

Adler added “I would actually want the press in all of my meetings. I want them to see how we interact.”

Things in Amherstburg aren’t as bad as people are led to believe, he stated.

“Amherstburg isn’t in as much trouble as people think they are,” he said. “We have to get the word out.”

Adler noted the town is a corporation and he outlined what he believes is the purpose of a corporation.

“The purpose of a corporation is to make money for its shareholders,” said Adler. “The shareholders of the town of Amherstburg are its taxpayers.”

Adler said he has heard from developers who are “chomping at the bit” to get projects started here, adding development is a key to keep taxes in line or even getting taxes lowered.

“The more development in Amherstburg, the more taxes go to the town and more taxes means we can cover more of our expenses,” said Adler.

Adler quoted figures put forth by director of finance Justin Rousseau that 61 per cent of the town’s debt is tied up in the wastewater treatment plant. He believed the town’s financial issues are “good people doing bad spending” with money they didn’t have and said he wants to keep properties that are making money and sell properties that aren’t.

As for the Deloitte report, Adler said he was annoyed the report didn’t ask questions of those who used to work in the finance department.

“Where are they today and why did they leave?” Adler asked.

Getting people to want to come to Amherstburg is another priority.

“What I’m going to do is make Amherstburg a location on everyone’s list,” he said. “Once in Amherstburg, it’s up to us to sell them.”

Believing a hotel would act as an “anchor” in Amherstburg, Adler said he would like to see an investor build a hotel, marina and playhouse on the site where Duffy’s currently stands.

“You’d have people coming from far and wide,” said Adler. “It would be a destination that Windsor doesn’t have – a playhouse with a small-town feel.”

Making people better is something that Adler said he has done throughout his career and states he would continue that if elected mayor. He acknowledged he hasn’t served on council before, but believed that “maybe that’s to my advantage.”

“I think I can find a way to make good news front page news,” he said.

During his career, Adler said he did what was necessary to be number one and would bring that attitude to the mayor’s office.

 

Transparency and accountability staples of DiCarlo’s mayoral bid

 

Aldo DiCarlo

Aldo DiCarlo

By Ron Giofu

 

A need for greater transparency, accountability and fixing the town’s finances are among the top priority for Aldo DiCarlo.

DiCarlo is running for mayor, having filed his nomination papers last week. He said he has always had an interest in politics and, after encouragement from friends and family, decided to run for the town’s top political job.

Having spent 11 years as a union president at the University of Windsor, where he works as a physics laboratory co-ordinator, and two terms (six years) on the university’s board of governors gives what DiCarlo believes is significant experience. He noted his work on the board of governors has given him a background in finance, budgeting, pensions, labour relations, “and just about everything you would have in a public service environment,” adding the institution has a $200 million budget.

“It was a very broad, diverse role.”

DiCarlo said he dealt with many of the same issues as union president and is currently a part-time facilitator with CUPE national, a role which he said wouldn’t interfere with his mayoral bid.

His roles on the university’s board of governors as well as his union work are comparable to council, he believed.

“They all operate very much the same but under more specific issues related to their fields,” he said.

The town’s financial issues are a hot topic for many, he noted, and it is for him as well.

“Everyone’s big issues is town finances,” said DiCarlo. “As far as finances go, I’ve got a pretty strong background.”

DiCarlo believes that, “top to bottom, I think I have what the town is looking for in a mayor. I’m told I’m a pretty good people person too. I’m not just a number cruncher.”

Getting Amherstburg into a “much better financial position” is a top goal for DiCarlo. He said the financial picture is clearer than it was six months or one year ago and he admits it is a tougher time than usual to try for the mayor’s job.

“This is probably a scary time to be taking over the reins,” said DiCarlo. “Now, a lot of hard decisions are going to have to be made.”

He added: “Quite clearly, we spent more money than we had.”

Two other big priorities are transparency and accountability, with DiCarlo noting that while he doesn’t want to be critical of the current council, it appears to him they “missed the boat” on what the residents want.

“I think town hall meetings could be much more open,” he believes.

DiCarlo stated he has chaired large meetings and said while they can’t become a free-for-all, there still could be opportunity for greater input. If certain items such as issues from residents can’t be accommodated during a regular session of council, he is open to town hall meetings and would want one early in his term, if elected.

“I’m big on involving as many people as possible,” said

Citizens need to have a greater voice, he maintained, and while acknowledging that not everyone is going to be pleased with decisions, a majority opinion should be garnered and the town could move forward. He added that even councillors have had their ideas voted down during this term of council.

“My position would be to share as much information as possible,” said DiCarlo.

Although stating he has held in-camera meetings at his previous posts, DiCarlo believes there is more information the public should be privy to and said the only way he would go in-camera is if he had legal advice telling him there was no choice.

“Why aren’t we discussing everything openly?” he said.

When decisions were made in his roles as a member of the board of governors or as union president, he made them in the best interest of all, he said, and plans carrying that over to town council, if elected.

“In any decisions being made, I’ll make them for the people who elected me as mayor,” he pledged.

At the University of Windsor, DiCarlo said he works for the faculty and the students because his money is earned through tuition fees and government funds.

“As mayor, I would operate the exact same way,” he said. “I work for you, you don’t work for me.”

DiCarlo said he doesn’t want to micromanage, but said it is council’s role to oversee administration.

“If people are telling me something is wrong, I will address it. Period,” he said.

He also wants to find a way to further promote the town for everything it has.

“We have a lot of small town charm,” said DiCarlo. “Why isn’t (the town) better known?”

 

 

Amlin aims to bring EMS background to council to deal with “challenges”

 

Larry Amlin is running for a town councillor position in the Oct. 27 election.

Larry Amlin is running for a town councillor position in the Oct. 27 election.

By Ron Giofu

 

When Larry Amlin retired from Essex-Windsor EMS, he moved back to his hometown. Now, he wants to work for his hometown as a councillor.

Amlin has filed his nomination papers for the Oct. 27 election and said he now has the time to fully devote himself to a councillor position.

“After retiring in 2010 from Essex-Windsor EMS, I moved back to Amherstburg. It’s my hometown. It’s where I grew up,” said Amlin. “I look at (being a councillor) as a challenge because of the situation we have now.”

Amlin acknowledged there will be a learning curve for him but said he will not make any promises, other than to work hard for the residents.

“I’m going to work hard for the constituents and be very transparent for the constituents,” he said.

Amlin’s career started with the now-former AAM Volunteer Ambulance Service and that developed into a 38-year career in the EMS profession. He was an operations manager with the Windsor Provincial Ambulance Service before coming to Essex-Windsor EMS when the services amalgamated. He retired as a district chief.

“We dealt with unions and different negotiations, I’ve dealt with big budgets as operations manager in Windsor,” said Amlin. “I try to empower people. By empowering people, you get more feedback. That’s the key to it – involving people. I’m a people person.”

Stating he has no personal agendas, Amlin said he is willing and has time to debate issues and read and research them.

“When I go into a meeting, I leave my ego at the door,” he said.

Often times it pays to see what others are doing, Amlin added, rather than “reinventing the wheel.”

While not trying to be critical of the current council, he has noticed a division.

“There seems to be sides taken. I’m not into that,” he said.

Amlin has won a Governor General’s Award for his service to community and his profession and was a founding member of the House of Shalom Youth Centre. Working with youth is something he said he has done extensively, with other achievements being his role on the Windsor Parade Corporation board of directors and a background in disaster planning.

“I have excellent communication with all emergency services in Essex County,” he said.

Amlin would like to see small industry brought to town and while it is important to get the town’s finances in order, he said the new council can’t focus exclusively on that. Having a vision for where Amherstburg is going is key, noting the town will be 20 minutes from the new bridge. He’d like to see the town work closer with the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Commission to bring new industry and jobs to town.

“Accountability is a big word everyone likes to throw around these days but you have to be accountable to the citizens. It’s their money,” said Amlin.

Amlin said he is a big fan of keeping services local and believes Amherstburg has a lot to offer.

“It’s a great little town. The infrastructure is there,” he said.