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Councillor John Sutton announces he is running for mayor

 

Councillor John Sutton has announced he is running for mayor in the Oct. 27 municipal election. Deputy Mayor Ron Sutherland is the only other candidate that has filed thus far.

Councillor John Sutton has announced he is running for mayor in the Oct. 27 municipal election. Deputy Mayor Ron Sutherland is the only other candidate that has filed thus far.

By Ron Giofu

 

There is now a mayor’s race as Councillor John Sutton has announced he is running for the position.

“It’s something that I’ve been mulling over the last couple of years,” said Sutton, adding he was “inundated” with requests to run.

Sutton said they need leadership to get the town through the financial challenges.

“We’ve got to engage the larger community in this,” he said.

Sutton, who was first elected to council in 2006, stated as the town looks to grow it must also deal “head on” with the financial challenges.

“It is well documented that reserves have been spent and budgets changed without council knowledge or approval,” said Sutton. “Consequently, we need leadership to engage the community in meeting our fiscal challenges and restoring our image as a vibrant, historic, affordable, accessible and fun place in which to live and invest.  Quite frankly, we need to put politics aside and put Amherstburg first!”

Sutton said his plan would be to go through every department and work with the town’s unionized workforce to find the most cost effective ways of delivering services. Savings could be used to reduce debt or replenish reserves, he stated.

“Council is going to have to adopt a plan and stick to that plan,” he said. “We will meet our fiscal challenges by developing and implementing plans that replenish our reserves and effectively manage our debt.”

He pledged, “the financial information delivered to council and the community alike will be completely transparent and readily ‘verifiable.’”

Replenishing reserves and managing debt will be a “pillar” of Sutton’s campaign with another being to work with the community, council and administration in a strategic planning process.

“We will then deliver budgets that support our plan and provide the high level of service our town expects and deserves. To monitor our progress, we will report on our strategic plan in an annual community report card,” he said.

A third pillar of his campaign will be to work with business leaders to help advise council and administration on the most effective ways to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

Sutton also aims to promote the town as active and environmentally friendly.

“We will continue our work with ERCA to protect the Big Creek Watershed, respond to the demands of climate change on our infrastructure, and continue our reforestation efforts. At the same time, we will fulfill our commitment to the County Wide Active Transportation system and work to make our town even more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. These plans must include a solution to the long awaited Texas Road reconstruction project.”

Texas Road had been approved last year but had to be shelved when the town’s financial issues came to light.

Sutton said he would establish a Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council to allow young people to have input in town government and to recognize the contributions of youth in the community.

“At the end of the day, we’ve had enough negativity,” he said. “For every challenge we have, let’s turn it into opportunity, put our best foot forward so we are in the paper for all the right reasons.”

While stating he has learned a lot from Mayor Wayne Hurst, he said he is a consensus builder with his own leadership style.

“Anyone who thinks I’m a clone of the current mayor doesn’t know me very well,” said Sutton.

Sutton said most people “are confident, courageous, generous and persevering” and “those are the people whom I would be honored and privileged to represent and serve as mayor of our great town, and those are the people whose support I seek in this endeavor.”

Deputy Mayor Ron Sutherland is also running for mayor. Sutherland announced his intentions in January.

Verdi Club Festival organizers pleased with weekend

 

The sounds of Motown were heard as part of the “Legends Live!” show that was held July 19 inside the Verdi Club. That show was sold out with strong attendance reported for the “Greatest Hits Live” show that was held at the same time outside.

The sounds of Motown were heard as part of the “Legends Live!” show that was held July 19 inside the Verdi Club. That show was sold out with strong attendance reported for the “Greatest Hits Live” show that was held at the same time outside.

The City Lights Band performs outside July 20 during the Verdi Club Festival.

The City Lights Band performs outside July 20 during the Verdi Club Festival.

Lizzy Smith has her face painted by Chantelle Boismier of "Funky Faces" July 20.

Lizzy Smith has her face painted by Chantelle Boismier of “Funky Faces” July 20.

Plenty of food was enjoyed at the festival with a group of volunteers helping to man the  barbecue where  shishkabobs were being prepared.

Plenty of food was enjoyed at the festival with a group of volunteers helping to man the
barbecue where
shishkabobs were being prepared.

Sunday’s (July 20) activities at the Verdi Club Festival were geared towards families. The Amherstburg Fire Department were on hand to allow kids a chance to see the fire trucks up close. Ashton Zimmerman takes his turn behind the wheel.

Sunday’s (July 20) activities at the Verdi Club Festival were geared towards families. The Amherstburg Fire Department were on hand to allow kids a chance to see the fire trucks up close. Ashton Zimmerman takes his turn behind the wheel.

Tony DiCarlo was part of a Verdi Club bocce team that participated in a bocce tournament outside at the Verdi Club July 20. The tournament drew teams from as far as London.

Tony DiCarlo was part of a Verdi Club bocce team that participated in a bocce tournament outside at the Verdi Club July 20. The tournament drew teams from as far as London.

“The Four Muskateers” play their accordians July 20 as part of the Verdi Club Festival.

“The Four Muskateers” play their accordians July 20 as part of the Verdi Club Festival.

here was a children’s showcase as well as a talent show held Sunday afternoon inside the main hall. Children wave to the crowd prior to the start of the children’s showcase.

here was a children’s showcase as well as a talent show held Sunday afternoon inside the main hall. Children wave to the crowd prior to the start of the children’s showcase.

By Ron Giofu

 

The Verdi Club Festival has concluded for another year with the organizing committee chair saying it was “hugely successful.”

“It just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” Lucio Salvati said of the festival.

Salvati said everything went well, from last Friday’s golf tournament through Sunday’s children’s talent show. The “Legends Live!” show Saturday night was sold out inside the Verdi Club with the “Greatest Hits Live” show in the pavilion outside the main hall also had a good crowd, Salvati reported.

“Everyone really enjoyed the fireworks,” he added.

The bocce tournament held Sunday drew 50 teams, with some coming from as far as London.

“Everyone loves the food,” said Salvati, who praised the staff and volunteers who helped work during this year’s Verdi Club Festival.

Salvati thanked the community for coming out, the sponsors and the organizing committee for helping to present the festival.

Fraserville resident seeking nuisance program for mosquitoes by December

 

A mosquito, with sack full of blood, sits on a door screen belonging to Fraserville resident Brenda Kokko, who took the photo. Kokko is one of many residents aiming for a nuisance program to be put in place along with the current West Nile Virus program to combat the annual mosquito problem in that area of Amherstburg.

A mosquito, with sack full of blood, sits on a door screen belonging to Fraserville resident Brenda Kokko, who took the photo. Kokko is one of many residents aiming for a nuisance program to be put in place along with the current West Nile Virus program to combat the annual mosquito problem in that area of Amherstburg.

By Ron Giofu

 

The mosquitoes in Fraserville have been a long-standing issue and a Girard St. resident is pressing the town to have a nuisance program adopted later this year.

Brenda Kokko is aiming to have a nuisance program adopted by the end of the year. She said she wants it in place by then to ensure that when next spring rolls around, the program can be instituted to give residents in that subdivision some long-awaited relief.

Town council, at its July 14 meeting, authorized administration to work with GDG Environmental on finding solutions to the problem through a nuisance program and to report back to council with answers to questions posed by Kokko. Kokko acknowledges the program will cost money but believes the town can’t delay any further in getting a nuisance program in place.

“I want a Christmas present,” said Kokko. “I want it approved by December.”

Kokko said her husband has lived in the Fraserville area for 45 years and she has been there eight years with the couple battling the problem for most of those years.

“I’ve been here eight years and it’s been unbearable for eight years,” said Kokko. “It’s really been a long time.”

The Fraserville resident said she has repeatedly e-mailed council members about the issue with some being very interested in finding solutions while others haven’t been as responsive. She admitted she has some concerns about it being an election year and whether new council members will be up to speed but she said she will try and keep candidates informed on the matter so a decision can be made and a program started early next year.

“I’m looking to reduce the population of mosquitoes so we can have a quality of life in our neighbourhood,” said Kokko. “It’s important we have something by spring. It really needs to be treated aggressively.”

Kokko hasn’t stopped at town council in her efforts to seek support from elected officials.

“I’ve also made all levels of government aware of the predicament in our neighbourhood,” she said, adding she has been in contact several times with Essex MPP Taras Natyshak.

Noting she doesn’t blame town council for the predicament, she believes their efforts have to be focused on the nuisance program. Repellents only go so far and, being as many are oil-based, she said that gets into furniture and clothing.

Five Fraserville residents have listed their homes for sale because of the mosquito problem, said Kokko, but said people are suffering emotionally, physically and economically to the point where home values are being diminished.  She added her and her husband have no plans to sell their home.

The mosquitoes can survive a tough winter, she added.

“As soon as the temperatures rise, they’re out,” she said. “It’s a long season for us.”

The problem is 24 hours per day, Kokko added.

“When we go out to cut our lawns, it’s like a horror movie,” she said. “They rise up out of the grass. It’s enough. It’s not right someone has to deal with that.”

Mark Ardis, project manager with GDG Environmental, noted that larviciding for West Nile Virus is underway but noted that weather has impacted the mosquito population as a whole. A shorter spring means mosquitoes develop at once with this year seeing mosquitoes living longer and overlapping in generations.

“We have three generations all at once,” Ardis told town council July 14.

There are 60 species of mosquitoes in Ontario with four vectors carrying West Nile Virus, he said, with high counts of mosquitoes measured not only in Fraserville but in the Stone Ridge Blvd. area as well. In Fraserville, he said there are 7.5 hectares treated with larviciding and that GDG goes out at least once a week to treat. Phragmites has also proven to be problematic, Ardis explained, and said many species of mosquitoes live amongst the phragmites and are able to lay eggs there before dying off.

Ardis indicated 2013 and 2014 are “some of the worst years on record” for mosquitoes and that the weather hasn’t been hot enough for a long enough period of time this year to act as a deterrent for mosquitoes.

“We’re not getting the scorching heat waves that allows adult mosquitoes to die off,” he said.
The town’s manager of engineering and operations Todd Hewitt acknowledged the town and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit have worked with GDG on the West Nile Virus program but said the town has never had a nuisance program for mosquitoes. He said administration is working on an “extensive proposal for council to consider” but warned it will have to be paid for.

“There will definitely be a cost impact for the nuisance program,” he said.

Kokko outlined the problems the neighbours have had with mosquitoes to council that evening as well with some members acknowledging it is a long-standing issue.

“It’s just as frustrating for us as it is for you not knowing what to do,” Councillor Bob Pillon told Kokko. “It’s not going to be an easy fix. Hopefully (the new council) can deal with it better next year.”

Fort Malden hosts first weekend dedicated to local WWI history

 

World War One re-enactors hold a rifle shooting demonstration during the Great War Encampment at Fort Malden National Historic Site on July 20. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

World War One re-enactors hold a rifle shooting demonstration during the Great War Encampment at Fort Malden National Historic Site on July 20. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

World War One re-enactors demonstrate the proper use of gas masks during the Great War Encampment at Fort Malden National Historic Site on July 20. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

World War One re-enactors demonstrate the proper use of gas masks during the Great War Encampment at Fort Malden National Historic Site on July 20. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

World War One re-enactors hold a rifle shooting demonstration during the Great War Encampment at Fort Malden National Historic Site on July 20. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

World War One re-enactors hold a rifle shooting demonstration during the Great War Encampment at Fort Malden National Historic Site on July 20. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

World War One re-enactors participate in a cavalry display during the Great War Encampment at Fort Malden National Historic Site on July 20. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

World War One re-enactors participate in a cavalry display during the Great War Encampment at Fort Malden National Historic Site on July 20. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

By Adam D’Andrea

 

Although Amherstburg’s military history is usually associated with the War of 1812, Fort Malden National Historic Site celebrated the town’s contributions to World War One last weekend.

Fort Malden held their first WW1-centric event July 19-20, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. Titled the Great War Encampment, the weekend featured infantry demonstrations, rifle firing, cavalry displays and kids activities, as well as musket demonstrations and cannon firing to keep with the site’s War of 1812 tradition.

While Fort Malden has educated visitors on nearly 2,000 years of military history during their annual Military Heritage Days event to as far back as the Roman Empire, this was their first attempt at narrowing down a weekend to focus solely on WW1.

The historical site played an important role in local WW1 history, according to staff members involved in the event. Fort Malden was used as a recruiting depot during the war, specifically for the 1st Hussars horseback regiment from London, Ont., who recruited men from Amherstburg for their B squadron. In addition to this, Fort Malden staff said there were a considerable number of men from Amherstburg, Windsor and Essex County who contributed to the war effort by going off to fight in Europe during this time.

Fort Malden’s next event is their Military Heritage Days weekend on August 2-3, which will also address WW1 but also broadly explore the military history surrounding Romans, Greeks, Vikings, medieval times and more. Additional information can be found at www.parkscanada.gc.ca/fortmalden.

Founding member of Marsh Historical Collection bidding farewell

 

Jennifer MacLeod is leaving the Marsh Historical Collection after almost 20 years. The resource manaer helped found the local research centre in 1994. 

Jennifer MacLeod is leaving the Marsh Historical Collection after almost 20 years. The resource manaer helped found the local research centre in 1994.

By Ron Giofu

 

A founding member of the Marsh Historical Collection is saying farewell to Amherstburg not quite 20 years after the local historical research centre was established.

Jennifer MacLeod, resource manager at the Marsh Collection, helped found the Marsh Collection with Eleanor Warren in October 1994 at 235 Dalhousie St. They began with little more than an empty unit but built the historical research centre into a place where researchers came to find out about local and family histories.

Now, with an opportunity to move closer to her family, MacLeod has made what she said was a difficult decision and will be leaving Amherstburg. Her last day at the Marsh Historical Collection is Aug. 1. She said she has lived in Essex County for 22 years.

“It’s going to be pretty tough,” she admitted. “I will definitely miss my co-workers. I’ll miss the people that come in.”

MacLeod said she will miss doing research, comparing it to figuring out how to solve a puzzle.

The Marsh Collection has acquired many artifacts, photos and other items over the years and has “miles of microfilm” of the Amherstburg Echo, the newspaper that was published from 1874 through 2012 before being shut down by Sun Media. They are also attempting to digitize items for online access.

The biggest accomplishment, said MacLeod, was the Bicentennial books that commemorated the town’s 200th anniversary. She said it took four years to compile. Another accomplishment she said is the speed in which they are now able to find materials. MacLeod said they recently had a researcher “amazed” at how fast they were able to find materials the researcher was seeking.

“I’ll miss writing the newsletter,” she added. “That was a lot of fun.”

MacLeod added she was honoured to work with Amherstburg Museums and Galleries (AMG) and will miss working with them.

“All the sites have worked together for a long time and worked together very well,” she said. “I’ll miss being a part of the Amherstburg heritage community. I’ll miss Amherstburg. It’s a great town. It’s been a great place to raise kids.”
MacLeod said she plans to visit Amherstburg and stay in contact with friends she has made here over the last two decades. She is also still involved with organizing the annual murder mystery play with local author John Schlarbaum, this year’s version entitled “The Groom Wore Red.” That is scheduled for Sept. 13.