News

Aldo DiCarlo wins mayor’s job convincingly

 

Mayor-elect Aldo DiCarlo kisses wife Laura during their election night party at the Verdi Club. DiCarlo took 52.74 per cent of the vote. Ron Sutherland came in second place, John Sutton third and Marty Adler fourth.

Mayor-elect Aldo DiCarlo kisses wife Laura during their election night party at the Verdi Club. DiCarlo took 52.74 per cent of the vote. Ron Sutherland came in second place, John Sutton third and Marty Adler fourth.

Deputy Mayor-elect Bart DiPasquale watches returns while holding his grandson Matteo Kempster.

Deputy Mayor-elect Bart DiPasquale watches returns while holding his grandson Matteo Kempster.

Candidates and members of the public watch results come in as part of “Election Central” in the upstairs community room at the Libro Centre.

Candidates and members of the public watch results come in as part of “Election Central” in the upstairs community room at the Libro Centre.

By Ron Giofu

 

The winds of change have swept Aldo DiCarlo into the mayor’s office.

DiCarlo is now Amherstburg’s mayor-elect after winning Monday night’s municipal election in convincing fashion over three opponents. DiCarlo had an unofficial total of 4,023 votes, more than double what second place finisher Ron Sutherland had. Sutherland, the current deputy mayor, had 1,950 votes while John Sutton, a current councillor, finished with 1,120 votes. Marty Adler’s unofficial vote total was 535.

“I feel great, definitely some relief and very grateful to my family and friends,” DiCarlo said during a victory party at the Verdi Club.

While noting he was running with the intention of winning, DiCarlo admitted he didn’t expect to win by as much as he did.

“I guess I didn’t see the margin,” he said. “I tried not to think about it and tried to focus on the campaign until it was done.”

DiCarlo said he received positive feedback throughout the campaign and heard repeatedly that people were looking for something different.

“The fact I ran on change, that was the magic word,” he said. “The people were ready for change.”

The mayor-elect reiterated his 100-day plan, something he ran on, stating he plans on having town hall meetings in all areas of town. He noted people living in rural areas feel left out “for good reason” and will try and get input from them.

“I’ve got to sit down with the new CAO (John Miceli), all department heads and council and we are going to start talking about what to do to move the town forward,” he said.

As for his new council – which includes new Deputy Mayor-elect Bart DiPasquale, a re-elected Diane Pouget and councillor-elects Jason Lavigne, Leo Meloche,  Joan Courtney and Rick Fryer – he said DiPasquale and Pouget were “shoo-ins” but the rest of the winners show that people wanted change. He added there will a greater sharing of information and is ready to get to work.

DiPasquale was with many of the candidates watching the results come into the upstairs community room at the Libro Centre. He compared his feelings to when he was elected as a councillor four years ago and was grateful the public had faith in him once again.

Admitting he doesn’t know DiCarlo very well, DiPasquale said he plans on supporting him as best he can as his deputy mayor.

“I wish him the best of luck and I’m sure we’ll work together well,” he said.

Getting the 41 recommendations from the Deloitte report will be a priority, DiPasquale stated, and believed the new council will have more of a “team approach” in getting that and other initiatives accomplished.

“The people wanted change and got it,” said DiPasquale.
DiPasquale had 4,184 votes unofficially with John Menna having 1,777 and Carolyn Davies, a current councillor like DiPasquale, having 1,515 votes.

Pouget topped councillor candidates with an unofficial vote total of 4,010.

“I’m just happy the people of Amherstburg put their trust in me and re-elected me,” she said.

Pouget pledged to try and be the public’s “voice on council” and that she would do everything in her power to bring down the town’s debt. She said the town needs to look at reducing all costs and look at the number of employees it has.

“We’re really going to have to look at contracts and there won’t be any big raises because we can’t afford it at this time,” she said.

Describing DiCarlo as “very energetic,” she expressed confidence in his ability to lead the town.

“I’m sure he’ll do a good job for Amherstburg,” he said.

Meloche, who finished third with 2,448 votes, was grateful for the chance to sit on council.

“The first thing is this would not have been possible without my supporters and the residents,” said Meloche.

Meloche said there were a lot of people who helped him along the way and that helped him with his campaign.

“I had to count on a lot of people to help me out,” he said.

The McGregor resident said he understands financial matters and received a lot of good feedback on other issues the town faces.

“What it proves is that hard work and dedication has paid off,” said Meloche. “You can never relax until it’s finished and the votes are in but I was optimistic heading into tonight.”

Jason Lavigne, whose vote total of 2,920 was good enough for second place among councillor candidates, was happy with the result.

“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “I’m extremely happy to see the group of people I’ll be working with. It shows people are involved and educated on the issues.”

Lavigne said it was a long campaign and involved more door-to-door campaigning and engaging of the public. He said the new council will need to get together and “feel each other out” before going into budget deliberations.

“We’re going to get the train back on track here,” he said.

Fryer came in fifth with 2,086 votes and called it “a pleasant surprise.

“I never take anything for granted,” he said. “We campaigned right up until the last day.”

Fryer thanked his father Mike, who was his campaign manager, and the people of Amherstburg.

“It was a very good campaign overall and I’m glad to see the results,” he said.

A complete review of the town is necessary, said Fryer, and that he pledges to give residents “black and white answers” to any questions they have on town operations.

“No more guessing what the financial situation is,” said Fryer.

Fryer added he will try and get the procedural bylaw changed so that residents can openly address council before regular meetings get underway.

After congratulating DiCarlo, DiPasquale and the other victors, Fryer predicted the new council will be a good unit to work with.

“I think it will be a joy to work with the other six members of council,” he said.

Ron LeClair had previously been acclaimed as the Greater Essex County District School Board trustee while Frank DiTomasso will fill Courtney’s old position on the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board.

The new council will take office Dec. 1.

New deputy police chief introduced at APSB meeting

 

Ian Chappell will become the new deputy police chief after current deputy chief Pat Palumbo retires next year. Chappell was introduced at last Tuesday afternoon’s meeting of the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB). From left: board member Frank Cleminson, Chief Tim Berthiaume, Chappell, board chair John Sutton and board member Pauline Gemmell.

Ian Chappell will become the new deputy police chief after current deputy chief Pat Palumbo retires next year. Chappell was introduced at last Tuesday afternoon’s meeting of the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB). From left: board member Frank Cleminson, Chief Tim Berthiaume, Chappell, board chair John Sutton and board member Pauline Gemmell.

By Ron Giofu

 

The incoming deputy police chief has been introduced and he is looking forward to returning to small town policing.

Ian Chappell, who is currently an OPP inspector at the western regional headquarters in London, will assume the role April 1, 2015 upon the retirement of current deputy chief Pat Palumbo. Chappell said it is an opportunity he is eagerly anticipating.

“It’s a return to my roots as a municipal police officer,” said Chappell, following his introduction at an Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB) meeting last Tuesday afternoon.

Originally from Mississauga, Chappell served with Peel Regional Police, moved to Tillsonburg and then joined the OPP when Tillsonburg switched over. Chappell worked his way up the ranks in the OPP to inspector. He said the time was right for a return to municipal policing.

“It really appealed to me,” he said of the opportunity.

Chappell said he enjoys the interaction with the public that comes from policing in a smaller community.

“It’s the citizens and police working in partnership in a far greater extent than working in a larger community,” said Chappell. “The community knows the police and the police know the community.”

Chappell’s current duties see him oversee the OPP’s traffic and marine programs, the highway safety division, the canine division, the emergency response team and the Chatham detachment.

The incoming deputy chief stated he also worked with Essex OPP for about 18 months.

“I’m familiar with the area,” he said. “It’s a nice climate, nice community and right on the water. There are a lot of positives to being here.”

Describing himself as energetic, passionate for his job and having a high level of accountability and transparency, Chappell believes the bar is high when he arrives in Amherstburg.

“How do you top being the safest community in Canada?” he said.

Chief Tim Berthiaume pointed out that Chappell has 33 years of policing experience and believes he is a great choice to take over from Palumbo when the latter retires next year.

“We are looking forward to having him here,” said Berthiaume. “We are very glad he has taken the interest in being part of the organization. I think the community will learn to love and respect him like I already do.”

APSB chair John Sutton said there was an “exhaustive search” done and the board was confident Chappell will add to the quality of policing in Amherstburg.

“It’s not always easy to replace someone like Deputy Chief Palumbo but at the same time we’re thrilled to welcome Ian on board,” said Sutton.

Watson recounts “traumatic” chain of events after Wednesday’s shootings in Ottawa

 

Essex MP Jeff Watson (fourth from left) and a group of Conservative senators lay a wreath at the National War Memorial in Ottawa last Thursday, the site where Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was gunned down the day before. Watson was caucusing with fellow Conservatives the day before when gunfire broke out in the Centre Block of the Parliament buildings. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Watson's official Facebook page)

Essex MP Jeff Watson (fourth from left) and a group of Conservative senators lay a wreath at the National War Memorial in Ottawa last Thursday, the site where Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was gunned down the day before. Watson was caucusing with fellow Conservatives the day before when gunfire broke out in the Centre Block of the Parliament buildings. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Watson’s official Facebook page)

By Ron Giofu

 

Essex MP Jeff Watson and his colleagues on Parliament Hill have gone back to work but he admits it likely won’t ever be the same again after last Wednesday’s shootings.

Watson was caucusing with his fellow Conservatives when he reported hearing two loud shots. Seconds later, a burst of gunfire rang out outside the caucus room which seemed like some sort of automatic weapon was going off. Watson said they later learned it was several officers shooting at the man later identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the latter having gunned down Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial only minutes earlier.

Watson said the gunfire took place roughly 30 feet from the door to the caucus room. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was about 25-30 feet from the door addressing his fellow party members, Watson added.

“Had he turned our way instead of towards the Library of Parliament, who knows what would have happened,” said Watson.

Watson said there were roughly 200 people in the room at the time and they barricaded the door “and waited to see what would happen next.”Guided by colleagues with military and police backgrounds, as well as one former principal with training for such matters, Watson said they armed themselves with such things as flagpoles in case someone came through the door to attack.

“The rule is you barricade the doors and arm yourselves with anything you can find in the room,” he said.

Harper was removed from the room by RCMP about 15 minutes after the shooting finished, said Watson, and about five minutes after that they learned from Sgt.-at-Arms Kevin Vickers that he had grabbed his weapon from his office and shot Zehaf-Bibeau.

They were on lockdown for several hours with Watson stating that they originally thought they would be able to leave just after 6 p.m. only to find there was fresh intelligence that there may have been another suspect. Once that was cleared up, MP’s and others were taken away by bus to another location where Harper had been evacuated to.

“I didn’t make it home until after 10 p.m., probably 10:30 p.m.,” he said. “It was a long day.”

The RCMP and Ottawa police were credited by Watson for their work during that trying day.

“They worked very methodically and with a lot of professionalism the entire day,” said Watson.

After the “rousing and well deserved” ovation for Vickers the next day in the House of Commons, Watson said he and his wife Sarah joined Conservative senators in laying a wreath at the National War Memorial in Cirillo’s memory.

“That was very moving,” he said, noting it had already developed into a spontaneous memorial for the fallen soldier. “It was an incredibly moving experience.”

On Friday, Watson said he walked the Hall of Honour in the Centre Block of the House of Commons and saw first-hand the bullet holes and broken glass from two days earlier, including the hole in the door of the NDP caucus room. He also spoke with a guard who tried to stop Zehaf-Bibeau and wrestle the gun to the ground.

Watson described the experience as “traumatic” and said counselling services were set up for not only Members of Parliament, but for staff and visitors who were part of the experience. While being transported away from Parliament Hill last Wednesday, Watson said he rode with visitors from Vietnam.

The days following the shooting were a strange experience, he added, noting it was “eerily quiet” in the normally bustling section of Ottawa where Parliament Hill is located.

“I think what happened was a very sobering reality,” said Watson. “You could see it in (the public’s) faces.”

Harper’s speech to the nation Wednesday night “struck a very appropriate tone,” Watson continued, and that while terrorism and home and abroad will be fought, democracy will remain accessible in Canada.

“You’d hate to think any of it will be lost in all of that,” he said.

While MP’s went back to the House of Commons last Thursday, Watson admitted “it doesn’t feel the same.” There was some innocence lost that day, he believed, and the days following have seen him and others who were there have to “decompress” and move on.

“It’s been a rough few days,” said Watson. “The last couple of days, we’re just trying to let it go a little at a time.”

 

Windsor Parade Corporation holds Halloween event as fundraiser for Nov. 22 Santa Claus Parade

 

The Windsor Parade Corporation held a “Halloween Spooktacular” fundraiser Saturday at Fort Malden to raise funds for the Santa Claus parades they stage, the Amherstburg parade being Nov. 22. Children bolt from the starting line of the “Zombie Run."

The Windsor Parade Corporation held a “Halloween Spooktacular” fundraiser Saturday at Fort Malden to raise funds for the Santa Claus parades they stage, the Amherstburg parade being Nov. 22. Children bolt from the starting line of the “Zombie Run.”

Jonah Foley tries his hand at pumpkin bowling.

Jonah Foley tries his hand at pumpkin bowling.

By Ron Giofu

 

The Windsor Parade Corporation held a “Halloween Spooktacular” at Fort Malden National Historic Site with the long-term goal being to make the Christmas season better.

The “Halloween Spooktacular” was held Saturday afternoon featuring make-your-own goodie bags, hay rides, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin races, games, pony rides courtesy of Sarah Parks Horsemanship and a “zombie run” for children. The event, says the parade corporation’s Maggie Durocher, was to help raise funds to present the annual Santa Claus Parades that will be held in Amherstburg, Windsor, Kingsville and Essex.

The Amherstburg parade is scheduled for Nov. 22.

Durocher said the Windsor Parade Corporation entered into a partnership with Fort Malden and it was decided to present a Halloween event.

“We decided to do something for children, which is our biggest audience,” said Durocher.

The Windsor Parade Corporation tries to raise funds throughout the year but Durocher said cash flow can be a challenge at points. She noted the corporation is non-profit but tries to put on the best parades possible, including paying for both Canadian and American bands. It costs $35,000-$40,000 to stage a parade, she added, with costs not only associated with the bands but also to store and transport floats, insurance, website and to maintain an office.

“Although most people don’t understand the costs associated with them, they are expensive,” said Durocher.

The Windsor Parade Corporation enjoys putting on parades, added Durocher, and prides itself on quality.

“We will not put a sub-par parade on the street,” she said. “It’s just not what we do. We strive to make sure our parades are well run, well attended and well organized.”

They have picked up new sponsors this year, including Domino’s Pizza, she added. The municipalities they run parades in have also been a great help, including Amherstburg.

“Amherstburg is very good to us,” said Durocher, adding the Amherstburg Santa Claus Parade served as a “footprint” for the parade corporation and allowed them to spread it to the other municipalities.

General Amherst High School celebrates its top students

 

The “Top Dogs,” the students with the highest grade average in each grade gather. From left: Avery Brush (tie, Grade 11), Darcy Wear (Grade 10), Josh Heymans (tie, Grade 11) and Mario DeMarco (Grade 9).

The “Top Dogs,” the students with the highest grade average in each grade gather. From left: Avery Brush (tie, Grade 11), Darcy Wear (Grade 10), Josh Heymans (tie, Grade 11) and Mario DeMarco (Grade 9).

By Ron Giofu

 

A packed house at the Ciociaro Club helped celebrate General Amherst High School’s “top dogs” in the classroom last week.

A total of 232 students were recognized at the school’s annual academic banquet last Monday night, with those students having achieved an 80 per cent or higher in the classroom the previous year. The students honoured at the banquet were in Grades 9-11 last year with last year’s Grade 12 students having been already recognized at graduation.

Of the 232 students honoured, 27 of those received additional recognition for having a 90 per cent average or better and thus joining the “Principal’s Roll of Academic Excellence.”

Principal Hazel Keefner said attendance at the academic banquet increased by roughly 80 people this year. She said the students demonstrated their talent, commitment and organizational skills in order to be included on the honour roll, adding that parents, guardians and other supporters also helped them get there.

“Student success of this magnitude is accomplished through partnerships between home, school and administration,” she said.

If it weren’t for partnerships such as those, Keefner said she does not believe there would be so many “top dogs.”

Vice principal Elvira Di Gesu recalled when she was transferred to General Amherst two years ago, she was told there are a lot of smart students that attend the school. She said she now sees it first-hand but there are “a lot more than my colleagues gave you credit for. Congratulations to you, your parents, and supporters.

Greetings were also brought by Greater Essex County District School Board trustee Helga Bailey and superintendent Lynn McLaughlin.

“Top Dogs” for the 2013-14 school year, which are those students who had the highest average in Grades 9-11, were Mario DeMarco (Grade 9), Darcy Wear (Grade 10) and Avery Brush and Josh Heymans (tie, Grade 11).