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Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy attracts 515 vehicles

 

Bonnie Soucie of Tecumseh with her 1976 Corvette Stingray.

Bonnie Soucie of Tecumseh with her 1976 Corvette Stingray.

 

Gary Caba of Amherstburg won the Paulie Award as his 1936 Ford Roadster was named best in show.

Gary Caba of Amherstburg won the Paulie Award as his 1936 Ford Roadster was named best in show.

Crowds line Dalhousie St. to look at the vehicles in the ninth annual Amherstburg's Gone Car Crazy show July 27.

Crowds line Dalhousie St. to look at the vehicles in the ninth annual Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show July 27.

Sherry Miller and Dan Poisson of Essex stand with Eugene and Mary Poisson of Windsor in front of the latter's 1972 Olds Cutlass Supreme.

Sherry Miller and Dan Poisson of Essex stand with Eugene and Mary Poisson of Windsor in front of the latter’s 1972 Olds Cutlass Supreme.

Larry Wendt of Amherstburg with his 1953 Ford F100 pickup truck.

Larry Wendt of Amherstburg with his 1953 Ford F100 pickup truck.

By Ron Giofu

 

The downtown streets of Amherstburg as well as Toddy Jones Park were packed Sunday for the Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show.

A total of 515 cars filled portions of Dalhousie St., Richmond St., North St and Rankin Ave. for the annual show with the park also being filled with vehicles, which came as far as Kitchener, Milton and southeast Michigan to take part.

Eleanor Renaud, who chairs the show’s organizing committee, said this year’s show came off “without a hitch” and avoided many issues.

“It’s been really smooth,” she said.

Weather forecasters had been calling for rain on Sunday but the raindrops stayed out of the area during the show with storms not blowing into town until the time the show was wrapping up.

“Paul knows what he’s doing up there,” Renaud said with a smile, in reference to her late husband who helped found the show with her.

“We are thrilled with the turnout,” she added. “People have been calling all week.”

Renaud said she and Paul started the show with the goal of bringing people into the downtown section of Amherstburg and to the front door of many of the town’s merchants. She said they believed that some tourists might miss the more historic part of Amherstburg and bypass it on their way out of town.

“I’ve talked to so many merchants that are thrilled,” said Renaud, adding that many are reporting to her they are having trouble keeping up with food and merchandise orders.

Many car shows in the area are in open, grassy areas, she said, but Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy is on the streets, surrounded by historic homes and are near parks such as Navy Yard Park and have shade for the car owners. Renaud said the ambiance of this show makes it stand out from other shows in the area.

Gary Caba of Amherstburg won the “Paulie Award” as his 1936 Ford Roadster was judged best in show. Caba said he bought the car last year after finding it on the Internet. He had it shipped from California to Amherstburg.

“I just fell in love with it,” said Caba.

Caba said he didn’t have to put much work into it, adding he was gratified that it won the “Paulie Award” Sunday afternoon. Being the best in show winner means his car will be used on promotional material for next year’s tenth anniversary Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy Show. He joked that he hopes that means the value of the car will go up.

Dan Poisson of Essex brought a 1975 Buick Skyhawk to the show and bought the car just three days earlier for the purpose of bringing it to Amherstburg.

“I bought it so I could bring it here,” he said. “It was three days of hard work to get it ready.”

His father Eugene brought his 1972 Olds Cutlass Supreme. Eugene, a Windsor resident, said he goes to approximately 20 car shows per year and it was his second at the “Car Crazy” event.

“It’s definitely one of the biggest ones so far,” he said.

“It’s well organized,” added his wife Mary.

Dan added there is a larger range of cars at the Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show than at other shows.

Bonnie Soucie of Tecumseh had her 1976 Corvette Stingray entered into this year’s show. Soucie said she does a lot of car shows in the area and tries to get to one at least every weekend in the summer.

“It’s beautiful,” Soucie said of the Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show. “It’s a great show. A lot of people go to it. It’s a great turnout.”

Soucie has owned her car for eight years and has even become best friends with the former owners. The car was found in Courtright, Ontario and while the motor was in good shape, it needed a paint job and some new tires.

“She sat for 12 years in a barn,” said Soucie.

Larry Wendt of Amherstburg said his 1953 Ford F100 pickup was no stranger to local streets.

“I’ve had it about 12 years,” said Wendt. “I drive it around here all the time. It’s well known in this town.”

Wendt said he does about six shows per year and “this is the best bar none of all the car shows. There’s none better.”

The location and crowds at the Amherstburg’s Gone Car Crazy show have helped make it the best show around, he believed.

“Every year, it keeps getting bigger and bigger,” he said.

Winners from the day included:

Classic Cruiser — Ken Geauvreau – Belle River, 1939 Mercury

Special Interest — John & Betty Leetres – Milton, Ont, 1960 BMW Isetta

Best Restoration — Bill & Janis Ball – Amherstburg, 1934 Plymouth Business Coupe

Nifty Fifty — Dennis Ford  – Windsor, 1956 Ford Fairlane

Sexy Sixty — Jim & Angie Regnier – Tilbury, 1964 Dodge Convertible

Sweet Seventies — Joe & Betty Beaulieu – Cottam, 1971 Z28 Camaro

Best Original — Jamie Oldridge – Belle River, 1926 Ford Model T

Favorite Engine — Paul Whitehead – Windsor, 1929 Ford Model A – Rat Rod

Favorite Pickup — Darrel Lafaive – Windsor, Chevy Pickup

Favorite GM — Jesse Henke – McGregor, 1969 GM Beaumont

Favorite Mopar —Dan Kelly – Macomb, Michigan, 1964 Plymouth Fury

Favorite Ford —Joan Caba – Amherstburg, 1957 Ford Convertible

Favorite Corvette — Nunzio Scaglione – LaSalle, 1998 Corvette

Coolest Rag Top — Al Dixon – Amherstburg, 1957 Oldsmobile Conv.  Super 88

Favorite Interior — Todd Johnston – Amherstburg, 1956 Mercury

Participant’s Choice — Claude & Irene Dube – Harrow, 1949 Ford Prefect

BEST OF SHOW “Paulie Award” — Gary Caba – Amherstburg, 1936 Ford Roadster

The Royal Canadian Legion Br.157 organized the 50/50 Draw. The winner was Jim Coursen of Oxford, Michigan   His share was $867.

 

Re-election priorities for Pillon include finances and roads

Councillor Bob Pillon is seeking re-election in the Oct. 27 municipal election.

Councillor Bob Pillon is seeking re-election in the Oct. 27 municipal election.

By Ron Giofu

 

The first incumbent councillor has entered the municipal election race.

Bob Pillon has filed for re-election in the Oct. 27 election and said he hopes to continue on in his current role as a councillor.

“I like the job,” said Pillon. “I enjoy helping people. From the councillor’s position, I can help just as many people as the mayor or deputy mayor.”

Pillon said there are good things happening in town and he wants to help the town to “keep flourishing. I just want to help follow through.”

Cohesion on council will be a key to getting the financial issue resolved, he stated.

“The real issue is to get our finances in order, obviously,” said Pillon. “We have to work together. We can’t keep going on the way it has been.”

Pillon said policies have to be put in place to keep council more aware and that council being enlightened to the current financial plight was “a learning curve for us.” More should be done to ensure council is fully in the loop, he said.

“I think we need to change how we do business at town hall so council sees more and understands more,” he said.

The debt is another big issue, added Pillon, adding the town has to “be very cautious” in terms of paying down debt while doing necessary infrastructure work. Rebuilding reserves and working to ensure life cycle replacement costs are funded are his other priorities.

Pillon added CAO Mike Phipps “has got some good people in place” and more need to follow to fill vacancies such as the director of finance position.

Pillon said a problem at town hall has been too many temporary CAO’s but he believed getting Phipps was “a good move on our part.

“He’s helped us out a lot to some people’s dislike but, in my opinion, he’s done a good job.”

Pillon believed the town ‘s infrastructure is in good shape, adding that other towns will be facing infrastructure issues in the near future.

Getting another hotel/motel is something Pillon would like to see.

“The town really needs to have a motel,” he said. “That motel would really help the commercial area.”

Pillon believed resolving that long-standing issue would benefit the commercial sector in town.

“I’d like to see the downtown develop with more commercial,” he said. “More commercial would help draw people in.”

Roads are another priority, he said, with another long-standing issue being Texas Road. Pillon said that has been on the books “for too many years.”

Stating he wants to continue to advocate for issues in the farming community, Pillon indicated some of those issues include roads. He said he would like to see the end of gravel roads in town.

“I believe everyone should have at least a tar and chip put down,” he said.

Pillon has 23 years of municipal experience and said he “will continue to work for the people as I always have. I’ve always maintained that (decisions) have got to be good for the community and good for everybody.”

Leo Meloche seeks to bring financial background to council

 

McGregor resident Leo Meloche is seeking a councillor’s position in the Oct. 27 municipal election.

McGregor resident Leo Meloche is seeking a councillor’s position in the Oct. 27 municipal election.

By Ron Giofu

When thinking about a possible candidacy for town council, Leo Meloche wrote down three things – financial stability, financial integrity and financial accountability.

“Those words sum up what I am seeing and feeling from the residents,” said Meloche, who is running for one of the five councillor positions in the Oct. 27 municipal election.

The McGregor resident said he entered the race due to his interest in municipal politics but also out of concern for the town’s current financial situation. His education includes having graduated from the finance and accounting program at St. Clair College, 12 years in the finance division with Goodyear and another 25 years owning and operating various businesses in the Windsor-Essex County area. He currently operates a bookkeeping and accounting firm tailoring to small businesses.

Meloche believes his financial knowledge could be of benefit to the town.

“I’m big on debt management,” he said, acknowledging that not all debt is bad but “it’s a matter of managing that debt. Moving forward, it’s how we manage that and continue to grow. Growth will pay down debt through increased tax revenue.”

Easing the concerns people have regarding the “uncertainty of the debt” will be a priority, if elected, he indicated.

“I think that’s a big issue. People have an uncertainty as it relates to the debt.”

Meloche said he has been thinking about running for council for the last six months with it being “top of mind the last couple of months.” Believing he can bring something to the table, he filed his nomination papers.

“I hope to also work towards future growth,” said Meloche. He said that any town that wants to prosper needs to grow.

Controlling costs, creating revenue and perhaps better management practices are ways he said he would hope to help cut the town’s debt.

“We have to show the residents we watch every tax dollar we spend and every dollar we receive from taxes,” he added.

While he is from McGregor, he said that he is interested in serving the entire community and not just be a representative from one section of it. Having lived in Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City earlier in his career, he said it has enabled him to look at things on a broader scale.

“That’s what Amherstburg leaders need to be mindful of. It’s a big area,” said Meloche. “There’s a broad range of residents to consider.”

Decisions have to reflect the best interests of the town as a whole, he added.

“At the end of the day, it all has to be in the best interest of the residents,” he said. “We will never always agree. We all have different opinions and we all have different likes and dislikes. Professionalism should get us beyond our differences.”

Meloche added that he and his wife enjoy living in Amherstburg as it reminds them of their former homes in Quebec City and Montreal.

Boston Pizza attempts to find franchisees for possible Amherstburg location

 

Jennie Murphy, franchising development manager for eastern Canada with Boston Pizza, discusses franchise opportunities with local business owners and civic leaders July 24 at the Libro Centre. Felix DeCata, Boston Pizza's director of development for eastern Canada, is seen at the far end of the front row in the centre of the photo.

Jennie Murphy, franchising development manager for eastern Canada with Boston Pizza, discusses franchise opportunities with local business owners and civic leaders July 24 at the Libro Centre. Felix DeCata, Boston Pizza’s director of development for eastern Canada, is seen at the far end of the front row in the centre of the photo.

By Ron Giofu

 

Boston Pizza has interest in locating in Amherstburg and is in the process of seeking franchisees to operate a local location.

Boston Pizza’s director of development for eastern Canada Felix DeCata and the company’s franchising development manager for eastern Canada Jennie Murphy met with a handful of interested business owners last Thursday evening at the Libro Centre.

“For us, it’s just trying to speak with interested individuals in getting a Boston Pizza in Amherstburg,” said DeCata.

The proposed new location would be 4,100 square feet with 86 seats in the dining room and 55 seats in the bar area for 141 seats in total. A patio area would be another 600-800 square feet, said DeCata.

The Boston Pizza officials said the location being looked at right now is the plaza proposed for the former Wesley United Church property at 365 Sandwich St. S. It would be a standalone building within that development.

“Right now, this is just discussion,” said DeCata.

Murphy said they have done a market and demographic assessment of Amherstburg and this size of market is similar to markets the company has entered into in the past.

“We have a number of locations with populations of this size,” she said, adding that a Boston Pizza location in Amherstburg is a “good distance” away from some of their other locations in the region.

The meeting was to see if there are individuals or business owners who are interested in moving forward and both DeCata and Murphy said any new franchisee or franchisee group must have strong ties to the community. Murphy said they are looking for “someone who can be the face of Boston Pizza in the community.”

“We will not sell a franchise unless the franchise owner is committed to that town,” added DeCata.

Franchise costs are in the range of $1.6-1.8 million with Murphy estimating that about half of the 360 franchisees are individual franchise owners with the other half being a group partnership.

“There’s a few different ways you can get in to become a franchisee,” she stated.

DeCata said that in an ideal situation, Boston Pizza would like to open an Amherstburg location next year.

For further information, contact Murphy at MurphyJ@BostonPizza.com or DeCata at decataf@bostonpizza.com.

McGregor Music Festival raises $25,000 for Windsor-Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation

 

McGregor Music Festival committee members donate $25,000 to representatives of the Windsor-Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation July 24.

McGregor Music Festival committee members donate $25,000 to representatives of the Windsor-Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation July 24.

By Ron Giofu

 

The results are in and the money has been counted from June’s McGregor Music Festival and the overall donation to the Windsor-Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation amounts to $25,000.

That amount is down slightly from last year’s $27,000 with the reason being attributed to the storms that rumbled through the area the day of the festival. Despite a decline in the overall total, the committee was still happy with their work and presented the cheque to foundation officials July 24 during a wrap-up party at the home of festival committee chair Sue LeClair.

“We’re very pleased,” said LeClair.

A total of 500 paid admissions were counted at the June 8 festival that was held at Co-An Park. Roughly 75 volunteers worked the event as well.

“It’s the only fundraising event for the Windsor-Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation held in the county,” said LeClair. “I think that has a lot to do with it. The county supports us.”

While a lot of people come from the neighbouring municipalities of Amherstburg and Essex, LeClair said they also draw people from all over Essex County and some from Windsor as well. The 12-person committee starts planning in March and meets regularly through June. Next year’s McGregor Music Fest is planned for June 14, 2015 at Co-An Park.

“We do it because we care,” said LeClair. “Many people have been affected by cancer. We know Windsor has the top equipment to assist patients. We don’t want people to have to travel to other places. That’s why we do it. We want Windsor to have the best equipment possible for cancer patients.”

Kerri Hill, communications co-ordinator with the Windsor-Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation, said the proceeds will be designated toward three programs of the foundation, including “Chairs Because We Care,” the patient assistance fund and the image enhancement program. The “Chairs Because We Care” program will help replace chairs in the radiation department and have wider, more comfortable chairs installed. The patient assistance program will help those patients and families who need financial aid as identified by the foundation’s social workers while the image enhancement program will assist patients with no insurance who need a wig with one free wig per month.

Hill added that such fundraisers as the McGregor Music Festival are an enormous help to the foundation and cuts down on the need to write grant applications and seek individual donations.

“They are fun to participate in as well,” added cancer centre board member Ruthann Hickey.

LeClair added the sponsors of the festival played a big part in helping to raise the $25,000 and also thanked her committee.

“Everybody has a job on our committee,” said LeClair. “Everyone knows what their job is.”