Play ball . . .

Surge finally going to the mound . . .

Friday, July 3rd - The Seaway Surge Baseball Club is planning to return to the Diamond this weekend (Morrisburg & Williamsburg) and wanted to share some details with fans and residents of the community. The baseball organization has been working with Baseball Ontario, the Township of South Dundas and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit to host the most up to date protocols and procedures in place prior to gathering their rosters for practices. All organizations, municipal and provincial, have given the go-ahead.

        "We wanted to raise everyone's awareness," said Jason Broad, a Director with the Surge organization and well known local community builder, "Matt McCooeye, who coaches local teams, has coordinated with South Dundas and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, and we want local residents to know we are doing this right, with approvals from all involved."

        This opening of baseball locally is an indication that following the protocols concerning the Covid-19 pandemic is the way we can finally provide an opportunity for the community youth to take part in outdoor activities through this summer. Anyone attending these practices is urged to practice social distancing.


Eight foot long sturgeons and 50+-pound muskies . . .

St. Lawrence proves river of surprises . . .

Kade VanBeilen holds a muskellounge skull found by Kent Dawley along the St. Lawrence River shoreline . . .

 

        Kent Dawley, as many youngsters who grew up in South Dundas’ Morrisburg, had spent many, many childhood and youth days with friends along the St. Lawrence River water front, gathering with pals for lazy afternoons spent swimming and learning about his environs.  Several years ago Dawley returned to the community and built a home mere yards from the waterway, overlooking the shipping lanes. It is a beautiful locale from which to watch the annual four seasons slowly display their beauty and color around the ever changing river.

        Kent, who enjoys visiting Ogden Island where his dog can run, nose down and unleashed, chasing quick footed rodents and darting birds.  But the dog isn't always the only one with his nose to the ground. 

     Months ago, as Kent walked the island edge beaches he watched for any washed up treasure, island life, and growth. More than once he’s made some spectacular finds.

     On this particular afternoon he spotted a huge fish, seemingly struggling in the water, only to discover it was an 8-foot long sturgeon that a few moments later expired.

     “It was unbelievable,” Dawley said of the sturgeon, “I’d never seen anything like that in the St. Lawrence River.”

     Dawley, in awe of his discovery, called his elder brother who also lives along the Canadian shoreline. Bryan immediately jumped in his boat and met Kent on the island, where the two of them pulled the sturgeon from the water. 

     “As we stood there staring at the fish the US Border Patrol happened along and they too couldn’t believe the size of the discovery,” Dawley told us, pointing out the photo of the giant creature he keeps on the wall of his garage. 

     “The Border Patrol contacted the US Fish and Wildlife Service and within minutes they arrived and loaded the fish into their boat. They told us they were taking it to Pennsylvania to have an autopsy done,” Dawley says, “But we never heard anything about it after that.”

Source Wikipedia, Game and Fish magazine . . .

Sturgeons predate many fish species, appearing in the fossil record approximately 200 million years ago. There are 26 species of sturgeon and paddlefish in the Acipenseriformes group and many of these species are harvested as food. Living in a range of habitats, from subtropical to subarctic waters, sturgeons are found throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. They are bottom-feeders, eating small fish and invertebrates they find from sifting through silt or sand on the bottom of rivers. Some sturgeon species can grow to enormous sizes, reaching 12 feet in length.

     •  It is illegal to fish for, or possess fish that are officially listed by DEC as endangered or threatened:

     •  Endangered: silver chub, bluebreast darter, deepwater sculpin, gilt darter, pugnose shiner, round whitefish,

         shortnose sturgeon, Atlantic sturgeon and spoonhead sculpin.

     •  Threatened: eastern sand darter, lake chubsucker, lake sturgeon, northern (longear) sunfish, mooneye, gravel chub,

         banded sunfish, longhead darter, swamp darter, spotted darter and mud sunfish.

     •  Any unintentionally caught threatened or endangered fish species must be unhooked and released immediately.

         They may not be handled for any purpose other than removing the hook and placing them back into the water."

Although Kade VanBeilen is 5-feet tall his hand is dwarfed by the skull of the muskellounge . . .
Although Kade VanBeilen is 5-feet tall his hand is dwarfed by the skull of the muskellounge . . .

     The sturgeon wasn’t by any means the last of Kent Dawley’s interesting finds. Months later, while walking a similar route with his dog, Kent came across another massive river creature. This one too, a huge muskellounge, was in it’s dying moments, and was left where it was discovered. Dawley returned months later only to find the skeleton strewn along the shore, with  most of the scull, save the upper jaw, in one piece.

     As Kent told us the story he handed the skull to our pal Kade VanBeilen (right photo) who might have been a bit apprehensive to say the least. The skull is larger than a 13-year-old’s head, and displays a single row of menacing fang-like teeth around the lower jaw, some near three-quarters of an inch long.

     In the world of freshwater fishing, few catches are as highly sought after and revered as the muskellunge. Their explosive strikes, rugged fights and intimidating dentition have allured anglers for years — resulting in an enormous and faithful following of muskie anglers who all share the common goal of catching the biggest muskie ever.

     Some 70 years ago, July 24th, 1949, Cal Johnson of Hayward, Wisconsin, while trolling using a wooden Pike Oereno lure hooked into a monster, and after a full hour of back and forth battling landed a 67 pound, 8 ounce  muskie. It was officially weighed in at Moccasin Lodge, Wisconsin. 

Cal Johnson, 1949 photo . . .
Cal Johnson, 1949 photo . . .

     Although larger muskies have been reported, Johnson’s more than five foot long lunker was caught and documented in accordance with the IGFA’s International Angling Rules, the internationally accepted rules of sport fishing.

     “I’m just going to clean up the skull and keep it here with the photo of the sturgeon,” Dawley said, “These discoveries sure let you know that this river we’ve all grown up around and in, holds a lot more surprises than you might think.”

 

“The IGFA all-tackle world record muskie was caught by Cal Johnson on July 24, 1949 at Lake Court Oreilles near Hayward, Wis. The fish weighed 67 pounds, 8 ounces. Johnson's fish reportedly measured 60 1/4 inches. The World Record Muskie Alliance (WRMA) in 2009 challenged the legitimacy of the record based on a photo analysis, claiming that the study results indicate the fish could be no longer than 54 inches. The report even claims that the mount of the fish was doctored to make it larger than it was when alive. The record still stands, however, and you can see the fish mount at Moccasin Bar and Museum in Hayward.”


Elderly resident defrauded of $4OK . . .

Augusta, ON - Grenville County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are investigating a suspected fraud that occurred in Augusta Township, Ontario.

        On June 17, 2020, OPP officers were advised by an individual that they had been defrauded of a substantial amount of money by someone claiming the victim had won a car. The fraudster required money to pay for expenses (shipping/international fees etc.) to get the winning vehicle to the person. They encouraged the individual to open a specific bank account and the money would then be transferred to the fraudster. In the end, the 82 year old victim lost over $40,000 over a period of a year and a half. 

        The OPP remind everyone that a call or email from someone claiming you have won something, BUT you have to pay first, it is most likely a fraud. Unsure whether it is legitimate or not? Speak with a friend or relative, call the police or double check with the Canadian Anti-Fraud.

        If someone is trying to take away your money, hang up. You can file a complaint through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or online at www.ontariocrimestoppers.ca.

 

            - More OPP News here . . . 


Feds announce $2 million in funding . . .

Thursday, July 2nd - Ontario has received approval from the federal government to move forward with funding long-awaited transportation infrastructure projects in Stormont, Dundas & South Glengarry. Local MPP Jim McDonell joined his federal and municipal funding partners on behalf of Ontario’s Infrastructure Minister Laurie Scott to make the announcement.

      This announcement includes over $2 million of funding toward the rehabilitation of County Road 2 in Morrisburg, and phase 3 of the Lemay Street upgrades and extension in Cornwall. These projects were among 144 projects nominated to the federal government for funding approval via the Rural and Northern stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program or ICIP last summer.

      The Ontario government is committed to working in collaboration with its federal counterparts and municipal partners to secure more funding approvals for the over 350 projects nominated to the federal government via ICIP. The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program is a 10-year program that provides up to $30 billion in federal, provincial and local investments in communities across the province.

      “The Morrisburg Streetscape project is something South Dundas, along with the United Counties of SDG, has been planning for during the last few years, and now we are looking forward to greatly improving this important thoroughfare in the village of Morrisburg,” said Steven Byvelds, Mayor of South Dundas. “We are hoping that once this project is completed, it will help our local businesses and draw in tourists to our area.”

     “Under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), federal and provincial funds are leveraged with local dollars to build needed infrastructure,” said MPP Jim McDonell. “I’m happy to see the federal funding approval of our provincial nominations. In addition to replacing ageing facilities, these projects invest dollars locally and support good-paying jobs.”


South Dundas celebrates Canada Day . . .

Canada Day is proven to be in the hearts of South Dundas residents and visitors from far and wide who have learned what a gem the eastern Ontario community really is. Thousands visited the waterfront, especially in Morrisburg where the local Lions Club' operated Docksyde served free ice cream cones to all visitors under the age of 12-years. In the above photo we caught six-year-old Mikayla Alger and her new pal, 6-month old Harlow dressed in their Canada Day best,  just before they visited the Docksyde. And we snapped a few photos around the free ice cream event . . . Happy Canada Day everyone!!!!


Beaches closing, Iroquois/Morrisburg . . .

Thursday, July 2nd – To address the ongoing concerns regarding physical distancing and traffic at the Morrisburg and Iroquois Beaches, beginning July 4, 2020 the beaches will be closed during the weekend to protect our residents from the spread of COVID-19.

     “We have heard the concern from our residents and seen over the weekends how busy the beaches have become. While we want to continue providing these leisure services to our residents, their safety is more important. By closing the beaches on the weekend, it is our hope that the traffic will be reduced and we can continue to operate throughout the summer,” announced South Dundas Mayor, Steven Byvelds.

         The decision by council has come after assessing the high volume of traffic on weekends since beaches opened for public use on June 22, 2020. Physical distancing and safety precautions are still vital to decreasing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. High traffic public places increase the risk of transmitting the virus and the safety of the South Dundas community is the

number one priority for the Municipality.

        The Morrisburg and Iroquois Beaches will remain open during weekdays, Monday to Friday, with washrooms available in Iroquois at the Beach House from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Morrisburg beachgoers will soon have access to a portable washroom, while maintenance continues on the Morrisburg Beach House. Washrooms will be included in the temporary weekend closures.

 

        The Municipality will consult provincial and regional advice as the summer progresses for updates regarding re-openings and/or further closures. This decision will not impact the Iroquois swimming lessons scheduled to begin July 6th, 2020.

 


Sexual assault investigation, charges laid . . .

South Glengarry, ON - As a result of an investigation conducted by members of the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Ontario Provincial Police crime unit, a 73 year old resident of South Glengarry was arrested on June 29, 2020.      The Investigation has found that two young people had been sexually assaulted.

     Aurele GUIDON, age 73 of South Glengarry,

         faces charges of:

     •  Sexual Assault on a person under 16 year of age - two counts

     •  Sexual Interference

     •  Sexual Exploitation - three counts

     The accused was held in custody (bail) and was scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Cornwall.

             - See more OPP news here . . .


Monday, June 29th - Caught this guy watching us as we walked along Lakeshore toward the Morrisburg Public Dock. He was loud and annoyed that we were walking past his tree, and he was letting us know about it. The longer we pointed the camera the more annoyed he appeared to get.


Fatal crash closes County Road 19 . . .

Tuesday, June 30th - Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Ontario Provincial Police officers are currently investigating a single vehicle collision on County Road 19 (between County Road 20 and Headline Road), South Glengarry Township.

        Preliminary investigation has indicated that at approximately 6:24 a.m , a westbound passenger vehicle left the roadway and rolled over on County Road 19, an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the collision.

         The male driver (age 75 ) of the passenger vehicle was pronounced deceased at scene.

        The OPP continue to investigate with the assistance of OPP Traffic Collision Investigators (TCI). Meanwhile a section of County Road 19 is closed to traffic with indicated detours in place. Closed at Headline Road and County Road 20, South Glengarry.


Province finally moves to establish sound regulations on towing industry . . .

Tuesday, June 30th -  The Ontario government is establishing a task force to improve provincial oversight of the towing industry. The task force will help develop a regulatory model that will increase safety and enforcement, clarify protections for consumers, improve industry standards and consider tougher penalties for violators. The government is taking this action in response to concerns raised about incidents of criminal activity and violence in the towing industry.

 

Photo - Globe & Mail . . .
Photo - Globe & Mail . . .

Details were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, and Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General.

        "The party's over for the bad actors who are engaged in violence and criminal activity in the towing industry. We're going to keep working with our police partners to bring these criminals to justice," said Premier Ford. "Setting up this task force will help us bring together experts to develop ways to better protect drivers, operators and inspectors."

        The task force will review a number of topics related to the towing industry, which could include provincial oversight of safety, consumer protection, improved industry standards, training and background checks.

        As part of the review, the task force may consider opportunities for increased protections for consumers against the first-to-scene unethical business practices, insurance savings through a crackdown on insurance fraud rings or improved consumer choice for payments and repairs. The province is also reviewing ways to improve our transportation system by clearing accidents more quickly which would minimize lane reductions and reduce congestion on our highways.

        "Most tow truck operators in Ontario are responsible and play a critical role in keeping our roadways safe. However, like all people of Ontario, our government is concerned about the recent reported incidents of violence in the towing industry," said Minister Mulroney. "We are committed to ensuring a higher standard for the tow truck industry and are looking at ways to provide greater oversight of the industry to keep our roads and highways among the safest in North America."

        "When Ontarians are stranded on the side of the road, they need to know their calls will be answered by towing service providers who act safely, ethically and within the law," said Solicitor General Jones. "The task force will help us determine tougher standards for the industry as part of our government's commitment to build safer communities."

        Membership of the task force will include representatives from the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of the Solicitor General, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, the Ministry of Finance and the Ontario Provincial Police. Once the task force has developed proposals for discussion and comment, it will be consulting with industry, municipalities, and public safety experts.

        "Since I first tabled a Private Members' Bill over five years ago calling for better oversight on our roads, the violence and extortion within the towing industry has rapidly escalated," said Gila Martow, MPP for Thornhill. "I look forward to the seeing strengthened provincial oversight of the tow truck industry so we can keep everyone safe."

          “Safety is our government’s top priority,” said MPP Jim McDonell. “I look forward to when the task force will report back to Ontarians on the task force’s proposals for further action to improve safety on Ontario’s roadsides.”


USS St. Louis (8th in line) comes of age . . .

America floating modern new arsenal . . .

Saturday, June 28th - The latest in a new type war ship for the United States Navy sailed by Mariatown's Duncan Park and South Dundas on Saturday afternoon, drawing significant numbers of ship watchers to the locale, braving blustering winds, hot weather and a remarkably colorful sky. The Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT]-led industry team officially laid the keel on Sunday, May 17th  for the U.S. Navy's 19th Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS St. Louis, in a ceremony held at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. Ship sponsor Barbara Broadhurst Taylor completed the time-honored tradition and authenticated the keel by welding her initials onto a steel plate that will be placed in the hull of the ship.

        Costing less than a third of a brand new Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the Littoral Combat Ship is the Navy's most affordable surface combatant shipbuilding program and the ideal platform to grow the U.S. Navy fleet quickly and affordably. The Navy accepted delivery of the future USS St. Louis (LCS 19) during a ceremony at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) shipyard on Thursday, Feb. 6th. 

        The  USS St. Louis is the 10th Freedom-variant littoral combat ship designed and built by the Lockheed Martin-led industry team at FMM.  Delivery marks the official transfer of the ship from the shipbuilder to the Navy.  It is the final milestone prior to commissioning, planned for later this year. The ship’s homeport will be Naval Station Mayport, Florida.                     

        The Freedom-variant LCS delivers advanced capability in anti-submarine, surface and mine countermeasure missions. LCS was designed to evolve with the changing security environment. Several more Freedom-variant ships are under construction at FMM. Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS 21) was christened in June 2019 and Cooperstown (LCS 23) will be christened later this month. Additional ships in various stages of construction include Marinette (LCS 25), Nantucket (LCS 27), Beloit (LCS 29) and Cleveland (LCS) 31. 

        The LCS is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments, while capable of open-ocean tasking and winning against 21st-century coastal threats such as submarines, mines and swarming small craft. The LCS is capable of supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence.

        The USS St. Louis is the first LCS delivered to the Navy in 2020.  Four more— USS Minneapolis-St. Paul (LCS 21), USS Kansas City (LCS 22), USS Oakland (LCS 24) and USS Mobile (LCS 26) — are planned for delivery this year.

Specifications - LCS Littoral Combat Ship - Freedom Class: 

Hull Type: Semi-planing Monohull 

Displacement: 2135 tons (light), 2862 tons (full) Dead Weight: 727 tons 

Length: 324 (wl), 378.9' (oa) 

Beam: 43' (wl), 57' (extreme) 

Draft: 13' (navigational), 14' (draft limit) 

Propulsion: Two Rolls-Royce MT30 36MW gas turbines,

                         FM Colt-Pielstick 16PA6B STC diesel engines driving

                         four Rolls-Royce waterjets 

Auxiliary Power: Four Isotta Fraschini Model V1708 ship service diesel generator sets 

Speed: 45 kts (50+ mph) 

Armament: BAE Systems Land and Armaments Mk110 57mm naval gun system 

Combat Management System: Lockheed Martin open architecture COMBATSS-21 

Electronics: EADS TRS-3D C-band radar (air / surface surveillance, weapon assignment) 

Decoy System: Soft-Kill Weapon System (SKWS) decoy launcher from Terma A/S of Denmark 

Complement: 26 sailors

        USS St. Louis (LCS-19) is the seventh ship in naval service named after St. Louis, Missouri.

             •  USS St. Louis (1828), a sloop-of-war commissioned in 1828. decommissioned in 1865, and stricken in 1907

             •  USS St. Louis (1861), an ironclad gunboat commissioned in 1862, later renamed Baron de Kalb, and sunk in 1863 during the American Civil War

             •  USS St. Louis, a troop transport in commission in 1898, which otherwise served as the civilian passenger liner

                 SS St. Louis (1894) from 1895 to 1918 and from 1919 to 1920 and was in commission again as the troop transport

                 USS Louisville from 1918 to 1919

             •  USS St. Louis (C-20), a protected cruiser in commission from 1906 to 1922

             •  USS St. Louis (CL-49), a light cruiser in commission from 1939 to 1946

             •  USS St. Louis (LKA-116), an amphibious cargo ship in commission from 1969 to 1991

             •  USS St. Louis (LCS-19), a planned Freedom-class littoral combat ship

        She will be assigned to Littoral Combat Ship Squadron Two.


Something old, something new . . .

New camera equipment has never been for the faint of heart, and at our age it is indeed a challenge. While waiting for the USS St. Louis to cruise by Duncan Park in Mariatown we were playing with a new lens, which is not only giving us fits with it's mechanics, but it's computerized operation and digital interpretations are not paticularly what we are used to. We did manage this reasonable shot of an osprey soaring overhead(above) and a bald eagle heading home with a catch (below).


Main Street, Morrisburg, shot mid-1950's . . .

Ever wonder what Morrisburg's, pre-St. Lawrence Seaway, Main Street really looked like?  Or the appearance of many of the villages nestled along the north bank of the St. Lawrence River in the early 1950's. This is how we remember it. We walked the sidewalks many times through this stretch, on the way from Augusta Street to Lock Street, and we knew most of the store owners/business operators of the day. Where the nickel pop machines were, or where you might pilfer a hand out for an errand accomplished.       - See more here . . .