Email: southdundasinbox@gmail.com


Good morning South Dundas . . .

If South Dundas has a saleable aspect to draw tourism then surely those in charge of such things would address the beauty of architecture in our communities and rural areas both. This photograph was shot in the early morning hours, along a strip of Morrisburg's First Street, a stunning panoramic to say the least. The same architectural vistas can be viewed in Iroquois, Williamsburg, Brinston and so on. And there is a wonderful history in all of them. We believe our early school teachers used to demand we kept our eyes, and quite possible, this is exactly what they were talking about . . . 


Federal & Provincial COVID-19 resilience stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program . . .

UCDSB receives $10M in funding for school enhancements and upgrades . . .

UCDSB Chair of the Board John McAllister . . .
UCDSB Chair of the Board John McAllister . . .

April 14, 2021 – The Upper Canada District School Board is happy to announce that our school board will be receiving $10.2 million from the federal and provincial governments, as part of the COVID-19 Resilience stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. This funding was announced this morning.  

        UCDSB Chair of the Board John McAllister adds, “Any day we receive funding news of this nature is a good day for Upper Canada. We want to truly thank our provincial and federal partners for their investments in our schools.” 

         With this funding, 73 schools plus three additional T.R. Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education sites will see enhancements made within their buildings. Some of the enhancements and upgrades that our schools can expect from this funding are upgrades to HVAC and controls at three sites,  2 new replacement portables at one site,  window replacements at two sites, 302 bottle filling stations, and 445 power doors with touchless sensors.  

        Additionally, some child care facilities within our buildings will see some major renovations, as well as upgrades to outdoor fencing, air conditioning, new washrooms or fixtures, video intercoms and improved Wi-Fi.  

        “We fully appreciate the funding being provided by the federal and provincial governments, as any enhancements we do in our schools and buildings has a direct and positive impact on our students and staff,” says Director of Education, Stephen Sliwa. 

        Projects will begin immediately in our schools, with the plan to have them completed by late fall of 2021. The funding received was based on an application process, which outlined the type of projects that would qualify for this funding and timelines that the projects needed to be completed by.  

        “Schools are inherently a congregate setting, and as a society, the protection of our young people is paramount,” says Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.


OPP warn local residents . . .

Water treatment scammers haunt area . . .

Wednesday, Apr. 14th - The Stormont Dundas & Glengarry Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to warn the public that the water treatment scam has surfaced in the area again.

        On April 6, 2021 SD&G responded to a report of a fraud in North Glengarry Township. The victim in the matter lost thousands of dollars following an individual contacting him claiming to be a water treatment business, the victim agreed to have the service done and have the reverse osmosis system installed at his residence.

        On April 8, 2021 a person claiming to be a debt consolidator made arrangements to meet with the victim, stating they received his name from a list of people that were victims of scams related to air conditioning, furnace, and HVAC installations in the past and was attempting to assist him with consolidating his debts with the services.

        The SD&G OPP intercepted the individual with the victim at a local bank and arrested a person involved.

An investigation continues. Under the new laws in Ontario certain door to door sales are banned: Air cleaners, Air conditioners, Air purifiers, Duct cleaning services, Furnaces, Water filters, Water heaters, Water purifiers, Water softeners, Water treatment devices, and bundles of these goods and services.

     •   There are many ways to prevent these types of fraud such as:

     •   Be suspicious if you are approached for the repairs or work.

     •   Check identification and references of the company.

     •   Make sure the contractor is licensed.

     •   Get at least 3 written quotes for work that you need completed.

     •   Ask for an itemized bill for the repairs and materials.

     •   Do not give a cash deposit.

     •   Get a contract for the work being completed.

     •   Make any cheque payable to the company name and ensure the cheque is written in a way that can't be altered.

        If you are not sure of the situation you are in, ask for the individual to come back and get a phone number. Consult with a family member or close friend about the work and the price that is being suggested. If you feel the people attending your property are trying to intimidate you and are putting pressure on you, ask them to leave. Write down any information you may observe about their description, number of people, and the vehicles that they are using, especially a licence plate.

Call 1- 888-310-1122 to report them to the OPP immediately.


Province launches online survey . . .

Public input to tighten Codes of Conduct . . .

 

Wednesday, Apr. 14th - The Ontario government has launched a 90-day consultation to obtain feedback on how to strengthen municipal codes of conduct. With the support of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), the province is working to better ensure that municipalities, councillors and heads of council maintain a safe and respectful workplace.

        Jill Dunlop, the Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues, is holding roundtables with a variety of municipal stakeholders on how to strengthen accountability measures for members. 

        "Our government has been absolutely clear that we will not tolerate workplace harassment or discrimination of any kind," said Associate Minister Dunlop. "It's critical that everyone knows there are accountability measures in place for members who violate municipal codes of conduct. Our consultation will help determine what changes, if any, are required to ensure everyone can feel safe and respected in the workplace." 

        The government is also collecting feedback on AMO's recommendations for holding municipal councillors accountable, including increased financial penalties, suspension for certain violations, removal from office in certain circumstances, and better training and standards for integrity commissioners. This feedback is critical to ensuring effective accountability measures are put in place for members of council who violate their municipal code of conduct. 

        "Municipal councils are looking for new tools and new measures to address modern challenges in local government," said AMO President Graydon Smith. "Where there are serious code of conduct violations, municipal councils need the authority to take actions that are measured, appropriate and effective." 

        Comments for the consultation are welcome through the online survey by July 15, 2021. Anyone can participate in the online survey to provide feedback. Municipalities are also encouraged to provide official feedback through the online survey. This is another step the Ontario government is taking to hold members who violate codes of conduct accountable for creating unsafe work environments. 

        "I encourage every Ontarian to participate in this process and share their thoughts and comments on how to bring effective accountability to municipal governments," said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "We must ensure that the right tools are available and that above all people feel safe and supported." 


Some surgeries not impacted at WDMH . . .

Tuesday, Apr. 13th - Winchester District Memorial Hospital is working closely with local hospitals to support patients and families and respond to the latest directions from the Ministry of Health. At this time, there are no changes to outpatient clinics and diagnostic tests at WDMH. Surgical services will also continue for patients who do not require an inpatient bed post-surgery. Cancer surgeries will not be impacted.

        “Our patients are our top priority, and we are here for you,” says CEO Cholly Boland. “If any services are affected, we will ensure our patients and our local communities are informed immediately.” 

        WDMH is preparing to open some additional beds to accept non-COVID-19 patients from other hospitals as needed.

        “We are working to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible for these patients,” adds Boland.

        In addition, the WDMH Emergency Department is open 24/7 and ready to care for patients with serious health concerns.    

        “We appreciate that members of our local communities are taking the recommendations to stay home seriously, but it should not come at the cost of your health or safety,” the CEO points out, adding, “Everyone who comes to WDMH is screened when they arrive, and stringent precautions are in place.” 

        As the situation progresses, we will continue to keep everyone up-to-date on any changes. Please visit the WDMH website at www.wdmh.on.ca or follow the hospital @ https://www.facebook.com/WinchesterDistrictMemorialHospital for the latest updates. 


"School's out for the summer" - Ford . . .

             - CTV screen grab, Toronto . . .
- CTV screen grab, Toronto . . .

Ontario Moves Schools to Remote Learning . . .

Monday, Apr. 12th - The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has made the difficult decision to move elementary and secondary schools to remote learning following the April break. This move has been made in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants, and the massive spike in hospital admissions.

        Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

        "We are seeing a rapidly deteriorating situation with a record number of COVID cases and hospital admissions threatening to overwhelm our health care system," said Premier Ford. "As I have always said we will do whatever it takes to ensure everyone stays safe. By keeping kids home longer after spring break we will limit community transmission, take pressure off our hospitals and allow more time to rollout our COVID-19 vaccine plan."  

 

School's out for summer

School's out forever

School's been blown to pieces . . . - Alice Cooper

 

        With appropriate measures in place, schools have been safe places for learning throughout the pandemic, as confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health and have demonstrated low rates of in-school transmission. However, increasing rates of community spread pose a threat to the health and safety of school communities.  As a result, all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools in the province are to move to teacher-led remote learning when students return from the April break on April 19, 2021. Private schools operating in-person this week are to transition to remote learning by April 15, 2021. This action is being taken in support of the Government's broader efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. Data will be assessed on an ongoing basis and health officials will be consulted to determine when it will be safe to resume in-person learning.

        Child care for non-school aged children will remain open, before and after school programs will be closed and free emergency child care for the school-aged children of eligible health care and frontline workers will be provided. To protect the most vulnerable, boards will make provisions for continued in-person support for students with special education needs who require additional support that cannot be accommodated through remote learning.

        "This was not a decision we made lightly, as we know how critical schools are to Ontario students. Our priority has always been to keep schools open, however sharply rising community transmission can put our schools and Ontario families at risk," said Minister Lecce. "While Ontario's plan has kept schools safe, as confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, we are taking decisive and preventative action today to ensure students can safely return to learning in our schools."

        Case rates, hospitalizations, and ICU occupancy are increasing rapidly, threatening to overwhelm the health care system. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the province have increased by 22.1 per cent between the period of April 4 and 10, 2021. In addition, during this same period of time, Ontario has seen the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care increase from 494 to 605.

        Since April 8, the province has been under a provincewide Stay-at-Home order, requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercisewith your household in your home community, or for work that cannot be done remotely. As Ontario's health care capacity is threatened, the Stay-at-Home order, and other new and existing public health and workplace safety measures, will work to preserve public health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations, allow for progress to be made with vaccinations and save lives.

        With students moving to remote learning, vaccine prioritization of education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs across the province, and all education workers in select hot spot areas, starting with Peel and Toronto, will continue. Starting today, special education workers across the province and education workers in Peel and Toronto hot spots will be eligible to register for vaccination by calling the provincial vaccine booking line at 1‑833‑943‑3900. More information is available at Ontario.ca/covidvaccine.

        It is critically important that as Ontarians receive the vaccine, everyone continues to wear a mask, maintain physical distancing when outside of their immediate household and frequently wash their hands. As well, continue to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested if symptoms are present.

        "As we continue to see rapid growth in community transmission across the province, it is necessary to take extra precautions and measures to ensure the continued health and safety of students, teachers and their families," said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. "As the fight against this third wave of the pandemic continues, everyone must continue following all public health and workplace safety measures and stay at home to prevent further transmission of the virus, so we can once again resume in person learning in our schools."

 

Well, we got no choice

All the girls and boys

Makin' all that noise

'Cause they found new toys

Well, we can't salute ya

Can't find a flag

If that don't suit ya

                                    That's a drag . . .       - Alice Cooper 1972

 

"School's Out" is a song first recorded as the title track of Alice Cooper's fifth album. The song was released as the album's second single on April 26, 1972. It has been regarded as the band's signature song and reached number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The rather bizarre lyrics are almost fitting in today's turmoil . . . 


Early on Sunday, April 11th, the French military Search & Rescue ship, a pair of Canada geese and an early rising photographer brave the crisp air for a sunrise photo . . . and report all is well in South Dundas . . .


Stem learning is changing education . . .

Earlier this school year, teacher Blair Fitzsimons received the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Since joining the staff at St. Mary-St. Cecilia Catholic School six years ago, Mr. Fitzsimons has led the move to integrate STEM learning at all grade levels, beginning in Kindergarten.  See more on the many tools being used in STEM learning here . . .



This Week at Queen's Park . . .

Jim McDonell, MPP
Jim McDonell, MPP

From the desk of 

MPP Jim McDonell . . .

 

Friday, Apr. 16th - Over the week, the province's active cases continue to spike, stretching our hospitals and their intensive care facilities to capacity. Patients are being transported between hospitals, regions, and provinces to access emergency services. While thousands of additional hospital beds have been added, the staff required to operate them has become very difficult to find. The new variants are proving to be much more contagious than the original virus and are now responsible for over 70 percent of the cases across the entire province, including our region. New tighter restrictions were put in place to bring the caseload under control, but we know that it takes three to four weeks to bring this caseload down to acceptable levels. We need everyone's patience and cooperation. The variants may be new, but the medical experts agree that the key to stopping the virus remains the same. We must eliminate coming in contact with it, either through avoiding personal contact or through vaccination. Until the country's vaccination level achieves herd immunity levels of close to 80 percent, personal distancing measures and masks will be required to control this virus.  

 

        The worldwide demand for vaccines has resulted in the shortage that we are experiencing in the country today. The anticipated April surge in supplies is not happening, with delays in scheduled deliveries causing vaccination centres to be run at less than compacity, and in some regions, shut down entirely as their supplies run out. I want to commend Dr. Paul Roumeliotis and his team for the smooth operation of the local clinics. He has been scheduling clinics to deal with the last-minute delays the province has experienced. To schedule your vaccine, please go to www.ontario.ca/bookvaccine  or call the helpline at 1-888-999-6488. More than 3.7 million doses have been administered province-wide.

 

        I wanted to clarify some issues that I have heard, including the designation of "hot-spots." In some of our larger provincial centres, they have experienced high vaccine hesitancy rates, resulting in unfilled appointments. Several accommodations have been made to deal with this issue, including lowering the age eligibility to increase the demand for the available timeslots.  Another strategy involves re-allocating a portion of a region's vaccine supply to target "hot-spots," or neighbourhoods with high transmission rates, to lower the overall community numbers, comparing it to extinguishing a fire.  

 

        Locally, I have been asked about supporting the designation of a particular region or municipality in our health unit region as a hot spot to allow it to receive a higher percentage of our unit's allocation. The simple answer is that we need more supply, and to quote our Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, "when the supply increases, all these problems go away." To be clear, at this time, there are no additional vaccines for area hot spots; they are served by reallocating the existing supply from one area to another – robbing Peter to pay Paul. Since the beginning of this pandemic, most municipalities in our health unit area have taken their turn in holding the high-case banner. We need to concentrate on the big picture of vaccinating our most vulnerable residents, those with underlying health issues, and essential workers and ensuring all regions have equitable local access. Vaccine deliveries have fallen back to Federal Government’s original forecast, but we know they are working hard and doing all they can to secure these scarce vaccines. We need and appreciate everyone's patience and co-operation.

As noted, the stay-at-home order remains in effect until at least May 6. Please continue to follow the details of the order at  www.Ontario.ca/COVID-19. More important than ever, I want to remind people to maintain personal spacing, wear a mask, and stay home except to pick up essential items.  


Seaway Surge offers House League ball . . .

Tuesday, Apr. 6th - South Dundas' Jason Broad informs us that the Seaway Surge organization will be coordinating house league baseball in the upcoming season, including with the Williamsburg (Dave Lapier) group and the Pioneers. Mr. Broad said the Surge organization will be offering more programs under Ontario Baseball rules.

        The Surge authored press release follows, covering the new baseball options, open to all interested players in the area.

 

Seaway Surge Baseball Club Inc. House League Information . . .

        Welcome to the inaugural season of Seaway Surge House League. We’re excited to be bringing this new league to young baseball players throughout our region. Here is some basic information that you need to know (bearing in

mind that all of which is subject to change based on demand, field availability, weather, etc.) 

 

Duration:

11 Weeks. Season start will be Monday, May 17th. Season end will be Thursday, July 29th.

 

Divisions:

Rally Cap + 5 Divisions as follows: Rally Cap – players born in 2014|2015|2016;   9U – players born in 2012|2013;   

11U – players born in 2010|2011;   13U – players born in 2008|2009;   15U – players born in 2006|2007;   

18U – players born in 2003|2004|2005: Rally Cap - players born in 2014-15-16-17

 

 

 

Coverage

Fields: 

Kemptville – South Gower 3 and Riverside Park; Winchester – Morgan and Sox Diamonds; Chesterville; Morrisburg – Both diamonds; Finch; Williamsburg

 

Schedule:

12 games + practices + playoffs

 

Uniform & Equipment:

      Players receive a t-shirt and cap (to keep). The Seaway Surge will provide safety equipment such as

catcher’s gear. Teams will receive 2 bats. Players should be encouraged to purchase their own bats.

Besides a baseball glove and the appropriate footwear, players (9U and above) are also required to have:

(i) a batting helmet, and, (ii) an athletic supporter.

Baseball gear can be found at the Seaway Surge Store: https://seawaysurge.itemorder.com/sale

 

COVID-19:

        The Seaway Surge will provide each team with a package including masks and hand santizer.

 

Communication:

        A member of the Seaway Surge Executive Committee will be designated as the House League Convenor to

which all inquiries, concerns, etc. can be directed.

        A new website dedicated exclusively to the house league is being created. More information to follow.

Additional information:  Jason Broad 613-930-0240 or jason.broad@seawaysurge.com


Supporting CHEO for the little people . . .

Iroquois-Matilda Lions, staff at River Rat Treasures and the Easter Bunny join for a photo op before making more than 100 Easter deliveries to children throughout South Dundas . . .       - photos supplied

 

Tuesday Apr. 6th - The Iroquois-Matilda Lions Evonne Delegarde and Shirley Pettinger spent Easter Saturday and Sunday supporting Candace Latulippe with deliveries. Latulippe, who owns Iroquois' River Rat Treasures, along with her sister and brother-in-law Sheila and Scott Durant, who own Nationview Golf Course, work through each year raising monies to assist the Oncology Department at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. And this past weekend Candace Latulippe secured additional drivers in nephew and niece Kolby and Sierra Latulippe combined with the team players from the Lions made 60 deliveries of Easter surprises to 109 children.

        The Easter deliveries, all made with Latulippe dressed as the days biggest Bunny, aided in raising $350, including a $50 donation, topped up with a previously held Paint Night and a Bake Sale tip RivervRat's total to something in the area of $1400. These funds will be combined with monies raised at Nationview Golf Club, all destined for the annual CHEO donation. 

        The Latulippe/Durant gang takes their fund raising seriously. So much so the over the past ten years they have raised and donated $185,400. And that's an impressive Easter surprise by any comparison!

        When asked about the success of her fund raising efforts, Candace Latulippe is quick to deflect the accolades, pointing out that "It's so nice to have the kids old enough to drive now!", then adding, "Lions Evonne and Shirley bring a lot of fun to these events," and "A couple of my clients sponsored four children to receive Easter surprises as well."

        "We live in an amazing community!" says Latulippe, " The cancer unit at CHEO is very important to us. We have had many children in our community who have needed treatment at CHEO and it's so wonderful to have this facility and their unbelievable staff available to us." And then she adds, "Thanks again!"

        It would be proper that the community expressed the thank you in this case, as they should and do in many comparable cases. It is in fact individuals and groups who drive the widely recognized generosity of South Dundas and who work to keep South Dundas an attractive and vibrant community. And we are proud to know Candace Latulippe and our Lions Clubs hold a spot on the front row. Thank you again Candace Latulippe, to you and your team!!!


Fundraising campaign: Help the Playhouse Get On With The Show! . . .

Working to save our culture & economy . . .

Monday, April 5th - Morrisburg’s Upper Canada Playhouse is one of Eastern Ontario’s leading professional theatre companies and the entertainment choice of over 40,000 patrons annually.

        "Although not currently staging shows, The Playhouse is consumed, grappling with the endless challenges faced by all theatres across Canada." says Donnie Bowes, The Playhouse's Artistic Director who has been with the organization for more than 30 years. Bowes adds, "As well we are planning a 2021 season we hope to announce in late Spring."

 

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'The puzzle that we all need to solve': Canada's theatre community ponders comeback amid COVID-19 Social Sharing . . .

CBC - May 16, 2020 - It's been two months since the COVID-19 crisis brought the curtain down on Canada's theatres, and each week seems to bring fresh announcements about seasons being cancelled or postponed from Vancouver's Arts Club Theatre Company to Ontario leaders, such as the Stratford Festival and Mirvish Productions, to the venerable Charlottetown Festival. Even Broadway, the behemoth next door, will remain shuttered through Labour Day.

 

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        As the pandemic, for whatever reason refuses to disappear, Upper Canada Playhouse is redirecting their strengths to address a long lingering and costly shut-down, stressing that a professional season of live theatre and music comes with a significant cost.

        "Audiences expect and deserve to receive high production standards and to be entertained by some of the finest talent in the country, says Mr. Bowes, pointing out, " Considering the restrictions posed by COVID-19, it’s a particularly daunting financial challenge to deliver."

       The Playhouse is normally in a  financially flush position at this time of year, having come out of a previous season with revenues from their traditional full houses.

        That being said, the last time the curtains closed at the Upper Canada Playhouse was more than a year ago and the stage lights have been dark since that time. And obviously, maintaining the venue with no box office revenue has taken its toll on any reserves the operation typically enjoys. 

 

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Georgian Theatre goes dark, disappointing Barrie's performing arts community

Barrie Today-Feb 19, 2021 - ‘The loss of Georgian Theatre is absolutely devastating to all sorts of members of the performing arts community here in Barrie'

Bringing the curtain down on the city’s lease arrangement with Georgian Theatre could mean lights out for many users.

“The loss of Georgian Theatre is absolutely devastating to all sorts of members of the performing arts community here in Barrie,” said Kempenfelt Community Players’ (KCP) board of directors chair Lianne Romans.

 

                                                                         --------------

 

        Upper Canada Playhouse does not receive any direct arts funding.

        "For many years we’ve been proud to sustain ourselves without public arts funding", commented Artistic Director Donnie Bowes. "Our shows have drawn large audiences and we haven’t had to apply for assistance from major arts funders like Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council."

        "We’ve been grateful to receive some government business support to keep our core staff working on re-opening plans, COVID protocols and venue maintenance. But no specific arts support, explained the Artistic Director, continuing, "When federal and provincial governments issued millions to support theatres companies, we expected to be able to apply for it. But the arts dollars were directed to these funding agencies to administer and only those companies that had been receiving support through them were invited to apply."

        The Playhouse hopes to fill that gap by  following the lead of many of their theatre colleagues. They have launched a special fundraising campaign - ‘Help The Playhouse Get On With The Show!’ 

        In addition to being closed for over a year and the substantial cost of Covid protocol equipment and special staffing, the major concern the operation now faces is being allowed to sell only 20-25% of their seats per show in an effort to accommodate social distancing.

        "We’re determined to make it happen and do it safely. But we’ll need to rely on supporters through our campaign to get there," says determined Bowes, pointing out, "Coupled with dealing with these challenges is the excitement of lighting up the stage so audiences can laugh and sing again. Laughter has always been one of the theatre’s main attractions and certainly is much needed by everyone in these times."

 

                                                                         --------------

 

When the music’s over: COVID-19 decimated the arts in Canada,

and the worst may be yet to come

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts - Unemployment among arts workers is soaring, venues are closing down and some fear government support will come too late. What will be left of the culture industry when this is all over?

 

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        The theatre is also aware of how their annual audiences boost the local economy during the 'in season'. The Playhouse is engaging with other theatres to form cost-saving co-productions, has negotiated the appearance of popular and familiar faces such as Norm Foster, Marshall Button, Leisa Way and Aaron Solomon and is putting together a season featuring comedies, concerts and a wonderful Christmas show. It will also provide all the health and safety measures to ensure that audiences will feel safe as they enjoy their Playhouse experience.

        The building will be sanitized and deep-cleaned before every show, will have a designated Covid compliance officer on duty at all times and will also provide performers, technicians, staff safe workplace conditions. In addition to that, the Playhouse has established an excellent relationship with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit which has been very supportive and have provided expert advice all along the way.

        As previously mentioned, the theatre hopes to make a formal season announcement later in the Spring. As that decision is being finalized, focused  eyes remain on the pandemic situation, and on the Help The Playhouse Get On With The Show! campaign.

        Click on the live Playhouse link:  www.uppercanadaplayhouse.com  to view Video & Donation information.

Or call 613-543-3713/1-877-550-3650 to support the campaign.


All 34 Public Health Unit regions . . .

Ford calls again for provincial shutdown . . .

Ontario Premier Ford announces return to shutdown . . .     - CTV Photo
Ontario Premier Ford announces return to shutdown . . . - CTV Photo

Thursday, April 1st - The Ontario government is imposing a province-wide emergency brake as a result of an alarming surge in case numbers, most of which are recorded in the Toronto Peel regions, and COVID-19 hospitalizations. The province wide shut-down will be effective Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and will be in place for at least four weeks.

        "We are facing a serious situation and drastic measures are required to contain the rapid spread of the virus, especially the new variants of concern," said Premier Ford, adding, "I know pulling the emergency brake will be difficult on many people across the province, but we must try and prevent more people from getting infected and overwhelming our hospitals."

        Ontario's key indicators and latest modelling show that additional measures must be taken. From March 26 to 28, 2021, provincial case rates have increased by 7.7 per cent to 101.1 cases per 100,000 people. Current COVID-19 related ICU admissions are already over the peak of wave two and hospitals in regional hotspots will need to further ramp down scheduled surgeries. COVID-19 related ICU admissions are projected to exceed 650 beds in a few weeks. These projected increases are being driven by COVID-19 variants, transmitted easily and result in a higher risk of death and hospitalization, including in younger populations.

        The province-wide emergency brake would put in place time-limited public health and workplace safety measures to help to stop the rapid transmission of COVID-19 variants in communities, protect hospital capacity and save lives. Measures include, but are not limited to:

    •  Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings and limiting the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings to a 5-person maximum, except for gatherings with members of the same household (the people you live with) or gatherings of members of one household and one other person from another household who lives alone.

    •  Restricting in-person shopping in all retail settings, including a 50 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers' markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies, and 25 per cent for all other retail including big box stores, along with other public health and workplace safety measures;

    •  Prohibiting personal care services;

    •  Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take-out, drive-through, and delivery only;

    •  Prohibiting the use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness (e.g., gyms) with very limited exceptions;

    •  Requiring day camps to close; and,

    •  Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.

        On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, all Ontarians are being asked to limit trips outside the home to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, supporting vulnerable community members, or exercising outdoors with members of their household. Employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work from home.

        The current COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open, will be paused when the provincewide emergency brake comes into effect. "In the last few weeks a significant increase in COVID-19 cases and variants of concern has been observed across Ontario,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. "Implementing a provincewide shutdown is needed to bring the third wave of this pandemic under control."


This week from Queen's Park . . .

MPP Jim McDonell . . .
MPP Jim McDonell . . .

From the desk of 

MPP Jim McDonell . . .

 

Thursday, Apr. 1st - With COVID-19 case numbers recently exceeding more than 100 cases per 100,000 people, the Ontario government took the prudent decision to impose a province-wide emergency brake. Extra restrictions will take effect Saturday, April 3 at 12:01 a.m. and continue for at least four weeks. This decision is necessary if we are going to stop the spread of cases and reduce the burden on our hospitals. ICU admissions have already exceeded the peak of the second wave in January, forcing some hospitals to cancel surgeries. For a complete list of the restrictive measures, please visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/enhancing-public-health-and-workplace-safety-measures-provincewide-shutdown.

        Across the province, health units are putting in long hours to vaccinate as many people as possible against this virus. Over the weekend, we hope to surpass the 2.5 million-dose milestone in the province, but predictable vaccine supplies are hampering efforts. In March alone, more than 800,000 fewer vaccines were delivered to the province than promised. Last-minute changes require our health units to only schedule clinics based on the current supply on hand, as the resources required to call back clients to cancel and change appointments would be excessive. We are also facing challenges with people refusing to be vaccinated, especially many of our front-line workers. One fact remains clear, all of the approved vaccines prevent 100% of the hospitalizations and deaths from this deadly virus.

        The Eastern Ontario Health Unit team, led by Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, continues to vaccinate residents as fast as it receives doses. Over 25,000 shots have been administered to our residents, and they are now scheduling those born in 1951 and earlier. The Ontario Pharmacists Association is also working on adding vaccination sites for people born in 1961 and earlier. They will be opening locations in our region once the AstraZeneca vaccines become available over the next week. You can book your appointment at www.ontario.ca/bookvaccine. If you don’t have a green OHIP card and want to schedule an appointment at one of the health unit’s sites, please call the helpline at 1-888-999-6488. This line is also available for group appointments and those in need of assistance. The EOHU is working on a plan to visit home-bound residents, and advises anyone requiring a visit to register at www.eohu.ca or calling 613-933-1375.

        The latest local and provincial COVID-19 cases continue to rise sharply, mainly due to the much more contagious variants of concern. These new variants affect all age groups, and stretch our hospital facilities’ capacity, including our limited intensive care units (ICU). Our Government is re-establishing further restrictions to help control the spread of the virus and protect our health care system on the recommendations of our health command table. Please review these new restrictions at www.Ontario.ca/COVID-19.  

        The recent 2021 Ontario Budget offers effective funding assistance to buffer small businesses against the effects of capacity restrictions and lockdowns. The Government has added new programs to help the tourism, culture, and hospitality sectors, which have been amongst the hardest-hit during the pandemic. The new one-time Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support grant will provide $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible applicants who did not qualify for the Small Business Support Grant. I urge businesses and organizations to make applications for these programs by visiting https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs.

        I was pleased to coordinate an information webinar to help local businesses and stakeholders apply to the new $105 million Community Building Fund, available through Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Reconnect Festivals Events program. Organizations that work within the non-profit arts, culture, heritage, tourism, sport, and recreation sectors, as well as Indigenous communities, can apply. Please apply to https://otf.ca/our-grants/community-building-fund/community-building-fund-operating-stream. 

        I was also happy this week to announce the start-up of an innovative skills program that will train 30 residents. Administered by the Eastern Ontario Training Board, each participant will participate in an intensive 10-week course that will provide recruitment, pre-employment, essential and technical skills training, and a five-week placement. For our province to recover successfully from the pandemic, we need to fill a growing vacancy of skilled trades’ positions.

        I want to remind everyone, to maintain personal spacing, wear a mask, and stay home except to pick up essential items.

        I also want to wish everyone a Happy Easter, and as always, remember to stay home, stay safe and save lives. Your health and that of your loved ones may depend on it.

 

Wednesday, Mar. 31st - MPP Jim McDonell, Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry,  has issued a press release detailing the province's intentions to assist in both funding and training with the introduction of the Skilled Trades program.  Check the link below . . .

 

        MPP Jim McDonell, Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry . . .


Public High School students make academic gains despite pandemic . . .

93 per cent average success rate Gr. 9-12 . . .

Thursday, Apr. 1st - In light of the ongoing pandemic, students within the Upper Canada District School Board are making significant positive gains within the classroom. UCDSB student success data shows that credit completion amongst high school students is on the upswing, even when compared to pre-pandemic numbers. 

        Earlier this month, staff presented the Board of Trustees with credit-completion data for Grade 9-12 students during Quadmester 2. The results showcased an increased number of students completing and passing courses over Quadmester 1. Achievement levels also surpassed levels seen during the pre-pandemic period in the traditional semester model.

        During Quadmester 1, Sept. 11th thru Nov. 10th, 2020, the average success rate among the different learning models sat at 86 per cent. Quadmester 2 data shows a 93 per cent average success rate for Grade 9-12 students across all learning platforms. This rate signifies that students have adjusted well to the changed schedule.

        For Quadmester 2, students who attended school in-person averaged a 96 per cent success rate of completing and passing a course. For online synchronous learners, that rate fell to 85 per cent.

        “When we consider the shifts made to accommodate learning during this pandemic period, we knew a quadmester learning model would address health and safety protocols while also ensuring our students received a purposeful learning experience,” says UCDSB Director Stephen Sliwa. “These results for successful completion rates are a testament to our staff’s commitment to ensuring our students receive quality learning experiences as well as to our students’ ability to adapt during these times.”

        Students enrolled in the UCDSB Virtual Secondary Program had a 79 per cent course completion rate during Quadmester 2. The school board’s student success specialists are following up with students learning virtually to provide continued supports and encourage engagement. 

        “It’s important that each student feels supported,” says Superintendent of Schools and Student Success David Coombs. “That’s why we have more supports rolling out so that we can connect with every student, regardless of their current learning mode.” 

        To complement the collected data, the UCDSB also launched a board-wide student survey for Grade 9-12 students, seeking their direct feedback on their learning experiences this year. The student survey results are expected to be released to the public in April 2021.

        “Student voice is key,” says Sliwa. “While it’s encouraging to see these successful credit completion rates, we know student feedback will help us track trends and learn for the future – especially when it comes to our students’ academic success and mental health.”


Sign Up! April is Be-A-Donor month . . .

Thursday, April 1st - Today, almost 1,600 Ontarians are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, and every three days, someone will die waiting. April is BeADonor Month and WDMH is encouraging everyone to join the more than four million Ontarians that have registered as an organ and tissue donor.  We are also encouraging everyone to wear green on April 7th to show your support.

        By registering to be a donor, you recognize that your death can have the power to save or change someone’s life. In fact, one donor can save up to eight lives through the gift of heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and intestines. Another 75 lives can be enhanced through the gift of tissue: eyes can restore sight; skin can help burn patients; bones can be used for joint replacements; heart valves can help patients with congenital heart disease; and tendons and ligaments can help recipients walk and run. More than 90% of Ontarians are in favour of organ donation; however, only one in three (35%) have registered their consent to donate.

        WDMH Is proud to be partnering with the Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) to save more lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation by notifying TGLN when a patient is at high risk of imminent death or when a patient has died.  Since the program started late last year at WDMH, 11 referrals have taken place, resulting in two successful eye donors.

        “Through this partnership, the hope is more families will have conversations about the importance of providing life-saving gifts to those in need,” notes Cholly Boland, WDMH CEO. “Registering your consent for organ and tissue donation will give hope to those waiting.”

        To register or learn more, visit www.beadonor.ca. 


Ontario expands COVID-19 vaccination bookings to 70-year-olds . . . .

Vaccines available for more Ontarians . . .

Monday, Mar. 29th - The Ontario government is extending booking for COVID-19 vaccination appointments to individuals aged 70 and over through its online booking system and call centre in 11 additional public health units on March 29, 2021, following its expansion in Toronto that began on March 27, 2021.

        As of 8:00 a.m. on Monday, March 29, 2021, all individuals aged 70 and over in the following public health units will be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at a mass immunization clinic through the provincial online booking system and call centre: City of Hamilton Public Health Services; Grey Bruce Health Unit; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health; Lambton Public Health; Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit; Niagara Region Public Health; Ottawa Public Health; Peel Public Health; Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit; Timiskaming Health Unit; and York Region Public Health.

        "Thanks to the careful planning of everyone involved in the vaccine rollout, we are able to extend vaccination appointments to more Ontarians ahead of schedule," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "But until Ontario receives enough vaccines so that the majority of Ontarians can be vaccinated, it remains critical for everyone to continue following public health measures, so that we can control the spread. Please, continue to wear a face covering, practise physical distancing and wash your hands to help keep our communities and loved ones safe."

        As of March 27, 2021, over three-quarters of Ontario residents aged 80 and over have received at least one dose. Over a third of residents aged 75 to 79 have now received their first shot.

        As vaccine supply is delivered across the province and additional public health units begin vaccinating individuals aged 70 and over, vaccine administration rates may differ based on local context. Rollout and timing has been further impacted by the latest delay in shipment of the Moderna vaccine, initially planned for March 30 but now delayed until April 7th. For more information on local vaccine rollout, individuals are encouraged to contact their local public health unit.

       "As Ontario's immunization program continues to expand, communities across the province are gaining greater levels of protection that will save lives," said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. "We will continue to extend this rollout to other regions as more vaccines become available, and we ask that everyone remains vigilant and continues to follow public health measures."

        Ontario continues to work with public health units to vaccinate remaining Phase One populations, including First Nation, Metis, and Inuit adults, health care workers, adult chronic home care recipients, and residents and staff in congregate care settings for seniors. Public health units have been directed to consider accessibility issues in their plans and have local solutions, such as mobile clinics and transportation supports.

   •  To date in March 2021, Ontario has received 1,454,310 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, 323,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 194,500 doses of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine. In April 2021, the province is expecting to receive 1,584,180 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 751,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

   •  Ontario’s exact allocations and delivery timing for the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, as well as delivery timing for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine after March are pending confirmation from the federal government and are not known at this time.

   •  As of March 27, 2021, individuals aged 70 and over in Toronto can book appointments at mass immunization clinics through the provincial online booking system and call centre. As of Monday, March 29, 2021, individuals aged 70 and over in the following regions will also be eligible: Hamilton; Grey Bruce; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington; Lambton; Leeds, Grenville and Lanark; Niagara; Ottawa; Peel; Simcoe-Muskoka; Timiskaming; and York Region. In all other public health units, the provincial booking system and call centre for appointments at mass immunization clinics is available only for individuals aged 75 and over.

   •  Eligible individuals can schedule a vaccine appointment by visiting Ontario.ca/bookvaccine, or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Information Line number at 1-888-999-6488. The Provincial Vaccine Information Line is open Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and can provide assistance in 300 languages.

   •  Healthy people are essential for a healthy economy. The government released the 2021 Ontario Budget on March 24 outlining the province’s next steps to defeat COVID-19. It brings total investments to $16.3 billion to protect people’s health. Ontario’s total response to COVID-19 is now $51 billion.

            Stay informed with Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell here . . .


Let bidding begin!
- Online art auction . . .

Sun over Water, 16x20 unframed oil, bidding starts at $40.00! Retail price is $300.00. Start bidding!
Sun over Water, 16x20 unframed oil, bidding starts at $40.00! Retail price is $300.00. Start bidding!

Monday, Mar. 29th - Carrie A. Keller (O’Neill) is a well-known local artist who has a unique idea to support the Winchester District Memorial Hospital Foundation, and to help make area homes more beautiful at the same time. Carrie is organizing a Facebook Art Auction, with proceeds going to the Foundation. 

        Carrie lives in Winchester and is a prolific painter. She also teaches painting classes. With the COVID-19 pandemic, all art shows have been cancelled and teaching has been limited. As a result, Carrie has multiple paintings available.

        “I am grateful to have Winchester District Memorial Hospital in our community and I want to help,” she explains. “This is a great opportunity and I hope it will be fun too.” 

        The online Facebook auction will take place throughout the month of April. Each day, a new painting will be posted, and viewers can begin bidding. Bidding will close each night at midnight. The next morning, Carrie will announce the winner and post a new painting. 

        “This is a fun month-long event and we are grateful that Carrie is sharing her talents with all of us,” adds Cindy Ault Peters, Manager of Direct Mail & Events. “There’s a lot of anticipation because you won’t know what’s coming next!” 

Most paintings are 11x14 inches in size and are unframed. 

        For all the details, please visit www.facebook.com/paintingstoorder


Province establishes targeted testing safeguarding local schools  . . .

Asymptomatic testing site in Morrisburg . . .

Student self testing . . .   - (Toronto) CBC photo
Student self testing . . . - (Toronto) CBC photo

        The Ontario government is taking action to keep schools and child care settings safe by establishing asymptomatic testing sites in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.

         Targeted asymptomatic testing is an important tool in the fight against COVID-19 as it can help identify cases early and inform public health decisions. Asymptomatic testing is completely voluntary and students, parents, educators and school staff are urged to visit a pop-up testing site and participate. Morrisburg’s St. Mary – St. Cecilia Catholic School of the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario opened on March 20, 2021.

         “Targeted asymptomatic testing is an important additional layer of protection as part of our government’s plan to keep schools open and safe for students, school staff, and their families,” said Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. “Asymptomatic testing is completely voluntary, and it only takes a few minutes. I strongly encourage those able to access this testing to participate.”

         Voluntary testing is available for asymptomatic students, school staff, and where applicable, household members. Anyone in the community with symptoms should seek testing at an assessment centre, not at an asymptomatic testing site.

        Targeted asymptomatic testing offers an important additional layer of protection and helps keep schools and child care centres safe as it may:

    •  Identify cases that might otherwise have gone undetected before it spreads within the classroom or other areas

            of a school or childcare setting;

    •  Reduce transmission of COVID-19 from communities into schools; and

    •  Improve access and make it easier to get a test in your community.

         Ontario's plan to safely reopen schools draws on the advice of leading medical and health experts, and is informed by the best available data. Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, has maintained that with all the safety measures in place, schools remain safe places for learning.

Reliable facts:

    •  COVID-19 can be transmitted from someone who is infected but not showing symptoms.

    •  Getting a test takes only a few minutes and no appointment is necessary at asymptomatic testing sites in Ontario schools.

    •  The Ministry of Education posts targeted testing results in schools and targeted testing locations weekly online.

    •  School boards across the province are making asymptomatic testing available in at least 5 per cent of the elementary

            and secondary schools within their jurisdiction each week.

                Ontario Small Business Grants double. See Jim McDonell's details here . . .


This truck has been here for a few years . . .

        We've toured the back roads many, many times, and more often than not we've discovered interesting possibilities to photograph. The one above, we've shot on several outings, but never seemed to get it quite right to our eye. This capture suggests that we might be on the right track, getting close, but we've decided to go back again . . . 


Foodland's generosity helps Lions Club . . .


Numerous weapons related charges . . .

Thursday, Mar. 25th - 2021 Ontario Provincial Police East Region Community Street Crime Unit, Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit and the Tactics and Rescue Unit executed a search warrant at an address on Victory Lane in North Frontenac Township, Ontario. Three people were arrested and police seized a 3-D printer that was in the process of replicating a hand gun.

        In early 2021, the Canadian Boarder Services Agency commenced an investigation into the importation of prohibited weapons into Canada as several deliveries of firearm parts were linked to the address.

         Police arrested and charged three people with the following Criminal Code offences:

Nolan Pichette, a 21 year old from Ottawa,

   • Trafficking a firearm Section 99 - two counts

   • Failure to comply with release order Section 145(5)(a) - two counts

   • Unauthorized possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm Section 91(1) - two counts

   • Careless storage of a firearm Section 86(1) - two counts

The accused has been held for a bail hearing.

Anna Pichette, a 61 year old from Admaston-Bromley Township,

   • Trafficking a firearm Section 99

   • Unauthorized possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm Section 91(1) - two counts

   • Careless storage of a firearm Section 86(1) - two counts

Cory Benoit, a 40 year old from Greater Madawaska Township,

   • Failure to comply with release order Section 145(5)(a) - two counts

        Both accused have been released on an appearance notice to attend the Ontario Court of Justice in Kingston to answers to the charges at a later date.


Ontario recognizes exceptional contributions of volunteers . . .

Volunteer Service Awards for 45 . . .

Tuesday, Mar. 23rd - The Ontario government is recognizing the outstanding contributions of 6,658 volunteers from across the province. 

         Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, attended a virtual ceremony on March 23 to celebrate the outstanding contributions of 45 volunteers from Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. Recipients are from these organizations: Carefor Health and Community Services, Centre culturel du conseil de vie française de Cornwall, Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Encore Education Centre, Girl Guides of Canada Ontario Council – Community 29D, J.W. MacIntosh Community Support Services, Kinette Club of Cornwall, Lost Villages Historical Society, Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving, Professional Engineers Ontario - Upper Canada Chapter, Stormont Agricultural Society. 

         “Volunteers are a vital part of communities across Ontario – they are an inspiration and example for us all and continue to make our province one of the greatest places to live,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. “It is important that we take time to celebrate their efforts. This has been a challenging year for our communities and our province – but I am so proud of our volunteers who continue to strengthen our local communities and demonstrate the very best of the Ontario spirit.” 

         The Ontario Volunteer Service Awards recognizes individuals for continuous years of volunteer service at a single organization such as hospitals, seniors centres and community associations. Virtual ceremonies will be held in the coming months where our volunteers will receive their awards. Volunteers contribute to a wide range of services in Ontario, including supporting seniors and adults through Meals on Wheels, building up communities through local Lions Clubs, and much more. 

         “The incredible efforts of these individuals and organizations improve the lives of everyone in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry,” said MPP McDonell. “On behalf of the residents of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, thank you.” 

         Ontario also thanks the volunteers who tirelessly and selflessly risked, and continue to risk, their lives to support their communities during the COVID-19 outbreak. The province of Ontario encourages everyone to recognize an exceptional volunteer for their efforts by nominating them for a Volunteer Service Award or the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism. Visit Ontario’s website for more information or to nominate an exceptional volunteer or volunteer organization. 




Kin Club's Catch the Ace nears $300,000 . . .

It’s Back!  Catch the Ace of Spades and win big. . .

        The Kin Club of Russell’s Catch the Ace is back - on February 28th!  There are now 15 envelopes left and the jackpot is expected to be more than $244,000. The next weekly win will be more than $12,000.  To date, the Kin Club of Russell has raised $250,000 to give back to local charities, including the WDMH Foundation.

        Tickets are on sale online at https://kinclubofrussell.ca/catch-the-ace-tickets/.  Be sure to choose WDMHF as your charity of choice.  Tickets can also be purchased at Winchester Foodland, Loughlin’s Country Store, and Brinston General Store. 

        For full details, ongoing updates, and rules of play, visit www.kinclubofrussell.ca