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Vol. 5 Edition 7

New top proposed for 5th St. Bridge By Bruce Corcoran

About a dozen local residents heard firsthand the list of four options on what to do to improve the Fifth Street Bridge in Chatham. The recommended option from Dillon Consulting is to tear off the top of the bridge and only rebuild that element. Adam Sullo, director of engineering for the municipality, said the consulting firm presented four options. The first is to do nothing, the second is to rehabilitate the bridge in a similar manner as the Parry Bridge on Keil Drive this past summer. He said that option would be relatively expensive for limited payback. “This would be a $3-million to $5-million effort, but we’d only get another 10 to 15 years of life and we’d be back in the same situation we are now,” he said. The fourth option would

be a full bridge replacement, with a price tag of an estimated $9.5 million, Sullo said, “not cheap.” That leaves the third option – replacing the bridge surface, but reusing the foundation. “We’d reuse the abutments on both sides of the bridge. The two centre piers would be taken down to just below the water line,” Sullo said. “It would be a fixed span.” And it would come with an estimated price tag of $6.5 million. He said all signs point to everything below the water line being stable. “The foundations on the bridge, we know there hasn’t been any movement. They’re on wood piles,” Sullo said. “Unfortunately we can’t inspect the wood piles, as they are under a concrete pile cap. But we are very confident in the condition of the foundation, as there has been no movement. Continued on page 2

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Adaptive swim program a hit

Mary Beth Corcoran/The Chatham Voice

Luca Leggiero, 4, works hard at his swimming skills in the Adapted Swim program at the Chatham-Kent Children’s Treatment Centre under the guidance of student Paige Glasier. The centre was given a $7,500 donation from the Goodlife Kids Foundation to help with the costs of recreation programs like the Adapted Swim..See story on back page.

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Bridge work could cost $6.5M Continued from page 1

“We could almost get another entire life out of the existing foundation, 60-80 years. That’s why we are leaning towards that.” Timeline on the construction would be to begin just after RetroFest in late May and continue to the end of the year. Paul Shettel, co-chair of the Historic Downtown Business Improvement Association (BIA), said he prefers the recommended option, as well as the timeline. RetroFest will proceed without any street issues, including the Classic Car Cruise, which will pass over the Fifth Street Bridge. Construction, however, will impact other downtown summer and fall events, including Canada Day celebrations, RibFest, Downtown in the City Extravaganza and the Santa Claus parade, as parking and traffic patterns will be impacted. The province is providing $2 million in funding

Chatham Voice file photo

The venerable Fifth Street Bridge in Chatham will likely undergo a major renovation this summer. The preferred option is to pull off the top of the bridge, but use the abutments on either end, and replace the centre pier structures below the waterline. If approved, the bridge would be closed from late May to the end of the year.

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of the year. Sullo said the recommended replacement project will meet that timeline, but a total replacement would not, as he anticipated that would take upwards of a year to complete. If the municipality proceeds with the recom-

mended option three, the bridge will have the same number of lanes, as Sullo said they must maintain a similar bridge weight. But the second southbound lane would start sooner. “We’d have a dedicated left-hand turn lane onto

King Street,” he said. “That’s the most common move through that intersection.” The public still has another week or so to provide input on the project, either to the municipal engineering department or to Dillon Consulting.

After that, Sullo said municipal staff will compile the feedback and distribute a letter to residents and businesses near the bridge, and likely online. Staff will also finalize the environmental study and present a report to council March 20.

Slots contributed $741K in ’16 The Chatham Voice

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent reported that the annual contribution to the municipality from the operation of the OLG Slots at Dresden Raceway for the 2015-16 operating year is $741,000. This sum has been allo-

cated to general revenues, offsetting costs of all municipally delivered services provided to the residents of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. “This significant investment in our community represented 0.53 per cent of the 2016 municipal budget,” Mayor Randy





Hope said in a release. “This is money that directly supports the delivery of services to citizens. Obviously, our municipality’s arrangement with the OLG is a win-win for everybody.” OLG Slots at Dresden Raceway, which is operated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), has made contributions of more than $9.4 million to the municipal-

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ity since the site opened in 2001. The casino also employs more than 90 people and has received more than 2.7 million visits since opening. “OLG is proud to be a vital part of Chatham-Kent for 14 years and we look forward to continuing to build on that support.” said Jake Pastore, OLG’s Director, Municipal & Community Relations, in a release.

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Local dragons take to the ice in Ottawa

nation’s capitol. Although both teams The image of dragon have plenty of experiboat paddlers slash- ence, no one has any ing their narrow craft idea what to expect, said through the water will be Charlene King of the in for a major revision this Raging Dragons. weekend as “We know m e m b e r s “We know the boats the boats of two lo- have been specially have been cal teams specially compete on made and have skate made and water of the blades on the bottom.” have skate frozen vari- - Charlene King blades on ety during the botthe first-ever Ottawa Ice tom,” she said. Boat Festival. Instead of traditional Members of the Rag- oars, the craft will be proing Dragons of Cha- pelled by oars with picks tham-Kent and the Breast on the bottom. Buddies “They look teams were like horses “I’m not sure what to among a sehooves,” lect group expect. All I know for said Colof 60 teams sure is that if we end lette Jofrom across up dumping the boat, hanson a N o r t h we won’t get wet.” member of A m e r i c a - Don Verhaeghe the Breast who will Buddies compete in who have the event, to be held on named their all-female the Rideau Canal in the team the Ice Pix for the The Chatham Voice

Contributed image

Members of the Raging Dragons of Chatham-Kent and the Breast Buddies teams will take their dragon boating skills from the water to the ice as they compete at the Ottawa Ice Boat Festival.

unique event. King said 14 members of the Raging Dragons will travel to Ottawa. The team has been actively fundraising for the event and has had strong community support with Preferred Insurance being a major sponsor. “People really want to help,” she said. “We had a steak dinner fundraiser at the Imperial Club that sold out quickly.” She said the Dragons

are comprised of men and women and members don’t have to be a cancer survivor. “We’re always looking for more members,” she said. “The rowing is a great physical activity and while we’re competitive, we have a lot of fun.” More information about the team is available at w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m /

RagingDragonsofChatham-Kent King said her team would have members from Chatham-Kent and Lambton County. “Both local teams will be rooting for each other,” she said. “We have people who are involved with both.” The dragon boaters have been practicing in Petrolia where each

session involves nearly 1,000 strokes, using paddles while sitting on a pool deck. Don Verhaeghe, one of the area’s foremost sweeps, will be steering the Ice Pix boat. “I’m not sure what to expect,” Verhaeghe said. “All I know for sure is that if we end up dumping the boat, we won’t get wet.”

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Trip and slips to be replaced downtown King Street sidewalks in the core to be replaced By Bruce Corcoran

Chatham’s downtown will undergo a facelift of sorts this summer, only you’ll have to look down to notice. Sidewalks along King Street

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between Third Street and Adelaide Street, as well as along Fourth Street to Wellington Street, will be ripped up and replaced. The work cannot come soon enough for the Historic Downtown Chatham Business Improvement Association (BIA). Co-chair Paul Shettel said the sidewalks have been an eyesore and trip hazard for some time. “Places have had to be shaved down and it’s mismatched,” he said. “It will clean up the look of the downtown.” The red stamped concrete will be replaced in July and August by more traditional white concrete, Shettel said. Work is expected to take between eight and 10 weeks. Connie Beneteau, the BIA’s office administrator, looks forward to the improvements. “It will be awesome. It’s

hopefully going to help with the downtown tree roots, as they will be shaved down,” she said. The mature downtown trees have pushed the existing sidewalks up in many places, adding to the trip hazards of the uneven sidewalks. Shettel understood that there would be some short-term impact, as construction will take place during some summer events. He said the work is being done in sections, one side of the street at a time. “People will just have to plan for alternate points of access for a while,” he said. Parking will not change downtown, as no curbing will be moved. Other sidewalks in the downtown core will be placed into the municipal-wide sidewalk replacement program, Shettel said. The ones being replaced were in dire need, he said, as some parts were nearly four decades old.

Bruce Corcoran/The Chatham Voice

After nearly 40 years, Mother Nature is winning the fight against Chatham’s downtown sidewalks, as the mature trees are pushing up the concrete, causing trip hazards. That all changes this summer, as the sidewalks throughout much of the downtown will be replaced.

C-K’s pop continues to drop 2016 census numbers indicate another population decline of 2% from 2011

biggest single factor is what is happening with jobs,” he said. “But the thing you don’t know is what is happening beEarly 2016 Canada Census tween the two census takings. numbers are in, and ChaWe could have dipped below tham-Kent continues to lose 101,000 in 2013 and then come population. up a bit.” Between 2011 and 2016, the He cited our lower unemmunicipality saw its popuployment rate these days – 5.8 lation drop to 101,647 from per cent in November – as a strong sign our economy is in much better shape locally now than it has been in recent years. “We lost a lot of Jim Daley of Chatham is seen people between 2006 and 2011, almost exhere with Luce Cools picking clusively due to jobs, up his new fully equipped particularly when the 2016 Chrysler 200S All auto industry sufWheel Drive. This is his 8th fered the way it did,” Shropshire said. vehicle purchased from Luce! While the econoEnjoy your new Chrysler my has rebounded 200S Jim! somewhat, he added the municipality also began looking at resident attraction 351 Richmond St., Chatham after the 2011 census, and made an effort to • 519-352-4937 • connect with young • 519-354-8000 • adults. “We’ve seen some modest gains. An By Bruce Corcoran

103,671. That’s a decrease of two per cent. But the rate of decline is slowing. From 2006 to 2011, our population declined by 4.2 per cent. Don Shropshire, CAO for the municipality, said the lower population numbers weren’t a surprise. “From our perspective, the

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ample of that is we’re the only community in Canada that has been identified as a Welcoming Community (by the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in 2016),” he said. By having such a designation, Shropshire anticipated immigrants will see the benefits of moving to Chatham-Kent. He said often newly landed immigrants generally flock to large urban centres to get settled in a country, and then look to find a more permanent place to live. The municipality also works with provincial and federal governments to attract and integrate newcomer immigrants through the Newcomer Attraction Program and the Chatham-Kent Local Immigration Partnership. Municipal and community partners are working together to promote the community as a preferred destination for those who prefer smaller communities that have cultural and lifestyle amenities such as active retirees. Having a lower unemployment rate is one thing to attract citizens, Shropshire said. Continued on page 5


Feb. 8 marked Food Freedom for Canadians By Mary Beth Corcoran

Food Freedom Day is the day when the average Canadian has earned enough income to pay his or her grocery bill for the entire year. This year, that day fell on Feb. 8, a day when members of the Kent Federation of Agriculture recognized the event by donating fresh fruit, vegetables and meat to two area food banks. In 2016, according to Statistics Canada, Canadians are expected to have spent 10.7 per cent of their disposable income on food. MaryAnne Udvari, KFA Food Freedom Day co-ordinator invited members of the KFA and area donors to a presentation at the Salvation Army Church on Orangewood Road in Chatham. A large table held baskets of apples, sweet potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, jarred pickles and packaged beef and pork for the Salvation Army food banks and Outreach for Hunger, all from the farmers of Chatham-Kent. “This is something that

Canadian should celebrate; only 39 days into the new year and Canadians have earned enough income for their entire year’s grocery bill,” Udvari said. “Safe healthy food is one of the most important things in a person’s life, and Canadians are very fortunate to enjoy this luxury.” Udvari also said to keep safe, healthy good on our tables, Canadians need to do their part in keeping farmers viable by buying local. With this third Food Freedom Day event, the KFA not only showcases the fresh produce and meat home-grown here in Chatham-Kent, it shows the generosity of farmers giving back to the people who can’t always afford to buy fresh food for their families. Capt. Stephanie Watkinson with the Salvation Army Family Services said with the rising cost of housing in the area, she is not surprised to see food budgets suffering. “Customers at our food bank are thrilled and we are blessed to get fresh, healthy food grown locally,” she said of the donation from the KFA,




2016 census Continued from page 4

Mary Beth Corcoran/The Chatham Voice

Cindy Parry, Outreach for Hunger, Capt. Stephanie Watkinson, Salvation Army, Alice Uher with the KFA and Uher Performance Feeds, Mary Anne Udvari, KFA, and Mayor Hope stand before a bountiful harvest of local fruits, vegetables and meat donated by area farmers in celebration of Food Freedom Day.

“especially at this time of year.” Cindy Parry, representing Outreach for Hunger, said the yearly donation from the KFA is something very appreciated by the families using the services of the food bank. “Since October, we have had a good run with donations, but this time of year, the fresh food is very much appreciated,”

Parry said. Mayor Randy Hope, who was on hand for the donation, said it is important for events such as Food Freedom Day to make people aware our food comes from the fields, not the grocery store. “People around the world are envious of us, having fresh, safe food in our own backyard.

I don’t think we take enough advantage of that fact,” Hope said. For third-generation farm family member Krystle Van Roboys, whose family donated jarred pickles from The Pickle Station for the third year, the gesture is just a token of their appreciation to the community.

Having higher paying jobs is the next goal. “We’ve done a good job getting people back to work. Now we have to do a better job in raising the wages, as that is another attraction,” he said. “We have to set up the training for better paying jobs.” That training comes in the form of skilled trades apprenticeships, college and university education. “There are really good paying jobs to be had in Chatham-Kent, but sometimes we don’t have the workforce to take advantage of those jobs,” Shropshire said. He said there are signs life is picking up in Chatham-Kent, pointing to the unemployment rate, a declining caseload in Ontario Works locally, modest business growth assessment, and a real estate market that enjoyed a great year in 2016. “I look at the housing market, talk to neighbours buying and selling, and real estate agents – this is the hottest market in 20 years,” he said. In urban Chatham-Kent, every community lost population, according to the census, except Dresden and Tilbury. Gains in those communities were modest at best.



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Enjoy what we have in C-K In Canada, we are particularly lucky that in just 39 days, the average citizen has worked long enough to pay for groceries for the entire year. Food Freedom Day took place on Feb. 8 this year. The fact we have grocery stores we can walk into and get whatever we need, including fresh produce and meat, is something we take for granted. And thanks to the Kent Federation of Agriculture, our area food banks will also be able to supply fresh, local food to those people in need. So many people bemoan the idea Chatham has no jobs, no good stores or shopping and nothing to do. That is so frustrating for the people who own the local businesses, stores, restaurants and attractions that make Chatham-Kent unique. It’s also false. We have immediate access to the freshest and safest locally grown produce and meat that we only have to drive down the highway a few minutes to get fresh from the field. Don’t have a car, you say? You can still walk or take the bus to veggie and fruit stands on virtually every corner in Chatham during the summer months. You can even go into the fields and pick your own strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and apples. Too few of us don’t take advantage of that fact. Often, it’s only if family or friends from afar come that we take the time to pick fruit, or watch maple syrup being made. We have so much to be thankful for in Chatham-Kent, and having 2,200 area farms is one of them. We all know that moment when you bite into your first cob of sweet corn in the season, or make a salad with veggies fresh from a field or put that first steak of the season on the barbecue from a local butcher. That is the joy of having some of Ontario’s most fertile farmland all around us. We have that, a low unemployment rate, and communities ripe with history such as Buxton and Dresden, and the Great Lakes, and beaches… It’s time to be grateful for all we have and to take advantage of everything that is in our own backyard.

Letters to the editor policy The Chatham Voice welcomes letters to the editor. Our preferred method to receive letters is via e-mail to (use “Letter” in the subject line). You can also drop them off or mail them to us at The Chatham Voice, 84 Dover St., Unit 2, Chatham, Ont, N7L 1T1. The Chatham Voice reserves the right to edit letters to the editor. All letters need to be signed.

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The publisher of this newspaper, CK Media Inc., reserves the right to clarify or refuse any advertisement based on its sole discretion. The publisher reserves the right to reject, discontinue or omit any advertisement without notice or penalty to either party. Liability for errors or non-insertion is limited to the amount paid for the cost of space occupied by the error. Claims of errors must be made prior to the next publication date.



Laughter, the best medicine Sir: It was a long anxious day anticipating the arrival of that special document to be delivered by my favorite and friendly post person. Then, suddenly a noise on the front porch. It was here! Containing my excitement, I carefully searched through the pack of mail and flyers and found what I was looking for, the hydro bill. I knew that a rebate was expected and promised by the government. I was shaking like leaf knowing that my

life would improve greatly with some extra cash. I ripped open the envelope wildly, like a young child opening a present on his birthday, unfolded it and read each line carefully and there it was, the eight per cent provincial rebate, $1.94. I was giddy with excitement knowing that now I will have to recalculate my monthly budget. I will take 60 cents and divide it up equally

for gas, water and hydro, 20 cents each. Another 60 cents will go to groceries. 60 cents will be earmarked for general expenses for my vehicle. The leftover 14 cents will go to coincidental expenditures and emergencies. If God is willing and no emergencies arise, I can save that 14 cents every month for a year and I will have enough money to buy myself something nice at the dollar store.

I’ve had my eye on some black shoelaces for my dress shoes for over a year now. Thank you, Premier Wynne, I now see your vision to help people with the costs of everyday living. P.S. You may want to send your calculator in for some service work. The PST portion on my bill should have been $3.42. Don Heinhuis Chatham

Of education and the facts Sir: It was refreshing to read Anne Stewart’s letter in The Chatham Voice, Jan. 26 issue. How exciting if all teachers taught as Anne writes. She knows the answer to all our problems can be solved if understand a few lines in the beloved apostle John’s Gospel For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

(John 3:16), There’s nothing wrong in studying as long as one always keeps to the truths expressed in the Bible. The downturns of life in this crazy mixedup world can make us wonder if God still love us! But God so loved the world ... By the way there’s a lot of talk about fake news these days, but don’t forget President Trump has no faith in the news

media. “They’re very hostile. These are very hostile people. They’re very dishonest, these are very dishonest people.” Mark Twain took a job as a reporter with a Virginia City, Nevada, newspaper in the fall of 1862. Later he said a writer should: “get your facts first and then you can distort ‘em as much as you please.” Twain, who was friendly with Rudyard Kipling,

later wrote about the British author, “Between us, we cover all knowledge; he covers all that can be known and I cover the rest.” No wonder Mark Twain was a pseudonym! Don’t take me too seriously, folks. I was a newspaper reporter and editor for 25 years so I have a lot of respect for The Chatham Voice! Stephen J. Beecroft Chatham

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6575 ANGLER, MITCHELL’S BAY • $169,000 1 floor plan, 1br + den, large main room, great area for fishing, hunting & birding. Many updates. Call Steve 519-355-9774.


35 PRINCESS ST. S. $63,900 One floor 2br vinyl sided bungalow with very nice oak kitchen. Call Brian Peifer 519-436-2669.

72 HOLLAND $189,900 3br rancher with hardwoods, newer windows & detached garage. Call David 519-350-1615.

155 GRAND AVE. W. $199,900 Great business opportunity to take over an existing operation + the land & building. Call Brian Peifer 519-436-2669.

25 COURTYARD $299,000 Very spacious floor plan, enclosed lanai, double car garage, all brick with mature landscaping. Call Sylvia 519-355-8189.

D L SO 148 REGENCY $168,888

1248 sq.ft., 2br, 2 bath custom modular home with beautiful landscaping. Call Brian K 519-365-6090.

15144 LONGWOODS, BOTHWELL • $139,900 Picture yourself in the country. 3br bungalow on a full ac lot. Call Kristen 519-784-7653.

19393 CLEVELAND, CEDAR SPRINGS • $119,900 Great 2br home with attached garage & small work shop. Call Penny 519-360-0315 or Elliot 519-358-8755.

5295 TECUMSEH LINE $75,000 5 separate prime building lots backing onto the Thames River. Call Pat 519-360-0141.

6620 MIDDLE, S BUXTON $229,900 Completely refurbished 3br bungalow on a unique property on double lot. Call Gus 519-355-8668.

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86 VAN ALLEN $95,000 2br, 1 floor bungalow. Large kitchen with eating area. All appliances incl. Call June 519-358-5199.

17996 RONDEAU $179,000 Own a 3br waterfront cottage in Rondeau Park with endless sunsets. Call Larry 519-355-8686.

364 WELLINGTON W $179,000 Great location & well maintained brick triplex. All 1br units. Many improvements. Call Amber 519-784-5310.

41 ADELAIDE S $159,000 Well maintained triplex, great income property, all units rented. Call Amber 519-784-5310.

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106 Teal Drive, Blenheim Nice sized, serviced building lot in a mature sub-division in Blenheim. Priced to sell. Call today! $44,900.

90 Sleepy Meadow Dr., Blenheim Gorgeous, custom built 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath home. Open concept & full basement. Short walk to beaches! $399,900.


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151 Talbot St. W., Blenheim

Unique 2 + 1 BR, 2 bath century home. Large kitchen with patio access, tall ceilings and a main floor master. $159,900.

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Cultivating the Best, Shore to Shore

Approx 3000 square feet 5BR 3 bath family home Granite counters All hardwood, ceramic and laminate Main floor laundry 400 sq foot family room

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3 BR, 2.5 bath townhouse with views of lake St. Clair. Open concept living with hardwood floors. Large master with ensuite. Lovely terrace and attached garage. $284,900.

One of a kind stone 2 storey home. This 5BR, 1.5 bath has irreplaceable wood work & wood floors. Mature trees & a distant view of Lake Erie make this 3.3 acre property magnificent. $349,900.

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3 Main St. #6, Mitchells Bay

466 Twilight


Elliot Wilton, Sales Rep.



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D D L L SO SO D D L L SO SO 21665 Merlin

70 University

100 Cartier

38 Mary

David Smith

26 Jackson St., Blenheim

3 BR, 2 bath brick rancher. Open concept 2 BR, 1 bath bungalow with a large with vaulted ceilings and fireplace. Premium hardwood and high end finishes. kitchen area. Mud room at front and rear entrances. Nice size lot! $62,900. Gorgeous landscaping! $379,900.


Deborah (Deb) Rhodes

Sales Representative

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Steve Carroll


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Peifer Realty Inc.


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Successfully Selling Real Estate Full Time Since 1989 DIRECT: 519-401-5470 •

194 Bristol Drive - $199,900

New Listing

Pride of Ownership is evident in this fully finished rancher. Main floor approximately 1300 square feet with new hardwood flooring, bright white kitchen with loads of cupboards and stainless steel appliances, 2 + 1 bedroom, 2 full baths, one with Jacuzzi tub. New roof 2015. Large family room with wet bar with loads of room for entertaining. Private rear yard with pool and deck is perfect for those hot summer nights. Call Deb today, this one won’t last long!!

Glitter’s Fun Eatery - 162 King St. W. -

• 1 Floor Plan - 1 Bedroom + Den • Large main rooms • Great area for fishing, hunting, birding • Many updates • Municipal water

57 Harvest Cres. • $259,000

Here’s your chance to own this popular Downtown Chatham eatery landmark!! Close to Capital Theatre and New High Rise Condo development. Owner is retiring. Phenomenal Yearly Sales. Call Deb for details


New Listing • $169,000 6575 Angler Line, Mitchell’s Bay

D L SO 130 Dunkirk • $84,900

• 2 bedrooms, 2 full baths • Covered, private porch • Many updates • 2 parking spots • 3 season room

435 Tweedsmuir Ave. • $338,000

Open House Sat. February 18 • 1-3

NEW OWNERS A rare find with this absolutely stunning South Side

Lovely 3 bedroom 2 storey located in North East bi-level located near Mud Creek walking path and Chatham on quiet street. Hardwood floors through- park. Many custom upgrades to this 3.5 year-old all out. A perfect family home! brick home. Call today before its gone!

$99,900 19950 Hill Road, Ridgetown ATTENTION DOCTORS 857 Grand Ave. W.

Large building on large lot with many Exceptional professional office building with potential uses just a minute from Ridgetown. great existing tenants. Building is being convertHigh traffic location. Building and lot only ed to gas heating. Special incentives offered for first 2 general practitioners! Call Deb for details. for sale. Does not include business.

Bill Myers cell: 519-365-2094 551 Queen St., Chatham • 519-352-9400 •




Stores hit by fire find new location By Bruce Corcoran

Less than a month after a fire devastated three local businesses, the owners revealed Feb. 8 they will soon have a new temporary location – all under the same roof in The Bargain Shop’s old store in the Nortown Plaza. Being under one roof is how it has been for 15 years with Sacwal, Ideal Decorating and the Lighting & Accent Gallery. But in mid-January, the three adjoined businesses suffered a fire that destroyed their St. Clair Street location. Since that time, they’ve set up shop at temporary locations, including Caldwell’s Brand Source right next door on St. Clair, with the intent to find a new home, and eventually rebuild. Harry Verhey, who is part of Sacwal and the owner of the building, said the fire was devastating to all three businesses. All on-site inventory was destroyed. Alanna Aarssen, one of the partners behind Sacwal, said quick and contin-

ued support of the community has been greatly appreciated. None of the businesses have display areas at the moment. That will change Feb. 21, the target date for opening in the temporary location. For the three businesses, everyone agreed on the importance of remaining together. “We wanted to stay together. Our customers tend to cross shop,” Aarssen said. Al Birkby of Ideal is glad to see all three stores staying close. “We could have all split up, but we work as a team,” he said. “We’re going to come back stronger.” Jim Kelly, of the Lighting & Accent Gallery, said staying together just made sense. “This is a united store. It has been for years,” he said. The temporary location has nearly 11,000 square feet of floor space, about a third of the total space available at the old location, Verhey said The new location is quite different from the other

Bruce Corcoran/The Chatham Voice

From left, Shannon and Jim Kelly of Lighting & Accent Gallery; Mike Peach, Harry Verhey and Alanna Aarssen of Sacwal Flooring Centres; and Al and Carolyn Birkby and Monica Massa of Ideal Decorating announced Feb. 8 the three stores will stay together at a temporary location in Nortown Plaza. Their original location further up St. Clair Street suffered a devastating fire in mid-January.

one, he added, as now all three businesses are in one large open area. “It’s really a big-box environment, as we’re all under one roof,” he said. Birkby added he is looking forward to setting up in the Nortown Plaza location. For Kelly, he can’t wait to have a showroom again. “People looking to buy a light fixture want to see it,” he said. Aarssen said they have somehow continued to operate, even without a location, and credited staff with going to huge

lengths to make it happen. “We’ve filled all our customers’ orders. We’re still on the road measuring jobs,” she said. “Working out of my car has been a bit of a challenge.” Birkby said Ideal’s clients have been amazing after the fire. “After doing this for 30 years, we do have a great client base and they have been very supportive,” he said. Kelly added the local business community has also been supportive. “The local community has been fantastic. Local


Live A Life Filled With Verve


Rose Peseski

Resident Services Manager

Barb King

Dining Services Manager/Bookeeper

Colleen McDonald Recreation Coordinator

Andrea Sullivan

General Manager


businesses have offered us more storage space than you can possibly imagine,” he said. Verhey said he was impressed by the help from the municipality, specifically from Stuart McFadden, acting director of economic development,

who was on the phone by 10 a.m. the day of the fire to see how he could be of assistance. As for plans to rebuild, Verhey said it’s a no brainer. Verhey said he’s met with an engineer and they are working on a site plan.

Ask the Expert!

Oil - Lifeblood of your engine: Fact and Fiction Q: Why is there so much difference in the price of oil? Isn’t it all the same? A: There are many, many types of oil available now and manufacturers have very specific requirements for each vehicle. Specifications vary widely- and some oil that seems like it should work- may not have the correct specification with the required additive package- outside of viscosity. Q: What is viscosity? Isn’t it just that 5W-30 number? A: Viscosity is the primary quality of a lubricant that influences its efficiency, often referred to as ‘thickness’ (actually it’s the resistance to flow at specific temps). Most automotive oil is ‘Multi Viscosity’ or Multi-Grade, it has different characteristics cold and hot- the number before W is the viscosity cold (winter) and the number after is viscosity hot. It’s essential to use the correct viscosity to protect your engine.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017 • Friend Speed Dating (for 20 and 30 somethings) from 6:30pm-8:00pm at the Chatham branch of the CKPL. Registration is required. Visit and search Friend Speed Dating or call your local branch. • Open euchre at 1:00pm at The Chatham Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham. • Special Sing-A-Long with MPP Rick Nicholls in the main dining room at 10:30am. • Gary McGill will perform in the West Lounge at 2:00pm. Meadow Park, Sandy St., Chatham. • Baby Leads For Expectant Families and Parents who have children under the age of two. 11:00am-12:00pm, Dr. Wendy Edwards, guest speaker, Topic: Resources - Open to the Public at Thamesview Family Health Team, 465 Grand Ave West, Chatham 519-354-0070 ext.602. Friday, February 17, 2017 • Karaoke Night at RC Merlin Legion Branch 465 with M&M’s DJing Service. 7:00pm10:00pm. • Meal and fun darts at The Chatham Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham. Dinner 5:30pm-7:00pm with choice of roast turkey, roast beef or fish and chips for $9.00. One meat draw. Fun darts at 7:30pm. Saturday, February 18, 2017 • Ernest & Marc King Memorial Euchre Tournament at Immaculée Conception Parish Hall in Pain Court. Registration at 11:00am, play starts at 12:00 noon sharp. 2 person teams - $10.00 per person. For more info contact Norb King at 519-436-3444. • Music with Bill in the West Lounge at 2:00pm. Meadow Park, Sandy St., Chatham. • Meat draw and dance at The Chatham Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham. Meat draw from 4:00pm-6:00pm. Dance from 4:30pm-9:30pm featuring Manpower. Monday, February 20, 2017 • Open House at the haven. New Beginning House welcomes you and your family to take a tour of our facility. Overnight service is starting up soon, so come see everything that is set up for the homeless men in our community. Tours running on the hour and half hour from 10:00am-2:00pm. Tuesday, February 21, 2017 • Book Club from 2:00pm-4:00pm at Tea Connection, 15 King St. E., Chatham. Call for details 226-671-0081. • Open euchre, shuffleboard and 2 person euchre at The Chatham Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham. Open euchre at 1:00pm and 2 person registration at 6:30pm to play at 7:00pm. $5.00 per person. Shuffleboard at 7:00pm.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 • Jeremy Smith will perform in the West Lounge at 2:00pm. Meadow Park, Sandy St., Chatham. • Pepper and fun darts at The Chatham Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham. Pepper at 1:00pm and darts at 7:00pm. Thursday, February 23, 2017 • Misty Melodies karaoke afternoon in the West Lounge at 1:30pm. Meadow Park, Sandy St., Chatham. • Open euchre at 1:00pm at The Chatham Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham. • FOR ALL VETERANS, The Chatham Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham will have ONTARIO Provincial Command Service Bureau’s, Provincial Service Officer, Ms. Rebecca Calden from London Service Bureau visiting at approximately 10:30am. This is for anyone wishing information, advice or assistance, regarding disability benefits, referrals for entitled veterans, information with rehabilitation, applications for benevolent funds, war veterans allowance and assistance for widows. Friday, February 24, 2017 • Meal and fun darts at The Chatham Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham. Dinner 5:30pm-7:00pm with choice of liver and onions, roast beef or fish and chips for $9.00. One meat draw. Fun darts at 7:30pm. Saturday, February 25, 2017 • 2 person euchre tournament at the RC Merlin Legion Branch 465. 2 Stanley St., Merlin. $20 for team of 2. Registration 12:15pm. Play 1:00pm sharp. • Meat draw and dance at The Chatham Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham. Meat draw from 4:00pm-6:00pm. Dance from 4:30pm-9:30pm featuring Allen James. Monday, February 27, 2017 • Everyone’s favourite fiddler - Ryan St. Denis will perform in the West Lounge at 2:00pm. Meadow Park, Sandy St., Chatham. • Senior Euchre at The Chatham Legion, William & Colborne St, Chatham at 1:00pm. CK Animal Rescue is holding a gigantic garage sale on March 18, 2017. Yard Sale Vendor Tables for Rent - $35 for one table and $10 per extra table until March. 11. Business Vendors Wanted - $60 per 10ft space. John D. Bradley Convention Centre, 565 Richmond St., Chatham. Contact us to register, to sponsor or to reserve your table - 519-354-5000. PAWR at the animal shelter phone number for lost and stray pets and issues at the dog parks: 226-996-9969 daytime. Emergency and after-hours number: 519-784-6146. Animal Cruelty and neglect cases call direct 310-7722 or 310-SPCA. Submit your coming events to or


Local churches seek home for makeover The Chatham Voice

For the last eight years, First Presbyterian and First Christian Reformed Churches have undertaken a joint mission project in Chatham. Over two days, a group of volunteers transforms the outside of a house for a needy individual. In the past, they have scraped and painted houses, built wheelchair ramps and fences, done general carpentry repairs, replaced eaves troughs, landscaped, and done general cleanup around a house. This is done free of charge as an outreach of love and compassion to the homeowner. This year’s project will take place on Aug. 11-12. The churches are looking for a homeowner in Chatham whose home needs some repair. The recipient must own his/her home, live on the premises, and have homeowner insurance. Unfortunately, because of liability, the churches are not able to repair roofs. All work must be done to the exterior of the

house. If you have this kind of need because of disability or other circumstances or you know of someone that would benefit from this project, please reply in writing to the Backyard Mission Project, First Presbyterian Church, 60 Fifth St., Chatham, Ont., N7L 4V7. Alternatively, send your request via e-mail to office@firstchatham. org. Please put “Backyard Mission” in your email message header. Include in your reply the name and address of the individual(s), what needs to be done around the home, reasons why this would be a worthy project to be undertaken, some assurance of home ownership and home insurance, and whether you are the homeowner or are nominating someone else. Once the churches have assessed all the submissions, someone will notify the homeowner of the chosen project. For more information, go to www.

New leadership structure at CKHA The Chatham Voice

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) officials have released the composition of its Medical Advisory Committee. Over the last few months, CKHA leadership worked closely with its medical staff to complete a new medical leadership structure. The new structure reflects a program management model where physician leaders hold both the position of chief, reporting to the chief of staff, and medical director, reporting to the vice-president with responsibility for clinical program. This model requires physician leaders and hospital administrators to work collaboratively to support quality care and resource utilization within each program. “This effort has been an impressive demonstration of the vision and leadership of our medical staff in working collaboratively with us on this process,” Rob Devitt, hospital supervisor, said in a release. “Through a competency-based selection process, we are confident our new medical leadership will ensure we continue our focus on providing high-quality, patient-centred care while ensuring value and accountability within the healthcare system.” The new chief and medical pro-

gram directors are as follows: Surgery – Dr. Elizabeth Haddad, Chief of Surgery and Co-Medical Director of the Surgical Program Anaesthesia – Dr. James Paintsil, Chief of Anaesthesia and Co-Medical Director of the Surgical Program Medicine – Dr. Mahmud Rajabalee, Chief and Program Medical Director of Medicine. Family Medicine – Dr. Zeke Milkovic, Chief and Program Medical Director of Family Medicine. Obstetrics & Gynecology (OB/ Gyn) – Dr. Neerja Sharma, Chief of OB/Gyn and Co-Medical Director of the Women and Children’s Program. Laboratory Services – Dr. Reda Saad, Chief and Program Medical Director of Laboratory Services. Diagnostic Imaging – Dr. Francis Musyoki, Chief and Program Medical Director of Diagnostic Imaging The Chief and Medical Directors positions for Emergency, Pediatrics and Mental Health & Addictions remain in progress. In the interim, Dr. Jennifer MacKinnon continues to serve as Chief and Program Medical Director for the Emergency Department, and Dr. Pervez Faruqi as Chief of Psychiatry and Program Medical Director of Mental Health & Addictions, as well as Interim Chief of Pediatrics and Co-Medical Director of the Women and Children’s Program.




Funding must match need for seniors’ care in Ontario

By Mary Beth Corcoran

Ontario’s 600 long-term care homes are asking for your help to make better seniors’ care a priority for the 2017 Ontario budget. According to Meadow Park administrator Anne Marie Rumble, the plan is about improving the foundation of the sector and ensuring long-term care homes have the resources needed to support all residents with the best possible care. “Today’s seniors have more complex medical needs that must be supported by the health system they have grown to depend on. Over the next 10 years, it is expected that the number of seniors will grow, and by extension, so will the demands for long-term care. The sector is doing its part, but cannot meet this challenge head on if we aren’t better supported,” Rumble said in a release. Almost half of all Ontario’s long-term care homes were built to design standards dating back to 1973 and need significant renovations or to be rebuilt for the comfort, security and health of residents. “Residents deserve the best care and homes we are able to provide – including improved buildings with more space,” she added. Rumble said Meadow Park is doing its part by gathering signatures on a petition (which is also available at as well as hosting a Vendor Fair and Career Fair on March 15 from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. There will be information about services in longterm care, refreshments, entertainment and a chance to win prizes. Meadow Park is also inviting individuals interested in a nursing career to stop in with their resume. In 2016, Meadow Park Chatham helped to submit 1,621

letters to MPP Rick Nichols and help make seniors’ care a priority at Queen’s Park – they hope to top that number this year with your help. Lydia Swant, co-ordinator of volunteer services at Meadow Park, said they have been promoting the Better Seniors’ Care campaign for quite a few years. Meadow Park was opened in 1979; the issue of upgrading older facilities, she said, is an important one to them. “Particular to our home, it is an aging home and it’s important to ensure older homes are rebuilt in a timely fashion and services are updated,” Swant said. “We do our best to keep our home friendly with a good aesthetic. At the end of the day, our goal is to provide a place where people can feel as close to home as possible.” She added there is a need as well for adequate funding for staff, especially to provide for the specific needs of people who come to long-term care homes with issues such as de-

Chatham Voice file photo

Anne Marie Rumble, centre, shown with two Meadow Park Nursing Home residents, said the province’s longterm care homes need the public’s help to pressure the province to improve funding for seniors’ care.

mentia, brain injuries or Down’s Syndrome. “We need to ensure their needs are met as well,” Swant said, adding long-term care homes aren’t just for the elderly any more. “Long-term care homes are seeing quite a range of folks out there and our job is to provide care to the people who need it.” There are solutions, and Swant encourages people to learn more at and sign the petition asking the government to step up its funding for long term care.

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Thank you to my family, friends and neighbours who helped me celebrate my 90th birthday on January 22nd at Blazin BBQ. Your cards, flowers, gifts and memories shared were very much appreciated. It was especially nice seeing so many people that you think about often but seldom see. Thank you all again for sharing this very special day with me. Bette Suitor

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Gigantic Garage Sale Monday, March 18, 2017. Yard sale vendor tables for RENT! $35 for one table, $10 per extra table until March 11, 2017. Business Vendors Wanted - limited space. $60for 10 foot space until March. 11, 2017. Sponsors wanted! Contact us to register, to sponsor, or to reserve a table. 519-354-5000.

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OBITUARIES Ellen J. Griffore 89, Thursday, February 2, 2017 Hinnegan-Peseski Funeral Home

Karrie-Ann Roy 47, Thursday, February 9, 2017 Blenheim Community Funeral Home

Linda Ferrell 58, Friday, February 3, 2017 Hinnegan-Peseski Funeral Homee

Gregory Clark 57, Monday, February 6, 2017 McKinlay Funeral Home

Albina Coslovich 88, Saturday, February 4, 2017 Hinnegan-Peseski Funeral Home

Eileen Gordon 88, Sunday, February 5, 2017 McKinlay Funeral Home

Bernice Houle 90, Tuesday, February 7, 2017 Hinnegan-Peseski Funeral Home

Audrey Jackson 79, Monday, February 6, 2017 McKinlay Funeral Home

Joseph Keller 83, Tuesday, February 7, 2017 Hinnegan-Peseski Funeral Home

Leila Lynn Cedar 36, Tuesday, February 7, 2017 McKinlay Funeral Home

Gladys Pillsworth 89, Tuesday, February 7, 2017 Hinnegan-Peseski Funeral Home

Harold Fick 71, Monday, February 6, 2017 McKinlay Funeral Home

Mr. Arsene J. Charron 79, Sunday, February 5, 2017 Alexander & Houle Funeral Home

Shirley Mae Torrance 78, Wednesday, February 8, 2017 McKinlay Funeral Home

Mrs. Barbara Jean Smith 68, Wednesday, February 8, 2017 Alexander & Houle Funeral Home

Ronald Ivan English 74, Saturday, February 11, 2017 McKinlay Funeral Home

Mrs. Mary Pawlak 82, Saturday, February 11, 2017 Alexander & Houle Funeral Home Doris Marietta Morden 93, Monday, February 6, 2017 Denning’s of Chatham Abram Neufeld 66, Sunday, February 5, 2017 Blenheim Community Funeral Home

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459 St.Clair St., Chatham • 519-351-2040 76 Main St. E., Ridgetown • 519-674-3141 141 Park St., Blenheim • 519-676-3451



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Program helps kids live the Goodlife Treatment Centre’s adaptive swim program builds variety of skills

lives. “The centre’s recreation programs, like Adapted The GoodLife Kids Foun- Swim, allow the children dation recently presented in our community with the Children’s Treatment special needs to particiCentre Foundation with a pate in and enjoy quality $7,500 cheque in support recreation opportunities, of the centre’s Adapted that otherwise may not be viable through commuSwim Program. This is the second con- nity programming,” said Litwin-Makey, secutive year that the Donna GoodLife Kids Founda- Executive Director of the Children’s tion – which focuses its “The kids are learning Tr e a t m e n t support on quite a bit from it. Even Centre. T w i n p r o g r a m s when they get home, brothers that enLuca and c o u r a g e they are still talking Ellio Leggii n c l u s i v e , about it.” ero, age 4, sustainable - Parent Joe Leggiero who were physical activity – has provided born premature, take part funding to the Centre’s in the Adapted Swim, and their father, Joe, said the Adapted Swim Program. The Adapted Swim Pro- program has been good gram is open to all centre for them. “The kids are learning clients, age three through 21, who have physical, quite a bit from it. Even developmental or com- when they get home, they munication challenges. are still talking about it,” The program addresses Leggiero said of the proand builds on a variety gram. “I can see they are of skills and abilities, in- getting better (at swimcluding recreation and ming skills) every day. physical activity, pool They aren’t scared of the safety and awareness, ba- water anymore.” The Children’s Treatsic swimming skills, transition skills, communica- ment Centre and Foundation are thrilled to have tion and social skills. Most importantly, the the support of like-mindskills learned in the ed organizations, like the Adapted Swim Program GoodLife Kids Foundaare transferable to other tion, with a commitment physical activity and rec- to all children, of all abilreation programs outside ities, to participate in and of the Centre, helping the enjoy quality, sustainable children in our communi- physical activity. “We’re very appreciaty to live healthy, active By Mary Beth Corcoran

Second shadow cabinet role for MPP Nicholls

to run in the 2018 provincial election, will continue Chatham-Kent Essex his Legislative duties as a MPP Rick Nicholls has Deputy Speaker. taken on a second “Provincial figshadow cabinet ures show that position with the tourism in Chaprovincial Protham-Kent alone gressive Conserbrings in roughly vatives – critic for $70 million every Tourism, Culture year to local busiand Sport. nesses, so I am He also stays on looking forward as the critic for to push for ways Corrections. to better promote Rick Nicholls In addition to his this region and expanded critic our great provroles, Nicholls, who was ince overall,” Nicholls also recently acclaimed said in a release. The Chatham Voice

tive of the GoodLife Kids Foundation’s continued support of our Adapted Recreation programs,” said Mike Genge, Executive Director of the Children’s Treatment Centre Foundation. Goodlife activity co-ordinator at the Downtown Chatham Centre location,

Ashton Atkinson, explained the Spin 4 Kids fundraiser is conducted Canada-wide by participating gyms. This is the fourth year the Chatham location has participated. “One hundred per cent of the amount raised goes to the Goodlife Kids Foundation,” Atkinson

explained. “The next Spin 4 Kids event is coming March 4 at the Downtown Chatham Centre starting at 9 a.m. with spin classes over five hours. Participants gets sponsors or pledges and can do one class or all five hours.” She said the goal for the Chatham Goodlife is

$5,000 and they are hoping the community will help them reach their goal so they can continue to help kids in the area. “The money goes right back into the community. Our goal is give every Canadian child a chance to live a fit and healthy good life,” Atkinson added.



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The Chatham Voice, Feb. 16, 2017  

The Feb. 16, 2017 edition of The Chatham Voice, an independent community newspaper serving Chatham, Ont. and area.

The Chatham Voice, Feb. 16, 2017  

The Feb. 16, 2017 edition of The Chatham Voice, an independent community newspaper serving Chatham, Ont. and area.