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Ceremony to honour Vimy’s fallen

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge (Apr. 5-17, 1917), a group of local history buffs have organized a memorial service for April 9 in Chatham at Christ Church. Jerry Hind, a local historian and curator of the Gathering Our Heroes project, said the idea was to not let the occasion pass in Chatham-Kent without acknowledging the service and sacrifice of our veterans and those who lost their lives at Vimy during the First World War. “I felt it needed to be recognized,” Hind said, who works with the IODE and the Books of Remembrance they compiled of area men and women in service. “In 1914, there was only one IODE in Chatham-Kent and they looked after sending treats, clothes and socks overseas in 1914-15.” Hind said other branches began after that, but not all kept records of local


Vol. 5 Edition 15

By Mary Beth Corcoran

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service people, which led to the search for the names of those who served and those who died. He said when the names of people who served were read out, 1,700 names from Chatham were on the list, but 157 men from the former Kent County were left out. In 2004, after he retired, Hind said he wanted to do something and came across diaries from a man from Ridgetown, who in 1903 wrote about getting a Bernardo child from England to help work on the farm. That child ended up in Chatham in a boarding house with six other “home boys” as they were referred to, and four of those he found out were killed in the First World War. Hind explained that is how he got into researching the world wars. Between the IODE records and Chatham-Kent Museum, Hind was able to find 157 names and since then, in partnering with them, has found 12,170 names of First and Second World War veterans. Continued on page 2


Bowling with Ninja Turtles

Mary Beth Corcoran/The Chatham Voice

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chatham-Kent Bowl for Kids’ Sake took over Bowlerama in Chatham this weekend with lots of happy bowlers and superheroes. The two-day event is one of the charity’s big fundraisers to raise money for programs. Taking part during the celebrity portion of the bowl-a-thon was a team of Chatham-Kent Professional Fire Fighters dressed as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and thier sensei, Splinter. From left are Tyler Hartsell, Jon Benoit, Whitney Burk, Derek Buchanan and Ian Warren.

Local teen off to Vimy

By Bruce Corcoran

Wallaceburg’s Raymond Yang is one of just 17 Canadian students to receive a Vimy Pilgrimage Award this year, meaning he’s on his way to France to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Yang, 17, is a student at Wallaceburg District Secondary School. The Vimy Pilgrimage Award consists of a fully funded, week-long educational program in France and Belgium to study Canada’s effort in the First World War. Yang will be out of the country

from April 7-16. The program will feature interactive education and visits to significant First World War battlefields, cemeteries, and memorials including the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Yang and his 16 fellow students were chosen

from a list of hundreds of applicants. The Vimy Foundation recognizes the actions of young people who demonstrate outstanding service, positive contributions, and leadership in their communities. Yang has a busy life outside of the classroom.

Continued on page 3


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Group organizes event to mark 100th anniversary of Battle of Vimy Ridge Continued from page 1

The Gather Our Heroes website partnership was the next step and continues to be a work in progress. In holding the memorial service for the Battle of Vimy, which was a huge turning point in the war and brought Canada into the spotlight as a military force, Hind said he wants to re-involve youth in our history and show people that they do care about Canada’s military past.

“Some kids will say after presentations, ‘How come they don’t tell us about this stuff?’” Hind said. “They tend to know more about American military involvement from movies.” A group that Hind has a soft spot for and wants to acknowledge at the memorial service is the Nursing Sisters, who worked on the front lines, on ships and in tent hospitals, tending to the wounded in horrific conditions. APRIL 20, 2017 10 am-1:30pm Ryder Hall 49 Dupuis Street Tilbury

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From Chatham-Kent, Hind’s research found three Nursing Sisters in particular. Alice Gertrude French was one lady Hind said he would have loved to have met. He said when the war broke out, she immediately sent a telegram to the prime minister of Canada saying she was a nurse and wanted to enlist, adding she would pay her own way over. She enlisted and was overseas from 1914-1919 and was one of only 12 Nursing Sisters to be awarded the Mons Star for service on the front line, as well as the Royal Red Cross, 2nd Class and the Victory Medal. She came back to the area, living in Dresden until her death in 1943. Pauline Rose and Anna Beulah Stover, both of Chatham, also served as Nursing Sisters, with Stover attaining the rank of Major and overseeing two stationary hospitals. “Stover had the rank of Major and probably would have scared generals,” Hind said. “She oversaw two stationary hospitals and these were huge hospitals. And Rose was awarded the Royal Red Cross as a result of her actions after the Germans bombed a Canadian hospital.” Taking Vimy Ridge from the Germans was a huge accomplishment for the Canadians, who succeeded where French and British troops failed. Hind

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on Hill 145 has no sol- dent who visited Vimy dier. It is for all the fallen and recorded his thoughts T who H O were T I Ckilled S , and F Otheir O T WonE what A R he&saw. P E D O R graves unknown. Over The Colour Party will 12,000 bodies were never enter at 2:00 p.m., folfound.” lowed by a Service of ReThe memorial service at membrance for the Fallen, Christ Church will have the reading of the names doors open at 1:30 p.m. of the Fallen and displays with a video playing that and refreshments in the FOOT, KNEE & LOWER PAIN was done ALLEVIATE by a young Church Hall LIMB at the conKing George School stuclusion of the service.  Biomechanical & gait analysis by Canadian Certified Pedorthists.  Hand-crafted, custom orthotics fabricated at our on-site lab. F O O T W E A R & P E D O R T H I C C A R E (We do not send your orthotics to an outside lab).  Only 3-dimensional casting methods used - as approved by major insurance carriers.  Fashionable, orthotic-friendly & therapeutic footwear. Jennifer Johnstone  Full line of lower leg bracing & compression stockings. Canadian Certified Pedorthist Pedorthic Manager Covered under major insurance plans.

said during that battle, 3,598 Canadians died and 7,000 were wounded, O R making Vimy the costliest battle in Canadian military history. “Canada is not a militaristic country. We don’t pick fights, but we won’t run away from one if we have to,” Hind said. “The Vimy monument

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Mary Beth Corcoran/The Chatham Voice

Local historian and curator of Gathering Our Heroes, Jerry Hind, holds pictures of First World War veterans he has found in his research.

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Yang proud to represent teens across Canada

and visitors from around He’s a United Way youth the world will be on hand ambassador, and has done during the week to mark the mental health workshops special date. It also happens at his school. Yang has been to be Canada’s 150th birthactive on student council, day year. on the student athletic asso“Those numbers just hapciation and participates on a pen to match up. I’m really student-parent committee. proud to go. We 17 kids who He’s been involved in youth have been chosen in Canada camps, drug awareness to go, it really just shows off campaigns and fundraising Canada’s diversity,” Yang for institutions such as the said. “This makes us a much Heart & Stroke Foundation more bold, resilient and inand the Terry Fox Founda- novative country, I think.” tion. A recipient of the PrinYang credited a teacher, Ancipal’s Award drew Sydorko, for Student “I’m really proud to for piquing Leadership, the his interest in Rotary Youth represent my own com- Canadian milL e a d e r s h i p munity. Sometimes, itary history. Award and the you might feel there He said SyUbuntu Award, are more opportunities dorko asked Chang has also in more urban areas, him to attend a recently attendRemembrance ed a conference so it’s really a big deal Day ceremony that encour- to me to represent on in the comaged his faith a national and interna- munity, and in the strength tional scale.” during the and resiliency - Raymond Yang drive, Sydorko of diversity. told Yang of his Yang said he’s great grandfavery excited to take part in ther, Sgt. Henry Baptie. the pilgrimage. “He was telling me how his “I’m really proud to rep- great grandfather was in the resent my own community. Battle of the Somme (1916), Sometimes, you might feel one of the largest battles there are more opportuni- where Canada took a large ties in more urban areas, so role,” Yang said. “I was just it’s really a big deal to me to nodding my head. Then he represent on a national and said his great grandfather international scale,” he said. died on the very last day of Along with the 16 other Ca- the battle.” nadian students on the trip, As part of Yang’s applicaYang will be joined by stu- tion process for the pilgrimdents from Belgium, Great age, he had to write about Britain, France, and Germa- two Canadian soldiers of ny. On top of that, as this is his choice. One had to come the 100th anniversary of the from the list of names on Battle of Vimy Ridge, thou- the Vimy Ridge Memorial, sands of other Canadians which not only marks the Continued from page 1

battleground, but also commemorates approximately 11,000 Canadian soldiers who went missing and were presumed dead during the First World War. He chose Corp. Orval Yax Iden. Iden lived in Dresden for a short time, sparking Yang’s interest. The second name was an easy choice – Henry Baptie. “I jumped to my teacher’s great grandfather. He’s buried in France. We’re hoping to go visit him if we have the time,” Yang said. Yang credited local historian Jerry Hind with providing information. Yang said he’s leaving Canada for a week, but not really. “I’m going to explore a part of Canada that is outside Canada,” he said, as the Vimy Ridge Memorial is one of just two national historic sites located outside the country. The Battle for Vimy Ridge marked the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force fought on the same battlefield. Many look at the successful attack as a key growth point in the nation’s history. The Vimy Foundation is sponsoring the pilgrimage and is a charity dedicated to preserving Canada’s legacy in the First World War. Vimy Foundation Executive Director Jeremy Diamond noted in a release the importance of the battle. “It was a seminal moment in our history, a victory that helped give us our own voice around the world.”




Contributed image

Wallaceburg District Secondary School student Raymond Yang, is just one of 17 Canadian students chosen for a Vimy Pilgrimage Award. He’s travelling to Europe this week to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle for Vimy Ridge.


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Craving coffee much? Bruce Corcoran/The Chatham Voice

Local April Fools’ Day celebrants were at it again this year, this time targeting a home on Maryknoll Road in Chatham. The pranksters say more than 2,000 Tim Hortons coffee cups were needed to pull off this unique decor that had traffic on the north Chatham street come to a stop time and time again as people paused to take it all in.

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A slight uptick in the local unemployment numbers doesn’t faze the municipality’s acting director of economic development. The statistics indicated the jobless rate in January in Chatham-Kent crept up by 0.4 percent to 6.4 per cent, the provincial average. Stuart McFadden said he sees nothing but positives out of that number. “I look at the number of employed people,” he said.

“We had about 1,900 more people working this January compared to the same time last year. Local employers are still looking to fill positions. In January of this year we had 49,400 people working compared to 47,500 in January of 2016. Our rate went from nine per cent then to 6.4 this year, so there is still positive job activity happening throughout Chatham-Kent.”” He said the difficulty in hiring isn’t an isolated reality. “Every sector is finding it difficult to fill specific jobs,”






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McFadden said. McFadden added the first three months of a year can see our unemployment numbers shift upward, given the large number of seasonal jobs in the area. He added he thinks 2017 will be a memorable one for Chatham-Kent in terms of economic development and employment. “We’re in a good place this year relative to last,” he said. “I’m confident we’ll have a good year if everything stays the course. Happy, Healthy, Safe

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Chamber honours local leaders By Bruce Corcoran

The Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce recently honoured key business leaders, perhaps a future business leader, and a woman who has spent much of her life volunteering. Carolyn Powers was recognized as citizen of the year, while Fred Naclerio earned entrepreneur of the year, Tricia Xavier business professional of the year, Natalie Devolder youth entrepreneur of the year, and Enviroshake industry of the year at the annual Business Excellence Awards March 30. Christopher June, chair of the chamber, credited the award winners for being excellent leaders. “What you do in the community – contributing to the economy of Chatham-Kent – is such a fantastic thing,” he said. “We’re on a bit of an upswing locally.” Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope agreed. “One of the biggest problems we have is I have no empty factories in Chatham-Kent,” he joked. “What you do makes it a little easier for me to market Chatham-Kent.” Hope added the award winners have put in a great deal of hard work and dedication to their community. Powers, no stranger to helping others, said she was surprised to learn of winning citizen of the year. This despite the fact her volunteer work keeps her very busy and the fact friends had told her they were planning on nominating her. Scouts Canada has had the

good fortune of having Powers as a volunteer for the past 56 years, the past 42 of which were spent here in Chatham-Kent. She’s also heavily involved in Chatham Tae Kwon Do, Thamesville Sertoma and the Drug Education Alliance. As if that isn’t enough, Powers is also on the board of Friends of Rondeau, and is a member of the Canada Day committee for Chatham. “You name it; I’m there. I’m never at home,” she said. “When my husband passed away in 2003, I said no grass was going to grow under my feet while I was sitting at home.” Naclerio, whose companies sell real estate, manage property, do construction work and more, considered it an honour to win entrepreneur of the year. He said he loves Chatham-Kent, and is dedicated to supporting this community. About a decade ago, with most of the construction work sending his crews to the Toronto area, Naclerio said he considered shifting his headquarters to the Greater Toronto Area, but quickly dismissed the idea. “This is where I want to be,” he said. “Hopefully, my kids come back, and their kids come back too.” Despite the scale of construction work near Toronto, Naclerio said he still does his primary hiring right here in Chatham-Kent. Michael Lee of Enviroshake said the company is very appreciative of being named industry of the year, the more so considering the company changed hands a couple of

years ago, and its future at that time was in doubt. “It means a lot, especially for the team,” Lee said. “About a year and a half ago, this team was acquired, and the team stayed together. This is a group that is open to change and went out and performed at a higher level. Enviroshake’s Clara Smith said the hard work was rewarded. “We grew stronger and hired more people,” she said. The company produces eco-friendly roofing materials, designed to replicate the look of cedar and slate roof shingles. They ship as far away as the Caribbean and now India, Smith said. Xavier, who owns the Purple Pansy, said being named business professional of the year is not just for her, but rather for her business and staff. She said her business is about to celebrate its 15th birthday. She loves its location on William Street, just north of King Street, in downtown Chatham. “It’s a fantastic area, with Retro Suites, the Chilled Cork, Bud Gowan Formal Wear and Enchantment Bridal all nearby,” she said. “It’s a veritable one-stop shop for brides and grooms.” Xavier said she loves the opportunity to be creative with arrangements, and her customers appreciate it. “I try to tailor the product to each person,” she said. Devolder credits her extensive time at Junior Achievers with getting the youth entrepreneur nod. “I’m humbled, very surprised and flattered,” she said.

Bruce Corcoran/The Chatham Voice

The Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce celebrated its Business Excellence Awards March 30. Front row, from left, Natalie Devolder, youth entrepreneur of the year; Carolyn Powers, citizen of the year; and Tricia Xavier, business professional of the year. Back row, Fred Naclerio, entrepreneur of the year; and Michael Lee of Enviroshake, industry of the year.

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In response to the Marketplace report on CBC recently, I am writing this letter to assist you to evaluate and understand this rather negative report about my chosen profession of Funeral Service. The people of Chatham-Kent are fortunate to be served by many fine upstanding Funeral Homes. These homes are locally owned and operated by families who live and actively participate in their respective communities. These Funeral Homes have a long and proud history of serving families in Chatham-Kent. They have earned reputations of honesty, personal service and are extremely careful to maintain this enviable trust in their communities. On the other hand, the companies reported on by CBC and the Toronto Star are large corporations with the Funeral Homes and Cemeteries reporting to their respective head offices in Toronto and Houston, Texas. I will address the most blatant practices highlighted in the report: High pressure commissioned sales - At McKinlay Funeral Homes, our Funeral Directors serving bereaved families are not on commission. They are trained and encouraged to assist people with planning meaningful personal remembrances at costs within their means. Excessive mark ups - In Ontario, all Funeral Homes are mandated by the Bereavement Authority of Ontario to provide a Price List including services and products we offer. Often these Price Lists are difficult to compare, but ultimately, there is very little difference in the price of comparable services and products. At McKinlay’s, we provide caring professionals, in spacious well-equipped premises, at costs less than the Provincial average. In a competitive environment, I must be conscious of the costs of our services and products to survive. I invite you to see one of our Funeral Directors to assist you in making a fair, honest comparison of services and fees. Package Pricing - The needs of today’s families are different and varied. Considering the large amount of difficult decisions to be made, in a short period of time, we offer an array of services to assist in the decision process. This often results in savings for the family. There is no obligation to purchase a tailored offering and on some occasions, it may be advantageous to purchase on an “a la carte” basis. It is always the choice of the purchasing family. McKinlay Funeral Homes is known as the leader in Funeral Service in Chatham-Kent. We are the Funeral Home of innovation. Reflecting the changing needs of our community, we are proud to be the first to offer funeral receptions, family follow-up services, memorial tree planting, family memorial videos and personal printing options. As society’s needs change, we will continue to be at the forefront to support bereaved families. For further information or questions, I invite you to contact us. Your Truly,

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Full disclosure There are arguments out there to scrap the annual release of the Public Sector Salary Disclosure list where organizations who receive money from the provincial government must let the public know who in their offices makes more than $100,000 a year. One argument, which we believe doesn’t hold any salt, is that the annual release of said information was ordered two decades ago, and through all those years, no government has raised the threshold. The other is that the disclosure, once thought by many as a public shaming of people gorging at the trough on our tax dollars, is actually helping to raise salaries across the province in the public sector. That thought is downright scary, and merits deeper investigation. Some folks believe the very act of showcasing all these salary levels has created a one-stop shopping event for managers and employees around Ontario in the public sector. A perusal of the list lets people see any salary levels of their counterparts if those folks top the $100,000 threshold. In short, they can use the list to petition for a wage increase of their own. “A skilled negotiator will make very good use of that information and will put upward pressure on salaries and total compensation packages as opposed to downward pressure,” said Finn Poschmann, vice-president of research at the C.D. Howe Institute in a 2014 CBC article. Ahh, the lovely disconnect between civil service and the private sector. Not only are members of the gold-plated pension brigade (as is the case with many, many members of the province-wide Sunshine List) unfazed by being paid such largesse by we, the taxpayers, they are now looking at ways to pad those numbers. As for folks who think the list should be scrapped because $100,000 is an antiquated figure, we don’t agree. It’s true in the near future the list of provincial government and supported agency employees who make more than $100,000 may read like a phone book, but when have we determined $100,000 a year in salary and taxable benefits is no longer A LOT of money for one person to make in a year? It certainly remains a nice figure in the eyes of many in Chatham-Kent, where the average family income remains considerably lower.

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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.

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We do it because we love our kids Regular readers of Bruce’s column know exactly how he feels about dance season and all (two) of the local competitions he attends to watch our daughter, Brenna with her fellow teammates from Alexandria’s Dance Studio. He had his say about the music, and the costumes, and the music… but now it’s my turn. Dance dads are a fun bunch for the most part. They breeze in to watch their kid, make some wisecracks, hug their kid and then head on out. We, the dance moms, are left behind to soothe nerves, make hair and makeup look perfect, find lost costume items, assist with quick changes and feed the hangry hordes. And why do we do it? Because we love our kids and love to see them perform. We’re invested in them – from driving nightly to practice, to the chiropractor, to shoe fittings, costume fittings, competitions locally and out of town and participating in fundraising.

Mary Beth Corcoran Dance moms understand their kids who prefer to live in leggings and sports bras, who have dance gear and bags on every Christmas and birthday list, who push all the furniture aside in the living room to make up dances or practice moves, who listen to dance music morning and night, and whose hair has to be waist length to suit buns and braids. We get it and we accept it. Dance moms usually hang out in packs, helping and supporting each other with carpooling and hair expertise. Can’t do a French braid? No problem because another mom can. Can’t get the eyeliner wing thingies to look right? No problem – another mom will jump in and get it done. Is your

hangry and nervous child on your last nerve? No problem – walk away and another mom will give you a chance to rid yourself of the urge to Hulk-smash everything in sight. We aren’t really any different than other moms with kids in a competitive sport (don’t start with saying dance isn’t a sport – these girls work and practice just as hard). The only exception would be the constant bombardment of music. Is some of it enough to put you into a coma? Sure, if you are tired and your kid isn’t up there to hold your attention. Go to a local competition though, which has no fee for visitors by the way, and you will be blown away by some of the talent up on the stage. Yes, some are better than others, but all those kids who get up on stage leave their hearts (and sometimes parts of costumes or shoes) up there and do it because they love it. Being on a dance team is fantastic exercise, teaches

our kids co-ordination and rhythm, creates life-long friendships, and helps our kids learn to work together no matter where you live or go to school. Yes, I stress out during dance season, but I also have an incredible chance to bond with Brenna over something we both love, be proud of her up on stage and have fun with like-minded moms. I think of a lot of these girls Brenna has danced with for years as part mine, and their moms (yes, and dads) as good friends. We moms roll our eyes and make fun of the dance dads but they really do have our backs, and once in a while, an original rock song will ring out and keep the complaining to a minimum. Check out the Capitol Theatre this weekend for the Just Dance competition and you will get a taste of the spandex and glitter brigade and the astounding amount of talent in Chatham-Kent.

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Sunshine Club grows by 19 for C-K The Chatham Voice

Nineteen more municipal employees made the Sunshine List this year. A total of 184 employees for the municipality of Chatham-Kent made more than $100,000 in 2016, up from 165 the previous year. Under the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act, organizations that receive funding from the province are required to list em-

ployees who earn $100,000 or more annually. The 2016 list includes 97 members of the Chatham-Kent Police Service and 40 members of the Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency Services. Topping the list is Dr. David Colby, the chief medical officer of health. His 2016 salary and taxable benefits came in at just over $270,000. Chief administrative officer Don Shropshire earned

$223,000 in comparison. Shelly Wilkins, director of housing services, made just over $228,000 In terms of fire and police staff, Ken Stuebing, the fire and EMS chief for the municipality, hauled in close to $156,000 last year. Gary Conn, the police chief, made in excess of $216,000. But there was no shortage of police constables and rank-and-file firefighters on the list as well.

In fact, 18 of the 40 fire positions on the list are listed only as “firefighters.” On the police side, 66 officers listed as “constable” comprised the list of 97. Cathy Hoffman, Chatham-Kent’s chief human resources officer, said 10 individuals appear on the list due to retroactive pay adjustments. “It should be noted,” Hoffman said in a release, “that the Consumer Price Index has not been ap-

CKHA sees 66 make $100K in 2016

Rob Devitt, the provincially appointed supervisor of the CKHA, wasn’t surprised by Sixty-six staff at the Cha- the numbers. “I don’t think there’s anytham-Kent Health Alliance thing out of made the 2016 the ordinary. Sunshine Club. “I don’t think there’s When I look The list, also at them relaknown as the anything out of the ortive to other Public Sector dinary. When I look at hospitals, they Salary Dis- them relative to other don’t stand closure list, is hospitals, they don’t out,” he said of comprised of stand out. If you were the number of employees of people on the organizations to compare them to a that receive big academic teaching list and their funding from hospital, that would be levels of comthe province different. But compared pensation. “If who make to hospitals in our size you were to compare them $100,000 or more annually. range, they don’t seem to a big academic teaching The top earn- remarkable.” hospier on the list - CKHA’s Rob Devitt tal, that is a physician, Dr. Vishal Chawla, whose would be different. But compensation for 2016 to- compared to hospitals in our size range, they taled $365,745.80. Colin Patey, the former don’t seem remarkCEO who was let go in the able.” That said, Devitt fall, came in at $285,000. Sarah Padfield, the former chief stressed compensation operating officer, made more for hospital administration will be rethan $187,000 in 2016. By Bruce Corcoran

viewed. “There’s a process we will ultimately go through on executive compensation that will validate them or force us to adjust,” he said of executive salary levels. While some public sector organizations aren’t happy with the fact the threshold – $100,000 – hasn’t changed since legislation came into place two decades ago, Devitt said he’s OK with that number. “The good thing about the threshold is it’s easy to know what people to put on the list,” he said. “To keep updating the number would create all sorts of administrative headaches.”

plied to the reporting process since its inception in 1996, which would otherwise have put the report-

ing level at $145,125 in 2016. At this level, C-K would have 17 names on the list.”

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Area agencies place plenty of staff in the $100K club

The Chatham Voice

The 2016 Public Sector Salary Disclosure list came out late last week and under the heading of Other Public Sector, a few new names made the list, but most remained the same. At Chatham-Kent Children’s Services, the number of people on the list making over $100,00 went from 19 to 21, with executive director Stephen Doig ringing in at $164,836 and senior director of service Bonnie Wightman not far behind with $149,933. At the Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent, only the executive director, Donna Litwin-Makey was over the threshold, at $111,172. The Canadian Mental Health Association – Lambton Kent has two employees on the list, with CEO Alan Stevenson on at

$158,457 and director of operations Rhonda Doxtator at $110,002. Kevin Smith, CEO of Goodwill Industries – Essex Kent Lambton made the list at $154,001. Ontario Court of Justice Judge Stephen Feurth made $296,294 while fellow judges Lucy Glenn and William Wolski each made $288,819. Justices of the Peace Calvin Hurst and Marsha Miskokomon each made $129,909. Various supporting institutions placed names into the Sunshine Club. The Erie St. Clair Community Care Access Centre, which serves southwestern Ontario from Windsor to Sarnia and beyond, had 28 staff make the list. At the top of the wage scale was Lori Marshall ($224,000), the CEO who is now the new CEO at the

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. St. Clair College, with campuses in Windsor and Chatham, placed 182 staff on the list. Patricia France, president of the college, collected $282,000 in 2016. Most of the list was comprised of professors. The Erie St. Clair Local Health Integrated Network placed nine people on the list, including former CEO Gary Switzer, who made nearly $290,000 in 2016. His replacement, Ralph Ganter, took in more than $213,000. Transform Shared Service Organization, which supplies support services to a number of regional hospitals in southwestern Ontario, placed 20 people onto the Sunshine Club. Atop the list was CEO Shona Elliott, who made more than $231,000 in 2016.

Seeking time with their families

Special to The Chatham Voice

Personal support and nursing staff held an informational picket outside Riverview Gardens on Sunday, upset at a lack of vacation time. They say low staffing levels have resulted in a number of vacations getting denied by management. The two sides discussed the matter as recently as last week, the protesters said, but nothing has changed at this point.

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Cornell Dancers will head to Ireland for world event this month

230-plus area educators make the $100K list The Chatham Voice

The Chatham Voice

Cornell School of Irish Dance students, Emma Howitt, Andrea Dick, and Graham Vandernaalt will be heading off to Dublin, Ireland this April to compete in the World Championships of Irish Dance. The students, ranging in age from 10-17, qualified at the Eastern Canadian Championship held in Toronto this past November. Andrea and Graham placed first in their age categories and Emma

Contributed images

Andrea Dick, left, Graham Vandernaalt and Emma Howitt, members of the Cornell School of Irish Dance, are heading off to Ireland this month to compete in the World Championships of Irish Dance.

placed fourth. Dance teacher Devin Cornell said only a small percentage of the best dancers in Canada qualify to attend the yearly world championships overseas. The students have been spending many hours a week in the studio preparing for the big competition which takes place from April 9-16. The world champion-

ships are both a celebration and a gathering. “It is a celebration of the beauty and athleticism of Irish Dance and the common Celtic heritage that binds the people of Europe, the America’s, Africa and Australasia together. More importantly it is a gathering of an extended family of dancers, teachers, parents, official, friends and fans,” Cor-

nell said in a release. “The gatherings promote the means of continuing and elevating to new standards the skill and artistry that are the heartbeat of Irish dance. The championships in Dublin 2017 will be a truly colourful festival, indeed an extravaganza, presenting all that is best in Irish dancing through its international family.”

More than 230 people at the two main local school boards made the provincial sunshine list. The Lambton-Kent District School Board has 150 employees on the Public Sector Salary Disclosure list. The list is comprised of employees of organizations that receive funding from the province who make $100,000 or more annually. The top earner at the public board was Joy Badder, a superintendent of education, who made nearly $230,000. Board officials say the hike in her wage was due to the fact she retired at the end of 2016, and the board paid her retirement gratuities. Jim Costello, the director of education, made more than $205,000 in 2016. Superintendents of education for the board, other than Badder, made between $138,000 and near-

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ly $160,000. The rest of the list is largely comprised of elementary and secondary school principals and vice-principals, with a few teachers also making the list. Included in that is Debra Brecevic, who took in more than $152,000 in 2016. For the St. Clair Catholic District School board, Dan Parr, director of education, made more than $206,000 in 2016. He’s the top wage earner of 82 staff on the list. Superintendents of education at the Catholic board made between $167,000 and $176,000. As was the case with the public board, the remainder of the list is mostly made up of elementary and secondary school principals and vice-principals, with a number of teachers also slipping over the $100,000 threshold.

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Local food drive effort appreciated By Bruce Corcoran

The supportive spirit of Chatham-Kent, and the volunteer effort of local students, earned recognition from Ford of Canada and a national volunteer organization recently. WE Scare Hunger – the annual Halloween night food drive put on by Ursuline College Chatham, Chatham-Kent Secondary School, John McGregor Secondary School, St. Ursula, Our Lady of Fatima and St. Anne elementary schools – pulled in 25,000 pounds of food in one night in 2016. It took 25 Ford F150 pickup trips – supplied by Victory Ford Lincoln of Chatham – to transport the food to local food banks. Ford of Canada’s president, Mark Buzzell, stopped by the dealership March 30 to mark the feat. More than 100 local student volunteers from the schools were invited to take part. The students are members of the Me

to WE programs at their respective schools and were part of the WE Scare Hunger effort. Also on hand was Spencer West, WE ambassador. WE is a global social justice organization empowered by youth. West praised Ford’s involvement in the WE programs. “Ford got involved because they wanted to give back to support kids in their communities,” he said. Brenda Leclair of Outreach For Hunger, said the food brought in by the students was greatly appreciated. It filled their operation to the point she had boxes of food in her office for a time. “The food the kids brought in last November, we’re still going through it,” she said. “It’s just amazing.” Also appreciative of the students’ efforts was Tim Witt, vice-president of sales for Ford of Canada. “It’s great for the community and great to see the community so involved,” he said. “No one



Bruce Corcoran/The Chatham Voice

Students of John McGregor Secondary School’s Me to We group are shown with WE ambassador Spencer West, who spoke to local Me to We students at Victory Ford Lincoln March 30. All were there as a celebration of the students’ food-raising efforts last Halloween. The students picked up 25,000 pounds of food for local food banks on that evening.

did a better job than these kids. You can see the passion here.” Witt added Ford couldn’t be “more proud to be associated with the WE organization.” In all, nearly 270 Ford dealerships in Canada took part ferrying the collected food – more

than 280,000 pounds of it – for

the WE Scare Hunger campaign.

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Don’t forget about the soft skills By Bruce Corcoran

The municipality’s Workforce Planning Board (WPB) believes if more local businesses and industry took part in its annual EmployerOne survey, it would benefit the entire community. The board, led by Rory Sweeting and Kristy Jacobs, released the results of the third annual survey at a March 30 breakfast. Municipal employees, non-profit personnel, business owners and managers, provincial officials and local MPP Dave Van Kesteren attended. Jacobs said the goal of the survey is to build a more successful Cha-



tham-Kent, by understanding what employers have at their disposal, but more importantly, discovering what they need. Mayor Randy Hope, the president of the WPB, concurred. “We need to identify issues we are facing in Chatham-Kent, and help ensure we have the workforce to meet the needs of employers of tomorrow,” he said. “This survey aids in the understanding of the issues employers are facing.” Jacobs said pulling data from Chatham-Kent from Statistics Canada, as it is not an isolated Census-monitored area, but is instead lumped into regional numbers, is difficult. Continued on page 15

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Bruce Corcoran/The Chatham Voice

Kristy Jacobs and Rory Sweeting of the Workforce Planning Board, recently released the results of the board’s annual EmployerOne survey. Local businesses are expanding, but they’re having a hard time filling certain positions, according to the survey. Soft skills are high in demand

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Board releases annual survey results

qualified people for positions In terms of in-demand job someone who will show up smartphone or tablet in their As a result, getting informa- here, as respondents indicated skills, Jacobs said she is seeing and I will teach them how to hands than the people around tion right from work the comput- them. there were more a consistent trend employers is im- “More drill down is “Sometimes we forget about poorly qualified for local busi- “There are employers er,’” Jacobs said. portant. needed as it’s unclear “Those five have communication skills – being people (20 per nesses – soft skills who want to hire and Unfortunately, why the younger num- cent) than excel- – ones not neces- bring jobs to Chanot changed.” able to talk,” he said. after three years, bers are so low. Are Hope said the As for skills taught in school, lently qualified sarily taught, but tham-Kent. Let’s not let only six per cent soft skills are Jacobs said the people of Chapersonnel (five rather learned. of local business- they still in school? Are per cent). The something that tham-Kent have a low level of Those include them down.” es responded – there no job opportuni- respondents said communication, - Mayor Randy Hope needs to be em- educational attainment. 198 out of 3,640 ties?”.” phasized to to“We need to make those edu25 per cent of customer service, local businesses - Kristy Jacobs the workforce is teamwork, self-motivation and day’s youth, possibly through cation levels meet the needs of that have multiple schooling. He added people employers,” the medieval studgood and 50 per work ethic. employees. “The mindset is, ‘Give me now seem more focused on the ies graduate said. cent is fair. Jacobs said this year’s goal was actually 200 responses, as there were 142 last year and 73 in 2015. Of the 196 respondents, she said 162 were established businesses, seven were startups, and 29 were in their growth phase. Jacobs said the survey provided excellent detail into what’s transpiring at these businesses, but also led to questions. For example, only 11 per cent of the workforce of these businesses is under the age of 25. Of the remainder, two thirds are between 25 and 54, with the other 22 per cent being over 55. “More drill down is needed as it’s unclear why the younger numbers are so low,” Jacobs said. “Are they still in school? Are there no job opportunities?” Seventy per cent of respondents let staff go last year – either from firing, lay off or staff quitting – while 78 per cent said they hired. As well, the number of hirings – 1,842 – exceeded the number of separations – 1,640. Jacobs said the economy is on the upswing, according to the survey, as 63 per cent of respondents indicated they planned on hiring over the next 12 months, with the primary reason being expansion. “Slow and steady growth. That’s phenomenal,” she said. Hope agreed. “There are employers who want to hire and bring jobs to Chatham-Kent,” he said. “Let’s not let them down.” Jacobs said the businesses that hired last year mostly focused locally to advertise the positions. She would like to see businesses look for employees outside Chatham-Kent. “If you are only looking in † Chatham-Kent, you may not find the folks you are looking FIND IT. DRIVE IT. OWN IT. for,” she said, adding 37 per VISIT FINDYOURFORD.CA FOR AN ONTARIO DEALER NEAR YOU. cent of the organizations that Our advertised prices include Freight, Air Tax, and PPSA (if financed or leased). Add dealer administration hired in 2016 had a hard time and registration fees of up to $799, fuel fill charge of up to $120 and applicable taxes, then drive away. filling their vacant positions. Vehicle(s) may be shown with optional equipment. Dealer may sell or lease for less. Limited time offers. Offers only valid at participating dealers. Retail offers may be cancelled or changed at any time without notice. See your Ford Dealer for complete details or call the Ford Customer The top reasons for the difRelationship Centre at 1-800-565-3673. For factory orders, a customer may either take advantage of eligible raincheckable Ford retail customer promotional incentives/offers available at the time of vehicle factory order or time of vehicle delivery, but not both or combinations ficulties include a lack of apthereof. Retail offers not combinable with any CPA/GPC or Daily Rental incentives, the Commercial Upfit Program or the Commercial Fleet Incentive Program (CFIP). ^Until March 31, 2017 lease a new 2017 F-150 SuperCrew 4X4 5.0L for up to 36 months and get 0.49% APR on approved credit (OAC) from Ford Credit Canada Company. Not all buyers will qualify for the lowest APR payment. Lease 2017 F-150 SuperCrew 4X4 5.0L with a value of $38,654 (after $3,250 down payment or equivalent trade in and $3,750 manufacturer rebate deducted and plicants, lack of qualifications including freight and air tax of $1,800) at 0.49% APR for up to 36 months with an optional buyout of $23,604, monthly payment is $431 (the sum of twelve (12) monthly payments divided by 26 periods gives payee a bi-weekly payment of $199), total lease obligation is $18,766, interest cost of leasing is $455 or 0.49% APR. Taxes payable on full amount of total lease financing price after Manufacturer Rebate has been deducted. Offers include freight, air tax, and PPSA but exclude administration and registration fees of up to $799, fuel fill charge of up to among the applicants and a $120 and all applicable taxes. Additional payments required for optional features, license, and insurance. All prices are based on Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. Some conditions and mileage restriction of 60,000 km for 36 months applies. Excess kilometrage charges are 16¢ per km plus applicable taxes. Excess kilometrage charges subject to change, see your local dealer for details. *Offer only valid from March 1, 2017 to April 30, 2017 (the “Offer Period”), to resident Canadians with an eligible Costco membership on lack of work experience, she or before February 28, 2017. Receive $500 towards the purchase or lease of a new 2017 Ford Focus, Fiesta, C-MAX, and $1,000 towards all other Ford models (excluding F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350/GT350R Mustang, F-150 Regular Cab XL 4x2, said. Cutaway/Chassis Cab and F-650/F-750) (each an “Eligible Vehicle”). 2016 model year vehicles may qualify as Eligible Vehicles (excluding Fiesta, Fusion, Taurus, Explorer, Escape, Expedition, Transit Connect, E-Series Cutaway, F-150 Regular Cab XL Available in most 4x2, F-150 Raptor, F-250, F-350 to F-550, Cutaway/Chassis Cab and F-650/F-750) and depending on available inventory – see dealer for details. Limit one (1) offer per each Eligible Vehicle purchase or lease, up to a maximum of two (2) separate Further, Jacobs said the survey new Ford vehicles Eligible Vehicle sales per Costco Membership Number. Offer is transferable to persons domiciled with an eligible Costco member. Applicable taxes calculated before offer amount is deducted. †F-Series is the best-selling line of pickup trucks in Canada with 6-month pre-paid for 51 years in a row, based on Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association statistical sales report up to year end 2016. ©2017 Sirius Canada Inc. “SiriusXM”, the SiriusXM logo, channel names and logos are trademarks of SiriusXM Radio Inc. and subscription. indicates there is a dearth of are used under licence. ®Registered trademark of Price Costco International, Inc. used under license. ©2017 Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited. All rights reserved. Continued from page 14





Thursday, April 6, 2017 • The 57th Annual Lenten Noon Hour Interdenominational Service at Christ Church, 80 Wellington St. W., Chatham (beside the bus depot) beginning at 12:10pm until 12:35pm and will be followed by a sandwich luncheon in the parish hall. The theme this year is “Lent in Our Time”. The speaker will be Pastor Chris Couper, Evangel Community Church. Free will offering to help Outreach within our community. • Ryan St. Denis will entertain in the main dining room of Meadow Park, Sandy St., Chatham at 2:00pm. • Open Euchre and Bingo at The Chatham Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham. Euchre at 1:00pm and bingo at 7:00pm. Friday, April 7, 2017 • Lasagna Luncheon at BR. 243 Royal Canadian Legion, Ridgetown. Sponsored by the Legion Ladies Auxiliary from 11:00am-1:30pm. $7.00. • Master Your Health - 6 week workshop for People living with Chronic Disease. Learn to take control of your health, build confidence, create personal action plans, deal with everyday challenges. Classes are highly participative and offered at no cost. Bring a friend or family member. All are welcome. Thamesview Family Health Team, 465 rand Ave. West., Chatham. 519-354-0070 ext. 602 or 625. Pr-registration is required. • 5pc Yellow perch dinner with fresh cut fries, coleslaw and bread for $12.00 at the Merlin Legion, Stanley St., Merlin. 5:30pm-7:00pm. • Meal and fun darts at The Chatham Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham. Dinner from 5:30pm-7:00pm with choice of turkey, roast beef or fish & chips for $9.00. One meat draw. Open darts at 7:30pm. Saturday, April 8, 2017 • Sweet “egg”scape Craft and Vendor Sale at the Portuguese Club, 346 Grand Ave. E., Chatham from 9:00am-2:00pm. • Saturday morning breakfast at First Presbyterian Church, Chatham (corner of Fifth St and Wellington). A delicious and nutritious breakfast served free of charge from 930am-11:00am. Everyone is most welcome! • Meat draw and dance at The Chatham Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham from 4:00pm6:00pm. Dance from 4:30pm-9:30pm featuring Unity. Sunday, April 9, 2017 • Sweet “egg”scape Craft and Vendor Sale at the Portuguese Club, 346 Grand Ave. E., Chatham from 9:00am-2:00pm. • Knights of Columbus Community Breakfast from 9:00am-12:30pm at the Spirit & Life Centre, 184 Wellington St. W., Chatham. All you can eat 2 meats, hash browns, scrambled eggs, french toast or pancakes, toast & fruit cocktail. $7.00/adults, $4.00 children 6-12, under 5 is free. • Bingo at BR.243 Royal Canadian Legion, Ridgetown. Sponsored by the Legion Ladies Auxiliary from 2:00pm-4:00pm. Entry fee $10 includes 4 cards. Jackpot $200. • Vimy Ridge 100th Anniversary Memorial Service at Christ Church, 80 Wellington St. W., Chatham. 2:00pm. We ask all of Chatham-Kent to come and remember the sacrifices made on our behalf.

Monday, April 10, 2017 • Ernie Miller will perform in the West Lounge of Meadow Park, Sandy St., Chatham at 2:00pm. • Senior Euchre at The Chatham Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham at 1:00pm. Tuesday, April 11, 2017 • George Wilson’s Hawaii - Music in the West Lounge of Meadow Park, Sandy St., Chatham at 2:00pm. • Pasta Dinner and Quarter Auction at Club Lentina’s. Tickets are $20 for dinner and paddle for the Auction and can be obtained at the Boutique Grand Gift Shop at the Chatham Campus of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance or phone 519352-6401 ex.6598. Dinner at 5:30pm, auction at 7:00pm. Proceeds going to the Foundation of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance for the replacement of the Diagnostic Imaging Equipment Campaign. • Open euchre, shuffleboard and 2 person euchre at The Chatham Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham. Open euchre at 1:00pm, 2 person euchre register at 6:30pm, play at 7:00pm. $5.00 per person. Shuffleboard at 7:00pm. Wednesday, April 12, 2017 • Blood Donor Clinic at the Spirit and Life Centre, St. Joseph Site, Chatham from 1:00pm-7:00pm. New donors and walk ins welcome! • The Lois Singers will entertain in the Main Dining Room of Meadow Park, Sandy St., Chatham at 2:00pm. Thursday, April 13, 2017 • Bad Art Night at the Chatham branch of the CKPL. 6:30pm-8:00pm. Don’t know how to paint? Not good at drawing? Just want something to do with your friends? This is the event for you! We’ll provide the supplies, you provide the badness 16+ only and registration is required. Visit search.ckpl. ca and search Bad Art or call your local branch. • Quarter Auction from 6:00pm-8:00pm at the Active Lifestyle Centre, 20 Merritt Ave., Chatham. Doors open for viewing at 5:30pm. Paddles cost $5.00. Proceeds support Chatham Hope Haven (formerly New Beginning House). Great selection of gift baskets to bid on! Friday, April 14, 2017 • St. Ursula Knights of Columbus Lake Erie Perch Fish Fry from 4:00pm-6:00pm in the meeting room at St. Ursula Parish (205 Tweedsmuir Ave. West, Chatham) $18 for adults, $7 for children 7-12 and under 7 free. Lake Erie yellow perch, baked potatoe, brown beans,, coleslaw, roll, coffee, tea, and juice. Take out is available.

PAWR at the animal shelter phone number for lost and stray pets and issues at the dog parks: 226996-9969 daytime. Emergency and after-hours number: 519-784-6146. Animal Cruelty and neglect cases call direct 310-7722 or 310-SPCA. Chatham-Kent Metal Detecting Club - Meets last Thursday of the month. 7:00pm. Kinsman Room. Erickson Arena, new members welcome! Submit your coming events to or


Local man prohibited from selling real estate The Chatham Voice

The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is warning members of the public not to engage in real estate transactions with John Van Dyk, of Chatham. Neither he nor his company, J. Van Dyk Realty Inc., is registered to trade in real estate. In order to trade in real estate in Ontario, salespersons and brokers (commonly referred to as “real estate agents”), as well as brokerages, must be registered under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA 2002). This is the law that regulates real estate trading in the province and which is enforced by RECO. On June 23, 2016, Van Dyk was convicted under REBBA 2002 for improper handling of a trust deposit in a real estate transaction. As

a result of that conviction, he was fined and placed on probation. On Dec. 16, 2015, his registration under REBBA 2002 was terminated and he has not been registered to trade in real estate since that time. Following an investigation of recent complaints about the conduct of Van Dyk and his corporation, J. Van Dyk Realty Inc., RECO laid three charges under REBBA 2002 pertaining to him allegedly trading in real estate without registration. RECO is asking anyone who may have been involved in a real estate transaction since Dec. 16, 2015, in which Van Dyk, or J. Van Dyk Realty Inc. of Chatham acted as a real estate salesperson (agent) or brokerage, to please contact Brian Prendergast, manager of inspections and investigations, Real Estate Council of Ontario, 1-800-2456910, or

Refugee sponsors honoured The Chatham Voice

On April 10, the sponsorship groups who helped Syrian refugees escape their war-torn country and come to Chatham-Kent will be recognized. The event will take place at 6 p.m., prior to that night’s municipal council meeting. Through the Feature Act recognition program the ‘Sponsorship Agreement Holders’ will be thanked. These are private groups and individuals that make humani-

tarian commitments of their personal time, energy, and money to assist individuals or families in need. The groups that will be recognized include: Chatham Catholic parishes, Dresden Christian Reformed Church, Chatham-Kent Muslim Association, the Ridgetown refugee committee and the Tilbury Syrian refugee committee. Each of these groups has welcomed children and adults to the community by helping them integrate into life in Chatham-Kent and Canada. 



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Upgrades coming for Catholic board The Chatham Voice

The St. Clair Catholic District School Board (SCCDSB) has signed off on more than $3.6 million in school improvements this spring and summer. “Our strategic plan calls us to be wise stewards of the public resources with which we are entrusted,” said Amy Janssens, Executive Superintendent – Corporate Services & Treasurer, in a release. “This significant investment in Catholic education across our district is in keeping with that commitment.” The funds are for projects in Chatham-Kent and Lambton County. Local highlights include: $836,665 for roof replacements at Good Shepherd, Thamesville, St. Joseph, Tilbury and St. Michael, Ridgetown; $327,453 for a Phase 3 lighting retrofit project at Holy Family, Wallaceburg, Holy Trinity, Sarnia, St. Elizabeth, Wallaceburg, St. Matthew, Sarnia and St. Patrick’s Catholic High School, Sarnia. The projects are funded through the Board’s annual School Condition Improvement allocation. an Shoppe

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Victory first choice for electric car for Essex family By Mary Beth Corcoran

When he started researching electric vehicles months ago, Dustin O’Neil wanted something that would be good for the environment, would meet the needs of his daily commute and would inspire his students to take an interest in protecting our resources. With the 2017 Ford Focus electric, a full plug-in, he feels he made the right choice and was happy Victory Ford Lincoln in Chatham could help him out. O’Neil came to Chatham last week to pick up his new car with family and friend, Brian Masse, MP for Windsor West and someone who has experi-

ence with the auto industry. “I always had an interest in the environment and I saw a documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” that my friend Brian (Masse) showed me,” O’Neil said. “So when the time came I needed to change vehicles I committed to an electric car.” With the improved range of the 2017 Focus to 185 kilometres, O’Neil said it fit into his daily commute to work as a school principal, plus the ability to charge at home, and having an app that shows where all charging stations are meant an electric car was a good fit for him. O’Neil said he also was able to get good information from Sean Hart, founder and chair of the

Windsor-Essex Electric Vehicle Association (WEEVA). The group shares information about buying and owning electric vehicles. Looking for a vehicle that fit his needs, O’Neil said he turned to Ford, but had trouble finding a dealership from Windsor all the way to Ottawa that was certified and could get him what he wanted in a timely manner. That’s where Victory Ford comes in. “I called these guys and they were very responsive and were able to get me a car very quickly; a week compared to months,” O’Neil explained. “The current rebates also made it very cost comparable to a gas-powered car. The incentives really level the playing field.”

Bruce Corcoran/The Chatham Voice

Dustin O’Neil of Essex and his daughter, Evelyn are the first customers to buy an electric car, the Ford Focus electric, from Victory Ford salesperson Mark Jackson, shown handing over the keys recently. Victory Ford is fully certified to sell and service electric cars and has the only accessible charging station in Chatham available to the public.

In the works from the Ministry of Transportation, O’Neil said, is a new incentive for electric car owners to charge overnight for free for four years, which will also be good news for people thinking about going electric. Adam Lally, general manager at Victory Ford,

said they were very happy to complete the certification to sell and service electric vehicles and help O’Neil find the perfect vehicle for his needs. “Ford has committed to electric and hybrid vehicles. To be certified, a certain percentage of the staff had to be trained, but everyone here is re-

ally excited about electric vehicles and now our entire staff is now trained,” Lally said. With the sale of the first EV at Victory Ford, Lally said they have had four more orders in the last two weeks and the challenge now will be to keep up with consumer interest.

Electric options abound at Victory Ford Lincoln Special to The Voice

Victory Ford Lincoln in Chatham is leading the way into the future. The local dealership is embracing the shift towards electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. General manager Adam Lally said they added vehicle charging stations in early March, and recently celebrated the sale of their first fully electric Ford Focus, a deal handled by salesperson Mark Jackson. “We’ve sold hybrids before, but this is the first one that plugs into a wall,” Lally said. “This was a full battery electric.” The electric Focus has a range of 185 kilometres before it must be recharged. The range of electric vehicles has increased a great deal in recent years. “It’s come a long way in the past three or four years. There’s been a huge push by Ford Canada to get into the electric and hybrid electric market,” Lally said.

He added that changing over to an electric or a plug-in hybrid – where the vehicle is powered by an electric motor and traditional gas engine – make sense and cents. “Everybody’s got a responsibility to take steps to make sure we’re limiting our impact on the environment,” he said. “We’ve sold hybrids before, but the biggest success is the new rebate - $14,000 in rebates for the Focus battery vehicle.” Plug-in hybrids also receive large rebates, Lally said, as much as $7,730. The provincial rebates not only bring the vehicles down close to the price range of a traditional gas powered vehicle, but sometimes they’re actually cheaper. “It makes a lot of financial sense when you consider the fuel savings. It can benefit the environment and benefit your pocket. And you get to drive a really nice car. It’s a no brainer for a lot of people.” Lally said one customer crunched the numbers and realized if he switched to an electric Ford vehicle, his monthly payments would actually be lower than what he currently

Chatham Voice photo

Victory Ford Lincoln staff unveil the fully electric Ford Focus. Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles are in big demand, as provincial rebates are making the cars and crossovers very affordable.

shells out for gas for his SUV each month. The popularity of the Ford electric and plug-in hybrids has caused a problem, however. Lally said they simply don’t have enough vehicles for interested customers. “We’ve got so many orders

and not enough cars coming. It’s been way more successful than anyone anticipated, Ford included,” he said. Lally said relief should arrive soon, as he anticipates plug-in hybrid Ford Fusion sedans and C-Max crossovers will be coming into the dealership in the

coming months. He predicts solid sales. “In many cases, it’s cheaper,” he said of owning and operating an electric car or a plug-in hybrid. “And then you are paying so much less for operating costs. Some of the maintenance is cheaper too.”

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The Chatham Voice April 6, 2017  

The April 6, 2017 edition of The Chatham Voice, an independent community newspaper serving Chatham, Ont. and area.

The Chatham Voice April 6, 2017  

The April 6, 2017 edition of The Chatham Voice, an independent community newspaper serving Chatham, Ont. and area.