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THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014


McCute, McHappy youngsters

OPP probes Civic Centre Anti-rackets investigators following up on request from C-K Chief Poole

By Bruce Corcoran

Mary Beth Corcoran/The Chatham Voice

Alia Tetrault, 3, and Ellie Steinfield, 2, enjoyed their Happy Meals at McDonalds Restaurant on St. Clair Street May 7 as part of the McHappy Day fundraiser for children’s charities, including Ronald McDonald House. The pair also got a balloon as part of the deal. The annual McHappy Day fundraiser, which raised more than $19,000 in Chatham-Kent, featured local business and community leaders who lent their time to prepare food, sell it and clean up.

The OPP’s anti-rackets squad is in the middle of an investigation involving breach of trust allegations against Chatham-Kent municipal officials. According to the OPP, the investigation involves Mayor Randy Hope, and other senior municipal officials in relation to the St. Clair College Capitol Theatre project and other property in the municipality. Det. Staff Sgt. Tom Whittaker is the case manager for the investigation. He said the OPP received a request to investigate from Chatham-Kent’s top cop, Dennis Poole, last year. Poole, chief of the Chatham-Kent Police Service, said he made the call to the OPP to maintain impartiality in the investigation. “This was done last year, back in the time when Mr. (Ian) McLarty was making all his complaints,” Poole said. “A complaint was made to the police department about that issue involving Mayor Hope. I then handed it off to the OPP to maintain a hands-

off distance.” Last July, McLarty, a former mayoral candidate, brought forth allegations of incompetence, dereliction of duty and possible criminal activity against senior municipal staff and the mayor in regards to the Capitol Theatre Annex transfer and municipal grants to the theatre. He took his matter to court over a conflict of interest allegation against Hope after the mayor had voted in favour of providing a $1.3-million grant to St. Clair College to develop a downtown educational facility at the former Capitol Theatre Annex building. McLarty claimed the conflict occurred as Hope’s daughter stood to benefit, as she worked for one of two companies that owned the Annex. Superior Court Justice Henry Vogelsang heard the allegations in court in October, and dismissed the case shortly thereafter. Several civil suits in relation to the matter remain unresolved. Hope declined to comment on the matter, saying he wouldn’t until the investigation is over. Continued on page 2

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THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014


Tilbury BIA honoured By Blair Andrews Contributing Writer

Tilbury’s extensive makeover project is getting noticed outside of Chatham-Kent. The Tilbury Business Improvement Area (BIA) has won an Ontario BIA award for Safe and Healthy Environment. The award was presented at the recent national BIA conference in Hamilton. “We were very excited. It’s an outstanding accomplishment for Tilbury and I think it’s very important that people in Tilbury know and recognize the work that was done by the Til-

bury Downtown Revitalization project,” said Natalie Whittal, executive director of the Tilbury BIA and the Tilbury & District Chamber of Commerce. The three-year project received a total of $300,000 from the provincial government, Chatham-Kent, the Community Futures Development Corporation of Chatham-Kent and the Tilbury BIA and chamber of commerce. Launched in 2010, the project encouraged merchants, property owners and the public to recommend ideas for improving the downtown in four key areas: economic development;


organization and collaboration; marketing and promotions; and physical streetscape improvements. According to Whittal, businesses owners identified the need for a new streetscape in surveys conducted in 2010. With community support for the idea, the project moved ahead with a conceptual streetscape design. In her submission for the Ontario BIA award, Whittal noted that the process has engaged community members and can be used as an example for other BIA’s preparing to take on beautification initiatives. The Tilbury design incorporates many natural elements and builds on a theme related to the Carolinian forest. Carrick’s Corner, a downtown parkette, is another key element of

Contributed image

Carrick’s Corner, a park in the heart of downtown Tilbury, is a key part of the Tilbury Downtown Revitalization project. The park, along with other improvements, led to Tilbury receiving an award from the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association.

the project. A vacant lot was transformed into a place where people can gather for events in the downtown. The landscaped site features a gazebo, a pedestrian path, a bubbling rock, additional site

furnishings and trees. “It really brightened up the downtown area,” said Whittal. “People are really making use of it, and it looks lovely. And now we can have events there, have block parties and encourage people to shop downtown.”

Police releasing few details on city hall investigation

yet, however. Poole said by calling in the OPP to investigate the criminal allegations levelled last year, the local police service is removed from any potential claims of conducting a biased investigation and there are no conflicts of interest. “Could we have done it (the invesRoofing • Siding • Soffit tigation)? Yes,” he said. “But the difficulty is if we lay Fascia • Eavestroughs charges, there could be allegations & Custom Exteriors we’re against the mayor. If we don’t then people might say we are in bed with the mayor.” Poole said calling in an outside police service to investigate in municipal matters is typically what occurs in such situations. Whittaker concurred. “It does occur occasionally where a local police service may feel it is better that an outside agency look into such complaints,” he said. Your Roofing & Exterior Specialist In terms of the OPP investigation, Whittaker wouldn’t say much more with Better Business Bureau than the investigation is still ongoAccreditation ing. Call Today for Your FREE Quote! “We can’t comment on specifics or where we are at. In terms of conclusion, when we’re all finished is 519-397-9126 when we will assess the evidence,” he said. “I’m case managing it from the Orillia office, but we are using officers out of our London office.”

Continued from Page 1

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THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014

CKHA uses foreign workers

By Jim Blake

News that the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance has used the much-maligned Temporary Foreign Workers Program demonstrates that the initiative has positive outcomes if used correctly, said Chatham-Kent-Essex MP Dave Van Kesteren. Contacted last week, Van Kesteren said, “I wasn’t aware of them (CKHA) using it. I’m not aware of all the people utilizing the program.” CKHA Communications Director Zoja Holman said the program has been a useful tool in the physician recruitment. “Physician recruitment is a very competitive area and we have a wide variety of tools, this being one of them, to help us present Chatham-Kent as a potential area for physicians to locate.” She said 40 physicians have been recruited to Chatham-Kent in the past four years, and federal programs and partnerships with the municipality and the CKHA teaching affiliation with the Schulich School of Medicine are all part of the effort. “We have had four family medicine physicians graduate from our site and three of them are now practicing in the community,” she said. “We have grown to hosting three residents per year who work and live full time in C-K for their two years of training, and we host anywhere from five to 10 learners in the facility per month – a great way to showcase what C-K has to offer, both from a community perspective and health care perspective.” Van Kesteren admits there are employers who haven’t followed the rules in regards to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. “We know we have some work. There have been some abuses. Unfortunately, some employers – not in this area – have abused the system,” he said. “Minister (Jason) Kenney is revamping the program and is putting some penalties in place that are pretty severe.” Van Kesteren was quick to point out the Temporary Foreign Workers Program is different from the Migrant Workers Program, something that many local farms and greenhouse companies utilize. “The Migrant Worker Program is time sensitive. If you ran an orchard, for example, you’d have your people come in the spring and prune the trees and have them through the Helping Chatham-Kent harvest, and then they go home,” he Hear For Years! said, adding the34 workers return year after year. Over The 14,500 Hearing Aids Fitted. Temporary Foreign Worker Program is designed to allow emALIOS ployers to bring inEARING staff when confronted with skilled and general ENTURE LINIC labour shortages, but only SINCE 1979 when

Canadians aren’t available to do the job. “It’s not there to replace our workers. It’s there when an employer can prove what he’s offering is essential and he’s made every effort to get workers from Canada, and then he can apply,” Van Kesteren said. Locally, the MP said the primary use of temporary foreign workers is actually in one specific sector of agriculture. “In Chatham-Kent Essex, the majority are used in the mushroom business,” Van Kesteren said. “Because the labour pool is so intense for farm workers, it gets depleted. Companies have to bring in people from Windsor, but when that isn’t successful, they use the foreign worker program.” He added these growers don’t use the migrant worker program for one simple reason: “Mushrooms don’t stop growing. They grow 12 months of the year.” Van Kesteren said sometimes companies use the program to bring in help for a very short time period. “There was a case where an industry in Blenheim had some equipment that went into the factory. They had to set it up and train people who had to work it,” he said. “The individual who had the knowledge (to train) was from the States. He had to come in for a couple of weeks to train.”


And they’re off!

Bruce Corcoran/The Chatham Voice

More than 200 runners of all ages took part in Saturday’s second annual 5K Run for Mental Health, which started and finished in Kingston Park in Chatham. The run is the second of nine sanctioned RunCK events. The next one takes place this weekend, as the Erieau Fishermen Fun Run is slated for Saturday morning in Erieau.

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THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014


Rail negotiations continue

By Blair Andrews Contributing Writer

With time for a deal winding down, talks continue in an attempt to restore service on the tracks of a former CSX line in Chatham-Kent. Stuart McFadden, deputy director of economic development for the municipality, said negotiations are occurring dai-

ly between a group interested in acquiring the line and businesses that would use it. “We’re hopeful we’re going to be able to get this deal done and get some cars moving on that section again,” said McFadden. “It’s very important to the businesses that are on the line right now. We have businesses in Dresden, Tupperville and Wallaceburg that have

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used this line for years, and unfortunately this year it is not operating.” In a deal approved last year, CSX sold the 26-mile line for $4 million. Canadian Pacific paid $3.2 million of that to take ownership of the steel rails and wooden ties, which it plans to rip up if an operator of the line isn’t found. The municipality paid $800,000 for the land. Last August, Chatham-Kent Council voted to close the line in October and to search for a buyer to purchase and operate it. “We’re not in the rail line business,” said McFadden. “We have no intention of operating it, and we’re trying to find an organization that understood how important it is and is interested in investing in it.” While he couldn’t comment on specifics, McFadden said the nature of the talks relate to the potential owner reaching agreements with users. If an operator isn’t found, CP has the right to rip up the rail line to recycle the steel. That could begin as early as next month. Municipal officials are hoping that an agreement will preserve the

From The Inside Out

Chatham Voice file photo

Railcars sit on the CSX rail line in Chatham. The fate of 26 miles of old CSX track purchased by the municipality last fall remains up in the air.

line, which could be important for future economic development. According to McFadden, potential companies are interested in rail service, as they ask about connections to other railways and how they can move

their products. “The transportation of goods and doing it in a cost-effective way is crucial to their businesses, and we recognize that,” he said. “Having the ability to move product by rail is crucial.”

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Furry friends can light up an entire room Therapy dogs give and get lots of love

a good home, but just got loose one day and got lost. His temperament makes Dogs love to get scratched him an excellent therapy behind the ears. But in dog. “The reason why I got many cases, the people doing the scratching ben- involved is I knew this is what he would enjoy. This efit as well. Look no further than is his calling,” she said. the St. John Ambulance “He seems to sense what therapy dog program. he’s needed to do. He lies There are about 25 dogs in some people’s beds.” And Teddy is determined involved in the Chatham and area branch of the to do his job. Meadow program, visiting long- Park long-term-care faciliterm-care facilities and the ty in Chatham was closed Chatham campus of the to visitors last week due to Chatham-Kent Health Al- a respiratory illness outbreak, so the liance. little pooch The ani- “You visit someone couldn’t get mals go into for a few minutes and in to see his facilities to they say, ‘Thank you people. bring com“ Te d d y fort and for coming. You made got antcompanion- my day.’” sy. I didn’t ship to folks. - Brenda Waldie know why One such dog, Teddy, a shih tzu, was he was like that. And then on the job recently at Ca- I realized he missed his leb Village. As his owner appointment,” Lafontaine Shreeni Lafontaine carried said. Brenda Waldie, co-ordiTeddy through the front door and into the lobby, nator of the program here, said there aren’t enough faces lit up. Teddy was like a magnet. dogs to go around. “We’re looking for dogs Folks dropped what they were doing and came right with good temperaments. over to give the little guy a They can’t growl and can’t show any aggression,” she pet or a hug – or both. Caleb resident Bev Pre- said. “They have to show vett is one of the many good leash manners and folks who enjoys his time have to walk well on a leash. We can’t have dogs with Teddy. “It’s really nice to come jumping up on seniors.” Not all therapy dogs are and pet him. He makes Teddy-sized lap dogs. people smile,” he said. Teddy is an OSPCA res- Some are huge mastiffs, cue dog. Lafontaine said Waldie said. It’s all about she adopted him five years the attitude. Waldie said the mastiffs ago after he was picked up are large dogs – think as a stray. She thinks he came from of the dog in the movie By Bruce Corcoran

“Turner & Hooch” – but are well under control. “I thought people would be afraid of them, but they aren’t,” she said. “Some people really like the small dogs, some the big dogs, but others, hey, any dog. We just want good-natured dogs.” Waldie said being an owner of a therapy dog is also very beneficial, because you see the joy your dog delivers to others. “You get to do something with your dog, and you also get the reward with seeing the reaction from the people,” she said. “You visit someone for a few minutes and they say, ‘Thank you for coming. You made my day.’” Waldie said not any dog can be part of the program. There is a pre-evaluation process where program personnel discuss with a dog’s owner what’s involved with visiting, what paperwork to expect and what the evaluation process is like. Waldie said after a dog passes the evaluation process, its first four visits are mentored, as well as the 10th. At that time, if

Bruce Corcoran/The Chatham Voice

Bev Prevett cuddles with Teddy the therapy dog at Caleb Village, as Ida Trottier and Ron Smith look on.

all goes well, the dog gets his or her “Please Pet Me” therapy bandana and an official therapy dog ID medallion, both of which readily show people the dog is safe to approach for a scratch and a petting. The dog’s owner also receives a T-shirt identifying her as a member of the program. Just be prepared to draw a crowd of smiling faces as soon as you walk in the door.

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OPP probe merits mentioning The news that the Ontario Provincial Police are investigating mayor Randy Hope and Chatham-Kent administration for breach of trust allegations is a cause for concern, but not panic. Rumours had circulated around the community for months about the investigation, and once we had the facts, we decided to print what we discovered. The OPP investigation was initiated last year when an action was filed against the mayor, alleging conflict of interest. That private claim, brought forth by Ian McLarty, was dismissed. Chatham-Kent Police Chief Dennis Poole acted properly when he referred the allegations to his provincial counterparts. It eliminates any chance that the outcome of the investigation will be in any way tainted (in terms of public perception) due to political considerations. Our work in bringing forth the story may have political implications, but the careers of our political leaders are clearly not the issue here. What’s at stake is more than any single politician’s record; it speaks to the integrity of the office. Our readers deserve to know what’s going on; it’s as simple as that. It is important to note that although there may be similarities in some of the subject matter of OPP probe and McLarty’s claim, the methods, abilities and authority of the two are vastly different. We would advise caution concerning the length of time the investigation is taking. The only ones who really understand what’s happening are those conducting the probe and for obvious reasons, they aren’t about to reveal their daily activities. Although the OPP can’t be accused of having a political agenda in pursuing the investigation, we sincerely hope the activity is brought to a conclusion sooner rather than later, whether it results in a recommendation to the Crown that charges be laid or that there is insufficient evidence to do so. Our community has many challenges and the sooner we can put this issue to rest, the better.

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The Chatham Voice welcomes letters to the editor. Our preferred methods to receive letters are either via e-mail to (use “Letter” in the subject line) or by going through our website at (click on “Submit a letter”). You can also send letters by fax, 519-397-1177, or 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 for brevity and clarity. All letters need to be signed.

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THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014


Give Canucks a crack at jobs Sir: Recently, it came out that McDonald’s Restaurants in Canada had hired foreign workers to work for them. We see a lot of this in Ontario when foreign

workers are brought here to work in the summer and harvest season to do the work that Canadians should be given the first opportu-

nity at. I believe Employment Canada should put those on the job back at least three months before they are needed.

There are a lot of people in Chatham-Kent that would be happy to even get part-time or seasonal work with the job situation here. Jack Long, Chatham

Support for art event appreciated Sir: The Kiwanis Club of Chatham-Kent is extremely grateful to our community for its support of the recent Children’s Art Competition. In partnership with the Chatham Cultural Centre and Thames Art Gallery, this competition was designed to encourage artistic talents in youth within our community and to raise funds for the Kiwanis International project to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus around the world. The three winning entries will be submitted for auction at the Eastern Canada and Caribbean District convention in Charlottetown, PEI, this month, with proceeds

dedicated to ELIMINATE. We received submissions from school-aged children in five communities in Chatham-Kent and were very impressed with the quality of the work based on the theme of “We Build Bridges for Children to the Future.” We would like to thank the individuals who made this possible: • Chatham Cultural Centre staff: Irene McCredie, program co-ordinator, for coordinating the partnership and providing guidance in the process and for serving as a judge; and Donna Nolan, market-

ing assistant who designed great posters, helped with promotion and also created the certificates for the winners, and other staff who assisted with the display of the children’s work. • Municipal staff, librarians, churches and community members who assisted with the distribution of the posters • Local artist Sandra VanRaay and Kiwanian Joyce Martin-Bruce, who were judges. • Ken Kopko from the Maple Art Gallery in Chatham for the professional matting of the art. • Art teachers and parents who encouraged the

students to participate in this competition. This was an extremely worthwhile project for many reasons, including the recognition of the talents of children, demonstration of community partnerships, and increased awareness of the goals of Kiwanis and ELIMINATE, as well as fundraising to support the project. We could not have done it without the assistance of many generous community members and we sincerely appreciate the support. Cathy Telfer, Past president and chair of publicity, Kiwanis Club of Chatham-Kent

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THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014



Cash oversight shake-up coming

Municipality looks to shift to chief financial officer after Wolting retires in ’15 structure and to fine tune it. My thought with the chief financial officer, like With the pending retire- many corporations, is to ment next spring of Gerry have them report directly Wolting, general manag- to the CAO’s office.” Shropshire said he’s er of corporate services, the municipality is set to looking to fill the CFO pore-organize the financial sition within the next two leadership positions in to three months. “The goal C-K. Don Shrop- “With Gerry announc- being, with shire, the ing that he will be leav- all the other positions CAO of Chaare tham-Kent, ing next year, this gives there several logsaid they are me the opportunity to ical people not creating do some adjustments that might a new posi- within our existing be able to tion, but instructure and to fine and be instead adjustterested in ing some of tune it.” stepping the existing - CAO Don Shropshire up and structure. “Gerry Wolting is cur- taking on some of those rently serving as the chief responsibilities,” he said. financial officer, as well “With the CFO position, as the general manager I’ve had some discussions of corporate services,” with folks internally and Shropshire said. “With it is not a slam dunk that Gerry announcing that he we’d be able to find that will be leaving next year, internal candidate. We’d this gives me the oppor- be looking to open that tunity to do some adjust- up and have an opportuments within our existing nity to open that up and

By Aaron Hall Contributing Writer

recruit someone to fill that CFO role.” Shropshire added: “Given that is the case, our finances with the municipality are pretty complex. I’m hoping to find someone in the next two or three months, so they have an opportunity to have that overlap with Gerry over the course of the next several months, sort of learn the systems and have a transfer of information and knowledge over that

time period. We’ve had a finance and taxation, acvacancy as well, so we can counts payable, accounts do that with a limited ex- receivable, information tra cost to the municipal- technology, human reity.” sources and Shropshire “What I’m looking for customer said over is a clear alignment of services. the next sev- responsibilities when it “What I’m eral months looking for is a clear he will be comes to our financial alignment r e v i e w i n g portfolio.” of responsome of the - CAO Don Shropshire sibilities areas that Wolting has overseen, in- when it comes to our ficluding budget and per- nancial portfolio,” Shropformance management, shire said. “This is one of

our key challenge areas, with financial sustainability. With having the Chief Financial Officer being able to focus on key financial components and report directly to the CAO’s office, and I think that aligns more closely with our key investment areas that council has designated for us.” Shropshire said Wolting’s contributions to C-K will be celebrated closer to his retirement next spring.



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THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014


Amhertsburg declines Entegrus deal The Chatham Voice

After months of pitching, En-

tegrus couldn’t entice a hit out of Amherstburg council. The local power distribution

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company was rebuffed last week in its attempt to purchase the cash-strapped community’s share of Essex Power, as the town council voted 4-3 against selling its 14.5% share to Entegrus. Jim Hogan, president and CEO of Entegrus, said his team is naturally unhappy their $12-million offer was turned down.

customers.” He didn’t think the price offered for the shares was the reason Amherstburg council turned them down. “It was a substantial offer. We knew what was going on in the market. It had to be a good offer or they wouldn’t have even considered it,” he said. Entegrus first approached Amherstburg late last year with the offer to purchase.

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“We’re disappointed. We felt it was a good opportunity to partner with another good utility (Essex Power) and expand our investments,” he said. “We thought it would be an opportunity to provide some added value to our customers.” Hogan believed the added value would have resulted in the utilities working together “with various strengths, able to deliver best-in-class service to our

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In celebration of Hearing Awareness month, the Canadian Hearing Institute in Chatham wants to give away a free set of hearing aids. Theo Wolski, officer manager of the institute, said this is the first time for the giveaway. “A lot of people in Cha-

tham-Kent are very deserving of receiving a free set of hearing aids,” she said. “These are not inexpensive pieces of equipment.” People can apply for themselves or for a friend or family member, Wolski said. Just visit the institute’s Facebook page, canadianhearinginstitute, and like the page, to begin.

Then send your contact information to and tell them why you or the person you are nominating is a deserving candidate. Nominations are open until the end of May. Wolski said an outside board will review all nominations and a winner will be announced June 24.

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Something for everyone - Outstanding one-floor ranch • 2+3 bedrooms in quiet neighbourhood • Two fireplaces • Open concept kitchen • Oversized heated garage • Fully finished basement JOLENE VAN DYK, Sales Representative 519.809.1146 455 Grand Ave. East, Unit 3, Chatham

116 Lake St. - Mitchell’s Bay

This Bouma-built executive home is on a lakefront lot New with separate Listing deeded boat slip (hydro & hydro) in Mitchell`s Bay. Three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, loft, fireplace, finished basement, oversized garage, sprinkler system. Home boasts hardwood, ceramic and berber flooring. Custom-built kitchen has Corian countertops. Walkout doors to patio from dining nook and master bedroom. Ensuite bath has jet tub. Home is wired for generator. Truly an amazing hamlet to raise your family!


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If you are a Realtor® with a house to list, give us a call 519-397-2020 to book your spot on next week’s page . . . if you are a home owner with a house for sale, contact your Realtor® to ask them to place it!

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9 John Park Rd., Tupperville

Al Farquhar, Sales Representative

Open House Sat. May 24th from 12-2pm Move-in ready home with large lot. Maintenance- free exterior, newer windows and furnace. Large 16’ x 38’ shop/garage. $119,900

141 St. Clair St., Chatham Cell: 519-437-7027

7884 Heron Line

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JOHN VAN DYK, Sales Representative 519.358.3157 455 Grand Ave. East, Unit 3, Chatham


THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014



Hospices reaches two milestones

By Bruce Corcoran

The Chatham-Kent Hospice celebrated a couple of achievements recently. Jennifer Wilson, chair of the hospice committee, said the group has raised more than $3 million to date, with half of the funds coming from the municipality. Also, the hospice has named a director of hospice services – Michelle O’Rourke. “What a catch. I think the only one more delighted than me is her,” Wilson said of O’Rourke, who is no stranger to end-of-life care. “Michelle is perfect. She comes from a hospital background and has experience working with other end-of-life providers.” O’Rourke brings a wealth of experience, having worked as a registered nurse for 35 years. She has also worked as a lay pastoral minister and has published two books, “Befriending Death: Henri Nouwen and a Spirituality of Dying,” and “Embracing the End of Life: Help for Those Who Accompany the Dying,” the latter of which was co-au-

thored with Eugene Dufour. She has worked with the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and the LHIN on advance care planning, healthcare consent and palliative care. O’Rourke’s job will be to help build the programming for the hospice. Through that programming, the hospice will design the building, which will be built on property adjacent to St. Andrew’s Residence in Chatham. “It’s a quiet residential area. It’s not on the outskirts,” Wilson said of the prime location. “Hospices require a tremendous amount of volunteers. It’s great where people can get to it, but it’s still residential.” O’Rourke starts working for the hospice on a one-year secondment from the hospital on May 20. Pledges and donations to date have topped $3 million, as the municipality pledged up to $1.5 million, matching what the hospice could raise from the community in a year. “We had 12 months to match Chatham-Kent’s $1.5-million donation and we did it in six. We’re very happy. This sort

of reception has been very healthy,” Wilson said. She added that only a year ago, she presented the concept to the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). “We have an aging population, and with modern medicine, we are dying longer deaths,” she said. “A lot of people want to die at home, but that’s not always possible.” The hospice’s end goal is $5 million, Wilson said, to pay to erect the building and provide sustainability funding. On top of funding, the hospice is looking for volunteers. Lots of them. “It takes a tremendous amount of volunteers to run a hospice,” Wilson said. “And you can’t just show up and start. It requires training.” And not just anyone is right for the task. “It takes a special kind of person, but they feel what they are doing is very important and meaningful to them,” Wilson said. “The only difference between you and the person in that bed is timing and luck.”

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THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014


Candidates selected in C-K -Essex

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The writs have been signed and the candidates are starting to line up in Chatham-Kent-Essex, ahead of the June 12 election across Ontario. There will be some familiar names on the local ballots, with some newcomers as well. Representing the Progressive Conservatives will be incumbent Member of Provincial Parliament, Rick Nicholls. Nicholls captured the riding away from the Liberal Party in 2011, gathering 15,122 votes, good for 41.7%. Paul Watson ran for the Liberals in 2011, replacing Pat Hoy, who had maintained the MPP job from 1995 until 2011. Watson won’t be on the ballot this time around, as another new face will represent the Liberals during the 2014 election – Terry Johnson the vice-president of Scribendi Inc. “He is a successful businessman and married father of four who can bring a unique perspective to the race in Chatham-Kent and Leamington,” stated Mike Ferguson, president of the Chatham-Kent-Essex provincial Liberal association. Dan Gelinas, a retired Chrysler Canada, Navistar and Bentler worker, was acclaimed as the NDP candidate after a meeting at the

Tilbury Legion on May 9. “The Hudak Conservative’s cutting of good paying jobs promotes a low wage economy making affordable living impossible,” stated Gelinas. “Essential services will be cut and conservative privatization of our Canadian health-care system will drastically change Ontarians’ quality of life.” Ken Bell, will be representing the Green Party of Ontario, on the Chatham-Kent-Essex ballots. Bell ran in the 2007 election, finishing fourth with 2,056 votes, good for 5.69%. In the neighboring riding of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, the following people will be running in the election: • incumbent Monte McNaughton – PC • Mike Radan – Liberal • Joe Hill – NDP • Jamie Armstrong – Green • Marinus Vander Vloet – Family Coalition Canadian citizens who live in Ontario and are at least 18 years of age or older on Election Day are eligible to vote in their electoral district of residence. There are many ways to vote, including from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Election Day, at advance polls from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 31 to June 6. For more information about the 41st Provincial General Election, visit or call 1-888-ONT-VOTE.





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THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014



for Czech hall

By Jim Blake

Al Kominek is looking for a little help from his friends when he brings North America’s foremost Paul McCartney tribute band, “The McCartney Years,” to Chatham’s Cultural Centre for a performance May 24. Kominek is organizing the concert as a fundraiser for the Old Czech Hall in Dresden, an institution that’s been part of that community for nearly 70 years. “We need some renovations at the hall and we thought we might as well have a good time raising the money,” he said. The McCartney Years brings three decades of Sir Paul’s music to the stage from the Beatles hits

through Wings. “This is the closest you can get to hearing Paul McCartney himself,” Kominek said. “They’ve been featured on CNN, CBC, CTV and the BBC.” Yuri George Van Pool, frontman for The McCartney Years, has set out to make the show a complete and accurate re-enactment of Paul McCartney’s extensive touring career of the 1970s. Featuring faithful renditions of McCartney’s music with all the original instruments and wardrobe, the show has been hailed by original Beatles promoter Sid Bernstein as the most authentic presentation of McCartney’s legendary career. Kominek said funds raised will be used to refurbish the hall, which he called a Dresden land-


mark. “Virtually everyone in Dresden has attended a wedding reception, New Year’s Eve party, a stagand-doe or some other function at the Czech hall,” he said. As president of the board of directors, Kominek said the John Street East facility is one of a kind in the community. “We’ve got the beautiful dance floor and a great building” he said.GET “We’re0% PURCHASE FINANCING ON SELECT 2014 MODELS a non-profit organization and we want to update some facilities.” The hall was built by Czech immigrants after the Second World War, and is the last of its kind Jim Blake/The Chatham Voice in Chatham-Kent. Al Kominek of the Olde Czech Hall in Dresden stands next to a plaque honouring the club, “It’s part of our culture, which was founded 67 years ago. The club is hosting the McCartney Years May 24 at the ChaJohn/Jane Doe but it’s also become a part tham Cultural Centre to raise funds for renovation of the John Street East building in Dresden. of Dresden as a whole.” make their reservations they can pick out their inTickets for the 8 p.m. for those 55 and older. “We’re urging people to through so dividual seats,” he said. concert are $37.50 or $35

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THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014

The Arts

Thursday, May 15, 2014 • Shuffleboard, pool and darts at Branch 628 Royal Canadian Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham starting at 6:30pm. Everyone Welcome. • The Chatham-Kent Public Library, in partnership with Ontario Works, will be offering a Social Media for Beginners workshop. Sign up today and make your Social Media experience enjoyable. Chatham Branch, 9:30am-11:30am and Tilbury Branch, 2:00pm-4:00pm. Space is limited! Please register by calling your local branch or emailing Friday, May 16, 2014 • Deadline to register for the 2nd Women’s Outdoor Workshop at the Rondeau Rod and Gun Club in Blenheim being held June 21, 2014. Introducing women to the outdoors and the hunting and conservation traditions. The cost is $80 and includes program material, personal instruction, equipment use, lunch & refreshments throughout the day & a pig roast for supper. Some courses include archery, compass orienteering, fishing tactics, handgun target shooting, self defense, taxidermy, trap shooting, understanding the outdoors & wilderness first aid. A P.A.L. is not required. For more info email: Saturday, May 17, 2014 • Chatham Blood Donor Clinic at the Chatham Polish Canadian Club, 281 Inshes Ave., Chatham. 9:00am-12 noon. Call 1-888-2-DONATE or 1-888-236-6283 to schedule your life-saving appointment or visit www.blood. ca. Walk-ins Welcome. • Meat draw at Branch 628 Royal Canadian Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham from 4:30-6:00pm, followed by a dance from 7:00pm-11:00pm with Allen James. Everyone Welcome. Tuesday, May 20, 2014 • Movies at your library. Join us at the Chatham Branch of the Chatham-Kent Public Library at 2:00pm to watch About Time starring Rachel McAdams. Rated 14A. Wednesday, May 21, 2014 • Dinner and fashion show for Outreach for Hunger at Chatham Breakfast House, 6:00pm. Call restaurant for reservations at 519-355-1279. Fashions by Betula Boutique, Bud Gowan Menswear, Cleo/Ricki’s, Enchantment Bridal & Formal Gowns, Goldcoast Fashions, Janie’s Fashions, Luxe Ladies Boutique, Luxe Plus, Nina Marie Boutique, Platinum Boutique, Sears, Suzy Shier, Tropical Paradise. • Computer Basics Workshop. The Chatham-Kent Public Library, in partnership with Ontario Works, will be offering a FREE Computer Basics workshop at the Chatham Branch. Please register to join us from 2:004:00pm. Space is limited. Please call or email • Open Crit Night at ARTspace! Artists are invited to bring up to 5 pieces of their original artwork. The critique will run 6:00-8:00pm, and is open to all artists. If you have questions, or to sign up for this free event, please visit ARTspace or call 519.352.1064. Spaces are limited! Thursday, May 22 , 2014 • Shuffleboard, pool and darts at Branch 628 Royal Canadian Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham starting at 6:30pm. Everyone Welcome. Saturday, May 24, 2014 • iPad - iOS7 Tips and Tricks Workshop. The Chatham-Kent Public Library, in partnership with Ontario Works, will be offering FREE workshops at CKPL branches throughout Chatham-Kent in May. In this workshop you will learn touch gestures that unlock previously unseen features. Please register to join us at the Chatham-Branch from 2:004:00pm. Space is limited. Please call or email • Composting Workshop at the Chatham Branch of the Chatham-Kent Public Library from 10:00am-noon. The speaker will be Steve Parr, a community member with a passion for composting and many years of experience in the conservation field. Pre-registration is required, please call Chatham Branch at 519-354-2940. For more info please contact Arlene Maris, 519-354-2940 ext.233.

• Meat draw at Branch 628 Royal Canadian Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham from 4:30-6:00pm, followed by a dance from 7:00pm-11:00pm with Man Power. Everyone Welcome. Monday, May 26, 2014 • iPad - iOS7 Tips and Tricks Workshop. The Chatham-Kent Public Library, in partnership with Ontario Works, will be offering FREE workshops at CKPL branches throughout Chatham-Kent in May. In this workshop you will learn touch gestures that unlock previously unseen features. Please register to join us at the Ridgetown-Branch from 2:004:00pm. Space is limited. Please call or email • Card Party at Christ Church Anglican Hall, Dresden. 7:30pm. Prizes, Dutch auction & lunch. $3.00. Sponsored by Fairport Rebekah Lodge, Dresden. • Join Pauline Moss at ARTspace for a day of one and two-point perspective drawing! The ARTcamp runs from 10:00am-3:00pm. Cost of the workshop is $60+HST for Culture Vulture members, $75+HST for non-members. Price includes materials as well as lunch. To register for this course, please visit ARTspace or call 519.352.1064. Tuesday, May 27, 2014 • Movies at your library. Join us at the Chatham Branch of the Chatham-Kent Public Library at 2:00pm to watch Saving Mr. Banks starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson. Rated 6. • iPad - iOS7 Tips and Tricks Workshop. The Chatham-Kent Public Library, in partnership with Ontario Works, will be offering FREE workshops at CKPL branches throughout Chatham-Kent in May. In this workshop you will learn touch gestures that unlock previously unseen features. Please register to join us at the Wallacburg-Branch from 6:008:00pm. Space is limited. Please call or email Wednesday, May 28, 2014 • iPad - iOS7 Tips and Tricks Workshop. The Chatham-Kent Public Library, in partnership with Ontario Works, will be offering FREE workshops at CKPL branches throughout Chatham-Kent in May. In this workshop you will learn touch gestures that unlock previously unseen features. Please register to join us at the Dresden-Branch from 2:004:00pm. Space is limited. Please call or email Thursday, May 29, 2014 • iPad - iOS7 Tips and Tricks Workshop. The Chatham-Kent Public Library, in partnership with Ontario Works, will be offering FREE workshops at CKPL branches throughout Chatham-Kent in May. In this workshop you will learn touch gestures that unlock previously unseen features. Please register to join us at the Blenheim-Branch from 2:004:00pm. Space is limited. Please call or email • Shuffleboard, pool and darts at Branch 628 Royal Canadian Legion, William & Colborne St., Chatham starting at 6:30pm. Everyone Welcome. • $8.00 Bag sale at St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, 80 King St. E., Chatham. May 29 and 30 from 10:00am-5:00pm and May 31 from 10:00am-4:00pm. New merchandise arriving daily. Toastmasters meetings held Mondays at Green Field Ethanol, 275 Bloomfield Road, Chatham. Open to guests. 6:30pm-8:00pm. Chatham-Kent Metal Detecting Club Meetings - Last Thursday of the Month at Evangel Community Church, 76 Sandy St., enter at the back door. Guests Welcome. CHAP Volunteer DRIVERS Needed for Chatham-Kent. CHAP helps Seniors live independently at home! Drive seniors to appointments, groceries, banking, etc. in Chatham-Kent. Contact Marjorie for further info CHAP 519-354-6221 ext. 241. VON Volunteer Visiting opportunities Available call Jan 519-352-4462 ext. 5227 Submit your coming events to or

Sales sluggish for Rock N Roar

By Bruce Corcoran

An upcoming fundraiser seems to have been bitten by the historic Chatham-Kent last-minute club bug. Deb Owen, one of the organizers for Rock N Roar for Sophia, scheduled for May 23, said ticket sales have been slower than anticipated. The event takes place at the St. Clair College Capitol Theatre the Friday night of Retrofest and features local bands Walkin’ 47, Face4Radio, Superfly, and Brooklyn Roebuck. “Apparently, Chatham-Kent is infamous for leaving everything to the last minute,” Owen said. The event is a benefit concert for Chatham teenag-

er Sophia Vlasman, who is battling cancer of the sinuses. Owen said Rock N Roar hopes to raise in excess of $10,000, which would be enough to get Sophia’s name on a room at Ronald McDonald House in London, where her family has spent a great deal of time while Sophia underwent treatment. There are many reasons to attend Rock N Roar, as aside from the plethora of local music, there is a silent auction, with numerous items donated from local businesses. But the crown jewel up for auction is the custom-painted Rock N Roar guitar. Darryl Boismier of Evolution Custom Paint in Chatham painted the Telecaster guitar, while the staff at Musical Strings N Things handled the

tuning. Owen said the entire evening has a local flavour. “It’s all local stuff. All the (auction) items are local. All the music is local,” she said. Tickets to Rock N Roar are $25 cash and are available at Boston Pizza, Enchantment Bridal, Bud Gowan Formal Wear, and the Capitol Theatre during business hours. Owen is also selling tickets and is willing to deliver them. To reach Owen, you can call her at 519-352-6393, or message her on the Rock N Roar for Sophia Facebook page or Twitter account. Anyone who purchases tickets in advance, will be entered into a draw for several door prizes, Owen said, including swag bags and clothing.

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THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014




Is it past time to get medieval on my back? Does anyone have a spare torture device lying around the basement or castle dungeon? I’m specifically looking for “the rack.” Ever since my mid-20s, I have had back problems. The first time it really gave me grief was when I was in a snowball fight with a friend’s children. I reached down to make a snowball and felt a pop. Next thing I know, I spent the better part of the next week staring at the ceiling in our bedroom. I couldn’t walk upright until after a number of visits with a chiropractor. I’ve never had it quite that bad again, but from time to time, it gives me grief. And naturally, this doesn’t happen when I’m lifting heavy stuff, as I tend to pay attention to proper lifting techniques. No, it generally occurs when I lift something light or just lean and twist the wrong way to pick something up.

Bruce Corcoran Maybe if I hook myself up to the medieval rack, I could stretch things out. Then again, my chiropractor probably works his magic in a much less painful fashion. And the conversation is always good for more than a few chuckles. Aches and pains. Sore back. Arthritic hip. This getting older thing really is annoying. Remember when you were a kid? You’d lie around on the couch in all kinds of contorted positions and never get so much as a stiff neck. A perfect day

Mother’s Day was a simple run at the Corcorans. With



my wife getting over pneumonia and coming back to town after taking our daughter to her last dance competition of the year, I wanted to keep it low key and do as much or as little as she wanted. After a relaxing morning, we went for a drive through Blenheim and eventually to Erieau, where we stopped for an early dinner, enjoying the waterfront view from Bayside Brewery’s patio. As a boat went by in the distance, the purr of the outboard motor left me thinking it was a perfect afternoon. I find that sound very relaxing. Ditto for the warm sun, light breeze, and great company. We eventually headed home, but not before a nice, slow drive through Erie Beach, looking longingly at several of the pristine homes along that stretch of roadway. It doesn’t hurt to dream.

• Bruce Corcoran is the editor of The Chatham Voice.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN to every person in the possession of land within the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. In accordance with the Weed Control Act, Ontario, unless noxious weeds or weed seeds are destroyed by May 15, 2014 and throughout the season, the Municipality may enter upon said lands to cause the noxious weeds or weed seed, to be destroyed. All contractor costs and a $90.00 municipal administration fee will be charged against the land in taxes as set out in the Act. In the interest of public health, a list of 24 noxious weeds under the Weed Control Act may be found on The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs website at Although dandelions, burdock and goldenrod are not considered noxious weeds within the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, under the Weed Control Act, the cooperation of all citizens is solicited in the elimination of these nuisance weeds. Only one warning notification will be issued per year for each property that is in violation of the act or by-law. Thereafter the process will proceed directly to cutting the parcel providing the situation warrants. GRASS & WEED HEIGHT BYLAW NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN to every person in possession of land within the Municipality of Chatham-Kent in accordance with bylaw number 39-2004 every owner of lands not subject to the “Weed Control Act”, shall cut grass and weeds on such land whenever the height of such grass exceeds twenty centimetres (20 cm) or (8 inches) and shall remove cuttings from the premises. The Municipal Bylaw Enforcement Officer prior to taking remedial action will give the owner notice verbally, by regular mail or registered mail in writing to make the premises conform to the requirements of the bylaw within seventy-two hours (72 hours) of notice. This bylaw shall be in full force and effect for the period April 1st to November 1st. All contractor costs and a $90.00 administration fee will be charged against the land in taxes as set out in the bylaw. Only one warning notification will be issued per year for each property that is in violation of the act or by-law. Thereafter the process will proceed directly to cutting the parcel providing the situation warrants. Complaints and inquires should be directed to: Area Wallaceburg Garage Chatham Twp Garage Thamesville Garage Dover Garage Chatham Garage Ridgetown Garage Kent Centre Garage Raleigh Garage Tilbury East Garage After hours

Inspector Paul DeMars Glenn Harding Doug Hastings Darrin Spence (Vacant) Patrick Bates (Vacant) Dennis Dath Jamie Hathaway Jim Glassford

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TO SPONSOR OR REGISTER, PLEASE CONTACT: Jamie Carson at 519.542.5578 x 6114 or



THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014

Fun Stuff 38 Hybrid pooch 39 - Baba 41 Region 45 Production number? 47 Japanese pond carp 48 Snack for Wimpy 52 Tractor-trailer 53 Pong creator 54 “Rocks” 55 Tray contents? 56 Knapsack part 57 Dance syllable? 58 Prepared

ACROSS 1 Boar’s mate 4 Deteriorate 7 Blender setting 12 N.A. section 13 GI’s mail address 14 Game venue 15 Transgression 16 Precursor 18 Coop dweller

What is missing on this puzzle page. . . . ?

19 Calamari 20 Mideast nation 22 Sailors’ org. 23 Existed 27 Handle 29 Alluring quality (Var.) 31 Nome dome home 34 Duck 35 Escargots 37 Strike

DOWN 1 Futomaki, e.g. 2 Wickerwork willow 3 Would like to, colloquially 4 Bleacherites’ calls 5 Not transparent 6 Doughnut shape 7 Picked up the tab 8 Grecian vessel 9 Rule, for short 10 Away from WSW 11 Corn spike 17 Bob’s longtime pal 21 Ring used in a throwing game

23 Matilda’s dance 24 Flightless bird 25 Scepter 26 Before 28 Scale member 30 Wahine’s accessory 31 Doctrine 32 Wildebeest 33 Long. crosser 36 Dino’s tail? 37 Full of modern gadgetry 40 Reason 42 Gumbo ingredients 43 Din 44 Two-by-four? 45 Witticism 46 Vicinity 48 Owns 49 Lawyer (Abbr.) 50 Scratch 51 Underwear with underwire


Let Us Be Your Voice! 519-397-2020


THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014

CLASSIFIEDS Announcement

Tree Service

Welcome Home Jesus is calling you Visit any Catholic Church office. Our Lay Staff will help you. J.M.J.

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Tues. - Fri. 10-5, Sat. 10-3, Closed Sun. & Mon

181 King St. W, Chatham • 519-397-4846


A N K LAVER EN VK V A U C T I O N S I N C. Clearing an Estate, Downsizing, Liquidating Inventory or Decluttering?

We can help. Call to sell your items for cash or by consignment Call John @ 519-845-3663

519-845-3663 • Wyoming, Ontario • •

Home & Yard

TL &

Yard and Home Specialist

The largest and most respected driver training organization in North America, has employment opportunities for those who appreciate the skills of collision-free driving. For more information please visit our website:

Yard Sales

51 St.Michael Ave. Chatham, Saturday, May 17th, 8am12pm. Tools, fridge, plants, household items, desks, computer monitor & keyboard.

Auto 2011 Silverback 5th Wheel, 3 slides and hitch and/ or 2009 Dodge Ram 2500, 4,800kms. Call 519-352-0338, 519-785-9961.


Help Wanted

Flo DeVogelaere

Tanning Boutique

Get Ready for Summer! Hit the beach with sun kissed confidence Appointments Not Necessary

519-351-9620 882 Charing Cross Rd.

TANNING . . . . look good feel great

Home Repair

• Fencing • Decks • Doors • Siding • Eavestroughs Serving Chatham-Kent

Interested applicants can email their resume to No phone calls please.

David James O’Neill 66, Friday, May 2, 2014 Hinnegan-Peseski Funeral Home Viktoria Wojtaszyn 93, Saturday, May 10, 2014 Hinnegan-Peseski Funeral Home Robert “Robbie” James Moyes 22, Sunday, May 4, 2014 McKinlay Funeral Home Art Laprise 87, Monday, May 5, 2014 McKinlay Funeral Home

Archie Dilliott 87, Tuesday, May 6, 2014 McKinlay Funeral Home Alphonse Alois Verbruggen 80, Tuesday, May 6, 2014 McKinlay Funeral Home Susan Marie Maynahan 64, Thursday, May 8, 2014 McKinlay Funeral Home Edna Launder 96, Friday, May 9, 2014 McKinlay Funeral Home Al “Aphonse” Gignac 62, Thursday, May 8 2014 McKinlay Funeral Home Dave Johnston 71, Sunday, May 11, 2014 McKinlay Funeral Home

Call or email Fatima today 519397-2020 ext.223 fatima@

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

Help Wanted

Interested and qualified applicants, please apply with resume to

Rosabel Amanda Marie Charlebois 86, Sunday, May 4, 2014 Hinnegan-Peseski Funeral Home

Mona Lillian Jackson 94, Tuesday, May 6, 2014 McKinlay Funeral Home

Routes available in the following areas: St.Clair Estates Baldoon Rd. Finch Ave. Lark St. Molengraaf Way Park St. Jasper Ave. Park Ave. W. Charing Cross Adelaide S.

Established media company seeking a talented telemarketer that can work to develop new business in Chatham Kent. Friendly and professional environment from the leading Radio Group. Must be able to make lots of calls daily, be able to use the internet, email, etc. Must be very good on the phone and have excellent closing skills. Duties and responsibilities include in-office work selling to new business prospects in the CK market. Previous experience in prospecting and cold calling is preferred. We are interested in an excellent sales rep that has a strong work ethic, and wants to grow within our company. If you are motivated to succeed, can see yourself in this role and a BELIEF that you are capable of doing it, we would like to meet you. 35 hours per week. Competitive salary + commission compensation with quarterly bonus incentives

Louise Alliett 59, Monday, May 5, 2014 Hinnegan-Peseski Funeral Home

Anna May “Ann” Thomas 89, Tuesday, May 6, 2014 McKinlay Funeral Home


If you’re a people-person with a passion for excellence and love to drive, we can offer you a career with YOUNG DRIVERS® and Collisionfree! that offers both great personal satisfaction and career advancement.

You will need a minimum of 6 years of driving experience, a clean driving record, and no criminal record. You must also be available to take a 4 week YD Instructor Training Course before obtaining your instructor’s license. All candidates that successfully complete the training course are hired.


Puzzles found on page 14

New Business Development-Experienced Telemarketer

Many of our franchise partners and managers began as instructors!

• Patio • Windows • Roofing • Soffit & Fascia • General Contracting

Fun Stuff Answers

Our Chatham location is currently hiring Driver Training Instructor applicants.


Richard Allen Schram 76, Saturday, May 10, 2014 Hinnegan-Peseski Funeral Home

Carpet Cleaning

Call 519-437-9197 for a free estimate


Help Wanted


Carpet Cleaning, $25.00 a room, please vacuum before I come! 519-3587633.

We provide staging, de-cluttering, organizing, curb appeal for your home and yard!





156 William St., Chatham 519.352.5120


The world isn’t black and white So, why is your ad?

4 Victoria Ave., Chatham 519.352.2390

(519) 397-2020

Read the full listings at



THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014


Let kids sample multiple sports

By Ian Kennedy

Every year, especially in hockey-mad Canada, parents have to make a choice. Do they keep their child specialized in a single sport, or encourage them to play a variety of sports throughout the year? More and more, research is being released saying early sport specialization is not the answer, and athletes will improve more, and stay with sports longer, if they’re encouraged to play a number of sports as youths. “I am totally for kids playing several sports from grade 1 to 10,” said Jeff Phaneuf, who coaches volleyball and rugby in Chatham. “I have watched kids play one sport with incredible passion and love for it, then watch it dissolve from being burnt out. “Kids should play. Play different kinds of sports, learn a variety of skills as well as be lead by a variety of coaches with different

knowledge.” Phaneuf is not alone in his assertion, and it appears coaches are now buying into the idea that playing one sport, year round, at an early age is not the answer. “Early specialization is not the answer,” said Colin Roeszler, one of the area’s top strength and conditioning coaches, who works with many of Chatham-Kent’s top sporting prospects. “I think parents need to be more aware of the periods of sensitivity in a child’s growth. The most important time for skill acquisition is between the ages of eight to 14 years old,” Roeszler continued. “This means that young athletes need to be exposed to as many different stimuli as possible, so ultimately, they should be playing as many sports as possible through the year.” Whether it’s hockey, volleyball, basketball, or soccer, specializing too early in one sport, according to

Photo courtesy Kelsey Vermeersch/Kelsey Capturese

Blenheim Novice players compete in the OMHA final. How early is too early for athletes to specialize in one particular sport?

new research, is a mistake for a variety of reasons. From mental burnout, to physical fatigue, too much of any one sport could be negative for young athletes, even though specialization is intended to give

them the edge. “A real concern that I have is the wear and tear on their bodies,” said Phaneuf. “Doing repetitive actions, with little recovery time. “ “Give your kid a break

from the ice,” said Roeszler, who believes minor hockey is one of the worst sports for early specialization. “Allow them to unwind their mind and body from the sport. Have them participate in oth-

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er sports to gain physical movement competency.” Roeszler points to local stars, including NHL veteran Ryan Jones, and OHL prospect Joseph Raaymakers. “I look at athletes I have trained. Ryan Jones was the best player on provincial-winning volleyball and soccer teams in high school,” he said. “Joseph Raaymakers is one of the best pure athletes I have ever trained, and this is the main reason I think that he is one of the most promising goaltenders of the future for the Ontario Hockey League.” Despite the sentiment that early specialization is detrimental, experts and coaches alike also agree that specialization after key movement skills are acquired, is necessary. “I really think once kids are in high school, Grade 10, they should start to specialize if they are passionate and want to strive for the next level,” says Phaneuf. Roeszler agreed.

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Voice may 15  

The May 15 edition of The Chatham Voice, an independent weekly community newspaper.