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Crossley grads meet the world page 3 Kitty cat nightmare in Fonthill page 7 CannTrust open house page 15 EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS

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Chatham-Kent solicitor named new Pelham CAO David Cribbs' earlier tenure as Norfolk County CAO cut short

I'm really excited to be coming to Pelham. It's a beautiful place with a great future.


Special to the VOICE

The Town of Pelham has a new Chief Administrative Officer. David Cribbs will start in the position next Monday. Late last Friday afternoon, Pelham's Communications and Public Relations Specialist Marc MacDonald confirmed to the Voice that Pelham Town Council had selected Cribbs, and that his start date was set for July 8. Originally from South Porcupine, northeastern Ontario, Cribbs served as CAO of Norfolk County, west of Cayuga on Lake Erie, from April 2017 until this past January, when his tenure came to an abrupt end. He has since worked on temporary contract as a solicitor for the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, in southwestern Ontario. “I’m really excited to be coming to Pelham,” the 43-year-old Cribbs told the Voice when reached over the weekend. “It’s a beautiful place with a great future. It has its challenges, but they can and will be met and overcome and I very much hope to play a significant role in so doing.” The reasons for Cribbs’ departure from Norfolk earlier this year aren’t clear. According to reporting by the Simcoe Reformer newspaper, after a closed-door meeting on January 15 with

Norfolk council and its mayor, which lasted about twice a long as scheduled, Cribbs left the meeting room for his office. He did not attend the rest of the regularly scheduled council meeting. Three days later, the County issued a press release stating that Cribbs had resigned, and that “Norfolk County wishes him well in his future endeavours.” Norfolk is a single-tier municipality nearly four times the size of Pelham by population. The County has some 770 employees, compared to approximately 67 in Pelham. The County’s 2019 operating budget is nearly $90 million dollars, compared to Pelham’s $17 million, not including water/wastewater, which is funded by user fees. Cribbs repeatedly declined to answer directly when asked by the Voice why he left Norfolk, and whether his departure was voluntary or forced. “The Chief Administrative Officer serves at the pleasure of council,” he said. “Many councils prefer to choose their own CAO, regardless of whether or not the current CAO is performing well. Consequently, turnover is common after elections.” As occurred in Pelham following last October’s

Newly hired Pelham CAO David Cribbs. election, Norfolk County saw a similar turnover of councillors and mayor— and, as in Pelham, the outgoing council was also left in lame-duck status for four months, prohibited by law from making major spending decisions, or hiring and firing personnel, responsibilities that largely fell to Cribbs. However, in her May 9 State of the County address, Norfolk Mayor Kristal Chopp said the County had


“lacked strong leadership” prior to the hiring of Cribbs’ replacement. Cribbs pushed back at the notion that Chopp’s statement was a shot at him. “I do not agree with the assessment that Norfolk County has lacked strong leadership at either the political or administrative levels,” he said. “My previous CAO experience taught me much. I learned a lot about how to help a community effectively address

the pressures of population growth and urbanization in a manner that does not threaten existing community identity.” Cribbs said that he was forthright with all aspects of his previous jobs during the interview process with the Town of Pelham. “I found the selection process to be thorough and vigorous and I answered all questions posed to me truthfully and to the best of my ability,” he said. “All aspects of my employment history were canvassed. All questions were answered truthfully and thereafter verified through references.” Asked whether Pelham council, during this hiring process, inquired specifically as to why he left Norfolk, and if he had departed willingly, Cribbs repeatedly declined to answer directly. In response to a follow-up asking why he declined to answer, Cribbs said, “I am governed by a confidentiality clause in my previous employment contract which prohibits directly discussing the matter.” When asked whether this confidentiality clause also prohibited him from speak-




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ing candidly with Pelham council during his interviews, Cribbs didn’t reply. According to Councillor Mike Ciolfi, Cribbs told council that he resigned. Asked if council requested details, Ciolfi said, “The question was asked and he explained as much as he could at the time.” Some of Cribbs’ challenges in Norfolk appeared to stem from an incident last September. According to the Simcoe Reformer, he “inadvertently sent an email to all county employees providing details of a management dispute at the Port Dover fire hall.” That situation included the termination of Port Dover Fire Chief Gary Spragg. Spragg, however, was reinstated as a fire captain one week after Cribbs left Norfolk — with Mayor Chopp issuing a public apology to Spragg. When reached by the Voice, Spragg mostly declined comment on Cribbs. “The man has to make a living, I don’t want to say ill things about him,” Spragg said. Mayor Chop did not reSee CRIBBS back page

Page 2

The Voice of Pelham, July 3 2019



Big changes at Town Hall: It was certainly a happy Canada Day long weekend for David Cribbs, Pelham’s newly hired Chief Administrative Officer. Cribbs was kind enough to exchange a number of emails with us over the weekend, even as he was on a family trip to Michigan, as well as provide the photo that’s on our cover this week. Cribbs arrives just a couple of weeks before Summerfest, which I suppose is as close to trial-by-fire as it gets in Pelham, irrespective of our financial woes...Another change: The official spokesMarc of Pelham, Marc MacDonald, came out of a recent job evaluation (one hopes unscathed) with a new title—“Communications and Public Relations Specialist.” This change in emphasis from his previous title, “Public Relations and Marketing Specialist,” says MacDonald, is a “more accurate reflection of my actual roles and responsibilities.” This was added as a P.S. to a question that MacDonald answered as to whether the Town is actively monitoring cannabis odour in Fenwick. I noted to MacDonald that when I arrived at Cann Trust’s cannabis grow-up a couple of weeks back to take a tour, a Pelham bylaw enforcement officer pulled up at the same time, but parked across the street, facing the complex. A security guard said that it was not unusual to see the vehicle parked there. However, MacDonald says that at the moment there’s no measuring of odour in terms of anything more than a smell test. “When bylaw receives a complaint, they visit the property the complaint came from, and then visit the site perceived to be emitting the odour to see if it matches up,” says MacDonald...Yet more Marc! In response to some slightly cranky reaction last week about horses and sidewalks and whether the two go together, MacDonald confirmed to us that the equine use of both street and sidewalk is perfectly legal. Courtesy on all sides, of course, goes a long way...Hot dogs: It’s that time of year again, when people who probably shouldn’t be permitted to have dogs to start with leave them in hot cars. Now there’s a single phone number to use to report such abuse, and it works province-wide, no area code needed. See it, report it. 310-7722...Headed abroad? Europe doesn’t seem to be an ideal destination right now, what with the Death Valley-like temperatures. But if you are getting ready to travel and find yourself in need of a passport photo, why, Nerses Photo is ready to snap you up one side and down the other, and for just $10 (ad on page 5)...We could buy 100 of those photos: We gratefully appreciate the $1000 donation that arrived recently from a Niagara business figure who wishes to remain anonymous. Thank you. The truest charity, of course, is anonymous, something that seems increasingly rare these days...Oh, one thing: If you’re about to eat, don’t read John Chick’s tale of feline occupation just yet (page 7). Let the meal settle for a bit...Congratulations to all our graduating students! Enjoy your summer!

CannTrust Cannabis Odour Last week, the Voice asked readers to take a survey regarding the continuing level of odour emanating from the industrial cannabis growing operation located on Balfour Street at Highway 20, in Fenwick. The facility is run by CannTrust, whose corporate headquarters are in Vaughan. In total, 94 qualified responses were tabulated. An unusually high number of out-of-area responses were disqualified, most notably 14 responses from Vaughan-area IP addresses. All of these responses asserted that cannabis odours were weaker than before; that they were very sure that odours present were not coming from CannTrust's facility; that cannabis odour was "not something that concerned" them; and were supportive of the legalization of marijuana.

Question 1: Where you live, is cannabis odour weaker, about the same, or stronger than before?

19% 46%












Question 2: How certain are you that the odour's source is CannTrust?

Question 3: The odour of cannabis production in Pelham is:

Question 4: I supported and continue to support the legalization of cannabis

16% 13%


9% 71%

Don't know

Voice on vacation!

Yes No

Similarly, a large majority is sure that the odour originates from CannTrust's operation in Fenwick, and characterizes the odour as unacceptably disruptive to their lives.

Not something that concerns me Enjoyable

Related: CannTrust's recent open house, story on page 15.


ADVISORY: While safeguards are in place to eliminate multiple votes, this is a self-selected poll, meaning it has no scientific validity compared to a formal random survey undertaken by a professional polling firm.








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Regarding cannabis odour, a clear majority among all the villages indicates that odour remains an issue, either remaining the same or seeming stronger in recent weeks.

Disruptive but not to the degree that I think it should be regulated

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Unacceptably disruptive to my wellbeing, and should be curtailed by legislation if necessary

Very or pretty uncertain





Very or pretty certain






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The Voice of Pelham, July 3 2019

Page 3

E. L. Crossley's Class of 2019 BY VOICE STAFF In a break with tradition, this year’s E. L. Crossley Secondary School valedictory commencement address was delivered by two students, not just one. Each year, students apply to deliver the address, are vetted by school administrators and teachers, then the graduating class selects the valedictorian from the list of approved applicants. Trent Glenney and Taryn Petrovsky applied to do the address together, and the graduating class selected them. The following is their speech, delivered to the graduating class of 2019 during commencement ceremonies last Wednesday evening, at the Scotiabank Convention Centre, Niagara Falls.

Valedictorian Speech TRENT: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, today is an exciting day. On behalf of my co-valedictorian and myself, we would like to formally welcome all faculty, alumni, friends, family, distinguished guests and of course the graduating class to the E. L. Crossley class of 2019 graduation ceremony. Well graduates, we made it. As a group, we did indeed start from the very bottom, and it appears that miraculously, the whole team is here. TARYN: It’s hard to believe our journey started over four years ago registering for our classes, picking electives and attending Grade 8 Day and Summer Grade 9 orientation. I still remember very clearly getting up hours before arriving at Crossley that hot August morning, wearing what I thought was my best pair of jeans and t-shirt thinking to myself, “This is my big entrance into high school.” Now, I'm sure you can all attest that when you see me around school as a Grade 12, I now sport my favourite pair of Roots sweatpants and Birkenstocks most days, just like the rest of us. This day was important though because it's where we got to meet our future classmates and soon-to-be friends for the next four years. We were all leaving the comfort of our elementary schools and entering the new and exciting world of E.L. Crossley, which for most of us soon became a second home. During the first few months of school I was extremely lucky to have a group of amazing girls to welcome me and show me everything I needed to know. They were what I thought was my own personal high school 101 handbook even though they had only just gotten over the awkwardness of being a Grade 9 themselves. It was a year

full of so many opportunities and first times as a Cyclone, and where a lot of us found what we loved to do, whether that be Ski Club with Mrs. Cripps, Chess Club with Mr. Hughes, or even a short love of rowing with Mr. Ruscitti. Although many of us may look back at Grade 9 photos and cringe, it was a year full of discovery and shaped a lot of us into the Cyclone graduating students we are today. TRENT: As quickly as Grade 10 came and the freedom of getting your license, it left quicker than the first time you drove by yourself, with the reward of greater freedom and the chance to become more of who you are and starting to pave your own path and shaping yourself into what you want to become with Grade 11. But as the year progresses, you soon realize the increased responsibilities you now have as an upper classman. You may not realize it, but you are always being watched and setting an example for those that will soon follow in your footsteps. TARYN: And now, here we are in our Grade 12 year with so many amazing memories to look back on. One of my strongest memories is from my first few weeks of high school, watching the senior students at the time, looking up to them and their Crossley Spirit. This has been something that has stuck with me throughout my four years and I could not wait to do the same coming into this final year in September. Whether it was during Cookies and Cram sessions with Link Crew, the Annual September Glow Dance, cheering at SOSSA finals games or winning Crossley’s first ever Colour Wars just a few weeks ago, there was always something exciting going on in our halls, and I think all of the graduates sitting here today would say the same. Whether you were an athlete, artist, student council member, mathlete or all of the above, Crossley has impacted all our lives in some way the past four years and positively shaped the young adults we are becoming. Even though for many of us there were lots of important decisions to make regarding the next chapter of our lives, whether that be university, college, an apprenticeship, working, travelling or even taking one more year at Crossley because you just loved it so much—four was not enough. Regardless, we still managed to have lots of fun and make it here today. None of this could have been possible without

AWARD WINNERS Joining Principal Janice Sargeant, from left, Kenzie Varga-Thagard, OPC Principal’s Leadership Award; Tessa Piccolo, Excellence in Education Award, Loran Finalist Award; Trent Glenney, Valedictorian; Taryn Petrovsky, Valedictorian; Emily Bonisteel, Governor General’s Academic Medal. SUPPLIED PHOTO

If you think about puzzles, it's always the smallest, most tedious pieces that make the beautiful big picture

the support of our Crossley staff and parents. On behalf of our whole class of 2019, I think it’s only proper to thank our amazing teachers for always being there for us, not only inside the classroom but after school on the bench or during lunch with that one last question before a third period test. As well, our wonderful guidance staff, for leading us in the right direction and being a crucial part in our post-secondary decisions this past year. And lastly our parents, driving to every 6 AM practice and signing every permission form—thank you for your support that has shaped us into the individuals we are today. TRENT: And here goes Taryn, standing up here talking like we will never see these people again, but this isn’t a goodbye, it’s a seeyou-later, because these folks aren’t going anywhere. Mrs. Benson will always be in the drama room, making sure our world-class improv team is in tip-top shape, Mrs. Barber will always be in the mu-

sic room, preparing the marching band for their next big parade, and if Mr. Blanchard isn’t in his office or in the gym, there’s a great chance you’ll find him in his hometown of Kapuskasing, Ontario. You see, Crossley isn’t going anywhere, I mean give it a couple years and you guys will be back too. In fact, not only are you going to be back, but take a look around. You could be sitting beside our next set of nurses, Emma Brownlee and Jenna Veerman, our next teacher, Ryan Minor, our next ruthless lawyer, Erica Carter, or even our next animal-loving veterinarian, Hailey Bronn, and I’m personally excited to be pulled over by our next law enforcement officer, Tyler Dobbie. That’s sure to be a good time. TARYN: You’re right, Trent, and don't forget our future Prime Minister of Canada, Tessa Piccolo, sitting in the crowd out there. But with all kidding aside, we’ve all come a long way since Grade 9 and now by Grade 12, our puzzle of high school is coming together, with the last few pieces being put into place. If you set yourself up correctly as I'm sure most of us have, the final pieces were easy to put into place. I’m sure you're all probably thinking, “Wow that must've been a big puzzle if it took you four years to make,” but if you think about puzzles, it's always the smallest, most tedious pieces that make the beautiful, big picture. TRENT: When I think about that final puzzle piece and putting it into place this last year before leaving high school, it can best sum it up in the words of Lance Jabr. Imagine that you’re a single guy and you de-

cided that it’s time you settle down and find yourself a wife. You’re still young, so you don’t want to rush into anything, so you take months even years traveling across the province, and even the country, in hopes of finding that perfect woman. Some are too smart and others party too much for your liking but finally, after all your searching, you think you’ve found the perfect one. She’s fun, smart, beautiful, everything you’re looking for in a woman. You decide that it’s time to propose, but you only get one shot to do it, so you spend months agonizing over it. How you’re going to do it, what you’re going to say, you even set a deadline for yourself so you can’t put it off forever, and as that deadline approaches, you begin to get more nervous. The deadline is here. She’s way out of your league, is the ring big enough, is it too late to go back—oh, you’re so nervous—and then it's over, you submitted your proposal, there’s nothing more you can do. She looks at you and, dead in the eyes, says, um, let me get back to you in 2-4 months. That’s pretty much what applying to post-secondary schools is like—she may say yes, she may say no. But guess what you didn’t tell her. You proposed to a bunch of backup girls, just in case she rejected you and they’re all begging you to come marry them instead. Lucky for you, if she did say yes, there’s a good chance two or three of your buddies are also going to marry her too, so you can all be one big happy family. Amidst all this chaos, I can agree with Taryn in saying we have See SPEECH Page 8

July 6th & 7th

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THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! On behalf of the Rotary Club of Fonthill we thank our generous sponsors, the willing participants, our important presenters, keen volunteers and the fantastic Rotary Team for making the 1st Annual Niagara Family FunFest a great success. From the appearance of the Magical Unicorns, to the exciting Drone Racing, to the Live Music and the challenging Kids Games – everyone who attended had a wonderful time. Proceeds from this event will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Niagara and other youth projects in our community.

Save-The-Date for the 2nd Annual Rotary Club of Fonthill Niagara Family FunFest: Saturday June 20, 2020, Bissell’s Hideaway Resort

Page 4

The Voice of Pelham, July 3 2019


The opinions expressed in submitted commentary and letters to the editor are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the Voice of Pelham.

The Voice of Pelham is a 1211858 Ontario Limited publication David Burket, Publisher 2-1428 Pelham St., P.O. Box 1489, Fonthill, ON L0S1E0

As We See It Amalgamation looming on horizon, council hires a new helmsman


OES THIS SOUND familiar? A mixed urban and rural Ontario municipality, faced with financial stresses and infrastructure challenges, finds itself stuck with a lameduck council in July 2018, when not enough incumbents run for re-election. During this lame-duck period, the municipality’s CAO is, in large part, left running the show. In October, the voters speak. Something akin to a political tidal wave sweepsin new political leadership—new councillors, a new mayor. Finally, a few weeks after taking office, council and the new mayor call their CAO into a closed-door meeting. The CAO has made some public missteps, leading to bad press and letters to the editor. In short order, the CAO and municipality part ways. An interim CAO is brought on, and a search for a permanent replacement commences. Pelham in a nutshell? Yes, but make room in that shell for a twin nut: Norfolk County. That municipality’s former CAO is now our CAO.

In a recruitment effort handled entirely inhouse—a cost-saving measure—Pelham Town Council has hired David Cribbs, a solicitor, as our Town’s new civilian top boss. It took roughly 30 seconds of Googling to turn up the fact that Cribbs’ departure from Norfolk County was abrupt and unplanned—apparently at least by Cribbs. When our previous CAO was shown the door, Mayor Marv Junkin did not assert that his departure was anything other than a termination. The official line is that Cribbs resigned his nearly $200,000 position, though whether he jumped or was pushed remains an open question—and a question that he won’t answer, citing the terms of a confidentiality agreement with Norfolk County. And, unless he discreetly tapped in Morse code on the tabletop, or telepathically conveyed thoughts into our councillors’ heads during his interviews, Cribbs was likely no more forthcoming with them about the details of his Norfolk departure than he has been with the newspaper.

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So we now take a collective leap into the unknown. This is faith-based decision-making, relying on good interview performances and presumably positive reference checks. While it’s true that not using a recruiting firm saved the Town some sorely needed cash, it’s equally true that hiring a permanent CAO now was unnecessary. In reviewing Pelham's 2019 operating budget, the Voice has calculated that the Town could have saved approximately $142,000 by not hiring a permanent CAO until at least October, after the Ford government's plans are known. These savings could theoretically have resulted in a property tax levy decrease to 6% this year from 7.12%. All this is water under the bridge—or, in Pelham’s case, water through a still-unrepaired culvert. We are where we are. And everyone deserves a fair chance. We welcome David Cribbs to Town Hall, and we sincerely hope that council’s gut instinct—plus checked references—have landed us a talented, personable leader, someone whose integrity and capabilities will be evident from day one. ♦

Letters To garden is to grow I was honoured to be asked by Susan Roth and Pat Spence, of the Pelham Garden Club, to participate in their annual evening Garden Walk to be held June 24, from 6 until 8 PM. My garden would be one of several to be shown. After weeks of preparation, help from Ken and Mitchell, trips to many local retailers, I was ready for the day. The weather forecast was not good: thunderstorms and rain— good for the garden but not for the enthusiastic new and seasoned gardener who would join me in the tour of my small “estate” here on Timmsdale Crescent.

So with the help of my garden angels (and I have many) we offered up our sincere and heartfelt prayers and indeed our prayers were answered—the day was warm, bright and beautiful, and happy, smiling faces appeared promptly (some before 6) at my front yard entrance. I felt like the mother of a 6-year-old (my garden’s age) about to perform in the final school play. Would my whimsical garden be accepted by these enthusiastic, knowledgeable, well informed gardeners? It would and See GARDEN next page


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The Voice of Pelham, July 3 2019

Page 5

OPINION Stop complaining—kids' safety is key

Follow Toronto's lead on b-ball courts

Forget the past—concentrate on future

I’d like to put to rest for once and for all the argument that the dividers in front of Glynn A. Green school do nothing to traffic but irritate drivers. On May 1, 2018, Lisa Gallant (Health Promoter from the Region) and Bea Clark (Pelham Active Transportation Council) came to a Glynn A. Green student council meeting and gave the parents and teachers in attendance their conclusions of traffic studies done around the school. The traffic dividers in front of the school reduced the speed of vehicles by 15 km/hr, which is to say it took drivers from 75km/hr to 60 km/hr on a 24-hour average. Please note that when students are present, the speed limit is 40 km/hr, so even with the dividers, drivers go too fast past the school, but at least not as fast as they were going before the dividers were up. Also, note that according to the World Health Organization, a pedestrian struck by a car travelling at 45 km/h survives less than half the time, but the survival rate jumps to 90 per cent at

Just this week the front page of the Toronto Star carries a story about basketball nets being taken down by the city staff. Outrage followed and the city reversed its misguided policy. Back in Pelham, we outdid the City of Toronto by declaring the only outdoor basketball court in Fonthill surplus land. We are selling our old arena courts and tennis courts for cash to the highest bidder. Does the town not think

this is the wrong course of action? Should we not preserve the few courts we have instead of turning them into house lots? Is the Town going to replace them somewhere else? We all need to follow the lead of Toronto rather than breaking new ground. Rebuild the basketball and tennis courts in the park so the new taxpayers moving in will have a proper facility for their children. Alan Morgan Fonthill

The recent vandalism at a Fenwick school was downplayed by the principal and staff. There actions were correct! Individuals be they be terrorists or trouble makers judge their action by the publicity they receive in the media. If no one reacts to their actions it knocks the wind out of their sails. I am not saying the actions should not be followed up on by the police or other officials but do not publicize their actions. If the media did not give constant coverage of atrocities like school shootings, bombing of places of worship and other acts then the perpetrator or his followers would not feel that their actions made a point. Some tragedies such as on September 11 simply cannot be ignored. However the real success for the terrorists is


es. I recognized a few familiar to me in the group of 52, even some who had known my mom and all were present because of their love of plants, trees, flowers, nature and the beauty of our world.

It was a wonderful experience, worthwhile attending with four different gardens to view. At the walk’s completion, guests were invited for refreshments at a club member’s home in Fenwick.

The dividers are not there to irritate drivers 30 km/h, which is why speed limits are lower around schools in the first place. The dividers are not there to irritate drivers. They are there for the safety of children. Stop complaining about them. In fact, one thought we had at the meeting was to put them in front of other schools in the area, such as A. K. Wigg (which has speed bumps, which I don’t see any complaints regarding) and Quaker Road, and at St. Alexander’s, so that if they are in front of all the schools, maybe people will stop complaining and realize Fonthill sees the importance in keeping students safe, and stop singling out Glynn A. Green. Erin Lyttle Fonthill

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continued from previous page

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My sincere thanks to all who visited “My Garden,” and to the devoted members of the Pelham Garden Club. “To Garden is to grow.” S. Lazareth Fonthill

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Page 6

The Voice of Pelham, July 3 2019

Winning coach a basketball geek Mike Hurley named OBA male coach of the year BY BERNIE PUCHALSKI


The winner of the Ontario Basketball Association’s male coach of the year award is a basketball lifer. “I have always [coached] and the reason I have always done it is because basketball has provided me with every experience, every opportunity and almost every relationship that I have had,” said Mike Hurley. The Pelham Panthers executive member and coach is a baller through and through. “I know nothing but basketball and I am a true basketball geek,” the 44-year-old Fonthill resident said. “That’s not a bad thing. That is just the way it is and I don’t know anything different. It’s my hobby, my passion, my love and it’s everything.” Basketball has given the former Niagara College and Brock University player the opportunity to travel all over the world. He met his wife, Andrea, the registrar for Pelham basketball, on the basketball court when they attended Niagara College. “The two of us coach together and my kids

love basketball,” he said. The Pelham Panthers' Technical Director guided Pelham’s under-15 boys to a third overall finish in Ontario and a Pelham under-14 girls team to a fifth overall result in the province. “They both had fantastic years,” Hurley said. Hurley’s 15-year-old son, T.J., played on the boys team, and his 13-year-old daughter, Sarah, suited up for the girls squad. The time commitment involved for practices was about 12 hours a week, not counting tournaments and OBLX league play. Hurley’s coaching philosophy has remained the same at every level. “Coaching collegiately and at the grassroots level, I have found that it has to be based on pillars that stem from human nature: trust, honesty, hard work and respect,” he said. See HURLEY Page 8

OBA Coach of the Year Mike Hurley on the job.




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that stretch but mostly by Burton's and McCombs nursery. It was horrifying for us three teenagers and everyone else! Shirley Ann Welstead Via Facebook We lived in Fonthill on Station Street. I was in my bedroom and heard a loud roar. When I looked out the window I saw a plane in flames pass by the house. It was so close I felt like I could have reached out and touched it. My father talked about the devastating crash not long after. To this day low flying planes resurrect that crash like it was yesterday. Alice Harris Via Voice website


continued from previous page how we have spent billions of dollars to try to prevent this from happening again and have had our politicians brag about it. Another problem we have today is digging up all the unjust things done to groups in history long past and making a big deal about apologizing for someone else's actions. Concern ourselves with today and the future. Bill McLeod Welland


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The Voice of Pelham, July 3 2019

Page 7

Four people, 43 cats evicted from one-bedroom Fonthill apartment Superintendent describes "disgusting" scene; most cats have since found homes BY JOHN CHICK

Special to the VOICE

An eight-month-long attempt to evict four people from a Fonthill apartment came to a head June 20 when police and animal control officers removed the group — and 43 cats — from a 600-sq. ft., one-bedroom apartment at the corner of Haist Street and Canboro Road. Building superintendent Peter Menger said that extremely unsanitary conditions and complaints from other tenants led to the forced removal. Hydro to the unit had been shut off for more than two weeks prior to June 20 because of unpaid bills. “It was only supposed to be one person [on the lease],” Menger said. “Then his exwife and two others moved in. And they only had one bed.” Menger blamed the slow eviction process on hurdles with Ontario’s landlord-tenant act. “It was really disgusting inside,” he said. “Four people living in there, 43 cats … it took eight months to get rid of them. That’s how slow the


courts work.” Menger said one female resident had to be forcibly removed by police. “The one woman really gave police a hard time,” he said. “It took two officers to take her from the upstairs down. That wasn’t a pretty sight.” Niagara Regional Police confirmed to the Voice that officers were present for the eviction. Menger described the scene in the small apartment as repulsive. “Cat feces all over the place,” Menger said. “I literally took out eight bags of it. They only had one kitty litter box for 43 cats … it was pretty gruesome, the smell was so bad you couldn’t stay in there very long.” Feline fecal matter wasn’t the only excrement present, according to Menger, who also noted human waste in the bathtub. “You haven’t seen gross until you get into a situation like this,” he said. The three-and-a-halfdozen cats were taken by

Building super Peter Menger has some work ahead of him before the apartment will once again be habitable. VOICE PHOTO animal control to the Niagara SPCA’s Welland facility. The good news is that they were deemed to be in decent health despite their living conditions, according to the SPCA’s Amanda Ellis. Better yet, she added that most have since found new homes. “They were healthy cats, they were screened by our veterinarians,” Ellis said. “The majority of them have already been adopted through our Seaway Mall Cat Adoption Centre.” Menger said that an acquaintance of his pointed out that an unusual number

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Menger said that he put twoand-two together when he recalled that many of the

cats taken to the SPCA were adults. “These people were known for taking cats, any one that was loose they would steal,” he asserted. “If someone is missing their cat, they should contact the Welland SPCA because there’s a good chance they’ll have it.” The bad news for Menger is that he and building owner Jay Hundle were on the hook for the cats’ removal. “We ended up paying $530 to the SPCA to come and get the cats,” Menger said. “They wouldn’t take the cats unless we paid up front.” He added they also paid the $800 hydro bill that prompted the shutoff. Menger asserted that the same group of evicted tenants previously lived in a Welland residence, with more than 100 cats. Because See CATS Page 14

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The Voice of Pelham, July 3 2019

2019 Bandshell Series



Disco Fever

The Kids are All Right


F YOU HAVE SPENT the money to send your child for golf lessons or to a camp, do yourself a favour and find out what they are learning. If you are a bit of a golfer, you can often understand what they are working on and keep the same message going when you take them out to play or practice. I like to keep parents involved in the process by telling them why we are working on certain things and not others. I will even tell them as diplomatically as I can if I think they may be pushing the kid a little harder then the kid is interested in. Some parents aren’t interested in hearing this and have headed to other instructors, who will tell them what they want to hear—that little Billy or Suzie is on the verge of greatness, and if they bring them each week for a lesson and buy them the “proper” clubs they will be scholarship-bound and the sky is the limit. If your child’s teacher is trying to get them to hold the club a certain way, or change his putting stroke, or chip differently, and the kid is excited, you need to support that. If you don’t understand golf at all or just enough to get you in trouble, stay out of it. If you think you do understand golf and don’t agree with what the teacher is teaching, ask them about it. If they can’t convince you of the validity of the teaching, then take them elsewhere. Just don’t contradict them. Mixed messages are too confusing and will get the kid frustrated and take away the joy. The single biggest factor in your child’s development


Special to the VOICE

Aim away from the parking lot, please. will be the aforementioned interest level. If the kid likes to whack balls but isn’t very interested in changing stance or grip to help with better results, keep it fun until the kid starts to complain. This usually doesn’t happen until they play on the course more regularly. Now miss-hits and wayward shots have to be dealt with. You can’t just pull another one out of the bucket without consequence. At this time if they are showing signs of frustration they are more likely willing to listen to instruction. Even if you have the right message, it has to be presented patiently and timely for it to be of use. It’s quite humorous while teaching on the range to hear some of the advice parents (or spouses, or friends) can offer up. The problem is it’s likely not funny to the person receiving it when it makes no sense. Even some instructors have no clue how to get their message across.


continued from Page 6 “If you don’t have that, then you don't get a good return in your relationship. That is just Life 101.” The Facilities Coordinator at Niagara College coached that school's men’s basketball team for 12 years and has been coaching in the Pelham Panthers organization for more than a decade. He started when he was still in high school and coached when he was playing at Niagara College. He returned to the program to coach his kids. “One of the biggest things is how much I put into the kids and how much time and effort I put into relationship building with so many kids,” the E. L. Crossley alumnus said. “They work their butts off in return.”

I had a little guy in camp who came to me because his last instructor made him cry. If anyone makes a little kid cry while trying to learn anything (a parent or anyone else) you need to give your head a serious shake. We have three rules at our camps. 1) Don’t kill anyone. (We’re pretty adamant about this one.) 2) Have as much fun as you can while still observing rule #1. 3) Learn as much about golf as possible. Find someone you trust to help your child find their level of interest in the sports and activities they show interest in. After that, join the support team and perform the role most appropriate for your talents. If all you have to offer is unqualified love, that’s a pretty good start. ♦ John Piccolo is the golf instructor and runs Piccolo’s Custom Golf Shop at Eagle Valley Golf Club in Niagara Falls. Email him at

Hurley walks a tightrope between winning and development, players’ expectations and parents’ expectations. “That one is tricky, and I have stuck to my guns and got in trouble with it in that. It’s always development first,” he said. “We’ve been able to win at a lot of levels which covers off on both, but I have never strayed away from the development side in the process. My whole roster plays a lot.” He likes having 10 happy players at the end of the season. “You don't have that sense where the team has had a great year but a kid doesn't feel like a part of it.” In his time as coach, Hurley has noticed a difference between coaching girls and boys. Girls are process-driven and like a step- bystep development, while boys want

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Back in the day, the affliction spread rapidly, and enjoyably. In the late 1970s, Disco Fever raged through the dance clubs in New York City and Philadelphia, and quickly became one of our most beloved cultural sensations. Now, JV Music is bringing back the party. Sponsored this week by Peter Piper’s Pub House, the tribute show features the greatest hits of The Bee Gees, Donna Summer, ABBA, Diana Ross, KC and The Sunshine Band, Kool and the Gang, Gloria Gaynor, and more. The audience will experience nonstop disco beats

and sensual vocal performances, all dressed up in vintage costumes and retro dance moves. Whether you are revisiting the era or enjoying it for the first time, you won’t be immune to Disco Fever. The show runs at 7 to 9


continued from Page 3 had a terrific year in our last at Crossley. We had three teams and a doubles team make it all the way to OFSAA, including the 2019 OFSAA Champion Senior Girls Volleyball team. We had incredible accomplishments from every student individually and collectively in both the classroom and community, but perhaps our greatest accomplishment of all, maneuvering our way through our life’s greatest challenge thus far, high school. But we survived. We survived class, homework, exams and even the Beep Test. So, as we part ways equipped with priceless knowledge, we embark upon a life sure to be equipped with challenges and triumph. Street poet and philosopher Drake once said, “Oh well, I guess you lose some and win some, long as the outcome is income, you know I want it all and then some.” While the idea of material success does heavily influence our lives, we ask that you follow your dreams and do what makes you happy. Class of 2019, strive to be the best version of yourself you can be and never let anyone else hold the pen when writing the story of your life. Don’t let it slip away because when you get older, your life

to skip most of the steps and just play ball. Surprisingly, Hurley’s kids are the opposite of that. He agrees it is difficult to coach one’s own kids. “It is hard mostly for them,” he said. “I treat them the same on the basketball court as one of 10 players, but my son and daughter get it quicker from me. They get the discipline side of it quicker and I am tougher on them.” Hurley loves how the popularity of basketball is exploding in Canada. “The interest level and engagement level is through the roof,” he said. “It is mind boggling how fast our club is growing year- round.” The Panthers have some 500 kids registered in its summer program. The day after the Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard sank a buzzer-beat-

will dream for younger days. One day you’ll leave this world behind, so live a life you will remember. TARYN: We are all destined for greatness. Graduates, each and every one of you has the potential to change the world. We’ve all grown into strong, hardworking and passionate individuals these past four years. Whether you're someone who has been a part of this journey since the beginning or joined the ride somewhere along the way, even if it was only for our last semester of our Grade 12 year, you have been a part of writing the story of the Class of 2019. Each and every one of us should take pride in how far we’ve come and have faith in how much further we can go. This moment is not an ending, but a beginning that marks the start of the rest of our lives. And to finish off today with some inspiration from one of the most critically acclaimed movies of our generation, High School Musical, Crossley is having friends we'll keep for the rest of our lives, and I guess that means we really are all in this together, because, “Once a Cyclone, always a Cyclone!” TRENT AND TARYN: Thank you and congratulations Class of 2019. ♦

er to defeat Philadelphia, Pelham basketball had 10 phone calls and emails from parents whose kids wanted to play basketball. “A guy hits a shot and we get all these phone calls,” Hurley said with a smile. He is proud to be named Basketball Ontario’s coach of the year. “I am super honoured and humbled,” he said. “I got nominated by both my teams so that was great.” Especially humbling for Hurley was the realization how many other coaches were up for the award and the calibre of the coaches who were also nominated. Below is the nomination letter sent to Basketball Ontario on Hurley’s behalf. “Coach Mike is the most dedicated coach I’ve ever met. Not only does Mike give his time to two


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teams with successful seasons in OBLX, he contributes to the Pelham Panthers community through skills sessions at house league, his annual summer shooting school and countless other camps and clinics that help players of all skill levels improve for nothing more than to share his love of basketball. “Mike is always available on and off the court and it’s easy to see how much he cares about all the athletes who come through his gym. Mike’s name is synonymous with basketball in Pelham and you’d be hard pressed to find someone in the area that wouldn’t thank him for helping them on it off the court. As someone who is a better coach thanks to learning from coach Mike, it is my honour to nominate him for coach of the year.”

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The Voice of Pelham, July 3 2019

Page 9

Mergers and acquisitions Steeltown Salvage meets Bob's Boys BY SAMUEL PICCOLO


Special to the VOICE

AST TUESDAY AFTERNOON, Terry Flanagan was standing on the top step of a stepladder in the new display room for his business, which he owns with his wife Tina. The new room is an old room of Bob’s Boys Antiques, that distinctive menagerie that has lived in downtown Ridgeville for four years, but seems as though it has been there for four centuries. Its namesake Bob O’Hara was out on a job, and the Flanagans were alone, emptying the shop’s central room of his things and filling it with their own, the business merger nearly concluded. “It’s a perfect combination,” said Tina of their takeover of one of O’Hara rooms. “We’ve had our business, Steeltown Salvage, for eight years. But we’ve never had seven days a week of retail like this. Bob can sell for us when we’re away, and we can sell for him when he’s gone.” Terry, high on the wall, his ponytail bobbing as he craned his neck back and forth, was affixing a triangular restaurant sign with a loop of wire. The rev of his power drill echoed in the enclosed space. “That’s Mr. Risky,” said Tina, looking up at him and the looming RESTAURANT. “But the sign will look great once it’s up there and we have the neon attached and lit.” The two plucked the piece from an old diner in Hershey, Pennsylvania on a recent collecting run. “We like going all over this area in Canada and down south of the border,” said Terry, explaining that they specialize in finding old industrial material. Prior to working in antiques full-time, Terry was a construction contractor and Tina a housecleaner. Both can’t imagine doing anything but trafficking antiques now. “The things you find are just incredible—and not just the stuff, the historical buildings you take it out of, too,” said Tina. “Signs like this are some of my favourite things. We‘ve got them from the Halton Motel, the Cadillac Motel in Niagara Falls. All over. People like to buy them, too.” The couple, who currently sell online and from their home in Welland, have stocked a lot of restaurants with vintage furniture and paraphernalia. “We do a lot of work with the film industry too. Especially in Hamilton—the TV show ‘Umbrella Academy.’ Now with this place, with all of the other stuff, we can basically be a prop house,” said Tina. Terry, down from his perch, looked up happily at his work. “Extreme makeover,” he said. “Bob Edition.” The Flanagans have known O’Hara for six years, and have frequently bought and sold from him over that time. “We know how Bob works,” they both agreed. “We know his quirks, we know how he does business. It shouldn’t be anything really new working with him this closely.” The Flanagans’ presence is unlikely to hurt O’Hara’s customer base. Already a busy corner, Steeltown Salvage boasts some 4000 followers on Instagram, advertising terrain O’Hara hasn’t quite ventured into. All three share a common vision of the corner as a more organized

place. Up until now, the asphalt in front of the shop has mostly been carpeted in things arranged in no identifiable pattern, haphazardly protected from the elements by tarps. “There’s one canopy up already, and there’ll be another one. This way it’s more permanent, and looks less disorganized than with tarps all over,” said Terry. Done with the restaurant sign, he returned to the wall with his drill and began installing a mannequin animal head. “Is that a deer?” asked an onlooker.

The things you find are just incredible—and not just the stuff but the historical buildings you take it out of, too

“An elk,” responded Terry. Just then, O’Hara pulled up at the warehouse door in his van, the back visibly loaded with objets d’salvage. “Ah, it’s looking good,” he said, admiring the space emptied of his things. “I’m really excited for this. It’s good for them and it’s good for me. I like to go south in the winter, and now Terry and Tina can watch the store.” He walked through the Flanagans’ room and into the shop’s main room, looking behind the counter. He peered at the ledger book. “They didn’t sell anything today? Weird day. All these people, nothing sold,” he said, more bemused than annoyed. “Oh no, we sold some things,” said Tina, who had followed him into the room. “I put it in the book.” “No you didn’t,” insisted O’Hara. Tina looked. “I did,” she said, “I just forgot to put a new date.” O’Hara smiled and nodded and scratched in the day’s date in his neat script. He turned to the counter, where a transparent picture holder, newly arrived, stood in front of him. “What am I going to put in this,” he mused. “A big picture of Bob,” offered Tina. “A big picture of Bob is the last thing I need,” said O’Hara. “I’d never sell it then.” He pushed the plastic absent-mindedly, looking past the watch display out the window. O’Hara, who is 75, moved into the shop in 2015. Last year he expanded into the warehouse next door. This week he was partaking in a business merger. Establish, expand, merge. “What’s next?” asked a visitor. “My death!” O’Hara said, grinning. He returned to work, having spoken words that reverberated in his now-shared domain, but which worried his mind not at all. ♦


Page 10

The Voice of Pelham, July 3 2019

A Little Book About Us


UR CHILDHOOD DEFINES OUR personalit y. It shapes who we become. When Vilma Moretti had grandchildren, she realized that her childhood and theirs were worlds apart. They had absolutely no idea what life was like for Vilma when she was their age. Theirs was a world of computers, iPods, cellphones, texting, Instagram, and YouTube. Vilma thought that when they were grown they might be interested to know what it was like for other generations to grow up. She started collecting recollections—her own, and those of some of the many people she met every day while running Keith’s Restaurant, her family’s business at the intersection of Pelham Street and Highway 20, in Fonthill. The result was, “A Little Book About Us,” published in 2009, from which this series is excerpted. Keith’s is gone, but the stories remain.

Jeanne Pelletier

Born 1920 St. Genevieve, Manitoba I was born October 8, 1920, in a very small village in Manitoba called St. Genevieve. My mom had 14 living children (two died in infancy). I was number 13, so by the time I remember anything, my older siblings were married and on their own farms. Three of my nieces are older than me. We were all French, all Roman Catholic, and all poor. We had four horses and eight cows, some pigs and some chickens. We went to church first, then had breakfast, then went to school. I was lucky. We lived close to the school and church. Some children had three miles to walk, in deep snow. There were no snowsuits and girls didn't wear slacks. Their legs were covered by homemade knit stockings, while boys wore overalls.

gumbo and gravel, and we used buggies in summer and cutters in winter. My brother and I had lots of chores. We brought water in the house and wood to heat it, and started milking cows at seven years old. I had to clean the five kerosene lamps all winter after school. At recess we would mostly play tag because we didn't have anything to play with. Our parents couldn't afford even a rubber ball. We would also play "Tippy." You only needed two sticks, one about one foot and the other two feet long. You dug a small hole in the dirt, put the short stick over the hole, and batted it out with the longer one. The lady who owned the grocery store gave us a cardboard box and my brother and I made our own playing cards with it. We weren't allowed to play with our parents' deck. We had three places to go—school, church, and the barn to help with the chores. ♦

...the roads were gumbo and gravel... The school was one classroom with 63 pupils and one teacher, my sister. She taught my brothers and me for eight years, while living at home with us. It was an old log house with two bedrooms upstairs—one for boys, and one for girls. We had no electricity, no telephone, no radio, and the mail came once a week to our kitchen, which was the village post office. There was only one small grocery store in the village, 35 miles from Winnipeg. Nobody had cars, the roads were

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O YOU REALIZE what an incredible body you have? Now your first reaction might be, “You must be thinking about somebody else’s body but surely not mine!” But actually I am thinking about your body. With the help of medical specialists, let’s take a closer look at it. ■ Your heart: It beats more than 100,000 times every day in order to pump about 2000 gallons of blood through your body. It’s at work right now. ■ Your lungs: They breathe about 17,000 times every day, putting oxygen in (and taking carbon dioxide out of) your body. They’re at work right now. ■ Your red blood cells: They go through your body about once every minute (that’s over 1400 trips per day) delivering oxygen to your cells. They too are at work right now. ■ Your brain: It processes 50-60,000 thoughts every day (that’s about 35-50 every minute). It also expresses about 2000-5000 words every day (2000 for men; 5000 for women). No further comment necessary or advisable! It’s at work right now. ■ Your stomach: It produces an alkaline substance every few milliseconds to neutralize stomach acid. If it stopped, your stomach would digest itself because some of the acids in it are strong enough to dissolve metal! It too is at work right now. ■ Your eyes: They blink almost 29,000 times every day to keep themselves clean and moist. They are busily at work right now. ■ Your skin: It is your biggest organ (surface area of 2 square metres) and sheds more than 1 million cells every day which are then instantly replaced. It’s at work right now. ■ Your hair: The average head has about 100,000 hairs (bald people much fewer!) with each hair growing about ½ millimeter every day. Put altogether, that’s 50 metres of hair growth every day! It’s at work right now. ■ Your liver: It produces cholesterol, Vitamin D and blood plasma. It also filters 1½ litres of blood every minute and produces almost 1 litre of bile (stomach acid) every day. It’s at work right

Leonardo Da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man," ca. 1490, depicting ideal proportions as described by the Roman architect Vitruvius. LUC VIATOUR PHOTO now ■ Your mouth glands: They produce 1½ litres of saliva every day so your mouth doesn’t dry up and become overrun with bacteria. Thankfully, they’re at work right now. ■ Your kidneys: They are each the size of your fist and contain 1 million tiny filters that clean over 1 litre of blood every minute (that’s over 1800 litres every day). They’re at work right now. ■ Your body cells: They number over 37 trillion and are constantly replacing themselves. You get a new set of tastebuds every 10 days, new nails every 6-10 months, new bones every 10 years and a new heart every 20 years! And they’re all at work right now.

Some people today would have us believe that these incredible bodies of ours are the accidental result of unguided chance and random mutations over a long period of time. I strongly disagree. All of this fascinating evidence shouts out to us (if we’re listening) that there is an incredibly intelligent Designer and Creator behind it all. The psalmist David said it best, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14). All I can add to that is… Amen! ♦ Pastor Rob Weatherby is semi-retired, a member of Fonthill Baptist Church.


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The Voice of Pelham, July 3 2019

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Places of Worship and Events Bethany Christian Reformed Church 1040 Balfour St., Fenwick

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Fonthill Baptist Church 1414 Pelham St., Fonthill

Holy Trinity Anglican Church 1557 Pelham Street, Fonthill

Ridgeville Bible Chapel 418 Canboro Rd., Ridgeville

Fenwick Church of Christ 765 Welland Rd., Fenwick

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses 1369 Rice Rd., Fonthill

Kirk on the Hill Presbyterian Church 1344 Haist St., Fonthill

St. Alexander’s Roman Catholic Church 50 Pelham Town Sq., Fonthill

Fenwick United Church 1050 Church St., Fenwick

Fonthill United Church 42 Church Hill, Fonthill

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St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church 834 Canboro Rd., Fenwick

The Voice of Pelham, July 3 2019

Page 13


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kovich, Chair of the committee. "There are graduation email: awards for students who are proficient in English, history, mathematics and the like," Barkovich said. to reach your market coming soon. "We put the focus on social Watch for early previews of our justice leadership, commitOCNA Network Classified Ads ment and involvement in (AD CENTRAL) the school and community." By how these students Weekdaily of lives, they lead their link July faith1 and justice as taught in Catholic social Katrina Belcastro. SUPPLIED PHOTO Sarah Mojeski. SUPPLIED PHOTO teaching, he said. Posted "They walk the talk by doingJune what 26 they say." St. Jerome’s. anie The Lunch Lady, proRecipients were selected For 17 years on the last vide samplings of a variety through an interview pro- Friday in January, the so- of soups. They donate their Central cess that considers aca- cial justice committee has time, skills and materials to Region Ads included demic achievement, school raised money for the schol- help build the scholarship and community social jus- arship during its one-day, fund. tice activities, and the stu- three-sitting, Soup’s On The St. Kevin’s social jusdents’This future ad pursuits. is to be printed luncheon by all participating Ontario at St. Kevin’s Par- papers tice scholarship committee Each of the four will enter ish Hall. has given out about $50,000 post-secondary programs Culinary programs from to high school graduates in medical science, archi- local high schools including from a number of Niagara tectural studies, special Notre Dame, Eastdale, Con- high schools, in addition to education, or arts and busi- federation, Lakeshore and $5150 in special funding alness co-op at Brock Uni- Blessed Trinity, along with locations. The scholarship versity, Carleton University, Niagara College’s Canadi- amount has increased from Niagara University, and the an Food and Wine Institute $300 to $500 and most reUniversity of Waterloo and and a local business, Steph- cently $1000.


Members of the committee are: Wayne Campbell, Jessica Soul, Bernie Barkovich and Joe Barkovich.

Page 14

The Voice of Pelham, July 3 2019

The tub, mercifully feces-free.



kitchen cupboards, fridge, stove, all the carpets had to go,” he said. “If you don’t strip it, you don’t get rid of the smell.” A subdued feline fragrance was still present when the Voice visited the unit, which had all its windows and balcony door open. Menger pointed at the concrete floor and said that a specialized contractor would coat it with a sealer before new flooring was installed. He thanked the other tenants of the apartment complex for their help and patience. “Thank god for ShopVacs,” he joked. “One of the other tenants gave us a hand, washing all the hallway floors, wiping everything down. The tenants were pretty good about it considering what they had to put up with for eight months.”

continued from Page 7 they were not charged with a crime and the Voice cannot independently verify their identities, the tenants can’t be named publicly. There are five apartment units in the building, each renting for $700-$800 per month. A restaurant, convenience store, and dog groomer occupy the retail space below. Coincidentally, Menger, now retired, played a small part in constructing the building around 1972, when he worked for a subcontractor on the site. Menger said the apartment in question has already been cleaned top to bottom, and is in the process of being restored. “We ended up gutting the whole place, ripping out the

RAISE HIGH THE ROOF BEAM As a live band serenaded the crowd, Mathias Farms, on Effingham Street at Metler Road, officially cut the ribbon on their new barn last Saturday. A previous, larger building burned in a devastating blaze in November 2017, with fire crews in attendance for some 12 hours. Community members rallied with donations, food, and moral support, said Beth Secord, who, along with her brother Tom Mathias, runs the family business, started by their parents in 1952. A range of tender fruit is grown on the farm, much of it for sale in a small shop on the premises. From left, post-ribbon-slicing, Charlie Secord with wife Beth, Mayor Marv Junkin, and Tom Mathias. DAVE BURKET PHOTO

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The Voice of Pelham, July 3 2019

Page 15

Expansion explained Locals holding their breath as CannTrust attempts to control cannabis grow-op odour BY GLORIA J. KATCH

Special to the VOICE

“We thought it was a good first start to meet the neighbours, but next time we’ll open it up and we want the entire community to be there,” said Morgan Cates, Director of Communications for CannTrust at the corporation’s Community Open House meeting at North Pelham Hall, last Wednesday. Earlier this year, Pelham’s largest marijuana growing facility launched Phase III of its operations, which includes an expansion of 390,000 square feet and an additional $30 million investment in its Pelham site, with a significant amount allocated towards damage control. Initially, CannTrust’s application for expansion was for 600,000 square feet, but this has been scaled back. Beyond the odour and light pollution complaints, Cates and her communications and management team received additional flack, especially from Councillor Marianne Stewart from Ward 1, where the industrial grow operation is located, for not being informed of the meeting, and for CannTrust not publicly announcing it. Instead, the company distributed flyers to residents within a one-mile radius of its Balfour Street location. A number of the flyers made their way to the Voice, which published news of the planned meeting in last week’s edition. Ward 1’s other councillor, Mike Ciolfi, a member of the Town’s Cannabis Control Committee, then distributed 150 more flyers to area residents. As a result, about 40 visitors turned out, including many members of the Cannabis Control Committee, several councillors, Mayor Marv Junkin, and Pelham’s Regional councillor, Diana Huson. CannTrust recently held an open house at the grow operation itself, but Cates’ communication team noted there were those who did not want to enter the premises. This time, the company elected to choose North Pelham Hall. Around the room were tables and placards with informa-

tion on various topics related to CannTrust’s Phase III expansion. Among the proposed efforts to eliminate light pollution, black shades are being fitted to various spaces within the greenhouse facility, which should be in place by fall, noted Cates. While CannTrust attempts to use natural light as much as possible, she said special blue lighting is needed for growing and the health of the plants. Brady Green, Vice President of Cultivation, asserted that Health Canada requires the lights to be on for certain lengths of time to achieve product standard levels, so until “they scale it back,” the light pollution can’t be fixed immediately. However, Cates said CannTrust monitors local complaints, and will be turning the lights off by November throughout the winter months for several hours during the evening to accommodate the neighbours. Lights-out times have yet to be determined. Controlling the odour, which is almost strong enough during certain times, depending on the wind direction, to cause headaches or nausea, is proving to be more problematic. When asked why scrubbers and carbon filters used for other types of pollution-control are not present, Green said by comparison that CannTrust’s grow-operation is much larger than those in Europe. “I would need the scrubber the size of a greenhouse before that would work,” he said, adding, “it’s not the expense.” Since CannTrust is such a large facility, when the vents open a large volume of air flow is “exhausted in about a minute.” Since Phase IIII began, the first odour-controlling agent proved to be ineffective, even when fans were added to enhance air flow. The second trial, which was implemented in early March, used another odour-masking agent with a perfume-like, “bubble-gum” smell, which not everyone

Lincoln County to take over animal cruelty investigations

The winter decision by the OSPCA to end its mandate of animal cruelty investigations in Ontario has led the Lincoln County Humane Society (LCHS) to step in on cases covering all of the Niagara Region. The LCHS announced last week that it would provide investigations, effective immediately, on an interim basis through the end of 2019. “We could not let animals be left unprotected in our area, and applaud the government for their work and partnership with our Humane Society,” LCHS Executive Director Kevin Strooband said in a

Some 40 visitors attended CannTrust's open house in North Pelham last Wednesday. is pleased with. This agent is commonly used to control the odour in the swine industry, which is “pretty heavy duty,” Green noted. CannTrust is proposing to test a neutralizing agent alone, which eliminates the marijuana odour, but doesn’t “mask it” by adding an additional fragrance, explained Green, who is hoping this will have better results. CannTrust is also planting 400 white cedar trees along Highway 20 to naturally absorb the odour, and divert the air flow up and over the trees. Since cedar has a naturally pleasant odour, the attractive foliage barrier may also make a significant difference. Green admitted to one disgruntled visitor that at the beginning CannTrust believed they had all the solutions to the smell and light pollution. However, marijuana is a relatively new industry, and with the rate CannTrust is growing, it is difficult to manage all of the problems that have occurred. Green indicated more changes need to be incorporated, and that the company was “willing to adapt.” Green and Cates both stated that CannTrust was meeting with other large marijuana producers and experts on various technological developments in other countries to solve problems. On a global scale, CannTrust is partnering with marijuana growing operations in Denmark, the

US, and Australia, and are considering “best practices,” he said. Locally, Michael Caplin, CannTrust’s General Manager, will be meeting with Councillor Ciolfi to discuss times when light and odour pollution are high in order to help fix the problem. Cates said CannTrust is willing to attend the Cannabis Control Committee meetings, when invited, in order to help come up with solutions. Cates pointed out that CannTrust wanted to be a member of the committee, but in the end the Town declined to include industry representatives. The demand for medical and recreational marijuana is increasing, and new products are being created. CannTrust’s goal is to reach 100,000 kilograms per year capacity after Phase III is completed by about September 2020. In order to produce higher yields, some 150 more employees will be hired, in addition to the 353 current jobs. CannTrust has expanded its hybrids to 23 varieties of marijuana, which helps serve more than 60,000 medical patients, noted Cates. GreyWolf Animal Health Inc., a veterinarian-based company, which supplies medications to animals, has partnered with CannTrust to produce cannabis health products for pets. Cates said there are lobby groups in discussions with the government, so

legislation on pet products hasn’t passed as yet. There’s also the recently patented Brew Buds, which is “curated” THC and CBD products in coffee. “For people who are new to cannabis, we see it as a nice entry point to consume it in a coffee product,” said Cates. The caffeine levels will be about 30 millilitres lower than a regular coffee, and more equal to a can of pop, she noted. In the future, CannTrust will be looking at the herbal tea industry as well. Brew Buds will be manufactured in Vaughn, as the flowers need to undergo a heating process called decarboxylation to work in various types of coffee machines. As far as other edible-related products, CannTrust and other cannabis producers are waiting to hear what government regulations dictate. While the cannabis products drum up profits, local residents like Christina Klassen, who just purchased her home on Balfour Road four years ago, worry about their property values hitting rock bottom. “We bought the house to live in the country and now the area has these alien lights.” Klassen wasn’t pleased to see expansion of CannTrust’s greenhouses, as it resulted in the removal of several cherry trees. She is concerned that the situation will worsen in future,


as CannTrust’s operations increase. At the town hall meeting, Jim Jeffs, a member of the Cannabis Control Committee, wasn’t yet convinced that the odour elimination system would work, saying, “It’s outrageous that [CannTrust] has had such a negative impact on the community. Something has to be done.” Cates said the company is not planning any expansion in Pelham beyond Phase III. In the meantime, as CannTrust experiments and tests technology to eliminate odour and light pollution, she also wanted to remind the community that the company is acting in good faith by supporting many local benevolent non-profit agencies, such as Hospice Niagara, and Project Share. The company may also soon be a “dedicated funder” to Pelham Cares. Cates admits there are still some organizations which are not comfortable with the attached controversy regarding marijuana usage. “We respect their values,” she said, adding, “The more people we meet, the more open they are.” In spite of marijuana’s legalization, there are still many myths surrounding cannabis usage, Cates said, arguing that education is one of the keys to “de-stigmatizing the industry.”

IN THE NEWS media release. The OSPCA—not to be confused with the multitude of municipal humane societies, many of which get funding from the OSPCA—pulled the plug on cruelty investigations in March, because, as a charitable organization, they said they’ve become less and less equipped to act as what is essentially a police force for crimes against animals. The LCHS release specifically mentioned that the Welland & District SPCA and the Niagara Falls Humane Society have “chosen to withdraw from protecting animals through animal cruelty and neglect investiga-

tions.” Instead, the LCHS said it will partner with the Fort Erie SPCA on Niagara-wide cruelty investigations through Dec. 31. In March, Strooband told the St. Catharines Standard that his organization’s budget for enforcement matters was minimal.

More jobs, but Niagara’s labour force continues to shrink

Niagara added 1600 full-time jobs between April and May, according to data provided by the Niagara Workforce Planning Board. While that number is positive, the bad news is that in May, there were 4900 fewer full-time jobs available

than there were in all of 2018. Furthermore, the labour force in Niagara continues to shrink, with 400 fewer people either working or looking for work in May compared to April. That trend is magnified significantly from May 2018, when the labour force was 215,600. This May it was 204,500 —a difference of 11,100 fewer people working or looking for work. Niagara’s labour market participation rate decreased 0.2 percent from April to May. In an ideal state of affairs, economists would see decreases in the unemployment rate with increases in the participation and employment rates. Still, Niagara’s overall unem-

ployment rate dropped to 6.2 percent in May—a full percentage point from the previous month. The national unemployment rate sat at 5.4 percent in May—the lowest since 1976. Niagara’s part-time work statistics remained unchanged from April to May, but this year saw 8800 fewer part-time positions than in May 2018. The news appeared more positive in terms of youth employment. May saw the youth unemployment rate in Niagara decrease to 12.1 percent from 12.8 percent in April, while the participation rate increased from 64.2 percent to 68.2 percent.

Page 16

The Voice of Pelham, July 3 2019


continued from Page 1 spond to a request for comment. According to the Ontario Sunshine List, Cribbs’ 2018 compensation totaled just under $200,000. Cribbs told the Voice that his annual salary as Pelham CAO will be $170,000, with another $5,000 in reimbursement for law society and related dues. This remuneration is essentially identical to that paid to former CAO Darren Ottaway, who was fired by the Town in January. Cribbs said he was aware of the recent fiscal and political turmoil in Pelham, and advocated for transparency as a solution. “I spent many hours researching both the 2018 [Pelham] election results and the various issues which dominated the campaign,” Cribbs said. “The thing that most clearly stands out to me is how abundantly clear Town residents were that they expect transparency in all municipal dealings and business. I see no reason why this cannot be accomplished and consistently delivered.” Upon Cribbs’ arrival, Interim CAO Teresa Quinlin will return to her original role of Town Treasurer and Director of Corporate Services. Mayor Marv Junkin expressed his appreciation for her efforts. "I would like to thank, on council's behalf, the incredible job that our interim CAO Ms. Quinlin has done in her dual role over the last five months. Any success that council can claim as to regaining control of Town finances, and the lowering of the MCC operating expenses, is due, in large part, to her guidance and expertise." According to his Linked In profile, Cribbs holds a Juris Doctor from York Uni-

versity, a Masters degree in Public Administration from the University of Western Ontario, a Masters in Political Science and Government from the University of Waterloo, and a Bachelor’s degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. Prior to his CAO tenure in Norfolk, Cribbs was a solicitor and clerk in Lambton County, and before that, a solicitor with the City of London. “When people ask me, I describe myself as being a municipal/corporate/ labour lawyer, being the three areas in which I have the greatest amount of experience and expertise,” he said. Cribbs said he is familiar with Pelham as a tourist, although he cited the Town’s lack of central accommodations. “My first exposure to the town came when two of our better friends were married at a Pelham winery,” he said. “I recall that we had to stay at a Grimsby hotel because there wasn’t anything available locally, which I understand to still be a problem. At any rate, we had such a good time that we’ve returned both on day trips and as part of short-term vacations to the Niagara region.” He added that he and his wife and their two teenage children plan to move to Niagara, but he couldn’t commit to living in Pelham specifically. “That was part of the motivation in applying for the job,” he said. “That being said, I don’t know where exactly we will purchase real estate— the right house or condominium will reveal itself in due course. I want to be close to work, which means that the right home will be proximate, certainly in Niagara Region. I am now officially and actively looking.” With additional reporting by Dave Burket.

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Single-use plastic ban aimed at cleaner future BY MEGAN METLER

Special to the VOICE

On June 10, the federal government decided to put an end to plastic pollution. As soon as 2021, all single-use plastic, such as plastic bags, cutlery, plates, stir sticks and straws, may be banned. Steps have been proposed to reduce pollution caused by plastic products and packaging. “We all need to do our part to save our home,” said Karen Binning, resident of Wasaga Beach. “If we sit back and don’t do anything it won’t survive.” As asserted on the Prime Minister of Canada’s website, currently every year Canadians throw away some three million tonnes of plastic products. That is about $8 billion dollars wasted, plus the loss of valuable resources and energy. When plastic is sent to be recycled, less than ten percent actually gets reused— the remainder gets sent to landfills. “More than 99% of plastics are produced from chemicals derived from oil, natural gas and coal — all of which are dirty, non-renewable resources,” said the United Nations Environment program. These chemicals are not only non-renewable, but they are causing pollution in the environment and affecting wildlife. A 2018 German study showed that tiny plastic particles present a threat to creatures on land and may have damaging effects similar or even more problematic than in our oceans. The impact of microplastics in soils and freshwater could have a long-term negative effect on ecosystems throughout the world. “It is in the oceans where we are seeing some of the biggest effects on wildlife and the scale of the problem is really quite staggering,” said Lisa Gue, senior researcher and analyst for the David Suzuki Foundation. “Animals can get trapped and can also be harmed when they ingest plastic waste. Plastic debris can lodge in their digestive tracks and lead to their death as well.” Gue asserted that humans are also ingesting large volumes of plastics, and the long term health effects are unknown. Some of the chemicals in plastics can be associated with harm to human health and affect hormone function. After hearing concerns about plastic pollution, many leading drink brands and restaurants were ready to support

Single-use plastics may be headed for history's scrap heap.

this important cause. “Restaurants are making a big change, causing them to undergo extra costs as they transition from plastics to paper products, including bags, straws and take-out containers,” said Allison Edheimer, Assistant Account Executive for Jill Schmidt PR Firm. These companies are prepared to substitute or change how their plastic packaging or products are made. This will help lower plastic waste consumption and decrease pollution. “McDonald's Canada is aware that using alternatives to plastic straws is becoming an important global conversation, and we are eager to learn from tests happening in markets around the world,” said a spokesperson for the company, responding to a Voice request for comment. Banning single-use plastic is only the first step in eliminating plastic waste. The government has a larger strategy to increase the impact. They are going to work with the provinces and territories to create an action plan that will implement the Canada-wide Zero Plastic Waste Strategy, which was originated by environment ministers in 2018. This includes standards for companies that manufacture plastic products so that they become responsible


for their plastic waste and its effect on the environment. The strategy aims to reduce roughly 1.8 tonnes of carbon pollution and create around 42,000 jobs. The Canadian government is also promoting safe and affordable alternatives for plastic products and packaging. “We have a responsibility to work with our partners to reduce plastic pollution, protect the environment, and create jobs and grow our economy,” said Prime Minister Trudeau. “We owe it to our kids to keep the environment clean and safe for generations to come.” The Canadian Plastics Industry Association disagrees with the ban. In their opinion, plastic products are a better environmental choice when managed properly and that bans are not the answer. “From our perspective, the answer is no. Bans eliminate choice and can have unforeseen negative environmental consequences,” CPIA said in a statement. “In the case of plastic in consumer goods and packaging, alternatives can have nearly four times the environmental impact.” Megan Metler is a Pelham student concerned about the environment. She enters Notre Dame College School this fall.


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Profile for The Voice of Pelham

The Voice, July 3 2019  

The Voice, July 3 2019