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Accessing your home equity can help boost your retirement income, ease pressure on your pensions and investments, and help you stay put.

IN A RECENT SURVEY of Canadian homeowners, only four in 10 respondents were confident they would have enough savings to maintain their lifestyle when they retire. 1One reason may be that, for many, a significant portion of their wealth at retirement is tied up in their home. And selling their house to free up that money simply isn’t what they want to do. If that sounds like your situation, you may want to consider accessing the equity in your home to help boost your retirement income. One of the most common ways to do this is through a secured line of credit (also called a home equity line of credit). A secured line of credit lets you borrow what you need, when you need it, at a very favourable interest rate because your loan is secured, or guaranteed, by your home. In addition to helping you stay in your home longer, there are other potential advantages. When you access your home equity: I Your withdrawals are tax-free, unlike withdrawals from registered accounts such as Registered Retirement Savings Plans and Registered Retirement Income Funds I You may be able to avoid cashing out other investments and locking in losses when markets are volatile I You can ensure ready availability of funds to meet unexpected home or health care expenses I You can reduce the cost of other debts by transferring those balances to the secured line of credit (if the interest rate is lower than your other loans) Keep in mind that you may need to have enough cash flow from other sources to cover the monthly interest payments on the secured line of credit. To protect yourself and keep interest costs from becoming a burden, it’s a good idea to put a cap on the amount you borrow – for example, 20 per cent of the value of your home. Your home is an important asset that should figure in your overall retirement planning. Schedule a no-cost appointment with me to find out how well this approach fits your personal situation. And plan to enjoy your retirement knowing that reaching this milestone with less saved than you hoped for doesn’t necessarily mean you need to sell the home you love. I 12016 Manulife Bank Homeowner Debt Survey, www.manulifebank.ca/debtresearch. The Manulife Bank of Canada poll surveyed 2,373 Canadian homeowners

in all provinces between the ages of 20 and 59 with household income of more than $50,000. The survey was conducted online by Research House between February 3 and February 20, 2016. National results were weighted by province, income and age.

INTERESTEd IN lEARNINg MoRE, PlEASE CAll oR EMAIl Barbara Allen, HBA, CFP Senior Financial Advisor Manulife Securities Incorporated Life Insurance Advisor Manulife Securities Insurance Inc. Direct Line 519-250-0515 519-250-5190, ext. 409 Barbara.Allen@manulifesecurities.ca 2255 Cadillac Street, Windsor Manulife, Manulife & Stylized M Design, Stylized M Design and Manulife Securities are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it, and by its affiliates under license.

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CONTRIBUTING Matthew St. Amand WRITERS Michael Seguin

Leslie Nadon CREATIVE DIRECTOR Carol Garant ART DIRECTOR Michael Pietrangelo PRODUCTION George Sharpe PHOTOGRAPHERS Sooters Photography

Krystle Del-Ben Matthew St. Amand Todd Ternovan Kieran Potter James Zedd Mitchell Branget Elena Pastorius Jen Gurniak Photography Lauren Edwards Travis Latam Jessica Tullio Photography




Mel Monczak 519-551-0072 WINDSOR LIFE MAGAZINE

318-5060 Tecumseh Road East Windsor, Ontario N8T 1C1 Tel: (519) 979-5433 Fax: (519) 979-9237

www.windsorlife.com Windsor Life Magazine is published by Campbell McGregor Garant Publishing Incorporated. Articles and art may not be reprinted without written permission from the publishers. The publishers assume no responsibility to return unsolicited editorial or graphic material. Windsor Life Magazine is a registered trademark of Campbell McGregor Garant Publishing Incorporated, Suite 318-5060 Tecumseh Road East, Windsor, Ontario N8T 1C1. Telephone (519) 979-5433, Fax (519) 979-9237. All rights reserved. ISSN 11955694. Canada Post Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 43512513. Windsor Life Magazine is published 8 times per year. Mailed delivery in Canada is available for $40.00 per year including H.S.T. A $150.00 charge is required for mail delivery anywhere outside of Canada. Send cheque along with address information to Windsor Life Magazine, 318-5060 Tecumseh Road E., Windsor Ontario, N8T 1C1. PLEASE RECYCLE THIS MAGAZINE




John Fairley, the host of Face to Face TV, brandishing his winning smile. Photography by John Liviero, Sooters Photography


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Two Decades On The Air 16



Light, Time And Stories 24


Sundays And Mondays Theatre Collective


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Two Generations Of Greatness

A Law Enforcement Odyssey: 1979-2019



BK Cornerstone and In Honour Of The Ones We Love

Local Couple Launches Windsor Chapter



Thousands of Kids Now Learning From Home

Local Animator Works On Cardi B Music Video


Charlotte’s Freedom Farm Stands Taller Than Ever



Cycling The Breadth And Depth Of Essex County


Publisher’s Note

Our Anniversary edition every year is a special one. Another year has passed and we have been allowed to provide our readers with many more positive ANN stories about the people, places, events and all ISS IVE things that make Windsor/Essex-Chatham/Kent RS UE AR communities high on the list of great places to live. Y However, this year has been more of a challenge for most. Our entire staff has worked remotely since March and have proven why I constantly refer to them as the best any publisher could wish for. Our advertisers, some who have been with us since we started, have continued to showcase their products and services in our publication. They support our efforts and allow us to bring you stories we sincerely hope you enjoy. And again, as always, we have risen to the task of making the best of what we have been given. Our communities rallied to support one another through a year that could have easily torn us apart. Groups organized to see that families didn’t go hungry. Our essential workers did an excellent and at times heroic job of making sure that the population’s necessities were met. In turn the community donated more food than any other, gathered together to salute the essential work force and grew together to help each other. When we fell behind in our reopening everyone worked harder to make sure we got better at being safe…together. Now that diligence is reflecting on the fact that as other parts of the province and indeed the country are seeing spikes in infections, ours remain low. During the year we have seen that our companies are able to and willing to change directions and make the products that only a year ago we didn’t need. Sanitizing products and personal protection products are being produced right here and provided to those that most need them. Other things of great importance have happened in our communities during this time. Both Ford and FCA workers have ratified new contracts that will not only keep our workforce employed but also grow as both companies are committed to new products for our local facilities. Great news for not only those company workers but also for the thousands of jobs that are created to support and supply the factories. And, at last, Windsor Regional Hospital has completed the purchase of the property necessary to build our long needed new regional hospital. To everyone involved in the negotiations, well done! As I write this, I have received word that this year’s Face to Face for Hospice campaign raised $95,726 and that figure continues to grow. A big “congratulations” is in order for John Fairley and his group of canvassers who had to work remotely this year. John is featured in this issue. Along with that, we also bring you the story of In Honour of the Ones We Love and BK Cornerstone working together to raise $360,000 to support several local groups. The willingness of the members of our community to support its needs is one for all to be proud of. Although, at times, I questioned if anyone actually read my ramblings, a growing number have commented on the approach to safety I have been trying to instill. The fact that our wonderful communities continue to set the mark for compliance and stability shows that we are paying attention. But, I must say again. Remember the three “W”s. Wear your mask, Wash your hands and Watch your distance. Above all, “Please Stay Safe”.

Bob Robinson

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In This Issue Autumn arrived with its usual cooling temperatures and riot of colour. As this seasonal change reminds us of the beauty of the area, this issue of Windsor Life Magazine reminds us of the diversity of passion and talent in Windsor-Essex County. John Fairley has hosted YourTV Windsor cable program, Face to Face TV, for the past two decades. During that time, he has interviewed a wide cross-selection of Windsor’s business and political leaders. Windsor Life spent time with John, talking with the man who’s used to asking all the questions. Photography is the instrument of storytelling used by Windsor’s Krystle Del-Ben. During the day, the 28-year-old works at Del Fresco Produce in Kingsville. In her spare time, she roams Windsor and Essex County looking for the area’s as-yet-undiscovered natural wonders. The global pandemic has taught the world the importance of our artists. How have local theatre companies fared during this extraordinary time? Windsor Life sat down with Michael K. Potter of Post Productions, and Rob Tymec of Monkeys With a Typewriter, to find out. Windsor Life spent some time with Essex County musical mainstays, Jody Raffoul and his talented son, Billy Raffoul. Few local musicians reached the same heights as Jody Raffoul. Billy Raffoul has quickly established himself as a talent to be reckoned with. In this riveting interview, they share stories from the road and reveal why they never forget where they come from. In this pandemic year, where countless ordinary people have stepped-up to be heroes, Essex County teachers and school boards have demonstrated their commitment, tenacity and creativity in providing online learning. Lauren Edwards can be described as the Doctor Dolittle of Windsor and Essex County, dividing her time between her three local pet stores and her two different nonprofits: Moggy’s Mission, a cat rescue centre, and, as of 2017, Charlotte’s Freedom Farm. Lauren tells Windsor Life that it all started when she took in a lost four-day old lamb named Charlotte. A local bicyclist renews his health and finds mental stability while cycling the back roads and rural routes of Essex County. Happy Reading!

Matthew St. Amand



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WHEN ASKED to describe himself, John Fairley answers: “Not a recluse.” John, who is Vice President of College Communications and Community Relations at St. Clair College, has been the host of the YourTV Windsor cable program, Face to Face TV, for the last 20 years. Throughout his two decades on the air, John has interviewed a vast selection of Windsor’s business and political leaders. And, in many ways, John has been preparing for his role on the small screen since elementary school. “I remember playing Santa Claus in public school,” John recalls. “I did an impression of one of our teachers and made everyone laugh. Later on, at Centennial High School, I followed someone reading the morning announcements each day. I think that’s where everything started. It was the first step in me getting comfortable in front of a microphone.” John later enrolled at the University of Windsor, where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Marketing. After graduating, he began working in Sales at CKLW Radio and even briefly served as the Manager at the new Market Square on Ottawa Street. Around that time, John was involved with various fundraising efforts throughout Windsor. One such effort was the Chefs of Windsor Gala. “We did that for many years, raising money for lots of groups,” John states. “One of the things I did as part of the event was a TV auction on Cogeco Cable. Some friends asked me to be the auctioneer. I would read out the products and the things that were up for bids. After doing that for a number of years, Cogeco took notice of me.”

Opposite: Face to Face TV host John Fairley. Photo by John Liviero, Sooters Photography; John with Marlene Corey (left) and Carol Derbyshire. This year’s Face to Face for Hospice campaign raised $95,726. This page clockwise from above: Bill Marra, HôtelDieu’s Vice President of External Affairs and Executive Director of the Changing Lives Together Foundation and John; past guest Fr. Charbonneau of Brentwood Recover Home; John attempts mimic the sounds of Alexander Zonjic; John rocking out with Jeff Burrows; interviewing Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens; John arm wrestling local politician Sandra Pupatello; past guest Tish Harcus, Manager Canadian Club Whisky.

After the success of the show, Cogeco decided to ring in the new millennium by giving John his own talk show: Face to Face. Face to Face featured a wide assortment of guests, from politicians to the community movers and shakers. “It was all about finding out who people wanted to hear about,” John states. “Who was in the news? Who was doing something amazing? I always said it was celebrating the business leaders and the politicians and the wannabe politicians. The pacesetters in the community. The who’s who of who’s making a difference. Or at least making noise.” Each show was around 28 minutes long, allowing John to truly peel back the

Cogeco asked John if he would be willing to volunteer at their cable station. His first gig was called Council Close-Up. Every Monday, John would go live at the old City Hall building to interview politicians before they went into City Council meetings. However, John admits that he occasionally resorted to underhanded tactics when it came to obtaining statements. “I made sure to position myself next to the only washrooms in the building,” John laughs. “So, when they walked by, I would shout, ‘Hey, Bill Marra, come here! We’re live! We’re live!’ Eventually, they wised up to what I was doing. They started going to the washrooms three at a time!”

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layers of each of his guests. “One writer described my show as ‘Up On a Lake in Muskoka,’” John states. “You know, you have the hook dangling in the water, and you just let them come up to it. ‘It’s so nice. It’s so wonderful to have you.’ I was the nicest person. Your best friend. That was the first half of the show. Then, after the commercial break, we got to the real reason we had them on.” John admits that more people tuned in for the second half. “Once they grabbed the hook, boy I sure pulled on that line,” John laughs. While John fondly remembers each of his shows, he notes that having a mayor on was always a special treat. “Having a mayor on was our pièce de résistance,” John states. “We’d do an hourlong show instead of a half-hour one. I got to interview Mayor Michael D. Hurst, Mayor Eddie Francis and now, Mayor Drew Dilkens. They were the most memorable shows. There was a lot of back and forth—and sometimes all forth and no back. Mayor Francis and Mayor Hurst in particular figured out what I was doing and decided that they weren’t going to give me what I was looking for. They would just talk and talk and talk, knowing that we only had so much time. So then I’d say, ‘So, you’re not going to answer my question?’ It was always fun. We had some classics in those days.” As a result of Face to Face, John became something of a local celebrity around Windsor. And sometimes, his reputation would even travel outside the borders of our community. “Whenever a politician or a newsmaker would come to town, like Buzz Hargrove or wrestler Brett Hart, my producer Marlene Corey would get a phone call,” John states. “They’d ask to be booked on my show.” At one point, Tom Mulcair, the former leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), even made an appearance. “I just kept thinking, ‘I want to have a barbeque with him!’” John recalls. “He was just the nicest guy you could imagine.” And at times, Face to Face even served as a platform to launch different charity initiatives. Most notably in 2002, when John and Carol Derbyshire launched the Hospice Face to Face Campaign. “The Hospice Face to Face campaign has been one of the best things I’ve ever done,” John admits. “It all came out of my show when I interviewed Carol Derbyshire. It

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all started when she appeared on the show to talk about the Hospice village she was trying to start. So, I pulled out a $10 bill and said, ‘You know, if everybody watching today were to donate $10, it would be amazing!’ Within the next week or so, people were sending in money to Cogeco Studios.” Inspired by the community’s generosity, John and Carol started the Hospice Face to Face Campaign. “We asked 500 people in Windsor and Essex County to go to 10 people they knew and ask them for $10,” John explains. “Every year, our goal was $50,000. And since 2002, we’ve never fallen short of our goal. Some years we’ve raised as high as $110,000 in 2019.” Over the last 18 years, the campaign has raised over 1.2 million dollars for the Hospice of Windsor and Essex County. And now, after 20 years on the air, John admits that rewatching his old tapes has been a strange experience. Partly because it forces him to contend with three familiar faces. “Over the years we’ve had appearances from Big John, Little John and Medium John,” John smiles. “My weight has fluctuated!” John credits his producer, Marlene Corey, for keeping him on the air this long. “Marlene Corey has been the voice in my ear as I taped every show,” John states. “Her encouragement, professionalism and good nature has brought me such joy for this journey which I am forever grateful. John also expresses gratitude towards his employers for always supporting his televised exploits. “I’ve never been paid by YourTV or the Cogeco Network,” John explains. “I would never have been able to do this without the acceptance of my bosses over the last 20 years. Obviously, Patti France, who’s the President of St. Clair College. She is the only boss of mine who has guested on my show just after she became the sixth President of the College. She has always encouraged me to get involved in the community and allowed me to take vacation days for filming. I would never have lasted 20 years without all of them.” Face to Face will return for its twentieth season with a new format, allowing John to interview his guests remotely. Mayor Dilkens is scheduled to appear as the first guest. More information about John and the program is available at face-to-face-tv.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. WLM Back to Contents

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A Dream Come True Photographer Krystle Del-Ben Shares Stories of Light STORY BY MICHAEL SEGUIN / PHOTOGRAPHY BY KRYSTLE DEL-BEN ART CRITIC JOHN BERGER once said that what makes photography such a strange invention is its two primary raw materials: light and time. But for Windsor’s Krystle Del-Ben, photography is an instrument for storytelling. “It’s all about capturing stories,” Krystle states. “Things like rundown barns and old farm equipment, to me, have a story. These things were all alive and thriving, at one point. It’s all about capturing the beauty in that. It’s all about reminding people that everyone, everything, everywhere—they all have stories. That’s what attracted me to photography.”


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Clockwise from bottom right: Harvested Fields; Canola Fields; Water Tricks; Lake Erie Sunset; Lens Ball Sunset, Sunshine and Sunflowers; Photographer Krsytle Del-Ben; Slice of Fruit; Frozen in Time.

Krystle is a 28-year-old graduate of Laurentian University with a Specialized Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree and a Multilingual Certificate in English, French and Spanish. During the day, she works at Del Fresco Produce in Kingsville. In her spare time, she scouts out some of Windsor and Essex County’s untold wonders. “I love photographing nature,” Krystle states. “Specifically things out in the country. I love photographing them. It’s just something that I personally love. I love the field and the hay. There’s just something that’s so beautiful about those vistas. I’m just so amazed by what I see out in the county all the time. There’s so much stuff out there.”

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Krystle is an entirely self-taught artist, honing her talents through years of dogged determination. “I learned everything myself,” Krystle states. “I never really took an art class or a photography class. I learned everything as I went along, through trial and error. That’s how I learned. And now, here we are.” Krystle brings a focused, unapologetic eye to each of her photos, unearthing the hidden layers of beauty and history in all her subjects. “I like to photograph things as they are,” Krystle explains. “Nothing I touch is manicured. I think there’s wonder everywhere, and it’s my job to reveal it.” One of Krystle’s most recent projects was the Sunflowers 4 Smiles. For two weeks, Windsorites were invited to tour a farm out in Cottam that was filled to bursting with sunflowers. “This was their first year opening the sunflower field to the public,” Krystle explains. “It was just at this family farm. Entry was by donation. I brought my camera and decided to take some photos, just of the flowers themselves. I just wanted to go in and capture the moments. They had these paths laid out. It was absolutely beautiful.” All proceeds of the event were funneled towards Windsor’s Ronald McDonald House. “They ended up raising just shy of $10,000,” Krystle states. “It was quite a bit of money. It was pretty impressive. They were doing raffles and things like that.” In 2016, Krystle and her husband, Kirk, started Made by Krystle, an art business specializing in pallet board constructions. “We take reclaimed pallet boards and build things out of them,” Krystle states. “He’s my builder, and I paint everything freehand. We do it all together. We do plenty of custom orders, whether that’s porch signs or home décor.” Thus far, Krystle and Kirk have received amazing feedback from their work. “We do craft shows all the time,” Krystle states. “It’s so amazing, getting that feedback from strangers. I kind of expect my husband or my family to say, ‘Hey! Good job!’ But it’s hearing other people saying those things that really gets my attention. Just this past weekend we were at a show and someone came by our both and was just amazed by the stuff that we do.” “I highly recommend Krystle’s quality artwork and photography, as she is able to capture the beauty of every moment in

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all of her portraits and puts so much love and attention to detail in all of her work,” Laetitia Sénéchal raves. “I have really enjoyed the virtual paint nights that Krystle has held during this pandemic,” Melaine Sutton states. “She took us through each step of the painting in a way that was easy to follow. This is the first time I have ever painted something nice enough to hang in my home.” And although Krystle is proud of all the projects she and her husband have ever undertaken, one of her favourites remains a portrait of a magnolia flower. “I absolutely love magnolia flowers,” Krystle states. “I think that was my best artwork. I’m really proud of it. I really pushed my own limits. I look at it and I still kind of can’t believe that I painted it. I didn’t really think I could! But, I was absolutely amazed by the final result. It’s the culmination of years of focus and practice. And it’s something I’ve decided to hang onto. We’ll be hanging it in our house.” In addition, Krystle has plied her trade in the service of the community. Recently, she hosted a Porch Portraits for Charity event. “COVID has forced us all to keep our distance,” Krystle explains. “So I went to people’s homes and took family portraits of people lounging on their porches. It was a safe way to provide for the community. And with every portrait that I had commissioned, I donated $10 to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in Windsor. I was pretty proud of that. I think CMHA encompasses everything that’s happening with the stressors of life.” While the future remains uncertain for many at this time, Krystle continues to show immense dedication towards her craft and her clients. “It’s tough right now,” Krystle admits. “People are trying to get back on their feet. But, it’s a day-to-day thing. So, that’s what Kirk and I are doing. Taking it day-to-day. Fortunately, we’re both still working. The art business isn’t as busy as it was last year. But, it’s still something that we love to do. And we hope that people still see our passion through our work. That said, we think things are looking up in terms of photography. We hope that what we do brings joy to someone.” More information is available at: facebook.com/madebykrystle. “I never would have thought in a million years that I’d have my own art business,” Krystle states. “It’s a total dream come true for me.” WLM Back to Contents

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CATERING TO THE COMMUNITY THREE LAMBS REGISTRY & BABY BOUTIQUE is your exclusive one-stop shop for everything baby! Customers truly benefit from Owner Jeanine Jodoin’s—a mother of five—experience, shopping for and using pre-natal and post-natal products for herself and for her own “lambs.” She knows what works and what doesn’t and which quality products stand the test of time. “I opened Three Lambs in 2015,” Jeanine explains. “It started as a conversation with a friend of mine. We were talking about how there should be a store in town that offered the ultimate baby registry experience. The more we talked, the more excited I got. I was on maternity leave with my third child at the time. I decided to go for it and start something fresh.” Three Lambs offers a unique concierge-type registry service that helps parents and their families find the perfect products and brands to suit their lifestyle. Their friendly and knowledgeable staff will guide you in selecting trusted brands and help you discover new and innovative products. “Think of concierge services from back in the day,” Jeanine states. “When you stayed at a hotel, you could call the concierge and say, ‘This is what I’m looking for. Help me find it.’ And you expect that concierge to know everywhere in town where you can get good sushi. Here, we aspire towards the same ideal. We’re a very information-driven environment. For my staff, it’s not about the sale or selling the most expensive items. It’s about helping the consumer find the best product that suits their needs.” Jeanine is strongly committed to creating an environment where parents feel supported and empowered with the right knowledge. “We train our staff to ask the right questions,” Jeanine reports. “A lot of customers will come in and say, ‘This is my first child. I have no idea what kind of stroller I need.’ So, we’ll walk them through the store and help them out. We’ll ask about the kind of vehicle they drive. What the terrain is like near their home. How they plan on using it. How many children they plan on having. And then, we’ll watch the lightbulbs go off.” Thanks to Jeanine’s dedication to fulfilling her customers’ needs and helping them navigate the buying process, Three Lambs has evolved exponentially. After five years, the store has expanded from a 500 square foot location to a fabulous 5,000 square foot location! “Don’t waste your time spending 12 hours researching the right kind of high chair,” Jeanine states. “Just tell us what your space is like, what your budget is and we’ll show you your best options! It’s all about helping you select the products that will suit your needs the best.” Jeanine is so obsessed with arming her customers with the right information that she’s currently developing a “Grandparent’s Corner” on her website. “A lot of grandparent’s don’t know how to navigate digital catalogs,” Jeanine explains. “So, we’re creating a special section of the website for them. We want to make sure that all of our clients—everyone—is catered to.” In addition, Jeanine’s catalog expands beyond your typical baby boutique. The store carries furniture, toys for older kids and exclusive clothing lines. Three Lambs is a one-stop shop for children of all ages! Expecting? Feeling overwhelmed? Book a complimentary consultation and let us help you create the registry of your dreams. Want to start now? Visit threelambs.ca and begin building your registry today.

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LAFFERTY SWEET CORN AND WINDSOR REGIONAL HOSPITAL For 20 years, the corner of County Rd. 42 and the 9th Concession in Windsor has been synonymous with Lafferty Sweet Corn. But, when the 60 acres of farmland surrounding the location was chosen as the site of the new acute care hospital, selfemployed grain farmer Frank Lafferty decided to donate $50,000 towards the new hospital build. An official capital campaign for the new acute care hospital will be launched in the future and Mr. Lafferty hopes his family donation will inspire others in the community to follow suit. Pictured above is (l-r) Marianne Lafferty-Fetherston, Lori Lafferty-Vilneff, Frank Lafferty, Catherine Lafferty and Nancy Lafferty-Chillman (Absent is Diane LaffertyRanik). Inset: Windsor Regional Hospital President and CEO David Musyj. wrh.on.ca/WRHFoundation.

BOB PROBERT RIDE On October 24, the Bob Probert Ride Committee hosted the draw of a brand new 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide, purchased from Thunder Road H-D. Dave Cassidy of presenting sponsor UNIFOR Local 444 pulled the winning ticket and thanked those who purchased the 1000 printed tickets! Proceeds support HôtelDieu Grace Healthcare and the future Bob Probert Cardiac Care Centre. Thanks to the Probert Family from left Tierney, Brogan, Dani, Jim Wood (Dani’s father) and Declyn. hdgh.org/probertride.


TIM HORTONS’ SMILE COOKIE CAMPAIGN Windsor and Essex County raised $170,300 in the annual Tim Hortons’ Smile Cookie Campaign. W.E. Care for Kids and the John McGivney Children’s Centre were the proud recipients of the city’s sweet tooth and generosity. The organizations want to thank everyone who participated and supported their charitable efforts. Pictured is Viki Grado, W.E. Care for Kids, Darian Pellerito, Gabby Brewer, Nancy Banton and Mike Brain, W.E. Care for Kids Board President.


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This year’s Ride to Survive was truly one for the record books. Unified, Windsor was able to surpass the event’s target and blow the doors off with $181,000, which will go going directly to Transition to Betterness (T2B). Dave Hunter expresses his gratitude towards every single person who donated, and promises that Ride to Survive will be back bigger and stronger than ever in 2021. Pictured is Dave Hunter, Amber Hunter and Rob Pula.

THREE LAMBS REGISTRY & BABY BOUTIQUE Three Lambs Registry & Baby Boutique is celebrating five years in business! In honour of the occasion, Three Lambs will be offering specials that will run all month long, including storewide savings of up to 50%, an exclusive promotion on Canadian brand Dutailier from November 1st to the 8th and a Scratch & Save event from November 9th to the 15th. 519-735-0035. threelambs.ca.


FAMILY RESPITE SERVICES On October 13th, Family Respite Services (FRS) Windsor/Essex broke ground for their new respite home at 4400 Howard Ave. Adrianna Bennette and her son Donnovan put the shovel in the ground first. This home will allow parents to get a short break from caregiving while their children engage in meaningful activities. That said, Family Respite Services still needs $500,000 to make this dream home a reality. Picture are (l-r): Alexandria Fischer and Catharine Shanahan. familyrespite.org. 519-972-9688.

Dr. Vincent Georgie has been appointed as the University of Windsor’s acting Associate Vice-President External. Dr. George will oversee the Alumni and Donor Communications, Advancement and Public Affairs and Communications. Previously, Dr. Georgie served as the Director of the School of Creative Arts and Marketing Faculty in the Odette School of Business. In 2016, he received the UWindsor Alumni Award for Distinguished Contributions to University Teaching. uwindsor.ca. 519-253-3000.


ALIYA JASEY Fourteen-year-old Aliya Jasey spent some time brainstorming about how to give back to the community. She and her mother Jasmine realized that there didn't seem to be enough awareness on how poverty impacts the need for feminine and personal hygiene products. Shortly thereafter, Aliya was able to collect over 8900 products from friends and family on social media for Project HOPE Windsor Essex’s Community Pantry.

The Art Gallery of Windsor welcomed visitors back inside the gallery to experience their exhibitions and programs with COVID-19 health protocols in place— protocols which range from mandatory masks, reduced maximum capacity of 25 visitors and social distancing. Knowing that COVID-19 has had different impacts on all citizens of Windsor-Essex, AGW has introduced a ‘Buy One, Give One’ initiative for family memberships. Pictured is Executive Director Jennifer Matotek. agw.ca. 519-977-0013. Back to Contents A n n i v e r s a r y

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IF THERE IS ONE THING the global pandemic, and subsequent lockdown, has taught the world, it’s the importance of our artists. As daily life around the world ground to a halt in late March, stranding everyone in their homes, among the few comforts to see us through have been movies, music, and television shows. With a ban on public gatherings, making live performances an impossibility, how have local theatre companies fared during this extraordinary time? Windsor Life Magazine sat down with Michael K. Potter of Post Productions, and Rob Tymec of Monkeys With a Typewriter, to find out: Full disclosure: I am a veteran audience member of both companies’ work and privileged to have had them each perform plays I have written. Michael Potter, managing director of Windsor’s Post Productions, says that the global pandemic became real to him when the Ghost Light Players’ successful performance of God of Carnage was unceremoniously canceled due to the lockdown. “Then, of course, Stratford and Broadway closed,” Michael adds. “As it turned out, 2020 was shaping up to be a great year at The Shadowbox”— Post Productions’ theatre space—“we had more bookings than ever before. But by the end of March, we knew we were in uncharted territory.” Theatre folk, however, are not easily daunted. So, Post Productions carried on with preproduction preparations for shows already in the pipeline.


“We held auditions and rehearsals using Zoom,” Michael explains. “When we were finally allowed to gather in small groups, we moved to The Shadowbox, making sure everyone was masked and properly distanced.” One critical factor that allows Post Productions to remain viable has been their landlord at The Shadowbox. “We have really, really supportive landlords,” Michael says. “The Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator has been great to work with. We wouldn’t have survived through the summer without them.” In the coming months, Post Productions plans to mount Martin McDonagh’s play The Beauty Queen of Leenane, which will run November 27, 28, December 3, 4, 5, 19, 20 and 21. In the new year, my play, Negatunity, will run January 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, and 30. For anyone wondering why the artists at Post Productions have so doggedly hung on, the answer is simple: live theatre possesses everything we have all missed during the global pandemic—human interaction. “Theatre is a shared experience,” Michael says. “The actors feed off the energy of the audience, and people are starved for this kind of entertainment. We’re following all health protocols—seating is at twenty-five percent capacity to maintain safe social distancing in the theatre. Masks are required.” Even with an abiding love of theatre and the exhaustive planning, Michael admits, “We’re operating on a sheer force of will.” That may just be enough. One-man powerhouse, Rob Tymec and his company, Monkeys With a Typewriter, also took the lockdown right on the chin. “I had three or four shows scheduled, at the time,” Rob recalls. “The pandemic hit everyone in the community hard. Everybody had to cancel shows.” Rob was in the process of re-mounting his successful drama, Moments of Clarity, when the world shutdown. “I wasn’t going to put anyone in danger,” Rob explains. News of the lockdown seemed to hit people in different ways. Various patrons messaged Rob, asking if he was sure he had to shutdown. Rob was adamant and his co-star, Michelle Mainwaring, was in total agreement—they would take no chances with their audience’s safety. During the ensuing lockdown, Rob shifted gears. He is not only an actor/director, but also a talented writer.

Clockwise from right: Post Productions: Michael Potter, Fay Lynn, Nikolas Prsa, Michael O’Reilly. Photo by Kieran Potter; Charles Benn, left, Rob Tymec, middle, and Jocelyn Levadoux in the white gown on the right. Photo by James Zedd; Rob Tymec doing a live stream of “Local Hauntings". Photo by Mitchell Branget; Post Productions performance of Equus. Mitch Snaden and Nikolas Prsa. Photo by Elena Pastorius; actor Eric Branget and Rob Tymec during "Local Hauntings on the Rockstar Virtual Stage". Photo by Mitchell Branget; Gregory Girty, Colin Zorzit, and Stephanie Cragg performing Pry it From My Cold Dead Hands. Photo by Jen Gurniak Photography.

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“The lockdown gave me time to work on the next part of my ‘Tales of Misery’ series,” Rob says. Moments of Clarity is the first installment. “I also accepted some commissions, which kept me busy.” Aside from those projects, Rob is also compiling stories from his successful “Local Hauntings” ghost walk performances. Since 2007, he has led fans of the supernatural around Amherstburg and Olde Sandwich Towne, relating stories of hauntings and paranormal activity that have been witnessed in the areas. “I decided it was time to collect these stories in a book,” Rob explains. “Over the years, I’ve listened to about five hundred ghost stories in order to get a hundred good ones.” He is currently shopping a sample of the work around to local publishers. In between these projects, Rob also reviews science fiction TV shows. A recognized Dr. Who scholar, he was approached by a publisher to review the classic and |new Dr. Who series. These were so wellreceived, the publisher asked him to review Star Trek Next Generation. As a test, he was assigned an episode reviled by fans. Rob took a creative approach and crushed the review, framing it as a series of fictional memos, back and forth, from the producers and director. As king of the one-man shows in Essex County, Rob was the first to perform live theatre when the area entered Phase III in mid-August. “I re-mounted my one-man show, A Hero's Journey Through Plot Inconsistencies,” Rob says. The show is a one-man extravaganza written by and performed by Rob. The story draws upon his encyclopedic knowledge of sci-fi pop culture, weaving together an original storyline involving Star Wars, Star Trek and the venerable Dr. Who. What’s next for Rob? “Like everybody else,” Rob says, “I’m following updates on the pandemic and adjusting with the changing situation. I’ll be announcing more upcoming shows on my Facebook page.” More information about Post Productions can be found on their website PostProductionsWindsor.ca. Shadowbox Theatre is located at the corner of Howard and Shepherd, 103B - 1501 Howard Ave. Updates on Rob Tymec’s shows can be found on the Monkeys With a Typewriter Facebook page facebook.com/MonkeysWith-A-Typewriter-Theatre-Company. WLM Back to Contents

Jody Raffoul and his son Billy in SLR Studios.

Local Father-Son Music Giants STORY BY MICHAEL SEGUIN / PHOTOGRAPHY BY TRAVIS LATAM songs. That sounded good to me, so we played across Essex County quite a bit. For the first 3 years, we must have played 200 shows a year. It was a great way to cut our teeth.” Jody quickly cemented himself as one of the leaders of the local music industry, thanks in no small part to the raw, unflinching grit of his characteristic sound. “My sound is pretty simple,” Jody states. “It’s classic rock funneled through real-life experiences. I’ve never really had much support, in terms of management. I’ve been signed before, with small subsidiary EMIs. But, I never had a record company or a big publishing deal. The silver lining was that I was able to talk about real experiences.” Over the last 30 years, Jody has released a total of six studio albums, the most recent of which, Bamoré, hit

BILLY RAFFOUL WAS NINE YEARS OLD the first time he stepped onstage with his father, local rocker Jody Raffoul. “I was playing at Kingsville’s Migration Hall to an audience of 1,110 people,” Jody recalls. “It was a sold out show. It was wild! Then one of my cousins scooped Billy up and put him onstage with me during the encore. He squeezed my leg and held on for dear life!” Few local musicians reached the same venerated heights as Jody Raffoul. The eldest son of Lebanese immigrants, Jody grew up in Leamington. An entirely self-taught musician, he first began his musical career at age 17, with little more than an acoustic guitar and a love of The Beatles. “I was fresh out of school,” Jody states. “I was asked to join a band, The Bad Apples, who did a lot of Beatles

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shelves in 2019. He’s shared stages with Paul Rodgers, John Entwistle, The Allman Brothers and more! One of his songs, “Light of Day,” was personally selected as the national winner by Jon Bon Jovi’s 2004 “Have a Nice Gig” contest. In addition, Jody also co-founded The S’Aints with Jeff Burrows, Wes Buckley, David Cyrenne, Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe and Kelly Authier. “It’s been a wild ride,” Jody states. “A wonderful ride. A great journey.” And, as it happened, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Jody’s son, 26-year-old Billy Raffoul, has become an accomplished musician in his own right. “It all started with my Dad,” Billy explains. “I wanted to learn all the songs he was playing, so he showed me the classics. I remember telling all my friends that my Dad wrote all those famous songs. I would later be disappointed when I heard the originals!” Billy first began playing at bars and coffee houses across Windsor and Essex County when he was just 16 years old, something he credits his friends and family with. “When you’re just starting out, it’s great to have someone pumping your tires for you,” Billy states. “Everyone around me has been so wonderful and so supportive.” “He’s easily the greatest learner I’ve ever seen,” Jody states. “He’s like a sponge. He soaks everything up. And, he puts everything he’s learned to use. He’s definitely built for it.” Just like his father, Billy brings a distinct, unvarnished vulnerability to his music. “I think my Dad’s best record is Simple Life,” Billy explains. “It’s just him with an acoustic guitar. Going above all the trappings of genre, he and I are storytellers. We like telling stories. Stories about our family, our heritage. At the heart of it, it’s all about storytelling.” Billy released his first EP in 2010, that he co-produced with musician Marty Bak of SLR Studios. In 2013, he traveled down to Nashville, where he signed with his first management company. A year later, he was picked up by a record company, Interscope Records. “I’ve been putting out music with them ever since,” Billy explains. “It’ll be six years with them in February. The same month my Dad will be celebrating 35 years performing!” Between the two of them, Jody and his son have accumulated thousands of shows. And while it’s difficult for them to narrow down all their wonderful experiences on

stage, the two do have some shining moments in their careers that they periodically return to. “This time last year, almost to the day, I did my big headlining tour across Europe,” Billy states. “It was sold out entirely. It was incredible. We did one show in Munich in the fall of 2019. As far as the show and crowd, the attentiveness and excitement were palpable. It was one of the best shows ever for me. A lot of musicians talk about European crowds being way more energetic. Every venue, they were singing at the top of their lungs.” However, no matter how far away the venue, Billy’s father’s reputation sometimes precedes him. “On my second tour after signing with my management company, they told me I was going to open for Jeff Beck,” Billy recalls. “I called my Dad and we were freaking out about it. So, I played for him in Cincinnati. I remember introducing myself to the crowd between songs. And when I said my name, some guy stood up at the front of the stadium and said, ‘You’re Jody’s tot!!’ And I lit up and said, ‘Yeah!’” But, when reflecting on his favourite gigs, Jody turns his focus closer to home. “When my fifth studio album was released in 2018, we did three sold out shows at The Bank Theatre here in Leamington,” Jody states. “For the finale, on Sunday night, Billy and his brother Peter came up onstage with me. All their younger siblings were shaking tambourines and things like that. Having my sons up onstage with me, playing original songs of mine… that was easily the most incredible moment of my life. I’ve done big shows where I’ve been onstage with Bon Jovi and members of The Who. But, for me, being onstage with my sons here in Leamington was the highlight of my career.” Jody stresses how much it means to him than to be able to share his craft, his passion with his children. “Maybe when I was Billy’s age, I might have said, ‘Yeah, being onstage with John Lennon might be cooler,’” Jody states. “And, if you know me, I’d kill for John Lennon. But, there’s nothing more fulfilling than performing with one of my sons. It just blows your insides right out. There’s nothing better than being onstage with your child. I’d rather punch Bono in the face than miss being onstage with my kid.” “I’d have to agree,” Billy states. “There’s no one I’d rather play with than my Dad.” WLM Back to Contents


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The Strength of a Community BK Cornerstone and In Honour of the Ones We Love Come Together STORY BY MICHAEL SEGUIN PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL PIETRANGELO

Above left to right: Janice Kaffer President & CEO, HDGH, Ben Klundert, Teresa Silvestri, Anita Imperioli, Brent and Chantelle Klundert, Gina Read and Bethe Jarcaig.

ON WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 7TH, beneath the hesitant sun“The Klunderts are very successful corporate citizens,” Bill stated. light, a small, masked, socially-distanced crowd gathered underneath “They’re a wonderful family. And they have been seeking an opporthe cross outside Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. tunity to make a difference in healthcare themselves. They reached The attendants were sparse, spread out. It was a varied group— out to In Honour of the Ones We Love and said, ‘We have an idea hospital administrators, journalists, the owners of BK Cornerstone to raise money. We want to invest it in mental health. So, they relied and the founders of the grassroots charitable organization, In Hon- on In Honour and Anita to find a community partner. Therefore, our of the Ones We Love. But, despite the early October chill, the Anita reached out to Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, given our long atmosphere was warm. history. She felt that this long partnership was the right fit for this Bill Marra, Hôtel-Dieu’s Vice President of External Affairs and event.” Executive Director of the Changing Lives Together Foundation, Next, the Klundert family was invited to take the stage. took to the makeshift podium first. “It is our pleasure to join In Honour of the Ones We Love with “Good morning everyone,” Bill began. “Thanks for attending. this donation to Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare,” Brent Klundert Luckily, the weather cooperated for us. Given the environment that states. “A couple of years ago, alongside In Honour and our industry we live in, we’ve made some creative arrangements to celebrate a partners, we launched the Dream Project, with high hopes of very important partnership, an important investment and an raising funds to help mental health initiatives right here within our important recognition for a family that cares deeply about mental community.” health and addictions.” The goal of the Dream Project, Brent exBill turned to acknowledge the two figureplains, was to build a beautiful home and use heads of In Honour of the Ones We Love, the proceeds of the sale for these campaigns. Anita Imperioli and Teresa Silvestri. “At the onset of the project, we were very “A few quick words for those of you who optimistic about the participation and support may not know—which I admit, is nearly imfrom our industry,” Brent continues. “And possible,” Bill jokes. “In Honour was estabthey didn’t disappoint. They blew us away. We lished 23 years ago by the Imperioli family, believe Hôtel-Dieu Grace, through it’s various who found it within themselves to create this mental health initiatives, both here and at the organization to raise funds and awareness Downtown Crisis and Wellness Centre, plays about cancer, due to a difficult loss they’d exan integral role in delivering our community’s perienced. The resiliency of this family was to mental healthcare.” take that loss and do something about it.” Brent explained that these services are now Bill identified In Honour of the Ones We more important than ever, in what he calls Love’s key achievements over the past two “today’s isolated COVID world.” decades—specifically, what they’ve done for “We hope that this donation will help Hôtelhealthcare itself. Dieu in continuing to lead our community’s “As I’ve said many times, they’ve changed The Klundert Family: Chantelle, Brent, Ben Klundert mental healthcare,” Brent stated. the landscape of healthcare in Windsor and and Gina Read pose in front of a birdhouse by local Finally, Anita Imperioli and Teresa Silvestri artist, Michael Difazio, designed to replicate the Essex County with the millions of dollars approached the podium. home built for the Dream Project. they’ve invested in hospitals, healthcare organ“In Honour of the Ones We Love is so izations and programs and services,” Bill affirmed. “In Honour is a proud to play a part in donating these funds to Hôtel-Dieu Grace,” force to be reckoned with. They’ve really made a difference in the Anita states. “We can’t thank BK Cornerstone and their family lives of people. And today is another great example of that.” enough. They’re just amazing. They worked continuously to make The crowd agreed. Today, they have gathered to celebrate the this happen. And this is going to have an unbelievable positive fruits of labor achieved by the partnership between the Klundert impact in our community. So, thank you again to BK Cornerstone. family of BK Cornerstone and In Honour of the Ones We Love. We couldn’t be more proud to be by your side.”


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At that, Anita and the Klundert family presented hospital administration with a cheque for $190,000 to go directly towards mental health services. And according to Dr. Andrea Steen, Vice President Medical Affairs, Quality and Chief of Staff, these funds couldn’t have come at a more pressing time. “I’m one of the physicians that works in Toldo Neurobehavioral Institute (TNI),” Andrea states. “We help people that need longer care, more rehab and more time in the hospital. We have complicated cases with people who are struggling with homelessness, they’ve been evicted and are living on the streets. We help with the social work and getting them a place to stay and help them secure funding.” These services are incredibly important to our community’s most vulnerable population, Andrea explained. “We have clients that we know well,” Andrea states. “They start doing better, then they go out, then life happens to them again. A lot of our patients have been struggling with mental health issues for a long time. Certainly, this donation will potentially allow us to hire more service providers. We’ve also been looking into expanding our addictions program. More counselling, more services. It’s all important. There’s so many good causes that are out there right now that this funding can go towards.” After the cheque presentation, hospital administrators guided a small group inside to reveal a gift of their own: a plaque commemorating BK Cornerstone and In Honour’s achievement. “We know that organizations like In Honour and the Klundert family are not into this for signs and recognition,” Bill explains. “That’s never been the tone of our conversations. Our conversations have always been around mental health and how they can improve healthcare. However, recognition is an important part of this. First of all, it’s our humble way of saying thank you. Secondly, it’s a way of reminding our staff that there are organizations and families and companies like BK Cornerstone and In Honour that are making a difference.” Most importantly, Bill stressed, it’s a way of demonstrating to others that there is always—always—a way that anyone can make a difference.

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Cullan, following along with math class.

DOING THE IMPOSSIBLE Amid A Global Pandemic, Educators Find New Ways To Keep Kids Learning STORY/PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHEW ST. AMAND

THE SCHOOL DAY in autumn 2020 begins as it has for generations: standing for the playing of the national anthem, followed by announcements, which include birthdays and the Joke of the Day. Except, in the George Jetson time in which we live, this all occurs in millions of homes on cell phones, tablets and laptop computers. I stand with my two young sons in our basement until the finish of “O Canada”. With the outbreak of COVID-19, and its global spread, every facet of daily life has been altered. Education of the world’s young people has been no exception. Sidestepping the minefield of political issues and controversies, a number of positive aspects shine through: Our teachers’ commitment, tenacity and creativity in providing online learning, our school boards’ ability to shift resources and harness online platforms to facilitate this, and our childrens’ willingness to adapt to a situation everyone can agree is not optimal. Full disclosure: my wife is a teacher with the Greater Essex County School Board and leads her Grade 6 class online from our dining room. My two elementary schoolaged sons continue their French immersion learning online from home, as well. We are right in the thick of this experiment. My observation as the spouse of a teacher and parent of two children: the experiment is going better than expected.


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Would my sons prefer to be back at school, with their friends, learning in their classrooms? Absolutely. Would my wife prefer to be in a classroom with her students, as she has been for the past 15 years? Without a doubt. As virtually every science fiction movie has warned humankind, we cannot rely on technology to solve our problems. The online platforms—Edsby, Microsoft Teams, Brightspace, among others—are indispensable to online learning, but each has its own learning curve that can leave even the most tech-savvy parents baffled. So, what is bridging the gap between technology and the students? Our teachers. “It’s different helping students one-onone because I can’t see their work as they’re doing it,” my wife, Michelle, explains. “My students are engaged. They are enjoying class. They don’t want to logout when the school day is done.” But there is no getting away from the reality of the situation. “The kids are missing that connection with their teachers and their friends,” she says. In these unprecedented times, our teachers, administrators and all the people behind the scenes working feverishly to make the various online platforms work, are living the United States Marines motto: “Improvise, adapt and overcome.”

“I began doing what I’ve done all these years,” Michelle explains. “Some teaching methods didn’t translate very well online.” What is she doing differently online than in person? “I give my students more opportunity to talk and share about themselves with each other.” Some tried-and-true methods of teaching from the classroom translate online, such as “read-alouds”—Michelle is currently reading a novel to the kids. And kids still enjoy doing art. “Now that they’re used to logging in each morning,” she continues, “we’re finding our routine, and I’m giving them more time to work independently. Some students really need a break from the screens, and others need me there as they work.” The students have adapted to “the new normal”. Now, Michelle can give her students tasks—a math word problem, for example—and break them into groups. The groups convene in their own separate “channels” to work on the task. After a period, they return to the virtual classroom and share their work. “I’m teaching the kids to share their screens so that we can see what they’ve done.” Teachers are doing more to address students’ mental health needs. “When they feel stressed,” Michelle says, “students need breaks that give them a change of scenery, going outside. I’ve also told my students that if they’re having a bad day and don’t want their camera on, they can let me know they don’t want to have it on for that day.” Everyday, however, reality asserts itself and what’s missing is all too apparent. “I miss my colleagues,” Michelle continues. “I miss my former students coming by to visit. I miss being in my school. Seeing the families at my school.” She concedes that adapting what she does in the classroom for the new online format has come with a steep learning curve. “We’ve had such a short span of time to learn new technology,” she explains, “and supporting families with the new technology.” The proof that it’s working can be found in her students’ engagement. “They participate,” Michelle says, “they discuss ideas with each other. And they show up.” Attendance among most of her students is exceptionally good. My sons—Cullan is eight, Ciaran is six years of age—are making the best of the situation. They login each day. They have gotten used to Microsoft Teams—the

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main platform for their online classes— stalling and glitching. They’ve become accustomed to pressing the button to virtually raise their hands to answer questions, unmuting their microphones to give their answers. During music class, Cullan’s teacher plays her guitar for the students and has them keep time by clapping their hands. Ciaran’s teacher employs a number of interactive games and videos. At various points in the day, I’ll hear music coming from a “Just Dance” video that has the kids on their feet, dancing, moving around. Other times, I’ll hear the calm, soothing tones of a three-minute yoga routine that has the guys moving from “downward dog” pose into lunge stretches. When asked what he enjoys most about learning online, Cullan says, “On breaks, I can pet my cat. I like Teams because if you’re a presenter, there is a button you can click to share your screen.” Ciaran says: “Seeing my friends. We played BINGO. Sometimes we call each other after school.” And though we’re living in these science fiction times, bumping up against the limitations of our overhyped technology, there are many moments through the day when it all comes together. One morning, I found Michelle doing “burpees” with her students. More than once, I’ve paused while getting a refill of coffee to listen to a story she read to them about some facet of Canada’s history that I never knew about. My sons’ teachers are just as interesting, hearing my eldest’s Grade 3 teacher talking about the origin of the Internet, students asking her if telephones existed when she was a little girl in the 1980s. During an art class, I sat off to the side, listening to a discussion about how graffiti has come to be recognized as an artform (with all the requisite warnings that kids, themselves, not run out and begin painting on public spaces). In my youngest son’s Grade 1 class, a classmate turned his tablet around to show everyone his cat lying on the couch. Countless human moments like this occur every day. In the past year, the people of Ontario have learned just how important our education system is. It’s an enormous credit to all the people working to keep this colossus together and functioning that they have succeeded in doing so. Yes, we can all admit that it’s not perfect, but maybe “perfect” isn’t that great a benchmark, after all. WLM Back to Contents

Yes, It Can Be Done In Essex County WHEN COVID-19 burst into our lives last winter, one of the most startling revelations was that Canada did not manufacture much-needed facemasks in any appreciable number. Whatever supply existed was snapped up for health care professionals. The rest of us improvised by repurposing pillowcases and old clothing into makeshift masks. Essex County residents, Maggie Gurun-Cargnelli and her husband, Dario, had just arrived home from Florida. Seeing news about the mask shortage, Dario said to Maggie: “We need to do this here.” Having run Basic Tool Inc. since 1985, Dario is a natural problem solver. Maggie had been married to him long enough to know not to ask if he was serious. Dario was serious. Fast forward seven months: With no medical background, Maggie and Dario founded M D FaceMasks+ Inc.—“M” and “D” standing for “Maggie” and “Dario”—and plan to begin production of Level 3 surgical masks by the end of October. It has been a completely self-funded venture—not a dime in taxpayer dollars went into it. “These are top of the line masks, bur are not to be worn in the OR. Those masks are completely different,” Maggie explains. “The ones we manufacture are worn by dentists, etc.” When Maggie initially asked Dario how they would manufacture surgical masks in Essex County, he said, “You’re the fabric girl!” Then he uttered his call to action: “Get on the ’Net!”—yes, the pre-2000 nickname for the Internet. Maggie went online and began her research. Drawing on her background as a seamstress, Maggie knew fabrics. All she needed to learn was what fabric went into surgical masks and where to get it. Down the rabbit hole she went. “The medical device world has its own language,” Maggie says. “I had to learn everything.” Quality surgical masks are made with a fabric called “Meltblown”. The closest manufacturer of Meltblown was located in Turkey. One supplier was cooperative, at first, but eventually fell through. When the roadblocks got too frustrating, Maggie turned to Dario. “If anybody can get it done, you can!” he would say.

Finally, Maggie found a supplier in China for Meltblown fabric. The next item on her To Do list was obtaining approval from the government so the masks could be sold in Canada. “We called one government office after another,” Maggie remembers. “We were passed from one department to another. Nobody could tell us how to start the process.” During her research, Maggie came across an Ontario company that manufactured face shields. Since they would not be a direct competitor, she thought it worth a try calling them for advice on how to proceed through the regulatory process. “The owner came on the phone and he was so nice,” she recalls. “He told me what I needed to know.” The testing process required taking a meter of each layer of fabric used in the facemask— M D FaceMasks+ masks are 3-ply—and submitting them to a third party company authorized to perform the testing. The process took nearly a month. To keep the door open for potential future exports to the United States, Maggie submitted a sample to the American FDA, as well. M D FaceMasks+ received approvals from both government agencies. During that time, Dario located manufacturing space and began the arduous task of cleaning and renovating it to meet the cleanliness specifications required to manufacture surgical masks. “His job was to set up the facility,” Maggie says. “He knew what machines to buy, what the floor plan should look like.” The end product will be a single-use, adult-sized surgical facemask, available in blue and white, with a bendable metal nose bar that fits the flat mask over the bridge of the nose. Elastic ear loops will hold the mask in place. “Fabric facemasks should not be worn over and over again,” Maggie says. “Fabric weakens when it’s repeatedly washed. Not to mention, the issue of people not washing their fabric facemasks after every wear.” Throughout the process of making M D FaceMasks+ a reality, more than one person has commented that Maggie and Dario must have gotten some sweet government grants to found their company. “No,” says Maggie. “We didn’t use a penny of government money to create this. We did it all out of our own pockets, every step of the way. We wanted to help in a time of trouble.” The plus-sign on M D FaceMasks+ indicates potential expansion. “We’d like to eventually make children’s masks,” Maggie says. “We have to take it a step at a time, but we’re interested in branching into other products.” In the meantime, Maggie moves line by line down her To Do list. Next: a company website. “We’re learning everything as we go,” she says. “Luckily, we love to learn!” For more information about M D FaceMasks+, call 519-737-2116 or email mdfacemasks@mnsi.net.

mdfacemasks@mnsi.net | 519-737-2116


APPETIT! dining & nightlife guide

Antonino’s Original Pizza – A 61-year-old pizzeria. Antonino’s Original Pizza spares no expense in finding the finest and, whenever possible, closest ingredients. Fresh produce purchased daily. Authentic, thin-crust dough. The best pizza in town or your money back! 4310 Howard Avenue/519-969-1959 (South Windsor). 1695 Manning Road/519-979-9759 (Tecumseh). 6535 Malden Road/519-978-2500 (LaSalle). originalpizza.ca Capri Pizzeria - Check out our take-out menu and be tempted by our famous pizzas, great pastas, fresh salads and much more! Penny more, penny less, Capri Pizza is still the best! 3020 Dougall Ave. 519-969-6851

Personal. Private. Clean. Our vehicles are sanitized before and after each service.

WEDDINGS AND WINE TOURS. Accommodating 1 to 40 passengers. 24/7, 365 days a year.

Eddy’s Tabouli – Discover Windsor’s newest source for authentic, homemade Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. Fully-stocked wine menu. 1614 Lesperance Road. 519-979-9600. taboulibyeddys.ca.

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Cramdon’s Tap and Eatery - South Windsor’s friendly gathering place. Offering great food at affordable prices. Satellite sports and billiards in a pub-like setting. www.cramdons.com 2950 Dougall Ave. 519-966-1228

1637 Provincial Rd. 519-969-0300

Frank Brewing Company - FRANK is pure, straight-to-the-point, old-fashioned beer crafted with dedication and pride. Beer-loving folk enjoy FRANK's small-batch brews made with only four natural and simple ingredients: water, hops, grain and yeast; and foodies enjoy the small plates, pizzas and sandwiches for pairing, and all the peanuts you can shell. 12000 Tecumseh Rd. E., Tecumseh, ON 519-956-9822 Fratelli Pasta Grill - Offering flavour drenched “woodfire” grilled steaks, seafood and pasta dishes. A fresh and healthy selection of modern and time tested classics. Located behind McDonald’s on Manning Rd. in Tecumseh. Take-out, catering, private parties. For reservations call 519-735-0355. fratellipastagrill.com The Hungry Wolf - The Hungry Wolf serves up Windsor’s best Greek, Canadian, Mexican and Lebanese food. Home of the best gyros in Windsor! hungrywolfrestaurant.com. 3422 Walker Rd., Windsor 519-250-0811. 25 Amy Croft Dr., Tecumseh 519-735-0072. Joe Schmoe’s Eats N’ Drinks - Family friendly restaurant in LaSalle. Handcrafted burgers, sandwiches and salads. Fresh ingredients and house made sauces. Local wines; 12 Ontario


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Sliced Glazed Ham with Spiced Apple Chutney, Penne with Blush Sauce, Scalloped or Whipped Potatoes, Buttered Vegetable Medley $18.95 person

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craft and commercial beers on tap. HDTVs. Fast, cheerful service. 5881 Malden Rd. (behind Rexall). 519-250-5522 www.eatatjoes.ca

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Johnny Shotz - Tecumseh’s #1 roadhouse and home of the Chicken Deluxe. Serving Halibut every Friday. Breakfast served Sunday. 37 HD TVs, 15 beers on tap. Follow us on facebook. 13037 Tecumseh Rd. E. 519-735-7005


Nola’s, A Taste Of New Orleans - Located in Historic Walkerville. Cajun and Creole cuisine with the New Orleans Twist. Lunch dinner and lots of parking. nolaswindsor.com 1526 Wyandotte Street East. 519-253-1234.

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O’Maggio’s Kildare House - British-style pub. Award-winning halibut fish and chips, housemade burgers, Irish nachos and crispy chicken wings. 21 cold beers on tap. Live music several nights a week. Outdoor patio. Takeout or dine in. 1880 Wyandotte St. E., Windsor. 519-915-1066. kildarehouse.com.

when you get a new Water Heater, Furnace and Air Conditioner*

Avoid the hassles and costs of dealing with breakdowns and pay attention to what matters most. Less on your mind means more peace of mind. For a limited time, you’ll get an Prepaid Mastercard up to $900 when you rent a new Water Heater, Furnace and Air Conditioner PLUS up to 3 months free*. For one less thing to worry about, call

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FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL: 519-979-2090 * Offer expires December 31, 2020. Cannot be combined with any other offer and is only available to new customers who enter into a new rental water heater, furnace and air conditioner rental agreement with Enercare Home and Commercial Services Limited Partnership (“Enercare”). We reserve the right to change or cancel this offer at any time without prior notice. Certain terms and conditions apply. Residential customers will receive a $300 Prepaid Mastercard per new installation of all natural gas water heater, furnace or air conditioner models, up to a maximum of $900 Prepaid Mastercard for new installations of all three equipment, and a $100 Prepaid Mastercard for a new installation of all electric water heaters. Residential customers do not pay for the initial three months of the lease term and monthly payments commence in the fourth month of the rental term. Payments continue throughout the useful life of the water heater, furnace and/or air conditioner, as applicable. See rental agreement for full terms and conditions. Additionally, residential customers may qualify for a Prepaid Mastercard up to $300 as reimbursement for account closure charges that may be incurred when the customer leaves their current supplier. Account closure charges may vary based on the terms and conditions of the supplier’s contract. Terms and conditions apply. Offer only valid in select areas. Enercare reserves the right to change or cancel this offer at any time without prior notice. Contact Enercare at 1-844-363-7227 for details. Prepaid Mastercard cards are accepted wherever Mastercard is accepted. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of the Prepaid Mastercard once the water heater, furnace and air conditioner is installed. Card is issued by Peoples Trust Company pursuant to a license by Mastercard International Incorporated. ®/™Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. No cash access or recurring payments. Card valid for up to 6 months; unused funds will be forfeited at midnight EST the last day of the month of the valid thru date. Card terms and conditions apply. ¹ Offer only available in select areas. See rental agreement terms and conditions for details. ®Enercare and the design are registered trademarks of Enercare Inc., used under license.


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The Parlour Ice Cream Co.- Satisfy your sweet tooth with premium Canadian made ice cream. 24 flavours, 15 Belgian chocolate dips to drizzle, ice cream cakes, milkshakes and so much more! Open Year Round. theparlourlasalle.ca 5881 Malden Rd. Unit D3, LaSalle 519-970-9665

Spago – A legacy that stretches all the way back to the streets of Casalvieri. Fresh pasta noodles, authentic Italian dishes and traditional homemade desserts—all made daily. Impeccable service. Fresh, genuine ingredients from land to mouth. Enjoy the taste of Italy! 3850 Dougall Avenue. 519-915-6469. www.spago.ca. Tea House Windsor - Local cafeteria offers Eastern/Western snacks with coffees, teas and drinks. We make all fresh with the specialty of Pink Kashmiri tea. Dine in, take-out, catering. Frozen homemade snacks available. Halal options. Mon-fri 9am-4pm. Closed weekends and holidays. Located in the Jackson Park Health Centre. 2475 McDougall St., Windsor Call to order: 226-348-6151


Vito’s Pizzeria - Rustic Italian restaurant serving woodfired pizza, fresh pasta, veal, chicken, grilled steaks and seafood. Wonderful wine selection. Private party spaces. Food truck and portable pizza oven for offsite catering. 1731 Wyandotte St. E., Windsor. 519-915-6145. catering@vitospizzeria.com.

3422 Walker Rd., Windsor | 519.250.0811 25 Amy Croft Dr., Tecumseh | 519.735-0072

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Paramount Fine Foods - Serving flavourful Lebanese dishes like no other! Famous for charcoal BBQ meats, including vegetarian and vegan options. Dine in, take-out and catering. Kids play area available. 3184 Dougall Ave., Windsor 519-915-9020. paramountfinefoods.com.

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Back to Contents


SPIRIT Charlotte’s Freedom Farm Recovers After Fire STORY BY MICHAEL SEGUIN Lauren Had a Little Lamb It all started with a lamb named Charlotte. Lauren Edwards is Windsor and Essex County’s own personal Doctor Dolittle. A whirling bundle of energy, she divides her time between her three local pet stores and her two different nonprofits, Moggy’s Mission, a cat rescue centre, and, as of 2017, Charlotte’s Freedom Farm. Which, Lauren explains, all started when she took in a lost four-day old lamb named Charlotte. “Charlotte came from a local farmer out in Harrow,” Lauren recalls. “The farmer actually thought she had passed away and had thrown her into a pile with the other carcasses before realizing that she was still alive.” At the time, Lauren had moved out to a farm in Chatham, with the intention of rescuing chickens. “I reached out to him looking for chickens,” Lauren states. “After I told him about myself and what I do, he said, ‘Oh! I’ve got this little lamb here that you should take!’ As soon as he said that, I jumped into my car and sped over to Harrow. That’s where Charlotte’s Freedom Farm started.” However, as it turns out, Charlotte came with some strings attached.

“Lambs are herd animals,” Lauren explains. “You can’t have just one sheep or goat roaming around. When I was taking her in, I knew it meant I’d be taking in more. That was the plan.” Before long, Charlotte’s Freedom Farm had grown from a hobby farm to Windsor and Essex County’s first official animal sanctuary. “Charlotte’s Freedom Farm grew out of necessity,” Lauren states. “It was the only place for animals to go. I started getting countless calls for owner surrenders. Sheep and goats and ducks and pigs. Farm animals in Windsor and Essex County and Chatham-Kent—and all across Ontario!—started flocking to us.” Over the last three years, Charlotte’s Freedom Farm has accumulated close to 150 animals. “We’ve taken in animals from the Windsor and Chatham Humane Society,” Lauren states. “I have farmers call. I have vets call. We’ve taken in everything—even peacocks and pheasants. This week alone, I’ve had requests for three ducks, two pigs and a horse. It’s nonstop. But, we want to help rescue every single animal that we can.” Tragedy Strikes

Top left: Bernard and Christine Rettig. Photo by Lauren Edwards. Top right: Lauren Edwards and Hamish. Photo by Jessica Tullio Photography. Above: The remains of the old barn. Photo by Lauren Edwards.

Christine Rettig, Charlotte Freedom Farm’s live-in caretaker, was awakened at midnight on Canada Day when Bernard, an aging donkey, started braying outside her bedroom window. “Bernard is an older donkey,” Lauren explains. “We allow him to wander the premises. And donkeys are very protective animals. They’re known for sounding the alarm at any sign of danger.” After investigating the barn, Christine noticed a hellish red glow emanating out from the door. That could only mean one thing: fire. When Christine arrived, only a small area of the barn was in flames. Within six minutes, the entire structure was ablaze. During that tiny window of time, Christine made four trips into the burning barn, rescuing over 80 animals. A n n i v e r s a r y

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“We had a big stall with most of the animals in it,” Lauren states. “Christine jumped in and kicked the wall down so that they could escape. She carried out a couple goats and a pig. She ripped apart bird cages. She was just sprinting in and out of that burning building. She went above and beyond the call of duty. She risked her own life several times over saving those animals.” Unfortunately, not all the animals were able to be saved. Attached to the barn was a small apartment, containing five cats and one dog—who all perished from the smoke. One of the ponies panicked and refused to leave his stall. Five chickens and four ducks also didn’t make it. “There was a lot of loss,” Lauren admits. “I know it could have been so much worse. But, I almost feel like saying that downplays the loss that did happen. It was the worst thing that has ever happened to me, personally. I don’t think it’s something we’ll ever totally get over—losing those animals that way. But, all you can do is move forward.” The firefighters were able to determine the cause of the catastrophic fire: a threeweek old bale of hay. “Sometimes, when you bale hay off the field there’s a hidden damp spot in the middle,” Lauren states. “And then, if it sits in the heat, it can create a chemical reaction that can—under certain circumstances— spontaneously burst into flames.” It took days for Lauren and her team to fully catalog all the damage and track down the animals. However, as Lauren states, in the face of such unprecedented tragedy, all you can do is move forward. Moving Forward After the fire, Charlotte’s Freedom Farm received an abundance of support. “I met a million new people because of this tragedy,” Lauren states. “All these people reached out. A local couple had a barn fire a few years ago,” Lauren recalls. “They just threw hay in their truck, drove over and said, ‘Hey, we know what you’re going through. We want to donate some hay for your animals!’ Another farmer from Dresden—who I’d never spoken to—drove over with some cages. It really showed me that, when tragedy strikes, people being there gets you through the hard times. It really is amazing.” And the generosity even extended beyond the community. Four animal sanctuaries, Twist of Fate, Ranch Relaxo, Goats


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of Anarchy and the Enchanted Farm Sanctuary started a GoFundMe to help Charlotte’s Freedom Farm cover the damages. The page hit its $10,000 goal within a day. After a few days, donations reached over $25,000. “We had people reaching out and showing their support from Japan, Germany, Australia, Europe, South America,” Lauren states. “The PayPal page was showing me currencies that I had to Google! It really was overwhelming.” In addition, Lauren’s friends at Pet Valu Head Office surprised her with a $5,000 cheque. Thanks to the rapid influx of donations, construction on the new barn was able to begin the Monday after the old one was demolished. “The new barn is 70% completed,” Lauren estimates. “It has a roof, it has walls. The cement floor was poured last week. All the posts are up for the new stalls. And the new barn was designed as the most fireproof building in history. Everything is covered in metal. The electricians are installing heat sensors running straight to my SecurityOne panel. If a fire happens now, in the 10 minutes it would take help to arrive, it wouldn’t do any real damage.” Fundraising efforts on the new barn continue. Charlotte’s Freedom Farm is currently hosting community events like Goat Yoga and Virtual Dinners to cover the expense of the new facility. “We’re doing different things,” Lauren states. “We’re still trying to cover everything.” Recovery remains an ongoing process. However, according to Lauren, no one embodies the indomitable spirit of Charlotte’s Freedom Farm quite like Meg the Pig. “We have a pig that was burned pretty badly,” Lauren states. “Worse than we realized that night. She lost most of her ears, and some skin around her snout and mouth. She had fourth and fifth degree burns along the back. The vets even sent her home, thinking she wasn’t going to make it. They were shocked that she was still alive. But this pig never gave up.” Miraculously, Meg just kept getting better and better. “After a week, she started yelling at us for food,” Lauren laughs. “Now, she’s completely back to normal. She’s out tearing up mattresses and getting tangled in her blankets. When it’s dinner time, you can hear her from the house. And that’s amazing.” For more information about Charlotte’s Freedom Farm visit charlottesfarm.ca. WLM Back to Contents




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ARIES MAR 21 - APR 20: Your challenge is to channel words effectively so that they heal instead of hurt. The best way to do this is to stop and think carefully about what you are about to say. Count to ten and focus. This may be connected to finances and material matters or even perhaps spiritual matters.

TAURUS APR 21 - MAY 21: Your challenge may be to take a risk, to step out of your comfort zones in areas related to self-improvement and change. There is a whole new world out there and in one way or another you could teach others by leading the way. If you can do it, they can do it too. The hardest part is taking that first step

GEMINI MAY 22 - JUN 21: It really is a challenge for you to stop and listen to what others have to say. Opportunities can arise when and where you least expect them to do so. Diversity is the name of the game. It is time to dot your “i’s”, and cross your “t’s”. Get it done. Reflection and meditation are key if you want to get ahead.

CANCER JUN 22 - JUL 23: Your challenge is to let go of attachments and step out into the world with a smile on your face. Friends and others may try to help you, so do not push them away. Try to remember the good days. Trust your intuition. Faith, hope and love can help you find the way. You can do it. Others can help.

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LEO JUL 24 - AUG 23: The same words can mean one thing to you and something else to others. Do not be too quick to take offense. Ask, don’t tell. Do you think we are both on the same channel regarding where this is going? What might we do to make it better?

VIRGO AUG 24 - SEP 23: Locations to serve you in • windsor • tecumseh • • LasaLLe • amherstburg •



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Wisdom is yours to share. Key words for you at this time are learning and expansion. Knowledge you have gained from time gone by and past experience can help you to help others find the way to move forward and be successful with their own life experiences.


LIBRA SEP 24 - OCT 23: Balance is the key word. You may need to take a risk in order to be successful. Key words for you are renewal and rebirth. You might want to make lists of the pros and cons. A, B, and C in order of importance, so you can see what is most important for you to work on.

SCORPIO OCT 24 - NOV 22: Past performance is no guarantee of future success. Relationships come into the spotlight. What worked before may not work this time around. Others around you are hoping that you will give them a chance to prove that you care. The best thing you can do is to be a good role model for them.

SAGITTARIUS NOV 23 - DEC 21: Your challenge is to finish one task before setting off on another. This can be connected to health issues or co-workers. By helping others, you are actually helping yourself. You can do more than you think you can. You need to give yourself credit for what you have accomplished.

CAPRICORN DEC 22 - JAN 20: Your challenge is to realize that life is a journey thru both darkness and light. Take some time to relax. The work you were doing will still be there when you get back into your routine, refreshed and ready to go again. First, you need to deal with important issues related to children in your care.

AQUARIUS JAN 21 - FEB 19: Your challenge is to live in the here and now, planting seeds for future success. Key words are connected to home and building a solid foundation with wisdom and grace. You can actually do what others can only think about.

PISCES FEB 20 - MAR 20 Your challenge is to believe in yourself and to have faith in others without allowing them to take advantage of you. Key words for you are flexibility, joy, peace and love. If anyone can help it would be you when you can visualize and then create a better path. Back to Contents



The Daycare Teacher Who Became a Drug Cop STORY BY MATTHEW ST. AMAND

Interesting how we can live near someone, learn about them through casual conversation, and then one day realize: “My neighbour is Superman.” Todd and his family moved next door to me fifteen years ago. The first memory I have of Todd is watching him push a lawnmower up and down his lawn. Not very extraordinary, except the lawnmower wasn’t running. I wondered: “Is he a crazy person?” Then, thinking myself rather witty, I called over: “Would it work better if it was switched on?” “It is,” he said. “It’s battery-powered.” Check and mate. Todd was a constable with the Ontario Provincial Police, so it was a relief to learn he wasn’t a crazy person. As a writer, I’m naturally drawn to interesting stories. The first fascinating detail I learned about Todd—aside from his lawnmower—was that he began his working life as a daycare teacher. “While doing my Early Childhood Education degree in Toronto,” he said, “I was a part-time Corrections Officer at the Don Jail.” In the early 1980s, the Don was the toughest jail in Canada.

Constable Todd Ternovan, circa 2007, aboard the OPP Cessna working Traffic Enforcement 2,500 feet above Highway 401.

Read the complete story at windsorlife.com.

Brian and Terry Cyncora.


Local Couple Launches Windsor Chapter STORY BY MICHAEL SEGUIN

“No kid sleeps on the floor in our town.” That’s the motto of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, an international organization that maintains that all children deserve a safe, comfortable space to lay their heads. The various chapters of the organization are composed of volunteers dedicated to building, assembling and delivering beds to all families in need. And now, thanks to new arrivals Brian and Terry Cyncora, a chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace is coming to Windsor and Essex County. One glance at the Cyncoras reveals how much the wellbeing of their community means to the two of them. “My life has been centered around serving,” Brian explains. “You develop this passion for serving. It’s all about standing in the trenches and meeting all the good people that are out there.” Read the complete story at windsorlife.com.

NOLAN MARTIN Animator, Artist, Inspiration


Bejeweled fixtures. Gloomy horizons. Elegant sculptures. Dystopic, science fiction cityscapes. Avant-garde masterpieces. All these and more are part of the storied wheelhouse of Nolan Martin, one of Chatham’s youngest, most successful animators. An artist from an early age, Nolan always expressed himself through a wide variety of ways. “I like doing everything,” Nolan explains. “I like drawing. I like sculpting. I like painting. Anything creative! It’s really therapeutic just being able to start something and then finish something and then be proud of the result that you get at the end.”

Animator Nolan Martin.

Read the complete story at windsorlife.com. Back to Contents

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THE KILOMINATOR The Art of Collecting Kilometres and Seeking Sanity While Cycling Essex County STORY BY MATTHEW ST. AMAND PHOTOGRAPHY BY TODD TERNOVAN

SEVEN O’CLOCK Sunday morning, September 6, riding my bike down the empty expanse of Howard Avenue—from its termination point at County Road 20, heading toward Laurier Parkway. I needed 33 kilometers to reach my goal of 6,000 km for the summer. At that point in Sunday’s ride, I’d hit 28 km and would go another 43 km before I was finished. By then, however, I no longer cared about number totals on my app. The wind was at my back, my legs pumped like pistons, the front of the bike rang like tuning forks, and the old thrill of riding was upon me just like when I was a kid. It had not always been like this. I have been overweight my entire adult life—painfully, embarrassingly, heart-palpitatingly so. The only remnant of my athletic youth was my outsized appetite. As a writer, my pursuits— reading, writing, watching movies—involve me sitting as still as the Buddha beneath his bodhi tree. Over the years, I took on the Buddha’s physical dimensions, but none of his enlightenment. The bathroom scale was not my enemy. I didn’t bother with it. The scale was not an essential part of my day. Wearing pants, however, was essential, and it became an increasingly uncomfortable endeavor. I never hit 300 lbs., but it wasn’t for lack of trying. It changed, somewhat, when my sons were born. By 2012, I trimmed down to what felt like a sleek 230 lbs. on my 5’11” frame. Motivation, however, is like a fire you make by rubbing two sticks together: it only lasts so long. Still, my goal was galvanized: 200 lbs. before my fiftieth birthday. Following March Break 2019, aged 48, I was a desperate, disconsolate 235 lbs. For some reason, “doing the right thing” didn’t motivate me. “Get fit for my family” had a bit of traction. Vanity? That went out when my hair turned white. No, what I needed was a good blast of anxiety. That came when I lost my job in June 2019. It forced me to remember an old axiom: activity alleviates anxiety. I bought a cheap department store bicycle and rode it during my newly free mornings. At first, just around my neighbourhood, soon venturing further out. By Halloween Day, my final outdoor


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Top to bottom: Kilominating on Kelly Road, wearing a face-cover to keep the bugs away; Matthew ready for the road. Photo by Michelle Murphy-St. Amand; Zeopoxa Cycling app showing route from Odyssey to Emeryville and back; Trek to Kingsville and back.

ride, I biked 20 km a day and consistently hovered around 220 lbs. The vaunted 200 lbs. seemed so out of reach. Over the winter, I mounted my bicycle on trainer in my basement. I missed the grand vistas of Malden Road and Laurier Parkway, but I listened to interesting audiobooks and kept my legs strong. Then, COVID-19 hit. The global pandemic didn’t become real for me until March 13, 2020, when the NBA canceled the remainder of its season. Disney World closed. The schools closed for two weeks beyond March Break. Toilet paper futures traded like tech stocks and suddenly I wondered if water would come out of my tap if I turned it on. It was then that I turned to “kilominating”—a word of my own creation, which means: “To accumulate kilometers by way of a person-propelled conveyance, such as a bicycle”. My anxiety is a diamond-tipped drill with a plutonium core fuel cell, capable of piercing the center of the earth, if left unchecked. Kilominating burned up the excess energy. Soon, riding weather returned. Any worries I had that my basement trainer was less rigorous than riding outside were groundless. It was a surreal experience, blasting through my old 20 km route. I soon ventured onto the Herb Gray Parkway, adding kilometers to the ride. The day I rode 30 km, I felt like Magellan. Then, in the middle of May, a friend said to me: “You should try this biking app.” I resisted. I am not an app guy. My friend was persuasive. So, I got the app. Zeopaxa Cycling. And then—the app got me. The app not only timed my rides but utilized GPS technology to plot my route on its cartoon map. It counted kilometers, calories, displayed average and top speed. Soon, I no longer cared about getting fit or staying young—the numbers became everything. With my cell phone mounted on my handlebars, I saw my readout in real time. If I had 29 km as I arrived home, I rode around the block until I hit 30 km. If my calorie count was 987, I rode around until it hit 1,000. Following a spirited 28 km ride on a rainy late May morning, the space-age shock absorber connecting the front half of my bicycle to the rear half snapped. My bicycle broke beneath me. Luckily, Mark at Infinity Cycle hooked me up with a sky-blue Scott mountain

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bike. A true game-changer. No more slushy give to the pedals, slipping gears or lopsided pedal arms. Every ounce of energy poured into the bike went into forward motion. One morning, on Kelly Road, putting the bike through its paces, a Jeep pulled up beside me. The driver called over: “Do you know you’re going thirty-five kilometers an hour?” “Yes!” I said. The orbit of my rides widened by the day. My first expedition-by-bicycle took me to Emeryville, in May. By the time I tottered home, I added 80 km to my total. Another Saturday, I cruised into Essex, veered into Kingsville, and returned home by way of County Road 50 for a total of 115 km. My kilominating totals were inadvertently aided each time I got lost on the Greenway Trail or along concession roads. More than a few times, I pulled over, bit the bullet, turned on my phone data to find my location using Google Maps. Some rides were hampered by sudden downpours, dodging lightning storms, high winds that tackled me from every direction, and even old-fashioned falls off the bicycle. A brain misfire, one morning, caused me squeeze to the brakes when I actually intended to switch into a higher gear. The blunder launched me over the handlebars like a character in a cartoon. As I scraped myself up from the pavement, pained and embarrassed, I thought, “Note to self: brakes on quality bikes work really, really, really well.” And following especially long rides—the impromptu 70 and 80 km outings—I returned home ravenous enough to eat my house. The scale never became a friend, even as I broke the 220 lb. barrier. The 204206-209 trifecta bedeviled me for weeks without resolution. And the larger problem sorted itself out. As my family and I hunkered down—my sons learning online, my wife and I working from home, forays for groceries my only interaction with the world—the engines of my anxiety sought to rev, they were more Chevette than Harrier jet. Then, July 22, my 49th birthday, I rode 52.84 km through the balmy morning. When I stepped on the scale that morning, it read 195 lbs. Attaining a goal is rewarding, but it’s also frightening. Now that I’m over the hump, I see that the easy part is done and the real work of maintaining what I achieved has begun. WLM Back to Contents

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Windsor Life Magazine Anniversary 2020  

Windsor Life Magazine Anniversary 2020