Wednesday, 16 January 2019 12:30

LARC Opens Daycare at NAEC for Little Vikings

If you have an infant or preschool child, then you understand the trials and tribulations of finding reliable, affordable, safe care for your child when you return to work. Many families in our communities, and in communities across Ontario and Canada struggle with access to childcare.

On January 7, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children (LARC) opened a new daycare centre in Cloyne at North Addington Education Centre (NAEC). The centre provides licensed daycare services for children from the ages of 0-6.  Additionally, LARC offers before and after school programs for school-age kids.

The daycare offers care from 7am to 6pm. It has three rooms. The infant room is for children up to 18 months, the toddler room for children ranging from 18-30 months and finally, the pre-school room is for children from 30 months until school age.

Supervisor, Hannah Lough, says that a typical day includes indoor and outdoor play such as science investigations.

NAEC is proud to welcome Lydia Keller and Dallas Arney, NAEC alumni, who will be joining Hannah Lough and Krystle Keller, who have been running the afterschool program, as staff educating the Little Vikings.

Darlene Armer, Executive Director of LARC, explains that the program is for all children. Subsidies are available for families to offset the costs associated with childcare.  LARC daycare is licensed by the Ministry of Education. The program follows these guidelines, such as providing nutritional lunches and snacks and giving receipts to parents to use at income tax time.

If you would like to have more information about how to register for LARC or how to apply for subsidized payments, please contact Hannah at 613-336-6825 or Darlene at 613-354-6318.

Mary Hasler, age 3, was the first student to arrive at LARC on January 7. She enthusiastically picked out her cubby and got ready to go to preschool.

Wednesday, 09 January 2019 12:17

Remembering Ann Goodfellow

Last year when the word came out through the grapevine that Ann Goodfellow was not well, and this was followed by a difficult diagnosis and prognosis, it shook a lot of people in the Parham area and beyond. By the time she died last week (January 5th). It was not a surprise, but it was still difficult news for all of those who knew her.

Ann was a force in the community for many years. Many people knew Ann well, and she touched their lives. I knew her as an advertiser in the paper through the funeral home and Goodfellow’s Flowers shop that she used to run, but mostly I knew her in her role as a school board trustee.

She became involved with the school board by serving on the Parent Council at Hinchinbrooke Public School. Somewhere along the way, that involvement led her to run for the position of trustee, and she was elected or acclaimed every time she ran.

I saw a lot of her during the elections in 2006 and 2010. Because of the size of the territory she represented, she was invited to appear at all-candidates meetings in Central and North Frontenac and Addington Highlands, nine evenings over a three week period.

Each time she gave a 3-minute speech, and sat through a two hour meeting, rarely being asked any questions. In my recollection she never missed a meeting. Although it would not be true to say that she never complained about driving around the countryside after working all day, only to be ignored for two hours, but she always kept a sense of humour about it all. She ran four times, and served 14 years. The last four were the hardest but it was also the term where she made a lasting mark on the board and the community.

Ann was nervous during the 2010 election, much more so than in 2006. The PARC (Program and Accommodation Review Committee) that resulted in the construction of Granite Ridge Education Centre in Sharbot Lake, was underway. Ann was committed to seeing it through before stepping away from the board, and that's why she felt it really mattered that she get re-elected.

She won the election and spent the next two years playing a pretty delicate role. She had to stand by the board at public meetings, as parents learned their community schools were destined for closure and blamed her for it, while advocating for the interests of those same families behind the scenes. And all within the confines of a prescribed, bureaucratic process. It was clear early on that her own Hinchinbrooke School in Parham, where her kids had attended and where she got involved with the board in the first place, was destined to close. It also became clear early in the process that the new school was going to be built in Sharbot Lake, and not in Parham. Whatever she felt about that reality, Ann never let on, ever the realist.

However, when all was said and done, not only was Clarendon Central in Plevna maintained, which was not a surprise because of the distances involved, but Land O’Lakes Public School in Mountain Grove stayed open as well. And the Granite Ridge build was funded.

The Frontenac News article about the final PARC report that confirmed all of this, revealed a bit of the pressure Ann had been facing.

The final paragraph of the article reads like this: “... a relieved Ann Goodfellow made reference to the stress this has caused for her as a community member and a school board trustee as the prospect of multiple school closings was being considered. She said, “This is good. Now I don't have to move.”

Ann was convinced, even before the whole process got underway, that the only way to secure the future of education in what the Limestone Board calls “the North”, was to have a new school built. She knew it would cost more than the board could really afford or could easily justify to the Ministry of Education, which was fixated on a cost per pupil ratio for all of their expenditures.

She took a lot of pride in the role she played in getting Granite Ridge built. She played that role with a combination of discretion and commitment, patience and good will, and it took a toll. When I phoned her in January of 2014, a week after Granite Ridge had opened, to ask if she was going to run for Trustee again, she laughed pretty hard and long before getting one word out. NO!

She was certainly ready to return to working with her husband David at Goodfellows Funeral Home and enjoying the rural life that she loved, a future that only lasted four years instead of the twenty or thirty 30 that she had been hoping for.


Suzanne Ruttan has been the South Frontenac Township trustee to the Limestone District School Board since 2010. She has served as the Board Vice Chair for the past three years, and when the new Board was sworn to office last night in Kingston, she assumed the role of Chair of the Board of Trustees for 2019.

“We held elections for officers and committee appointments at a working meeting last week,” she said when interviewed on Tuesday, and I put my name forward and ended up being the only candidate. There was an election for Vice-Chair and the position ended up going to Laurie French, another veteran trustee who represents Napanee.

Ruttan and French are two of only three returning members on the 9-member board, the third being Karen McGregor from Central and North Frontenac and Addington Highlands.

“We have a lot of new trustees,” said Ruttan, “and my goal is to make sure that they have the best start that they can.

There were orientation sessions for the new board of trustees in November, and one aspect of the training was to clarify for the trustees that we function as a governance board, and as such do not have a direct role in the day to day functioning of the board and its schools.

“As a governance board, we are totally focussed on the big picture of the whole board, making sure we are following our strategic directions at all times. As a Board, we have one employee to oversee, the Director of Education.”

As board Chair, Ruttan is responsible, with help from the director, for setting meeting agendas and ensuring the smooth running of the board. She will also be called upon to speak on behalf of the board from time to time. However, she pointed out, only under explicit instructions from the board. The position also includes ceremonial responsibilities, representing the Limestone Board at meetings and public events.

She said that new board could be dealing with some major issues in its first year. Community consultations are underway for changes to the health curriculum, which should be coming out early in early 2019.

“The minister spoke to our provincial group last weekend, and I believe her message was that the group ‘will be pleased when we see what comes out’ of that process. We also know that when the government is looking for budget savings, they are going to look at education, so that may have an impact on our board. 2019 is also a bargaining year for education,” she said.

There is a one-year term for the position of Chair of the Limestone Board of Trustees. Ruttan can run again for 2020 if she chooses to, as can any of the 8 other board members.


The Frontenac County trustees are set to become part of the old guard on the board of trustees for the Limestone District School Board come December 12th.

Suzanne Ruttan easily held off the challenge from Roger Curtis, receiving 3659 votes to 1672 for Curtis, to return to the board for a third term representing the schools in South Frontenac (Harrowsmith, Prince Charles, Loughborough, Perth Road and Sydenham High School). In Central and North Frontenac Karen McGregor was acclaimed to a second term representing the students at Land O’Lakes, Clarendon Central, North Addington EC and Granite Ridge EC.

Roger Curtis was part of a connected group of candidates who campaigned under the banner of #TRUSTee. While he lost out to Ruttan, the group did well in the City of Kingston, elected 5 members to the 9 member board. They ran on a campaign of greater transparency and consultation before the board makes decisions.

The rift that could develop on the board as the result of the election may also have a geographical component. The trustee from Napanee, Laurie French, was re-elected, leaving three of the non-Kingston districts in the hands of the ‘old guard’.

The fourth rural district was the only one that saw the defeat of an incumbent. Wes Garrod was defeated by Robin Hutcheon in Loyalist -Stone Mills, by almost 1,000 votes.

In addition to Hutcheon, #TRUSTee members include: Bob Godkin, Judith Brown and Joy Morning, who were all elected; and Tom Gingrich, who was acclaimed.

One newly elected Trustee, Garrett Elliott, refused to join #TRUSTee when approached. He told Global News that he only “ran to try and make a positive difference to try to help out. I’ve always been involved in school council.”

The new Board of Trustees will take office on December 12.


Last Friday, (July 27) the Limestone District School Board joined with other boards in Ontario who are urging the new Ford government to reconsider its decision to pull the health and physical education curriculum that was instituted in 2015 from Ontario schools.

In a letter to Minister of Education, Lisa Thompson, , Board Chair Paula Murray and Director of Education Debra Rantz ask for clarity around recent direction to revert to the what they called an “antiquated 1998 curriculum which does not support today’s students or families.”

The Board is asking the Ministry to “maintain the 2015 documents so educators may continue to support our students on important topics such as gay marriage, gender identity, sexting and sexual consent.”

In their letter, Murray and Rantz referred to the Ontario Equity Action Plan (2017) to illustrate the role that the curriculum plays in the healthy development of the students in the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington region who attend Limestone schools. The Act says that the “the success of our graduates necessitates building their confidence in who they are and their resilience in the face of adversity and ensuring they feel accepted and included … Students must also experience teaching and learning that is reflective of their needs and of who they are.”

In the Limestone context, the letter says “in Limestone, we know firsthand the importance of this work. We know that our students must see themselves reflected in our curriculum, in our buildings, in our culture, to feel safe and supported, and to ensure their well-being. Our staff has used this curriculum to help empower our students to reach their full potential while supporting their emotional, mental and physical needs. Reverting to an outdated curriculum flies in the face of this progressive work and the Board does not support such a move.”

Within the City of Kingston there was a 53% increase in reports of sexual assault in 2017. Rantz and Murray say the increase may by in part due to the #MeToo movement giving confidence and support to Kingston residents to come forward.

“Our students need to learn about the concept of consent and the vocabulary of body parts so that they can speak clearly to police, and we can all work together as a community to prevent sexual abuse and ensure the safety and well-being of all of our students. This partnership is well supported by dedicated and experienced educators who have been professionally trained on how to respond and support students in need,” they wrote.

Finally, they referred to the “three pillars of Wellness, Innovation, and Collaboration” that the board adopted as core priorities several years ago.

“We are fiercely committed to those priorities, which include inclusion and equity for all,” they wrote, saying that the 2015 Health and Phys Ed curriculum plays a significant role in making the “board responsive to our students’ needs and ensuring they have the learning opportunities they deserve in 2018.

“We want everyone to see themselves in Limestone and this curriculum is key to helping achieve that goal.”

As of Tuesday (July 31) 20 Ontario Boards have sent similar letters to the Minister, including the Toronto District School Board, Durham District School Board, Kawartha Pine Ridge, Thames Valley, Ottawa Carleton, Simcoe County and Lambton Kent.

Opponents of the change in curriculum point out that the old curriculum, which is slated to be re-instituted this year, had been in place since 1998, when the impact of the Internet and Social Media on students was not yet a factor.

For her part, Minister Thompson referred only to the recent past in defending the old curriculum.

“Teachers are going to be going back to what they taught in 2014, and they’re familiar with that curriculum,” she told the Toronto Star

Wednesday, 13 June 2018 12:45

New Leaf Link marks it 10th anniversary

New Leaf Link (NeLL) was set up to serve a growing number of developmentally disabled young adults in South Frontenac. After graduating from Sydenham High School, where there was and still is an excellent school to community program, there was nothing in the township for the graduates.

At the time, Dr. Karin Steiner, New Leaf Link’s Executive Director, was looking to continue her work as an autism educator and to find a program to benefit her son Nicolas, who has autism.

In its initial press release, New Leaf Link set out some principles, which make interesting reading after ten years.

“We aim to steward the occupational, cultural, and social contributions of disabled participants by a) creating a model educational centre; b) linking the strengths and interests of participants with employment and volunteer opportunities in local communities; and c) sharing our model with other communities.”

To a great extent those principles have not changed at all, but Dr. Steiner has found that some of the goals are taking longer to achieve than she initially envisioned.

“It has taken a lot more time and effort than I orginally thought it would to grow and become well established,” she said, when contacted early this week, a few days after the NeLL year end celebration and fundraiser at Harrowsmith Free Methodist Church. “My goal is still to create something that is going to continue beyond my time.”

“I feel that NeLL is healthy and growing. Lots of people are coming into the fold at the board level, and we continue to grow. We have fifteen people coming to programs now, and when we started there were four. And I feel we are on the cusp of a bigger change, and perhaps we are ready to partner with another organisation, but none of that is clear just yet.”

What is clear, is the evolution of NeLL programming. There are two days of programs, incorporating the skills of teachers, such as Gabriel Deerman of Salmon River Studios in Tamworth, playwright and theatre producer Christine Harvey, and a new addition is Linda Alford who is providing workshops on Adaptive Technology. Other teachers have come in to teach dance and karate and other skills, including cooking skills. The first NeLL day each week is an arts day, with drama in the morning and visual art in the afternoon, and the second day is a healthy living day, with cooking class, as well as gym and other programming. Last year NeLL received a Community Foundation of Kingston and Area grant for a community gardening project.

At the NeLL event last week, there were many community members, including supporters of the program and people who have befriended the participants around South Frontenac and Central Frontenac. Among the presentations at the event was the presentation of an original play, written about the history of New Leaf Link. Three of the four original NeLL’ers are still coming to the program each week and they were a resource for the play writing and production.

“One other thing has been clear from the beginning is that New Leaf Link is a friendship project. It is its own community but we reach out to other communities and it’s building and maintaining healthy relationships between NeLL participants, their families, and people we all live with and interact with in the larger community. That part of it has only become stronger,” said Steiner.

As NeLL looks to the future, there is continuing concern around funding. NeLL has some project funding from different sources and receives private donations, but has no government support and depends on student fees, which are $35 a day, to pay the bills. It is also supported in a major way by the Harrowsmith Free Methodist Church, which donates the space they use. Finances are a main reason why NeLL has not been able to open up for a third day of programming, which is a goal.

Still, after 10 years NeLL is not about to close up shop and continues to grow and expand its network of friends and supporters, and its services remain as essential as they were at the start.

“There was a gap that we filled and without us, that gap would still be there, in South Frontenac, for this community of people,” said Steiner, “so we continue to grow slowly, gain strength, and carry on.”


Grandparents went back to school last Thursday in Verona as Prince Charles Public School kicked off a two-year project to help families find fun and effective ways that engage children with mathematics that coincided with the final day of the Scholastic Book Fair.

The project, in conjunction with the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University, is part of the Ontario Renewed Math Strategy in the primary classrooms of Mrs. Gilpin/Mrs. Trousdale, Mr. Casement, Mrs. Cousins and Mr. Schneider.

“Many of us learned basic counting, number recognition and arithmetic skills by playing familiar card games (Crazy Eights, Uno, Go Fish) and board games (Trouble, Connect Four, Snakes and Ladders) with our parents, grandparents and siblings,” said Casement. “Our Grandparents and Games event is intended to be a fun afternoon where children and family members have time to approach math in a relaxed, playful atmosphere.

“We will provide all the games for the afternoon, some snacks and even some games for each child to take home.”

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 12:09

Community Foundation of Kingston and Area grants

Frontenac County did well by the Community Foundation of Kingston and Area this week. 5 of the 15 grants announced at a ceremony at Sydenham Street United Church in Kingston are going to projects that are located in Frontenac County.

They include a $13,104 grant to the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre’s Winter Ecology Education Centre. The grant is intended to provide the opportunity for youth to actively learn and research about winter. The grant will go towards new equipment and a bus subsidy.

“Youth and new Canadians will access and study winter ecology first hand. They will learn what is happening above and below the snow and ice. This will inspire local youth to feel connected with the environment around them and be empowered to become environmental stewards,” said the release accompanying the grant announcement.

Southern Frontenac Community Services is receiving $3,658 for a professional 10 quart mixer to go in the commercial kitchen at the Grace Centre. The mixer will be used for the meals on wheels program that delivers 150 hot meals a week to seniors in the community, as well as to broaden the meal variety for Adult Day Program clients. SFCS is also considering expanding their Meals on Wheels program and the mixer will help them move closer to doing that,.

The group that has been working to develop a community recreation and cultural centre at the former Hinchinbrooke School in Parham, received a grant from the foundation last year to help them fund a feasibility study for the project. This year they are receiving a grant of $2,597 to recruit new partners to develop a multi-stage business plan for the project.

Finally, Rural Frontenac Community Services is receiving $8825 for the popular “Let’s Get Drumming” youth program. The project is active in North, Central and South Frontenac, “addressing the need for free, fun musical activities that encourages rural youth to learn an instrument, be active and connect with a group in their own community in a fun environment that promotes inclusion,” according to the release.

The total dollar value of the 5 grants, $28,184, represents about 20% of the $150,000 that was handed out by the CFGK this week.

Details on the Foundation’s Community Grants program and the projects they have funded can be found on their website at


The Lanark & District Maple Syrup Producers’ Association (LDMSPA) is hosting a Maple Syrup Beginner’s Workshop on Sept. 30, 2017, an all-day event to educate those looking to enter into maple syrup production on a home or commercial scale, as well as veteran producers looking to expand their knowledge base. The course, which runs from 9:15am to 4pm, will be held at the Lanark & District Civitan Hall, at 2144 Pine Grove Rd., Lanark Village.
Participants in the workshop will get the basics on identifying maple trees and tapping, sap handling and storage, equipment and supplies, boiling, density, filtering and bottling, and regulations and grading. A panel discussion and information on maple syrup production resources will also provide valuable information for syrup producers.

“Everyone can learn something from this workshop,” Dwight James, LDMSPA Director said, “Maple syrup production is one of those industries where there’s always more to learn, and for beginners getting started the learning curve can be intimidating.”

LDMSPA’s workshop is intended to reduce or eliminate that steep learning curve for entering maple syrup production, while offering experienced producers access to resources and information for expanding production or keeping up with changing regulations.

LDMSPA is a group of over 90 maple syrup producers located in the Lanark, Frontenac, Leeds and Grenville Counties, as well as the Ottawa-Carleton areas of Eastern Ontario. LDMSPA is one of 11 local organizations that make up the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association (OMSPA), an organization that represents maple syrup producers across the province.
As a membership-based organization LDMSPA supports its members by providing a forum to promote the production of maple syrup products, assisting members to stay current on changing industry regulations, and providing opportunities for networking, and education on the maple syrup industry in Ontario.

Registration for the Maple Syrup Beginner’s Workshop can be completed online at or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. While pre-registration is strongly recommended as space is limited, on-site registration will also be available between 8:15 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. on Sept. 30.

Cost for the event is $20 for OMSPA members, and $30 for non-members. Registrants who join OMSPA will receive the discounted price of $20. Registration fees include lunch during the event. For more information visit

Wednesday, 06 September 2017 13:53

Of Higher Hair and Education

September; the beginning of a new school year. It brings back memories. There were eighteen of us living in Gordon House that long-ago first year of Queen’s. Most of us were ‘freshettes’, the female equivalent of freshmen.
I was enrolled in four introductory courses and ‘Poets of the English Renaissance.’ This last was a fourth-year course where three of us freshettes had been tossed to fatten up the size of a class being offered by a “Recognized Canadian Poet”, the treasure of the English Department. He didn’t deign to acknowledge or learn the names of any of our little coven, sitting boldly together in the third row (though he did occasionally speak to the two first-year males).
The Feminine Mystique would not be published for two more years, so we three had no firm support for our puzzled indignation at being ignored. Fortunately the class material was fascinating, though the atmosphere was neither collegial nor welcoming. Eventually we squeaked through that course like most of our first-year courses; at the “B” level.

In any case, our heads were occupied with three other more obsessive “B’s” — Beehives, Bouffants and Backcombing. The latter being one of the mechanics by which the former two were accomplished. For someone like myself with fine straight hair, born seven or eight years too soon to be easily fashionable, this called for an array of backup paraphernalia and the ability to sleep on a head full of brush rollers.

Marilyn who lived on the third floor of Gordon House owned a rare portable hairdryer with a long hose which attached to a huge (to accommodate the rollers) crackly plastic hood. That hairdryer was heavily booked, usually for days ahead. And it was slow: Marilyn sometimes skipped first class, needing more time to dry her hair. I soon figured out that carbon-copied notes of those classes made good barter material for the hair dryer.

Like a troop of grooming simians, we Gordonites became skilled at backcombing each others hair; increasing its volume by tangling the under layers, then smoothing the top hair over the underlying scramble.
But the final step, the sine qua non of this carefully washed, curled, dried, bulked-up headpiece, was hairspray. It took a thick mosquito-clearing cloud of lacquer to cement such a confection in place. One would sit gasping for breath until the alcohol and other solvents had evaporated, indicating that the helmet was firmly set. A successful hairdo could last for several days, maybe a week, only slightly flattened here and there by sleeping.

I had grown up on a farm, almost an only child, and had spent thirteen years in Sydenham schools. It was Gordon House that marked the beginning of my initiation into the intricacies of the larger world.

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