Jeff Green

Jeff Green

Among local councils, Addington Highlands has been the most pro-active over cannabis regulations.

This is, at least in part, because the township was notified by residents several months ago that two separate growing operations were up and running within its borders. One of them is an open-air plantation, and the other appears to be a greenhouse operation that is just getting going.

The township heard about one of the operations from a resident who expressed a concern over the smell.

After making inquiries to the OPP and the federal government, the township found out that the operations are federally regulated medical marijuana operations. Not only does the township have no jurisdiction over them, but the federal government will not even respond to requests for information.

“The only group that has any control over medical marijuana is the government of Canada,” said Reeve Henry Hogg. “I don’t mind saying I find this rather frustrating.”

Council met this week in a special session to talk about cannabis retailing, and once again they found their options are rather limited.

“We have the ability to opt in or opt out,” said Hogg, “but if we opt in, we can’t pass any kind of zoning restrictions. The stores, which must be free standing, also need to be located 150 metres away from a school or a community centre, but we can’t impose any other limitations on numbers or on location. Any commercial location is available.”

The township will be receiving $5,000 to cover added costs related to cannabis, and if it says yes to cannabis retailing it will receive another $5,000 next year and will be eligible for funding in future years.

If the township says no, it can say yes later on, but once it says yes it can never rescind that approval

And any jurisdiction that turns down cannabis retailing before the January 22 deadline, may also be forfeiting eligibility for further funding.

“The Province is setting aside $10 million of the municipal funding to address costs from unforeseen circumstances related to the legalisation of recreational cannabis, and priority will be given to municipalities that have not opted-out. Further details will be provided at a later date,” said Ontario Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, in a letter to municipalities on November 20.

A week later, the Deputy Ontario Finance Minister Greg Orencsak sent a letter to municipal treasurers containing further details about municipal funding. The total amount of provincial funding has been set at $40 million, to be doled out over 2 years. Orencsak’s letter underlined that municipalities that opt out will be forfeiting provincial money.

“If a municipality has opted-out of hosting private retail stores in accordance with the Cannabis License Act, it will receive a maximum of $5,000. Please note that if a municipality opts-out by January 22, 2019, and opts back in at a later date, that municipality will not be eligible for additional funding,” said Orencsak.

The money that will ultimately be allocated from the $40 million fund, is restricted to specific uses as well. It can only be used for increased enforcement costs, increased responses to public inquiries, increased paramedic or fire services, or bylaw/policy development.

At their meeting this week, Addington Highlands Council decided to consult the public before making a decision on the matter. They will be holding public meetings, one in at the Flinton Recreation Centre at 6:30pm on Monday, January 8, and another at the Denbigh Hall at 6:30pm on Wednesday, January 10th.

North Frontenac Council will be discussing their position on Cannabis retailing at their meeting later this week.

Municipalities are not required to consider the question of Cannabis retailing in detail. The opt out option is the only one that requires municipal action. Municipalities that do not act will automatically opt in.

The North Frontenac Little Theatre Production of The Red Plaid Shirt, by Ontario based playwright Greg Wilmott, was a solid production of a play that explores a topical subject: how male baby boomers handle retirement and how that affects their relationships with their wives.

The play centres around two couples, but the central role is that of Marty, who was played convincingly by Greg Morris. Marty is a newly retired English teacher who does not know what to do with himself, and his sense of ennui provides the impetus for the comedic plot twists that propel the action. Of the other three characters, Marty’s wife Deb, played in a suitably befuddled manner by Sharon Rodden, has the most to do. Her transition to retirement seems to have been seamless, but reacting to Marty’s new neediness throws her off balance, forcing her to ultimately adjust her own lifestyle somewhat.

Marty’s friend, Fred (the always comical John Stephens) is an already retired accountant, whose transition to retirement enabled him to pursue his own peculiar hobby, hypochondria. Meanwhile, Fred’s wife, Gladys, played with a mixture of frustration and irony by Kelly Meckling, would like to more with her life than listen to Fred’s ever-expanding list of ailments. Gladys also serves as a sympathetic ear to Deb. Fred does his best, whenever he takes a break from his obsession with the possibility that he could perish at any moment from some unusual ailment, to help Marty get through his state of unease.

Marty thinks the solution to his funk is to buy a motorcycle and hit the open road. Deb is fearful that Marty is being reckless and will get hurt, since he has never been on a motorcycle, and also feels left behind. She encourages Marty to try wood working with Fred before doing anything foolish. Gladys would like to see Fred be more active, and would also like him to focus on more than his own health. Wood shop doesn’t go that well since both Fred and Marty lack skill and interest, but when Fred comes up with a project that really speaks to home: making a coffin, the plot of the play is able to spin out from there.

In the end, the characters all change in a way that is consistent with their own goals, and the two couples are set off on a new path. The production itself played up the humour in The Red Plaid Shirt, and the ensemble acting made the relationships between the two couples ring true.

Although the play has a decided urban, privileged class bias (most retired or semi-retired men in Frontenac County don’t need to run out and buy a red plaid shirt and many have money worries as well as concerns over what to do with themselves when they wake up in the morning) it still touches on some realities that resonated well with the audience on Saturday night (December 1) when I saw it.

The play marked a return to directing from long time Little Theatre mainstay Pam Giroux, who last directed a production about 30 years ago, but has been on stage dozens of times since then in a variety of roles and is also serving as NFLT President this year. Under her direction, the versatile set by Carol Pepper and Steve Scantlebury allowed for relatively quick transitions between scenes, with simple props creating a café, a woodshop and even a life drawing class, while the central location of the action, Marty and Deb’s Living Room, remained in place.

The Little Theatre’s spring 2019 production will be the new musical, The Boy Wonder, which is set in New York in the 1930’s. It was written by long time NFLT lighting director Jeff Siamon, with songs from the great American songbook, by the likes of Irving Berlin and George Gershwin.  The casting call for that production will come in the new year.

Members of NFLT and interested community members are invited to a Public meeting held at the United Church Hall in Sharbot Lake on Tuesday December 11 at 7 p.m. We will be brainstorming ideas for our celebration year starting January 2019.

Long a critic of the local conservation authorities, going back to his pre-government days with the Ontario Landowners Association, MPP Randy Hillier is now taking steps to try and curtail some of the activities of both the Mississippi Valley (MVCA) and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authorities (RVCA).

Last week, he sent a letter to Rod Phillips, the Minister of Environment, Conservation, and Parks, which talked about his “growing concerns with the activities” of the two authorities.

“Unfortunately, I have to question the viability retaining these Conservation Authorities in their current form,” he wrote.  

He takes the position that the two authorities do a poor job satisfying their core mandate, to manage dams on local lakes and keep water levels within acceptable parameters, and to “oversee development in floodplains and proximity to provincially significant wetlands”.

He said that both the MVCA and RVCA have “increased their focus on expanding consulting services while neglecting their core responsibilities”

He urges the minister to repeal the section of the Conservation Authority Act which allows conservation authorities to enter into contractual relationships with local municipalities to provide a range of services, including septic inspection services among others.

Hillier also sent the letter to local municipalities, including North and Central Frontenac, requesting a motion of support to be forwarded to the minister.

The letter sites three cases in which, according to Hillier, the authorities provided poorly conceived technical review services in their consultant role for municipalities that led to delays and increased costs for developers.

The MVCA and RVCA issued a joint response to MPP Hillier’s letter on Monday, November 26. The response, which was sent to the local townships says the authorities “would be pleased to respond” to the specific assertions made in the letter, offering to appear before Council to do so. It then goes on to provide an overview of the services that the two Authorities provide and the legal and contractual basis they operate under.

The letter points out that the services provide a level of expertise to municipalities that “can lead to cost-efficiencies, streamlined delivery and better service for applicants and the environment.”

The response also says that “providing additional services to municipalities with respect to planning and development does not take significant resources away from other conservation authority priorities as fees are collected from applicants to cover, or to offset the cost of these services.”

Randy Hillier’s letter to Minister Phillips made reference to one specific case that is relevant to North Frontenac, dealing with the K&P Trail.

“As a recent example, when concerns about much needed repairs to the K&P Trail were brought to my attention, my staff was advised by the MVCA that there was no money to do the necessary repairs because the budget had been spent litigating a claim against the MVCA.”

Paul Lehman is the Manager of the MVCA, a job he has held since 1989. He will be retiring early in 2019. In an interview early this week, he addressed some of the points made by Randy Hillier in his letter. In particular, he was asked about the K&P Trail case.

He said that the MVCA owns about a 40km section of the trail, running from just north of Snow Road in North Frontenac, and east through Lanark and into Renfrew County. The section of trail was owned by the Province of Ontario, under the authority of the Ministry of Agriculture. The MVCA first got involved in maintenance on behalf of the Ministry in the 1980’s. The trail was transferred to MVCA in the early 1990’s and for the first few years the province provided some financial support for maintenance, a situation that ended in 1996.

“From that point on we have maintained the trail as a recreational trail, working with the snowmobile associations and the Ottawa Valley ATV Club to keep it going. We only have limited resources devoted to it, about $5,000 per year,” said Lehman.

The authority was indeed approached by a landowner on the trail this summer with concerns over flooding, Lehman said.

“The landowner was using the trail to access to their property. We only deal with the trail as a recreational trail, not as an access road.  We did have a local contractor look at the culverts in that location, and they were not crushed but were blocked and we had them cleared, but that is all we can do,” Lehman said. “It is not in our mandate to maintain a trail for access to a neighbouring property, only as a recreational resource.”

There has been a legal case along the trail, near the border between Lanark and Frontenac County for a number of years, Lehman added.

“That is a case where a neighbouring landowner encroached on the trail, and the MVCA initiated a court case. We needed establish our ownership of the land, which did cost a fair bit of money. The case is settled, pending a survey, and we had to use our general funds to cover the legal costs.” Lehman said.

When the Hillier letter came up at North Frontenac Council last week, a proposed motion of support was deferred. When it came up at Central Frontenac Council this week, it was defeated.

The Mississippi-Rideau Septic System Office, which is jointly managed by MVCA and RVCA, provides septic re-inspection services for the voluntary inspection program, on lakefront properties in North Frontenac. The same office will be delivering the mandatory inspection program in Central Frontenac. It also provides all septic inspections, for new and existing properties, in Tay Valley. Inspections for new construction in Central and North Frontenac are provided by the Kingston Frontenac Public Health Unit.

The Ontario Local Appeals Tribunal (LPAT) has given Frontenac based developer Terry Grant, subject to a set of conditions, approval to develop a 12-hectare parcel of land in the hamlet of Hartington into a 13 lot subdivision.

The Hartington Subdivision project was first proposed in 2013. At that time the plan was to build a 49 lot subdivision, within and to the south of the hamlet.

Local opposition to the project surfaced from the start, mostly centred on concerns over water supply and drainage in the vicinity, and the planning process dragged on.

The planning issues have been further complicated because Frontenac County is responsible for subdivision approval, but South Frontenac Township is responsible for the necessary zoning amendment changes.

In the summer of 2015, in response to community concerns, the application was amended, becoming a much smaller, 13 lot proposal, all within the hamlet area. After a series of delays, some having to do with the potential impacts on the building site from contaminated ground under a former gas station located close to Hartington, Terry Grant decided to launch an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board. The appeal was launched against both the township and the county in early 2017 on the grounds that the process had taken longer than prescribed in provincial law.

Subsequent to launching the appeal, the county has provided draft approval for the project, but the township, over the objection of its own planning department, rejected the application for a zoning bylaw amendment.

The whole process has outlasted the Ontario Municipal Board, which has morphed into the LPAT. The LPAT hearing took place in May of 2017. Representatives from Frontenac County, South Frontenac Township, the developer, and the Hartington Community Association (the citizens group that opposes the proposal) all had standing in the hearing.

A series of engineering consultants reports from the proponents and opponents, as well as peer reviews of those reports that were ordered by the township and the county, were presented to the LPAT panel, and lawyers and planners for the various parties also presented evidence.

The decision took 18 months to be delivered. In the end the ruling was clear. The draft plan of subdivision is approved, and the township has been ordered to amend its zoning bylaw in accordance with that approval.

When contacted this week, developer Terry Grant said that he “is pleased with the decision”. He added that he will be releasing a written statement about the matter in the near future (which will be published in the Frontenac News).

In explaining the decision, LPAT panel member M. Sills referred to one of the key expert witnesses for the Hartington Citizens Coalition, the hydrogeologist Wilf Ruland, who raised concerns about water quality and quantity in the vicinity of the new subdivision, the impact of new wells on an already compromised aquifer, and the potential for contamination from the former gas station.

“The issues/concerns advanced by Mr. Ruland indisputably give cause for apprehension,” said Mr. Sills. “However, while unyielding in his challenge and criticisms of the work and

opinions of the other hydrogeological experts, Mr. Ruland has not produced

any tangible evidence to support his own contentions. He has not been on the property

and he has not undertaken any actual site investigative work or performed any testing.

“The Tribunal notes that many of the concerns/issues raised in the evidence of

Mr. Ruland were addressed in the evidence/reports/data provided by other expert

witnesses, or will be addressed through the Conditions of Draft Plan Approval. In some

cases, the investigative work completed actually invalidates assumptions made by Mr.

Ruland.”

Finally, Sills concluded that the water issues in the subject property are not insurmountable.

“In this case, the best-available technical evidence that has been placed before the Tribunal indicates that the supply demands for quality drinking water can be met, and that appropriate stormwater management measures are available. The Tribunal is satisfied that sufficient water quality and quantity investigation and stormwater management study has been advanced to warrant the granting of conditional Draft Plan Approval.”

Newly re-elected South Frontenac Mayor Ron Vandewal, who voted in favour of the plan of subdivision when it came to a vote at Frontenac County, even though his own South Frontenac Township Council had decided not to support it, said he was also pleased with the decision.

“This is good news for the township. It also shows that our planning department gave us good advice when they recommended that we approve the zoning and support the subdivision application to the county,” he said. “The new council will need to get to work on our Official Plan update in order to try and avoid these kinds of situations from coming up in the future.”

With the 13 lot subdivision now approved, the option exists for Terry Grant to dust off his plans for further development in Hartington.

He still owns the 32 hectare parcel south of the hamlet which he had been planning to develop when all this started back in 2013.

In other South Frontenac related news, another contentious development issue might be winding down, the Johnston Point Plan of Condominium in Storrington District on a shallow bay of Loughborough Lake.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has issued an “Overall Benefit” permit after the developer, Magenta Corporation, providing offsets for the impacts of the development on the habitat of threatened species, the Grey Ratsnake and the Blandings Turtle.

That might be the final bureaucratic hurdle for that 18 lot project, 15 of which are part of the land use condominium while 3 were pre-existing. 6 of the lots have already been provisionally sold in what is being marketed by Magenta as an “exclusive waterfront community” , pending final planning approval.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018 10:27

Homelessness survey in Frontenac County

Back in April, staff from the City of Kingston oversaw two distinct processes which were designed to provide a snap shot of the scope of the homelessness reality in the City of Kingston and in Frontenac County.

In Kingston, City staff worked with the United Way, who oversaw a one-night Point in Time (PiC) of homeless Kingstonians. They counted people in shelters and in locations where homeless people tend to sleep, using all the skills of the social service workers and others who work in the field, to come up with as much information about numbers of people and other details.

“Obviously,” said Ruth Noordegraaf, Manager-Housing and Childcare “you can’t go around Frontenac County in one night looking for homeless people, so we used a different method.

Over a two-week period from April 9-20, in collaboration with Southern Frontenac Community Services, Rural Frontenac Community Services, and Addiction and Mental Health Services KFL&A, local social service staff administered an enumeration survey during regular interactions with clients.

In the rural area, homeless individuals and households are more likely to be living with friends or family or in shelters which are not intended for long-term accommodation (e.g. recreational vehicles, hunt camps, cabins, etc.)

Surveys were done in 2013 and in 2016, using the definition of homelessness in the Canadian Observatory of Homelessness, “those whose accommodation is temporary or lacks security or tenure” which would typically include those “couch-surfing” with friends or family or other forms of housing that is unstable or inappropriate for long-term accommodation. The 2013 survey determined there were 54 homeless people in Frontenac County, and the number in 2016 was 30.

Although the 2018 number, 61, was higher, Noordegraaf does not look at the number comparisons as very useful in this case.

“The lower number in 2016 does not mean that it is necessarily on the increase, it could be because our process is getting better,” she said.

In fact, Noordegraaf thinks continuing improvement in surveying for homelessness in Frontenac County could mean that it will continue to be difficult to compare one era to another, but the value of the information that is gathered by the survey is significant nonetheless.

“Some of the detail in the report will feed into the review we are currently undertaking,” she said. The City of Kingston embarked on a ten year homelessness prevention strategy for the City of Kingston and the County of Frontenac five years ago, and is now involved in the 5 year review of that ten year plan,” she said.

The 61 people who self identified as homeless in 2018 represent 37 households. 15 are dependent children, 54% of the respondents are men, 46% are women, and 16% are youth between 16 and 24 years old. Just over half of the families, 51%, cited social assistance as their primary source of income. And 81% said that a lack of income is a barrier to securing permanent housing.

17 of the 37 homeless families in the survey (46%), identified themselves as First Nations of Indigenous descent. In the 2016 census, 5% of respondents in Frontenac County identified themselves as indigenous. However, as the release concerning the homelessness survey points out, “it is important to note that Indigenous individuals are usually under-represented in census counts.” Nonetheless, 46% is a high percentage.

Perhaps less surprising is the finding that 81% of the families identified the presence of a mental health issue in their family. 35% identified an addiction, 37% a physical disability and 43% a chronic or acute medical condition.

None of the respondents said they were immigrants or refugees, but almost 1/3 of the families said they had moved to Frontenac County within the last year.

At the turn of the millennium, if you stumbled into a pub in Ottawa on St. Patrick’s Day or most any Friday night, you may have seen and heard the Riverthieves. At that time they were an “Ottawa Valley and East Coast style party band, sort of a Great Big Sea Sound” said Finley Mullally, one of the band’s founding members. The band has always been a part time enterprise for the members, who have had other careers, and after a few years, they began writing together, and slipping original songs into their performances.

One of the band, Devon Matsalla, is a full time member of the Canadian Armed Forces, and Mullally is in the reserves. They both went to Afghanistan in 2009 for a tour of duty, and Matsalla later went there a second time. Other members of the band have military experience as well.

The band has become more committed, over the last couple of years, to writing, recording and performing original material. When they decided to record their first studio album, enough time had passed after Afghanistan for Mullally and Matsalla to be ready to reflect on their experiences in music. The themes made their way into Soldiers, the album they released this year.

They will be performing on Saturday Night (November 24) at the Circle Theatre in Perth (26 Craig Street – the road to Smiths Falls) at 7:30pm.

The show is the final one in the band’s Remembrance Day/Album Release Tour in support of Soldiers. “Our setlist for these shows will draw heavily on our original songs that we released earlier this year”, says Devon, who plays pipes, whistles, keyboards and EWI. “These were written and composed after Finn and I got back from tour and had a chance to think about what we did and make some sense of it all.”

The band released Soldier in May. Its ten tracks are all original.

“Folks coming out won’t find things too sombre, though,” cautions Devon. “We’ll do a few reflective pieces for sure, but Finn and I have been soldiering our whole lives and most of it spent in the company of good friends, working hard and having good times. A military career is tough but satisfying with lots to celebrate.”

One of the songs on the album provides a glimpse into the heightened reality that was the life for Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.

It is called Mats Sundin’s Tears. It describes a night when soldiers at the base were watching a Maple Leafs game at the base on the night when Mats Sundin scored his 500th goal. Later that same night two soldiers, Darcy Tedford and Blake Williamson, were killed in the field. Other songs talk about the impact of war and still others about camaraderie.

After this week’s concert, Riverthieves are planning to begin another writing cycle, towards the release of a new album.

“I like the idea that we work in themes. The next one will likely be about family. We’ve all had experiences to draw upon, of course, so we should have something to reflect on.

Tickets to the Riverthieves show will be available at the door and are available online at Riverthieves.com/shows

Wednesday, 21 November 2018 10:26

The Nativities are in the building

Early on Tuesday afternoon, a tired Jean Freeman had just arrived back home when we reached her on the phone.

“How’s the set up going.” I asked her.

“All done,” she said.

A group of 8 women spent all day Monday unpacking over 300 Nativity Scenes, and started placing them on shelving and tables that they had set up over the weekend. Working with Nativities that came from around the corner, and around the world, they carefully placed them so they would make an inviting display for the crowds who will be coming to see them on Friday evening, and Saturday and Sunday afternoon this week.

“Four of us were back this morning finishing up the display and we got it all done. Now we wait until Friday,” Jean said.

Jean Freeman, with her partners Kris Caird and Cindy McMahon, has been at the centre of 101 Nativities since it was established 9 years ago. The group gets together in September each year to start planning. They add more Nativities each year and each year the attendance tends to go up as well. The event now draws about 250 people. It is all free, and some of the best refreshments anywhere are served for free as well. Children also have an opportunity to work on their own Nativities in the craft room, while their parents have a chance to take a careful look at the displays.

“I think a lot of people enjoy it and make it the start of their Christmas season. They look forward to it” said Jean.

The Cole Lake Free Methodist Church is located at 8 White Lake Road (at Road 38). It runs on Friday, November 23 from 6:30pm-8:30pm, and Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 23 and 24) from 1pm-3pm.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018 10:55

Remembrance Day in Verona

A few short years ago, the Remembrance Day ceremony in Verona was almost shifted to Prince Charles Public School from the Cenotaph at Mcmullen Park, but the insistence and the efforts of a small group of people kept the ceremony in the Park. There was a meeting at the cenotaph around the first of November that year. A half a dozen people were at the meeting, discussing where to hold the service, and there was some arguing before a consensus emerged to keep it at the cenotaph.

There were not that many people at the ceremony that year, but every year since then the assembly has grown. This year was the largest ever, marking the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1. The Girl Scouts were on hand, singing. Local clergy, fresh from a combined religious service at the Free Methodist Church, were there as well, as was MP Scott Reid representing the government of Canada, choosing Verona over the dozens of services he could have attended throughout the sprawling Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston riding that he represents.

A large contingent of military and ex-military were also there, forming a long line-up at the end of the ceremony to place their poppies on the wreaths in front of the Cenotaph. By the time the lone piper departed the scene, signalling the end of the ceremony, the cold November air and sombre tone of the service had relented just a bit.

Just about everyone who had been at that meeting a few years ago was on hand, playing their part in making the ceremony such a tribute to the veterans, and the local community.

Wednesday, 07 November 2018 11:17

Hanging up his cleaver

After 30 years in the meat department at the Trousdale’s Foodland store in Sydenham, Laurie Ross is hanging up his meat cleaver on November 18th.

Laurie had not intended to retire any time soon.

“I had figured I would be working at least another dozen or so years,” Laurie said, when interviewed in the store lunch room last week during his break, “but everything changed with the diagnosis.”

That diagnosis came two years ago. Laurie had been feeling some weakness in his left hand and wrist, and didn’t know what was causing it. He has always been very active in sports, and is also a gym rat, going to Elements Fitness in Sydenham between 3 and 5 days a week to work out. Even though he cut meat with his right hand, the weakness was starting to get in the way at the gym and on the field.

“A friend mine at the gym suggested that I check it out because it could indicate more serious problems, so I went to the doctor. The doctor said it was motor neuron disease. I think that was because he knew I didn’t want me to hear it was ALS right away, but that is what it is, and that is what we have been dealing with.”

ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is the most common type of motor neuron disease. It is also sometimes referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the baseball player who had been known as the “Iron Horse” because he set a record playing 2,130 consecutive baseball games without missing a single one due to injury, before developing symptoms.

There is no cure for ALS, and no exact cause has been determined either, and the prognosis for those who have it is dire. Few live more than 5 years after symptoms develop, although some do live more than 10 years.

“Over the last two years we have learned to live day by day, and while it is hard for Laurie to stop working, it is time” said Andrea (Andy) Ross, Laurie’s wife of 30 years, and the mother of their two daughters, Megan and Kelsey. Andrea is the store manager at one of the Kingston Beer Store locations and Megan and Kelsey also work in Kingston.

Laurie’s departure will be keenly felt at the Foodland store.

In 1988, Laurie was working at Bennett’s in East Kingston as a meat cutter when he was offered a position at the new Trousdale’s grocery store in Sydenham, which had been open for a few months at that time.

“It was a chance to work close to home, and I took it and have never regretted it,” he said.

It was also not the first time he had worked for the Trousdale family, having worked when he was younger at Trousdale’s General Store for before he went on to become a licensed butcher.

When he arrived at the new store, it was like coming home, and one of the people who was already there was Sherri Horton, who he had worked with at the General Store years earlier.

“I always tell that I’ve been here longer,” said Sherri, who came to the store when it opened in March of 1988 “because he didn’t get here until November of ‘88”.

To say Sherri, who is the Deli manager at the store, will miss her friend Laurie, is an under-statement.

“He’s been here every day, for all these years, quietly serving customers whenever they needed something special. He’s been there for everyone, staff and customers alike. I don’t think he ever thought of himself as someone who would need help from others, he’s always been the one helping. I’ll miss his very dry sense of humour, but mostly not having him around the store everyday will be a change for me, for all of us. We’re going to see him, of course, this is a small town and we all live in the same community, but it will be different in the store,” she said.

“One of the good things about working in Sydenham, where our daughters went to High School, and where we went to High School also, is that he never missed any of their competitions when they were students, and got to play a lot of sports as well,” said Andrea Ross.

Laurie played touch football in the Kingston League for many years, and played rugby and what they now call Y-ball at the Kingston Y (they sued to call it Murder Ball). In addition to that he always worked out.

“That’s one of the strange things. I was in better shape than I had been in years when this all started,” he said.

Typical of the commitment of the local community, Laurie’s diagnosis has made a difference for the Kingston chapter of the ALS Society. At the annual Walks for ALS a large contingent from Sydenham, wearing matching t-shirts, is now a regular feature.

After the 18th of November (he will keep working until then so the current meat manager, and avid hunter, can get his two weeks in the bush) Laurie will be taking it easy at home, with the support of his family, and his Trousdale family as well.

“We’re not going to leave him be,” said Sherri Horton. “We know where he lives, and if he needs anything, we will make sure to get it to him.”

On Friday, November 16, customers and friends will have an opportunity to mark the end of Laurie’s time at Trousdale’s. There is a drop-in scheduled from 11am-3pm and there will be cake for everyone who stops by, as well as an opportunity to visit, and reminisce.

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.

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