| May 04, 2006


Feature Article - May 7, 2006

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Feature Article - May 7, 2006

Letters to theEditor

Acts of kindness

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An amazing experience happened to me, and my two elderly companions, on April 29, which has endeared Sharbot Lake to me forever. After leaving Ottawa early that morning, we were traveling westbound along Hwy 7, just west of Sharbot Lake Provincial Park , when a plug flew off my car engine, forcing me to pull off the road. A very kind gentleman, who was traveling behind me, pulled over to offer his assistance. He searched around the car and under the hood, trying to discover what might have happened. He offered me his cell phone whereupon I called the CAA. He worked at the Fish Hatchery and was on his way there when my predicament occurred. Very soon afterwards, another gentleman pulled over to see if we needed any help. He was a local firefighter and carpenter from Sharbot Lake . He too investigated the engine to see if there was anything he could do and told us he wouldn't leave until the CAA truck arrived. A little while later, a police officer arrived and pulled over to investigate, advising us that he would stay with us until we were safely on our way. When the CAA truck arrived, the driver offered to take us into Belleville to ensure that there would be a mechanic who could repair the damage and help us get that much closer to Toronto , our destination.The kindheartedness and genuine concern demonstrated by all of these people, was absolutely heartwarming. It is extremely reassuring to know that there are some very kind people who live in the lovely community of Sharbot Lake . This experience has given me, and my companions, a renewed sense of well-being. I don't know the names of our "guardian angels", but would like them to know that we are most grateful and appreciative for their display of kindness that day.

-Mrs. Lilla Tee-WardCar wash in Hartington?

This is one car wash I, as a resident of the area, would NEVER frequent. As the author of the April 27th letter pointed out, washing a car is not a necessity, and certainly not worth ruining the pastoral setting around Hartington. A 7-bay car wash with lights blazing 24 hours a day would be about the worst eyesore I can imagine. Given the impending water problems it might/would create, I hope council doesn't even consider this proposal. Even if someone can guarantee the water supply will be sufficient and will not affect the surrounding properties, I hope council will consider the improbable success of such a venture.

I assume most people on their way to or from their places of employment south of the area would be dressed inappropriately for washing their vehicles. For this reason, I never use this type of car wash, even when they are in suitable areas.

Bottom line - add my name to the list of those who think this is basically a bad idea!

- Barb McLarenOpen letter to Central Frontenac council:Does amalgamation work?

I am a captain with the Mountain Grove Fire Department and I respond regularly to both fire and medical emergencies. As a teacher at Land o’ Lakes Public School next door to the hall, I am able to be available to the area virtually all the time. It seems that since the townships were forced to amalgamate, several ongoing problems have been developing within our emergency services. I would like to express the great disappointment and frustration I have felt since reading the article entitled "Crumbling fire hall needs replacing" in the Frontenac News on April 27.

It appears to me that the emergency service's needs in the Mountain Grove Area, "District #2", are, once again, being ignored. I do not dispute that the Sharbot Lake fire hall needs replacing. However, the fire hall in Mountain Grove has required urgent replacement or reconstruction for several years. For years money has been held back from Mountain Grove's operating budget in order to have our building's problems finally dealt with. On September 2, 2004, at a meeting in Mountain Grove, "council assured the firefighters that the money already set aside in the budget for the project would be kept in reserve and perhaps added to" (Land o' Lakes Newsweb, J. Brison). Mountain Grove firefighters then built a single bay "temporary hall" with volunteer labour, and even finished it off using our Volunteer Association's fund-raising dollars. We were given very clear, and repeated, assurances by Mark MacDonald, our Chief, that this building was intended to be used to get through just one winter. We were told our new hall would be built the following year, and the construction we had built would be used for township storage and to replace the skating rink's decrepit change room. There have been several plans and site locations under discussion and it appeared that the sad state of our hall was finally going to be dealt with.

I wonder why the Mountain Grove station seems to have been forgotten by Mark MacDonald. I would like to see what the consultant who stated the Sharbot Lake hall is unsafe has to say about the Mountain Grove hall, and I would like to know why he was not asked to inspect our hall as well.

Since amalgamation, we had a Fire-Services Coordinator appointed, and now a chief who has control over our budget and finances. Decision making and power is now centralized and if you are not from Sharbot Lake , it seems you are quite forgettable. For us to obtain basic, much needed fire equipment such as batteries, radio antennas, hose, or nozzles, we often go through rather vague informal procedures such as asking the members of Sharbot Lake if they have any extra items around that they can spare. On the other hand, we receive very expensive items such as breathing masks with radio amplifiers (at the cost of about $1,000 each) which we did not request, or particularly need, purchased out of our budget without our consultation. Poor communication causing wasted time and money as well as missed opportunities for training is a constant frustration.

We have been repeatedly told that we will very soon have opportunity for truck driver training. Well, very soon was a long time ago. The last officer's course offered about laws and regulations had no room for officers from Mountain Grove. The ongoing shared interdepartmental training sessions promised more than a year ago have not even begun to occur.

I would also like to point out that very shortly after amalgamation occurred, new fire trucks were purchased for every station except Mountain Grove. We had just bought a new truck with virtually every dollar coming from our fund-raising efforts, not from taxes. If the former Olden Township had been treated fairly at that point, we could have easily constructed a decent hall at a cost similar to what the other departments were given for their new vehicles.

Mountain Grove is located in the most central part of the county. Equipment and personnel located here can respond rapidly to all four districts. Excuses and promises become very old. Motivated and keen new recruits are hard to attract and retain, while long term dedicated members become disheartened due to unfair treatment.

- Norman Guntenspeger, Mountain Grove

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