Reeve Henry Hogg, MP Scott Reid, Roads Superintendent Royce Rosenblath and councillors Louise Scott and Eythel Grant are all smiles over $556,850 infrastructure money.
“So where should we do the photo this time?” asked Lanark Frontenac Lennox and Addington MP Scott Reid when everyone was gathered at the Addington Highlands township office in the basement of the Flinton Recreation Centre.
Reid presented a ceremonial cheque a few weeks ago in Flinton, and has been presenting cheques regularly over the past month in towns all across the three-county riding that he represents.
“The last time I think we took the photo in front of the Red Pines; let’s try that bench, and we’ll do the other one at the outdoor rink,” he said.
The cheque presentation had been organized in order to mark the $556,850 that has been promised to cover the federal and provincial governments’ contributions towards the Matawatchan Road in the north end of the township, and for work on the Denbigh works garage as well. The money comes from the Build Canada fund.
Those grants were announced a couple of weeks ago, but the big news on this day was a new grant, so new that Scott Reid and his assistant Mike Firth didn’t even have a cheque ready for it. This one is a recreation grant from a fund called the RInC fund, and it is a $124,000 federal contribution, to be matched by the Province of Ontario and the township, towards a coverall roof for the Flinton ice rink, which is located next to the Flinton Recreation Centre.
Members of the Flinton Recreation Committee were on hand to thank Scott Reid for that commitment.
Addington Highlands is one of two townships to receive RInC funding, but none of the Frontenac townships’ applications to the fund were successful.
Heavy snow, ice and the recent January thaw have wreaked havoc to a number of buildings and homes in the region. The Golden Links Hall in Harrowsmith was one building that has suffered, and as result two functions that were scheduled to take place there had to be canceled.
Debbie Green, who is the Vice Grand of the Rebekah Lodge Branch 358 and also secretary of the Golden Links Hall Committee, said that she became aware of a problem on January 10 after a couple of hall members arrived to take out the recycling.
“They arrived to find the small meeting rooms, the cloak room and the storage room all flooded. There was about 3-4 inches of water on the floor in those areas and my understanding is that the flooding occurred as result of the ice storm that took place earlier this month," she said.
The storm caused an ice dam on the roof above those sections of the building, which caused water to leak through the roof vents as the ice and snow began to thaw. Luckily the main hall of the building and the lodge room off of it were not damaged.
Green said that on the following Monday, Service Master, a water damage company from Kingston, was called out to assess the situation. They estimated the damage at $20,000. While the company reported no structural damage to the roof or building, all of the carpeting, drywall and ceiling tiles had to removed in the affected areas and will be replaced in the next few weeks. The company has installed numerous industrial-strength dryers to dry out the flooded areas, which Green said would take close a week. This must be done prior to the installation of the new materials.
Green said the repairs come at a terrible time since the hydro and heating bills at the hall will still need to be paid, but she did say they are thankful that the damage was not worse and that insurance coverage will pay for all of damages.
That being said, however, the revenue that would have been generated from the two canceled fundraising functions - the beef supper that was scheduled for Jan. 19, and the bingo that was scheduled for Jan. 21 - will be sorely missed.
Debbie Green hopes to be able to schedule some additional fundraisers to make up for the loss. She is hoping that the reconstruction will be complete by March 1, in time for the Oddfellows' Branch 306 120th anniversary celebration, which is scheduled for that day.
Green has been a member of the Rebekahs for 30 years and on the hall committee for the past 10 years. She said that she does not recall ever having to cancel a function in the hall's 40-year history, nor does she recall the building ever being damaged in any way before.
She thanks the community for their patience and understanding in this matter and said she hopes to see everyone at their next beef supper, which will take place on February16 from 4-6:30pm. The regular youth dances and ballroom dancing lessons will continue as scheduled at the hall.
Jared Salmond, a Grade 12 student at North Addington Education Centre, won the OFSAA Character Athlete Award on December 10. The award is sponsored by the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations and is given to a male and female high school athlete each semester. Over the past two years, Jared has been a member of NAEC Senior Boys’ Volleyball team. This year the team had its most successful year in recent memory, finishing fourth in Bay of Quinte and third in COSSA, narrowly missing out on an OFSAA chance. Jared was selected as a winner for the award because of his demonstration of OFSAA’s values of leadership, commitment, respect, equity, growth, and development.
Jared, selected by his peers for the past two seasons to serve as team captain, has always acted in a positive manner both on and off the court. On top of volleyball, last year Jared help start an intramural program for NAEC elementary students and helped with secondary intramurals as well. In the past, Jared has helped with the North Addington Basketball Association and with the North Addington SPIKES program. Outside of school Jared is an instructor with the Mazinaw Lake Swim Program. In all of Jared’s endeavours, he positively demonstrates the core character values outlined by OFSAA.
Good things happen when community groups and organizations link up. That has been the case over the last year with participants in New Leaf Link (NeLL), a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to the community inclusion of adults with developmental disabilities. NeLL offers their students a special education program that includes functional skills and literacy, arts and crafts, and health and recreation programming in the local community.
Dr. Karin Steiner, who is the organization's founder and executive director, connected with Marilyn Picard, owner of the AMHO U Fitness gym in Sydenham over a year ago, and since then Marilyn has been running Power Fit and Qigong classes at the gym every Thursday for NeLL students.
On December 8 she and her group of senior Iron Maidens, a group of 28 women who range in age from 47 to 83 and work out regularly with Marilyn at the gym, banded together to hold a special fundraiser there for NeLL. The event included a special Qigong presentation, following which guests and participants purchased copious amounts of baked goods, all baked and donated by the senior Iron Maidens. Marilyn said that Qigong, which is an ancient martial art, is an especially great exercise for all ages. “The word Qigong literally means 'breath work' and the whole idea is to accumulate and circulate energy in the body so that people can heal,” Marilyn explained. She said that she has seen incredible changes in NeLL participants especially as a result of the Qigong classes. One NeLL participant, Amy, who entered the gym on the first day of classes with a walker, has reportedly greatly improved her balance and her confidence. Jo Lyon, a volunteer with NeLL, said that Amy now runs unassisted and shows an improved sense of balance, well being, and overall confidence. “There is definitely something about being here that makes Amy's balance so much better.”
Karin Steiner, whose son Nicholas has autism, is also a NeLL student who takes part in the gym classes. Steiner said Nicolas now is imitating people much more readily. “He watches Marilyn and the Iron Maidens and does the exercises on his own and he really enjoys it. I can feel just how happy it makes him to be part of this. “ Regarding the program at the gym Steiner said, “This is just one prong of our program, the physical exercise portion and it really helps with the whole program because physical wellness leads to wellness in other areas”. Marilyn said the practice of Qigong really calms the NeLL participants and releases stress. "You can see the change as soon as I put the Qigong music on,” she said.
Steiner said that she and her volunteers will often do the Qigong breathing exercises regularly with the students at their regular location at St. Paul's Anglican church in Sydenham. “We use the Qigong exercises as a transition tool and also when students become anxious.”
NeLL is now in its fifth year of operation and currently has eight students enrolled in the program. Steiner said that NeLL has been able to continue to evolve as a result of finding community partners like Marilyn and the Iron Maidens. Marilyn said that she is very pleased to offer her support to NeLL as a way to give back to the organization and the community. For more information visit www.newleaflink.ca
On December 6, "Frosty Friday" was held at North Addington Education Centre. The secondary students participated in a fun-filled day of activities, like tug-of-war, "Minute to win it," and NAEC’s "Next Top Model." The high school was divided into four house groups; N, A, E, and C, and competed against each other for the honour of winning the title of best house.
The day started off with a pancake breakfast provided by the school to the elementary and secondary students. After eating, the houses split up to work on their house cheer until going off to one of four different activities. The activities were short competitions for each house individually. They competed in "Minute to win it," "Molding minds", three-legged race, and six-person skiing. After a break for lunch, the houses cheered themselves on in a cheer off, and then had a tug-of-war tournament. A sled race after that, finished the physical activities. Then, the most anticipated activity of the day, NAEC’s top model! Four lovely guys showed their confident sides and competed in a fierce beauty pageant.
At the end of the day, and a long battle, N house was declared the winner! All students had an exciting day and enjoyed the formal that evening. The day was organized by the NAEC Students Council.
Members of the Verona Community Association (VCA) decided to change up their traditional Christmas activities this year. Wayne Conway, director with the VCA, said the change came about because the usual PA Day in November was moved this year to December, which meant that the free skate that usually precedes the annual tree lighting at McMullen Park would not take place. Also, the tree at McMullen Park was getting increasingly damaged from the Christmas lights. So VCA members decided to move the festivities to the Verona Lions Hall on Sand Road and make the event a day-long and evening event for the whole family. Local community businesses and individuals were invited to decorate a number of Christmas trees and 11 trees were set up in the hall's outdoor pavilion. Guests were invited to vote on their favorites and prizes were given out to the top three winners. The 11 gorgeous trees were simultaneously lit up at 6:30 pm. Youngsters had a chance to ride the Verona toy train and roast marshmallows at an outdoor fire pit. Inside the hall they enjoyed a number of special Christmas crafts, games, snacks and beverages, plus visits with the very jolly Santa and Mrs. Claus. A free meal of chili and hot dogs was also provided. Later in the evening music lovers enjoyed local songsters Crooked Wood.
Like all changes it takes time for a new tradition to catch on but by noon on Saturday the parking lot was quickly filling up as carloads of youngsters arrived with parents and grandparents in tow to enjoy the free festivities. Conway said that the event so far seems to be catching on. “It's the first annual and we are seeing a lot of enthusiasm so far. The nice thing is that here there is a place for people to warm up inside, out of the cold.”
The mandate of the VCA is to beatify the town of Verona and make it a place where residents enjoy to live. “We hope to see this new tradition become a successful, long-time ongoing event.” Conway also brought up the fact that the Verona Cattail Festival, now in its fourth year, took a while to catch on but was never more successful than this summer.
Big changes are underway at Sydenham High School as the construction of the brand-new 14,000 sq.ft. state of the art learning facility is nearing completion.
Located on the west side of the school with frontage on Rutledge Road and Mill Street, the addition includes a new 5000 sq. ft. gym that has a 26 ft. ceiling and is equipped with wheelchair-accessible men's and women's change rooms, and a bright south-facing computer lab lined with newly milled maple/ walnut counter tops that will house 30 work stations. The addition also includes a wheelchair-accessible drama facility complete with a mini theatre with 90 retractable seats, an attached controls room, plus ample change rooms and a storage room for props.
The new space also houses the school's “Foods Program” facility which includes a traditional classroom to which is attached a new state of the art industrial kitchen in a bright room with floor to ceiling south-facing windows. The kitchen boasts ample stainless steel counter tops and a array of shiny new stainless steel appliances, numerous gas stoves, and convection ovens plus a large walk-in fridge and two free-standing freezers.
I toured the new facility with Vice-Principal Brent Pickering as the builders continued their work polishing the new terrazzo floors. He said that the project has actually been in the works for six years. Construction began 14 months ago and is slated to be finished before the second semester starts in February.
The project was made possible with provincial funding through the capital expenditures budgets and cost over $3 million. Initially the addition was to include just four new classrooms but thanks to the input of SHS teachers Jeff Sanderson and Leslie Lawlor, who worked closely with the Limestone District School Board's Director of Education, Brenda Hunter, the project was reconfigured with the goal of creating a space that would best fit the needs of the students at Sydenham.
A tour of the school's current facilities, which the new facility will be replacing, demonstrates why both students and staff at the school are excited. The drama facility is currently located in an old storage room, a small black 600 sq. ft. space that can barely contain the class that I saw working there. Similarly, the Foods Program facility is presently housed in a cramped old science lab, making instruction and practical work hands on kitchen work difficult at the best of times.
The project was designed by Armando Sardinha of H.M. Sardinha Architect Inc of Kingston and is being constructed by Cupido Construction of Kingston.
Pickering says that the new space will offer students a top-notch learning facility and will also give members of the community at large a new space where they can carry out their own events.
“The new drama space and the theatre in particular will be a great asset to various groups and organizations in the community. The new foods program space will give students a real leg up when they go looking for jobs in the hospitality industry since they will be learning on equipment used in the industry.”
The new addition will also mean that two of the school's three portables will be able to be used for much needed storage space.
Also in the works are plans for two new electronic signs, which will let the community know of school events and which will also promote local community events.
Tabitha Kirby, who is the lead foods program teacher at the school, said she is looking forward to moving into the new facility. “I am thrilled that the students will have the opportunity to work in an industrial kitchen that reflects real life situations, which will really help their employability. The new space also means that we can do larger caterings than those we are doing right now.”
Right now the students prepare the hot lunches at Loughborough Public School and cater SHS's end of year graduation.
Pickering said that staff who have had a chance to tour the new addition come out with the same standard response: “It is an amazing space and will be a great new learning facility for the students and a place for the community to take advantage of as well.”
Gary Auerbach uses his skills as both a former world freestyle Frisbee champion and as an inspirational speaker to help young people learn the tools they need to be successful.
Auerbach, who won the World Freestyle Frisbee Championship in 1995 while living in Toronto, has been speaking to youth at school assembly programs for close to two decades.
He made a special visit to Land O'Lakes Public School in Mountain Grove on November 21, where he engaged the entire school in an assembly and conducted small workshops focused around Frisbee skills. “It's not so much about showing them what I can do with a Frisbee but showing them what they can do with one,” Auberbach said. “Frisbee is the perfect life-long physical activity that they can do with family and friends and it gets them outside, away from all the little screened boxes and puts a fun circle in their hands.”
Auerbach was invited to the school after LOLPS student support teacher Kathy Bateman saw Auerbach years ago at an Ontario Physical and Health Educators' Association conference. “I loved what he did and have wanted to get him to come to Mountain Grove for years now,” Bateman said.
Auerbach, who is a citizen of both Canada and the United States, now works and lives in Winchester, Virginia but comes to Canada often to visit family and friends. Mountain Grove was just one of the two Canadian stops on this trip and he captured the attention of the LOLPS students from the get go. He demonstrated the many ways to throw, roll, balance, juggle, flip and handle a huge assortment of Frisbees in all shapes, colours and sizes. He told of the history of the Frisbee and how it was modeled after tin pie pans made at the Frisbee Pie Company in Connecticut, where workers liked to toss the tin plates around on their breaks. After plastic was later invented, the first Frisbees, which were then called flying saucers, were made from it. Later they would be named Frisbees after the owners of the Connecticut pie company.
Auerbach delivered a polished performance and his lively sense of humor and friendly delivery had students smiling, laughing, and generally falling in love with the game. What staff liked most about him was his underlying message. LOLPS Principal Emily Yanch said Auerbach's presentation fit in perfectly with the school board's focus on the development of “growth mind set” in students. “The idea is to encourage effort and perseverance in students and to show them how both pay off in terms of becoming life-long learners,” Yanch said.
Auerbach's presentation reinforced those ideas. When he demonstrated one “next to impossible” under the leg move but did not succeed, he quipped, “It's okay to mess up but not to give up." He then tried the move again with the words “Take two!”. He had the students mesmerized with the huge assortment of Frisbees he performed with: a yo-yo style Frisbee, a long-tailed Frisbee, a tiny baby one, a kite-tailed one, a huge oversized yellow one, a pizza Frisbee, a feather-tailed Frisbee, one ninja, one Elvis and a recycled plastic Frisbee, a flying saucer, and one with raised markers, which is used by the visually impaired.
He spoke of initially being scared of Frisbees but gradually overcoming his fear. After a lot of practice he became good at it and later on a world champion. He likened the flight of a Frisbee to the way an airplane wing works. "Throw it straight - it goes straight; tilt it upwards and it flies upwards.” He showed how to angle or blank its flight, and how to fly it upside down.
Auerbach invited any students with new Frisbee ideas to let him know. The students I spoke to said the presentation inspired them to play the game and some even said they planned on making their own yo-yo style Frisbee at home.
On November 12, NAEC students attended breakdancing workshops with professional dancers Melly Mel and Rahime. The Grade 5/6, 6/7, 7/8, and Restart classes, as well as nearly 30 Secondary students, took to the floor in a high energy dance workout. Melly Mel and Rahime took students through a series of moves, slowly at first, and then at an increased pace. They then put the moves together, so that students were performing a full dance sequence.
The workshops were geared to the ages of the students, so Rahime and Melly Mel had students doing different moves and routines.The students really enjoyed the high energy workshop, and felt they had really worked hard. The next day student Josie Chaisson remarked on how much work it had been. “It was really fun, but my legs are really stiff today,” she said. “Imagine how they must have felt after doing a whole day of dancing!” The workshop was one of the many offered by MASC, an arts organization based in Ottawa.
The workshop was subsidized by a generous donation from The Crabtree Foundation, which made it possible for NAEC to afford a full-day workshop. It was also subsidized by The North Addington Guild, which helps NAEC students experience arts opportunities they would otherwise not be able to. Readers interested in learning more are directed to www.masconline.ca and www.bboyizm.ca
Over 40 Sydenham residents came to the township hall last week for a meeting to discuss concerns and planning for the Point. All agreed that the Point was a valuable community resource, but one with a number of issues that needed to be addressed.
The meeting was called by the Greater Sydenham Community Association (GSCA), and chaired by Lorie Reid and township works manager Mark Segsworth.
In introducing the evening, Segsworth noted that since the popularity of the “Bubba Bowl”, there had been a growing interest on the part of area parents to have permanent lights installed at the football field. Concurrently, the GSCA has pinpointed a need for various improvements at the Point, and in order to develop a vision for the park, obtained a grant from the Frontenac Community Development Centre to hire architect Bruce Downey to develop a “concept drawing”. As part of this process, there had been consultation with various interested groups, including the Loughborough Recreation Committee, the Women's Institure, the Legion, and immediate neighbours.
This was the first public meeting.
History of the Park - Officially called "Loughborough Memorial Recreation Centre" but popularly known as "the Point", the park has been a community picnic and swimming area ever since the area was settled.
Until 1947 the Point was part of a privately-owned farm. At that time, the Sydenham Women's Institute (WI) and the Sydenham Board of Trade took an option to buy the property.
In 1971, the WI transferred the property to Loughborough Township, with the understanding that it would be kept in perpetuity “for the benefit and enjoyment of all its citizens”.
Present Use - Every summer, the Loughborough Recreation Committee hires staff to teach swimming lessons and run a children's recreation program at The Point. There is a (lighted) ball diamond, a tennis court that is now used by skateboarders, a boat launch site, bandstand, football field - also used for soccer, and a running track.
The park is used for general swimming and picnicking, Canada Day celebrations, Sydenham Canoe Club regattas, and will be the headquarters for a triathlon event this summer. It's also the site of the Sydenham water treatment plant, and the property abuts the township hall and library on the northwest, and the Loughborough schoolyard to the south. Several years ago, the township agreed to lease the football field to Sydenham High School for a nominal annual fee. In return, the school agreed to maintain the football field and track (installing underground watering system, sowing and sodding as needed, and mowing.) However, the football field remains part of the township's property.
Maintenance - Through its volunteer recreation committee, the township hires a private contractor to mow the grass and do basic maintenance. This summer, the committee will be hiring students to do extra upkeep on this and three other township parks. The organizers of special events are responsible for providing extra toilet facilities when deemed necessary, and for all clean-up related to their events.
In spite of all this, vandalism, littering and lack of adequate toilet facilities and change rooms are ongoing concerns. Vandalism in the area has extended to destruction of the picnic tables at the LPS outdoor classroom.
At the public meeting, several residents asserted that the vandalism and littering were worse during the daylight hours when school was in session, but were less during the summer, when there was more general use of the park. (It was noted that students have also held clean-up drives.)
The skateboard area in particular seemed to be a focus for noise, graffiti, destruction and littering. Mark Segsworth, in pointing out that the township had no parks committee per se, said that the recreation committee was made up of volunteers, who should be commended for the enormous amount of time and work they devoted to organizing recreational events in the township.
Football Field Lights - Neighbouring residents dreaded having their properties subjected to such brilliant lights during summer, spring and fall evenings. They were concerned that Sydenham would become a centre for sports tournaments, and also expressed concern about the increased noise and traffic generated by night games.
Parents with children on football and soccer teams said night games would give more opportunities for working parents to watch their children play, and expressed willingness to help raise money to pay for the lights.
A soccer league representative said there were over 700 children in the area playing soccer, and although most teams don't use the Sydenham field at present, that would change, if it were lighted.
Others suggested the field was already in poor condition, and unable to accommodate heavier use.
Traffic - Neighbours expressed concern about traffic, particularly speeding and noise in the park and along Wheatley Street. Noon hours during the school year seem to generate particularly heavy motor traffic in the park.
The Beach - Not a natural beach, and heavily used during summer, the swim area often has too little sand and too many weeds.
Other Issues - The list of issues was long: is there interest in re-opening the tennis courts? Where and how can the skateboarders be accommodated? Are there better locations in South Frontenac for playing fields? How can we provide available, clean washroom and change room facilities and protect them from vandalism? What about building a meeting-room/conference space above the washrooms? Where might a permanent storage space for football equipment be located? Can the 'passive-use' spaces be improved by developing walkways?Could the school parking facilities be used more for large events at the Point? Can the water and power supplies be centralized?
Now What? - In summary, Lorie Reed said the community association would review the concerns and issues, and put together a proposal to go to the recreation committee, who in turn could make recommendations to council.
She reminded the group that while no proposal could please everybody, but clearly nobody seemed happy about the status quo, either. She said the present design concept was available to anyone who wished to read it. For more information, or to contact the GSCA, go to their website: tgsca.ca