VOL. 172, NO.1 ~ PRESCOTT, ONTARIO ~ January 3, 2003 

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Councillor makes pitch for store site

McConnell proposes compromise in ongoing town hall location debate

By Tim Ruhnke - Journal Editor

PRESCOTT ­ A proposal to relocate the municipal offices and public library to a hardware store on King Street West is a compromise the town should be able to afford, according to Councillor Terry McConnell.

The proposal calls for the 8,500-square-foot ground floor of the True Value Hardware and department store to be used for both municipal offices and the library. McConnell believes there is no need to expand the building onto the parking lot. The infrastructure now in place is in good shape and will not require much in the way of modifications, according to the councillor.

McConnell told The Journal Monday he asked professionals to assess the property and, at no cost to the municipality, provide estimates and prepare a drawing of what the exterior of the renovated building might look like. This followed council's decision this summer not to award a contract to renovate the existing municipal building at 360 Dibble St. W.

The estimated cost of renovations is $540,000 (including $200,000 for the roof and facade), plus an additional $200,000 to acquire the property. McConnell notes the other two options still being considered by town council ­ renovate 360 Dibble or build a new facility on the Daniels' Hotel property ­ are more expensive based on current estimates.

"You can't beat the price on this... and the location," McConnell said.

The councillor said he is convinced the building can be made into an attractive facility for a town hall and library. He said he is not the only person who is supporting the proposal, although he declined to indicate what other members of council have to say about the concept.

"I think the majority wants to go downtown given the right circumstances," McConnell stated.

The hardware store is owned and operated by Councillor Jim French. McConnell said he proposed the idea to French, who then took part in negotiations relating to a purchase price. French has not seen the drawing or taken part in council discussions on the subject, according to McConnell.

French continues to declare a conflict of interest when the subject arises at council and committee-of-the-whole meetings.

The previous council's preferred option was to construct a new building on the site of the parking lot beside the hardware store. The new council voted last February to proceed with renovations to 360 Dibble, the former high school building that had housed the municipal offices until last spring.

The library is still operating at the Dibble Street location; the offices were moved to the former bank building on Edward Street at Churchill Road.

McConnell was one of four council members who voted in favour of renovating 360 Dibble when the issue was put to a vote in February. He said things changed over the course of the next several months; cost estimates increased beyond his comfort level.

Town officials are awaiting more information on the municipality's financial situation. McConnell is confident support for his proposal will grow once that information becomes available. "I think we can afford this," he said.

There were approximately 25 options considered by town officials as part of this latest round of deliberations on the future of the municipal building and public library. McConnell said he would like to see the number of town hall options reduced to two or one; this could be followed by a public meeting at which the remaining option or options would be presented and input sought. The councillor fears having too many options on the table would confuse the issue at a public meeting.

The hardware store is located near the site of the old town hall that was demolished in the early 1960s.

"You can't beat the price... and the location."

Terry McConnell

Some retailers report strong finish to Christmas shopping season

PRESCOTT ­ The holiday season that just ended may have been better than local businesses had been anticipating.

Some merchants on King Street West reported better than expected sales during the season that ended last week.

Jane Burton of The Gift Lane said she was "overwhelmed" by how the holiday season went compared to last year. Sales of cards increased by 30 per cent; small gift items ­ especially angels ­ also sold well, she added.

Burton indicated she was surprised by the strength of holiday sales figures given what she had been hearing in the industry and the media.

Tom Doyle of Doyle Men's and Women's Fashions reported sales this past holiday season were better than in 2000. Sales were strong just before and just after Christmas, he noted.

"I didn't really know what to expect," Doyle said.

The season seemed to get off to a fairly slow start but then everybody "woke up and realized they'd better get shopping," Doyle noted.

Biba, a women's clothing store, reported sales were down this holiday season compared to last year, although the previous Christmas was very strong.

See Page 6 for story on holiday season business in Cardinal

Heaping helpings of holiday spirit served

Prescott students organize successful community dinner

PRESCOTT ­ Kaitlynn Dodge and Mackenzie Eaton made the holiday season a bit brighter for many people in this community.

The 15-year-old friends organized "Soup for the Soul ­ A Christmas Cuisine," a dinner served Dec. 23 at St. Mark's Parish Centre.

Approximately 120 people attended the special dinner. Intermittent rain and freezing rain may have kept some people away from the dinner. However, volunteer drivers were kept busy delivering nearly 60 meals to those unable to attend.

The two organizers, who expected to serve about 25 meals as they began planning the dinner this fall, were pleased by the turnout.

"That's the best thing we could ask for," Dodge said. "We were worried people weren't going to come."

A volunteer crew of 40, including high school and elementary school students, family members and the local Catholic Women's League, helped prepare and serve the dinner.

The notion of hosting a community dinner arose when the two St. Mary Catholic High School students were coming up with ideas for a school project. They decided in September to organize an event that would bring together the community during the holiday season.

Businesses and individuals began donating food and money, and the event grew into a major undertaking.

The meal included 120 lbs. of turkey, 110 lbs. of potatoes, 60 lbs. of ham and more than 170 canned items. There were also plenty of dessert items, many of which were donated.

The leftovers were taken to Loaves and Fishes, a low-income restaurant located in Brockville.

Dozens of volunteers were at the parish centre by 9 am, seven hours before dinner would be served. Dodge and Eaton had created a system of committees and team leaders in an effort to ensure no aspect of the operation was overlooked.

Kaitlynn's mother, Suzanne Dodge, was impressed by the organizational skills of the two young women.

"I've never seen two 15 year olds work so hard," she said. "It went like clockwork."

Mrs. Dodge added the students did all the legwork and the parents did the driving since neither of the co-organizers is old enough to get a licence. She gave credit to the young people who took the time to do something for others in the community.

"As a mom, it's a really warm feeling in your heart to see this," Mrs. Dodge said.

Although there was no admission fee, a few diners brought food items of their own or donated a few dollars to support the cause.

Mary, a woman who lives in Prescott, appreciated the effort made by the young people. It was nice to see them show their support for others in the community, she noted.

Dodge and Mackenzie indicated they are planning to organize another dinner next Christmas.

Soldiers send cards to campaign organizer

JOHNSTOWN ­ The woman who spearheaded a campaign to send Christmas cards to Canadian Armed Forces personnel who are serving overseas has received several cards of thanks from soldiers in Bosnia.

Chantal Christensen received the first card of appreciation on Christmas Eve. "I thought it was just awesome," she told The Journal Wednesday.

Christensen said she initially thought the card was a belated Christmas card someone wanted her to forward to a soldier. She had received four additional cards as of mid-week.

One soldier thanked Christensen for taking the time to provide a bit of holiday cheer to help military personnel get through the season. Christensen indicated she was pleased some soldiers took the time to send her a card.

A total of 5,021 Christmas cards were collected by Christensen as part of her "Let Them Know We Care" initiative and distributed throughout the world, including Afghanistan. Most of the cards were shipped in early December to national defence headquarters in Ottawa. The last batch of cards went to Egypt and Italy the week before Christmas.

Cards were submitted to Christensen from individuals, chruch groups and other organizations across Canada; many of the cards came from children and were made by hand.

Christensen is planning to organize a similar Christmas card campaign for the 2002 holiday season.


Future of Roebuck Hall to be discussed

ROEBUCK ­ The future of Roebuck Community Centre will be on the agenda at an upcoming meeting of the Roebuck Recreation Association.

Residents of the Roebuck area are being encouraged to attend the meeting to be held Monday, Jan. 21 at 7:30 pm at the community centre.

Festive RIDE program leads to charges

GRENVILLE COUNTY ­ Three charges relating to impaired driving were laid by Grenville County OPP officers as a result of Festive RIDE checks conducted between Dec. 13 and Dec. 26.

More than 3,000 vehicles were checked by OPP officers based at offices in Prescott and Kemptville. Four 12-hour licence suspensions were issued during the two-week period.

Across the Eastern Region, OPP officers checked more than 20,000 vehicles between Dec. 20 and Dec. 26; 16 impaired-related driving charges were laid. Fifteen drivers were charged during the same period in 2000; however, the number of vehicles checked was lower by more than 5,000.

The first four weeks of the Festive RIDE program in Eastern Region produced 107 impaired-related driving charges.

Figures for week five of the holiday season RIDE program were unavailable at press time.

Alzheimer Disease subject of new booklet

SOUTH GRENVILLE ­ January is Alzheimer Awareness Month, and a new booklet that addresses questions and concerns about living with the disease is now available.

"Shared Experiences: Suggestions for those with Alzheimer Disease" is available in print and audio formats. One in 13 Canadians over the age of 65 is affected by the degenerative brain disorder and related dementias; however, Alzheimer Disease can also strike adults under the age of 65. Medical researchers have yet to find a cure for the disease.

For more information about the disease and the new booklet, contact the Leeds and Grenville office of the society at (613) 345-7392. The society's Web site address is www.alzheimer.ca.

New program for kids begins Jan. 10

JOHNSTOWN ­ Bridge Kids, a new Christian-based, non-denominational learning experience for school-age children, will be begin at Johnstown United Church Thursday, Jan 10.

There is no charge for the program, which will be offered each Thursday from 3:45 to 5 pm. Participants will be served a nutritious snack, and there will be a bible story, singing and a craft.

For more information, contact Linda Stubbs at 925-1055, or Marlene Moore at 925-3409.

Spirit of Giving continues to make a difference

Annual campaign reports big increase in food donations

PRESCOTT ­ There was a marked increase in the amount of food donated to the 2001 Spirit of Giving campaign, according to one of its organizers.

Approximately 265 boxes of food, household supplies and toys were distributed Dec. 23.

The Kinsmen Club of Prescott spearheads the annual campaign with the support of a large group of South Grenville District High School students.

Kinsman Mark Ward reported donations of food were up significantly compared to the previous year.

"It was just astronomical," he said.

In addition to the hundreds of non-perishable food items collected, turkeys and other perishable items are purchased and added to the food boxes. "Anything you can imagine is in there," Ward said.

Although the quantity of food donated was much higher in 2001, there was a decrease in the amount of cash donated.

Schools and businesses throughout South Grenville participated by collecting food items. High school students conducted door-to-door canvasses throughout the area.

Although he is thankful for all donations received during the campaign, Ward made note of one special person whose identity he does not know. A woman reportedly purchased approximately $800 worth of toys at Giant Tiger the week before Christmas and donated them to Spirit of Giving. The unidentified women took all the angels from the Christmas tree in the store; each angel represented a child's toy to be added to a box of food.

"I had a little lump in my throat when I went to the store," Ward said about finding out what had happened.

There were other toys collected during the campaign and added to the holiday gift boxes.

Most of the food boxes were distributed to families and individuals who had applied for assistance. However, some boxes were delivered to people who Spirit of Giving officials knew were in need but opted not to apply for help.

Ward said some people are too proud to ask for assistance, and the Kinsmen do what they can when they know there are others in need.

Ward, who has been with the Kinsmen for six years, noted the club may have to do more events during they year to come up with the money to pay for food purchased by the Spirit of Giving. However, he added the effort is worth it because some people truly need the support.

"It's a good feeling when you do it," he said.

Police make arrest in cases involving impersonator

PRESCOTT ­ A 37-year-old man of no fixed address was charged by Prescott police Dec. 27 in connection with thefts from homes in Prescott.

The thefts were discovered after a man identifying himself as an employee of the town's water department left the residences. In addition to three counts of theft and three counts of unlawfully being in a dwelling house, the accused faces charges in Brockville, Smiths Falls and Napanee. He is scheduled to appear Jan. 3 in Napanee court.

In other town police news, several RIDE checks were conducted between Dec. 15 and Dec. 31. No charges were laid and no 12-hour licence suspensions were issued during the period.

A 1998 Ford Taurus was reported stolen Dec. 20 from a James Street East residence. The vehicle was burnt beyond repair when it was recovered the following day in Limerick Forest.

A vehicle stolen in Ottawa was located by Prescott police Dec. 17 on Dibble Street East at the Leo Boivin Community Centre.

Police are continuing to investigate the theft of a wallet from a residence in the James Street East area. The wallet was recovered Dec. 18, but it was minus cash and one credit card.

Anyone with information regarding these or any other offences is asked to contact the Prescott Police Service at 925-4252 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Motorists are reminded winter parking regulations are in effect. Vehicles found parked on the streets overnight will be ticketed; vehicles will be towed when plows are in use. Signs noting overnight parking restrictions are posted at entrances to town.

Man charged for speeding, failing to stop

EDWARDSBURGH ­ Grenville County OPP officers were on routine patrol Dec. 31 at about 11:10 pm when they stopped a vehicle travelling westbound on Highway 401 at an excessive speed. A 21-year-old Montreal man was charged with speeding (190 kilometres per hour in a posted 100-km zone) and failing to stop for police, offences under the Highway Traffic Act. He is scheduled to appear Feb. 5 in Brockville court.

Millions worth of drugs, stolen property recovered by Crime Stoppers program

KINGSTON ­ Crime Stoppers wants to take an even bigger bite out of crime in 2002.

Now in its 15th year, the Kingston/100 islands Crime Stoppers program (which includes Leeds and Grenville) has produced 977 arrests and led to more than 1,200 cases being cleared.

The value of narcotics seized as a result of the program exceeds $13.3 million.

More than $3.7 million in stolen property has been recovered.

Since its creation 25 years ago in New Mexico, Crime Stoppers has expanded to more than 1,000 local programs in 17 countries. More than 800,000 cases have been solved, and the value of stolen property and drugs recovered as a result of anonymous tips total $5 billion.

"Crime Stoppers is a citizen-operated organization that has become one of the most effective programs available to police to assist in the battle against crime," stated Detective Constable Shirley Bothwell, the local program's police co-ordinator.

January is a suitable month to note Crime Stoppers because it gives an opportunity to highlight the program's successes and acknowledge those who have provided assistance, according to board chair David Wright.

"Crime Stoppers is a partnership between the police, the media and the public," he stated. "Through a continuing and co-operative effort, this partnership is responsible for solving crime in our community. This is a program that works," Wright went on to state.

Callers to Crime Stoppers do not have to identify themselves. The information a caller provides could make him or her eligible for a cash reward.

The local Crime Stoppers program does not subscribe to call display.

The toll-free telephone number for Crime Stoppers is 1-800-222-8477.

BIA announces winners of draw

PRESCOTT ­ The Prescott Business Improvement Area (BIA) has announced the winners of its Christmas draw.

The five winners of the free draw are Judy Drury of RR1 Prescott, Arlie Porteous of RR3 Prescott, Helen Johnston of RR1 Cardinal, Nancy Skakum of Cardinal and Bobbi Chiappetta of Brockville.

Each winner receives a $100 BIA gift certificate redeemable at participating businesses.

The winning ballots were drawn Dec. 24.

Code marks 30 years at Wellington House

PRESCOTT ­ A Maynard woman was recently recognized for 30 years of service at Wellington House in Prescott.

Janet Code, the director of nursing and assistant administrator at the nursing home, received a watch at a ceremony Dec. 21.

Code says she is proud of the improvements Wellington House has seen since she began working there in 1971.

"When I first started (as a call nurse), I wanted to see the facility and I wasn't happy with it," she says, adding the Ministry of Health didn't oversee nursing homes in Ontario until the following year.

"A lot of changes had to be made."

Thirty years later, Code says the nursing home and its staff provide quality care for its residents.

"I've been fortunate to have the staff I do," she says. "They are the most giving, caring staff - they will go the extra mile."

Code has served as nursing director since 1980 and as assistant administrator for the past five years. She was born in New York State and grew up on a farm north of Iroquois before moving to her current home in Maynard, where she has lived for 34 years.

Chamber of Commerce makes gains in 2001

By Tim Ruhnke - Journal Editor

PRESCOTT ­ The local business community is hoping for bigger and better things in 2002, according to Prescott and District Chamber of Commerce President Bill Pakeman.

Despite talk of a recession and the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Pakeman believes the Prescott and area business community managed to do fairly well under the circumstances in 2001. Although overall sales may be down in some sectors, the president noted many retailers reported a strong holiday season.

Pakeman said there is reason for optimism in the business sector. The commercial development being built in the north end of Prescott will feature a 40,000-square-foot grocery store and new Canadian Tire outlet; both stores are expected to open sometime this year, and a Wendy's restaurant and smaller stores may also open their doors at the site.

Business leaders are hoping the new stores will attract more people to the Prescott area and keep shoppers who live in the area closer to home.

As for its own financial situation, Pakeman noted the chamber made great strides in 2001. Resources had almost been depleted as the year began; however, a concerted effort to improve the chamber's position led to successful events such as a silent auction and awards banquet, a community garage sale and the annual golf tournament. Pakeman said the chamber is making a concerted effort to maintain financial stability so it can provide financial support to events and projects which have a positive effect on the business sector and the community as a whole.

The chamber of commerce took a lead role in supporting the effort to have Prescott selected as the site of a provincially-run charity casino. The casino was awarded to Gananoque and Leeds and Thousand Islands. Pakeman said the government may have made the decision long before a study of the four candidate communities was completed, but business leaders in the Prescott area made "an honest and sincere effort" to support the Prescott option.

In terms of the year ahead, Pakeman hopes the chamber will continue to support the business community and work together with the BIA, Tourism Prescott, municipal officials and other chambers of commerce, as well as represent its members at various levels of government.

"We hope we can be the voice of small business in the community," Pakeman said.

Pakeman's one-year term as president ends later this month. He will be succeeded by Pat Dewar, who served as chamber vice-president in 2001. "It's been a wonderful year and a real source of pride for me," Pakeman said.

The chamber's annual general meeting is scheduled to take place Thursday, Jan. 17 at noon at the Bridgeview restaurant in Johnstown.

The chamber has landed a high-profile guest speaker for its award banquet in March. Richard Pound, a former vice-president of the International Olympic Commission (IOC) and long-time Canadian representative on that organization, is scheduled to attend the Prescott event.

LCBO agency store awarded to Spencerville

SPENCERVILLE ­ Spencerville is eligible to receive a new LCBO agency store in the upcoming months, Leeds-Grenville MPP Bob Runciman announced recently.

A new LCBO agency system was unveiled Dec. 20 to offer LCBO services to small rural communities and tourist areas. The agency store for Spencerville will be offered to existing retail stores already in the community.

"I think it's a great idea for the community," Edwardsburgh/ Cardinal Mayor David Dobbie says. "It should help sales in whichever store it ends up in, and it is convenient for the people."

Currently, the closest LCBO stores to Spencerville are in Prescott, Cardinal and Kemptville.

Dobbie says it is "premature" to suggest which store may receive the agency and by what date a LCBO store may be in Spencerville.

Mallorytown was also named as an eligible community.

"It's nice to see two areas of Leeds and Grenville made eligible," Dobbie says. "All small communities should be allowed to have an agency."

Each agency store will be monitored by LCBO staff to verify compliance with social responsibility rules, such as no sales to minors.

"MPPs who represent rural Ontario have been working with the government to find a economically viable answer to requests for liquor service," Runciman said in a release.

Armed forces reserve regiment attracts local membership

BROCKVILLE ­ Don't let the name of the local armed forces reserve regiment fool you.

Second-Lieutenant Scott Costen, public affairs officer for the Brockville Rifles, says the regiment's members come from many different areas along the seaway.

"Our regiment bears the city of Brockville's name, but we have people from all over Lanark, Leeds, Grenville and beyond," he says.

Costen says the regiment has roughly 75 members, "a large number" of whom are from Prescott, Johnstown, Maynard and other South Grenville communities.

The Rifles are constantly looking for recruits, Costen says. The age of recruits can range from 16 to 50 years of age, but Costen says the typical recruit is in his or her late teens or early 20s.

"They have to be 16 years of age or older, they need at least 15 high school credits, and they have to be physically fit and of good character," says Costen.

Recruits are trained through a basic military qualification course beginning in February of each year that involves some evenings and weekends as well as a week in March.

Upon completion of the qualification course, members receive full-time training in summer and subsequent training in the fall.

"Reserve force service is voluntary," says Costen. "People can join of their own volition and can leave of their own volition; there are no contracts to sign."

Recruits are trained in various military areas, such as dress and deportment, first-aid, weapons handling and firing, and military law and rank structures. Costen says the regiment pays its members "quite well" and also provides benefits, mileage and even subsidized tuition for some members that go on to postsecondary education.

Members of the Brockville Rifles participated in November's "Light Up The Night" parade in Prescott. The Rifles also conducted a security exercise within Brockville city limits that weekend, patrolling city streets and operating a vehicle checkpoint to develop their peacekeeping skills. Costen estimates 10 current members of the Rifles regiment have served in peacekeeping missions.

He says he has noticed a renewed interest in the military over the past few months but declined comment on whether the renewed interest could be attributed to last September's terrorist attacks on the United States.

Band to perform at Roebuck Hall Friday

ROEBUCK ­ The King's Creek Band will perform at a dance this Friday, Jan. 4 from 8 pm to midnight.

A light lunch will be served. Tickets will be available at the door.

The event is sponsored by the Roebuck Recreation Association.

Snowflake Luncheon falls into place

PRESCOTT ­ A Snowflake Luncheon will take place Friday, Jan. 25 from 11 am to 1 pm at St. John's Anglican Church, corner of James and Centre streets.

Baked goods can also be purchased at the luncheon.

Alight at Night event attracting thousands
of visitors

MORRISBURG ­ Upper Canada Village's new and popular winter attraction, "Alight at Night," will continue through this Sunday, Jan. 6.

Thousands of people have already toured the heritage village this holiday season, taking in the spectacular showcase event, a press release states.

The village is adorned in more than 100,000 lights, and visitors can bundle up and stroll around to see the winter wonderland, or view the decorative lights from on board a horse-drawn wagon ride.

The program runs each evening, with wagon rides departing regularly, starting at 5 pm. For more information, contact 1-800-437-2233.

New members welcome to join activities at centre


By Marnie Lippiatt

Welcome to the new year! All our regular activities are back in full swing. New members are always welcome, and now would be a good time to start.

Bridge is played Mondays at 1 pm. Tuesdays begin with social time and scrabble at 10 am, followed by weaving and crafts beginning at 1 pm and cribbage at 7 pm.

There is painting Wednesdays at 1 pm, quilting Thursdays at 1 pm and 7 pm, euchre Thursdays at 7 pm and pepper Fridays at 1 pm. For more information, call 925-5300.

Our pot luck and annual meeting will be held next Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 5:30 pm.

The board is temporarily set and has only to be accepted. Please plan to attend. We will also be having a video about our spring trip. See you there.

Prescott library offers new books

The Prescott Public Library has purchased a number of new fiction books available for public borrowing. They are:

* Wish You Well, David Baldacci

* A Carra King, John Brady

* Dead Hand, Harold Coyle

* Hemlock Bay, Catherine Coulter

* Let it Shine, Josephine Cox

* Valhalla Rising, Clive Cussler

*Hunting Season, P.T. Deutermann

* The Smoke Jumper, Nicholas Evans

* Safe Bet, John Francome

* Black Prince, Elizabeth Gill

* The Blue Last, Martha Grimes

* Pandragon's Banner, Helen Hollick, Jessie Anne Jacobs

* Stalker, Faye Kellerman

* Black House, Stephen King

* Redemption, Jill McGowan

* Boone's Luck, Larry McMurtry

* Lost, Helen R. Myers

* Rainbow Mars, Larry Niven

* Our Street, Victor Pemberton

* Funeral In Blue, Anne Perry

* Witch Hunt, Ian Rankin

* Time and Again, Nora Roberts

* Primal Scream, Michael Slade

* The Mortal Sickness, Andrew Taylor

* Cold Case, Stephen White

* Menace, L. R. Wright

Large-print books:

* Twanged, Carol Higgins Clark

* Town Belles, Pamela Evans

* Liverpool Taffy, Katie Flynn

*Murder Under The Palms, Stefanie Matteson

* Thy Neighbour's Wife, Ann Purser

* The Bright One, Elvi Rhodes

* The Merry Month of May, Elvi Rhodes

* Adam and Evil, Gillian Roberts

* The Long Road Home, Danielle Steel

Oprah Winfrey Book Club books at the library:

* Tara Road, Maeve Binchey

* Midwives, Chris Bohjalian

* House of Sand and Fog, Andre Dubus III

* Stones From The River, Ursula Hegi

* Here On Earth, Alice Hoffman

* I Know This Much Is True, Wally Lamb

* She's Come Undone, Wally Lamb

* Where The Heart Is, Billie Letts

* Jewel, Brett Lott

* Vinegar Hill, A. Manette Ansay

* Songs In Ordinary Time, Mary McGarry Morris

* While I Was Gone, Sue Miller

* The Deep End Of The Ocean, Jacqueline Mitchard

* Gap Creek, Robert Morgan

* Paradise, Toni Morrison

* Black and Blue, Anna Quindlen

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"It's a good feeling when you do it."

Mark Ward, commenting on his participation in the Spirit of Giving campaign

Editor's Notebook

POLICE FIASCO IS A CRIME: Prescott council voted a year ago yesterday to pursue an Ontario Provincial Police service agreement, a move which seemingly signalled the end of the existing municipal police department. As 2002 begins, the proposed switch is in limbo because the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services (OCCOPS) decided it could not approve the abolition of the municipal department unless certain conditions were met, most of which require the consent of the OPP. With less than two weeks to go before the arrival of the commission's suggested date for those conditions to be met, there is talk the town and its police board will take the OCCOPS decision to court. There has been no public statement by the OPP as to whether it is willing to meet the conditions set out in the decision.

As the speculation and back-door dealings continue, the officers and civilian workers based at the Prescott police station continue to wonder about their own futures. The people who would likely lose their jobs if the Prescott Police Service is disbanded must be wondering who is looking out for their best interests. It is one thing for municipal leaders to state their concerns about how this uncertainty is affecting staff, but it is another to actually have to live with that uncertainty. Even if the town is willing to provide fair and equitable severance packages, this process has dragged on well beyond a reasonable length of time. As much as council and the police board may be able to justify the OPP proposal and insist it will save money over the long haul and maintain or improve service, it is the people directly affected by the proposal who are searching for answers as politicians, bureaucrats and lawyers meet privately to wrangle over details and, in some cases, try to cover their butts. Whether OCCOPS has the jurisdiction to compel the OPP and other parties to make certain hiring arrangements could end up being a decision for a court to make; unfortunately, some of the people whose employment status has been up in the air for an unreasonable length of time must come to grips with the fact they have no say in the matter. That is a crime.

SETTING A GOOD EXAMPLE: Kaitlynn Dodge and Mackenzie Eaton may not have set out to shatter the stereotype about teenagers, but that is precisely what they have done by organizing a highly successful community dinner just before Christmas. These two young women accomplished something many adults would be hard-pressed to match. To Kaitlynn, Mackenzie and their friends who helped stage a first-class event, many thanks for your efforts and the positive example you have set for other young people in South Grenville.

Tim Ruhnke

Canada wins gold in men's hockey: 50 years and counting


Tim Ruhnke

With the Winter Olympics on the horizon, the Team Canada bandwagon is chugging along with expectations the men's hockey team will finally win that elusive gold medal. This team chock full of NHL veterans and up-and-comers is expected to bring home the gold, even though many of us know deep down the chances of that happening are not necessarily that good given what happened in 1998. Sure, the team looks damn good; then again, it looked pretty good four years ago. Do you recall which medal it brought home in '98? No? That's because the Canadian men came back empty-handed. Maybe our side didn't resort to trashing their rooms the way some of the American players did, but Team Canada did something that, in some circles, is considered worse: it's performance in the bronze-medal game rivalled that of the Ottawa Senators in their first-round drubbing by the Maple Leafs last April. A heart-breaking loss in the gold-medal qualifier was followed by an unemotional and uninspired performance by athletes who for some reason appeared to believe nothing (as in no medal) is better than something (the bronze).

And what about the Canadian women's hockey team and its prospects in Salt Lake City? Its chances of bringing home the gold are excellent... that is, as long as it doesn't have to play the American squad which is beating Canada on a consistent basis these days. Canadian women have one advantage over their male counterparts: women's programs are not fully developed in some countries which are usually in the running for top spot on the men's side.

As for whether so-called professional athletes should be allowed to compete in the Olympics, it appears men's hockey is heading for a return to the old ways. As it becomes more apparent the NHL will not be taking part in the 2006 games, we can look forward to a return to the old days. Canadians can expect their Olympic team made up of so-called amateur players to compete for a bronze medal, and the NHL will have an extra two weeks to squeeze in its 82-game regular season schedule and award the Stanley Cup before training camps are scheduled to open. As much as it would be nice to see guys like Jason Allison and Joe Thornton win a couple of gold medals for their country, Canada can still get excited about its men's hockey team if there is reason to.

I'd be happy to eat my words in the event the Canadian guys win gold. Until that happens, let's not forget about Canada's other medal chances in speed skating, figure skating and other events ­ not to mention women's hockey. We've gone almost 50 years without a gold medal in men's hockey. What's another four years?

Present location still most logical place for Prescott town hall


John A.H. Morris

Council took a major step toward nothing as one of its last acts of 2001 when it reduced its options for a new town hall to three. And what a choice they left themselves! Is there such a thing as Hobson's Trilogy?

First there is the present municipal building, the former Prescott High School, built in 1930 and taken over by the municipality in 1960 when the Victorian-era town hall, built in 1874, was demolished to make way for a very large convenience store (known in those days as a supermarket) and a municipal parking lot. The reasoning for this back in 19 and 60 was the same as it was in 19 and 99, in that both buildings were deemed derelict and beyond repair and therefore not of the manner to which our politicians were born.

Second choice is no choice at all, as it is a mere vacant lot on King Street known by the last couple of generations of Prescottonians as the "Old Daniels Hotel Lot". Although the lot is too small to accommodate our municipal headquarters and its seven or eight employees as well as a council chamber, it was retained on the short list because of the strong lobby launched for the past two years by Councillor Pillar and referred to affectionately as "Fig's Folly".

Third on the list, and a relative newcomer to these sweepstakes, is the former Dominion store building-cum-hardware store-cum-department store and dubbed the Councillor French Connection. In the weird way that council and its staff calculate costs and space requirements with little regard to what we actually have to spend, the French Connection has been calculated as the cheapest building to convert to a town hall.

There are a few ifs and ands to take into consideration in Choice No. Three. First, in small print just where the document folds, is the provision for expansion, if needed, into the present municipal parking lot, thus eliminating scarce and valued downtown parking spaces. Amount of space needed, number of parking spaces needed and the cost, if and when expansion is undertaken, is listed in that favourite of Prescott council expense allotments... contingencies.

Somewhere in this deal those making the proposal point out that Mr. French, a benevolent soul indeed, has offered to save the town a cool $100,000 by taking this trivial sum as a tax credit. But wouldn't this mean that what council saved on a $300,000 building they would lose in tax payments that Mr. French would normally be spending on his substantial real estate investments in Prescott?

Before authorizing this last proposal, has council and its financial finaglers taken into consideration the size of turnip wagon needed to haul us all to market?

We just cannot see taking the wrecker's ball to a semi-historical building such as our present town hall in favour of a classic example of mid-twentieth century supermarket architecture. Proof? Compare it to the unspectacular Valu-Mart building, a mere 10 years older, or any of the other convenience or corner stores that serve the grocery shopping public in Prescott.

Highlight of the building's design is the liberal use of plate glass windows designed to showcase the vibrant openness of the premises; reflective of a grocery store but certainly not of municipal government offices. The painted cement block exterior and attractive partial wall of imitation stone have not needed any refurbishing whatsoever in the building's 40-year history, but with our municipality's record of maintenance, the entire building will be ready to tear down in another 25 years.

With this in mind, let's set the scene for the year 2025 when Mike Boyles is giving a guided tour of the town's historical buildings to a boatload of tourists from Saskatchewan.

States Mr. Boyles: "This building on your left is our present town hall but because of its deteriorating heating and cooling systems and the need for paint on both the inside and outside walls it is scheduled to be torn down. There is a strong lobby among our councillors to purchase the Legion Hall on Henry Street and move the town hall there."

A man holding a copy of "Morrises' History of Prescott" steps to the front of the crowd and states: "According to this book, sir, an attractive town hall was built on this site in 1874 and until two years ago there was a clock tower on this lot marking the location. Is this true?"

"Well, sort of," replies Boyles.

"That 1874 town hall was torn down in 1960 to make room for this building which was built as a grocery store. The municipal offices were moved to the old high school building on Dibble Street which was torn down in 2005 and the town bought the supermarket building to serve as a town hall and now that it is being torn down the town is going to buy the Legion Hall on Henry Street which was the original town hall, built in 1851 and converted to a high school in 1874 when the new town hall was built on this location.

"As for the town clock tower the clock quit in 2021 and nobody knew how to start it so we had to demolish it.

"Does this answer your questions, sir?"

"Just one more question if I may. Do they allow cousins to marry in Prescott, sir?"

Pyongyang is a showcase city, but it's not reality


Ryan Murdock

Surrealism supplanted reality the moment we landed in Pyongyang. In front of the terminal, beneath a huge picture of Kim Il-Sung, a long line of people in traditional dress chanted "Welcome Pyongyang! Welcome Pyongyang!" and pumped their fists in the air. It was creepy. We gasped and huddled a little closer together.

The ride into central Pyongyang took about 20 minutes. We had a full-sized tourist bus for the eight of our three watchers and us. The road from the airport was very good. All the tourist roads were. There aren't many cars; in fact, it's unusual to see one. Instead there are lots of people walking along the side of the road. Work groups of people with homemade brooms swept the streets and the highways, and by the roadside people cut grass with small knives.

Driving into the city our guide said, "Scientific socialism is alive and well in North Korea. The Great Leader said that the socialist countries of Eastern Europe failed because they forgot to factor in the crucial ingredient of love."

The people in and around Pyongyang didn't look starved. They looked a little thin, hungry and unwashed, and their clothes were threadbare, but they live reasonably well. Pyongyang has the highest living standards in the country, though among everyone except the tiny elite these standards aren't very high. In the countryside is starvation.

We saw soldiers everywhere we went. Both men and women were in uniform. For many people enlistment is the only way to ensure regular meals. In the Kim regime the military is fed first and is first to benefit from foreign aid.

The streets of Pyongyang are clean and wide. On almost every corner are murals or posters of Kim Il-Sung. It's a city of beautiful monuments and grand public buildings. The one thing missing is people. There's no life. A couple times a day, during what they call rush hour, we saw the usual groups of walking people, but most of the time the streets were silent. It felt like a stage set, like we were walking through an engineer's conceptual model.

Pyongyang is North Korea's showcase. It's a Potemkin village on an enormous scale, built to dazzle the few foreign guests and delegations allowed to visit. It's a city built to be seen and toured, not lived in. There's a strange unreality about it.

The citizens of Pyongyang are carefully chosen. Only those most loyal to the regime are permitted to live there. Old people, cripples, and the extremely ugly are banished to the countryside. It's all part of the illusion. Even the female traffic control police are said to be chosen for their beauty rather than for their abilities. It wouldn't matter much anyway; there isn't any traffic.

From a distance the facade is impressive. There are many apartment complexes in Pyongyang, and from afar they look well organized and comfortable in their neat little rows. Up close they are drab grey concrete structures that seem about to collapse from sheer depression and lethargy. Many appear to lack window glass. There are chronic electricity shortages in North Korea; during the harsh winter most of these dwellings lack heat, as well as elevators and running water. At night they are lit by a dim bare bulb, and through each window I could see the regulation framed pictures of the Great Leader Kim Il-Sung and the Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il.

Our hotel was isolated on an island in the middle of the Taedong River; a modern 47-storey building with a revolving restaurant. We were the only guests.


Editor's Note: This is the fifth in a series of columns written by Prescott native Ryan Murdock, who now resides in Tokyo.


United Way agency notes successes of 2001 campaign

The Editor;

As a member agency of the United Way of Leeds & Grenville, the board, staff and volunteers of VON would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation for the tremendous effort that went into this year's campaign.

Congratulations to the United Way for exceeding its campaign goal of $650,000! A special thanks to this community which gave so generously of its time and money.

The board, staff and volunteers of United Way dedicate their time and energy to ensure organizations like VON (non-profit, charitable) are given financial support in order to maintain the many different services throughout Leeds & Grenville.

We salute the United Way in its success with the 2001 campaign.

Ruth Kitson, Executive Director
VON Brockville,
Leeds & Grenville

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Junior "B" Rangers optimistic as playoff stretch drive begins

CARDINAL ­ While the turn of the new year is seen as the midpoint of the NHL season, it also marks the beginning of the stretch drive towards the playoffs in the Rideau-St. Lawrence Junior "B" Hockey League.

The South Grenville Rangers sit five points out of a playoff spot with 13 games left to play, but players are optimistic about their chances of qualifying for post-season play.

"We still have a pretty good shot," says defenceman Peter Veltkamp, who turns 18 this week.

"We've never lost sight of our goal at the end of this season."

Captain Lucas Spencer adds, "It should be pretty close coming in at the end. We have to take advantage of what we have left."

The Rangers missed a major opportunity to tighten the division standings with a 6-2 loss Sunday in Gananoque.

The Islanders, who hold third place in the Rideau Division, pulled seven points ahead of South Grenville with a game in hand.

With the loss, the Rangers failed to gain ground on Athens, which holds the fourth and final playoff spot in the division.

"It was really disappointing," Veltkamp says. "A win would've pulled us to within three points (of Gananoque)."

Spencer, an 18-year-old defenceman from Maitland, says fatigue may have played a role in the loss to the Islanders.

"It was our final game of a three-game weekend," he says. "I know I was a bit tired, and the other guys probably were too."

South Grenville got off to a slow start against the Islanders (down 4-0 after one period), something that has plagued the team all year.

"That's one thing I don't understand," Veltkamp, a Prescott resident, says. "Some games we come out and score two or three goals early and other games it's like we're not even out on the ice."

The Rangers tied Akwesasne 4-4 Saturday after bowing to Brockville 7-2 Friday night.

"We played quite well against Akwesasne, but we didn't show up to play hockey the night before against Brockville," says head coach Anthony Gilmer.

"If we don't start getting aggressive - not penalty aggressive but aggressive with the will to win - we're going to stay where we are."

The team is afforded another chance to gain ground in the standings with three more games this weekend.

The Rangers visit Morrisburg Friday night before hosting Kemptville Saturday at 7:15 pm and Brockville Sunday at 2:30 pm.

Rideau - St. Lawrence Junior "B" Hockey League Standings


Brockville 29 22 7 0 45

Westport 31 20 10 1 43

Gananoque 30 10 18 2 23

Athens 31 9 21 1 21

South Grenville 31 7 23 1 16

* Teams losing in overtime receive one point

All-terrain vehicle riders urged to stay off snowmobile trails

SOUTH GRENVILLE ­ Snowmobile clubs across Ontario are reminding all-terrain vehicle (ATV) operators to stay off snowmobile trails this winter.

As soon as groomers start to roll on Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) trails, ATV riders are requested to stay off until grooming operations stop in the spring.

"OFSC trails are paid for and operated for snowmobilers, not ATV riders who do not buy snowmobile trail permits," OFSC General Manager Ron Purchase said in a release. "ATVers must either develop their own trails for winter use or ride on trails other than those maintained by OFSC clubs."

Grenville Snowmobile Club President Bernie Davy says there are several reasons why the OFSC doesn't want ATV riders on its trails.

"Approximately 95 per cent of our trails run across private land, and the owners don't want four-wheelers on their land," he says.

"It has to do with respect; some ATV riders seem to think they can ride on the trail anytime throughout the year.

"Also, our trail system is insured for snowmobilers only. Even people who ski or walk their dog on our trails are not covered."

Davy adds ATVs are not as safe on snow as snowmobiles and can be hazardous to anyone using the trails.

According to Davy, ATV users caught on OFSC trails can be charged with trespassing and fined up to $1,000. Trail wardens and police will monitor the trails this season.

Anglers and hunters exempted from permits

SOUTH GRENVILLE ­ Anglers and hunters using designated trails and crown and public land to reach hunting or fishing grounds will be exempt from mandatory snowmobile trail permits once again this season.

"This is great news for thousands of anglers, hunters and even recreational snowmobile trail riders," Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) Executive Director Mike Reader said in a release.

A surprise decision last year to remove the exemption for anglers and hunters had been controversial.

Some snowmobile trails on private land were closed and many boycotted the purchase of snowmobile trail permits as protests.

However, OFAH, snowmobile clubs and the government reached a consensus. Anglers and hunters riding without a trail permit will need to show a valid outdoors card and should be able to clearly demonstrate they are on a fishing or hunting trip.

"Anglers and hunters riding trails for recreation only are strongly urged to purchase a trail permit," Reader said, adding the decision to exempt anglers and hunters from mandatory $130 to $160 permit fees is fair and equitable.

Kings finish 2001 with pair of wins

SPENCERVILLE ­ The Rideau St. Lawrence minor peewee Kings finished 2001 on a high note with a pair of wins over the holidays.

The team improved its season record to 14-7-3.

Rideau St. Lawrence travelled to Outaouais Dec. 22 to take on the Intrepide and came away with a 3-1 victory.

The line of Sam Coyne, Michael Empey and Matt Wing combined for seven points in the win.

Empey scored twice, Coyne scored and had two assists and Wing added two helpers.

Graham Peters played a strong game to record the win in goal.

The Kings returned to Spencerville Saturday for a matchup with the Nepean Raiders.

Rideau St. Lawrence jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held on for a 3-2 victory.

Matt Hummel, Steve Craig-Pettem and Jason Crooke provided the Kings offence. Tyler Drew, Kyle Atkins, Coyne, Craig-Pettem and Crooke recorded assists.

Goaltender Clarke Saunders picked up the win.

Rideau St. Lawrence plays an exhibition game this Saturday in Spencerville.

South Grenville peewee squad skates to 4-4 draw with Athens

SOUTH GRENVILLE ­ The South Grenville peewee "B" Rangers skated to a 4-4 draw with the Athens Aeros Dec. 20 in Athens.

Kyle McDougald scored twice with Michael Froom and Dustin Curry adding singles.

Zack Van Allen notched two assists.

Braden Dukelow, Sam Whitley and Josh Joudoin each picked up one helper.

Kurtis Merkley and Kevin Beach shared time in the South Grenville net.

The Rangers were in action yesterday, travelling to Long Sault to play in a tournament.

The team resumes league action Saturday when it visits Loyalist in Amherstview.

Bantam "C" Rangers post easy victories

CARDINAL ­ The South Grenville bantam "C" Rangers rolled to two easy victories before the Christmas break.

The team hammered the North Leeds Stars 8-1 Dec. 14 in Westport, scoring three times in the second period and three more times in the third.

Nathan Smail and Jonathan Baldwin both recorded hat tricks.

David Code and Matthew Hayes each scored once.

South Grenville returned home Dec. 16 and handed Athens a 6-1 loss in Cardinal.

Wesley McFarlane led the way with two goals; David Wallace, Dustin Polite, Baldwin and Code also scored in the win. Luke Beckstead recorded the win in goal, stopping 20 of 21 Aero shots.

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