(St. Thomas, Ontario) Fanshawe College is delighted to announce that private donations totaling $500,000 will support a brand new Renewable Energies Technician program at the College’s St. Thomas/Elgin Campus.
The recent donations come from two local sources: a contribution of $405,000 from the Estate of Dorothy Palmer, and a gift of $95,000 from the Alma College Foundation.
The money will be used to provide equipment and facilities for the program, which will train students to work with technology in the growing green energy sector. The program is anticipated to launch in September of 2012.
“We are proud to share in Mrs. Palmer’s legacy by building a program that will provide opportunities in St. Thomas, help create and respond to needs in the renewable energy industry, and ultimately contribute to a healthier environment,” said Lane Trotter, Fanshawe’s Senior Vice President, Academic. “Mrs. Palmer has left an inspiring gift for all of us.”
In addition, the special gift from the Alma College Foundation represents a legacy contribution from the residue of the Foundation that previously aimed to support Alma College in St. Thomas.
“Fanshawe is very grateful for the donations we have received from the Dorothy Palmer Estate and the Alma College Foundation,” said Catherine Finlayson, Executive Director, Fanshawe College Foundation. “Through this gift from the Alma College Foundation we are creating a new program that will continue the fine legacy of education that was important to Alma College and its alumnae.”
Dorothy Palmer was born in 1925 and was the only child of Fred and Ethel Ingram, who operated the “Elgin County House of Industry” from 1927–1942. A graduate of St. Thomas Collegiate Institute, she taught elementary school in Eden, Sparta, and St. Thomas. Mrs. Palmer lived her whole life as a resident of Elgin County. She died in June 2010.
Alma College was founded in 1877 and was an important private school for girls, operating in St. Thomas for more than 100 years and attracting students from around the world. In 1976, it was designated a provincial historic site to celebrate the school’s centennial. The main building was destroyed by a fire on May 28, 2008. Before this unfortunate event, the Alma College Foundation was working toward funding a purchase and rejuvenation of the facility. With the main school building destroyed in the fire, Foundation members began to look around the community for other worthy causes to support. Education in St. Thomas was the priority, which encouraged the Foundation to help fund development of new programming at the St. Thomas Campus of Fanshawe.
With help from the Foundation and the Dorothy Palmer Estate, the Renewable Energies Technician program will provide students with a solid theoretical and practical understanding of evolving renewable energy technologies, with an emphasis on systems that harness and generate solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal energy. The program will also introduce general concepts in global climate change and energy conservation.
Andrew Gunn, in his dual capacity as Trustee of the Estate of Dorothy Palmer and President of the Alma College Foundation, expressed his satisfaction with this new initiative. “With the establishment of the Renewable Energies Technician program at the St. Thomas campus of Fanshawe College, the opportunity now exists for the City of St. Thomas to become recognized as a leading centre for the study of renewable energy in Ontario and indeed the whole country. As links are fostered with partners in the green energy industry, the economic benefit to our region should be substantial. I feel very fortunate to have been able to support this project. It is truly exciting to think of all the students from Elgin County and beyond who will benefit from this innovative and distinctive program.”
"This is a very exciting program announcement for the St. Thomas/Elgin Campus of Fanshawe College,” stated Heather Jackson-Chapman, Mayor of the City of St. Thomas. “The investment from the Dorothy Palmer Estate and the Alma College Foundation will help to create a one of a kind program that will attract students in a growing green energy field."
For more information, please contact:
Dean of the Centre for Community Education and Training Services
(519) 452-4430 ext. 4789
President, Alma College Foundation
Trustee, The Estate of Dorothy Palmer
Phone: (519) 637-3597
The last regular market day of the Horton Market 2011 season will feature special tasty treats and a visit from Lynn Ogrylzo, author of “The Ontario Table.”
Lynn Ogrylzo has championed Ontario food for the last twenty-two years. As a columnist, award-winning cookbook author, and lead in founding the Niagara Culinary Trail, she shared her passion for the foods of the Niagara region. More recently she toured the whole of Ontario, gathering food stories, recipes and photos for “The Ontario Table.” She has been a driving force for bringing increased recognition to the culinary delights and destinations of Ontario.
Full of stunning photos, delicious recipes and the stories behind the food, Lynn’s book has received high acclaim.
“The final line in the book, is “To be continued...”, words which attempt to plant the seed for buying into Ogryzlo’s belief local food is not a one off, not a weekend or single holiday event, rather an ongoing choice.”
Jeff Tribe, Tillsonburg News
“We all know that good things grow in Ontario. As a passionate advocate for local food, Lynn Ogryzlo takes the time to teach readers how food gets from the farm to the plate. Her book, The Ontario Table is a great way to learn about Ontario’s farmers and local food”
Honourable Carol Mitchell, Minister of Agriculture
Photo courtesy of Lynn Ogryzlo
Lynn will have her cookbook available and be on hand to chat and sign your copy. Stop by and share your enthusiasm for our market, and the food grown nearby – it never hurts to promote the Elgin County’s hidden gems – they might get included in Lynn’s next book.
The market will also offer treats to market attendees in celebration of another successful year.
Find out more at http://ontariotable.com/Home.html
. There’s a facebook page where you will find Lynn’s favourite October recipe for pumpkin pancakes – tis the season and it looks delicious. More…
Pre-orders of “The Ontario Table” will receive $5 off the regular price. You can contact Market Manager Shawn DeVree at 519-317-3398 or email@example.com
Here's a video to play in the upcoming months when it's cold outside. St. Thomas resident Mira Lavoie captured a a gorgeous day and several St. Thomas landmarks, from the longboarder's point of view. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o11Eeghj2BA
Photos by Mark Girdauskas
You’ve probably noticed posters for the “Bowling for Boobs” fundraiser at Heritage Lanes in St. Thomas for many months now. On Saturday October 15th, after the 3rd shift of six for the three-day event, it was clear to see that organizer Kelly Baines and the community have scored a perfect game with the fundraiser in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Society.
Kelly noted that she built on last year’s success for this 2nd annual “Bowling for Boobs”. She has a passion for both bowling and the cause (her mom died of breast cancer five years ago). She is to be commended for combining that passion with amazing event planning savvy. She wanted it to be “fun and easy for people to join in” (the requirement was just a $50 pledge for each team member). She intended that the interesting name and the poster’s early release this year would catch people’s attention and give them lots of time to get involved.
The response was overwhelming, with the initially planned one-day event expanded to three days and an increase in teams to eighty-seven from last year’s thirty-six. The community was clearly engaged, with team involvement and donations of posters, media support, draw and silent auction items. “Fun” would be an understatement for the energetic vibe to be found at Heritage Lanes around noon on Saturday. The place was glowing with a sea of pink, lights from the cosmic bowling, music and happy chatter.
John Baines, Kelly’s dad, was still expressing delight over Mayor Heather Jackson-Chapman’s opening night participation. He said, “We were teasing her about her bowling skills. Then she did a backwards granny bowl and it was a strike! The crowd was thrilled.”
The first two shifts of Saturday brought in $4,500 and $4,864 putting them just under last year’s total, with lots more games to come.
Says Kelly, “Next year’s date has already been set.” Monday it’s back to school at Trent University where she is enrolled in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She definitely deserves for the energy and success of the weekend to help carry her through completion of that mid-term exam that awaits Monday.
Great job Kelly, John, Heritage Lanes and all the participants, organizers, and supporters!
The slideshow below features some of Mark's photos from Friday evening at the event.
Fri Oct 14th to Sun Oct 16th
Kelly Baines and Heritage Lanes present the 2nd Annual Bowling For Boobs Breast Cancer Fundraiser. Originally a one day event, Bowling For Boobs is now taking place over three days due to overwhelming support from the community. All proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Society of Canada. Help strike out breast cancer!
Every team of 5 should come up with a team name, designate a captain and each member must raise a minimum of $50 in pledges. Pledge forms are available by calling the numbers below. There will be music, silent auctions and prizes for teams.
Time: Shifts - Friday 6:30-9:30pm; Saturday 11am-2pm, 2-5pm, 5-8pm & 8-11pm; Sunday 12-3pm & 3-6pm
Venue: Heritage Lanes
Address: 1213 Talbot Street, Saint Thomas, ON · Get Directions
Contact Phone: 519-870-2695 (cell) or Heritage Lanes, 519-631-8500
Surveys conducted by Imagine Canada have provided a window on volunteers – who they are and why they help out. In a 2007 study they found that the top 10% of volunteers contributed 52% of total hours. Motivations for volunteering varied from making a contribution to the community to exploring strengths and networking. Barriers to volunteering included lack of time, inability to make a long-term commitment, not being asked, and not knowing how to become involved.
Local volunteer organizations have been working recently on breaking down some of these barriers. A volunteer job fair was hosted on October 6th by the St. Thomas Elgin Art Centre. On October 29th Volunteer Elgin will be on hand with several of their agencies at the Elgin Mall for their first annual volunteer fair.
Chatting with representatives from some of the organizations at the Art Centre Volunteer Fair revealed a need for volunteers in an interesting variety of roles. Each was enthused about the opportunity volunteers give them to take their services to a new level. There are jobs available for any interest or time commitment – the possibilities and positives would certainly make you think about fitting some volunteer service into your schedule.
Resources, Inspiration & Fun
New research from Volunteer Canada shares practical information for volunteer organizations to attract volunteers among four specific demographic groups: youth, families, boomers and employer-supported volunteers. They have come up with some cool tools and resources.
For a little inspiration, visit Getvolunteering.ca.
What kind of volunteer are you – a Type A, a Rookie or a Groupie? Take the quiz and discover your inner volunteer.
You can check out opportunities with Volunteer Elgin at their Volunteer Fair on October 29th 20ll at the Elgin Mall (417 Wellington St, St. Thomas) from noon to 5pm. Even if you are not sure about volunteering, it’s a good way to develop an appreciation for some excellent work being done in your community.
Art Centre Volunteer Fair Presents a Cornucopia of Volunteer Possibilities
Many adults and youth stopped in at the Art Centre Volunteer Fair to learn about volunteer options – below you will find brief information from some of the organizations who were there. (It doesn’t include all of the groups on hand as, unfortunately, time ran out to chat with everyone).
The Art Centre has a full roster of volunteer jobs, explained Suzette Terry, Administrative Assistant at the Centre. They include maintenance and odd jobs, media and promotions, reception, special events assistant and education assistant. The education assistant helps the art instructors – it’s a position which often appeals to high school students. One co-op student took on the organization of a show in the Timken gallery, demonstrating self-motivation and confidence and building more of the same. It’s a lively place that’s likely to bring out your creative spirit, no matter what the job!
Wendy Cowie smiled that she has been the Volunteer Coordinator at the YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin – “since Labour Day”. However, she has had experience with the YW, working in the past as a volunteer at their Connections store in Port Stanley. She highlighted volunteer positions in adult education, one on one with individuals who need to improve literacy and math skills. Training and reference materials are provided as it is important to take into consideration the unique teaching approach for adults. It has been a challenge to get enough volunteers for the program run in St. Thomas & Aylmer. The Connections store in Port Stanley, unique in that it is fair trade and proceeds go to the YWCA, also needs volunteers. These positions require people willing to commit to at least once a week to ensure on-going momentum with the adult learning, or staying in touch with inventory in the retail outlet.
In the early stages of preservation of CASO Railway Station, massive effort by volunteers was needed to ensure the building was secure from deterioration before funding could be found to move ahead with restoration. At present, Linda Martin, Special Events Coordinator for the North America Railway Hall of Fame, notes that volunteers are needed mainly to man some of the special events held in the grand building. This is the perfect job for adults or youth who would like to be on hand to help out with a station happening – a great way to have fun while you are working, and it suits an occasional-only time commitment.
The Elgin County Railway Museum is an organization with an enormous variety of volunteer opportunities, and “all kinds of jobs” noted Railway Museum Manager, Dawn Miskelly. They range from “artifact cataloguing to manning the gift shop, giving guided tours, sitting on committees (like fund-raising), marketing, restoration, building maintenance and grounds maintenance.” Day Out with Thomas is a favourite for youth volunteers at the station. The need for volunteers has increased as the museum has shifted to being open year-round.
The Elgin County Museum has presented, over the past few years, a wonderful (and sometimes weird – recall “Sitting Pretty, The History of the Toilet) variety of exhibits from Clark McDougall’s Barns to Jumbo, Rural Retail, Life & Leisure on Lake Erie, most featuring some artifacts from the extensive permanent collection. All have been interesting, but what Curator Mike Baker would really like to see is programming to bring some of those artifacts to life – it’s those activities where the right volunteers could have a lot of fun. Introduction of demonstrations and ‘hands on’ for kids would more effectively convey “the idea of farm life in the 20th century” says Mike. He may have been inspired by the very enthusiastic reaction to the museum displays at the 2010 International Plowing Match where adults and kids alike were engaged by “high-touch” opportunities. “Elgin County would be” visions Mike. “the perfect place for a Museum of Agriculture.” Other volunteer jobs at the museum for both youth and adults include graphic design; getting a back-log of shows onto the website; researching items from storage with development of a complementary display in the meeting room. He notes that it is a priority to involve the community.
Elgin County Archives is another organization with a surprisingly diversified line-up of volunteer possibilities. Archivist Assistant, Gina Coady explained that people are needed to “design virtual exhibits and accomplish a variety of other ‘techy’ tasks, digitize photos, assist with conservation and cleaning of documents, and help with reference services to researchers.” The creation of our local archives was driven largely by community effort starting back in the 1980s and 90s. The County’s first archivist, Brian Masschaele arrived in 2001 and the facility was opened in November 2002 with a mission to preserve but also to be an active community resource. It has accomplished much - check out the website for a treasure-trove of photos and the archive’s own you-tube channel. The Archives has recently mounted an extensive exhibit, Ford Motor Company of Canada Limited St. Thomas Assembly Plant: Photographs from the St. Thomas Times-Journal Collection, 1966-1983. It includes images documenting the selection and preparation of the plant site, plant construction, milestone events, labour relations, and, most significantly, the production and distribution of a series of iconic vehicles including Falcon, Maverick and Crown Victoria. It is open to the public Tuesday to Friday 10am to 4pm – a perfect chance to check out the archives if you haven’t done so before.
As this year’s Executive Director of the St. Thomas United Way, Paul Shaffer would like people’s perception of the United Way as fundraiser-only to shift to one of an organization which can impact the community through participation and involvement (and fun with events like the upcoming Stair Climb). The agency is working to build its role as a provider of a pool of resources in order to assist other agencies with, for example, a campaign, drive or need for volunteers. The United Way is looking for volunteers to help build those overall resources. Paul also wants donators to know where their money is going and to be assured that the United Way is engaged in the community, that money raised here funds programs locally and that care is taken to insure that those dollars help to make this a better place to be.
Melissa McLeod, Volunteer Coordinator at Second Stage Housing explained that they provide twelve apartments for women leaving abusive relationships. During their time there, the women receive support while complementary programs are also provided for their children. Volunteers are needed to cover the kid’s recreation worker position. In addition, once a month Bingos through Bingo Country are important fund-raisers where volunteers are needed.
Inn Out of the Cold started last year, a desperately needed shelter for the winter months. In recent years, people finding themselves homeless in St. Thomas literally had no where to go but the streets. The program is housed in Central United Church and provides for basic needs of shelter, food and warm clothing in a setting of compassion and dignity. The program requires coverage by one staff and one volunteer at all times or the centre must close. Jennifer May-Groves, Volunteer Coordinator, indicated that volunteers assist the 4 staff members who set up beds, prepare meals, play games, chat and just hang out. Inn Out of the Cold can be reached at 519.633.2638, ext 220 and can be found on facebook.
Lisa Minielly, Vice-Chair of Volunteer Elgin noted that they are a networking agency for their membership of local non-profit organizations. They also provide resources and training experiences. Several of the eighteen current member organizations will be on hand at their first annual volunteer fair on October 29th (see details above). Links to each of them can be found on the Volunteer Elgin website.
Thanksgiving weekend was the perfect opportunity to ride the rails in Port Stanley for the first time or to get re-acquainted with the PSTR.
Fall colours highlight a trip this time of year as the train chugs by woodsy views at a relaxing pace, following the Kettle Creek Valley. The conductor provides snippets of information on the PSTR history, cars in the organization's collection, bridges and vegetation.
Below, see scenes and some of the people who enjoyed a ride on Sunday October 8th.
Scenes from the train, including Engineer Tim Flynn and son Seamus (slide 3); Frank, Despina and son Christian (slide 4); Conductor Dave Whyte (slide 7); Valerie and daughter Madeleine (slide 10).
The Aylmer Community Theatre presents Ken Ludwig’s Leading Ladies as their first show of the season. A farce presented on a straightforward set, and based on a simple plot, it requires no great thought from the audience but the characters and their antics are over-the-top silly enough to provide a well paced couple hours of hilarity.
Set in 1958, Leading Ladies’ main characters are Jack and Leo, two down on their luck English Shakespearean actors working the Moose Lodge circuit in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. Hearing about a fabulously rich old lady who is reportedly on death’s door, Leo (Greg Mizon) and Jack (Evan Thompson) come up with the seemingly straight-forward scheme of impersonating her long-lost nephews in a bid to inherit her fortune.
The first complication to arise (the fact that the nephews are actually nieces) doesn’t deter them and they descend, dressed as women, upon the mansion of the miraculously recovering Florence (Liz Marra). They soon become acquainted with her drama-loving neice, Meg (Sandi Lopenen) and her greedy pastor fiancé Duncan (Ron Sawyer), Meg’s delightful but ditzy friend Audrey (Ashley Grech), the bungling doctor and his clueless but adorable son, Butch (Alex Pickersgill).
Central to the play’s fun is the idea of men playing men playing women and Mizon and Thompson pull it off delightfully. More complications arise with romances, jealousies and greed thrown in for good measure, providing a well-played, well-paced two hours of fun. Each member of the cast acts his/her part to the hilt – they are obviously having a good time and it’s contagious.
Above, Jack (Evan Thompson) & Leo (Greg Mizon)
Above, Audrey (Ashley Grech); Duncan (Ron Sawyer); Doc (Alan Legg); Jack (Evan Thompson); Leo (Greg Mizon); Butch (Alex Pickersgill); Florence (Liz Marra); Meg (Sandi Loponen).
Directed by Harry Edison, Leading Ladies continues Thurs Oct 13th to Sat Oct 15th with shows at 8pm each evening at the Aylmer Old Town Hall Theatre. Tickets are $15 adult, $10 student, available from The Prime Ingredient, Campbells II, Aylmer Video or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information call 519-773-3372 or visit http://www.aylmertheatre.ca/.
Photos by Mark Girdauskas
With ten acres of corn, five kilometres of twists and turns, and lots more for families to do after they get lost in the corn, the fun at the Belmont Corn Maze gets better each season.
Now in its 12th year of operation, the maze was taken over three years ago by the Lunn family. This year they held a contest to come up with the design. It was won by local music group, The vogelJoys
and incorporates their bird logo, trumpet and musical notes.
Kids can play in a corn box full of sand toys, climb the straw bales, paint a pumpkin, get creative in the Little Barn Theatre or climb Bill’s Tractor. There’s also a concession booth and picnic tables on-site.
The Belmont Corn Maze began just west of Belmont when the Farquhar family started the tradition. The third farming generation of the Lunn family took it over and have grown the attraction at a new location as a way for visitors to enjoy wide open spaces and learn a bit about farm-life.
Some weekends feature special events and exhibits by groups like 4-H or Elgin County Junior Farmers.
For three weekends in October, the maze becomes haunted. Then on Saturday November 5th at The Great Pumpkin Smash, the Belmont Corn Maze will provide the contest, games and tools to destroy your pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns.
Above, scenes from the maze, including maze employee Jessica (slide 7); Selina, Katrina, and Brittany who were on hand Sun Oct 9 with an exhibit from Elgin County Junior Farmers (slide 11).
The Belmont Corn Maze operates weekends from Fri Sept 16th to Sat Nov 5th: Fridays 7-10pm; Saturdays 1-10pm; Sundays 1-5pm (last visitors admitted 1 hour before closing). Tickets: General $8.25; Youth/Senior (12-17/over 65) $7.25; Child (5-11) $5.25. Friday & Saturday nights after dark, the maze becomes haunted on October 14 & 15, 21 & 22, and 28 & 29 (weather permitting). For details check www.belmontcornmaze.com or call 519-644-1379.
Photos by Mark Girdauskas & Relish Elgin
has been in business for seven years and at their new facility for one-year. They celebrated this anniversary on Sat Oct 1st with facility tours, gourmet charity BBQ with proceeds to Farmtown Canada
, and supplier samples.
Slideshow above: Butcher-Specialist and co-owner Ray Coddington (slide 1), Farmtown Staff (slide 2); food samples (slide 3-6); Co-owner Sandy Lyle gives a facility tour (slide 7); Kelly Franklin from Farmgown Canada, Tricia Herbert, Sharon Lyle & Sandy Lyle (slide 8).
The long-standing Elgin Car-A-Van Tour gives visitors opportunity to explore the Agri-food industry in Elgin County each autumn. This year’s tour included five stops in Central and East Elgin. Presented by Elgin Federation of Agriculture, the tour never fails to reveal some surprising glimpses into the work that happens on farms tucked along roads of our rural backyard. You will find a few photos from three of the stops in the slideshow below.
At Sunny Acres Morgan Horse Farm, Tim and Wendy Inch have been breeding, raising, training and showing Morgan horses for 31 years. Debeckere Farms transitioned from tobacco to fruits and vegetables in the early 2000s. The Gay Lea Heritage Museum purchased Andy and Lotty vanKasteren's extensivie collection in 2010 and now operate the facility.
Slideshow above: Sunny Acres Morgan Horses (photos 1-3); Tim Inch (photo 1); Debeckere Farms (photos 4-6); Dan Debeckere (photo 6); Gay Lea Heritage Museum (photos 7-11); Kim Teuscher, Museum Coordinator (photo 11)