Year in review: October to December

October

October 3: A Prescott couple who survived the deadly Las Vegas shooting Sunday night had just moved further away from the concert stage when the terrible rampage started. Kim and Greg Hartle were at the Jason Aldean concert, part of the Route 91 Harvest Festival, when it became the site of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

October 4: The Rotary clubs of Brockville earlier this week launched their fall food drive in support of the Brockville and Area Food Bank, and the co-chairwoman of the food bank said it needs to catch up to meet a growing need.

October 5: The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville will consider setting aside $185,000 a year to fund hospitals’ requests for money.

October 6: The Brockville Ontario Speedway opened in Elizabethtown-Kitley in 1969, and on Thursday its owner, Paul Kirkland, was given Elizabethtown-Kitley’s coveted Business of the Year award at the Cedar Valley Golf and Country Club.

October 7: Michael Adamcryck was named the year’s top businessperson by the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce, the latest in a series of awards leading up to its Awards of Excellence gala next month.

October 10: Jess Barabash, who heads the Brockville Young Professionals Network (YPN), can now add a new title to her resume: Young Professional of the Year.

October 11: Jenn Coward, 32, an outspoken advocate for mental health and obsessive compulsive disorder in particular, was named one of The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre’s 2017 Inspiration Award winners.

October 12: Local college students might soon be out of class, but St. Lawrence College’s president has a contingency plan in the event a strike actually takes place.

October 13: There will be less grass mowing, weed killing and street sweeping next year, and more service cuts may be on the way in Brockville’s proposed 2018 budget.

October 14: The cuts proposed in Brockville’s 2018 budget are a good start, but deeper cuts are needed, city council’s longest-serving member, Jeff Earle, believes.

October 17: Vehicle horns blared in support as faculty at Brockville’s St. Lawrence College campus took to the picket lines Monday morning.

October 18: The province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has cleared a Leeds County Ontario Provincial Police officer in the death of an 18-year-old man near Jasper in May 2016. But while the unnamed officer is not guilty of a criminal offence, the arm’s-length agency did take the officer to task for engaging and continuing the pursuit, suggesting it was “a failure to comply with the Ontario Police Services Act.”

October 19: Opponents of a planned north-end industrial park are appealing Brockville council’s recent decision to move ahead with the project. The move could result in an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing that delays the creation of the new industrial area.

October 20: Its services are vital, but the financial needs of St. Lawrence Lodge have, in recent years, put added strain on Brockville’s budget.

October 21: Brockville, like other municipalities, has lately been taking a hit from reassessments, as provincewide “block appeals” by large retailers have reduced the city’s tax revenue.

October 24: The offspring of an acorn carried in the pocket of a Canadian solider from the Battle of Vimy Ridge 100 years ago will shade the grave of Brockville’s most famous war hero. The family of Lt.-Col. Thain Wendell MacDowell was joined by local dignitaries, legionnaires, military brass and friends on Saturday for the dedication of the Vimy oak tree at Oakland Cemetery.

October 25: A woman charged in connection with the desecration of a three-year-old boy’s grave last year was charged on Monday with obstruction of justice. Katherine Collins, 27, of Brockville, has been charged with obstructing justice, said police.

October 26: Changing technology in the banking industry prompted the Royal Bank of Canada’s decision to close its branch in Spencerville, according to Mike Belliveau, RBC’s regional vice-president.

October 27: An official opening ceremony for the long-anticipated brand-new Kemptville Public School (KPS) was held Thursday, which included an official ribbon-cutting, several student performances, speeches from several dignitaries and a traditional Indigenous opening address from Judi Montgomery as the school was built on the traditional territories of the Algonquin people.

October 28: After more than two weeks of being closed, the Leo Boivin Community Centre has now been reopened to the public.

October 31: Brockville police have been dealing with a relatively sharp increase in sexual offences over the past year, the most recent crime statistics show.

November

November 1: A west-end couple escaped injury on Halloween night as flames gutted their home. Brockville firefighters responded to a fully-involved house fire at 307 Adley Drive at 6:09 p.m. and were still at the scene at press time hours later.

November 2: Brandy Morton was not surprised to learn of a sharp spike in sexual offences in the most recent Brockville police crime statistics. In fact, Morton, the public education coordinator at the Assault Response and Care Centre (ARCC), would not have been shocked to see the numbers come in even higher.

November 3: The Ontario Environment Ministry would require any new owners of the ED-19 landfill site to seek new environment approvals if they wanted to take in garbage from outside of Leeds and Grenville.

November 4: Town officials are breathing easier today after new air tests gave the Leo Boivin Community Centre a clean bill of health for the rest of the season.

November 7: The bargaining team for the province’s community colleges said Monday it has asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board to schedule a vote on their contract offer and wants faculty members to suspend their strike while the vote is being organized.

November 8: The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville will set aside a half a per cent of its tax bills next year to fund hospitals’ requests for money.

November 9: North Grenville has reached a deal to buy the former Kemptville College campus from the provincial government.

November 10: They had two tickets to the Awards Express, so the train had to come in at least once for the Brockville Railway Tunnel Committee. The volunteer group behind the city’s most recent tourism attraction captured the Tourism Award at the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce Awards of Excellence gala Thursday night.

November 11: As the generation that lived through the Second World War – and survived its atrocities – slowly passes on, the responsibility to remember falls on those who remain. Larry Henry, a longtime teacher at Thousand Islands Secondary School, knows this all too well. The law and business teacher is the 2017 recipient of the Arie van Mansum award from Carleton University’s Center for Holocaust Education and Scholarship.

November 14: Almost all the jobs created in Ontario since the 2008 recession have been in the Toronto and Ottawa area, leaving Eastern Ontario and other parts of the province with close to zero job growth, according to a new study by the Fraser Institute.

November 15: The chief administrative officer for the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands is suing a township councillor for $1 million. CAO Greg Borduas claims that Councillor John Paul Jackson defamed him when the councillor made public allegations from two in-camera council meetings in May. Jackson also defamed Borduas in Facebook posts and in emails circulated to staff and councillors at township hall, Borduas claims.

November 16: Contraband cigarette use in Brockville has continued steadily over the last year, according to the latest report by an advocacy group for corner store owners.

November 17: The provincial government was tabling back-to-work legislation late Thursday after college faculty across the province overwhelmingly rejected the employer’s latest offer.

November 18: “This is a Canadian compromise!” So joked Glenn Allen, the first-ever recipient of the Bill Thake Award, after the news Friday that all three of the nominees for this year’s award are co-winners. Allen made the quip as he posed for photos with Wendy Banks, Heather Howard and Gerald Tallman, who will share the 2017 Bill Thake Memorial Economic Development Leadership Award.

November 21: Local students are back in class today after the province ordered striking faculty back to work over the weekend.

November 22: St. Lawrence College students will have the option to drop out of the semester and receive a full refund after the five-week faculty strike, the province announced this week.

November 23: The provincial environment ministry has pressed the pause button on any development of the ED-19 landfill site near Spencerville.

November 24: The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville have changed a plan for funding requests from hospitals after a local mayor argued that protests against the ED-19 landfill could cost the counties millions in lost revenue.

November 25: Collette, who declined to provide her last name, spoke at the launch of Interval House’s annual event to kick off 16 Days of Action against gender violence in Leeds and Grenville. She shared her story of childhood bullying, name calling, which she said slowly chipped away at her self esteem, laying the foundations for her future adult relationships.

November 28: Officials at the Aquatarium are asking city hall for another $400,000 to cover higher-than-expected costs.

November 29: Two separate transport truck crashes on Highway 401 within seven hours of each other on Monday drive home the urgency of local mayors’ call for stiffer regulations of truck traffic, Prescott Mayor Brett Todd said Tuesday.

November 30: Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi has promised to investigate why the Brockville courthouse is not wired for video remands.

December

December 1: Harold Emmons, the gruff, common-sense voice of the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands council, died Wednesday at the age of 85.

December 2: Amid hugs, tears and applause on Friday, the federal and provincial governments announced they would spend $2.2 million to upgrade Westport’s sewage and water system.

December 5: One family may have to forgo Christmas this year after falling prey to an ever-growing rental scam in the Brockville area.

December 6: Brockville will give the Aquatarium another $200,000 next year, or half the extra funding it requested, in exchange for additional council scrutiny of the tourism attraction’s finances.

December 7: The 136-acre site currently home to Procter&Gamble is officially up for sale. Just seven months after the company announced plans to close its Brockville operations as early as 2020, the steps are already in motion to fill a vacancy that will be left behind by the city’s largest private sector employer.

December 8: Counties council has retroactively endorsed its appeal of the provincial environment ministry’s decision to suspend the licence for the ED-19 landfill site.

December 9: A woman charged with the desecration of a three-year-old boy’s grave last year was found guilty of two charges in court earlier this week.

December 12: If a teacher were marking Brockville’s elementary schools, they would receive grades ranging from B-plus to C-minus in the Fraser Institute’s annual ranking of schools. In other words, we’re not the best in the province but we are not the worst, either.

December 13: The former Phillips Cables site is the new preferred location of Brockville’s proposed twin-pad arena.

December 14: Aquatarium steering committee members are frustrated, feeling like a “ping-pong ball” amid strained relations between the facility’s two partners, members said Wednesday.

December 15: Brockville’s mighty Sabre Jet will get a fresh coat of paint after all. City councillors this week approved without discussion a motion to pay local artist Dave Sheridan to repaint the vintage fighter jet, backing a contract just over half as costly as the one they rejected in the spring.

December 16: An alleged privacy breach at Family and Children’s Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville last year has led to the agency being sued for negligence, invasion of privacy and a breach of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

December 19: The president of the company running a gun range at the regional airport says residents’ concerns around a “lack of regulation” are unfounded.

December 20: A Brockville Recorder and Times carrier was taken to hospital after being struck by a snow plow at a Kensington Parkway apartment complex.

December 21: Tyler Burtch, 30, a Brockville Recorder and Times carrier who died after being hit by a snow plow Tuesday morning, is being remembered as a kind-hearted young man with a zest for life.

December 22: The Aquatarium’s steering committee has postponed talk of disbanding for at least a month, with one member citing “progress” in resolving disputes around the tourism attraction’s governance.

December 23: The smiles were wide at the headquarters of the United Way of Leeds and Grenville this week as the agency reached its annual goal of $825,000.

December 27: A woman suffered minor injuries when the car she was driving collided with a Laurier Boulevard home, striking the house with enough force to enter it completely and damage the back wall.

December 28: Regional economic development, the twin-pad arena and more refinements to Brockville’s tourism offerings will be among Mayor David Henderson’s top priorities in 2018.

December 29: An unmarked brown envelope with $1,000 of gift cards in the desk of the former treasurer of the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands has touched off a possible OPP probe of suggestions of influence-peddling, allegations of a councillor’s ethics code violations and calls for an investigation by the township’s integrity commissioner.

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