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Mich gov wants more Can nurses

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While the area’s medical officer of health and local federal politicians have been lobbying for even tighter border restrictions Michigan’s governor Gretchen Whitmer this week signed an executive order which would ease recruitment of more Canadian nurses to work in the severely coronavirus-afflicted state. The order would also ease registration for certified nurse aides and grant renewal of some lapsed health care licenses. All to bolster much-needed medical staff to attend the climbing ranks of the besieged state’s coronavirus patients. Up to now Wayne County, which surrounds the City of Detroit, has had the fourth highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the US. As of today, Michigan’s COVID-19 cases jumped more than 1700 over the previous day to a total of 9334 and there have been 337 deaths, an addition of 78 over the day before. Hundreds of Canadian health workers cross the bridge and tunnel daily to work in Detroit hospitals. They’re considered an essential service and therefore have been allowed to cross. That’s despite the border officially being closed as of March 21 to regular traffic to prevent spread of the highly contagious disease. Meanwhile, as of today, there have been 92 Windsor-area cases and the region recorded its first death, a man in his 80s who had recently travelled to Michigan and had underlying health conditions. Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said 70 per cent of all area COVID-19 cases are people who have traveled and one-third are health-care workers who are employed in Michigan.

Despite movie listings, Cineplex's Windsor theatres definitely not open

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People who have been huddling in their homes over the past several days to protect their health due to the coronavirus outbreak may have been a little surprised to see that a couple of Windsor movie theatres were still open. As of today, The Windsor Star was still advertising showtimes at Cineplex’s Devonshire and Silver City cinemas. This despite the City of Windsor declaring a state of emergency last Friday which effectively shut down Devonshire Mall, where one of the Cineplex theatres is located. Businesses at stand alone “pads” were unaffected by the closures. That could have meant that Silver City, as a stand-alone complex in a south Windsor big box retail site, remained open. But, no, that theatre, as part of the nationwide Cineplex chain, was also closed by the theatre chain March 16. The next day the province imposed a state of emergency and banned operation of public facilities such as theatres, cinemas and concert venues, as well as bars and restaurants. But today in The Windsor Star’s entertainment section the movies at those theatres were still being advertised, along with their weekly showtimes for Friday March 20 through Thursday March 26. Cineplex’s director of exhibition marketing Avery Ironside was stunned when told of the still running ads. "Our theatres are indeed currently closed due to the coronavirus situation, and no advertising should be running.” He suggested the ads kept being placed due to “an automatic feed” that “didn’t stop” and they will be “pulled ASAP.” On March 16 Cineplex announced the temporary cinema closures through to April 2 when re-openings will be “reassessed.” This announcement reflected the rapidly evolving pandemic crisis. Just four days earlier the chain said it was keeping theatres open but “taking all appropriate measures to ensure our venues are safe and that we have existing plans and training protocols in place to ensure they stay that way.” This included enhanced cleaning and asking patrons not feeling well to refrain from visiting the cinemas.

As many as 50 new staff to join 150 at city's airport maintenance hangar

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The City of Windsor-owned maintenance hangar at Windsor airport will likely see substantial employment growth over the next year. This comes as the US-based company that does aircraft maintenance there, AAR Aircraft Services, expects to see major new work at its main Canadian maintenance facility in Trois-Rivières, Quebec after completion of Air Canada’s merger with charter airline Transat, A. T. The work will be so substantial an overflow amount will come to Windsor, said AAR officials. Brian Loomer, AAR’s regional VP and GM, told, “without doubt it will definitely have a positive impact on Windsor.” He said as many as 50 additional full-time jobs would be added to the almost 150 full-timers currently at the hangar, which the city built for $23 million and now leases to AAR. AAR took over maintenance from former tenant Premier Aviation more than two years ago. Air Canada last month announced the new maintenance contract which would see AAR undertake maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) airframe work on Air Canada and Transat aircraft. Currently AAR in Windsor does maintenance on Air Canada and Republic Airways aircraft’s Airbus and Embraer models. The 144,000 sq. ft. hangar is big enough to fit four Airbus A320s and a couple of smaller Embraer aircraft inside “very comfortably,” Loomer said. He added business at the facility has steadily been increasing. AAR recruits staff from Transport Canada-accredited colleges. Saint Clair College in Windsor does not have such accreditation. AAR employs three trades all called Aircraft Maintenance Engineers with designations M for Mechanic, S for Structures and E for Avionics (electronics). The work is mostly heavy maintenance as aircraft go through their life cycles but also lighter modifications. Staff work two shifts seven days a week.

Photo: AAR Aircraft Services

Air Canada axes Windsor-Mtl flight

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Air Canada is axing its direct Windsor to Montreal flight effective June 30. The airline published notices today in both Windsor and Montreal daily newspapers advising of the cancellation. The year round service was operated by Air Canada Express Carrier Jazz Aviation LP. Air Canada media relations said the cancellation was simply because the flight lacked sufficient traffic. “Air Canada cancelled this route due to low demand,” the office said in response to a query. “In fact, passengers prefer our Windsor-Toronto route. We offer customers several flights a day and passengers also have more connection options via Toronto hub.” The flight will not affect Windsor airport personnel. “The suspension of this flight did not result in any job losses,” the airline’s office said. “Airport employees continue to work the Windsor-Toronto flight. But airplane crew will operate out of other centres with the airline saying “they will be redeployed on other itineraries.” The flight was served by Dash H turbo prop and small jet aircraft. Lina Williams, spokeswoman for the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corp., said “we don’t want to see the reduction of service in the region” and redirected questions to Windsor airport. The flight typically leaves at 11 am and arrives in Montreal at 12.40 pm. The return flight to Windsor is in mid afternoon.

[For more on this story go to the LOCAL TOURIST page]

Company applies for demolition permit to construct controversial Kingsville apartment complex

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The developer of a planned controversial residential complex in Kingsville has applied for a demolition permit for 183 Main Street East, an older home that has generated significant community interest by citizens who want to save it. Kingsville council just this week voted unanimously to keep the house on its heritage interest list, not as a designated or registered heritage property as certain media misreported. This means the developer is still free to demolish the property subject to council moving to designate, which would require “scoring” the house for its heritage value and a subsequent council vote. It has 60 days to do this. “We’re confused by the heritage committee’s recommendation to leave the home on the interest list,” Christian LeFave, president of Brotto Family Holdings, told “If the home has the historical significance in which they have indicated, the heritage committee should be scoring the home and recommending to council that the home be placed on the designated heritage list therefore designating the home as an historical home.” Meanwhile, responding to community concerns about such issues as the height and historical design of the two apartment buildings, the company will be back before the town’s planning advisory committee in March with several tweaks to the original design. The buildings will be four floors instead of six and have a “Victorian Style” that replaces a modern look. One concern sparking the overall controversy was that the existing 183 Main St. E. home is similar in style to adjacent 171 Main St. E. which has heritage designation and is known as the Bon Jasperson house. But a heritage impact report prepared for the company found that “most of the designated elements of the Bon Jasperson Home are interior elements and that proposed development and home are separated by approximately 60 ft.” More than 2,000 residents have signed a petition against the zoning change to allow the apartments. LeFave said the heritage committee report to council this week was ”just words” about the existing house’s significance. “They’ve never scored the house, they didn’t even provide … substantiated any of their comment.” He thinks the committee didn’t score “because they feel possibly that it may not meet the requirement.” Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos said this week’s council vote was “simply to maintain the integrity of our process and procedure” for historically significant properties. He said the demolition request now provides “an opportunity” for the town to decide whether to score the house and possibly designate. Should that happen LeFave said he will appeal to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. "We are confident in our position and in our proposal and we will continue to move it forward by any means necessary."

Photo: ____________________________________________________________________

Windsor Ontario News is back!

Windsor Ontario News is back. After signing-off in November 2018 and taking a well-deserved hiatus – with some thought of closing down the news site entirely due to other commitments – the online newspaper, which specializes in stories or angles to stories much of the rest of the media doesn’t do or hasn’t taken – has returned. As the days go by will gradually be revived. There is still much content posted from its previous incarnation. Much of this will be removed and some will be kept if only to link the revived site to its prior life. (Previous stories are separated from current ones by a dividing line.) In any case, is back. Watch for fresh stories as the days unfold. And follow the site on Twitter and Facebook. – Ron Stang, publisher, Jan 31 2020


Canadian input into remake of major Michigan battlefield

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A multimillion-dollar remake of a US historic site across the Detroit River just south of Amherstburg will have Canadian input, and many more Canadian artifacts.

The 10-year expansion of the River Raisin National Battlefield – considered the greatest battle of the War of 1812 – is aimed to increase the site’s profile to the level of the Civil War battlefield, Gettysburg.

Click to read more

Windsor has a new retail entranceway - Division Road

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Windsor's Division Road is evolving into a new major retail entranceway.

And it leads to the city’s traditional hub of retail, Devonshire Mall.

Several years ago, Rock Developments created Windsor Commons on Sydney Avenue immediately south of Devonshire.

And now the company’s latest development is the Shoppes at Union Square, immediately south of Windsor Commons on Division Rd. but tied together through common entrances sand parking lots.

Click to read more

Lawsuits, Customs booths, winner & losers from Gordie Howe bridge announcement

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You know who the group is that was chosen to build the new Gordie Howe International Bridge.

But here are several interesting facts about the new bridge, construction of which is expected to – finally – get underway in early fall.

• The preferred proponent, Bridging North America, seemed to have the best creds for the project, which will be the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America. That’s because various companies in the consortium are currently building Montreal’s new Champlain Bridge, two bridges in New York State, the Toronto Eglinton Crosstown LRT and a new Montreal rapid transit system. They’ve also completed work on the eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland bridge, damaged in an earthquake.

Click to read more

Denied Pelissier garage, fitness studio rebounds spectacularly

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Luis Mendez has bounced back – big time.

The owner of True Fitness, the man who originally wanted to open a fitness studio in what was former retail space in the Pelissier Street parking garage, is doing quite fine – and in a new downtown location – thank you very much.

Mendez had sought to move into the garage space, which was long vacant and which the City of Windsor over the past year finally closed to convert back to its original parking use.

Click to read more

Andy Warhol exhibit coming to Windsor June thru September

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For the first time Windsor will play host to almost 30 pieces of art by famed pop artist Andy Warhol.

The exhibition runs June 2 – Sept. 30 at the Art Gallery of Windsor.

Art gallery curator Jaclyn Meloche travelled to The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh to obtain the art, which will be shown at the AGW and no other museums outside of their Pittsburgh home base.

Click to read more

Jewish film festival to expand May 1 2018

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The Windsor Jewish Film Festival will be expanding into the educational realm though details at the moment remain slim.

“Stay turned,” Windsor Jewish Community Centre executive director Jay Katz said towards the end of last week’s film festival, which drew increased numbers and an increasingly diverse audience.

“We’ve received some funding for educational programming,” Katz said.

Click to read more

Windsor played host to more than dozen grounded 737 aircraft

March 5/20

When world airlines were ordered a year ago to ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 jet fleets after two major crashes Windsor became a base for as many as 14 of the aircraft. AAR Services, which leases the city-owned $23 million hangar at Windsor airport and which contracts with Air Canada for most of its maintenance work, stored the planes there during the milder months last year. But come winter Air Canada moved the planes to a more temperate climate, Arizona. “Air Canada relocated them because it didn’t want them to be in Canada for the winter and (exposed to) harsh weather,” hangar manager David Robertson said. AAR is not immediately certain if the airplanes will return to the city this year prior to their safety upgrade to meet new regulatory standards.

WRH had to fork over $3 mil for doctor's wrongful dismissal Feb 18/20

Windsor Regional Hospital came out on the wrong end of a court decision – big time - after it took away one of its doctor’s hospital privileges. The hospital was ordered to pay $3 million to Dr. Israel Rosenhek, a substantial award when it comes to workplace dismissal, according to labour lawyer Howard Levitt. “The hospital had revoked Rosenhek’s privileges wrongfully, and was ordered to pay a princely sum based on the torts of intentional interference, as well as for misfeasance by public officials (in this case the hospital) that harm the economic interest of private persons,” he writes in National Post. The large award reflected the fact management acted in bad faith and the amount of time elapsed before the doctor’s privileges were reinstated. Levitt says that doctors as an employee group have greater legal clout when it comes to fighting dismissal because they are independent contractors and “dependent” primarily on one client, in this case the hospital.

Marouns lose; state now has all Detroit land for Gordie Howe Intl Bridge Aug 21/2018

The Maroun family has again failed in bringing a legal challenge against the new government-backed Gordie Howe bridge. The family, which owns the existing Ambassador Bridge, had challenged the Michigan government’s decision to condemn (expropriate in Canadian terms) properties they owned for public use as part of the Gordie Howe International Bridge’s Detroit land footprint. Crain’s Detroit Business last week reported that Chief Judge Robert Colombo Jr. of Wayne County Circuit Court rejected 15 legal challenges brought by the family, ranging from questioning traffic projections for the new bridge to the state’s legality in acquiring the 20 land parcels without legislative approval. The decision means the state will finally take possession of all 636 parcels of Detroit land needed for the footprint. The properties in question range “from tiny one-time residential parcels to one-third of the 42-acre Central Transport trucking terminal on Jefferson Avenue,” Crain’s reported. The bridge company says it will appeal.

County to paint over River Canard Bridge "tagging" 2 2018

Recent graffiti tagging of the iconic 1930s-era River Canard Bridge will be removed as soon as tomorrow (Aug. 3), county engineer Tom Bateman says. “We noted the tagging of this structure shortly after it happened. We were waiting on a supply of the specialized coating used on the ‘bowstring’ bridge and will be painting it on Friday,” he told Only two years ago the landmark bridge in front of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church – and a frequent commuting route as motorists zip by - had been refurbished to the tune of more than $400,000. The recent tagging was on the bridge’s ends as well as on some of the “hangers,” which are the vertical bars within the curved “bowstring” design. “This is the first time this has happened here and generally we do not experience much graffiti on our infrastructure,” Bateman says. “The odd time a sign will get sprayed or a bridge wall but it is thankfully a rare occurrence.”

Greyhound boosting service in Ontario 12 2018

Greyhound Canada says it will be boosting service in southern Ontario, while the company announced this week it is axing service entirely within western Canada due to low ridership. David Butler, regional vice-president for Greyhound’s Eastern Canada section, told that $10 million is being invested to improve service, equipment and technology in Ontario. This includes purchasing 35 “newer” buses – 2010, 2012 and 2014 Prevost models – already obtained by Greyhound at a cost of $8 million. The investment follows an upgrade to the Windsor-Toronto service that now sees buses stop at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Meanwhile, “We will continue to work to enhance our e-ticketing system with the objective of going paperless,” Butler said. As well, the company “will work” to provide bus-side scanning. $2 million is being spent on Wi-Fi and an onboard infotainment system. Other upgrades include a bus tracker that allows customers to see where their bus is along the route. Photo: Wikipedia