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Legion official "surprised" by exemption from smoking ban

No comment from anti-smoking group

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 16 2014

Ontario is banning smoking in all Ontario outdoor bar and restaurant patios effective January 1st with one exception: the Royal Canadian Legion.

The update to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act explicitly states that “all bar and restaurant patios, whether covered or not” will be subject to the ban, which has proved controversial in some quarters.

Meanwhile the Legion will have “an exemption for uncovered patios established by the Royal Canadian Legion – Ontario Provincial Command before November 18, 2013.”

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Iconic, controversial protest mask for sale at local Indigo

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 4 2014

One of the most iconic – and controversial - symbols of recent political protests is for sale at Indigo’s suburban Lakeshore store.

The Guy Fawkes mask has become a common sight worn by protesters at rallies from Quebec student anti-tuition demonstrations to the Occupy movement and beyond.

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Ont. still approves guardrails banned by many U.S. states

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 7 2014

Despite more than a dozen US states refusing to purchase guardrails from a Texas manufacturer the Ontario Ministry of Transportation continues to purchase the products but is monitoring a U.S. probe into their safety.

Thirteen states including Michigan will no longer purchase the guardrails from Trinity Industries of Dallas.

And the state of Virginia says it will actually remove the barriers because of safety concerns.

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Windsor Star historical murals orphaned, can't find new home

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Oct 28 2014 Photo by Gary Martin

While parts of Windsor, including downtown, are festooned with large and attractive murals telling stories of the city’s history, two prominent ones have been taken down and are seemingly orphaned, at least for the tome being.

The murals, part of the successful Postcards from Home program which employed local artists through a federal government job creation program in 2005, used to be prominently displayed on the iconic Windsor Star building on Ferry Street downtown.

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Women's rights groups still use male-only member Caboto Club

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Oct. 7 2014

Two important organizations that advocate for women’s rights continue to use the Caboto Club, which restricts women’s membership, even after a local woman went public earlier this year calling out the club for its male-only status.

The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW), one of whose purposes is “the advancement of the status of women, human rights and the common good,” recently booked a mayoral debate Oct. 1 at the club in central Windsor, perhaps the city’s best known and most well used venue among banquet halls for public and private meetings and conferences.

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Is there a wall of community mailboxes in your future?

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WindsorOntarioNews.com August 8 2014

It might be mailbox overkill.

Mailboxes like you haven’t seen before could be coming to streets and neighbourhoods near you.

Some of the first pictures of Canada Post’s new urban mailboxes aren’t a pretty sight and may spark considerable opposition by residents once they get to see exactly what the boxes look like, according to the union representing postal workers.

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Tessier says he would donate 25 per cent of mayor's salary

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WindsorOntarioNews.com July 25 2014

Mike Tessier says if elected mayor he’d donate 25 per cent of the mayor’s base salary to social agencies.

“That’s why I made a promise – and it’s one of the few promises that I will deliver on – that if I’m elected mayor I want to donate a minimum of 25 per cent of the mayor’s base pay to places like Goodfellows, Mission, Salvation Army,” he said.

Tessier has been a fixture at council meetings for well over a decade.

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City/BIA issued tokens help ward off parking meter blues

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WindsorOntarioNews.com June 23 2014

One way to beat the parking meter blues is through City of Windsor - issued parking meter tokens.

And city business improvement areas (BIAs) have been helping merchants plug meters - for free - for customers who may not have change or need more time.

The shiny golden coloured tokens have been around for years although some BIAs are more aware of them than others.

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London MPP pledges to look after Windsor region's interests

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WindsorOntarioNews.com June 13 2014

London North Central Liberal MPP Deb Matthews says she will make special efforts to represent deep southwestern Ontario in the provincial cabinet following the defeat of the area’s only Liberal, Windsor West’s Teresa Piruzza.

Matthews may be two hours up the highway but she says that won’t prevent her from having Windsor and Essex County’s greatest interests at heart, despite the fact there is no Liberal MPP between here and her constituency.

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Windsor mall store chosen for new upscale fashion boutique

WindsorOntarioNews.com May 9 2014

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A little bit of upscale fashion is now in Windsor.

A new boutique has opened at Hudson’s Bay Company’s (HBC) Windsor store: Lord & Taylor.

The fashionable U.S. brand, purchased by HBC in 2012, has parlayed Lord & Taylor’s soft goods – such as clothing – into boutiques at select Bay stores across Canada.

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Tax counter services closure another "big blow" to downtown

WindsorOntarioNews.com April 18 2014

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Windsor’s downtown tax office has closed its counter services.

The office on Ouellette Ave. located near the doorway of the Paul Martin building, was in fact closed last October, and used to serve people looking for paper forms, and advice, as they prepare their income taxes.

According to downtown promoters the closure is another nail in the coffin of the venerable Paul Martin federal building, which already has a years-old construction hoarding around it to protect pedestrians from falling building debris.

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Region's French boards' schools are now bursting at the seams

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WindsorOntarioNews.com March 4 2014

Both the Catholic and public French schools board are desperately seeking more classroom space and funds from the government to expand.

“They’re beyond capacity,” Joseph Picard, education director for the Conseil scolaire catholique Providence, which runs Catholic schools in southwestern Ontario.

The exceptions are “one or two schools that have a few empty classrooms” in “the further parts of Essex County, so more towards Chatham area,” he said.

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Queue-jumping trucks cause back-ups, impede border access

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Jan 25 2014

Truckers trying to look for speedy access to the border have been holding up traffic generally along Huron Church Road, sometimes considerably in terms of distance and time.

Most trucks heading to the border stay in the centre of three north bound lanes leading to the Ambassador Bridge.

But when traffic builds, often in late weekday afternoons, it becomes a frequent occurrence for truckers to jump the queue, cutting into the lane beside the median used predominantly by regular motorists, and which leads directly to the Ambassador Bridge ramp north of College Ave.

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Many students showed up this week during bad weather days

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Jan 9 2014

Perhaps surprisingly, a substantial number of students showed up at schools this week.

Windsor Essex County may have had the worst weather in 20 years Monday and Tuesday but schools remained open even if school buses weren’t running.

That resulted in some parents complaining.

“We’ve had some concerned voices,” agreed public board spokesman Scott Scantlebury.

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Credit card, solar-powered meters coming to Windsor

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 26 2013

Windsor is joining the 21st century when it comes to paying for parking.

Soon a pilot project will see street parking meters installed that will accept credit cards.

Some 50 meters will be installed in the trendy Walkerville business district.

John Wolf, the city’s manager of traffic operations, says the meters will be installed as soon as some “technicalities” are worked out.

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Prepared take-out dinners could create a whole new industry

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 19 2013

So popular are prepared Christmas turkey dinners that the only local purveyor of the pre-cooked meals sold out some time ago and had to turn away 300 requests.

Now it looks like pre-cooked special occasion meals will become a bigger local industry with the possible launch of a new culinary program at St. Clair College.

Just Jeff’s Gourmet Express has been selling hundreds of the pre-cooked Christmas meals every year.

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UW prof - society must change how it deals with the obese

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 25 2013

Society is taking the wrong approach in its attitude towards obese and indeed fat people in general.

That’s the claim of University of Windsor law professor Bill Bogart (pictured) in a new book.

Society places an altogether “undue emphasis on weight loss” he told WON.com, and overweight people are stigmatized through everything from everyday verbal put downs and to a nutrition and diet industry whose underlying message is that being fat is wrong.

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Campaign targets Detroit River coal - burning energy plants

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 1 2013

Two Michigan power plants located along the Detroit River are the targets of a high profile U.S. media campaign by the Sierra Club.

The “DTE Hurts” campaign targets the River Rouge Plant – immediately across from Windsor’s far west side – and the Trenton Channel Plant – across from Amherstburg.

The campaign, using newspaper and TV ads, depicts a child with an oxygen mask and says “DTE’s coal plants contribute to 8,990 asthma attacks a year” and “DTE’s coal plants contribute to asthma attacks, heart attacks, and deaths.”

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Clinics decline as pharmacists are providing more flu shots

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Oct 8 2013

It might seem like an oversight but Amherstburg residents needn’t worry they’re being excluded from flu shot clinics this year.

The Windsor Essex County Health Unit’s online schedule of clinics lists every major municipality except Amherstburg for a series of community clinics beginning Oct. 9 and running until Dec. 11.

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UW gets three C's and a D for protecting freedom of speech

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Sept 27 2013

When it comes to policies and practices respecting freedom of speech the University of Windsor has been assigned three C’s and a D.

The report card was handed out by the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which describes itself as an independent non-partisan organization “advancing and promoting the core principles of freedom and equality through education and litigation.”

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Detroiter wins grant to lure Canadian artists to Motor City

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Sept 18 2013

A Detroiter has received a major grant to show off the Motor City’s “Number 1 asset” - its relationship with Canada.

“A lot of the time when people are visiting Detroit they are unaware Detroit sits on a river that is an international border,” Peter Rozek said.

“I wanted to change this.”

Rozek has received a private Knight Foundation $30,000 grant to bring Canadian artists to Detroit to make “new work here.”

Ft Malden museum closed due to "structural integrity issues"

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WindsorOntarioNews.com August 8 2013

Fort Malden‘s 150 year old museum, which was just renovated a couple of years ago, has been closed all summer as an engineering review is carried our because of structural deficiencies.

The three storey museum was renovated in 2011 which was part of a general park reconfiguration and upgrade, which included a new cordoned off area where visitors now paid to visit the museum as well as a parade and barracks.

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Canadian eyes $1 billion downtown Detroit complex

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WindsorOntarioNews.com July 29 2013

Toronto developer Steve Apostolopoulos knows a good deal when he sees one.

And, since 2009, many of those deals have been in the Motor City.

Apostolopoulos, managing partner of the Triple Group of Companies, has snapped up two million square feet of properties in downtown Detroit, making him second only to U.S. mortgage company lender Rock Financial’s CEO Dan Gilbert – who moved his firm’s headquarters downtown from suburbia a few years ago and now owns more than 30 properties, which are quickly being renovated.

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Essex County's first brewery to sell craft beers later this year

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WindsorOntarioNews.com July 16 2013

Essex County’s first brewery is expected to open later this year with a full brewpub on the premises by next spring or summer.

The brewery, called Lonsbery Brewing Company, is the brainchild of Karl Lonsbery, the winemaker at Mastronardi Estate Winery and former winemaker at Viewpointe Estate Winery, both in Essex County.

In fact the brewery will be located just down the road from Viewpointe on County Rd. 50 at the Lonsbery family farm, of which Karl is seventh generation.

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Free Wi-Fi finally coming to Windsor International Airport

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WindsorOntarioNews.com June 13 2013

Windsor Airport is joining the 21st century with free Wi-Fi being offered to passengers later this year.

Despite “millions” of investments in the airport – from upgrades to the passenger waiting lounge to runways – since the city took over the airport in 2007 from Serco Aviation, passengers still have to pay to get an Internet connection.

A traveller, accustomed to free Internet at other airports, will find they have to subscribe to a connection called Boingo at $11.95 a month.

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August bike event will link our region to the rest of Ontario

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WindsorOntarioNews.com May 13 2013

It’s being billed as a breakthrough cycling event that will firmly establish the bicycle as a fixture in Windsor and Essex County.

Come August the region and southwestern Ontario will take part in the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure.

The ride kicks off at Lighthouse Cove August 11, runs through Windsor August 12, and then goes around the rim of the county through Amherstburg, County Rd. 50 along the lake, and eastward, eventually ending after seven days in Fort Erie.

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Local agricultural practice is implicated in huge algae bloom

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WindsorOntarioNews.com April 15 2013

A farming practice that has been promoted heavily in southwestern Ontario is a culprit when it comes to polluting Lake Erie.

No-till farming is cited as one of the reasons why a record-setting algae bloom developed in the great lake in the summer and fall of 2011.

At its peak the blooms covered more than 5000 square kilometres, more than three times greater than any other bloom on record.

Researchers at the Carnegie Institute for Science, which studies issues related to climate change, concluded a number of factors were responsible for the algae.

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Upgrade coming to downtown's inconsistent free wi fi system

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WindsorOntarioNews.com March 28 2013

A much improved free Internet service is coming to the downtown core, and should be up and running “within this year,” according to Larry Horwitz, chair of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association (DWBIA).

The current wi fi, which went online about two years ago, is plagued by weak connections and gaps in service.

It also doesn’t serve the fringes of the DWBIA’s official boundaries very well, business owners say.

“We’re working to improve it and make it so that there are no issues in terms of people not getting it or it not going into certain areas,” Horwitz said.

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Gift to city "Nature Bridge" targeted with major graffiti

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WindsorOntarioNews.com March 8 2013

A $4.3 million gift to the city of Windsor – and an architecturally striking structure – is covered with graffiti.

The pedestrian bridge over Huron Church Rd. has graffiti scrawled on virtually every section – from panels of glass to concrete.

It’s apparently an ongoing problem which the city addresses several times a year, but to little avail.

The bridge, which was paid for by senior government border funds to help ease congestion in Windsor, was completed in 2005 and turned over to the city to aid pedestrians crossing busy Huron Church.

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First public car plug-in stations coming to city aquatic centre

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 21 2013

The City of Windsor is investing in its first electric car charging stations at the new family aquatic centre with the possibility of more at city facilities in the years to come.

There will be two stations located in the narrow 20-25 spot parking lot on the west side of the aquatic complex, now under construction and scheduled to open this summer.

They could be the first of several the city installs on its own properties or jointly with other organizations depending on need and desire for promotion, officials say.

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Groups' anti-porn protests cite female - and male - exploitation

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 4 2013

For almost three years a small group of men have been picketing outside a Windsor adult video store.

Over the past year they’ve been joined by a group in LaSalle who are also protesting the fact pornographic videos exploit not only women but the men who mostly watch them.

Late Friday afternoon in front of Adult Video on Dougall Ave. – one of the coldest days of winter so far – the men walked up and down the public sidewalk in front of Adult Video.

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Province's new Drive Clean test could take you to the cleaners

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Jan 9 2013

The Drive Clean test has gone high tech but that could mean more money out of your pocket.

Beginning Jan. 1 Ontario introduced a computer-based Drive Clean test that replaces the former tail pipe exhaust emissions test.

Drive Clean outlets are in the middle of converting their old equipment to the new equipment, which consists of computer monitors and leads which connect to the computer of your car.

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Book laced with the N-word widely popular at local libraries

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 21 2012

A recently published book by an up and coming American author is laced with the N-word and is readily available on shelves of the area’s two library systems.

There’s nothing unusual about that, says chief librarians for the Essex County Library and the Windsor Public Library.

It all depends upon context.

The book is Junot Díaz's This Is How You Lose Her.

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Bicycle trails are coming to county tourism route next year

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 30 2012

Look forward to bike lanes being installed along scenic County Rd. 50 in the spring.

Bill Baker, an Essex County councillor for Colchester - the main area through which the picturesque two lane highway winds - said that the road, along where many wineries are located, is "the highest priority" for new upgrades to roads and a trail system.

Funding was passed a month ago to get what’s known as the County Wide Active Transportation Study (CWATS), years in the making, underway.

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2020 - at very earliest - for new Detroit River bridge opening

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 4 2012

It’s a sobering thought for people who would like to see a new bridge between Windsor and Detroit completed as soon as possible.

But the reality is it will be seven years – at the very least - before any new structure across the Detroit River opens to traffic.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) says the timeline for building the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) will take at least that amount of time.

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Anti-Bill 115 walkouts

"Privacy" issues cited for non-disclosure of student discipline

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Oct 16 2012

No one – at least publically – will say whether discipline was handed out to hundreds of students who walked out of schools earlier this month to support teachers protesting the province’s Bill 115, which froze wages and put a clamp on collective bargaining.

The Greater Essex County District School Board’s spokesman, Scott Scantlebury, when asked if discipline had been given students, tersely replied, “Never, under any circumstances, do we discuss student discipline publicly.”

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Say goodbye to automatic delivery of white pages book

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Sept 17 2012

For the first time local phone users won’t be getting a white pages residential directory plopped on their doorsteps next year.

Yellow Pages Group, which publishes the directory for Bell Canada, said it’s dropping Windsor and 16 other markets from automatic distribution of the directories over the next 12 months.

Other Ontario markets include London, Hamilton, Barrie and Oshawa.

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Even in Windsor-Essex, priced right homes get multiple offers

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WindsorOntarioNews.com June 20 2012

Even in Windsor – Essex County, one of Canada’s cheapest or depressed real estate markets, it’s possible to get multiple offers on houses and to sell homes relatively fast.

But don’t expect the kind of profit that homeowners in the Greater Toronto Area or even London get, says well-established local realtor Glen Muir.

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Bridge agreement leaving out just one thing - Delray neighbourhood

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WindsorOntarioNews.com June 5 2012

While news reports point to an imminent announcement on a decision for a new Windsor – Detroit bridge a Detroit community group is saying not so fast.

The Southwest Detroit Community Benefits Coalition still has not had word from Michigan authorities as to what final compensation will be provided the residents in the Delray neighbourhood, where the bridge will come ashore and were the U.S. Customs plaza and links to Interstate 75 will be located.

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Police to launch crackdown on excessive motorcycle noise

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WindsorOntarioNews.com May 28 2012

The Windsor Police will soon be launching a crackdown on excessive motorcycle noise.

This follows questions raised by city councillor Alan Halberstadt in 2010 and earlier this year, with further discussion set for a council meeting in July.

Meanwhile the police have completed training sessions for all patrol officers as to what the Highway Traffic Act says about “excessive and unusual noise,” as a city report describes it.

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MTO to add signage explaining Windsor-Essex Parkway project

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WindsorOntarioNews.com May 16 2012

The city may not have to install its own signs as it did at the tunnel (left) now that the province will put up new signs explaining construction taking place along Huron Church Rd. and Hwy. 3 corridor.

The signage will be installed “in the coming weeks,” the Ministry of Transportation says.

“We understand the importance of advising travellers of construction along the Windsor-Essex Parkway,” Fausto Natarelli, director of the MTO’s Windsor Border Initiatives Implementation Group told WON.com.

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By far, Sandwich Towne charges highest business levy in the city

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WindsorOntarioNews.com May 10 2012

The Olde Sandwich Towne Business Improvement Area (BIA) charges businesses the highest rate in the city to support its activities.

Meanwhile the Pillette Village BIA charges the lowest rate, and what might be the lowest rate in the province.

The Olde Sandwich Towne BIA rate is 0.00905602.

To obtain the levy a business or property owner within the BIA district multiples that figure by the assessed value of their property.

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Ontarians "donate" more than $2 million to help QP pay down debt

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WindsorOntarioNews.com April 24 2012

Forget taxation.

You can help the government pay off its deficit by donating as much as you want to Queen’s Park.

All you have to do is fill in a box on your income tax form. It’s on the last page where you have a Refund or Balance Owing.

If it's a refund you just fill out the Ontario Opportunities Fund box. You can donate all or part of it to the government.

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Invading plant poses risk to marshes, streams, agriculture

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www.WindsorOntarioNews.com April 11 2012

Essex County’s waterways are being choked by an aggressive and easily reproducing new plant invader which is threatening marshlands, streams, ditches, even grassy meadows and agriculture.

It’s called Phragmites.

The problem is widespread in Ontario and didn’t exist 10 years ago. Back then, the worry was Purple Loosestrife, according to Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) biologist Dan Lebedyk.

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E-bikes are coming to the rescue as gas prices continue their rise

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WindsorOntarioNews.com March 16 2012

Look for the sale of e-bikes to go higher and higher as gas prices continue to rise.

Lenn Curtis, owner of Trike My Bike, says sales have been going through the roof as low income people and students are opting for the low cost environmentally-sound vehicles.

E-bikes are easily affordable for several hundred dollars and are treated by law similarly as standard bicycles.

No insurance is required, nor is gasoline.

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US Steel mum on investigation into Windsor Hum on Zug island

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 27 2012

Mum’s the word from United States Steel (USS) the company that operates huge steelmaking facilities on Zug Island.

Zug Island is the area that Canadians increasingly are focussing on in their attempts to discover the source of the notorious Windsor Hum.

Last year Ontario environment ministry representative Teri Gilbert said an official investigation found “the results are conclusive that the source of the noise and vibration is ... in or around Zug Island."

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Sarnia-Pt. Huron advances while Windsor-Detroit border stalls

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 2 2012

While cross-border improvements stall in Windsor the Sarnia area is moving full speed ahead with an expanded Hwy.402 leading to the Blue Water Bridge.

The four-kilometre widened freeway will also be the first configuration in Ontario where one side of a highway will be four lanes and the other two lanes.

The westbound lanes are being expanded to accommodate what had been occasional vehicle back-ups leading to the bridge.

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Great Lakes freighters cruise well into January due to mild weather

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Jan 23 2012

Milder weather has allowed freighters to move and up and down the Detroit River much later than usual, according to David Cree, president of the Windsor Port Authority.

“It’s still surprising to see lakers still coasting around the middle of January,” he said.

But it isn’t only in Lake Erie and Lake Huron where there has been no ice to impede ships but the entire Great Lakes have been pretty much been ice-free.

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Amherstburg race could be model for future "boutique marathons"

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 22 2011

The Amherstburg World Alzheimer Day Run could be a model for the shape of marathons to come.

Run director Chris Uszynski, a veteran runner and organizer over the past several years of numerous Essex County runs for the Alzheimer Society, says that while full scale 42.195 km marathons may be a thrill for runners the first one or two times, ultimately many runners get tired of them.

His solution?

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Serpentine Hwy. 3 to replace Huron Church-Talbot Rd. corridor

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 5 2011

Forget any notion that Hwy. 3, the conventional-looking road that now mostly leads from Hwy. 401 to the Ambassador Bridge, will remain the mainly straight thoroughfare that now exists.

Once the new Windsor-Essex Parkway is completed this highway - currently the main border route, a combination of Huron Church Road and Talbot Road – will become the new service road alongside the expressway.

But it will also be a totally new highway - entirely replacing what is now there - and more dramatically it will twist and turn over the submerged Parkway itself.

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Windsor Star's move soon to end decades of downtown moviegoing

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 25 2011

Windsor’s last downtown movie theatre will close in January to make way for renovations as the building becomes the new home of The Windsor Star.

Palace Cinemas general manager Gina Facca says she will shed “lots of tears” over what was still a “beautiful” location to watch movies.

Despite the four theatre complex being renovated almost 25 years ago the building was still in “fantastic shape,” she said.

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City's image a concern for its Occupy Windsor stance - mayor

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 18 2011

Mayor Eddie Francis says he would be concerned for the city’s image if authorities took action to remove the Occupy Windsor protesters from City Hall Square.

He said “we’ve seen what’s happened in other cites” where the protesters have been forced out of their weeks long camps - most often on public property - and it hasn’t looked good.

Francis said he doesn’t want to give “whoever is behind Occupy Windsor an opportunity to put Windsor in a negative light.”

And, he said, “right now the city can’t afford that.”

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Sarnia rejected clear plastic bags, which Essex-Windsor proposes

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 8 2011

While the Essex Windsor Solid Waste Authority is considering having residents put garbage in clear plastic bags, the City of Sarnia recently turned down the very same proposal.

Essex-Windsor is considering clear plastic bags as a way to police the type of garbage that people throw out.

The purpose is to get people to recycle more.

It’s all part of the agency’s master plan review - for which the agency is now seeeking public input - before discussing recommendations early in the new year.

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Ambassador Bridge removes many of its duty free gas pumps

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Oct 31 2011

The popular gas pumps in front of the Ambassador Bridge’s sprawling U.S. duty free store have been removed.

The pumps were highly popular with Canadians returning from the United States not only because American gas is generally cheaper than Canadian gasoline but the bridge company tended to charge even less than most Detroit service stations.

The bridge sold the gas as duty free which also created controversy.

On Saturday the pumps – which were relatively new – were gone and all that remained was the cement islands and frame work (picture left).

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Tool & mold "extremely busy"

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Oct 27 2011

The tool and mold industry locally is going gangbusters.

Largely as a result of the resurgence of the North American auto sector and demand for new and advanced automotive products, the area’s 100 or so shops are on a tear.

“It is extremely busy,” says Mike Hicks, acting president of the Canadian Association of Mold Makers (CAMM).

He said plants, which employ roughly anywhere from 30 to 100 people, are “running pretty well at capacity.”

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Pamphlet urges residents to be water border eyes and ears

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Oct 13 2011

Some area residents are being asked to be on the lookout for suspicious activity along Essex County’s waterfront.

The RCMP and the Amherstburg Police Service have distributed a photocopied pamphlet advising residents who live along the river or lake to be aware of any number of activities which might involve human trafficking or smuggling, tobacco and drug smuggling.

“Help Keep Canadian Waterways Safe and Secure,” the pamphlet, with a picture of a big eye, says.

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Video links DRIC bridge to "Chinafication of America"

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Sept 30 2011

An almost 10 minute video narrated by veteran Detroit broadcaster Vince Wade is linking the proposed new Windsor-Detroit bridge to the sometimes controversial NAFTA Superhighway.

It implies this could facilitate the takeover of much of the North American economy by the Communist Chinese.

The video, on You Tube, called “Gov. Snyder's NAFTA Bridge” uses patriotic imagery to show how the Chinese are buying traditional iconic American factories, such as GM plants in Saginaw and Willow Run, which were famous for making armaments during World War II.

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Retailer Lazare's leaving the core

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Sept 14 2011

One of downtown’s oldest merchants, Lazare’s furs, will be closing its storefront in the near future and moving elsewhere in Windsor.

President and CEO Paul Twigg confirmed the company is still in discussions about where it will move and will have an announcement later this month.

Lazare’s has been at 493 Ouellette Ave since 1943.

“We need to be where there’s more foot traffic,” Twigg said.

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Another downtown move: more UW hockey at Windsor Arena?

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Sept 12 2011

The University of Windsor could be moving more than some academic programs downtown. It could consolidate its hockey programs at the almost 90-year-old Windsor Arena aka The Barn.

Windsor City Council has mandated its senior administrators to enter discussions with the university to see if the U would be interested in taking a greater role or partnership in the arena.

The university’s men’s Lancers hockey team already plays its home games there.

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May opening expected for visually striking Detroit River restaurant

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WindsorOntarioNews.com August 25 2011

Travellers between Windsor and Amherstburg will soon have a restaurant to dine in midway along the scenic route.

Developer Rob Delicata hopes to begin construction later this year on his Ranta Marina Grill, which is expected to open next May.

Delicata is going ahead with the striking architectural building after approval by Amherstburg’s committee of adjustment, from which no appeal by upset neighbours was launched.

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Recreation complex would create an artificial lake, ski hills, trails

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An Amherstburg businessman has an idea for a year-round retreat and recreation complex including an artificial lake, ski hills, a working farm, motor sports, and hiking and nature trails.

Scott Sinasac originally thought of the idea about a decade ago and generated some media attention at the time.

But he decided not to pursue it because he was younger then and because of his tool and die career.

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Fast-growing Metro newspaper eyeing the Windsor market

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Metro, a tabloid daily newspaper that opened a London Ontario edition in April, is eying Windsor as a possible site to launch a newspaper.

Metro’s English Canadian publisher Bill McDonald said that while the chain has “no specific plans” to enter other markets “we are exploring a whole series of potential options and Windsor’s on the list of markets we’re considering.”

The tabloid is largely geared to transit commuters in larger cities such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

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New detention centre will allow public to use recreation facilities

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The new South West Detention Centre or regional jail, will allow the public to use its gymnasium as well as outdoor soccer and cricket fields.

Windsor city planner Rinkey Singh said use of the gym along with washrooms will be by “appointment only” for groups, and the public would be segregated from the inmates.

The soccer and cricket fields will be separated from the jail by berms and will not be used by prisoners.

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"Work rules" blamed for long fireworks transit shuttle wait

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Thousands of fireworks attendees last night were left waiting a long time to catch the Transit Windsor shuttle back from downtown.

“This was not good at all,” said Pat, a lifelong Windsorite who has long attended the fireworks but doubts she will take the shuttle again.

“If I were living here I would not come back – never,” said Kathy, an American who left her car at Devonshire Mall to catch the shuttle.

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Windsor's international gateway a dismal stretch for motorists

WindsorOntarioNews.com June 8 2011

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The buildings have been demolished and much of the land is vacant and forlorn looking.

Meanwhile several buildings that used to be businesses - such as a Petro-Canada and a produce market - are empty.

Then there is the zigzagging black fencing that runs for kilometres on both sides of the road.

These are the images that greet motorists driving along the city’s main gateway – Huron Church and Talbot roads east of the E.C. Row Expressway and which link Hwy. 401 to the Ambassador Bridge.

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Intricate plant species removal contract goes to unique nursery

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St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre, a highly specialized nursery, is handling the intricate job of protecting the rare and highly sensitive plant species along the Windsor-Essex Parkway corridor, the new border route to Detroit.

That means removing plants along the 11 km route and replanting to preserve them while the Parkway is being built.

The nursery was contracted by the province to handle the task and has been working out of the former LA Collision garage at the corner of Hwy. 3 (Talbot Rd.) and Todd Lane.

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Early Parkway work will affect Howard Ave., North Talbot Road

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WindsorOntarioNews.com May 24 2011

The first parts of the Windsor-Essex Parkway to be built will actually be roads to divert traffic out of the LaSalle and Tecumseh areas and around the construction work on to and off of Highways 3 and 401.

Parkway planners told a public meeting last week that the new Howard Ave. Diversion will link to a new roundabout (above left) immediately south of the junction where Hwy. 3 currently meets Hwy. 401 and where the Parkway’s eastern end will be located.

The Diversion – which will link to the intersection of the current Howard Ave. and LaSalle’s new Laurier Pkwy. Extension – will be “one of the first features...to facilitate traffic staging operations,” according to Parkway public info documents.

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Windsor getting IMAX theatre

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WindsorOntarioNews.com May 17 2011

At long last an IMAX theatre is coming to Windsor.

It will open July 15 at Silver City in south Windsor and debut with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, in 3D, which also opens across North America that day.

Cineplex Entertainment spokesman Kyle Moffatt said it will be the first IMAX theatre in southwestern Ontario.

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"Context sensitive" bicycle trails proposed for Essex County routes

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WindsorOntarioNews.com May 4 2011

A Windsor – Amherstburg bike trail along the Detroit River would be one of two “context sensitive” trails in Essex County, should local municipalities approve a major plan for a series of “active living” pathways.

The report, almost a year and a half in the making, comes before county council May 18 and presumably local municipal councils later this year.

The county’s manager of transportation planning Jane Mustac says the Windsor – Amherstburg trail would begin at Morton Drive and follow County Rd. 20 through the “urban” parts of LaSalle and Amherstburg.

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Free Internet hot zones? They're limited to city's downtown core

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WindsorOntarioNews.com April 18 2011

Windsor and Essex County may have hundreds of kilometres of fibre optic cable underground but the only area in the city that ordinary people can use the Internet for free is downtown.

For two years, as a result of a Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association (BIA) initiative, people have been able to take their laptop computers into the downtown core and access the Internet anywhere without paying a subscription fee.

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13 km of black fencing to keep snakes out of Pkwy construction

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WindsorOntarioNews.com April 12 2011

Those lines and lines of black fencing that have been put up along Talbot Rd. and Huron Church Rd. over the past month are there for one purpose and one purpose only – to protect the snakes.

There are 13 km of black geotextile fencing in areas planners of the new DRIC border route have designated as having large populations of snakes.

Joel Foster, who heads the environmental section for MTO’s Windsor Border Initiatives Implementation Group, says the fencing was installed as a requirement under the Endangered Species Act.

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This election candidate is out in front with use of social media

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WindsorOntarioNews.com April 5 2011

Now your phone can communicate with a candidate via his lawn sign.

NDP Essex candidate Taras Natyshak is the first area candidate - of any political stripe - to embrace social media to the point of putting “tags” on his lawn signs.

The just-delivered batch of signs shows the candidate’s picture, of course.

But in the bottom right hand corner are the familiar Facebook and Twitter logos.

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Keep donating to Diabetes, fired Value Village employee pleas

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WindsorOntarioNews.com March 22 2011

The Value Village employee fired last week from the chain’s Dougall Avenue store is pleading with the community not to boycott donations to the Canadian Diabetes Association.

Kathleen Nolan says many in the community seem to be taking out their anger at her firing at the non-profit charitable organization, which donates clothes and other goods to the Value Village stores through its Clothesline program.

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Revive City of Roses image?

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WindsorOntarioNews.com March 15 2011

The man who oversaw introduction of Windsor’s rose city emblem back in the 1960s thinks it’s time Windsor refreshed the brand.

In a letter to Mayor Eddie Francis, Doug Johnstone, who chaired the rose committee for the Greater Windsor Foundation, said that “for a time” Windsor in fact did “become well known as a City of Roses.”

But he said the image has fallen by the wayside as the city’s overall reputation has become a little tattered.

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Filling-up stateside? Declare it, but no tax if gas is in the tank

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 28 2011

Canadians have been doing it for what seems forever.

And now with gas prices on the rise and the Canadian dollar hovering above its American counterpart there’s more incentive than ever to purchase gasoline in the United States.

The age old question is, is it illegal?

Most people might be surprised to learn that it is not illegal to pump gas into your car and then come back to Canada.

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Anti-corporate tax cut campaign has satirical billboards, web site

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 18 2011

Satirical billboards have popped up around Windsor by a group calling itself People for Corporate Tax Cuts.

The province-wide campaign, funded by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), was launched over the past month, and aims to bring attention to Ontario’s $2.4 billion cut in corporate taxes.

The campaign says that $2.4 billion will come out of the pockets of ordinary Ontarians – to the tune of $500 per family.

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Area's newest roundabout will link to Windsor-Essex Parkway

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 11 2011

The newest road roundabout that will be coming to our area isn’t far from where the county’s first two major roundabouts exist – LaSalle.

It will be built between Howard Ave. and Outer Dr. just west of where Hwy. 3 now connects to Hwy. 401.

And it will be associated with the Windsor-Essex Parkway border route.

The Town of LaSalle opened its two new roundabouts – the area’s largest – last year.

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Major changes for Fort Malden, region's iconic historic site

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The biggest changes in decades are coming to the region’s iconic historical site, Fort Malden in Amherstburg.

It’s because of $1 million in federal infrastructure grants, with work to be completed by March 31.

And it works out just in time for planning for next year’s War of 1812 bicentennial celebrations in which the fort – located on the Detroit River – figures prominently.

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Metro Windsor is number one in the nation for cheap house prices

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Jan 26 2011

The Frontier Centre for Public Policy hails Windsor as having the most affordable homes in Canada.

“Broken down into regions, the most affordable market in Canada, Windsor, Ontario, is almost five times more affordable than the least affordable, Vancouver, B.C,” it says in a new report.

The Winnipeg-based organization says affordability is determined by using the “median multiple” principle – the median house price divided by gross annual median household income.

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It's all done; property acquisition now completed for W-E Parkway

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Jan 5 2011

The province has acquired all the property it needs for the new Windsor-Essex Parkway – the 11 km border route connecting Hwy 401 to a new bridge between Windsor and Detroit.

“MTO now has title for all property required for construction of the Windsor-Essex Parkway,” Amy Virago, the ministry’s property supervisor, said.

The news follows financial closure last month of an agreement between the province and the consortium, the Windsor Essex Mobility Group (WEMG) that will be building the Parkway, estimated at $1.4 billion.

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Kingsville's web site shows the town's "southern" identity crisis

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 30 2010

The Town of Kingsville has an identity crisis.

While the town has long called itself the country’s “most southern town” and features that name on road signs, it’s a different story when a visitor goes to the municipality’s web site.

The Town of Essex is irked by the town’s southerly claim.

It has sent a letter to Kingsville asking the town to stop calling itself the most southern town in Canada.

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Scratch rumours - DRIC "early construction" not about detours

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 22 2010

If there are rumours flying around about this, best to nip them in the bud – even if spring is still some time away.

Some people seem to believe the new overpasses being built off Mero Ave. in south Windsor near Hwy. 3 and 401 are not actually part of DRIC’s new Windsor-Essex Parkway.

The construction, which has been going on for several months, is often dubbed the Parkway’s “early construction” by the media, and began without fanfare.

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Solar farm now finished at Tilbury

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 9 2010

The world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels has just finished building a high profile solar farm - the area's largest - along Hwy 401 at Tilbury, and hopes to begin construction of an Amherstburg solar farm by the spring.

First Solar Development Canada, part of Arizona-based First Solar, is in the commissioning process of the Tilbury five-megawatt farm with energy to be supplied to the Chatham-Kent power network.

A view of the farm from Hwy 401 shows more than 82,000 panels assembled on “tables” to catch the sun’s rays, with enough generation to power as many as 2500 homes on a typical summer day.

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Environmentalists say higher power bills are good for us

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 24 2010

Consumers may vent about increasing power bills (right) – with more hikes to come – but the amounts simply reflect the real costs of energy and in fact are a good thing, environmentalists say.

The fact Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, responding to public pressure, last week decided to lop 10 per cent off power bills, is certainly not the way to go, Angela Bischoff of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance said.

“We think anything that reduces energy prices is not a good thing, that higher electricity prices signal or encourage people to reduce their consumption of electricity.”

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Trucks regularly barrel through Talbot Rd. amber and red lights

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 15 2010

It’s one thing for cars to run amber and red lights. It’s something else when huge transport trucks run them.

Spend even five minutes at the corner of Howard Ave. and Hwy. 3 (Talbot Rd.) and chances are pretty good you’ll see trucks not even slowing down for amber and red lights.

“There are a lot of trucks running amber and red lights,” Windsor police spokesman Sgt. Brett Corey says.

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No rift between Windsor film festival and casino, Coady says

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 10 2010

The attendance was up but, no, there wasn’t a rift with the casino.

And, yes, maybe there is room for more screenings and comfortable seats at future film fests.

Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF) executive director Peter Coady (above) was commenting on this year’s local movie extravaganza, which wound up Sunday.

Coady said 5900 people attended the four day event, “which is an improvement over last year.”

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Lewenza says he was victim of "perfect storm" in election loss

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Oct 31 2010

Defeated city councillor Ken Lewenza Jr. was “a little disappointed but not entirely surprised” by losing his seat in the Oct. 25 municipal election.

Lewenza – the only incumbent contesting a seat who lost – said he was the victim of “a perfect storm.”

The two term councillor also lost by a wide margin – 3063 to 2342 votes.

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TV station to change bandwidth to accommodate US cell company

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Oct 24 2010

Local TV station A Windsor will have to move off its 700 megahertz spectrum because it is interfering with extending a 4G cell phone network across Metro Detroit.

Verizon Wireless needs the bandwidth to extend coverage to parts of Oakland and Macomb counties by the end of the year.

But the plans are held up until A Windsor departs that frequency position.

Verizon spokeswoman Michelle Gilbert stressed that the Canadian station had not “done anything wrong.”

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Province targets low income tenants for more rental aid

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Oct 13 2010

Low income renters likely will benefit from a new provincial program that will subsidize their rents.

And, if city council approves it Monday – which looks likely because the city will not be out any money to administer it, an official says – that rent assistance will be retroactive to July.

The province would pay up to $180 per month for the period July – December 2010.

In the new year it would pay up to $250 per month.

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Some Essex County voters are receiving more than one ballot

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Oct 6 2010

Some people in rural municipalities that are using mail-in voting – all seven in Essex County plus Pelee Island - are receiving more than one ballot.

But election officials say there’s no need to worry.

The identical ballots might go to the same people because they own different properties or because their names are listed with slightly different spellings.

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Splashy tourist ad campaign directed - at local residents

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Slick colourful tourist ads continue to appear in newspapers across Windsor and Essex County by the revamped local tourist bureau.

The ads – as large as half pages in both the broadsheet Windsor Star and tabloid size weekly community newspapers – obviously aren’t directed to a market outside Windsor-Essex.

They’re specifically directed to a home audience.

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University of Windsor to examine the state of local online media

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Sept 28 2010

Windsor is seeing a growth in digital media in the form of blogs and online newspapers and other news or issues-oriented web sites.

The University of Windsor is taking stock of this growth at a gathering called A Conversation About Digital Communities Thursday and Friday.

Besides traditional media like newspapers, radio and television, several local blogs have sprouted up over the last few years.

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Parkway payouts study

Should DRIC property owners be compensated for emotional loss?

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Sept 16 2010

A University of Windsor professor suggests that when governments expropriate for major projects like the Windsor-Essex Parkway some money should be paid for emotional and psychological costs.

Anneke Smit (right), an assistant professor of law, is studying how compensation is being paid to some of the several hundred property owners along the Parkway or DRIC (Detroit River Intl. Crossing) route in west Windsor and LaSalle.

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Sierra Club targets Ojibway but DRIC road won't go through it

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Sept 7 2010

The Sierra Club’s application for a judicial review targetting the $5 billion DRIC project – in particular the $1.5 billion nine-kilometre roadway linking existing Hwy. 401 to the new west Windsor bridge – may give someone the impression the road is actually being designed to go through an officially-designated sensitive ecosystem.

But it’s not.

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Cameras aren't for surveillance

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Aug 29 2010

Perhaps you haven’t noticed them.

But if you look closely as you drive along the city’s major border routes you will see posts with small rounded dark objects at the top.

Smile through your windshield, because you’re on not-so-candid camera.

Since 2003, 41 of these “traffic incident management cameras” have been installed.

They’re on Huron Church Rd. from the bridge plaza to Highways 3 and 401.

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Mystery man: alleged G20 rioter largely unknown back home

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WindsorOntarioNews.com Aug 17 2010

Just who is Nicodemo (Nick) Catenacci?

The Windsor man, 41, was arrested by Windsor police last week in connection with rioting at the G20 Summit in Toronto in late June.

Catenacci was picked up Aug 10 by police while riding his bike on Howard Ave. and transported to Toronto where he faces charges of arson and breach of probation.

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Ranta Marina condo development would have first area time shares

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WindsorOntarioNews Aug 10 2010

The proposed 108-unit, twin-storey condo towers on the site of the former publically-owned Ranta Marina would be the first in Windsor-Essex to have time-shares, similar to resorts.

Developer Rob Delicata says there is no way his partnership could sell all units as condos to local residents, most of whom would be “empty nesters.”

“We’re not going to sell 108 units in Essex County,” he said. “Things are tough around here.”

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Amherstburg residents puzzled: just what are those things?

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WindsorOntarioNews.com August 3 2010

In Amherstburg the big question all summer has been – what are those things?

Those things are little huts that dot the town’s main urban area, looking for all the world like bus stop shelters.

Indeed many citizens have taken to calling them just that.

But, even if the town might be interested in signing on to regional transit in the years to come, Lou Zarlenga, manager of public services, nips that thought in the bud.

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Ranta Marina sign restricting access has "always been there"

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WindsorOntarioNews.com July 28 2010

One of the arguments long made by Amherstburg residents who didn’t want Ranta Marina sold to private developers is that the municipality shouldn’t sell off a public park, suggesting the marina is no different from soccer fields or the arena.

But that would imply the marina is available without restriction to anyone. A neighbouring public park at the marina site is in fact unrestricted. But the marina itself has a sign that very clearly says, “Stop! Boat Owners Only Past This Point, Deliveries Excepted.”

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Shabby parks? Blame the weather

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WindsorOntarioNews.com July 19 2010

If city parks are looking a little shabbier than usual blame it on the weather.

Parks head Don Sadler said the large amount of rain this spring and summer has increased grass growth and crews are still scrambling to “get caught up."

“It’s just that the weather put us that far behind.”

Sadler said crews usually cut grass in parks once every 10 days.

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Patriotic slogan tags Ambassador Bridge owner's truck fleet

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WindsorOntarioNews.com July 7 2010

The company that owns the Ambassador Bridge has shown that, when it comes to supporting the troops, it is also “unabashedly patriotic.”

For years – from just before the invasion of Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 – CenTra, which owns the bridge and trucking company Central Transport, has had prominent signs on the back of its 7000 truck trailers with a strongly worded message rarely seen on corporate vehicles.

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LaSalle's new east-west road to be completed by end of the year

WindsorOntarioNews.com June 30 2010

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A new east - west link across LaSalle – a road that has long been in the planning stage – will be completed by the end of the year.

Construction of the Laurier Dr. extension – officially known as the Laurier Parkway – began in late May.

Sewer work is now almost completed.

The parkway will be two lanes with a gravel shoulder but is designed to be four lanes “predicated on development and growth,” according to LaSalle’s chief administrative officer Kevin Miller.

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St. Clair MediaPlex could become emergency info & training hub

WindsorOntarioNews.com June 24 2010

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St. Clair College’s new state of the art MediaPlex in downtown Windsor could operate as a hub for gathering and disseminating information during emergency events, such as the tornado and other severe storms the area has experienced over the past month.

Essex County’s emergency management coordinator Phil Berthiaume says the idea came from St. Clair, in particular Veronique Mandel, who heads the college’s journalism program.

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Brookfield says gifts not a way to buy off wind power opponents

WindsorOntarioNews.com June 18 2010

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Brookfield Renewable Power spokeswoman Shelley Moorhead assured that the Gatineau, Que. – based company is not trying to buy off any opponents to the companies’ two Essex County wind projects, the first of which is under construction now.

“Oh, absolutely not,” she said.

Moorhead was commenting on the fact the company, which is building projects in Kingsville and Lakeshore, is giving away merchandise at its storefront office at 125 Talbot Rd. in Cottam.

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No plans to change date of rainy Art in the Park, event chair says

WindsorOntarioNews.com June 14 2010

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There are no plans to change the date for Windsor’s annual Art in the Park.

For the first time, the second day (Sunday) of the two-day weekend event was cancelled earlier this month because the location of the art fair, Willistead Park, was “significantly flooded,” Art in the Park Chair Shari Cunningham said.

The park’s southeast corner Sunday “was like a lake,” she added, noting organizers had to close the event “to ensure the safety of our vendors, our exhibitors and the public.”

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Essex County's first wind farm, near Harrow, now completed

WindsorOntarioNews.com June 9 2010

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Its might be Essex County’s newest tourist attraction.

The area’s first wind turbine farm is up and – almost – running in the Town of Essex, just off County Rd. 20.

Construction on the so-called Harrow Wind Farm (picture right) was completed in late May and the turbines are now going through “final commissioning” – being tested with Hydro One and the supplier – before going into regular use.

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Revamped tourism web site to debut later this month - Ryan

WindsorOntarioNews.com June 7 2010

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Get ready for a new local tourism web site, the first new product of the revamped regional tourism office.

Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island CEO Chris Ryan says the new “100 per cent” revamped site will likely debut “at the end of this month.”

The web site will eventually have a tool by which visitors can make holiday bookings.

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New festival to jazz-up Windsor

WindsorOntarioNews.com June 1 2010

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Detroit’s got one. Toronto’s got one. Now Windsor will have its own summer jazz festival.

The first Windsor International Jazz, Food and Art Festival will be held at Big Tony’s Original Wood Fired Pizza Co. outdoor lot on Walker Rd. June 18 – 20.

Owner Tony Gallippi is a huge jazz fan and thinks Windsor should be exposed to more live jazz music.

“I love it, I could listen to it all day,” he says, noting his four-year-old restaurant has jazz-oriented live music on weekends.

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Baird: no to Ambassador Bridge compensation

WindsorOntarioNews.com May 28 2010 alt test

Transport Minister John Baird has made clear that there will be no compensation to the Ambassador Bridge should DRIC become a reality.

Asked if the government would pay compensation to the bridge’s private owners because the new international crossing would use government dollars to compete with a private company the minister adamantly said “no.”

Baird noted it is “hardly unprecedented” for public and private entities to compete against one another.

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Border officials say their aim is to keep traffic wait times down

WindsorOntarioNews.com May 12 2010

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Still waiting half an hour – or longer - to cross into the U.S.?

Wondering why Customs booths that should be open aren’t? Wondering where all that extra money went for beefing up resources at the Canada – U.S. border but it still seems to take as long to cross as ever?

According to United States Customs and Border Protection, wait times aren’t any longer than they have ever been.

“I don’t think so,” said spokesman Ron Smith.

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Was Granholm appearance "orchestrated?"

DRIC money letter

WindsorOntarioNews.com May 6 2010

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Was it all orchestrated?

Did Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm make it seem as if a shiny new offer from Canada’s government to build the DRIC border project was a last minute effort that could save Michigan financially just in the nick of time?

That’s how Michigan state representative and Republican Marty Knollenberg sees it.

A week ago a breathless Granholm entered the high profile state transportation committee meeting in Lansing, which was discussing a new border crossing, and read a letter from Canada’s transport minister, John Baird, offering up to $550 million for land acquisition and other costs associated with the DRIC project in Michigan.

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Walker-Provincial intersection to have grandest city entranceway

WindsorOntarioNews.com May 3 2010

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The most impressive new entranceway to the City of Roses will be built at Provincial and Walker roads.

The intersection near the city’s busiest big box area and other retail plazas along the Walker Rd. strip will probably see “some vertical elements” that will welcome motorists to Windsor.

It’s all part of the city’s efforts to beautify entrances to Windsor, a plan that started two years ago with upgrades along Dougall Ave.

Mike Clement, manager of parks development, said final details haven’t been worked out. But the entrance will probably have “some kind of small tower or something just to mark the intersection.”

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New meters to grace city streets

WindsorOntarioNews.com April 28 2010

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City Council may be considering outsourcing parking meter enforcement jobs. Meanwhile the city just received a batch of new parking meters to replace some of the older, or more well used, ones.

Bob Godin, supervisor of parking operations, said 400 new meters recently arrived.

“So some new ones will be going on the streets fairly shortly.”

The city replaces groups of meters at regular intervals.

Godin said some of the oldest meters date back to the mid-1990s, which doesn’t seem that long ago.

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DRIC construction well underway

WindsorOntarioNews.com April 22 2010

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There has never been any formal announcement but construction of the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) freeway is well underway.

And this is not “pre-construction” such as the relocation of utilities, as has often been reported.

This is the real thing.

The Ministry of Transportation has awarded a $15.5 million contract to Facca Construction Inc. of Essex for the project south of Howard Ave. and immediately west of Hwy. 3 near the Hwy. 401 interchange.

There is also construction along the north side of Hwy. 401 adjacent to the Southwood Lakes subdivision.

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Playboy chooses Windsor as Canadian spot for beach party

WindsorOntarioNews.com April 19 2010

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Playboy has selected Windsor as one of two Canadian cities to throw a 50th anniversary party.

The parties, the other in Niagara Falls, commemorate the anniversary of the first Playboy Club.

The beach-themed party will be held at Caesars Windsor June 10 and is one of 50 being held around the world.

Caesars Windsor spokeswoman Holly Ward says the casino is expecting as many as 1000 to attend. Tickets cost $30.

Playboy representative Theresa Hennessey says Caesars was chosen because Playboy thought it would be “a really great fit with the brand.”

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SouthPoint letter confirms Lake Erie wind project very much alive

WindsorOntarioNews.com April 13, 2010

Leamington’s SouthPoint Wind doesn’t appear to be backing down from its bid to place as many as 715 wind turbines in Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair.

Despite not being approved last week by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) for an initial application of 15 wind turbines in Pigeon Bay off Leamington and Kingsville, and comments from local political representatives that the project was effectively dead, the family that owns SouthPoint is proceeding with the controversial projects.

Liovas Group president Jim Liovas said in a letter to Leamington council Friday, after the OPA announcement, that the company is “currently in the initial stages of these projects.”

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Pigeon Bay wind turbine project appears dead in the water

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WindsorOntarioNews.com April 9, 2010

SouthPoint Wind’s proposal to build 15 wind turbines in Lake Erie off of Leamington and Kingsville appears dead in the water – at least for the time being and it may never get approved.

The proposal by Leamington’s Liovas family did not win approval this week by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), which released a list of approved green energy projects, including wind.

“That has not been approved,” Tim Weber, spokesman for Windsor West MPP and cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello, said.

He said the application has not been permanently rejected. “I’m not using that word.”

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Detroit refinery to increase Windsor pollution "enormously"

alt test WindsorOntarioNews.com April 8, 2010

A Windsor environmental and occupational health researcher says Windsor’s air pollution, already bad, will get a lot worse, after the expansion of the Marathon Oil refinery in southwest Detroit is completed.

“It’s going to be adding enormously to air pollution issues,” Jim Brophy said.

Marathon is expanding the refinery to handle oil from Alberta’s tar sands, which will arrive through a new pipeline.

The Detroit Heavy Oil Upgrade Project is under construction and will be completed by 2012 increasing the refinery’s processing capability by 13,000 barrels per day.

Click to read more

Campaign urged to get cyclists off nine business district sidewalks

alt test WindsorOntarioNews.com March 26, 2010

Windsor’s nine business improvement areas will be asked to put up signs advising cyclists not to use sidewalks.

The action comes after the injury of a six year old on Ottawa Street by a fast-moving cyclist who hit the child coming out of a retailer.

Ward Three councillor Alan Halberstadt says the initiative is to try to get cyclists to stop using the sidewalks of central business districts, where there is a high percentage of pedestrian traffic.

“It’s quite dangerous for pedestrians because cyclists are sometimes racing up and down the sidewalks, people walking out of stores, it’s a dangerous business.”

Click to read more

Transit's best and worst routes

alt test WindsorOntarioNews.com March 21, 2010

Transit Windsor’s best revenue generating routes?

Why, the “main lines” that criss-cross the city. These are the Transway 1A, Transway 1C and Crosstown 2.

The worst performing routes?

The South Windsor 7 and the Lauzon 10.

Stats for 2009 show those routes only generated 25.9 per cent (South Windsor 7) and 23.9 per cent (Lauzon 10).

That means the routes recovered only those percentages of their total operating costs (salaries, fuel, vehicle deprecation, etc.) from the fare box. The rest of the money is made up through subsidies from city taxes, the provincial gas tax and advertising.

Click to read more

Huge traffic drop at Windsor-Detroit tunnel; bridge traffic up

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WindsorOntarioNews.com March 16 2010 Photo by Kim Kozlowski

The Windsor Detroit Tunnel has seen a precipitous decline in traffic this year, with so far as many as 113,728 fewer vehicles year-to-date (until end of February) over last year.

The stats are provided by the Public Border Operators Association, representing publically-owned border crossings between Ontario and Michigan, and New York State.

Car traffic at the tunnel is down 112,219 vehicles, truck traffic down 795, and buses or miscellaneous vehicles down 714 for a total of 113,728 fewer vehicles.

Click to read more

W-E approved for 25 green energy projects

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WindsorOntarioNews.com March 10 2010

Pelee Island Winery is the first winery in Ontario approved to sport roof top solar panels as a result of a provincial energy announcement today.

As well, solar panels will likely be coming to area Loblaw grocery stores including Real Canadian Superstores, Zehrs and No Frills.

Windsor’s David Suzuki public school, expected to open in the fall, will also have rooftop panels.

Ontario Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Brad Duguid says 510 contracts – some 25 in Windsor and Essex County - have been approved for 120 communities across the province where between 10 to 500 kilowatts of power each will be generated.

Click to read more

DRTP moving on new rail tunnel

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EA likely in "second quarter"

WindsorOntarioNews.com March 5 2010

The Detroit River Tunnel Partnership (DRTP) will be moving ahead with an environmental assessment for a new rail tunnel with an announcement coming “within weeks.”

The project – a partnership between the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) – should have the EA underway in the “second quarter,” spokesman Mike Rohrer says.

The DRTP originally proposed a truck tunnel under the Detroit River, which created a storm of controversy as a proposed solution for traffic congestion between Windsor and Detroit.

Click to read more

Olympics move over, Inukshuks are us!

WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 26 2010

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It just goes to show that Canada’s southernmost region can also get in touch with its Great White North inner being, especially during this snowy February.

The time-honoured Inuit Inukshuk is the symbol of the Vancouver Olympics.

But along the highways and byways of Essex County there are homemade Inukshuks.

A massive one (on right) was spotted on Manning Rd. north of Hwy. 401.

Another is on Broderick Rd. in LaSalle.

Click to read more

Eco-friendly bags used to steal groceries

WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 22, 2010

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At least one local grocery is patting down shoppers’ enviro-friendly reusable grocery bags looking for stolen items prior to checkout.

No Frills in Amherstburg has been checking the bags, used by shoppers in place of plastic bags, because there have been incidents of theft.

No Frills is owned by the Loblaw chain.

Calls to Loblaw and other major grocery chains such as Sobeys and Metro, asking if there has been a noticeable increase in theft and whether their companies have similar policies on checking shoppers’ bags, were referred to an industry association.

Click to read more

Remands like Windsor Jail worse than pen

WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 18 2010

Photo by devonhaupt flickr.com alt test

Provincial remand facilities like Windsor Jail tend to be much more violent than federal penitentiaries, says the head of Canada’s best-known agency that works with prisoners.

Craig Jones said prisoners generally “will do anything to get out of remand because the conditions are so bad.”

The executive director of The John Howard Society of Canada was commenting on a recent beating at the jail, where prisoners allegedly attacked a new inmate because he hadn’t brought drugs into the prison when serving a weekend intermittent sentence.

The victim was paralyzed from the waist down.

Click to read more

Local recycling bin contract with Mafia firm

WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 15 2010

A company that signed a contract with officials for pedestrian street recycing bins was affiliated with the Mafia.

In today’s editions the National Post reports that Windsor, along with several other Canadian cities including Toronto, London and Ottawa, signed a deal several years ago with OMG Media Inc. to install what has become the familiar stainless steel recycling bins on streets where pedestrians can divide their garbage by throwing them into different slots for glass and paper.

OMG or Olifas Marketing Group at one time had $1.6 million in shares owned by Montreal mob boss Vito Rizzuto’s wife and three children, the Post reported.

Click to read more

Downtown asking $600,000 from Ottawa

alt test WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 12 2010

The Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association is seeking $600,000 from the federal government to start a business incubator.

BIA executive director Chris Edwards says the money is needed to get the incubator up and running.

“We do have a model to sustain it; the BIA would be heavily involved in that.”

An 8000-sq ft space has been tentatively selected for the site, and an individual has come forward to donate the space, Edwards said.

Click to read more

Bertolin working on bingo lawsuit

WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 10 2010

Former city licensing commissioner Diane Bertolin, who resigned suddenly last week, is continuing to work for the city on a class action lawsuit over bingo license fees.

The lawsuit has been brought on behalf of charities who say the fees were too high to cover the costs to the city of processing the licenses and regulating the industry.

Should the city lose it could be on the hook for up to $85 million.

City solicitor George Wilkki says Bertolin "continues to work on that file" but had no further comment.

(For more on the resignation see story below; for more on the bingo lawsuit, see Nov 18 2009 story)

Long time senior manager resigns city post

alt test WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 8 2010

One of Windsor city hall’s key administrators, after a long career with the city, has resigned her position.

Diane Bertolin resigned Friday afternoon. No reasons were provided to staff.

“We found out about three in the afternoon” that day, Michael Chantler, director of business administration in the licensing department and who answered to Bertolin, said.

“It was a complete surprise to me.”

Bertolin had been employed with the city 19 years, 14 in licensing.

Click to read more

Candidate to take legal action against city

alt test WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 4, 2010

The man who was ousted as chair of Windsor’s crime prevention committee says he’ll be taking legal action against the city.

John Middleton, who’s running in this year’s municipal election as a candidate in Ward 5, says he will make details known in “two weeks - max.”

“There will be clear action when the news release comes out,” he said.

Asked if the legal action might relate to character defamation, he replied, “That’s correct.”

Click to read more

A shocker: natural gas bills to decline $500

WindsorOntarioNews.com Feb 1, 2010

The average family in Windsor and Essex County will see their natural gas bills decline by about $500 this year. Customers who opened their Union Gas bills over the past month may have been shocked to see the drop in their bills. In fact they’re paying one-third now what they were paying a year ago.

Click to read more

A'burg proposes first county farm market

WindsorOntarioNews.com Jan 29, 2010

The first Essex County farmers’ market could be built in Amherstburg if the town is successful in securing more than $500,000 in federal stimulus money for a project at a site on County Rd. 20 at the end of Walker Rd.

Click to read more

Detroit? No, just Windsor's near east side

WindsorOntarioNews.com Jan 26, 2010

There’s a little bit of Detroit on Windsor’s near east side. Vacant lots, boarded up buildings, houses with disintegrating roofs, the blocks between Aylmer and Louis Avenues with Chatham St. E. running in between, look like they could be a stand in for the worst parts of the Motor City.

Click to read more

American non-union company protested

WindsorOntarioNews.com Jan 21, 2010

The local Labourers Union will be making its voice heard against any attempt to hire a non-union American company to do work on the $60 million Windsor Retention Treatment Basin (RTB) along the riverfront.

Click to read more

Activist says new border route has no sound environment, economic purpose

WindsorOntarioNews.com Jan 17, 2010

The director of the Sierra Club’s Ontario chapter Dan McDermott says the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) should not go ahead because it is an affront to the Windsor Detroit ecosystem and is questionable in light of global warming and diminishing use of carbon-based fuels.

Click to read more

Mayoral candidate Sam Sinjari will "take action" to turn city around

WindsorOntarioNews.com Jan 14 2010

Windsor mayoral candidate Sam Sinjari, 20 years old, believes he has what it takes to be the mayor of Windsor. “I’m going to take action,” he says, should he be elected to the city’s top post in this October’s municipal election.

Click to read more

"Windsor" scam artists target Ohio victims

WindsorOntarioNews.com Jan 11, 2010

Windsor‘s border location makes the city an easy target for scam artists who illegally seek to have Americans wire money to fake lawyers or family members.

Click to read more

Lise Lacasse returns for opening night screening of movie Youth in Revolt

WindsorOntarioNews.com, Jan 7, 2010

Tecumseh’s Lise Lacasse is coming home Friday night when she’ll be at the second performance of Lakeshore Cinemas’ screening of the movie Youth in Revolt.

Click to read more

Local 211 call centre to serve all southwestern Ontario

WindsorOntarioNews.com Jan 4, 2010

The City of Windsor will soon be operating the 211 non-emergency call service for all of southwestern Ontario. In fact the city hall department which oversees 211 began work on the expansion immediately after city council gave its okay in mid-December, with staff getting down to work after the New Year’s break.

Click to read more

In the dark: "hundreds" of Windsor blocks without streetlights

WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 30, 2009

Drive the long block along Roseland Dr. E. between Dougall Ave. and the Roseland golf course and you might notice something a little peculiar – the absence of street lights.

Click to read more

Unique lamp posts designed for Windsor

WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 26, 2009

These lights were designed for Windsor. Those futuristic-looking streetlights that first showed up more than a decade ago are now more in evidence along downtown streets.

Click to read more

Toyota yanks scenes of Windsor Jaycees' Canadian unity flag

WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 21, 2009

Images of that giant Windsor Jaycees Canadian flag have hit the cutting room floor. The flag, made famous when it became the symbol of the last-minute Canadian unity rally in Montreal just before the 1995 Quebec referendum and which possibly played a role in saving the country – has been lopped from a Toyota advertising campaign in Quebec.

Click to read more

City Hall: good pay if you can get it

WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 17, 2009

A group of city hall management employees is seeking to get the same status as a union and wants to negotiate a first contract with the city. This week they overwhelmingly voted down a city offer because it didn’t match provisions of non-management staff represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

Click to read more

Customs eyeing bridge plaza for expansion

WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 15, 2009

While owners of property in Windsor’s west end continue to feud with the city about the fate of dozens of boarded up houses along several blocks near the Ambassador Bridge one of the reasons cited for a prohibition on the homes’ demolition has a definite basis in fact.

Click to read more

Artists launch sticker campaign against Mayor Francis

WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 11, 2009

A group of artists has launched a campaign against Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis. The group, which apparently doesn’t want to be identified and seems to be working “underground” has been placing stickers around the city criticizing the mayor.

Click to read more

New charge coming to cable bills in January

WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 9, 2009

Local cable TV subscribers will see a new charge on their January bills. It’s the Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF) charge and amounts to 1.5 per cent plus tax.

Click to read more

Essex County towns hooking-up smart water meters

WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 7, 2009

Several Essex County communities are on the leading tech edge when it comes to what used to be the simple water meter. Amherstburg, for example, has been rolling out its Sensus electronic water meters this fall.

Click to read more

U.S. group chooses Windsor for coats for kids distribution

WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 4, 2009

In an unprecedented move the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council in the United States will be giving away hundreds of brand new coats for elementary school students Monday in Windsor at the Unemployed Help Centre.

Click to read more

BIA decries Ouellette Ave improvements as "sea of gray"

WindsorOntarioNews.com Dec 2, 2009

The City of Windsor spent almost $5 million on new streetscaping downtown. But members of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association, which kicked in more than $1 million of the cost, aren’t happy at all about it.

Click to read more

Citizens group has eyes on DRIC Customs plaza

WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 29 2009

The group that is challenging a big box retail development along Matchette Rd. in west Windsor also has its eyes on the environmental impact of the Detroit River International Crossing’s (DRIC) massive Customs plaza in Brighton Beach near the Detroit River.

Click to read more

Council activist says tunnel proposal "dubious, stupid"

WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 26, 2009

Who is Bruce McLeod and why did he make a complaint to Windsor’s Integrity Commissioner about a meeting Mayor Eddie Francis had with now convicted Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick two summers ago?

Click to read more

Paul Martin part of Trust to revamp Assumption Church

WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 24, 2009

Former Prime Minister Paul Martin and well-known Canadian author Richard Rohmer have been enlisted to serve on a national campaign to seek funding as part of a major plan to renovate Assumption Church and surroundings.

Click to read more

Electronic bingo hall opening in Windsor

WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 22, 2009

Windsor’s first E-bingo hall will be opening later this month with a grand opening planned for early December.

Click to read more

City could be on hook for up to $85 million

WindsorOntarioNews.com Nov 18, 2009

The City of Windsor could be on the hook for as much as $85 million should a class action lawsuit challenging it over the legality of bingo fees be successful.

Click to read more

Ranta Marina protesters "self-interested" group

Windsor Ontario News November 15 2009

One of the Amherstburg town councillors who voted to sell the municipally-owned Ranta Marina is not fazed at all by vocal opposition to the conditional sale to developer Rob Delicata.

Click to read more

Transit looking at cheaper passes, open transfers

Windsor Ontario News November 12 2009

Transit Windsor is considering major changes to its fare system, including the introduction of inexpensive daily family passes and transfers that would allow passengers to return in the direction they came from without paying another fare.

Click to read more

Law says child driver should have been supervised

Windsor Ontario News November 10, 2009

There are restrictions for children under 12 using dirt bikes, including where they can drive them and the kind of supervision they must be under.

Click to read more

Clinton cut fees for environmental fundraiser

Windsor Ontario News November 6, 2009

Bill Clinton may charge well over $100,000 for speaking engagements but he cut his price substantially to be guest speaker at a gala fundraiser next spring by the Essex Region Conservation Foundation.

Click to read more

Windsor could gain sizable revenue from Parkway properties

Windsor Ontario News November 3, 2009 Some 150 parcels of city-owned land along the Windsor-Essex Parkway route could derive substantial income for the city although Mayor Eddie Francis wouldn’t speculate as to how much the city could earn.

Click to read more

Poor economy leads condo owner to advertise nationally

Windsor Ontario News November 2, 2009

A Windsor man thinks the local market for a luxury riverfront condominium is so poor that he has spent considerable money to buy display advertising in one of Canada’s national newspapers to advertise the property.

Click to read more

Bridge uses billboards to take campaign to public

Windsor Ontario News October 29, 2009

The Ambassador Bridge company has taken its appeal for a new bridge span directly to the public.

Click to read more

Canada Post won't deliver along construction route

Windsor Ontario News October 28, 2009

Amherstburg residents this week received hand delivered letters from the town’s public works department informing them that the post office will not have letter carriers deliver mail along the stretch of road that is being torn up and replaced as part of a municipal beautification project.

Click to read more

Tecumseh park plan has lake pier, ecological gardens

Windsor Ontario News October 27, 2009

Tecumseh’s new waterfront park, now largely an open space with limited amenities, is expected to undergo a major transformation under plans being drawn up by the town’s engineering consultants, Toronto’s EDA Collaborative Inc.

Click to read more

New signs coming to Highway 401

Windsor Ontario News October 23, 2009

Expect newer and better signs along Highway 401 in the near future to alert motorists to the fact that service centre sites are still open.

Click to read more

Tecumseh says MPAC office will be on transit route

Windsor Ontario News October 20, 2009

Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara says there will indeed be public transit service to the new Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) office when it opens in Tecumseh likely in late January.

Click to read more

Border officers now asking Ebola questions

WON.com Nov 11/14

Canadian border officials, including at the Ambassador Bridge and tunnel, are now routinely asking travellers entering the country whether they have visited West Africa in light of the Ebola outbreak. “Border services officers are now asking additional questions of all persons arriving in Canada,” Canada Border Services Agency said in a response to a WON.com query. “These questions relate to the person’s travel history over the past month and their general health.” Those “identified” with having been in that region will be “automatically referred to a Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Quarantine Officer for a mandatory health assessment.” As well the officer will assess a person “feeling ill, or who may have been in contact with an ill individual from an affected country.” This isn’t a first for CBSA. Part of its normal duties are to “regularly” assess people “for signs of illness,” the agency said. Moreover, “Every person arriving in Canada is required to disclose under the Quarantine Act if he or she has reasonable grounds to suspect that he or she may have, or has been exposed to, a communicable disease.”

U Windsor reviewing travel in light of Ebola

WON.com Oct 22/14

The University of Windsor is reviewing its travel protocols in wake of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. University spokeswoman Lori Lewis said she spoke with Robert Orr, Acting Provost and Vice President Academic, and he indicated “that UWindsor has begun to review the issues related to student and faculty travel to countries with Ebola outbreaks.” In the U.S. various universities have started to tighten travel to West Africa for research and humanitarian purposes. WON.com asked the university in light of the Ebola outbreak if any conditions were being imposed on travel for university staff and students - including those from West Africa who might attend UWindsor as students.

City set to announce museum plans

WON.com Oct 15/14

The City of Windsor Friday will announce details to expand the Art Gallery of Windsor and modify the Francois Baby House as part of a plan to upgrade city museum attractions. Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini Architects is doing the design work and Thornhill-based MMM Group Ltd. is the consulting engineer. Five construction firms have bid on the project with Amico Design placing the highest bid at $3.5 million and Oscar Construction the lowest at $3.3 million. The plan includes a long-desired stand only museum on the ground floor of the art gallery and the gallery operating from the building’s upper floors. The Baby House a block away on Pitt St. has long exhibited artifacts of local interest.

Batman booted from Caesars Windsor

WON.com June 12/14

When it comes to questionable gambling even movie stars are suspect. Ben Affleck, aka Batman and notorious gambler, got the boot from Windsor’s casino in late May. He apparently has a reputation as an “advantaged” gambler. If Star magazine can be believed the “Batman v Superman” star was asked by security to leave Caesars Windsor May 31. A source said Affleck was spotted at the high rollers table playing hands of $5000. “He sat down and played for roughly 20 minutes before security heard he was there,” said the witness. “They made the dealers stop what they were doing and asked him to leave. Ben seemed pretty mad.”

County librarian Woodbridge retiring

WON.com May 13/14

Janet Woodbridge, Essex County chief librarian for eight years, will be spending more time, ironically, reading, once she retires Sept. 30. Woodbridge joined the award winning county system after a stint of 23 years at Windsor Public Library, where for a period she managed the main branch or Central Library. An advertisement running through the Canadian Library Association advertised the job with a 2014 salary of between $105,813 - $129,910 with deadline for new applicant submissions mid-April. Woodbridge said an announcement by the library board, which makes the hire, should be made by the end of June. Woodbridge and the new librarian will spend a few months overlap so Woodbridge can “get them up to speed”. The library excels in developing new electronic materials and has been a “mentor” to other library systems, she said. Woodbridge, born in England and who grew up in Toronto, now lives on a farm outside Harrow. “Obviously I’ll get a chance to a lot more reading,” she said. “I’m planning to still be an advocate for public libraries because I firmly believe in the crucial role of libraries.”

We're not number one

WON.com March 10/14

The oft-repeated phrase that the Windsor-Detroit border is North America’s busiest commercial crossing just took a hit in a Sunday article in the Detroit Free Press. The story, which looked at why it might be difficult for the U.S. Government to cough up the $250 million for a new border bridge customs plaza, quoted 2009 U. S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics reporting that Laredo, Texas was the busiest trade crossing. The 14-lane World Trade International Bridge (pictured), is only one of several crossings in that city, and is dedicated to commercial traffic only. Windsor - Detroit? We’re number two. The article suggested the teeming U.S. - Mexican border was more a priority for Washington lawmakers than the Canada – U.S. border, despite the often stated importance of a new bridge and access roads between Detroit and Windsor. The overall busiest border U. S. crossing? San Ysidro, Cal., with 20 million vehicle passengers a year.

Kouvalis now working on Tory campaign

WON.com Feb 26/14

Nick Kouvalis, a one-time locally-based Conservative campaign official and then manager for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s first election bid, has now joined the campaign of one of Ford’s rivals, John Tory (pictured). Tory was Ontario PC party leader from 2005 to 2009. “Mr. Tory’s campaign has been marketed as a ‘big tent’ coalition, with Liberal insider Bob Richardson and Conservative strategist John Capobianco at the forefront,” the National Post reported this week. “It includes Nick Kouvalis, the brains behind Ford’s last mayoral bid, who is expected to bring much of his 2010 team with him.” Kouvalis might be remembered locally for an incident in 2005 during which he allegedly uttered a death threat against current Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson. He was then serving as campaign manager for Conservative candidate Rick Fuschi. But Judge Lloyd Dean acquitted him, saying the words were uttered in frustration during the heat of the political moment.

Tack welding not cause of Parkway girder removal

WON.com Jan 29/14

It wasn’t tack welding that was the cause of the removal of deficient girders from the Herb Gray Parkway project it was the fact the building of the girders didn’t follow technical plans. Tack welding has been raised as a major reason for why the girders were badly fabricated by European manufacturer Freyssinet. The company set up a temporary yard near the west end of the 11 km border highway, which will connect Hwy. 401 to a new Windsor-Detroit bridge. But a news release from the consortium building the road, Windsor Essex Mobility Group, states explicitly that the decision to remove the girders “is unrelated to the use of tack welding.” Indeed, it says, the much-maligned tack welding “is a common means and method that has been used in the fabrication of girders used in bridges for many years.” Testing under the government review process “has thus far supported the evidence….that the tack welding in the Parkway’s girders did not impact the structural strength of the steel used for the girders.” Rather, the reason for replacement “is based solely on this discrepancy between the documentation and the product delivered, which forms an important part of our quality control process.” Destructive testing found “unauthorized use of materials..…and other fabrication issues which were not adequately and accurately documented in Freyssinet's quality control documentation,” the release says.

Mail is still getting through - in spots

WON.com Jan 7 2014

The severe cold hasn’t been preventing the mail from getting through. Depending, that is, on where exactly you’re located. A Canada Post official admitted delivering Monday and Tuesday was spotty or non-existent depending on local weather conditions in southwestern Ontario. “Our delivery today (Tuesday) for instance there was a break in the wind and our delivery agents in Windsor were out for delivery,” Eugene Knapik said. Knapik said not only are conditions affecting home delivering but the post office also considers the logistical chain of getting mail from one city to another. “We assess the conditions locally and nationally daily and we look to see if it’s reasonable and safe to send our people out,” he said. “And if we just can’t deliver, well, we just won’t deliver.” Knapik said while letter carriers are equipped with “good quality layered warm” clothing “more and more” of them are using the Ford Transit Connect electric vans (picture above) to do “park-and-loop” delivery. The vans were introduced in 2010. “So they have an opportunity to warm up in their vans which is quite helpful.”

AGW security upgrade to cost almost $400 K

WON.com Dec 10 2013

It’s going to cost almost $400,000 to upgrade the security of the city’s art gallery as it makes way for a new community museum. City Council will vote next week to approve $363,608 plus HST to improve security cameras, intrusion alarms, card access and even the building’s HVAC system. Mid South Contractors got the job with another bidder being non-compliant. Tom Graziano, manager of facility operations for the city, said the money was approved when council decided to take over the art gallery. Click to read more

Ont students qualify for in-state tuitions

WON.com Oct 24 2013

Even though it’s not labelled on the accompanying university map and even though Ontario is not a state, Detroit’s Wayne State University is offering provincial students the same deal as Michigan students. Undergraduates in neighbouring Great Lakes jurisdictions including Ohio, Minnesota and New York as well as Ontario can take advantage. The appropriately called Great Lakes Tuition Award will see Ontarians pay the same tuition – along with a 10 per cent fee - as in-state students. Students who take 15 credit hours per semester will save a “substantial” average of $11,633 a year, the university says. In addition, they’ll be eligible for all five merit-based WSU scholarships, which can save students an additional $11,500 each year. “We look forward to giving a broader array of students the opportunity to take advantage of a very reasonable tuition base to attend this top research university,” Provost Margaret Winters said in a statement. The university is fighting a decline in enrolment. The average in-state tuition is $9,780 and the average for non-Michiganders is $23,070.

Final touches being put on the new jail

WON.com Oct 9/13

It may look gleaming and ready to open but the new Windsor regional jail – officially called the South West Detention Centre – located alongside Hwy 401, still needs to be commissioned before a planned opening in the spring. Staff training still needs to be done as well as “inmate programming” and discussions completed with other agencies and “stakeholders” for delivery of services to the jail. “Some finishing work is underway to complete the project and move to the commissioning stage,” Andrew Morrison of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services said. A prisoner transfer plan to and from courts and the jail still had to be worked out with local police, OPP and provincial Bailiffs, he said. Testing of automated security systems and equipment is now taking place. As for the future of the old Windsor Jail on the city’s west side Morrison said there have been “no further discussions” on what will happen to it after it closes. Some in the community have called for it to be turned into a community museum. “Infrastructure Ontario will determine any future use of the facility,” Morrison said. The new 315-bed facility will result in “an increase” in correctional service jobs, the ministry said in an earlier fact sheet. Major construction of the $247 million building started in September 2008 and wrapped up in August.

No pay for workers who refuse to cross university picket lines

WON.com Sept 11/13

University workers who refuse to cross picket lines to honour a strike by CUPE Local 1393 will not be paid. University spokeswoman Holly Ward said: “If an employee chooses not to cross the picket line, they must inform their supervisor of this decision and they will not get paid.” Many non-striking staff have refused to cross lines, respecting the pickets in union time-honoured tradition. But Ward said she did “not have any information on how many have chosen to do so yet.” CUPE Local 1393, representing 282 staff including everyone from trades to computer programmers to student health service nurses to ESL instructors, hit the pavement Sunday morning just as classes for another academic year were about to resume. The union says it’s on strike for job protection. “The administration entered our contract talks with an agenda of concessions that would make it easier to lay us off and contract out our work and over months of bargaining, it has not moved from that goal,” CUPE says in a bulletin. “We think University of Windsor students — and the surrounding communities — deserve better.”

Bridge toll increasing

WON.com Aug 12/13

The Ambassador Bridge is raising its tolls again – just over a year since its last toll increase. The new $5.00 per crossing toll takes effect August 15, according to the bridge’s website. Last summer the bridge raised the toll from $4 to 4.75, which was the highest for all major bridge crossings between Canada and the United States. Bridge management did not return requests for comment. Last year the bridge’s toll increase made the Ambassador’s toll almost 50 per cent higher than most other international crossings. The next highest was the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, which is now $4.50 Windsor to Detroit and $4.75 Detroit to Windsor. Both the tunnel and bridge offer discounts with special travel cards. Prior to the previous bridge increase all major crossings in Ontario were under $3.50 with the cheapest being the Thousand Islands Bridge near Kingston at $2.50. According to the Public Border Operators Association 4.8 million passenger vehicles crossed the bridge last year. Year to date traffic until June showed traffic had increased 2.87 per cent – or more than 66,000 vehicles - over the first six months of 2012.

Bridge owners "thuggish" - Norton

WON.com July 11/13

Canada’s Consul General in Detroit, Roy Norton, described the Ambassador Bridge ownership as “thuggish” during a local presentation before a largely American group of urban experts. Speaking in May at a one day session in Windsor about the Herb Gray Parkway and a new border link between Canada and the U.S., Norton, during a slide presentation to Urban Land Institute (ULI) delegates, said legal challenges by the Marouns over the development of a new bridge were “characteristic of the thuggish nature of the Ambassador Bridge folks.” He was referring, among other things, to a company claim that the bridge had the almost 100-year-old “exclusive and perpetual right” to provide transportation across the Detroit River. “Like everything they do one can assume that there was an element of intimidation in filing (the claim) scaring the state department away from issuing the permit for fear that any action that they took would subsequently be overturned in court,” Norton told the audience. “We’ll never know for sure (whether) it actually worked in slowing down the process (of obtaining a presidential permit for the new bridge). But the mere fact that the permit was issued suggests that the state department satisfied itself of the frivolousness of the Maroun lawsuit.” Obtaining the permit, issued by the U .S. Department of State in April, was one of the last hurdles before construction of the new bridge can begin.

Canada Day washout

WON.com July 3/13

Amherstburg got whacked with showers and thunderstorms Monday, almost setting a record for rainfall, and cancelling the town’s well-known Canada Day fireworks night. The same wasn’t true elsewhere in Windsor-Essex. Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson says 78 mm fell during the afternoon to early evening in persistent heavy downpours. The staggering amount almost filled a recycling box (above). Normally the area gets 80 to 85 mm of rain for the entire month of July. The single highest rainfall was on July 19 1989 when the town got 88.6 mm. The all-time record was on Sept. 6 1990 when the 'burg received 116.8 mm. Coulson called Canada Day’s weather “quite extraordinary.” Rain, including showers and thunderstorms, made their presence felt elsewhere in Windsor - Essex. But not anywhere to the extent the “extreme southwestern” corner got hit, Coulson said. By contrast Windsor Airport recorded 24.2 mm and the heaviest downpours “missing somewhat the Windsor area.” The cause? “An interesting set up in the upper atmosphere” with a low pressure system caused by slow air circulation moving from southeast to northwest.

Watson's 5-point adoption plan

WON.com June 20/13

Essex MP Jeff Watson will table in the House of Commons this fall his five-point plan to encourage Canadians to adopt a child. Watson, himself adopted, and the father of a recently-adopted baby from Nunavut, Beatrice, believes there are far too few children being adopted in the country. He says estimates vary but there are anywhere from 2000-5000 adoptions per year when as many as 40,000 kids languish in temporary care. His Conservative government’s spring budget expanded tax credit criteria, allowing pre-adoption costs such as home study prep to be included. The fall motion will seek a solid measurement on how many eligible children are out there, aim to boost adoptions to more than 5000 a year, and improve adoptive parental support. (photo of Watson family with PM Harper by Deb Ransom)

Capitol Theatre ticket now comes with surcharge

WON.com Apr 30/13

When you buy a ticket for an event at the Capitol Theatre you're now paying a surcharge - $1 for tickets under $15 or $2 for a ticket costing more. It's partly to pay for future maintenance costs for the venerable old theatre, recently acquired by the City of Windsor. The city's manager of cultural affairs Cathy Masterson says half the amount goes to the Windsor Symphony – which has struggled in recent years financially - and half goes to an ongoing Maintenance Fund. The symphony moved from its former digs at the nearby Chrysler Theatre, run by St. Clair College, to the Capitol Theatre as part of the city-led initiative to acquire the building. The symphony is the Capitol’s new manager. The fee will go for any number of items, such as the building envelope, replacing the carpet, HVAC repairs, bathroom fixtures and general lighting replacements as needed, and "potentially seat replacements," Masterson says. This is in addition to an original capital expenditure of more than $1.8 million for exterior masonry and roof repairs, a stage expansion and lift, storage and dressing room improvements and renovations, electronics upgrade and office space renos. "At this time, to my knowledge, the next phase of renovations and repairs have not been identified," Masterson says.

The Bargain! Shop closing stores

WON.com April 12/13

Five regional The Bargain! Shop stores continue to operate but several are closing as the parent firm, The Bargain Shop, reorganizes under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. All creditors proceedings are stayed while the firm restructures and the company will “develop a strategic plan that will ensure (its) long term success and financial stability,” according to a release. Spokeswoman Laura Penso said the Ouellette Ave., Tecumseh Rd. W., Tilbury, Ridgetown and Kingville stores will continue in business. Others such as another store on Tecumseh Rd., and the LaSalle and Chatham outlets, are closing. “They’re currently in liquidation mode,” she said. “Signage there supports a store closing sale.” Ernst & Young Inc. is the monitor. The Bargain Shop grew out of the old Woolworth chain. It had 231 stores and Penso said there will be 167 going forward. The Mississauga-based private company, which also operates under other banners, was created in the late 1990s when the US corporate parent wanted to divest and Canadian management established the business through a buy-out.

Bridge matching funds and then more funds

WON.com April 1/13

Remember back in Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s 2011 State of the State speech about a deal his government has struck to leverage $2.2 billion in U. S. federal highway money to match Canada’s $550 million contribution to the new international bridge connecting Windsor and Detroit? This would be used to pay for Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure. Flash forward to this year’s State of the State address when the governor proposed another way to raise badly needed road maintenance funds, some $1.2 billion to be exact. This would be through a 14 cent per gallon state gas tax increase and a 60 per cent raise in vehicle registration fees, a proposal that has met considerable opposition. In the context of that announcement little if anything was said about the $2.2 billion that was earlier announced. Does this mean the $2.2 billion is off the table? Or is the $1.2 billion in addition to the $2.2 billion? The governor’s spokesman Ken Silfven told WON.com that it in fact would be additional. “It would be both,” he said, to pay for maintenance and new road construction. Meanwhile Silfven said the state is waiting patiently for the bridge’s presidential permit to be approved, clearing a “lynchpin” hurdle to get construction underway. “Sure it would have been nice to hear last fall but realistically we knew that would take some time for the federal government to make its decision," he said. “These kinds of things I’ve heard can take anywhere from a year to two years.” But the presidential permit wouldn’t be the final step in the process. After that permit is obtained the government would still need a U.S. Coast Guard permit because the bridge would be going over navigable waters. Getting that permit is something “we don’t expect will take too much” time, Silfven said.

Windsor police arbitrator awards G20 Summit cash

WON.com March 12/13

The same man who stirred city hall’s ire in January when he imposed a 11.7 per cent four year contract for Windsor’s 600 member police department has also approved $100 per day for G20 officers who had to work rather than be on summer vacation during the Toronto summit in June 2010. William Kaplan said some of the Toronto officers had to work on a “vacation day,” according to National Post. The summit saw mass arrests as demonstrations turned violent. Police were also implicated in some violence. Kaplan said police should have been given a choice between paid vacation days and future time off but that the easiest settlement was paying out cash. Kaplan’s Windsor Police award resulted in a press conference where Mayor Eddie Francis said the city is victim to arbitration rules where police payouts are based on provincial comparisons, even though other cities have much higher costs of living than Windsor.

GOP frontrunner, Maghnieh, have credit card issues

WON.com Feb 26/13

What do Windsor city councillor Al Maghnieh (top left) and current U.S. Florida Senator Marco Rubio have in common? Both got caught in corporate credit card scandals. Maghnieh, as former Windsor Public Library chair, was found by an audit to have spent widely on personal items – over $8000 worth - which he has now paid back. These included meals in fancy restaurants and even a luxury massage for him and his girlfriend. The library says it is still awaiting payment for the audit that uncovered the misspending. Rubio, currently touted as the possible frontrunner as Republican presidential candidate in 2016, didn’t use a public credit card but a Republican Party card. An investigation by the Internal Revenue Service was launched in 2010 against Rubio for personal spending when he was the former Florida state House Speaker. The Tampa Bay Times reported he charged repairs to the family minivan, grocery bills, plane tickets for his wife, and purchases from retailers ranging from wine to Apple's online store (as did Maghnieh). Rubio disputed much of the $100,000 expenses and paid back $16,000.

Border highway will be open before bridge completed

WON.com Feb 15/13

The media has been reporting that when the 11 km Herb Gray Parkway is completed it will be opened to traffic. Which begs the obvious question: if the Parkway is to connect the current end of Hwy. 401 to a new bridge to Detroit how can it open before the bridge is built, which may not be until the end of the decade. (See WON.com Nov 4, 2012: '2020 - at very earliest - for new Detroit River bridge opening') (A presidential permit to get the ball rolling stateside still has not been given. That’s despite last year's official signing between PM Stephen Harper and Michigan’s Rick Snyder, exactly eight months ago on June 15). According to Garfield Dales, the province's main spokesman for the Parkway, parts of it are open already. For example, traffic is using “three legs at the roundabout located at Howard Avenue and Hwy 3.” Dales said as construction progresses “other permanent portions of the Parkway will open to traffic” where “construction staging” allows. “Portions of the permanent Hwy 3 will open this spring allowing for the construction of other Parkway structures.” While the expressway will be below grade and have 11 tunnels the official says “it is anticipated that the Parkway will be completed and opened to traffic in advance of the completion of a new international bridge.” That’s because the six-lane highway will have on and off ramps at several points. These include Huron Church Rd “whereby travellers will be to access the Ambassador Bridge and Windsor-Detroit Tunnel international gateways.”

Michigan extends bridge hazmat comment period

WON.com Jan 24/13

Michigan has extended the public comment period indefinitely for reaction to a proposal to expand the type of hazmat materials that could be carried across the Ambassador Bridge. A Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) report recommends the bridge be allowed to carry more dangerous flammable products as well as corrosives. But opposition including from Detroit’s Hispanic community, whose neighbourhood borders the bridge, is extending a public comment period. MDOT spokesman Rob Morosi said a Jan. 31 deadline has now been extended. MDOT’s website this week was supposed to have published the date for a public meeting. Now, Morosi says, “we haven’t decided when the public meeting will be.” He suggested documents also would likely have to be translated into Spanish.

Alternatives for the Sandwich post office?

WON.com Jan 18/13

The possibility of Canada Post closing the venerable Olde Sandwich Towne post office could open the door for a community alternative – but that would depend on a number of circumstances, a Canada Post official says. Jon Hamilton said the crown corporation is awaiting public submissions – there will not be a public meeting – over the next 30 days on the future of the post office, which has seen considerable declining traffic. Community leaders want the post office to remain open but Canada Post says there are five alternative post office locations within five kilometres of the site. The problem, according to residents, is that they are all on the east side of busy Huron Church Rd., making access difficult for seniors or people with disabilities. The closest is 1.9 km away on Wyandotte St. W. near Campbell Ave. Asked if a local Sandwich business could apply to open a post office kiosk inside a store along Sandwich St., Hamilton said it’s possible but it “depends on a number of things.” These include the fact a retailer might not want to spend money to open an outlet if post office traffic is already declining. The existing post office is “near the bottom” in Windsor traffic. “We would certainly evaluate it and explain what the requirements were,” he said. Asked if the existing heritage-type building could be sold to, say, a non-profit group, to be turned into a community centre, Hamilton wouldn’t even entertain the question because it would suggest a decision has already been made. (See also NEWS BACKGROUNDER)

Disgraced hospital head had area connection

WON.com Dec 21/12

A huge hospital scandal in Montreal has a local reference. Dr. Arthur Porter, the former head of Montreal’s scandal-plagued McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), used to be the CEO of the Detroit Medical Center, the cluster of hospitals near downtown Detroit, and which often receives patient transfers from Windsor. Porter was forced to resign his McGill post earlier this year following news of his controversial lobbying for infrastructure funding for his native Sierra Leone. He had earlier resigned from the federal government’s Security Intelligence Review Ctte., which oversees Canada’s spy agency. He joined McGill in 2004 after leaving Detroit in the autumn of 2003. Under his McGill stewardship the health system could lose as much as $115 million, says a Quebec provincial report released this week. Besides pointing to vast amounts of questionable spending the report also raised serious questions about a number of MUHC’s real estate transactions.

Permits needed before cash flows

WON.com Dec 7/12

No money has been released yet by the Canadian government to pay for Michigan’s share of costs for construction of the new international bridge. Transport Canada spokesman Mark Butler said before any of a $550 million loan is provided to the state, senior U.S. government approval for the project is needed. “Before the project can proceed on the U.S. side, the U.S. Government will need to issue a Presidential Permit and a Coast Guard Permit,” Butler said. Meanwhile the Canadian and Michigan governments continue “to complete the requisite due diligence on the project going forward on the Michigan side, including further project planning and design work,” he said. Butler said the project will be delivered by an entity known as the Canadian Crossing Authority.

Bridge electronic tolling coming

WON.com Oct 19/12

A little bit of Toronto is coming to the Windsor-Detroit area, except the technology is slightly more advanced. Those who have driven along 407 ETR (Express Toll Road) are well familiar with the overhead sensors that calculate tolls based on kilometres driven on the expressway which skirts the north side of Metro Toronto. Now those exact same “gantries” have been installed on the Ambassador Bridge’s Detroit plaza. It’s all part of the bridge’s conversion to electronic tolling, starting this fall for trucks and at an undisclosed time for cars next year, according to bridge company president Dan Stamper. “This is what 407 has been using for awhile,” he said, although the equipment will be the latest version and an improvement over that technology. The bridge company is investing $5 million. The gantries are located over a two lane truck road at the end of the Detroit bridge ramp and at the regular toll booths for truckers and motorists exiting the US plaza to Canada. “The car system will be somewhat different and I’m not ready to release the information on that but yes we will be going to a fully automated system with the cars too but it’s a different type of system.” The transponder is not much more than a two inch square sticker put on the windshield.

Not all fun and games at Toledo's new casino

WON.com Sept.13/12

Don’t mess with the folks at Toledo’s new Hollywood Casino. Two men were indicted by a local grand jury, no less, after they allegedly cheated at the spanking new casino, which opened in May, yet another competitor to Caesars Windsor as the proliferation of casinos in the U.S. Midwest grows. Their crimes? According to the Toledo Blade, one allegedly doubled his blackjack wager to $80 after already winning the hand. The other withdrew a $25 bet after the wager had lost. Each is charged with a felony and faces up to a year in prison.

Solar farm makes it a three-peat for the burg

WON.com June 21/12

Amherstburg’s third solar farm is under construction. It will be the second one built in Amherstburg by First Solar Canada and located near to the other farm the company built, now run by the power firm Enbridge. The almost 80 hectare (200 acres) site on County Rd. 10 should be completed by the fall and will produce 10 MW of electricity. The other Enbridge site is on Conc. 3 just north of Alma Street and is about the same size as this newest farm. First Solar has excavation equipment on the site and has been building a perimeter fence and preparing drains based on conservation authority guidelines. First Solar has built solar farms with a total capacity of 190 MW in Ontario including a farm easily seen just north of Hwy. 401 in Tilbury. Company vice president Peter Carrie, who said the firm doesn’t disclose costs, says the power that will be produced is the equivalent of about 1400 homes or “taking out almost 700 cars in terms of the CO2 emissions production.” During peak construction there should be between 125 – 150 workers on site. Amherstburg’s third and largest solar farm is on North Sideroad just east of Conc. 2 and operated by California-based SunPower, valued at $130 million. It produces 20 MW.

Another source for the Windsor Hum?


Picture shows Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant with the Rouge River in foreground, Zug Island to the right and the Detroit River beyond

WON.com May 18/12

Here’s another theory to put in your pipe about the source of the Windsor Hum. It’s a long shot but worth putting out anyway. Turns out people on the U.S. side of the Detroit River have been complaining about loud vibrations and sounds coming from in and around Zug Island. Industrial Zug Island has been the main focus as to the hum’s origin – which for months has upset residents in west and south Windsor as well as in LaSalle. No evidence has supported that. But residents in southwest Detroit have also been complaining about the exact same problem. “We don’t have the answer as to why the hum is happening (and) we’re only at the beginning stages,” says Simone Sagovac of Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision. The group has contacted the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and is holding a community meeting May 31. One of the sources they’re pointing to is the Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant right across the Rouge River from Zug Island. “Residents around the wastewater treatment plant experienced a hum and vibration, from the fans,” she said. “But I’m not sure that that’s the same thing (that Windsor’s experiencing). Because when we started hearing (about) it from your side it sounded like it was bigger and louder.” The sprawling plant is operated by the City of Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Dept. A dept. spokesman did not return requests for comment. Scott Brines, president of the Southwest Detroit Community Benefits Coalition, formed to ensure a new Windsor-Detroit bridge doesn’t negatively impact citizens in the city’s Delray neighbourhood, said he thinks “there’s two hums.” One is from the plant’s incinerators. “There’s a very loud motor noise on top of those incinerators and that is a hum that everybody is quite used to,” he said. “There’s restlessness about that in the community. You can’t sleep because that thing is so loud.” But he said there’s also noise from Zug Island. He described it as “a real deep shuttering humming more like a vibration that (seems) real deep underground almost booming sometimes and that your windows will vibrate, your glass on your table vibrates, and that’s being felt in Windsor. And if that’s being felt across the river imagine what’s happening here.” Brines suggested new technology could eliminate the wastewater plant’s noises.

History repeats itself in A'burg cougar sightings

WON.com Apr 6/12

The recent cougar sightings in Amherstburg are remarkably similar to sightings that took place in what is now the town almost exactly 20 years ago. "Yes, certainly," Amherstburg Mayor Wayne Hurst said. The sightings, in the early 1990s, weren't exactly in the same location, on the town's south side between the old Boblo Dock and the 4th Concession, south of Simcoe St. They were "more in the Anderdon area" north of the urban town in what used to be known as Anderdon Township, Hurst said. The mayor said at that time carcasses of small animals like rabbits had been found, believed to have been the work of, yes, a cougar. "People had thought that they had seen it," the mayor said. The town's animal control officer at the time, Bob Smith, a hunter, went out with dogs, "to see if they could pick up a track or any indication of the cat itself (but) without any success," Hurst said. The mayor added that he read a recent article about cougars migrating "into this part of Ontario." He said that "we don't want to bring alarms to this" but that there has "got to be some due diligence" to at least get a sense of where the animal is circulating. The mayor, in a reference to the town's new trail system - some of which extend into the area where the cougar allegedly has been spotted - said "you just want to make sure that people are aware of what could be there so they could protect themselves." He said an attack "could very well happen and you certainly wouldn't want to see anyone injured or even worse because of this." And, like history repeating itself, so far what's been happening in these sightings, just like in the 1990s, no evidence has been found.