Marouns lose; state now has all Detroit land for Gordie Howe Intl Bridge
WON.com Aug 21/2018
The Maroun family has again failed in bringing a legal challenge against the new government-backed Gordie Howe bridge. The family, which owns the existing Ambassador Bridge, had challenged the Michigan government’s decision to condemn (expropriate in Canadian terms) properties they owned for public use as part of the Gordie Howe International Bridge’s Detroit land footprint. Crain’s Detroit Business last week reported that Chief Judge Robert Colombo Jr. of Wayne County Circuit Court rejected 15 legal challenges brought by the family, ranging from questioning traffic projections for the new bridge to the state’s legality in acquiring the 20 land parcels without legislative approval. The decision means the state will finally take possession of all 636 parcels of Detroit land needed for the footprint. The properties in question range “from tiny one-time residential parcels to one-third of the 42-acre Central Transport trucking terminal on Jefferson Avenue,” Crain’s reported. The bridge company says it will appeal.
County to paint over River Canard Bridge "tagging"
WON.com/Aug 2 2018
Recent graffiti tagging of the iconic 1930s-era River Canard Bridge will be removed as soon as tomorrow (Aug. 3), county engineer Tom Bateman says. “We noted the tagging of this structure shortly after it happened. We were waiting on a supply of the specialized coating used on the ‘bowstring’ bridge and will be painting it on Friday,” he told WON.com. Only two years ago the landmark bridge in front of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church – and a frequent commuting route as motorists zip by - had been refurbished to the tune of more than $400,000. The recent tagging was on the bridge’s ends as well as on some of the “hangers,” which are the vertical bars within the curved “bowstring” design. “This is the first time this has happened here and generally we do not experience much graffiti on our infrastructure,” Bateman says. “The odd time a sign will get sprayed or a bridge wall but it is thankfully a rare occurrence.”
Greyhound boosting service in Ontario
WON.com/July 12 2018
Greyhound Canada says it will be boosting service in southern Ontario, while the company announced this week it is axing service entirely within western Canada due to low ridership. David Butler, regional vice-president for Greyhound’s Eastern Canada section, told WON.com that $10 million is being invested to improve service, equipment and technology in Ontario. This includes purchasing 35 “newer” buses – 2010, 2012 and 2014 Prevost models – already obtained by Greyhound at a cost of $8 million. The investment follows an upgrade to the Windsor-Toronto service that now sees buses stop at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Meanwhile, “We will continue to work to enhance our e-ticketing system with the objective of going paperless,” Butler said. As well, the company “will work” to provide bus-side scanning. $2 million is being spent on Wi-Fi and an onboard infotainment system. Other upgrades include a bus tracker that allows customers to see where their bus is along the route. Photo: Wikipedia
Dwight Duncan avoids Ambassador Bridge
WON.com/July 6 2018
Dwight Duncan, chair of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) doesn’t use the Ambassador Bridge. The former Windsor city councilor, provincial government minister and spokesman for the authority building the new Gordie Howe Bridge, yesterday told reporters the Ambassador Bridge, for him, no longer makes the cut. “I for instance avoid using the Ambassador Bridge now, not because what we’re obviously competing on but just because of the slowness and the problems with it,” he said following the announcement that a builder has been chosen to construct the new bridge. Duncan also said the bridge won’t be deterred by continuing lawsuits from the family that owns the rival Ambassador. There have been 25 so far all of which the Marouns have lost. A further one goes to court this month. “We won’t be slowed down by the family you mentioned or by anyone else,” he said.
Hospice adding beds, expanding facilities
WON.com/June 13 2018
The Hospice of Windsor is undergoing an expansion and sprucing-up, along with adding a couple more palliative care beds, to bring the total to 10, the same number as its newer facility in Leamington has. The east side Windsor building obtained $400,000 from the province for beds. Director Carol Derbyshire says the province for the first time has provided funding for beds. “Traditionally the government did not give any capital money for these kinds of expansions, they offered operating money but not capital,” she said. So The Hospice had to raise money itself. Meanwhile, the Empress St. building is creating bigger family rooms. “We’re also adding on a big sun room – all seasons sun room – off the kitchen, which will give us, once again, more space for families. They can sit out there they can play cards, read, that sort of thing.” Derbyshire is retiring this November but likely will be back in the new year as a volunteer. “This has been the great love of my life.”
UW billboards sought students stateside
WON.com/May 11 2018
The University of Windsor advertised over the winter on two large billboards in Detroit. They featured the slogan “Future Full of Promise” and showed a closeup of a smiling female student in athletic uniform. One of the billboards was located just past the Ambassador Bridge along I-75 at Vernor Hwy. “heading into downtown,” according to university spokesman John Coleman. The other was at M-10 (Lodge Expy.) and Wyoming Ave. Coleman didn’t have a specific cost for the billboard campaign but said it was “just part of our overall efforts.” He said billboards may go up again next winter.
China's BYD buses bypassed Windsor, have now taken on the world
WON.com/Apr 30 2018
A goal of former Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis, which may have seemed a pipedream at the time, seems to be bearing fruit - if not in Windsor, then certainly elsewhere. Francis had sought the Chinese electric bus company, BYD (Build Your Dreams) to open a North American manufacturing plant in the city. He travelled to China several times to lobby for the facility. But not only did Windsor not get the plant – at least one factory was constructed in California – but the city didn’t get some buses to try out on area streets. These went to Quebec. That was back in 2013. But a story in Bloomberg Financial last week indicated that BYD’s buses, which were once considered something of a “joke,” since that time have become a runaway success. The company has already built 35,000 buses and has the capacity to build 15,000 a year. The first fleet started in the Chinese city of Shenzhen in 2011. As of December, all of Shenzhen’s more than 16,000 buses are electric. Major cities around the world are also showing interest in electric. The United Kingdom already has more than 300 electric and hybrid buses on the road “and BYD hopes to be picked to supply more,” Bloomberg says.
Local US citizens could get big tax break
WON.com/Nov 7 2017
Attention all Windsorites who also have American citizenship – your anger and pulling-the-hair out frustration at filling voluminous forms to pay tax on income earned in Canada may soon be over. According to Charles Bruce of American Citizens Abroad Global Foundation, the US Congress is mulling changes that would end the archaic and, for any country, almost unique, practice. (Eritrea does the same.) The change might come with the current massive tax reform bill, which would also see a major reduction in US corporate income tax from 35 to 20 per cent. US citizens, including those with dual citizenship, who are legion in Windsor-Essex County - many have lived here all their lives - “would only have to pay tax to the country where they live.” Attempts to change the law have been ongoing since 2016 and if they don’t pass with this bill, expect to see an effort in the next round of tax reform.
Ambassador Bridge prez praises rival Gordie Howe project
WON.com/Sept 12 2017
Ambassador Bridge president Dan Stamper has praise for his company’s arch-rival, the planned government-run Gordie Howe International Bridge, at least in one respect. In an interview, Stamper praised the project – which saw the Gordie Howe’s feeder road known as the Herb Gray Parkway – get built, and opened to traffic in 2015. He said the parkway, after all, brought Hwy. 401 several kilometres closer to the end of his bridge, even if it doesn’t directly go to the Ambassador. “Now it comes nine more kilometres straight towards our bridge and there’s two kilometres left that need to be fixed,” he said. “So if the Gordie Howe bridge did anything good in the last decade it’s to help bring the Herb Gray Parkway directly towards the Ambassador Bridge.” As for those last couple of connecting kilometres, Stamper said he thought their construction should be a “shared responsibility” between Ottawa and Ontario. Stamper’s company last week got the federal green light from Ottawa to build a new six-lane cable-stayed bridge, 15 years in often rancorous and litigious planning. And, for those who mock the current six-lane Huron Church Road, which leads to the bridge, as a less than adequate highway, Stamper had an opposing view. “Huron Church is probably the best surface road in Canada.”
Letter falsely targets Windsor Spitfires
WON.com/Aug 22 2017
Don’t believe all you read in the newspaper, especially if it’s a letter to the editor. Such is the case with a letter published in The Windsor Star Aug. 11 by a couple of supposed fans of the Windsor Spitfires – Jordan and Jerry Whiteman. The Whitemans took a backhanded slap at Windsor’s OHL team by “congratulating” the team on its Memorial Cup victory and then criticizing it for yanking their VIP Lot 1 parking pass. They referred to their son who has “special needs” and problems walking. “Last year, Spitfires management chose to take away this parking spot,” they wrote. “After over 60 years, we are forced to cancel our season tickets, but the team will always be No. 1 in our hearts.” But the letter is erroneous. WON.com couldn’t find a listing of such individuals. And Spitfires’ spokesman Dave Ducharme said “the Whitemans have never had a VIP Lot 1 pass.” Also, the Spitfires have only existed since the 1970s, not 60 years.
New UW open concept research centre to feature glass walls
WON.com/Aug 4 2017
That red construction crane in the middle of the University of Windsor campus is building what’s known as the Science Research and Innovation Facility. Outgoing U of Windsor president Alan Wildeman called it an “exceptional” building that will be home to three types of research: advanced materials such as nano (atoms and molecules) technology and biometrics, “translational” health, or transferring lab discoveries to practical “bedside” use with special emphasis on cancer, and “medical physics” such as imaging and diagnostic technologies. The accent is on collaboration with the labs having an open concept design with transparent glass walls to enhance group research. The building, next to Essex Hall, will be 46,000 sq. ft. and will open next spring.
Tender out for demo of parking garage commercial units
WON.com/June 29 2017
The City of Windsor has put out a tender for demolition of the Pelissier St. parking garage’s ground floor commercial units. A tender notice appears in the June issues of Daily Commercial News, which reports on the Ontario construction industry. Construction start date is slated for August 14. A walk through for interested bidders was June 21st. The city describes the work as: “demolition of the existing grade level commercial units and construction of a new 43 space asphalt parking lot…” The work’s “scope” includes construction of a new lot with “drainage, new decorative wall and fence and curbs.” The Downtown Windsor BIA launched a campaign to save the eight commercial units. The units, originally constructed by a private developer in the 1980's, for several years went largely unoccupied or underutilized and for which less than market rents were being paid. Critics said the city was abandoning good urban planning where future retail would attract more pedestrians and street life.
Lawyers dispatched to Windsor border over Trump travel ban
WON.com/June 12 2107
The legally-challenged United States travel plan issued by the Trump Administration earlier this year saw lawyers from the recently-assembled Canadian Cross-Border Legal Coalition come to Windsor to advise travellers affected by the ban, now before the U.S. Supreme Court. The lawyers spread out to various airports “as well as to the land border in Windsor,” Law Times reports in its current issue. Even after lower courts ruled against the ban – and the emergency subsided – lawyers continue to collect evidence and reach out to groups to zero in on who was affected by the controversial policy. Toronto lawyer Corey Shefman said more than 300 lawyers from Toronto alone responded. He said they reacted because “we saw how people were being treated, and it was simply not in keeping with very basic, fundamental Canadian values that we can all agree on.”
Rejoice! Windsor is to get, well, another hill
WON.com/May 12 2017
Windsor is getting another hill. Not as big as the toboggan run at Malden Park – a former inert waste landfill - but in a city as flat as a pancake it’s maybe nothing to sniff at. Once EnWin utlities’ second reservoir is completed (photo above) by the end of the year the once and future George Avenue Park will have a different topography. There will be a berm on it. That’s because the new 35 million gallon reservoir will be both three metres under and three metres above ground. “We’re going to reinstate a park of some sort over it so there will be some public use,” EnWin director of water engineering Norbert Poggio said. “The berm might even enhance how the park flows.” Neighbours were consulted about the reservoir and “so far they’ve all embraced it,” the official said. “And all in all I think it’s going to be a betterment to the neighbourhood because they’re going to have a new park. Instead of looking at buildings and traffic they’ll see a nice green berm in their backyard.” EnWin is building the second reservoir to increase water capacity and as a backup to the larger 65 million gallon reservoir across the street.
Accidents fall, costs rise, in city liability
WON.com/April 10 2017
Slip and fall accidents that have plagued the City of Windsor declined sharply in 2016, to 28 from as many as 82 in 2014. But costs continue to rise. The city says the decline is because of the exceptionally “mild winters” of late. Meanwhile, trip and falls totalled 39; they were as high as 54 in 2012. The city, in a report to council, says these occurred mainly on sidewalks and trails, and over the years have remained “somewhat consistent.” Altogether last year there were 683 claims against the city, 401 related to flooding that occurred Sept. 29th. That left 282 claims, “the lowest number of claims received in the last 5 years.” There were only 13 sewer backup claims not related to Sept. 29th. Sewer backup claims declined, "likely the result" of the city's basement flooding protection subsidy aimed at flood reduction. Bodily injury claims were also down to 12 from 25 the previous year, mainly from injuries at city parks and rec facilities. The decline reflected "a greater focus on risk management." Nevertheless, claim costs are on the rise. Last year costs amounted to $4.1 million whereas they were about $1.5 million in 2010. These reflected incidents that occurred in 2013 and 14. “These types of incidents typically result in severe injuries attracting litigation and larger payouts." In 2015, 14 of these claims settled for over $50,000; in 2016 there were 18. In 2015 the average settlement was $78,206 and in 2016 the average was $112,328.
Pupatello to rescue a sinking Liberal party?
WON.com/March 7 2017
Former Liberal cabinet minister and party leadership candidate Sandra Pupatello, of Windsor, has been mentioned as a replacement for current Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, who’s party is low in the polls and besieged by its hydro rate policy. The Toronto Star Queen’s Park reporter Robert Benzie mentioned several replacements for the sinking premier, should the party turn on Wynne to maintain its grasp on power. Included is Sandra Pupatello, “who has the advantage of having quit politics after losing the leadership to Wynne in 2013 and thus can’t be blamed for anything that’s followed,” National Post columnist Kelly McParland wrote in a follow-up. Taking over the party’s reins would be sweet for Pupatello, a powerful minister who held several portfolios under former premier Dalton McGuinty. She ran for the party leadership but lost to Wynne in a combative 2013 convention. When asked by WON.com for comment, Pupatello said: "I didn't see that story, I did see the TO Star this weekend. I'm not sure why or what people are saying out there, I'm a working stiff!" Pupatello currently is Strategic Advisor: Industry, Global Markets & Public Sector, at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Toronto.
Uber transparency for Windsor's new city council chamber
WON.com Jan. 24/17
Windsor’s new city hall, expected to open in just over a year, will have uber transparency, according to the city’s manager guiding the project. “Because you are a municipal government, you are a democracy, and you want transparency, this is a public meeting, this is where government meets,” said Wadah Al-Yassiri. The new chamber will be open to a spacious atrium, which doubles as the city hall entrance and faces the expansive civic plaza with views northward to the river. It will be two stories in height. In the chamber, the number of seats will almost double from the current chamber's maximum 70, to 120. They’ll also be on a slight incline to give the public clear views of the mayor, councillors, and administrative staff, who in turn will be spread out along a slight arc facing the audience. The current council chamber is U-shaped, and the councillors and audience all sit on one level. In addition, the new chamber will have an according-like glass door that can be opened to the atrium. So even if it’s closed the public and see in. And when it’s open additional seats can be placed to accommodate overflow crowds. Even if spectators are on the outside of the building, they can still peer into the council chamber through the ground-to-roof windows at the front of the building. That might be good exposure for, say, protesters marching outside who can see in and be seen by the audience and council.
Michigan firms that hire Ontarians benefit
WON.com Dec. 2/16
Michigan businesses that employ Canadian residents wouldn’t be discriminated against if a bill in the Michigan Legislature is passed. The bill would allow businesses to obtain grants, loans and other incentives under the Michigan Business Development Program, if they employ out of state or Ontario employees. At present only businesses that employ Michigan residents are eligible for the incentives. The bill, which has passed the Senate and now moved to the House, is specifically aimed at Michigan counties that border jurisdictions like Ohio and Ontario.
TO company bought Detroit firm allegedly target of probe
WON.com Oct. 27/16
A Toronto company, with a presence in the Windsor area, has bought a Detroit waste firm reportedly involved in an alleged political bribery scandal in Macomb County. But the Toronto firm, GFL Environmental, apparently had no knowledge that the company it bought was at the centre of a police probe. The Detroit Free Press has been reporting that former Rizzo Environmental Services has been the target of a FBI investigation. That’s according to “multiple sources;” the firm itself has not been named on a police charging document. But Rizzo executive Chuck Rizzo Jr. this week announced his resignation. The action occurred just weeks after GFL purchased Rizzo. Rizzo, a relative newcomer in the Detroit waste business, had quickly built up its markets. GFL president Patrick Dovigi said he didn’t even know Rizzo had been targeted by police or he probably wouldn’t have bought the company, the Free Press reported. “This is not the way GFL conducts business,” Dovigi said. “We take these allegations very seriously.”
City could have new family, art cinema
WON.com Oct. 7/16
Windsor audiences might have a new theatre to watch movies in if a proposal by St. Clair College comes to light. Veronica Mancini, manager of the Chrysler Theatre at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts, said the Chrysler could play host to different types of films – from family-oriented pictures to art house cinema – in the 1200-seat venue. A precedent of sorts will take place early next month when the Chrysler will become a new second home for 12th edition of the Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF). That’s in addition to the festival’s regular venue, the Capitol Theatre and Arts Centre. The Chrysler already has its own screen and WIFF will provide a digital projector. In future, however, the Chrysler would have to invest in its own projector. “It’s just a matter of getting a projector of high quality and those are very expensive,” Mancini said. The Chrysler traditionally has hosted live events such as music and theatre. Said Mancini: "My goal eventually is to either do family films and a family night on slower days during the week, or even just to bring (an) original indie festival or even just do art house films, foreign films.”
Windsor press author now shortlisted for top literary prize
WON.com Sept. 8/16, updated Sept. 27/16
The Party Wall by Montreal author Catherine Leroux and published by Windsor's Biblioasis International Translation Series - translated by Lazer Lederhendler - has made the 2016 Giller Prize shortlist. The writer is up against five other authors - and books - for the grand prize to be announced Nov. 7 at 9 pm. The prize gives $100,000 to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English. Finalists win $10,000 each. "Lyrical, intelligent, and profound, The Party Wall is luminously human, a surreally unforgettable journey through the barriers that can both separate us and bring us together," Bookfest Windsor says. The author will be at Bookfest this November. Besides Leroux, another Biblioasis author made the Giller longlist, announced earlier. That was Kathy Page's story collection The Two of Us, published by A John Metcalf Book, an imprint of Biblioasis. Last year, Biblioasis was triple-longlisted for the Giller, with two writers (Samuel Archibald and Anakana Schofield) making the short list.
Marijuana honcho to speak in Windsor
WON.com Aug. 3/16
No smoked-filled rooms on the agenda but a top marijuana regulator will speak to politicos here later this month. Also, Ontario’s three senior political leaders will be in Windsor for the annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference. Premier Kathleen Wynne, Opposition Leader Patrick Brown of the Progressive Conservatives, and Andrea Horwath, leader of the NDP, will be speaking at Caesars Windsor on Monday Aug. 22, the conference’s first full day. Three other government ministers will also be speaking including Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray, who will talk on how carbon cap and trade will impact municipalities. Ashley Rea Kilroy (above), executive director of marijuana policy for the city of Denver, CO., will tell delegates - made up of municipal politicians from across the province - how her city “tackled marijuana regulation, enforcement and education,” according to the AMO conference agenda. Windsor last hosted the conference in 2010 and Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara is AMO president.
These sidewalks can actually legally be used by cyclists
WON.COM / July 8 2016
Cyclists have long appropriated pedestrian sidewalks. But in the rural village of Colchester riding on the sidewalks is perfectly legal, since the sidewalks have been converted to bike/walking trails. The only change from the existing gray concrete was they were repainted – about two years ago – to light green and have cycling and pedestrian logos painted on them. The bike lanes are the first along County Rd. 50, which is an increasingly busy tourist route serving the region’s fast-growing wine and agritourism industries, and where cycling is being encouraged. While the narrow road has long been slated for bike lanes Essex councillor Larry Snively says there isn’t sufficient shoulder width along the rest of the route as far east as Kingsville and west towards Amherstburg. But at least in Colchester there were existing sidewalks which could be converted. “It was because of the width of the paved road itself, we never had enough space,” Snively said. Essex County has a plan to roll out extensive cycling-pedestrian routes over 20 years. Based on its County-wide Active Transportation Study (CWATS). Full implementation of more than 700 km of routes would cost just over $50 million, paid for largely by local municipal and county governments.....UPDATE: July 12: CWATS tells us: "The construction of the additional paved shoulders on CR 50 from Islandview to Holiday Bluff (east of Colchester) are expected to start at the end of July 2016. The shoulder width will be 1.5m each side."
Windsor's namesake runs into problems
WON.com June 20/16
The City of Windsor’s namesake sub (picture right) ran into a problem last week en route to a training exercise in Norway. But Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, the outgoing head of the navy, called the incident a “hiccup” and the sub is now back to full speed, the National Post reported. The breakdown symbolizes the chronic problems with Canada’s fleet of four subs. And it comes at a critical time where the federal government is being asked to make a major investment so they can operate past the mid-2020s, or give up the fleet. The subs were acquired from Britain. The HMCS Windsor was originally the HMS Unicorn, launched in 1992, and obtained by Canada in 2001 and commissioned in 2003. “Her training program in 2002 was interrupted on 28 March by what proved to be a minor flooding while submerged,” the navy says on its website. The sub later participated in several international exercises, including the “successful tracking of a United States Navy nuclear-powered attack submarine” and “in the first-ever parachute rendezvous at sea practiced with Canada's Patrol Pathfinders (Canadian Army paratroopers).”
$3000 hit to homes, more for businesses
WON.com, May 19/16
Southwestern Ontario’s leading natural gas supplier says it will cost homeowners as much as $3000 more per year to heat their homes if the province makes good on its climate change policy. The Globe and Mail this week published a leaked copy of the Climate Change Action Plan. The plan would eliminate natural gas as an option for new homes by 2030 and all buildings by 2050. Yet 80 per cent of homes and businesses now use natural gas. Union Gas says the policy would lead to a non-growth strategy because new home and commercial developments, seeking to use cheaper natural gas, would be sidelined. The plan would also place businesses “at a disadvantage relative to surrounding” states and provinces with which they compete. The reason for the cost increase is because of much more expensive electric heat. But Union Gas also plugs its own industry, saying the government should target the “largest source of emissions – vehicles” and have them use “cleaner and less expensive” natural gas.
More mystery surrounds Chatham Street building
WON.com April 4/16
The former Million Dollar Saloon on Chatham St. E. has been sold. Windsor Business magazine reports the building, which has been partly modernized to be converted to what was supposed to be a new health centre and lend itself to downtown revitalization, has been sold to a company called Winthorp Valentine Inc. The sale was valued at $1.3167 million. The vendor was 38-44 Chatham St. E (2012) Ltd. Kim Vangeloff, a former owner of defunct Pitt for Pasta restaurant building on Chatham St. W., as well as Million Dollar saloon, is listed as the president, director, secretary and treasurer. Bill Arvanitis, who heads Toronto-based Arvan Rehab Group, had sought to turn the building into a sports injury and walk-in clinic. The front façade was modernized and an elevator installed. Arvanitis did not return a request for comment and an attempt to reach Vangeloff was unsuccessful. The building originally was put on the market for $2.6 million, reduced to $1.9 million, and sold for substantially less. Meanwhile, next door, The Kilt & Fiddle Irish Pub closed and the space remains for lease, having been sold to Toronto’s Henry Tam six months ago, according to Valente relator Robert Peters. Tam has big plans for major commercial investment along Chatham St.
Rare Shakespeare book coming here
WON.com Feb 23/16
The first collection of The Bard’s plays, published n 1623 – seven years after his death – will be on display in Detroit beginning March 7. The book is considered one of the most influential in the history of publishing. The First Folio contains plays “that otherwise would have been lost,” says the Detroit Institute of Arts, where the book will be displayed. These include “Macbeth,” “Julius Caesar,” “Twelfth Night,” “The Tempest,” “Antony and Cleopatra,” “The Comedy of Errors” and “As You Like It.” When displayed its pages will be opened to the most quoted lines in the world “to be or not to be” from Hamlet. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see one of the most influential books ever published. Shakespeare continues to have a great cultural influence 400 years after his death,” museum spokeswoman Pam Marcil said.
Transplanted exec keen on Windsor
WON.com Jan 25/16
The Windsor Club’s general manager Jennifer Ralston hails from Montreal. But she’s fallen in love with the City of Windsor. Ralston was hired to oversee a major move of the club from the CIBC tower downtown to the Wiser’s Reception Centre, as well as a significant architectural upgrade at the Wiser’s site and an expansive membership and marketing drive as the club takes its status to a whole new level. “It’s remarkable,” Ralston says of the city. “I never ever thought I’d have a reason to come here and I have been totally smitten by the city.” The new club (story left) looks out on to the Detroit River and Detroit beyond. About Windsor, Ralston says, “it’s way under appreciated, way under marketed, I would tell you, compared to other places in Canada. There’s something about this area. It’s a phenomenal little corner of the country and it’s kind of hidden away. Nobody thinks of going to Windsor.”
WON.com Jan 6/16
Detroit’s highest skyscraper might seem like it’s turning into a giant billboard. It is, but only to highlight the products of the corporation that owns the RenCen, General Motors. Four years ago the company changed its fixed GM logo to LED lights to highlight various corporate brands as well as to use various coloured bands around the top of the various towers. These include “to support community events” like using orange for Tigers baseball, said GM corporate spokesman Pat Morrissey. More recently GM added “wraps” to its buildings. The same as bus wraps they advertise a product over a larger space. Currently the wraps, which take up about a quarter of the tops of the towers, are for a run up to the North American International Auto Show. “It’s also occasionally used to highlight specific product launches, in this case we’ve got the new Chevrolet Malibu and the new Colorado being highlighted,” Morrissey said. GM also does the wraps as a nod to the Detroit Grand Prix in June. “It’s very visible from Belle Isle,” where the race takes place, the official said. GM is hardly the first to use such giant wraps on buildings. “It’s been used all over the world,” Morrissey said.
Imagine the mega - hospital in Essex
WON.com Dec 9 2015
While one local group of activists has roundly condemned the decision to locate a new regional hospital at the edge of the city - citing issues related to sprawl - imagine the reaction had planners chosen the county seat for the location of the mega-hospital. Essex town planner Jeff Watson said his municipality had applied to host the future hospital and scored 82 per cent for meeting objectives of where the hospital should be located. “There was a lot of skepticism about what we had to offer,” he said. But given the town’s location at almost the geographic centre of the county it pretty much fit the bill as a central location. The site is on lands once owned by Mady Corp.- which sought a big box development more than a decade ago - and which are now the property of businessman Don Hearn. They’re located behind Tim Hortons, McDonalds and Canadian Tire – 85 acres at the corner of Hwy 3. and Maidstone Avenue.
Tecumseh tower sole sourced bid called out
WON.com Nov 17/15
The Town of Tecumseh has been taken to task by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation for failing to open bidding on a contract to clean and repaint its water tank. Federation Ontario director Christine Van Geyn called it a “sweetheart” deal between the town and the company, Landmark, which originally built the tank in 1991. The town accepted an unsolicited bid of $170,000 to do the work as well as paint the town logo. Landmark has also done regular five year upkeep on the elevated structure. Daily Commercial News quoted another contractor, Alec Hunter of Toronto-based Heritage Restoration’s Sanding and Coating division, as saying, “When I asked if we could bid, I was just pushed off.” The town cites a bylaw that it doesn’t have to open bidding on contracts of more than $30,000 so long as the department director and purchasing coordinator agree. Mayor Gary McNamara said the town got a great deal though he didn’t know the job’s true market value because of the lack of open bidding. “We’re not reckless with taxpayer money,” he said.
Hospital's dialysis expansion likely to begin this month
WON.com Oct 6/15
Expect an update any day on construction of Windsor Regional Hospital’s expanded nephrology program, according to hospital spokesman Ron Foster. Seven contractors submitted bids that closed late last month. The work, which was scheduled to begin in early October, will take about a year to complete. Construction will take place at WRH’s Ouellette (Hotel-Dieu) campus. To cope with increasing demand to treat kidney disease the hospital is creating additional dialysis space in the adjacent so-called Bell building (above). The hospital says its renal program has grown by 45 per cent in the last five years.
Tunnel bus and bikes just don't compute
WON.com August 19/15
Windsor cyclists who want to take part in Detroit’s increasingly busy bike touring scene - Slow Roll Detroit, for example, offers regular Monday evening events - will likely have to take their bikes to the Motor City in a car. Transit Windsor, which offers bike racks on 90 per cent of its fleet, can’t take bikes across on the tunnel bus. There are several reasons. One is requiring a licence because bike racks actually extend the vehicle’s length. Transit Windsor has such Ontario licencing but not from Michigan. As well, getting through the tunnel and into downtown Detroit requires some tight maneuvering which a longer bus makes more difficult. Finally there’s U.S. Customs “who are not overly supportive of it,” transit GM Pat Delmore says. That’s because disembarking passengers have to bring all their belongings, including their bikes, with them into the small indoor Customs inspection facility. However, cyclists can brings a bike on board the tunnel bus, so long as they keep it in a bike bag.