Windsor’s Lancaster bomber’s UK heritage base is site of controversy March 27 2023

While the Windsor Lancaster bomber undergoes the final touches of a massive restoration a controversy is brewing in the country which was the original home of Lancasters, the United Kingdom. British authorities have proposed that the Royal Air Force Scampton air base be converted into an immigrant detention centre which would house up to 1500 asylum seekers, an issue with which Windsor is also currently dealing. There is considerable opposition to the proposal, not on anti-immigrant grounds, but to preserve a long-cherished site that played an instrumental role in the Second World War. Scampton also played a role in the famous “Dambusters Raid” of 1943 which saw 19 of the planes drop “bouncing bombs” to destroy three German dams. The planes would fly below anti-aircraft fire allowing the barrel-type explosives to skip across water and hit the side of the dams, destroying three and damaging a third on the Ruhr River. While the raid was a success eight aircraft never returned. But while Scampton is being proposed for immigrant settlement, there is also a plan to turn the base into a business innovation and hospitality hub, part of Britain’s “levelling-up” strategy to increase economic development in the country's poorer regions. “If the decision goes ahead, it will be a historical tragedy, as well as an economic one — the revamp of the site would have provided thousands of jobs,” the Daily Mail newspaper says. One historian calls the base “the embodiment of Britain’s aviation past.” Meanwhile, restoration of Windsor’s Lancaster, built in Canada and which never saw war service, is predicted to be completed by spring of next year. The plane was removed from its Jackson Park pedestal in 2005 because of concerns about weather damage. The Canadian Aviation Museum at Windsor airport is completing the restoration.

Downtown merchants may stave off vandals with European-style security March 13 2023

It’s unconventional, at least for a Canadian city. And some may argue it isn’t particularly pretty. But a way downtown storeowners may prevent future break-ins, or at least smashed plate glass windows – costing hundreds of dollars in repairs and additional insurance premiums - is to adopt a technique long used in Europe: security shutters or blinds. Walk through virtually any European city, small or large, after dark, and many of the thriving daytime stores – from humdrum haberdasheries to elite boutiques, even restos and cafes - have steel blinds tightly pulled down over their storefronts. It may be a forbidding look though par for the course across Europe, but perhaps not as unsightly as the heavily gated or grated look of inner city storefronts that abound in US cities like in our neighbour Detroit. One company, U.S.-based Rollac, distributes the ShopGuard Shutter. Its sales literature says ShopGuard “is a commercial security shutter that is designed to protect your business from unwanted visitors.” It features a single wall design “that rolls compact for minimum installation space while providing commercial strength for protection.” The shutters can be “easily installed” either on the inside or outside of a commercial building. The shutters have advantages in addition to protecting against vandalism including from noise and UV. Don’t like the solid blind look? The company also makes blinds with open grids, aesthetically more pleasing than US inner city heavily gated looks. And, once installed, storekeepers could put a positive spin on them – “Hey, we’re bringing a little bit of Europe to the city core!”

Photo: Rollac

Star plant closure's wider implications February 27 2023

It’s not just the loss of 75 jobs at The Windsor Star printing plant next month that could result from the closure of the last physical presence of what’s being called the city’s longtime ”heritage” newspaper. (The Star's downtown newsroom closed last year.) It’s matters like the plant being a regional print facility and its role in being a charity sponsor as well as the possible loss of the newspaper's decades-old archives. Unifor, the union representing Star plant workers, has asked support from city council to save the Star’s decades' worth of archives. “Please protest that the history of those archives be moved to a City of Windsor public outlet such as our library,” it says in a letter. “This history of Windsor through our journalists/photographers/printers/engravers does not belong to (publisher) Postmedia but to our community.” The union points out the plant has also printed regional newspapers like the Sarnia Observer and the Chatham Daily News but won't anymore. “Postmedia will continue to decimate printed product throughout our communities." And Unifor notes the venerable Goodfellows Christmas charity newspaper will now be without a sponsor. “Windsor Star printed the Goodfellows newspaper as a community service which has now turned into more Postmedia profit.” The Star’s plant closure will see the more than 100-year-old local newspaper now printed in Toronto with advertising inserts completed in London. The finished newspaper will then be trucked back to Windsor.

Photo: Google Street View

Expect major transit route changes February 14 2023

Get ready for some big changes this year if a Transit Windsor route overhaul is approved. Routes will be streamlined, and new ones created in proposals going before the city’s transportation committee this month, which in turn would have to be approved by city council. Routes that for generations have been designated like the Transway 1C and Crosstown 2 will be no more. While keeping much of their actual physical routes, they’ll be re-designated by a series of three digit numbers from “primary routes” in the 100s to “secondary routes” in the 200s and so on. There will be six categories of routes ending in the 600s, the last being “regional” services to places like Amherstburg. Transit Windsor says this will “make navigation easier for passengers.” Generally, those routes running east-west will have even numbers and those north-south odd numbers. The Transway 1C, the most travelled route, will become Route 110. It will run between the east and west end terminals but will no longer loop through suburban neighbourhoods, which will be served by new “local routes” with 300 category numbers. “As a main route (primary route) with a frequency of 10 minutes, a residential neighbourhood such as Forest Glade is over serviced, given that other neighbourhood feeder routes run on 30 – 60-minute frequencies,” the report says. The Crosstown 2 will become Route 100 and part of the route on the east side will be served by a new local 300 numbered route. “Ridership drops off substantially east of Lauzon Rd. (average weekday boardings per hour of 1.25, well below industry minimums; only 3% of ridership on the route travels east of Lauzon Road),” the report says. The Dominion 5 will become Route 115 running from downtown to St. Clair College. The Lauzon 10 will be eliminated due to it being “inefficient and meandering” with “very low” ridership. It will also be replaced by local 300 numbered services. The Tunnel Bus will have service cut from 30 to 60 minutes because it is also “low ridership” – average boardings of 11.1 per service hour in 2019.

Lauzon Pkwy to get multi-use trail January 30 2023

The city is rebuilding its main north-south, east side artery that funnels traffic from Riverside and Forest Glade to EC Row Expressway. Reconstruction of Lauzon Parkway will begin some time later this year – the city hasn’t put a start date pending award of tender – but has a firm completion date of Oct. 31. Construction will take place between Cantelon Dr. and Forest Glade Dr. beginning in in spring. The work has been slated for at least a few years. The six-lane roadway’s concrete structure has “significantly deteriorated due to the heavy volumes of traffic and the annual freeze-thaw cycles,” says the city. Besides removing and replacing the existing pavement engineers will add an open grade drainage layer “to improve the structure and lessen the effects of the freeze thaw cycle.” This is common on many streets such as on Huron Church Rd. and uses larger sub-surface aggregate to facilitate water drainage, contracts coordinator Charles Hartford says. Both the roadways and sidewalks will be demolished and reconstructed. In addition, there will be a new asphalt multi-use trail. Also look for new streetlights. The city is requesting a noise bylaw exemption to carry out the work 24/7. Businesses along the roadway will be accessible throughout the project.

Image: Google Maps

Swimmers' safety is the main focus of the city's Sandpoint Beach redesign December 22 2022

Windsor’s only municipal beach is slated for a makeover. Sandpoint Beach would finally get a “master plan” for an array of long needed improvements. While the beach has always been a hot spot for the public during the summer it has also been notorious for several drownings because of the steep Lake St. Clair drop offs and the strong currents and undertows, and swimmers themselves irresponsibly not remaining inside buoy- marked boundaries. That danger exists on the beach’s extreme west side. The Plan’s “primary purpose” therefore would be to improve safety. But there are other considerations such as preventing erosion and flooding. What’s known as Sandpoint Beach is actually three side-by-side areas - Sandpoint Beach to the west, and Ganatchio Park and Stop 26 Beach to the east. The master plan would include a new shore wall of steel sheet piles with a safety railing to prevent swimming access at the deep end and would enhance fish habitat. The beach itself would be moved further east “away from deep water and/or strong currents.” A neighbouring rock “promontory” sticking into the lake would be constructed to protect against erosion and “dissipate wave energy.” Other goals are to eliminate water access within 250 metres of the deep water. But anglers would instead have access to this deep water via a pile-supported fishing pier. And the Stop-26 Beach on the east side would have its kayak launch upgraded, separated by the promontory or rock pier. The latest public information meeting was held in late November and public feedback ended Dec. 6. The next step is completing an environmental assessment. Provided all “outstanding issues are resolved” the Plan will be finalized and sent for approval.

Photo: Google Street View

Stereotypes aside, city project spending generates major surpluses Dec. 8 2022

Contrary to stereotypes of irresponsible government spending, and indeed real examples of overspending and waste by governments everywhere, the City of Windsor has done pretty well keeping spending on target on a myriad of projects over the past couple of years. With $1.6 billion allocated to 602 ongoing capital projects, 568 of them are on budget, 19 have surpluses and 15 have deficits. The information is contained in a “capital variance” report prepared for city council. In fact, budget surpluses far outweigh project deficits. The surpluses total just over $7 million, ten times the figure for budget deficits at just over $700,000. City staff caution the figures are estimates based on “currently known information” and could change “should other unforeseen circumstances occur which result in additional cost or savings.” For example, this year’s Can_Am Games had a $300,000 surpluses due to better than anticipated sponsorship revenue. The Arch Gateway to Sandwich Street project had a $2500 surplus. The Memorial at Vimy East of Marentette saw a $57,000 surplus. 2020 and 2019 city wide road rehabilitation both resulted in $1.5 million surpluses. But the Mic Mac Bleacher restoration incurred a $90,000 deficit due to higher than anticipated costs for bleachers and a backstop.

Former Windsor Star reporter at centre of Ottawa Nazi flag-waving allegation Nov. 24 2022

A former Windsor Star reporter is at the centre of a controversy arising from deliberations at the Public Order Emergency Commission in Ottawa. The commission is investigating the justification of the federal government for suspending civil liberties under the Emergencies Act during the Freedom Convoy truckers protest in Ottawa and elsewhere including Windsor last winter. Protesters’ lawyer Brendan Miller this week identified Brian Fox as the person who paraded with a Nazi flag in Ottawa amidst protesters at or near Parliament Hill. Fox’s identity was based on distant pictures of the flag-bearer’s face, mostly covered by shadows, and an “untested” affidavit of a man who “purported to have recognized Fox from Miller’s photos after having spoken to the flagman in January,” according to Postmedia. The lawyer wanted Fox and his employer Enterprise Canada to testify but was denied. Miller said at Monday’s hearing that Enterprise Canada executive Brian Fox was the Nazi flag-bearing person at Freedom Convoy protests around Jan. 29 in photos widely distributed through social media. But, calling the lawyer’s request a “fishing expedition” and “purely speculative,” Commissioner Paul Rouleau denied it and others. Rouleau stated the theory is that Enterprise Canada “carried out such conduct at the direction of the prime minister, his staff or both.” Meanwhile, Enterprise Canada has vehemently rejected Miller’s claims. On its website, the firm called the lawyer’s statements “entirely unsubstantiated and deeply offensive.” It added they were “absurd and despicable” and said Fox was not in Ottawa but in Toronto at the time of the alleged incident. “Mr. Fox and everyone at Enterprise Canada stands firmly against the hatred represented by the symbol Mr. Miller referenced and strives for our workplace to be an inclusive and accepting environment for everyone." Fox’s bio on the same website says, “Brian’s career began as a Windsor Star journalist and has taken him to the Queen’s Park Press Gallery as well as senior branding and marketing roles supporting the finance and tech sectors.” Enterprise Canada describes itself as “an agency at the intersection of public affairs + traditional advertising. We focus on ideas that help you find currency in a world defined by social movements, political upheaval, and digital disruption.”

Photo: Enterprise Canada

LaSalle warehouse figures in case worthy of “Agatha Christie woodunit.” Nov 10 2022

A LaSalle warehouse has figured in a story of international intrigue about a large quantity of vanished precious metals. In what was described as a plot worthy of an “Agatha Christie woodunit,” $10 million in silver ingots was taken from a Montreal rail yard and driven to a warehouse outside of Windsor in LaSalle. A National Post story reported that in January 2020 a Quebec trucking company received an email with a secret code of instructions about what to do with the shipment. “The email had all the necessary information — the weight of the cargo, the correct container number and the secret code — so the silver was driven out of CN’S Montreal rail lot and to a Lasalle, Ont., warehouse,” the newspaper said. The warehouse is not identified. “And then it vanished — all roughly 18,000 kilograms of it.” Federal Judge Kevin R. Aalto, overseeing a lawsuit related to the disappearance, said the case “has all the elements of an Agatha Christie whodunit.” Reported the newspaper, “the email was likely fraudulent. Thieves had allegedly gained access to the secret code and other details and changed the delivery location, pulling off a remarkable international heist.” In the intervening years only “token amounts” of the metal have been found across North America. “It’s a tale of international intrigue, and somewhere, a modern-day Auric Goldfinger is sitting on some 20 tonnes of silver.” Judge Aalto said the intriguing elements were the stolen cargo, various suspects, an unknown perpetrator and “a trucking company that was given the pickup code with instructions to deliver the cargo to a location unknown to any of the parties.” The shipment, which originated in Korea, was only intended for a stopover in Canada on its way to New York. Said the judge, “Four days after in arrived in Montreal, Oriental Cartage, a trucking company based in Laval, Que., received a pickup email. It contained the “correct container number, pickup code, and weight of the Cargo.” The silver was then driven to LaSalle, where it last saw the light of day.

Ottawa mayor said his city had 'more difficult' blockade than did Windsor October 18 2022

The City of Windsor came up several times today in testimony before the federal commission examining whether the use of the Emergencies Act was justified last winter to clear truck Covid rules protesters in Ottawa. Commision counsel Natalia Rodriguez referenced how it appeared ending the blockade at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor took priority over ending the three week truck blockade in downtown Ottawa last February. “Yes, and that’s in fact what happened,” that city’s mayor Jim Watson (photo) said. The counsel read a letter to Windsor protesters about how, before meeting provincial authorities to seek a resolution, they would have to leave the protest site and denounce “all unlawful activity and encourage a period of quiet.” Added Rodriguez, “The Solicitor General is offering that the province will meet with the group of protesters in Windsor if they leave the protest site immediately and denounce all activity.” She then asks the mayor if he’s aware the province “ever offered to meet with the protesters in Ottawa." Answered Watson: “I’m not aware of any such request....That was never an option that was presented to me or anyone in my office.” Watson added, “I can’t give you the exact date but eventually the OPP came on board (after the resolution in) Windsor and (got) to Ottawa as quickly as possible.” Later in his testimony the mayor again mentioned how the blockades at the border in Windsor and at Coutts, Alta. were wrapped up relatively quickly – where there were economic impacts because of the border – but similarly the capital city also suffered economically. He said the protesters “and occupiers were significantly larger in Ottawa (than) in Coutts or in Windsor, so I think we had a much more difficult situation.”

Photo: City of Ottawa

Fogolar lands slated for major five building condo redevelopment Sept. 27 2022

Wonder what ever happened to those soccer fields, long owned by the Fogolar Furlan Club but sold off as the club decided to downsize a couple of years ago? The almost 10-acre site is now proposed for redevelopment as a massive condo complex. HD Development Group, which is already developing Trinity Gate Condominiums at Walker Rd. and Ducharme St., is the builder. This new development at 1850 North Service Rd. would see five six storey condo towers along the narrow swath of land (472 ft. frontage by 1336 ft. depth) with 387 units and 491 parking spaces. To the immediate east is Byng Rd. with single family homes. Immediately west is the existing Fogolar property as well as the Chartwell Oak Park Terrace retirement home. While all the buildings will be six stories some will contain more units than others, varying from two with 58, two with 64 and one with 143. Altogether the buildings’ footprint would take up 21.5 per cent of the land. The project was lauded by city planners as a successful “infill” development. Proponent HD states it would be “positive” and “compatible” with the neighbourhood. Buildings will face laterally east-west with balconies on the north and south sides therefore not facing residents on Byng. The “medium profile” buildings will be located at the “furthest points on the west of the property to provide for substantial distance separation” from residences, the developer’s report says. The remaining property will be park-like with “extensive grassed area, trees and landscaping, 4 outdoor pavilions, 3 outdoor pickleball courts, and proposed walking paths,” landscaping and benches surrounding a storm water pond designed to create a gathering place. An open house was held in May. More than 100 nearby property owners were notified and 33 attended. There will also be another public meeting. City staff have recommended approval, saying the development provides “a housing type that creates a diverse neighbourhood, creates an environmentally sustainable development by redeveloping a serviced vacant parcel…..and provides housing that is in demand.”

Image: HD Development

Revitalized park to celebrate 20th anniversary of Japanese donation Sept. 13 2022

It’s perhaps one of Windsor’s lesser known or appreciated parks. But it is one with a unique setting and history and with likely loads of future potential. Gateway Park, located at 1271 Riverside Dr. W., is undergoing a $700,000 revitalization to be completed by year’s end. The park has two sections – Riverside Dr. to University Ave. and University Ave. to Wyandotte St. The park is actually located on land owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Last November the city reached agreement with a railway subsidiary, Detroit River Tunnel Co. to operate the park on a 99-year lease. The park is literally above the 2.6 km railway tunnel linking Windsor and Detroit. Besides having a distinctive natural flavour for a very urban setting near downtown the park is known for its row of Japanese cherry blossoms located at its centre. These were donated in 2002 by the Consulate-General of Japan’s Sakura Project as a symbol of international friendship. The trees are among a group of diverse plants and trees surrounding what up to now has been a narrow footpath within the 50-70 metre wide park. City engineer Wadah Al-Yassiri says this thoroughfare will be “enhanced and developed to be an asphalt trail three metres wide” and be made wheelchair accessible with ramps. Al-Yassiri noted the “very good” coordination between the city, CPR, the city’s accessibility committee and biodiversity office. The contactor is Valente and Golder/WSP is consulting on design and geotechnical work. When done, it will mark the 20th anniversary of the Sakura donation. “We are still on time and target,” Al-Yassiri says.

Stuck in elevator at Huron Lodge August 30 2022

An employee of the city-owned Huron Lodge long term care home got stuck in an elevator and apparently fainted. This is one of several occupational health incidents reported at city-run facilities over the year’s first six months. On March 30 the employee entered the elevator on the first-floor heading to the fourth. But the doors would not open. “While in the elevator the employee contacted a co-worker and told them that she was starting to have a panic attack,” the report says. The Windsor fire department responded and freed the staffer after 10 minutes. The worker “believes she sustained a loss of consciousness while in the elevator and noted that she frequently has panic attacks and faints as a result.” The elevator maintenance company, Kone, repaired the device. The cause? An electrical circuit board. An investigation continues. Meanwhile, at the same home, an anonymous caller reported May 26 that workers on a scaffold were not tied off. “The Maintenance Supervisor and the JHSC Management Representative advise that they did have a crane on site earlier and Vollmer Services was also on site to change out a chiller on the rooftop of the four-story building,” says the report. But both parties agreed safety was “adequate” and the Ministry of Labour didn't issue an order. On January 13 the ministry visited fire department headquarters where a firefighter reported hearing loss due to horns, sirens, diesel engines, saws and gas fans. But the worker retired after almost 30 years and had experienced gradual hearing loss. Workers must wear hearing protection for equipment producing 80 decibels or more and an audiologist regularly attends workplaces. No orders were issued. Finally, a Seminole branch library worker slipped and fell, fracturing their wrist in three places, after the floor had just been mopped. The custodian had asked staff to be careful. From now on a wet floor sign will be placed.

Photo: City of Windsor

Narrow St. Clair River point has made an excellent smuggling route

Update Aug 11/22: Joint-police Project Monarch yesterday announced the seizure of 27 handguns, 9 kilos of cocaine, 1.9 kilos of fentanyl, 20,000 Xanax pills and 28 grams of heroin, and the arrests of 22 people on 400 charges. Walpole Isl. Chief Charles Sampson called on senior levels of government to help fight crime and smuggling. August 8 2022

It’s not a problem that occurs regularly but does raise its head from time to time. It’s the human smuggling, by boat and sometimes over the ice, over a very narrow stretch of the St. Clair River between Walpole Island and Michigan communities like Harsens Island, Clay Township and Algonac. The latest event occurred August 4 when US border officials interdicted a boat carrying three people. “An agent interviewed the three subjects, whom all admitted to having just crossed the border from Canada in a boat,” said a US Customs and Border Protection news release. One was from the Dominican Republic and two were from Mexico. Officials described the area as an “historically known smuggling route.” Two years earlier US Customs saw a vehicle on land in the same area between Algonac and Walpole Island. Two of the suspects admitted to having come across the river by boat. The other two were apparently waiting for them. Altogether four Brazilian nationals were arrested. “Even with the ongoing pandemic, transnational criminal organizations will continue to operate,” Douglas Harrison, chief patrol agent with the agency’s Detroit sector, said. And back in 2010 border patrol agents form Marysville Mi. arrested three people including an Israeli and two US citizens in Clay Township. “Detroit Sector personnel, utilizing the new Remote Video Surveillance System, witnessed a vessel leave Walpole Island, cross into the United States, and five minutes later return to Walpole Island,” said a news release. The two Americans were waiting for the Israeli to cross the river. These were all relatively isolated events. Illegal smuggling seemed to be more common a couple of decades ago. “In the past year, illegal immigration in this region 'has gone from nothing or close to nothing detected to 100 people,' said Mark W. Osler, Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan told The New York Times in 2000. ‘You'd have to assume the majority of them we don't catch,’ he said, but just since December, a Detroit grand jury has indicted 15 people on charges related to smuggling.” At the time court documents showed an alliance between some Walpole Island natives and Chinese smugglers. Most of the crossings were by Chinese or Korean nationals. “They come by boat in warmer weather or on foot on the coldest nights,” the Times said.

Photo: US Customs and Border Protection

Safety, security among reasons old bridge would have to be torn down July 25 2022

It comes down to “safety, security and the environment.” Those are the reasons the Government of Canada gives for a requirement the Ambassador Bridge company demolish its existing span should a new bridge be built. This is based on an August 2017 Order in Council that granted the bridge company the right to construct a new six-lane bridge (image), replacing the four-lane existing bridge which opened in 1929. Bridge management has long wanted to keep the existing span even after the new bridge opens to provide redundancy in case of emergencies and as a people place for pedestrians and cycling. And management said this month the demolition requirement is actually at odds with a permit granted by the US Coast Guard requiring the existing bridge remain standing. The federal Order in Council expires Aug. 31. It states, “The Canadian Transit Company shall commence the construction of the Replacement bridge no later than five years after the Governor in Council approved its construction.” And Article 22 states the bridge “shall demolish or cause to be demolished the Ambassador Bridge other than the border services facilities. The demolition must be completed within five years from the day on which the Replacement bridge opens to traffic.” Because of this stipulation it appears the Ambassador's long-planned replacement bridge project is now dead. Speaking to the Windsor Star, bridge president Dan Stamper labelled the stipulation an “absolute block.” However, for its part, Ottawa says demolition of the old span is a must. “It is important to note that the conditions of the permit were established to mitigate safety and security risks, and the impacts on the local community and the environment while also taking into consideration the results of consultations on the proposed project with the general public, the City of Windsor, the Province of Ontario, Indigenous groups, and U.S. Federal and Michigan State authorities,” Transport Canada spokesman Hicham Ayoun told

Petitioners denounce mayor's tax bill insert as unpaid electioneering July 12 2022

Those who’ve signed a petition calling on Mayor Drew Dilkens to pay for a tax bill inset with his photo on it, not surprisingly, didn’t have the nicest things to say about Hizzoner. The leaflet showed a pic of the mayor and the slogan “Delivering results.” Underneath were check marks for three items: A $1.7 billion 10 year capital plan, New playgrounds and major park improvements, Investing in roads, bike lanes and local trails. A bottom slogan read “Building Our Community Up.” T. J. Bondy started the petition for what he states is "inappropriately using taxpayer funds" to campaign for election. The petition demands $25,000 be repaid by the mayor. That’s based on Canada Post costs for a mass mailing and presumed graphic design but would adjust if the true cost is known. (The mayor said he doesn’t know the cost and is unapologetic.) Many if not most of those who signed (some 477 as of today) added remarks suggesting or stating the insert was an attempt at blatant electioneering for this fall’s municipal vote. Dilkens is in his second term and hasn’t announced if he will seek a third. Here are some comments: 1) “I remain unsettled but unsurprised by the Mayor’s continued disregard for ethics.” 2) “Do the right thing and quit using tax dollars for your political campaign.” 3) “Don’t want my taxes paying for the Mayor’s Campaign.4) “Dirty politics should not be free. My tax bill is not your campaign apple box.” 5) “Blatant self-promotion/electioneering.” 6) “I am tired of seeing Drew Dilken’s face, photographed at a podium at some ‘press conference’ almost daily, claiming the limelight for anyone’s accomplishment.” 7) “His entire tenure has been a personal marketing campaign.” 8) “As if Windsor taxpayers haven’t suffered enough thru the last eight years of municipal govt waste…” 9) “The Mayor miss used (sic) taxpayers’ money for early campaigning before election rules take effect.” 10) “The mayor’s inclusion of the mailer showing himself at a lectern with the logo 'Delivering Results' is a blatant re-election attempt.” 11) “I absolutely object to tax dollars being used for the Mayor's self-promotion, both with this flier and with the well-staffed Mayor's Office publicity team.” 12) “I was immediately angered by the fact Mayor Dilkens used official city business to advertise for himself.” 13) “This was definitely an election ploy and a waste of taxpayer money.” 14) “The arrogance of this empty suit knows no bounds. He needs to be held to account. 15) “Mr. Dilkens thinks he owns the city and its citizens' money and can do with it as he sees fit.”

City accused of environmental hypocrisy doling out parking passes June 28 2022

The City of Windsor is being called out for hypocrisy for issuing hundreds of free parking passes after taking strong action against climate change. Public advocacy group found that Windsor doled out 327 passes including 20 for city council. In November 2019 council unanimously passed a motion declaring a “climate emergency.” Mayor Drew Dilkens said the vote showed the city’s seriousness about helping tackle the climate issue. “This motion to me is symbolic ….this just will cement in the minds of folks that we're committed to it." In doing so Windsor joined more than 400 communities across the country in taking such a stand. Yet, says SecondStreet president Colin Craig, giving out parking passes flies in the face of advocating alternatives to emission-spewing vehicles like cycling or taking the bus. “We don’t begrudge elected officials for receiving a free parking spot, but if they’re going to declare a climate emergency and pressure the public to use transit, then giving up their free parking pass is a logical policy option to consider,” Craig said in a release. The organization says it’s one thing to drive a car it’s another to enable their use, as the city is doing. “Obviously politicians sometimes have to drive around for their jobs, but so too do real estate agents, delivery drivers, handymen and all kinds of other professions. What councillors could do instead is expense individual parking expenses like everyone else.” The city’s 2019 motion even called for the “phasing out” of natural gas usage, considered one of the cleanest fossil fuels and the mainstay of heating residential homes. Altogether SecondStreet found cities it surveyed, including major ones across Canada, gave out more than 5400 parking passes. Windsor compared badly to a couple of southern Ontario cities with similar or greater populations. Kitchener, with 257,000 people, gave out just 15 passes and Mississauga with a population of 718,000, doled out 201.


Hospital comments teapot tempest June 2 2022

What was the s-storm over Windsor West Liberal candidate Linda McCurdy’s hospital comments this week all about? On Tuesday McCurdy responded to a reporter’s question by saying she supports the new regional hospital on the city’s outskirts, even though she’s a downtown candidate. But she wanted an “acute care” facility at Hotel-Dieu Grace Ouellette Ave. site. “Closing all of the hospitals and having one acute-care centre at County Road 42 (the new hospital) creates a serious divide between services and accessibility that needs to be addressed by having 24-hour emergency care in the core, accessible to everyone in Windsor West,” she was quoted in the Star. The newspaper reported that under the mega hospital plan no such emergency care would be located downtown. Then all hell broke loose. The Star today included a correction that it should have said McCurdy “supports the location” of the new hospital but would still canvass for 24-hour emergency care downtown. And that the mega hospital plan also includes a satellite emergency at Hotel-Dieu. But McCurdy never said she was against the new hospital site. What she got wrong was thinking there would be no emergency clinic downtown or at least that it wouldn't operate 24/7. Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) was correct in issuing a statement confirming – “clarifying” as the Star put it – such a facility would be built though the hours have yet to be determined; they’re apparently set by the province. But the mayor’s office also jumped in. “After multiple appeals and a tribunal, the matter has been litigated twice and has been decided,” Mayor Drew Dilkens said. “The fact of the matter is the location has been decided.” But the location was never an issue.

Confederacy of FBI dunces masterminded failed Michigan governor kidnap plot May 4 2022

How did the recent high profile criminal case against plotters allegedly planning to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer fall apart? According to James Bovard in the New York Post, FBI informants infiltrated the Wolverine Watchmen, a vociferous anti-Whitmer social media group who decried the governor for massive lockdowns during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the informants was Stephen Robeson, who had “a list of felonies and other crimes.” He “organized key events to build the movement.” Don Chapel, another informer, was paid $54,000, and became second in command. He “masterminded the military training for the group, even as he helped the feds wiretap their messages.” Bovard wrote that ironically several militia members had “explicitly opposed kidnapping the governor.” That didn’t stop Robeson and Chapel who “helped hatch a ludicrous plot to snatch Whitmer from her vacation home and take her away for trial.” The FBI operatives then took members of the Watchmen “who prattled idiotically about stealing a Blackhawk helicopter, for drives near Whitmer’s vacation home, which supposedly proved they were going to nab the governor and unleash havoc.” But, says the writer, “it was all a set up.” Texted an FBI agent to Chapel: “Mission is to kill the governor specifically.” Says Bovard, there were “as many FBI informants and undercover agents as there were purported plotters in this case.” The scheme began unravelling even before the kidnapping trial began. Robert Trask, the lead FBI agent and “the public face” of the kidnapping case, was fired after he was arrested for “beating his wife during an argument over an orgy that the two had attended at a hotel in Kalamazoo, Mich.,” The New York Times reported. Two other key FBI agents were sidelined from the case for misconduct (including creating a side hustle with his own cybersecurity firm).” All of which begs the question: isn’t what the FBI did the most blatant form of entrapment? Writes Bovard, a 1973 Supreme Court ruling “gutted most defenses against government entrapment by focusing almost solely on the ‘subjective disposition’ of the entrapped person.” In other words, if prosecutors “find any inkling of a defendant’s disposition to the crime, then the person is guilty, no matter how outrageous or abusive the government agents’ behavior.”

Your pick-up truck could soon be whacked with additional green tax April 22 2022

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is warning the Trudeau government wants to levy an additional “green” tax on average pick-up trucks. The four top-selling vehicles in Canada in first quarter 2022 were pick-ups, led by Ford F-Series, Ram P/U, GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado. The feds’ tax would add $1000 on a Ford F-150 and as much as $4000 on a Ram 3500 heavy-duty. The CTF says the recommendation to “whack trucks” is contained deep in a new 271-page environment ministry report, 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, posted on the federal website March 31. The report recommends broadening an existing “Green Levy (Excise Tax) for Fuel Inefficient Vehicles to include additional ICE [Internal Combustion Engine] vehicle types, such as pickup trucks.” The current tax affects larger SUVs that use more than 13 litres of fuel per 100 kms. such as the GMC Yukon Denali and Lincoln Navigator. CTF author Kris Sims says, “For many Canadians, trucks are as important to their work and daily life as a laptop and Zoom account is for those of us in offices.” She asks should the government invoke the tax “what’s stopping” it from eventually taxing smaller SUVs like the popular Chevy Blazers and Ford Explorers. The report suggests as much: “A sliding scale for the implementation of this Green Levy should be developed based on the emissions produced from different vehicles.” Federal environment minister Steven Guilbeault vociferously denied the government is bringing in the tax. On Twitter he called the article and subsequent political criticism “disinformation” and “fear mongering” saying this was only a recommendation from an independent advisory body “in the annex of a report.” The CTF’s Sims called Guilbeault's response “weird” since it is “right in their report.” She adds this proves Ottawa is "darn well thinking” about the tax and a watchdog agency like hers should alert the public before it becomes law.

Huron Church - a crisis in policing February 17 2022

There were a number of very puzzling aspects of the police response to the tracker blockade in Windsor. The blockade was allowed to persist almost seven full days. Why? Huron Church Road is the most significant trade connection in Canada and there was no reason police should have allowed it to be blocked as long as they did. It makes a mockery of policing, as the truck protests have done elsewhere in Canada. But this is not new. The police for some time have been loath to arrest protesters and break up blockades by Indigenous people and supporters - witness pipeline and railway blockades two years ago, and Caledonia, which went on for years. This is not a crisis of politics or leadership, it’s a crisis of policing. There must be an investigation as to why the police act or do not act.

Second, in the standoff along Huron Church Road, why were some police armed with machine guns? Why were there two armoured carriers? The protesters, while disruptive, were highly peaceful and friendly. If this was meant to intimidate it didn't work.

Third, police tactics over last Saturday and Sunday after a court injunction Friday. It was puzzling indeed to watch a kind of Mexican standoff between police and demonstrators Saturday morning into afternoon. The police would advance several meters and then stop. This effectively pushed back the protesters. They did this several times. The police were making inroads and had matters well enough in hand. Then they abruptly stopped. Until Sunday morning when they started to mean business and arrests ultimately ensued. Why did the police halt Saturday? What happened between Saturday and Sunday to get police to finally act Sunday when they didn’t Saturday? Were there high level calls from the province or federal government to force them to decisively act?

In the aftermath of the week-long protest and removal of demonstrators and vehicles - and Huron Church open to trucks again - Huron Church Road has become effectively militarized. Street access has been blocked from the bridge up to E.C. Row Expressway, dealing a major blow to west end residents and numerous businesses in several shopping plazas north of EC Row. Never before has this happened, not even in the aftermath of 9/11 when the border was temporarily closed and trucks backed up for kilometres along Huron Church and Hwy. 401. The only noticeable difference that time was police monitoring of the Ambassador Bridge. Windsor Police have explained streets need to be blocked to prevent possible access by more protesters. But protesters can access Huron Church, and even the 401, at any point.

Windsor has never seen anything like this.

City and residents have different views on Matchette Road's future February 4 2022

The City of Windsor wants to “calm” traffic on busy Matchette Road and this week held a public information session to gather comments on the proposal. But the handful of people who were on the Zoom meeting or wrote-in weren’t particularly in favor of the direction the city is heading. They wanted more protection for wildlife than humans, particularly given the low human accident count. City traffic engineer Jeff Hagan said just under 9000 vehicles a day (6000 is optimum) use the “collector” commuting route through west Windsor to LaSalle, bisecting two natural areas containing species at risk. He said there’s a “high degree of speeding” with 85 per cent of traffic going 69 km/hr. in a 50 km/hr. zone. Over the past five years there have been six non-lethal accidents, mostly “angled” collisions at Matchette and Sprucewood. Hagan proposed peripheral transverse bars (photo) and radar speed signs. The bars are painted. “It’s an optical effect that has a psychological effect on drivers,” he said. “It gives them a heightened sense of speed.” The bars have reduced speed as much as 50 percent for those doing 25 km/hr. over limit. Some questioners wanted to know why more barriers, like speed bumps, aren’t suggested. Hagan said this is a “rural cross section” road, a collector and transit route, with a relatively high posted speed and gravel shoulders. That could cause accidents by “launching” vehicles hitting the bumps. But most of those raising questions were upset that wildlife issues weren’t being looked at. One called the proposals “comical and disappointing” given the relatively few human accidents and larger number of wildlife or endangered species killed crossing the roadway. Hagan said a “parallel study” is examining eco crossings. Another person wanted to know why the city doesn’t close the road. Hagan said city council rejected that idea a couple of years ago. A former city planner suggested the city could make the route “less attractive” and divert vehicles to nearby Ojibway Pkwy. Hagan said Ojibway already has a high volume. Written submissions will be taken until March 1, followed by a vote through 311 on an updated proposal by area residents before a plan is finalized.

Local health leadership top salaries January 12 2022

During the ongoing pandemic politicians have deferred almost exclusively to the decisions of the public health sector. For information purposes, here is a list of salaries and taxable benefits paid to the leadership teams of the five public organizations which oversee health care in Windsor-Essex. This is based on the 2020 Ontario government’s public sector salary disclosure information (aka the “Sunshine List”) for those earning $100,000, as required under the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act.


DAVID MUSYJ - President & Chief Executive Officer: $447,732.83, $14,547.92

KAREN RIDDELL - Chief Operating Officer, Chief Nursing Executive, Vice President Critical Care & Cardiology": $228,802.50 $1,809.74

DR. WASSIM SAAD - Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief of Staff: $314,153.33 $2,541.72

MARK FATHERS - Vice President, Corporate Services and CFO: $240,834.18 $0.00

MARK FERRARI - Executive Director of the Windsor Family Health Team: $164,642.46 $1,374.68

JONATHAN FOSTER - Vice President of Emergency Services and Mental Health: $220,982.17 $1,813.84

THERESA MORRIS - Vice President of Medicine and Corporate Patient Flow: $220,982.16 $1,813.84

ROSEMARY PETRAKOS - Vice President, Peri-Operative, Surgery, Women's and Children's: $221,353.78 $1,656.25


Bill (Biagio) Marra - President and CEO: $175,544.72 $1,389.54

Janice Kaffer, Advisor to the CEO and Board: $313,025.35 $11,451.00

Sherri Laframboise, Chief Financial Officer: $132,596.90 $1,199.33

Dr. Andrea Steen, Vice President Medical Affairs, Quality & Performance, Chief of Staff: (not listed)

Sonja Grbevski, Vice President Clinical Services - Mental Health and Addictions, Executive Lead - Addictions & Collaborative Programs (CMHA): $180,985.19 $1,432.05

Janice Dawson, Vice President Clinical Services - Restorative Care & Chief Nursing Executive: $275,706.21 $931.91

Claudia den Boer, Executive Lead for Community Mental Health: (not listed)

Terra Cadeau, Executive Lead for Lead Agency Child & Youth Mental Health, Strategy and Partnerships: $151,384.03 $1,381.47


Nicole Dupuis, Chief Executive Officer: $161,953.77 $1,014.40

Theresa Marentette (former CEO): $238,596.88 $1,319.54

Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, Acting Medical Officer of Health: (not listed)

Wajid Ahmed (former Med Officer of Health): $351,767.63 $1,839.64

Lee Anne Damphouse, Executive Assistant to the CEO, MOH, and the Board of Health: (not listed)

Kristy McBeth, Director of Health Protection: $169,479.18 $1,066.27

Dan Sibley, Director of Human Resources: $160,696.73 $990.75

Elspeth Troy, Executive Assistant to the Director of Health Protection and Director of Human Resources: (not listed)

Lorie Gregg, Director of Corporate Services: $165,747.30 $1,036.63

Janette Forsyth, Administrative Assistant to the Director of Corporate Services: (not listed)

Felicia Lawal, Chief Nursing Officer and Director, Health Protection: $126,178.31 $674.37

Eric Nadalin, Director of Health Promotion: $127,676.53 $650.85

Emily Briscoe, Executive Assistant to Director of Health Protection and Director of Health Promotion: (not listed)


DONNA CRIPPS, Interim CEO, Home and Community Care Support Services: (a Donna Cripps is listed under Crown Agencies, which include LHINs) $300,051.32 $1,897.44

CATHY KELLY, VP, Home and Community Care: (not listed)


Kristin Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer:$163,078.62 $865.59

Dr. Ross Moncur, Chief of Professional Staff: $213,998.46 $814.28

Nolan Goyette, VP, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer: $116,825.79 $442.47

Heather Badder, VP, Patient Services: $116,907.53 $649.85

Misty Fortier, Director, Interprofessional Practice and Chief Nursing Executive: (not listed)

Salvation Army won’t comment on controversial anti-racism resource December 17 2021

Next week is Salvation Army Week and the City of Windsor will raise the Salvation Army flag at city hall. But the Salvation Army in Canada did not respond to requests for comment as to whether it endorses a controversial online anti-racism resource its US counterpart published and withdrew last month due to overwhelming controversy. The charitable group published Let’s Talk About…Racism and reportedly called on white supporters to apologize to black people for racism. According to The Daily Wire, the guide called on Salvationists to “achieve the following” including to “lament, repent and apologize for biases or racist ideologies held and actions committed.” ( could not find an unlocked version of the resource online but did find the accompanying study guide). According to the Wire, “The resource claims Christianity is inherently racist and calls for white Christians to repent and offer ‘a sincere apology’ to blacks for being ‘antagonistic … to black people or the culture, values and interests of the black community.’” As well, the resource says, “Many have come to believe that we live in a post-racial society, but racism is very real for our brothers and sisters who are refused jobs and housing, denied basic rights and brutalized and oppressed simply because of the color of their skin.” And, “There is an urgent need for Christians to evaluate racist attitudes and practices in light of our faith, and to live faithfully in today’s world.” Further, “as we engage in conversations about race and racism, we must keep in mind that sincere repentance and apologies are necessary if we want to move towards racial reconciliation. We recognize that it is a profound challenge to sit on the hot seat and listen with an open heart to the hurt and anger of the wounded. Yet, we are all hardwired to desire justice and fairness, so the need to receive a sincere apology is necessary.” After the uproar, the Army published a lengthy response, including, “although we remain committed to serving everyone in need—regardless of their beliefs, backgrounds, or lifestyle—some individuals and groups have recently attempted to mislabel our organization to serve their own agendas. They have claimed that we believe our donors should apologize for their skin color, that The Salvation Army believes America is an inherently racist society, and that we have abandoned our Christian faith for one ideology or another. Those claims are simply false, and they distort the very goal of our work.”

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

Please enter the word that you see below.


Less snow, so less blowback against snow plow operators

Windsor snowplow operators may not have experienced a lot of harassment this winter. But that's probably because there hasn't been a lot of snow. But plow operators have indeed experienced harassment over past years. “We have received some complaints and harassment over the years from our operators, contractors, and supervisors during snow events,” Phong Nguy, public works maintenance manager says. “Some people have expectations that are beyond our capability to deliver. However, the general public is very well accepted and pleasant.” But in the GTA – where they get more snow - some operators have quit this year over harassment. There were eight incidents in Mississauga after the March 3 snowstorm including “verbal abuse, as well as damage to plow trucks by residents using their shovels to break lights and mirrors,” a city spokesman there said. But Windsor has been relatively tranquil. “This year, there were fewer complaints as we did not have as many snow events,” said Nguy. – 30/3/23

New cycling app to be released for Bike to Work Day

Look for a Windsor area cycling app to be launched to coincide with the annual Bike to Work Day, the third Friday of May. The app will provide “turn by turn” navigation along with all designated bike routes. The app, being developed locally by Windsor HackForge and the C3Tech Initiative, could also be adapted for other Ontario communities, a meeting of the city’s bicycling committee was told. Funding is being provided by the committee, County Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) and the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab. – 16/3/23

More non-BIA safety zones would cost

Windsor could add Community Safety Zones to business strips that aren’t part of regular BIAs but at a cost. Councillor Gary Kaschak suggested these areas generate similar pedestrian and “active transportation” (bikes and scooters) traffic. City staff identified six such areas including three on Tecumseh Road, University Ave. W. between Randolph and Salter, Wyandotte W. between California and Campbell and Ouellette Ave. between Giles and Tecumseh - just under five kilometres altogether. But police enforcement “is not guaranteed’ due to limited resources. And the cost would be north of $20 K for signage and maintenance. No current funds exist. - 2/3/23

Some time yet before trail opens to public

It will be some time yet before people will be able to use the newly acquired CASO rail trail. The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) and municipal partners recently obtained the former rail line used by the Canada Southern Railway, 47 km in length. The trail will eventually link up with existing county greenways, the Herb Gray Parkway trail and Chatham-Kent trails. But ERCA spokeswoman Danielle Stuebing said an engineering assessment of bridges and culverts “will need to take place and construction estimates sought.” Then funds will have to be raised to transform the line. – 13/2/23

Heritage permit needed even for temporary art

Even if you want to put up temporary artwork in a heritage district you need a heritage permit. Such is the case with an application by Art Windsor-Essex (formerly Art Gallery of Windsor) to install copies of five of its art works in Sandwich Towne which is also a known as the Sandwich Heritage Conservation District. The five replications would be another example of the gallery’s temporary outdoor installations of its art (photo) in places like downtown Windsor and Amherstburg. The District requires special approval for replacement of everything from streetlights, benches and planters to “open space features” including “public art.” – 29/1/23

Photo: Art Windsor-Essex

Indigenous across Ontario consulted for city sewer project

When it comes to public consultations over a west Windsor storm sewer project the City of Windsor apparently cast far and wide. In addition to consulting local industries in the immediate industrial neighbourhood of Prince Rd. numerous Indigenous communities, some we may not think of as being based in Windsor, were also defined as “stakeholders.” These were the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Bkejwanong (Walpole Island), Oneida Nation of the Thames First, Caldwell First Nation, Chippewas of Kettle and Stoney Point First Nation, Delaware Nation, Munsee-Delaware Nation and Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO). – 12/14/22

Image: City of Windsor

WAP among the most affected plants by microchip shortage

The Windsor Assembly Plant (WAP), manufacturer of the Pacifica and Voyager minivans, is one of the North American auto manufacturing plants that has been most susceptible to the ongoing microchip shortage. The plant has been crippled from producing as many as 144,410 vehicles since the shortage emerged in 2021, says AutoForecast Solutions LLC. That includes 53,000 vehicles this year alone as a result of 100 days lost. – 11/29/22

Teachers' pension fund on hook for $95 mil in FTX crypto collapse

Ontario Teachers’, one of the world’s largest defined pension funds, may have lost $95 million in the FTX crypto currency crash, one of the largest private financial collapses in American history. Once the darling of the crypto world and touted by celebrities like Bill Clinton, Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen the exchange mysteriously collapsed last week, with as much as $32 billion possibly vanishing under the ownership of Bahamas-based Sam Bankman-Fried (photo). In a statement, Teachers downplayed the loss. “While there is uncertainty about the future of FTX, any financial loss on this investment will have limited impact on the Plan, given this investment represents less than 0.05% of our total net assets.” – 11/15/22

City wants to hire anti-racism consultant

The city is moving ahead with an anti-racism/anti-discrimination consultation. It’s put out a funding request for a consultant who would consult people in various groups including Indigenous, Blacks, racialized, the disabled “and other equity deserving communities including culturally diverse communities, women, and the 2SLLGBTAQIA+ community.” The city, led by its accessibility advisory committee, will be “looking at things at an intersectional approach as people do not just fit into one category.” The committee, in a report to city council, says the purpose is to create a plan that “identifies and addresses systemic barriers and certain consistent gaps that people face.” – 10/20/22

Windsor-Tecumseh MPP gave up job as city drain inspector

Progressive Conservative Andrew Dowie (photo) may have turned the provincial riding of Windsor-Tecumseh blue for the first time in almost a century when he won in last June's election. But in doing so the 41-year-old civil engineer, a member of Tecumseh's town council, had to give up his job as the City of Windsor's drain inspector. "Mr. Dowie has taken a leave of absence from the Corporation to take on this role," says a current city hall report. He's being replaced by Tom Graziano, who applied for the position and has been the city's manager of facilities. The job requires inspecting every drain and supervising their maintenance. - 5/10/22

And now, we can reveal the Monarch Express boxcar

No, it’s not the Holiday Train that visits the city at Christmas time. But locals will have an opportunity to turn out for a festival of a different kind Sept. 10 at the old CP rail station in Windsor. That’s the day the Monarch Express will be inaugurated for a run through North America all the way to Mexico. The train will follow CPR and Kansas City Southern rail tracks to Michoacán. The route traces the migration of the endangered Monarch butterfly. The train will highlight the butterfly’s declining numbers and plea for the planting of 60,000 trees to help their nesting on the 3000 mile migration. The family friendly event, 10 am - 3 pm at 1039 Janette, will feature music, poetry, kids’ activities and vendors. is the first to reveal the boxcar’s look, above. – 8/31/22

United Nations hooks up with Windsor - Detroit border region

A joint research and studies program between the University of Windsor and Detroit’s Wayne State University will be affiliated with the United Nations. The idea is to have students and experts “create solutions to sustainability” for the border region. It will “identify actions” in areas of “climate change, economic and health disparities, and social inequity to create a more sustainable future for the two communities that share an international border.” Other local organizations have jumped on board including school boards, chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, the United Way and foundations. The idea is to also cultural exchanges on both sides of the border. – 8/18/22

GHIB soon to start looking more and more, well, like a bridge

The Gordie Howe International Bridge (GHIB) is starting to look more like a bridge, if by that you mean the roadway itself connecting the two towers located on either side of the Detroit River. This summer crews began installing corbels which will hold in place the bridge deck or roadway. The “table” (photo) connecting the access ramps, also under construction, will support the deck. Meanwhile, the lower part of the towers reached their full height (460 ft.) in the spring and now the upper "pylons" (262 ft.) will be constructed with work to finish by the end of the year. Then the public will see the full “modern and elegant” A-shaped towers which have long been shown in architectural drawings, says the bridge authority. – 8/3/22

Photo: Gordie Howe Intl Bridge

Good reasons for city's low investment returns - report

City councillor and mayoral candidate Chris Holt has knocked the city’s investment policy for drawing paltry results, “dollars that could go directly to fund amenities for residents.” He says the city could have invested in ONE Investment, a non-profit Ontario municipal-related corporation and earned “$5 to $9-million each year.” A report to city council says the city’s return on investment in 2021 indeed was only 1.24 per cent. But this reflected the city’s low reserve balances compared to other municipalities. As well, Windsor’s pay-as-you-go strategy “limits the use of debt to finance capital projects; therefore, internal cash balances are used (largely reserves) for interim financing of projects.” This “saves significant interest charges on external debt that would otherwise be incurred.” Bottom line? There are "significant" net savings "as borrowing rates are generally much higher than investment yields.” – 7/2/22

Local pioneer in female political leadership dies

A pioneer in female political leadership in Essex County has died. Nancy Baumgartner, 72, died July 5 after a “fierce battle with pancreatic cancer,” her obituary said. Baumgartner, born and raised in Colchester, entered local politics in the 1980s. She served as reeve of Colchester South Township for two years, only the second woman to hold such a position in either a town or township in Essex County. Prior to that she was deputy reeve and served on many committees. She later became publisher of Harrow This Week. Visitation is at Gerald A. Smith Funeral Home, Harrow, July 10 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm. Donations to the Hospice of Windsor. – 7/7/22

Group sends 600,000 meals for Ukraine

Southwestern Ontario Gleaners have sent 20 pellets – 600,000 servings of dried soup mix to Ukraine and Poland to aid the humanitarian crisis there. The Leamington-based volunteer organization announced the plan two months ago. The group partnered with Loads of Love Humanitarian Aid and Mission Society of Chatham, Ont. Another shipment is planned for early July, seeing the total grow to over one million servings. – 6/24/22

Photo: SW Ont Gleaners

Charles Clark Square ice rink replacement could cost about $4 million

With perennial problems undermining the ice rink at Charles Clark Square city council is being asked to spend $300,000 on a study to develop an entirely new rink immediately north of city hall. The Square has required numerous repairs over its more than decade use. These have included problems with the chiller and perimeter pipe leaks. A report says continued operation is “a challenge due to a number of required repairs resulting from the original rink design.” The latest have been loss of 50 gallons of brine daily. Even concrete expansion joints physically impact piping. Excavation, costing $1 million, would solve problems but would not address “operational concerns." Instead, the city could design an entirely new rink between the Square and city hall. This could be “a year-round gathering space, potentially augmented with sails or canopies that would provide shade in the summer, and the opportunity to extend the operating season of the rink in the winter.” Cost would be about $4 million. – 6/7/22

Photo: Google Street View

Food for Ukraine luncheon

Southwestern Ontario Gleaners is hosting a community pasta lunch at Roma Club, Leamington May 24, 11:30-1:30 pm. All proceeds go toward processing and packaging dried soup mix for Ukraine. For tickets or for sponsorship/donations contact the office at 519-326-7687 or Advanced tickets: $10 ($12 at door). Sponsorships: $1000 (six comp tickets, etc.), $500 (four tickets), $250 (two tickets). Goal is $20,000 to send 250,000+ servings to Ukraine. - 5/5/22

Photo: SW Ont Gleaners

Chrysler parent CEO pay aggravates shareholders

Stellantis NV shareholders rejected the pay package for CEO Carlos Tavares. 52% of voting shareholders, including the French government, withheld support of the proposed $21.5 million including $18.9 million in direct compensation. The vote was advisory only and doesn’t affect compensation. But Tavares is the highest paid CEO in Europe, where Stellantis, parent of Chrysler, is based. French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the package was “not normal” according to Automotive News, and called for a more regulatory environment. Stellantis’ general counsel, said Tavares’ 2021 base salary was a 17.6% increase from 2020 given the larger size of the combined corporation. By comparison VW’s CEO in 2020 made $8.7 million. Ford and GM’s CEO’s over the last two years have made in excess of $22 million. – 4/20/22

Red light cameras ok here but not across the river

They might be a (new) thing in Windsor. But our neighbors on the other side of the river are having none of them. Red light cameras. The Michigan Senate has voted 28-10 to ban the use of the cameras. It “solidifies” a 2007 Mich. Attorney General opinion that barred cities from creating ordinances to charge motorists from the use of unmanned traffic monitoring devices. State Sen. Lana Theis (R-Brighton) said it’s all based on the age old legal principle of being able to “confront your accuser ….. all of that isn’t happening with these cameras.” She said the cameras are also “causing accidents.” – 4/12/22

New bridge toll booths will be located - where?

And now for the answer virtually everyone was wondering about. When the new Gordie Howe International Bridge (GHIB) opens in 2024, where will the toll booths be located - on the Canadian or US side? Ta da! The answer is they will be on the Canadian side. “The primary difference (between the US and Canadian so-called Port of Entries) is that there will be no toll collection services on the US side,” says spokeswoman Heather Grondin. Perhaps that’s only fitting, since Canada is paying all the costs of bridge construction and not Canada and the United States together. - 17/2/22

Photo: Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority

Leamington trucker heading anti-vax protest

A Leamington trucker is leading what he expects will be hundreds of truckers and supporters on a multi day protest beginning Sunday at the Ambassador Bridge. Ben Peters, owner of ADT Transportation, says the protest will begin at the Petro Canada in Comber and head to Huron Church Rd. He said trucks will take up two lanes but not impede bridge traffic while “slow rolling.” He said the convoy will turn left on Wyandotte St. and then circle back along Huron Church. It’s part of nationwide protests by truckers, including in Sarnia, as the drivers protest mandatory cross border Covid-19 vaccinations. “Somebody has got to stand up to what our government is doing to us and there’s been a lot of little rallies here and there for nurses and different things like that and I just feel that it’s time that we've got to get together as a group of people, not just as truck drivers, and we've got to stand up to our government,” Peters said. The convoy plans to continue “the loop” until Thursday when truckers will head to Ottawa for a major rally. - 1/21/22

Some teachers still heading back to school

Schools may be closed until Jan. 17, according to Premier Doug Ford’s latest update on Covid-19 restrictions. But vehicles can still be seen parked around school facilities. Yes, some teachers are still going to their physical classes, even if virtual learning is still being carried out. “According to the provincial directive, teachers had to be given the option of teaching from the school if they didn't have the necessary resources to teach from home, so that's what we are offering to those teachers,” Stephen Fields, spokesman for the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, said. – 1/4/22

AG: no comment on Covid measures when rest of province re-opening

On Oct. 9 the province lessened Covid restrictions the most widely since controls were imposed the past year. Theatres, concert halls and stadiums allowed to open at 100 per cent, albeit with screening and masking. Later last month restrictions on restaurants were also lifted. Yet the province implemented major changes to four Windsor courtrooms as if the pandemic was just beginning. Among changes – the accused to sit alone behind plexiglass in the area formerly reserved for juries and the 14 jurors sitting physically distanced in the main courtroom floor where public seating – now ripped out – was once located. The judge, court staff and defense and Crown lawyers, and witnesses, sit separately behind Plexiglass. Limited spectator seating is available in another courtroom where they watch proceedings on video. No spectators are allowed in the courtroom itself. contacted the Ministry of the Attorney General as to why measures are imposed now, contrary to the wide re-opening in the rest of the province. What is the cost of these changes and similar alterations across the province? What is the impact on the hallowed principle of access to justice? After email and phone inquiries, no response. - 11/10/21

Covid lockdowns hit transit advertising hard

Transit ads lost money during Covid. Transit Windsor saw a drop in $77,000 revenue from Streetscene Media, the company that places ads on buses and transit shelters. This was for four months earlier this year during provincial lockdowns. That’s because their clients, often small and medium businesses, “were forced to close or drastically reduce their activities, and either short-paid or stopped making payments,” a Transit Windsor report says. The city will recover the sum under the provincial and federal Safe Restart Program. In turn, Streetscene Media has pledged to increase yearly revenue from 2022-2024 beginning with $245,000 next year. – 10/5/21