Get kids on entrepreneurial track—minus a map

At a recent council meeting, I had a chance to make a comment on recent changes to the Food Premises Regulation. Very briefly, this an opportunity to start low-risk, home-based food businesses.

With summer coming, I see this as an opportunity for our students to have an opportunity to explore their entrepreneurial talents. The best part of being an entrepreneur is not having a road map, and who knows where this could lead?

The products that can be sold are non-hazardous and do not require refrigeration. According to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, products can include baked goods, pickles, preserves, fudge, trail mix and many other items.

Students might wish to take a try at forming a cooperative in order to learn about our great agricultural heritage and traditions in a very practical way. This is an excellent way to share your ideas and creativity and build a business.

Councillor Wayne Olson
Ward 1

Food for winged trail users

This letter is sent to acknowledge and thank the Bird People for enhancing the use and enjoyment of the Steve Bauer Trail by hanging feeders for our feathered friends.

Today, I walked the trail from Port Robinson to Merritt and back. It’s been quite some time since I have been on the trail but the mild temperatures and sunshine called and so I answered.

What a nice surprise to see homemade bird feeders and suet cages hanging from the tree branches as well as fresh bird seed scattered on the ground at the edges of the path. I spotted many different birds and, if I correctly used my bird guide afterwards, these included chickadees, cardinals, mourning doves, sparrows and juncos.

I loved the constant chorus of birdsong from these residents: chirps, coos, whistles, squeaks and trills. For a moment, I thought someone was playing a nature CD of bird calls! The choir never stopped singing.

Today’s bird encounter was the highlight of recent weeks for me. I will be back to check on my feathered friends soon. Maybe I’ll spot a Blue Jay next time.

And so I say a big thank you to the invisible Bird People who have helped create this inviting environment for the birds (and people) of the Steve Bauer Trail.

Anne Schattmann
Fonthill

 

Don’t pick on the President

Regarding the column by Pastor Rob Weatherby, “Joe Biden: New chapter for an old man” [Faith Lift, Feb. 3, p. 19], I have never written a response about any newspaper article ever! This word, “old,” really upset me. We have all been through a lot. I am hoping the American people finally have a leader. I wish Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and the rest of the team well. Their workload is large. He is commended for taking on this role. I feel a better choice of word could have been used by Pastor Weatherby.

B. Martin
Thorold

 

Clear the trail

Can someone tell me why the Town has decided not to do snow removal on the Steve Bauer Trail? I understand it is the only trail in Fonthill not cleared, and probably the most used! It was paved recently to make it more walkable and really has made it a wonderful place to walk… until the snow fell. While attempting to do my daily walk on a snow-covered trail, I was very concerned to see a senior pushing her walker through the snow accompanied by a friend. This is just not right! I appreciate how the Town clears the sidewalks on Port Robinson Rd., and many other streets, and feel the trail should also be cleared regularly. In fact on their site it mentions they take responsibility for plowing sidewalks and TRAILS! A week ago while taking my walk l was forced to use Emmett St., as snow and frozen footprints prevented me from attempting the trail. The irony is that while walking on the sidewalk l slipped on snow and had a very bad fall. I hit my head on the ground and injured my arm and leg. Fortunately nothing was broken but l was left with a black eye and a huge bruise on my leg. I was unable to walk home. So many more of us walk now and l feel the Town should extend its maintenance responsibility to include another paved surface, the Steve Bauer Trail.

Brenda Burger
Fonthill

 

To TD Bank customers…

In response to Mr. Whitehead, my hero [“TD Bank—Goodbye to Fonthill, and maybe customers too,” Letters, Feb. 17, p.4], I also received the letter that the TD branch in Fonthill is closing. I was disturbed and confused by this rash decision.

Firstly, it is not convenient for myself to go to the Welland branch nor do I do online banking. Secondly, I truly do not understand the waste of money renovating the bank outside and inside last year. Thirdly, I do enjoy going to a friendly helpful bank where one trusts the folks there.

This closing does not make sense. I have lived in Fonthill all of my 73 years. Many businesses have come and gone. Some of this progress was good but much of it was not progressive. Fonthill has lost a great deal of its country charm. Why sell off this property and for what purpose? Does the Town know why? Bottom line – MONEY?? AGAIN.

I did call the TD Bank complaint hotline. Here is the number, if you wish to call: 1-833-259-5980. I spoke to a very sympathetic and polite gentleman. However, as we all know, there were no definitive answers. In this COVID-troubled time, the larger banks will take their advantage in the boardrooms.

Maybe my complaint will fall on deaf ears. However, I hope someone in the upper offices of TD Bank will think about how their decisions affect many real people who do not live in Toronto and do not need a change.

Nancy (Tobias) Cheel
Fonthill

 

Seriously, clear the trail

Since the Town has taken the very positive step of paving the Steve Bauer Trail from Pt. Robinson Rd. to Quaker Rd, can I suggest that proper winter maintenance be carried out on a regular basis?

This would include snow-plowing and sanding similar to that being done in Welland with the Merritt Island trail since December, when Welland realized how important the trail was for exercise in winter, especially during the pandemic.

If the Steve Bauer Trail is not maintained, it will still be used and thus become hazardous to citizens, as it becomes icy quite easily when packed down, especially after the usual thaw and freeze periods that happen in our climate.

Because a large number of the users are seniors, icy patches can cause fall injuries, possibly creating liability for the Town. It should be maintained in winter at least as well as the Town’s sidewalks. I am sure the cost of such maintenance would be minimal and given the closure of certain Town facilities, I am confident that especially this year Town maintenance staff could be redeployed to do this job.

As citizens have recently pointed out during the controversy over possible new subdivision roads crossing the trail, this part of it is a wonderful recreational resource for our town. Why not maximize its use and safety by maintaining it year-round?

Barry Ray
Fonthill

 

REGIONAL COUNCIL UPDATE | Diana Huson, Regional Councillor for Pelham

Decision-making and perspective in a pandemic world

It’s official. Niagara has now entered Red-control status. There’s been a lot of confusion about how these decisions are made and by whom, which has prompted me to provide some clarification.

Previous news that Niagara was staying in the Grey zone solicited some extreme responses, especially on social media, most of which unjustly targeted our Acting Medical Officer of Health (AMOH). I was horrified to read comments threatening violence or calling for his removal for doing his job. Throughout the pandemic, the role of our AMOH has been to prioritize community health and reduce the loss of life. In the face of this unwarranted criticism, he has continued to maintain professionalism and dedication. I believe we are in good hands with our Public Health team. They have worked tirelessly to put the health of our communities first.

In reality, our AMOH is not responsible for the decision as to what zone we are placed in. Neither is Regional Council. The zone system, the colour of the zone, the restrictions within the zones, what gets added or subtracted to the restrictions, who gets placed in what zone and when, how vaccines are distributed across the province (or diverted), and when we receive those vaccines are all decisions made by the province.

In some cases, the province will reach out to our AMOH for local context. In these calls he may or may not be asked for an opinion about what zone we should be in. This advice, along with other input is factored into the provincial decision-making process at a meeting of cabinet where a decision is announced each Friday.

As a Region, we actually have very little control over restrictions. We do have control over how we respond, such as our capacity to do contact tracing, communicating numbers and statistics, our management of long-term care and subsequent outbreaks, and also our EMS response. Niagara Region did support a mask mandate, which has been proven as an effective mechanism to combat the virus and reduce spread. It’s been embraced internationally. Also, our AMOH enacted a restriction that limited indoor dining to households and applied public health measures to retail businesses. Numbers did demonstrate viral spread connected to indoor dining. As a result, Toronto has banned all indoor dining. Niagara opted to limit indoor dining to make it safer in lieu of more severe restrictions such as closures, in an attempt to find a balance between both extremes.

Small businesses have undoubtedly been negatively impacted, but the economic and social challenges have been far reaching. Racialized and minority groups have disproportionately been infected by the virus. Lower-income populations have seen greater levels of unemployment that has only deepened the economic divide. Women have exited the workforce in greater numbers due to the collapse of our childcare resources. Seniors have seen far greater death rates than any other age group and faced isolation from loved ones. Children have suffered from a lack of social interaction that is important to their development. The pandemic has escalated and publicized significant shortcomings of our long-term care homes. All of these experiences are important.

In other words, the list of injustices is a long one. You would be hard pressed to find anyone unscathed by the crisis. The solution is simple. The more quickly we receive vaccines and vaccinate our communities, the sooner we can get back to normal. Both Niagara Health and the Region’s Public Health Department are working closely and collaboratively on our vaccination plan. All we need is the province to send them our way. It couldn’t happen fast enough. Let’s focus on that important goal and support our friends, family members and community as much as possible and wherever we can.

Remember that we all are dealing with our own personal struggles. And while we don’t have a lot of control over this pandemic, we do have the ability to control how we react. Let’s react by supporting and encouraging one another. Stay well everyone!

 

COTE’S COMMENTS | Larry Cote

Coping with pandemic isolation

Among all the creatures that inhabit the earth, homo sapiens are known to be one of the wisest and most social of the animal kingdom. That means most people require the company of, and association with, others to live a normal, healthy life. There are some people who prefer to be antisocial, but they are exceptions to the norm, and consequently considered to be “different.” People who are so inclined tend to be reclusive and prefer their own company rather than interact with other persons.

Since most people are social animals, this COVID pandemic has disrupted their social normalcy and, according to health professionals, such a deficiency can be detrimental to their mental and physical well-being.

We are not referring here to the interactions with mates or partners with whom one cohabits, but rather those sporadic or casual relationships such as those one frequently encountered on a pre-pandemic normal day. For the most part, one does not consider them as friends per se, but have some sort of acquaintanceship with them. When one encounters these people, there is usually some type of acknowledgement, such as a brief verbal salutation or physical motion such as a wave or a nod.

One meets these people at the grocery store or on a walk through the neighbourhood. Usually, they recognize each other but may not know them by name. A brief verbal exchange may be had such as a non-controversial comment about the weather and the like.

The closures of schools, bars, eateries, barber shops, clubs, work places and other gathering places have mostly eliminated these casual social interactions. No doubt that these casual encounters were mostly taken for granted.

Some people have resorted to Zoom and other social media technologies in an effort to connect with people outside their homestead. Such initiatives are efforts to try and experience those former contacts inside and outside their immediate families.

Research by health professionals indicate that these casual connections contribute to both a person’s mental and physical well-being. Taryn Grieder, a neuroscience researcher at the University of Toronto, reported in an interview with the Toronto Star that pleasant interactions with others releases oxytocin in the brain. This hormone is known to depress stress and ease tension. So, just by casually greeting these acquaintances automatically has a beneficial effect on one’s mood and, likely, demeanour.

To counterbalance depressive tendencies, mental health professionals suggest people interact more meaningfully with those they have chance encounters with such as neighbours, delivery persons, and fellow grocery shoppers.

So rather than continually sitting on the sofa in a locked-down status, get up and get out where you can casually interact with others at a socially safe distance. You will feel better for it and so will those you encounter. Take it from the health practitioners. Feeling good is good for your health.

 

PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

Light at end of tunnel grows brighter

Finally! Canada is seeing an up-surge in vaccines distributed across the country, with numbers making up more than double of what was allocated in the last two weeks. In the last week of February, Canada received 643,000 doses, making this the best week for receiving vaccines so far. Including last week’s shipments, some 2 million doses have been distributed across the country, with the vast majority of these vaccines being the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. This company has committed to providing 4 million doses by the end of the first quarter. When other brands are included in the numbers, Canada is on track to receive a total of 6.5 million doses by the end of March. With Health Canada approving yet another vaccine for use this past week, these numbers should continue to climb into the spring.

With the completion of senior homes and long-term care homes, Niagara should see caregivers and first responders receiving injections this week, with seniors living in the community next in line. Finally, your patience has been rewarded! For up-to date information go to niagararegionhealth, click on “vaccinations.”

This Monday, the Region went into Red-control status, which will allow restaurants to open with the maximum number of patrons being ten. A safety plan must also be completed, and posted in a conspicuous location. Other services that are allowed to re-open are fitness centres, gyms and hair salons.

In Pelham, the community centre is open, with appointments needed for the walking track, and a maximum of ten people per area.

With the rain and warm temperatures of the last couple days, the walking trails of Pelham should also be getting back to being in good shape.

Until next time…