A look back at what made the news over the past twelve months
■ Pelham Town Council supports Ward 2 Councillor John Wink’s motion to ban vehicle crossings over the Steve Bauer Trail between Port Robinson and Merritt in Fonthill.
■ Pelham Regional Councillor Diana Huson is appointed to the hiring committee charged with finding a new Region CAO. In September, acting CAO Ron Tripp—already on the job for three years—is made the permanent hire.
■ With council’s decision not to support a Bauer Trail vehicular crossing, it is noted that one of only two other alternatives to connect the long-planned Kunda Park subdivision expansion with the existing road network is to traverse environmentally sensitive wetlands. Mayor Junkin objects to this.
■ GoFundMe page established for three-year-old Emmett Gervason of North Pelham, who required a rare restorative ear surgery procedure in California.
■ Michael Ruhle pens an account for the Voice about growing up at hi family’s Sun Valley Gardens nudist resort in Pelham from the 1950s to the 1970s.
■ Animal rights activists continue to take aim at an annual Indigenous ritual and treaty right in Niagara, a white-tailed deer hunt, that has stirred emotions on both sides of the debate since the first harvest took place in Short Hills Provincial Park in 2013.
■ Area nurses demand better personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies. “Police officers are supplied with bulletproof vests, and no one questions that … so why do front-line nurses and healthcare staff not receive the PPE they require to keep them safe during the pandemic?” asks Niagara nurse Jules Morosin.
■ Fenwick Flossie predicts an early spring. The rodent may have been correct; daily high temperatures in Pelham average almost eight degrees Celsius from March 7-21.
■ Longtime Town Clerk Nancy Bozzato’s career is profiled following her retirement after some 40 years in municipal service — including 22 in Pelham.
■ Roland Road resident Robin Zavitz is interviewed by the CBC for a documentary about police accountability. She recalls the nearby scene of the cop-on-cop shooting that occurred in November 2018 between two Niagara Regional Police officers. A trial in the case finally started this summer, and has been continued to early 2022.
■ John Swart profiles the East End Boys of Nursery Lane and their “metal monster” snow blowers.
■ Don Rickers recalls the St. Catharines Orioles, Ontario’s first all-Black hockey team.
■ Pelham Cares and the Fonthill Lion’s Club raise public alarm about severe erosion from a culvert leading from the East Fonthill stormwater management pond to their properties north of Hwy. 20.
■ It is reported that Fonthill’s TD Bank branch intends to close its doors. In mid July it does so. By the end of December, the building sells for approximately $1 million dollars, according to real estate sources.
■ The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) rejects an application to tear down a house on Alan Crescent and replace it with two new homes —months after being rejected by both Pelham Town Council and its Committee of Adjustment.
■ Award season for Town of Pelham bureaucrats: CAO David Cribbs picks up a special Ontario Municipal Administrators Association honour for leading Town staff during the pandemic, while Treasurer Teresa Quinlin-Murphy captures a national award for financial reporting.
■ Pelham Town Council opts to kill a townhouse development design in East Fonthill based on its design, which the builder says is geared towards affordable housing.
■ Holly Willford in named Pelham’s new Town Clerk.
■ Faith Flagg and her mother speak to the Voice’s Helen Tran about Faith’s life-altering 2015 ordeal, when the then-17-year-old was struck by a drunk driver on Canboro Road, a man whose sentencing in the incident was seen by some community members as too lenient.
■ A mass-vaccination clinic at the MCC launches April 8. More than 1,000 Niagara residents— the vast majority seniors — got shots the first day, according to Niagara Health.
■ Pelham Ward 3 Councillor Lisa Haun takes aim at the Voice, claiming that the newspaper mischaracterized her remarks during council discussion over the so-called affordable housing development in East Fonthill.
■ For the paper’s “Voice on Vacation” feature, reporter John Chick contemplated taking a copy of the Voice to display on a Manhattan newsstand alongside the New York Post and Daily News during a trip later in the year, but ultimately forgot to take a copy with him, an oversight that will haunt him at unexpected moments for the rest of his life.
■ The third wave of Covid-19 hits a crescendo as vaccinations begin ramping up, with confused messaging from the Provincial government over protocols, which, eight months later, doesn’t sound familiar at all.
■ The Voice wins six Ontario Community Newspaper Association awards, including two first place finishes for a series about Ward 2 Councillor Ron Kore’s determination to punish Mayor Marvin Junkin for raising funds for the volunteer Bandshell Committee, as well as coverage of Kore’s positive Covid-19 diagnosis and subsequent conduct in April 2020, on the heels of fellow Councillor Mike Ciolfi’s Covid diagnosis and subsequent death from undisclosed causes.
■ Pelham’s active Covid-19 case counts hit a record of 139. (As of Sunday, Dec. 19, this figure is 30.)
■ Fonthill resident Drew Campbell collects $326,000 in Ontario Lottery winnings.
■ Arson is suspected after a fire at the former Sun Valley Gardens nudist resort on Roland Road.
■ The Pelham Farmers Market opens for the season with a limited number of vendors.
■ In one of the more bizarre Pelham crime stories in recent memory, Lookout subdivision resident Anosan Kugathas is arrested on mischief charges after he allegedly sent professional sex workers to a neighbour’s front door on multiple occasions as part of an ongoing dispute.
■ Residents along Hurricane Road object to noise coming from the Pelham Car Wash on Hwy. 20. The situation is ultimately resolved by the construction of a sound barrier some weeks later, a barrier the residents say was to have been erected several years previously as part of a site plan agreement with the municipality.
■ Fish fry to raise funds for Emmett Gervason draws a large crowd May 28 at Centennial Park in Fenwick. By now, almost $180,000 of the family’s $250,000 goal has been reached.
■ A naughty man nabs nearly-five-year-old Luke Braun’s egg cart from his family’s driveway in Ridgeville. (The naughty man later turns nice when he returns it with a note expressing his apologies.)
■ The sexual assault trial of longtime Pelham doctor Charles Duncan begins with witness testimony.
■ For Pride Month, Pelham native Trent Crick writes a personal account of growing up gay in a community that hasn’t always been tolerant. Tyler Cook provides a similar account in the June 16 issue.
■ Former Pelham Councillor Gary Accursi dies June 7 at the age of 72. Accursi served on council from 2010-18. His earlier donation to the community centre fundraising effort saw a multipurpose room at the MCC named after him and his wife when the facility opened.
■ Council belatedly approves the city of St. Catharines to spend $250,000 of their own money on Twelve Mile Creek remediation work in Pelham.
■ Pelham Soccer kicks off their season after the entire 2020 campaign was erased due to the pandemic.
■ Secondary Dwelling Units (SDUs) move a step closer to legalization in Pelham after a June 14 Committee of the Whole meeting.
■ The Town’s two new Pride benches are unveiled outside both Town Hall and the MCC. They are stolen, then returned, in December.
■ Three former CannTrust executives are charged by the RCMP and the Ontario Securities Commission with infractions ranging from fraud to insider trading.
■ Naturalist and writer Adam Shoalts looks into whether rattlesnakes have moved into Pelham—bottom line, possible but not prevalent.
■ High school student and occasional Voice contributor Megan Metler writes about a scaled-down Canada Day celebration in Pelham following the summer’s discovery of mass Indigenous residential school graves across the country, and the ongoing pandemic.
■ Pelham communications manager Marc MacDonald moves to greener employment pastures at the City of Welland.
■ Mature trees along Pelham Street are spared being cut down as part of infrastructure upgrades, “for now.”
■ Redevelopment of the old Pelham Arena site on Haist Street begins, with plans for 25 townhouses and bungalows to be online by 2022.
■ Marlene Stewart Streit Park unveils a mural of its namesake golfing legend, painted by E.L. Crossley art students. Stewart Streit attends the ceremony virtually from her home in Aurora.
■ A four-hour Pelham Town Council meeting July 26 saw its familiar political bloc of Haun, Hildebrandt, Kore, and Stewart vote 4-3 to rescind a 2015 decision to transfer responsibility for the Niagara Central Dorothy Rungeling Airport to Niagara Region.
■ Don Rickers reports on the emerging trend of a hot new theft item—a vehicle’s catalytic converter.
■ Ear surgery a success for three-year-old Pelham resident Emmett Gervason. The family raised approximately $227,000 for the operation in California, because he was too young to qualify for the surgery under OHIP rules.
■ The long-awaited return of the Fonthill Bandshell concert series starts, resuming August 5 after a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic. An estimated 1,000 people attend.
■ Haist Street speed bumps get high-visibility markings after reader complaints to the Voice that the humps were hard to see.
■ Mayor Junkin contacts CHCH-TV in an attempt to get broader media coverage on the long-delayed Sulphur Spring Drive repairs. His gambit appears to work—for awhile.
■ The community pays tribute to late Pelham Mayor Ron Leavens, who passed away August 13 at the age of 75.
■ Sexual assault charges against Country Corner Market owner Rick Lowes come to light, some four-months-plus after his initial arrest.
■ Chinese restaurant Ho-Ho’s closes in Fonthill.
■ It is announced Pelham will launch a free walk-in mental health clinic for youth at the MCC, commencing Sept. 7.
■ Niagara West MP Dean Allison comes under fire for seemingly endorsing Ivermectin— a medication predominantly used for horses in industrialized countries—as a Covid-19 treatment.
■ Sixth delay in the sexual assault case against Rick Lowes.
■ Council passes bylaw making Secondary Dwelling Units (SDUs) legal in Pelham.
■ Work on the long-awaited Sulphur Spring Drive repair halted by the NPCA. Contactor Bill Duffin accuses the conservation authority and other bodies of “colluding” to the keep the road closed.
■ Conservative Dean Allison is elected to a seventh term as Niagara West MP with 46 percent of the riding’s votes in the Sept. 20 federal election.
■ Local residents complain about speeding on Port Robinson road.
■ Pelham marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Sept. 30 with an orange-shirt ceremony outside Town Hall.
■ Final summations are made in the sexual assault trial of Charles Duncan. A verdict is expected in January.
■ Protesters greet start of annual Short Hills Deer Hunt.
■ Longtime Fonthill hardware store owner and retired teacher Lloyd Beamer passes away Oct. 14 at the age of 82.
■ Councillors Bob Hildebrandt and Marianne Stewart vote against the Town requiring proof of vaccination for elected officials, something required of all staff. The measure passes anyway, 5-2.
■ The MCC servery is renamed in honour of late Councillor Mike Ciolfi. A dedication event is held featuring senior staff, the Mayor, and members of council, after Councillor Lisa Haun—who headed the dedication committee— initially did not invite them.
■ It is announced that a vintage Avro Lancaster bomber will overfly Pelham during Remembrance Day ceremonies.
■ Former Pelham Mayor David Augustyn announces he will run for the NDP in the riding of Niagara West in the 2022 provincial election.
■ The Voice pays tribute with a centrespread to Lloyd Beamer.
■ The Fenwick Lions start fundraising to build a new clubhouse.
■ Tenth delay in sexual assault case against Country Corner market owner Rick Lowes.
■ Construction commences on the new splash pad at Centennial Park.
■ Brian Green profiles the long-forgotten nearby hamlet of Canfield—which was once a predominantly Black settlement at the end of the Underground Railroad—and some area filmmakers’ work to tell its story in a new documentary.
■ The most recent court appearance for the two men accused in the October 2020 death of Pelham resident Earl Clapp. The case involving Matthew MacInnes and Jason Lusted is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 21.
■ Pelham’s Christmas Market returns after a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic with some 1,500 visitors. The festivities are interrupted for a time by a group protesting the use of horse-drawn carriages.
■ The Rotary Club of Fonthill awards eight citizens at an in-person dinner, including posthumous honours for late public servants Gary Accursi, Mike Ciolfi, and Ron Leavens.
■ Council nixes the idea of a grade-separated road crossing of the Steve Bauer Trail between Port Robinson and Merritt in Fonthill, upholding its ban on a vehicular traverse.
■ Local writer Barry Boothman wins an award for historical non-fiction.
■ The Voice invites a range of leaders and community members to contribute their thoughts about the year coming to a close and the year ahead.
■ Sulphur Springs Drive reopens to traffic along it entire length. ◆