Nor did humans and dinosaurs coexist on Earth

When I read the heading of Pastor Weatherby’s column last week, “Avoiding the e-words,” I said to myself, “Here it comes, the tired old trope that Evolution is not a fact, but a theory.” [Faith Lift, Aug. 24, p.19.]

Evolution is a solid fact … observed in anatomy, fossils, molecular biology, similarity of embryos of different species, and now the most overwhelming evidence of all…similarities in DNA.

A theory is an explanation of observed phenomena; the theory of natural selection explains the fact of evolution. No one would deny the fact of gravity and jump off the CN Tower because they don’t agree with the current theories of gravity.

Pastor Weatherby states that “evolution directly contradicts clear biblical teachings.” So what? I believe we should stick to our areas of expertise. I won’t try to explain biblical teachings and Pastor Weatherby should avoid trying to dismiss science that he does not understand.

David Fowler
Wainfleet

 

How much more evidence is needed?

My heart goes out to Kirstyn, who so bravely came forward with her detailed account of what happened when she was allegedly sexually assaulted by Charles Duncan, a supposed trusted adult and family friend [Trying to make peace with the past, Aug. 24, p.10]. More so, my heart breaks for Kirstyn (and all of his other victims), as her pain and trauma have sustained far beyond the moments of his advances— these are lifelong wounds, to say the least.

And yet, he is still free in this town, going off to the post office. How dare he? And how dare he shake his head in court as though he is the victim? What could give him the nerve to do this?

Perhaps he has felt believed in and supported, or disturbingly so, even justified in his actions. Well, after what I’ve read in this paper, people writing in to claim his innocence, that the women have it all wrong, and people in the community that I’ve spoken to about this, who say, “Come on. How bad was it?” maybe this is why Duncan stood in a courtroom full of his victims and STILL felt that he was being inconvenienced. People believed him.

Why did Kirstyn have to present a multi-page story about her experiences, so that maybe “this time” people would believe that Duncan was indeed the perpetrator? When are we going to believe women when they come forward as being victimized by sexual predators? We’re STILL teaching young girls to second-guess their intuitions, and their ability to own their bodies, when we have grown women, afraid to come forward to speak their truth.

For those of you who wrote in to claim Duncan’s innocence, for those in parking lot discussions about this, brushing off his allegations, accusing the women of being “dramatic,” do you believe it now? Is this enough evidence for you? I hope it is, although it should have been enough when the first woman came forward. All Duncan had to say was, “It didn’t happen.”and people believed him. How disgusting.

Fellow women, we still have a lot of work to do (as evidenced by the three separate, ongoing news stories in this paper last week about alleged sexual abuse by men in the community) and thank you to all of the brave ones who have stepped forward in this case to have Duncan charged. You’ve helped pave the way for the young girls watching and listening.

Vanessa Atkinson
Fonthill

 

Kudos from a survivor

As a survivor of SA (sexual assault) I would like to commend the Voice for this in-depth and deeply touching article. Many people prefer to turn a blind eye or sweep it under the rug when it comes to uncomfortable/taboo topics. Kudos to Kirstyn for demonstrating her personal power and sharing her story. I know that she has already helped many others, simply by speaking up.

What infuriates me is that Kirstyn’s story is still far too common. Doctors, coaches, priests, employers, teachers, family friends, aunts and uncles, cousins, siblings, and even parents have all been perpetrators of SA. It is most often adults in positions of authority and/or trust who abuse this assumed trust and traumatize their victims for life.

SA affects infants (yes, babies), children, teens, and adults from every race, religion, and socioeconomic status. Let 2022 be remembered as the year we stopped pretending these awful crimes don’t happen in our idyllic small town. Silence and feigned ignorance are not the answer! I grew up in Fonthill and sometimes jokingly refer to it as “Pleasantville,” but anyone who has seen that movie knows that Pleasantville is not always pleasant. Thank you again to Kirstyn for helping to spread awareness about SA and banish the harmful rhetoric of “not in our town.” Yes, in our town. And in so many other towns around the world.

My question is, when will the justice system catch up and enforce stricter consequences for such despicable (and often very deliberate and premeditated) crimes?

Angela
Welland

 

Council fiddles as taxpayers about to get carved

At the August 22 Pelham Town Council meeting, a member of the Friends of Maple Acre Library made a presentation outlining their activities for the past year. The group knew at their March 2022 meeting that they would need more donations, but decided anyway to pursue a tree carving project in Fenwick. This project would involve hiring a local chainsaw carving artist to carve figures into the large tree stump next to Maple Acre Library. The Friends did not have a plan, drawings, proposal or estimate for this project, but still gave the artist the go-ahead. The carving began on April 22 with no timeline for the work, or estimated cost or date of completion.

Included in the tree carving were Indigenous figures.

The presenter stated that the carver had put several hours into the carving work, but in reality he is still working on the project, four months later.

The presenter was at council to request funds to pay for this project, and additional work including patio stones, landscaping and a stone bench. There was no financial information as to the cost of any materials or work, and the exact money requested was not available as the presenter did not know how much they would need. The group has raised $4560 and has plans to continue fundraising this year.

Although the Mayor and a few councillors stated they had some reservations about this financial request, that is where the discussion stopped. No one asked how much money was owed to the carver. The carver is still working. Has he been paid anything since he began work in April? No one asked what it will cost to seal and maintain the tree and who will pay for this.

No one asked if the Friends group worked with Indigenous peoples to ensure that the carving accurately represents them from their past but also shows that they are still living, and are contributing and valuable members of contemporary society.

And no one asked who owns the tree. Is the tree located on Library property, on the road allowance, or, in fact on the property next door to the Library?

It has been estimated that the carving cost is approaching $20,000. This cost does not include the cost to seal and maintain the tree.

Council has decided to request that Town staff prepare a report for early November. In reality, the Town of Pelham has never been involved in this project. They have never received any proposals for this project, were never consulted before work began, and to date have no idea how much money is owed on this project. Money for this project has not been budgeted, either.

Town staff has enough work to do. They should not have this after-the-fact, unauthorized, private project added to their workload. In fact, staff should be drafting a policy regarding how funds raised on behalf of the Town by special interest groups are collected, accounted and distributed. It certainly is not taxpayers’ responsibility to pay for a whim project after it has been completed, initiated by a group that lacks the competence to pay for it.

Loren Brown
Fenwick

 

How long does it take for justice?

How many delays in the Rick Lowes alleged sexual assault case is it going to take before this is resolved? [Lowes case: 20th hearing, Aug. 24, p.3] After 17 months and the 20th hearing just past, I hope the legal system performs in a more timely manner to enable all parties to move forward.

K. Martin
Fonthill

 

Value for money is lacking

Are we getting our money’s worth with government minister portfolios? I think not.

We need a better way to run our country with government minister portfolios by giving the ruling party the ability to choose minister portfolios from the private sector, who can be hired and fired without bringing down the government of the day.

Personally, I find too may ministers are selected from ass-kissing caucus members who have absolutely no experience to run minister positions both provincially and federally, and you only have to watch the evening news and you can clearly see how incompetent these ministers really are. We need to do better!

Peter Voss
Welland

 

MUNICIPAL MATTERS | Pelham Town Hall

Despite lame duck status, Town Council works on

BY DAVID CRIBBS, CAO
Town of Pelham

For those interested in municipal politics, these are fascinating times. The upcoming municipal election will occur on October 24, and there is a buzz in the air as various positions — Councillor, Mayor and Regional Councillor—are being contested. Nomination Day, which was Friday, August 19, has come and gone, so the candidates’ identities are finalized.

At Town Hall, we have four councillors acclaimed, so we already know who a majority of the members will be: congratulations go out to Councillors Hildebrandt and Olson, who will be returning, and to Ward 3 Councillor-elect Niznik and Ward 1 Councillor-elect Ker.

One of the things I have learned from two decades of municipal service is that that society rarely appreciates the degree of effort or the volume of work and time required to be an elected official. The hours can be extremely long—for instance, last week’s meeting had an agenda over 900 pages long, which all of council was asked to read in six days, and then the meeting where those reports were discussed had to be extended into the night. So the job entails long hours and hard decisions in return for occasional criticism and compensation which is well short of minimum wage. It is truly a labour of love. Councillors Haun, Kore and Stewart have worked hard for residents over the past four years, including throughout a pandemic which frankly made everything more difficult. As their term of office draws to a close, they deserve thanks and gratitude for having expended their time and talents in betterment of the community, and they will continue to do so until mid-November.

After the October election, the new council will be sworn in on November 21, at a ceremony with appropriate pomp and pageantry that will be held in the Accursi Room at the MCC.

This is one of the fascinating aspects of the municipal political process: until the new council assumes control on November 21, the current council continues with its mandate. Provincial law establishes that because fewer than 75 percent of the current council members will be returning, Town Council is now in what is referred to as “lame duck status,” meaning that council cannot hire or fire staff, or authorize more than a $50,000 unbudgeted expenditure, outside of an emergency. While that may sound limiting, the truth is that council retains all of its other powers, which are significant. Because of this, in most ways it will be business as usual from now until November 21.

Frankly, there is much work to do and neither Town Council nor Town administration can take three months off, even if either group wanted to do so. The pragmatic reality is that the municipal corporation operates seven days a week (did you know that the MCC normally operates for 17 hours daily?) and Pelham’s corporate and business needs continue, regardless of the political environment or where we are in the political cycle. As such, council will continue to make important decisions on planning applications, on government policy, on environmental issues and with respect to anything else that arises.

October 24 will be here soon. I strongly encourage all residents to participate in the electoral process — whether by action or inaction, we get the government that we deserve. Pelham is a fabulous community and is deserving of having each resident put in the time and effort to exercise their right to vote. On behalf of Town staff, I can say that we are excited about the various projects upon which we are working at council’s direction, and I am confident that the next council will inherit a well-situated municipal corporation with plenty of tasks and opportunities ahead of it. Exciting times!

 

COTE’S COMMENTS | Larry Coté

The costs of prosperity

Many local residents are incessantly impressed by the beauties that nature so graciously provides. Some natural elements are especially spectacular and others are more modest in presenting themselves for us to enjoy.

It is unfortunate that we often don’t take the time and make the effort to consciously view, listen, smell, and feel the plethora of beauties that Mother Nature so generously furnishes.

Over the years and in our travels my wife and I have taken in some of those sights that fill the spirit with joy and gladness. For instance, exploring the Colombian Glacier in Alberta with friends is just such a crusade that results in beautiful memories of nature to be recalled when the soul needs uplifting.

As a fledgling photographer I have attempted to capture the beauty of many species of flora. Recently I came upon an exquisitely beautiful flower. It stopped me in my tracks to take in its delicacies of colour, aroma, shape, and structure. There is no denying that encountering such wonderment can momentarily displace some of the cares and other vexations of life.

If ever your spirits are not quite up to snuff, a visit to a greenhouse is just what the doctor ordered to help dispose of such downtrodden feelings. Those of us residing in Fonthill are fortunate to have many nearby greenhouses to chose from if ever our spirits need a boost. In my mind a favourite could be the Niagara Park’s greenhouse. It is located on the banks of the ever-engaging Niagara River Parkway, downstream from the Whirlpool. Following such a visitation you will surely be whistling a joyful tune on your journey home.

An example of the many choices of famous wonders farther afield might be a visit to the Butchart Gardens, in Victoria, BC. There is a paucity of words that adequately describe the beauty of this place. If the Garden of Eden was the best of natural beauty that nature had to offer then Butchart Gardens would easily challenge that perception. Even if you are not much of a garden lover your spirit will be transformed from visits to such wondrous places.

All those who beautify our community by planting flowers, shrubs and other flora on their properties for all to enjoy should be acclaimed as best citizens. Each year these artisans add not only the beauty to our landscape but bolster their neighbours’ spirits as well.

In some ways, some of the recent community developments have detracted from the town’s previous character as a quiet and placidly rural place. Unfortunately some of that natural beauty gets paved over in the quest for economic prosperity. The price of such ambitions is in some ways at the cost of the natural beauty that once existed and now replaced with bricks and asphalt.

Those who financially profit from such prosperity may disagree. However, the urbanization that has taken place is undoubtedly at the expense of some of the beauties of nature that once existed.