Sunset Boulevard



The view looking west down Woodlawn Road on the evening of March 20, first sunset of spring. (Photo by Joe Barkovich)



A Message To ‘Crooksie’: We Will Win Gold Together



Yellow ribbons outside Port Colborne City Hall honor the memory of Cpl. Tyler Crooks. (City of Port Colborne photo)


By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

15078728_10209527566239811_7615353470586989987_nNine years.

Gone too soon. Gone too soon, a life gone too soon.

We remember the news from nine years ago: Port Colborne’s Cpl. Tyler Crooks was killed in Kandahar, Afghanistan nine years ago. One of four Canadian soldiers who were killed by roadside bombs that day, eight others were injured.

He was born March 20, 1985. He died March 20, 2009. It was his 24th birthday. It was nine years ago yesterday.

A tragedy such as this means communal suffering. It was felt in Port Colborne and Welland, the latter being his place of birth, but also right across Niagara and much further afield.

It is still being felt. Rightly so.

I wrote at the time: “War that is not close to home is but an afterthought for most of us, something that rages ‘over there’ and not over here. But when tragedy brings the reality of war into small town Niagara, boundaries and borders no longer exist, we must be community to each other.”

And so it was. And thankfully so.

A saying has it: Time heals all wounds. But at times such as this, I find myself inclined to say: Maybe, maybe not. Personally, I think it is the latter of the two. There will always be that feeling of hurt, especially on a day such as yesterday. Hurt unabated, even by time.

Thoughtfulness lingers.

The municipal government of Port Colborne shows itself to be a class act. Over the years it has posted yellow ribbons in memory of Cpl. Crooks outside the city hall. It did so again yesterday. How moving is that.

Friends of  Cpl. Crooks, friends of his family, family members and others, continue to share their thoughts, tributes and prayers on social media. To them, Cpl. Crooks, or “Crooksie” as he was known, will forever be a hero.

A small sample of the commentary that was posted yesterday March 20, or today March 21 on social media, follows below:

Brenda Joyce Derible-Crooks: Everyday in my heart and soul!! The memories we shared will last me the rest of my life.

Lorna Russell-Farnsworth: Tyler, we still think of you! Have a happy birthday in heaven.

City of Port Colborne: Have you noticed the yellow ribbons in front of City Hall? Today, March 20, marks the 9th Anniversary of the passing of Port Colborne resident Cpl. Tyler Crooks, who served our country in Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tyler’s family & friends today.

Jerry Day: Rest well brother
Fallen but not forgotten
Tyler Crooks
March 20, 2009

Mark Andrews: Happy Birthday Tyler, I know you and Scotty (Master Cpl. Scott Francis Vernelli, who was killed by the same explosive device as Cpl. Crooks) will be with me in Australia at the Invictus Games. We will win gold together….

Kim Dickie: We think of Tyler often, but today we remember him on what would have been his 33rd Birthday
We look back on all the great times the boys had together celebrating their birthdays at hockey tournaments! RIP Tyler, Love, the Dickie Family.

Ryan Bradley: Happy Birthday ol friend.

What have we learned from lessons like this? Not much it seems. This is attributed to Plato: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

Just one last thing to add: Gratitude on our part should never end.



City’s 2017 Annual Report Worth A Read



To view the 2017 Annual Report online visit


city logoWELLAND – The City of Welland released its 2017 Annual Report today on the city’s website, which highlights 2017 accomplishments from city departments, the Welland Library, The Welland Historical Museum and also showcases Niagara College’s 50 years of service to the community. The city’s 2017 Annual Report also demonstrates the commitment and progress of turning Welland into a smarter city through advanced technology, smarter services, and more open data. The City of Welland was one of the Top 20 Most Open Cities in the 2017 Public Sector Digest Open Cities Index. This information, along with other smart cities initiatives, can be found in the Smart City Governance section of the Annual Report.
The City of Welland 2017 Annual Report highlights:
Smart City strategy and initiatives;
Communication practices o Inspiring healthy communities through recreation and culture;
Optimizing the city’s hard services;
Building sustainable infrastructure;
Investing in economic development;
Financial responsibility;
2018 projects;
150 years of Canada in Welland;

The 2017 Annual Report demonstrates how city staff—with the support of Council—have succeeded in adapting to a city in growth, and how departments have enhanced programs, services, and created resourceful projects through partnerships. Municipalities are changing and in need of finding smarter approaches to building and maintaining sustainable hard and soft services.

(Source: City of Welland news release)