Monthly Archives: November 2017

Mayor’s Message: December’s Shared Values Help Tie Us All Together

By Mayor Frank Campion

December is one of the most exciting and awaited months of the year. As Canadians, we learn to embrace December because it delivers winter and all the amazing benefits that a Canadian winter has to offer. December gives us the opportunity to get back on the ice, take the family tobogganing, and teach the kids how to make maple snow taffy. December also closes the year for those who follow the 12 month civil calendar. It’s a time to reflect on the past year and recognize the moments, accomplishments, and hurdles we’ve had.

Dec. 11, 2014 -  Photo by Denis Cahill

Campion  

December invites a variety of holiday celebrations that bring families closer together. December’s celebrations are the inspiration behind the massive Christmas tree outside of Civic Square and the city’s Santa Claus Parade that kicks off the holiday season every November. Christmas is a celebration that unites families through celebration, food, and tradition. Some of this excitement can be found on Saturday, December 16, while shoppers celebrate Christmas at the Market at the Welland Farmers’ Market. Bring the family and find traditional Christmas trimmings while connecting with the community and the people who grow your food.
Although Christmas decorations, parties, and music tend to be highlighted in December; other holiday traditions are celebrated throughout the city. Welland has always been a city vibrant with multiculturalism, tradition, and customs.
Residents celebrate Hanukkah in December. Families celebrate Hanukkah with eight nights of festivities, including the lighting of the menorah candelabrum each night, and enjoying a variety of traditional foods.
Kwanzaa is a celebration of traditions and family. Kwanzaa celebrations typically showcase visual arts, music, and culture. Food is also a symbol of statement and tradition during Kwanzaa and brings an array of African favourites to the table.
These are just a few traditional family celebrations that take place among Welland families. Join your neighbours this December and discover how diversity in culture and tradition bring families and holidays together. Although we all have our own unique ways to commemorate our traditions, shared values such as joy, hope, peace, and giving, tie us all together.
Enjoy the festivities with friends, family, and neighbours. On behalf of Welland city council and city staff, have a safe and wonderful holiday season.

 

(Source: City of Welland website)

Advertisements

Distinguished Speaker Hears Cry Of The Poor

Ellen Kaas: “…you have to be bold and sometimes break the rules to bring about positive change.” (Photos by Joe Barkovich)

By WAYNE CAMPBELL

WELLAND – Charity does not go far enough to feed hungry children or to put roofs over the heads of homeless, says social justice activist Ellen Kaas.
The former Wellander dipped into her social justice experience during the 20th annual Distinguished Speaker Night in St. Kevin parish hall Monday.
“Politicians and power brokers do respond to public opinion,” Kaas said.
Change can be slow but you never know how far a letter, phone call, protest or other action may go.

Kass:  People should have the same opportunities to be all you can be.

For Kaas, social justice is about all people being treated equally. No matter where they were born “they should have the same opportunities to be all you can be.”
She referred to Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Si, “on the care of our common home” to back up a worldwide application.
Kaas said her first experience in bring about change came as a student at Notre Dame College School.
In the early 1970s, female students were required to always wear skirts despite standing in the cold or rain waiting for buses.
“It was not fair or just.” Pants made more sense, she said.
The struggle by the students included “protests, detentions, out of uniform slips and rallies,” Kaas said.
She learned that “you have to be bold and sometimes break the rules to bring about positive change.”
Later, as a Rotary Club exchange student in Mexico, Kaas saw how easily unfortunate habits take hold. She stayed with a well-to-do family with servants.
“It didn’t take long to pick up the attitude of family members toward servants” such as judging them as lazy.
The chartered accountant, who now operates a business serving non-profits and charities, almost didn’t go to university. Her Notre Dame teachers persuaded her otherwise.
At St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, she found a whole world opened and she became involved in the student union.
She saw how deeply consumerism was embedded in society as a don in a students’ residence.
“Young girls would overcome sadness by going shopping.”
Similarly, while studying commerce and finance, Kaas turned away from a Bay Street attitude of “the more profit, the better”.
To take a break from consumer values, she volunteered to work in Guatemala with the Sisters of St. Joseph.
“It was an unexpected learning experience.”
The sisters ran a centre that worked co-operatively with villagers to make improvements, such as digging latrines to avoid illnesses.
Kaas noticed how a co-operative approach raised the confidence of extremely poor villagers.
“To be,” she discovered, “was more important than do.”
The work of the Sisters of St. Joseph centre alienated foreign industrial interests who sought rights to the lands villagers had farmed for generations.
Later, those interests used violence against the centre and those it served to drive out the Sisters of St. Joseph.
“It was so unjust that they could just take the land away,” Kaas said.

Kass: The Catholic church is not the most equitable association.

Now Kaas is on the board of Peace Brigades International, which defends human rights around the world “by waging peace.”
She returned to Canada, earned her chartered accountant credentials, and worked on social justice projects with the Youth Corps.
She played host for Mother Teresa in Toronto, during a visit to Canada in 1982.
Kaas stayed at home to raise four children and with her husband Tom worked part-time as lay pastoral associates at Holy Name Parish in  Toronto.
A group of women came together in 1986 to meet monthly to support each other and sharing spirituality. It continues 31 years later.
The members promote a greater role for women in the Catholic church.  It is not easy and some of the women gave up and moved on, she said.
“The Catholic church is not the most equitable association.”
After her children grew, Kaas started a chartered accounting service for non-profits and charities.
Recently, she has served as a volunteer director on boards of the Catherine Donnelly Foundation and Peace Brigades International.
The $40-million foundation shifted investment in stocks to companies that demonstrated social responsibility.
She said they moved away from mining industry, fossil fuels, and child labour.
In summary, Kaas said change is slow but even small acts can influence people.
“We must see ourselves as one family around the world,” she said. “We must hear the cry of the poor.”

(Wayne Campbell is a retired journalist living in Welland. He worked for the Welland Tribune and newspapers in southern Ontario and British Columbia.)

 

Hospital Preservationists Continue Campaign For Full-Service Hospital

DSC_7564

WELLAND –  A Hospital and Urgent Care town hall meeting is being held here this week.
The meeting is in Welland city hall’s Community Room, Thursday, November 30 at 7pm.
Late last month, health and long-term-care minister Dr. Eric Hoskins announced the Welland hospital would remain open even though a new hospital in Niagara Falls was given the green light.
The meeting on Thursday is being sponsored by Save Our Hospital Group, Niagara Health Coalition and Ontario Health Coalition.
A flyer being distributed to promote the meeting says: ‘Let’s make sure it’s (Welland’s) a full serviced hospital!’
The flyer says the sponsors amount to “one voice working together to save our hospital’s services and urgent care centre.”
The meeting agenda includes reports from local politicians, the Save Our Hospital group and the two coalitions.
“Give us your input and help plan our next steps to maintain and enhance our health services in South Niagara.”
More info is available at niagarahealthcoalition@yahoo.ca or by calling 905-932-1646.

THE WEEK AHEAD: Meetings In Welland

Meeting Calendar

Meetings are open to the public unless otherwise noted. Information is obtained from the applicable agency, board, committee, or commission and downloaded to this calendar as it becomes available. Information is subject to change. Please check back often for the most up-to-date information, including cancellations.

November
27
Budget Review Committee Meeting  ≫

5:00 PM Monday Nov. 27   –
Council Chambers


27
Welland Active Transportation Advisory Committee Meeting  ≫

6:30 PM Monday Nov. 27   –
LOCATION: Flat Water Centre


28
North Welland Business Improvement Area Board Meeting  ≫

4:15 PM Tuesday Nov. 28  –
M.T. Bellies, 871 Niagara Street


28
Audit Review Committee Meeting  ≫

5:00 PM Tuesday Nov. 28  –
Council Ante Room


28
General Committee Meeting  ≫

7:00 PM Tuesday Nov. 28   –
in the Council Chambers

Coach’s Eye View

 

DSC_7466

Notre Dame coach Mark Gallagher keeps a close eye on the play during his team’s game against Burlington Assumption in their game in the Tip-Off Tournament Friday afternoon. Assumption dressed only six players for the game. The Irish won, 72-44, and next play this evening at 7:55pm in Dillon Hall. (Photo by Joe Barkovich)