Author Archives: fromareportersnotebook

About fromareportersnotebook

Former reporter and city editor at The Tribune, Welland, On. Active in various community groups and initiatives, married with two grown children, interested in roses specifically and gardening in general. A collection of previously-written columns was published in book form in the fall of 2013 and is available by contacting the writer at: It sells for $20.

Duck Tales



Out for an early evening swim in Chippawa  Park pond. The end. (Photo by Joe Barkovich)



Council Approves Plan To ‘Enhance Waterfront Experience’

city logoWELLAND – Welland City Council has approved phase one of a multi-phased canal redevelopment strategy focused on funding new initiatives and amenities that will enhance the city’s waterfront experience for families, individuals, and tourists.

The phase one changes will be completed at the city’s Lincoln Street Docks over the next 4-6 weeks. The components of phase one include:

• Installation of public use docks for unsupervised swimming – approximately 120 ft of dock will be added along with ladders;

• Placement of public use amenities including picnic tables, benches, bike rack stands, BBQs, shaded sitting areas and covering, and decorative stone and plants to enhance aesthetic value.

untitled“Our waterway is an important part of our history, and it will be an integral part of our future,” said Welland Mayor Frank Campion. “The changes and new initiatives approved by Council will support the transformation and rejuvenation of our waterway that we envision over the next few years with new recreational amenities and new residential and commercial development.”

“One of our goals with phase one is to lay foundation to complement existing uses such as the new Skateboard and BMX Park adjacent to the waterway, and support future development ideas that will attract interest and passion for the waterway,” said Richard Dalton, the City’s Manager of Recreation and Culture, and who also oversees the Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC). “This is a first step towards future opportunities for more significant recreational development in the area including the potential to create a multipurpose recreational hub at the Lincoln St. Docks location.”

Future project phases being reviewed include the relocation of the Welland Boat Rental Program to the Lincoln St. area, along with a new capacity for food & beverage vending, new sport and game facilities, and expanded installations for swimming and low cost opportunities to enjoy the waterway.

(Source: City of Welland news release)

From The Municipal Election Beat

electionWELLAND –  Pat Chiocchio has filed nomination papers for the October 22 municipal election campaign.

Chiocchio, a Ward 4 city councillor in Welland,  will be running for a seat on Niagara Regional Council. Welland has two elected councillors at the regional council table, in addition to the mayor.

Chiocchio joins regional councillor Paul Grenier, who filed his papers May 7. The city’s other elected regional councillor is George Marshall who has not yet indicated his intention.

The entire list of candidates can be seen at:

Lasting Image: Mother Alba, Tireless Trailblazer

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large 

In one of a handful of visits over the years, I called on Mother Alba Puglia 10 years ago to write about the 50th anniversary of her religious community’s arrival in Welland. I took away a lasting image of a woman deeply rooted in her faith, forever anchored to her work for the Lord.

untitledMother Alba, a member of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Ragusa, Sicily, died in their convent on Edward Street, Welland, Sunday, June 17, aged 95. She would have celebrated the 72nd anniversary of her profession of vows this November.

Her, and their story, in Welland is legendary. About how she arrived in August, 1958 with four sisters, summoned by Monsignor Vincent J. Ferrando, then pastor of St. Mary Roman Catholic Church, to minister to the growing number of Italian immigrant families in Welland. About how their early years were marked by struggles and challenges – the sisters encountered language difficulties, they arrived with little and had little. Except faith.

“We did not know the language, we did not know the people. We had no money,” Mother Alba said during that interview in their convent parlour 10 years ago.

I wrote at the time: “She talked about being helped by the people they came to help. Often, the sisters would find pasta, rice, fruit and other groceries and donations left on their doorstep by caring and concerned Italian families. They were appreciative of the generosity then and still are now, says Mother Alba.”

But never did they lose their sense of purpose in those years of struggle. There was so much to do – they visited the sick and the elderly in hospital and in their homes. They taught weekly religion classes to children who attended public schools. They assisted in parish ministry. With Mother Alba’s prayers and guidance, they opened a day-care in a building that served as St. Mary’s parish centre, starting out with just one child in their care. They remained until 1962 when they purchased a vacant building on Edward Street, which was renovated to become their convent and new day-care. The sisters are there to this day. The day care has been a remarkable success story.

I had the sense Mother Alba had been gifted with indomitable will. When she made up her mind about something, that was it, case closed. I had the feeling the sisters, on more than one occasion, had tried talking her into slowing down over the years, but it was not to be, Mother best knew her limitations. As so wonderfully crafted in her death notice – from the day she arrived to the day she was no longer able to do so, “she visited the sick in the hospital, the elderly in their homes and went wherever she was called even during the night bringing comfort, God’s love and giving wise counsel to everyone in need. She gave of herself freely without counting the cost, and refused to be paid for her works of charity, saying that she did everything for the love of God.”

One of Mother Alba’s legacies is sure to be her work to bring the Sisters of the Sacred Heart to other countries, hopeful it would open a door to new vocations and assure the religious community firm footing into future years. She went to the Philippines in the late 1980s, opened a mission and established the first convent. She later began the process of starting a new convent in India which came to fruition in 2004. Continuing in that vein, three sisters from the Welland convent earlier this year moved to Prince Edward Island where they opened a house and have plans to start a day-care.

This is testament that Mother Alba’s life-work continues in the person of proteges, in this latest venture in Prince Edward Island, Sister Margherita Ianni, Sister Marian Limen and Sister Juliet Villaceran. I believe they, and others, bear strong witness that even in a spiritual sense, a Mother’s work is never done.

Rest In Peace, Mother Alba Puglia.

Full death notice and funeral details, please visit:

(Lasting Image appears as an occasional feature on the blog)

THIS WEEK: Meetings In Welland (Revised)

Meeting Calendar
city logoMeetings 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.

Waterway Advisory Committee ≫
5:30 PM Monday June 18  –
Welland Community Wellness Complex, 145 Lincoln Street.

Welland Public Library Board Meeting ≫
7:00 PM Monday June18  –
– Welland Public Library, Program Room, 50 The Boardwalk

Council Meeting in Committee-of-the-Whole ≫
5:00 PM Tuesday June 19  –
To discuss the following:
Personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees:
Committee Appointments for the following Committee:
– Market Square Advisory Committee.
Litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board:
– General Insurance
– Old Central Fire Hall Lease
– 7 Woodlawn Road

Council Ante Room

Council Meeting in Open Session ≫
7:00 PM Tuesday June 19  –
Council Chambers

Public Meeting under the Planning Act re: Brownfield Community Improvement ≫
7:00 PM Tuesday June 19  –
Council Chambers

Accessibility Advisory Committee Meeting ≫
3:00 PM Wednesday June 20 –
Welland Community Wellness Complex, 145 Lincoln Street.

Committee of Adjustment Hearing(s) ≫
5:00 PM Wednesday June 20  –
Council Chambers

Market Square Advisory Committee Meeting ≫
6:00 PM Wednesday June 20 –
Welland Community Wellness Complex, 145 Lincoln Street

North Welland Business Improvement Area Meeting ≫
8:15 AM Thursday June 21  –
M.T. Bellies, 871 Niagara Street

(Source: City of Welland website)

Air Quality: Be Wary Of Increased Coughing, Throat Irritation, Shortness of Breath

POSTED AT: 3:31 PM EDT Sunday 17 June 2018
Special air quality statement in effect for:
Niagara Falls – Welland – Southern Niagara Region
St. Catharines – Grimsby – Northern Niagara Region
Possible high levels of air pollution are expected this afternoon and early this evening.

DSC_4645 (3)Hot and sunny conditions are expected to cause increasing ground-level ozone concentrations in Southwestern Ontario and the Golden Horseshoe area. Moderate risk AQHI values are expected throughout today with the potential of short term high risk AQHI values in the afternoon.

A special air quality statement is in place due to the possibility of deteriorating air quality.
Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.

People with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, can be particularly sensitive to air pollution. They will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels. Pollution can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital visits.

Visit for information on how to reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels, as well as for current and forecast AQHI values.

Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada.
Issued by Environment Canada and the Province of Ontario