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.

Wayne’s View: Antonio Brown Has Run Out Of Chances

By Wayne Redshaw

   Antonio Brown’s bizarre, third-quarter exit from the Jan. 2  NFL game between Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets while it was in progress reminded me of a scene from the movie “Slap Shot.”

Antonio Brown/ by Don Wright, Associated Press

  That movie, starring Paul Newman, came out in 1977. Newman played Reggie Dunlop as the playing coach of the Charlestown Chiefs and he instructed his players to play “goon hockey.” One member, Ned Braden, played by Micheal Ontkean, refused and after sulking on the bench a few shifts skated out on the ice and to music started stripping down his gear piece by piece and tossed items one by one into the crowd.

   Brown’s meltdown showed him taking off his sweater and shoulder pads and leaving them on the ground near the Tampa Bay bench. As he strolled towards the exit he took off his gloves tossing them into the stands. Then he ripped off his sweatshirt, rolled it into a ball and heaved it to the fans.  After a few waves to the crowd Brown disappeared down the tunnel.

  Unfortunately, the Brown exit was no scene from a movie or for a future movie.  And there was no music when he peeled off his gear. It was real and that’s the sad part. It was embarrassing not only to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but  to the National Football League in general. After all, the incident was not only shown live on television at the time  but has been replayed over and over on national TV networks and has been a hot topic on social media for days after.

  The outbreak was just another chapter in the Antonio Brown saga as a professional football player. Despite the fact that he is a talented player when he wants to be,  he has also been a problem with his antics both on and off the field. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010 and wore out his welcome by 2019 and they traded him to the Oakland Raiders. However, he never played a game for the Raiders as he was cut before the season opener.

  Brown  landed with the  New England Patriots but after one game he was gone due to some activity he had encountered off the field.

    In 2020 Brown signed on with Tampa Bay. But before he could play for the Bucs he had to serve an eight-game suspension stemming from violations of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. He eventually joined the Buccaneers after the suspension and would earn a Super Bowl ring as Tampa Bay dethroned the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs.

    This season, Brown had to sit out a three-game suspension for misrepresenting his Covid-19 vaccination status. Then there was his latest meltdown witnessed over and over by millions.

  Brown is no longer a member of the Buccaneers as the club terminated his contract with one regular season game remaining plus the playoffs – Tampa’s first game being today against the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s free to go anywhere so it will be interesting to see if there are other clubs willing to take a chance. Brown has had four chances now and he’s blown every one.

  Does he deserve a fifth chance? In my opinion no. However, don’t be surprised if he lands with some club next season or during the off-season. There are 28 other NFL clubs he hasn’t played for, maybe one more team will give him the opportunity.

   At 33 years old and with a haunting track record, especially off the field, time is running out on the wide receiver. I would like to see the NFL or the Player’s Association step in and give him the help he needs. Hopefully, Antonio Brown will get that help. But going to another club is not the answer as he doesn’t know how to clean up his act.

(Wayne Redshaw has covered sports in Niagara for over 50 years, 33 and a half at the Welland Tribune. He was publisher of FORE! Golfers Only for 12 years and wrote for various newspapers and magazines in Canada and the United States. Watch for his column, Wayne’s View, on the blog.)

City Issues Record-breaking Number Of Building Permits In 2021

WELLANDThe City of Welland concluded 2021, having issued 1,108 building permits, compared to 767 in 2020. Of those permits, 759 were for new dwelling unit starts.

The construction value for all 2021 buildings permits is approximately $245M, resulting in a 22 per cent increase from the estimated construction value for the 767 permits issued in 2020 (approx. $200.1M).

“What these 2021 numbers represent is a strength in the City’s economy and the confidence people have in making Welland a preferred destination for their homes and businesses,” said Grant Munday, director of planning and development services. “We knew coming out of the pandemic that numbers would naturally increase, but the types of permits issued, especially when it comes to apartments and other options for housing, tells you where the City is heading in its growth.”

Residential growth within the city’s built-up area finished at 85 per cent, a 10 per cent increase over the previous year. Built-up growth occurs in areas where municipal services and development already exist, helping the City and Region achieve economies of scale in service delivery and reduce urban sprawl.

The City collects development charges on building permits at the date of issuance. Those charges go toward recovering growth-related costs associated with the capital infrastructure needed to service new development and redevelopment within the City.

Some notable developments in Welland in 2021 include a 4-storey, 103-unit apartment building at 300 South Pelham Road, a 6-storey, 137-unit apartment building at 699 Niagara Street; a 37-unit townhouse development on the south-east corner of Broadway and Perenack Avenue (former Broadway School Site); 108-lot subdivision on the north-west corner of Webber Road and South Pelham Road (known Sparrow Meadows Phase 7) and a 98-lot subdivision on the north side of Sauer Avenue, west of Bradley Avenue (known as Waterways Commons Phase 2).   

It is anticipated that in 2022, the City will once again exceed totals in many categories, highlighting Welland as a premier place to live, work, play, and invest.

(Source: City of Welland news release)

Draft Community Trails Strategy Ready For Community Presentation

/City of Welland graphic)

WELLAND – The City’s draft Community Trails Strategy (CTS) will be presented at a second open house on January 13 from 7-8 p.m. via a Zoom webinar.

 The CTS enhances connectivity and accessibility of both on and off-road trails initiatives that the City and its partners have previously undertaken. In addition, the project aims to identify opportunities for several types of trails and active transportation trips, including commuting, recreation, fitness, and touring.

 “Given the growth the city will experience in the next few decades, now is the exact time to finalize a community trails strategy to guide us into the future,” said Rob Axiak, director of community services. “With a shift toward more active communities and creating spaces for people to walk, run, hike, and bike, this strategy is about as important as anything else going on right now.” 

/File photo Joe Barkovich

Creating an active future for Welland provides options for healthy, active living and more ways to reduce traffic, save money, improve local air quality, support local economies, and make travel easier and safer for those who can’t drive, especially children. Additionally, active transportation and trails support energetic lifestyles, improve physical and mental health, and protect the environment.

 The project will also aim to provide on and off-road connectivity to popular destinations within Welland and the surrounding area, including regional and provincial trails networks.

 Those wishing to participate can register to receive reminders about the event the day before and one hour before the session begins. Anyone looking to learn more can find more information about the project’s timeline and work completed up to this point on EnagageWelland (

(Source: City of Welland news release)

14 Images From 2021

By Joe Barkovich

A year-end compilation of selected feature photos from the year many of us would like to forget. But no matter how bad it is, some things are worth recording and remembering, one of the reasons we point our cameras or smartphones and shoot. Welland teems with beauty, nature, events, ceremonies, sports and more. With the year almost in the rear view, let’s not forget to say: thanks for the good stuff!

January: Early Thaw

February: White-breasted Nuthatch Plays Peek-A-Boo!

March: Lost And Found, Chippawa Park.

April: Brrr! Tulips Shiver In Bed

May: Splish, Splash I Was Taking A Bath (three photos)

June: On The Waterfront

July: After The Rain

August: View From The Bridge: Drifters

September: Balancing Act

October: Ouch!

November: Pausing To Remember

December: View From The Bridge: Family Swim

/Photos by Joe Barkovich

Heritage Lives: What Kind Of Year Will We Have To Look Forward To In 2022?

 By Terry Hughes

Our postcard from the past dated 1909 shows an image of a very young person representing the coming year, a symbol that often appeared in publications of the day as we welcome the New Year. And when you look at the times in which it was issued many events were about to take place that showed signs of hope.

 In Canada the passing of Victoria would be followed by the death of her son a few years later and begin the reign of George V that would last until 1936. All of their passings were due to health issues. 

 Here in Welland we were just beginning to enjoy the availability of hydro-electricty for both home and industrial use due to our proximity to Niagara Falls. With the promise of significant traffic, Michigan Central railway was double tracking their lines to Buffalo, Niagara Falls to the east and Detroit to the west that would require a new double track swing bridge across the third canal. Until this was done, the N.S. & T. line was halted just across the Welland River. 

Merchants on East Main and West Main streets were enjoying the placement of a steel swing bridge across the canal that would join these two entities after a thirty year absence. It was christened the Alexandra Bridge after a member of the royal household. 

Our neighbours to the south were going through a change of leadership in a manner that was significantly different than here in Canada. Thanks to an assassin’s bullet, President Teddy Roosevelt would become the new leader and one has to wonder whether this would set a precedent for gun violence in the coming years!  This decade would also mark the growth of the United States as a major industrial giant along with “Jim Crow” in the south. 

Today, we have had to deal with the COVID that has had a negative impact on how we interact with each other. Common courtesies have fallen by the wayside because our daily routines have been interrupted. The imposition of rules and regulations that once were observed by my generation as set down by the authorities are subject to questions by so-called experts through a variety of media today. In an effort to gain respect of the general public we, instead, are confused and tired of long-term solutions that don’t work because we are not pulling in the same direction. And what really has clouded our judgment is that this health issue has become political in both countries! Needless to say, patience is in short supply.

Race and gun issues are very much a part of daily life in the U.S. While doing an interview with a reporter over the devastation of the tornadic storms earlier this month, a local politician was wearing a holstered revolver on his belt. Would you believe that in this day and age, making lynching a federal offence is still opposed by some local politicians in the south. Major cities in both countries but in particular the U.S. are seeing ballooning crime due to gun violence.  

The two hundred-year experiment in democracy is in doubt because extreme right and left wing groups have opposing agendas. Every institution is now questioned and consensus building is now a thing of the past. 

Here in this country political games have led to disruptive feelings of doubt. The resignation of two federal cabinet members because they questioned the leadership is unnerving. In the meantime the opposition is unable to develop clear and common proposals that are agreeable to all of its members

And then we have our own race problems. For too long issues involving treaty, health issues and natural resources have been neglected.  

And what do we say about how the indigenous populations who have had their dignity taken away and placed in residential schools that were supposed to bring them the benefits of Christianity.  

The answers may be found in the many spiritual teachings that we all have been exposed to and mixing them with some common sense, compassion and civility we may eventually find some answers.


Next column: Hanging Out In the 1950s. 

(Terry  Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. His opinion column, Heritage Lives, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.)

A Penny For Her Thoughts Was A Rewarding Encounter

Penny Morningstar points to a notebook kept by her father when he worked at the Welland Union Carbide plant. It is part of a Carbide exhibit at the museum. /Photos by Joe Barkovich.

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – While we were on a whirlwind tour of Welland Historical Museum exhibits a few days before her retirement, museum manager/curator Penny Morningstar stopped at one that is near and dear to her heart.

Inaccessible because it is behind glass, Morningstar shared details about the book, a book that was her father’s.

Her father, George Procter, was a foreman at the Union Carbide plant.

The book on display was a meticulous record of commentary and observations he made while going about his duties on shift. 

“That’s one of the great things about museums,” Morningstar said, gesturing at the keepsake. “They help keep certain things alive.”

The 32-year veteran staffer turned pensive for a while before adding: “This is so good to have, it’s like he’s talking to you.”

Modelling Union Carbide memorabilia.

Welland girl Morningstar attended  Gordon  School, Fitch Street Senior Public School and Centennial Secondary School. In Grade 8 at Fitch Street, Morningstar said her history teacher was Terry Hughes, known to this day for interest in local history and heritage issues.

“He fostered my interest in history,” Morningstar recalled, “as he did with many other students.”

Morningstar loved the work at her hometown museum right from her earliest days on the job in 1989, she said.

Later in her career, she became the museum’s public face in the community, relishing the opportunities that came along. Two recent high profile examples: the annual Remembrance Day community commemoration at Chippawa Park, and a few years ago, ceremonies in Welland cemeteries for workers who were killed on the job during construction of the Welland Ship Canal. Morningstar’s knowledge of local history made her ideal as the museum’s liaison with outside groups and projects. 

Curator/manager for the past six years, Morningstar earned solid footing in the museum field through a gamut of job responsibilities such as educational programmer, archivist and collections person and assistant curator.

More than three decades of experience make Morningstar qualified to talk about museums and their importance to a community.

“Museums are critical to the health of a community. They can be the only voice there is about a particular ethnic group or about various social issues, for example. They tell the whole story and from that perspective they have a major responsibility to be the voice of the community.

A job with opportunities for meeting famous people

“Our biggest gift to the community is to create opportunities where people who haven’t been heard will be. We can create opportunities for them to become a voice.”

Assistant curator Tami Nail worked with Morningstar about six years. She says Morningstar influenced her to pursue museum studies at school.

“My mom was Penny’s nurse and she would talk to Penny about undergraduate studies and what I should do. Penny suggested I look into museum studies.”

She’s happy she followed that advice.

She attended Algonquin College in Ottawa and after graduation found jobs at a few local museums before starting in Welland.

“Penny’s name is synonymous with the museum here in Welland,” Nail said. “Everyone who comes in knows Penny. If they don’t know her by name they know her by her hair colour. And Penny knows everything about Welland. Not only museum staff but the community is going to miss her.”

Nail was effusive in her praise of Morningstar’s leadership skills and style.

“Penny’s  great in giving instructions and then stepping back. She gave me space to spread my wings and I will always be thankful for that. Not all curators are like that. ”

History teacher Hughes had no trouble recalling his eighth grade student when asked about her.

“Penny was a keener,” Hughes said. “She was always very focused when it came to history. I remember her being one of those students who have a feeling for history. She was always focused on what was going on in the classroom, a great participant.”

That interest turned out to be an on-going, lifetime characteristic.

“Even after, when I’d bump into Penny here and there, that enthusiasm was still very good, very strong,” Hughes said.

Morningstar told me she will take it easy for the next couple of months now that the museum has become part of her past. As for the future there are decisions to be made, but travel with her husband seems to loom large.


As she prepares for retirement after more than 30 years of service, the Welland Museum extends a profound thanks to long-time team member Penny Morningstar.

Penny’s retirement (December 23 was her last day at the museum) marks the final leg of a career that began in 1989. In her current position as General Manager and Curator, she was the driving force behind the creation and installation of incredible exhibits and programming, as well as the daily operation of the museum.

“I truly believe museums play an important role in our way of life,” Morningstar said. “They are places to explore, to share our stories and to reconnect with each other. They’re places where we can all be given a voice.”

Among a wide range of accomplishments, Morningstar was instrumental in building an ongoing dialogue with the Métis community in Niagara. This work resulted in the creation of a Métis permanent exhibit, which was developed and created by the Niagara Region Métis Council.

Morningstar has been recognized with a certificate of achievement from Dale Carnegie and has received numerous community involvement awards. These include recognition from the City of Welland, the Heritage Welland 1812 Bicentennial Committee, the Canada 150 committee and an acknowledgment from CERF Niagara for the museum’s partnership with Welland’s Francophone community.

“Welland is a historic community, and Penny has worked amazingly hard over the years to bring that history to light. We hope to carry on her legacy by continuing to preserve that history and bring it forward to new generations,” museum board chair Greg D’Amico said.

The Board of Management is presently accepting applications for a new Operations Manager for the museum, carrying on Penny’s achievements for the future.

Penny Morningstar pictured with part of the Métis permanent exhibit