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: fromareportersnotebook@gmail.com. It sells for $20.

Welland Makes Updates To Facilities And Services Due to Provincial Stay-At- Home Order

WELLANDOn Thursday, January 14, at 12:01 a.m., the provincial government is implementing a Stay-at-Home order that requires all residents to stay at home with exceptions for essential services such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, essential work and exercise. These measures were put into place to stop or slow the spread of COVID-19.

In accordance with Ontario Regulation 82/20, as amended by Regulation 6/21, the following city services and programming changes will be mandated:

Welland Arenas:  Effective immediately, the Jack Ballantyne Memorial Youth Arena will be closed for the remainder of the 2020/2021 season.

Welland Community Wellness Complex (WCWC): The Welland Community Wellness Complex will remain closed. Staff anticipate the WCWC will re-open for winter programs on Feb. 22, 2021.  Further information in regards to reopening will be communicated on or before the week of Feb. 1, 2021. For the latest updates and information on program schedules and COVID-19 facility procedures, visit wellness.welland.ca.

Outdoor facilities: Playgrounds will remain open however outdoor public gatherings are restricted to a limit of 5 people with limited exceptions. Please consult the Provincial website for full details regarding gathering restrictions https://covid-19.ontario.ca/.

Commissioning Services: Commissioning services will be available by appointment only on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons. To schedule an appointment, please contact 905-735-1700, ext. 0

For more information on City of Welland services, visit welland.ca.

For more information on Ontario’s response to COVID-19 visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca.

(Source: City of Welland news release)

City Urges Residents To Follow Provincial COVID-19 Response Framework

Skaters, hockey players at Welland’s Woodlawn Park on Sunday/File photo Joe Barkovich

WELLANDThe City of Welland would like to remind the public that there are many outdoor opportunities to keep active safely while indoor recreation opportunities are on hold to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Visitors to outdoor skating surfaces are asked to exercise caution before skating as ice may not be fully formed and thin in areas. Visitors are also asked to wear a mask or face covering, leave any non-essential personal belongings at home and ensure physical distancing is maintained while on the ice surfaces or taking part in other outdoor activities such as walking, cross country skiing and tobogganing.

As part of the COVID-19 Response Framework Grey/Lockdown measures, outdoor recreational amenities are open with restrictions, for example, no team sports such as hockey are to be played or practiced. Effective Thursday, January 14, the Province of Ontario will restrict outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings to a limit of five people.

During normal business hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM), concerns around enforcement of COVID-19 emergency orders, please contact By-Law Enforcement Division at 905-735-1700 Ext. 2224; by email at bylaw_enforc@welland.ca

After 4:30 pm, COVID-19 concerns should be directed to the Region of Niagara’s information line at (905) 984-3690 or 1 (877) 552-5579 for further bylaw response and assistance.

(Source: City of Welland news release)

Dual Honors For Niagara College’s Michele O’Keefe

The Canadian Basketball Officials Commission (CBOC) has recognized Michele O’Keefe, NC’s associate director, Athletics and Recreation, with a 2020 CBOC Executive Award of Merit for her significant contributions to the committee.

“This award is for the work we did to bring the Canadian basketball officials under the umbrella of Canada Basketball,” said O’Keefe, who began her professional career with Canada Basketball in 1994 and held various positions with the organization, including president and CEO, before joining NC in 2018. “It was long overdue and an important step forward for the sport.”

The CBOC, under Canada Basketball, is a committee that promotes, advocates for and provides a transparent, accountable and consistent governance structure for the organization, administration, growth and development of basketball officiating and basketball officials throughout Canada.

“The award is special to me as I know how hard the volunteers work around officials development and to now have employees working on this critical portfolio is fantastic,” said O’Keefe.

O’Keefe is also the newly elected chair of SPORT4ONTARIO’s Board of Directors. The provincial sport organization announced a new slate of directors, including O’Keefe, in a December release.

SPORT4ONTARIO is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of sport and physical activity in Ontario. The focus of the new board will include working with staff and officials at the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, and other government leaders to implement strategies to help revive the sport sector as it adapts to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m honoured to be working with SPORT4ONTARIO as the sports world continues to find its way through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said O’Keefe. “We know sport is a unifying factor for many, and I look forward to contributing to a new way forward for young athletes and sport organizations across Ontario, including right here in Niagara.”

O’Keefe is also among a small group of Canadian athletic leaders who sit on world sports boards, serving on FIBA Americas Board since 2010 and FIBA’s Central Board since 2014. Locally, she currently serves as board member of the 2022 Canada Summer Games Host Society.

(Source: Inside NC)

Woodlawn Park: Answering The Call Of The Ice

The ice was slushy, mushy, spongy in spots. Water-covered, too. But the trails in Welland’s Woodlawn Park were enticingly skateable Sunday. And young and old, single skaters and families turned out, enjoying the open air, testing blades of steel on ribbons of ice, experiencing the allure of the Canadian winter, largely elusive so far in these parts. /Photos by Joe Barkovich.

December Campaign A Winner On Three Fronts

WELLAND — Operation Win-Win-Win has raised “over $10,000” in donations, organizer Paul Turner said in e-mail correspondence this weekend.

The initiative, which partnered with Hope Centre, asked Welland residents for their support during Christmas season. It got underway December 1 and continued for most of the month.

Turner described the successful outcome as a win for the vulnerable, local restaurants and Welland.

He came up with Operation Win-Win-Win as a way to provide assistance to restaurants and at the same time offer a hand up to people in need. Restaurants are going through hard times because of the pandemic and protocols in place because of it.

When making donations to Hope Centre, contributors were asked which restaurant they would like to support by means of a gift certificate.

“Our local restaurants have been strong supporters and advocates for our city. We realize the COVID pandemic has been a strain on many and we are asking those (people) who are financially able to help out at this time,” are the words of a promotional announcement at the start of the campaign.

The gift certificates will be purchased by Hope Centre staff this week, then will be distributed to local residents the following week.

“To everyone who donated we expect nothing less from the wonderful people who live in Welland, cheers. On behalf of Welland, thank you so much,” Turner wrote in the e-mail, confident the generosity of local folks would shine through as it has on many other occasions.

If anyone missed making a donation to Win-Win-Win, late contributions can be arranged by calling 289-686-5260.

City Welcomes Third Anonymous Grocery Donation

WELLAND – The City of Welland is receiving another truckload of groceries from an anonymous donor on Wednesday, January 6, beginning at 3 p.m. at Open Arms Mission, Welland. This is the third time the anonymous donor has given away free groceries in the city. This time a significant amount of produce and thousands of pounds of perishable food will be given away to anyone who needs them. The food donations come in a time of need, with families, seniors, and vulnerable people struggling with financial concerns during Niagara’s state of emergency.

Volunteers from the City of Welland and Open Arms Mission will be on hand to help distribute the groceries. Items will be handed out with social distancing to ensure safety, and all volunteers will wear personal protective equipment. Organizers are asking that people who have face coverings wear them when picking up the food. All are welcome to come to Open Arms Mission to receive free groceries while supplies last.

“We’re grateful to the donor for once again providing much-needed food to those in need within our community,” said Mayor Frank Campion. “Acts of kindness and compassion, such as this are even more important during these difficult times.”

“January is often a difficult month for many families. The holidays are now over, and the bills have begun to come in,” said Marty Misener. “This act of generosity comes at a perfect time to assist those who need food in our community. Open Arms is so grateful for partners like this who continue to step up and make a difference.”

For more information on City of Welland’s response to COVID-19, visit welland.ca. For more information on community support and organizations that assist with food security, visit incommunitites.ca.

WHERE: Open Arms Mission, 22 Fifth Street, Welland

WHEN: 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. (until quantities last)

WHO: All residents are welcome to the FREE grocery pick-up

(Source: City of Welland news release)

Messy Weather Tracking Our Way

/File photo

Statements

10:02 AM EST Friday 01 January 2021
Special weather statement in effect for:

  • Niagara Falls – Welland – Southern Niagara Region
  • St. Catharines – Grimsby – Northern Niagara Region

Freezing rain possible late this afternoon and this evening.

Precipitation will begin as snow or ice pellets this afternoon over areas north of Lake Erie. A brief period of freezing rain is possible late this afternoon or this evening. Freezing rain may be mixed with rain or snow. Some ice accretion is possible. Precipitation will transition to rain later tonight.

This precipitation is associated with a low pressure system moving north from Texas which will track near the south shore of Lake Erie tonight.

Freezing rain warnings may be needed as the event draws closer.

Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to ONstorm@canada.ca or tweet reports using #ONStorm.

(Source: Environment Canada)

2020: My Year In Pictures

Captions: January: Will it or won’t it? Action from the championship game, Tribune Basketball Tournament. /Photos by Joe Barkovich.

February: Brrr! Ice fishing, old Welland Canal.

March: Coming in for a landing.

April: Faith in social distancing.

May: Hey, do you have a dinner reservation?

June: The beauty of a rose, the queen of the garden.

July: Sunsetting ‘boarder.

August: Polo action in Wainfleet.

September: Mellow yellow.

October: Lake Erie sunrise, Sherkston Shores.

November: Squirreling it away for winter?

December: Homeward bound.

Recognize Junction Lock’s ‘Cultural Heritage Value’: City

Plaque on site at Feeder Lock Park. (File photo/Joe Barkovich)

WELLAND  – City council is seeking to have the Feeder Canal Junction Lock designated as having Cultural Heritage Value.

The property is located between Prince Charles Drive South and the Welland Recreational Waterway at Broadway.

Reasons for the proposed designation: “Key attributes of this structure that reflect its value as one of the earliest surviving structures in the City of Welland and one that was central to the establishment of the community: Lock dimensions are 150 feet by 26.5 feet and 9 feet deep. Lock walls are constructed of dressed cut Queenston limestone (dolomitic limestone) running the length of the lock backed by rubble fill. Number of the lock is carved into a stone near the top layer of masonry at its entrance. A portion of the lock  approximately 45 feet long remains unburied and is filled with water. Carved iron fittings are visible on the top of the lock walls across from each other on either side of the lock in this area. The remainder of the lock is buried with only the tops of the stone walls visible in some areas in the grass. The stone lock “fenders” are exposed and visible on the banks of the old Welland Canal (Recreational Waterway).

Terry Hughes, who writes Heritage Lives, a column that appears here, offered this comment: “Finally, a structure that played an early role in the development not only of the city but the region has finally been recognized. Ironically this is the second time it has been recognized by city council, the first happened during Mayor (Roland) Hardy’s administration along with the Cross Street Pool. 

“The lock site needs a little tweaking with the plaques (already on site) being turned around for safety reasons, removal of the tall plants that hide the structure and by placing railway ties to show its entire length. Proper signage, like the neighbouring dog park has, would finish the job.” 

More information about the proposed designation is available from the city.

Notice of objection to the proposed designation can be filed with the city clerk no later than Jan. 25, 2021.

(Source of proposed designation information: Welland Civic News posting)