Changes at Gazette reflect community during time of transition: Year-in-Review 2019

HALL OF FAMER- The Late Jean Morrison, longtime publisher of the Picton Gazette and the Napanee Beaver, will be inducted into the Ontario Community Newspaper Association Hall of Fame in April. (Napanee Beaver photo)

JASON PARKS, DESIRÉE DECOSTE, SARAH WILLIAMS & ADAM BRAMBURGER

STAFF WRITERS

While the task of reflection at the close of the year will undoubtedly bring about acknowledgement of change, development and growth, 2019 was especially a stark time of transition for Canada’s oldest community newspaper.

In April, we said a fond farewell to editor Adam Bramburger who had dutifully filled the role for both the Picton Gazette and the Napanee Beaver for the better part of decade. Bramburger realized an opportunity with Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith and that move allowed for significant change here at the Gazette as long time reporter Jason Parks assumed the editor’s office and two new reporters- Sarah Williams and Desirée Decoste-came aboard to help gather and report the stories that are vital, important and entertaining to Prince Edward County readers.

Then, in October, we mourned the passing of our long-time publisher Jean Morrison. Mrs. ‘M’ as she was known inside the walls of our office, left behind a journalistic legacy we strive to honour with each story, with each page, with each edition we present. This year marks the 190th year of continued reportage in our fair community as the Hallowell Free Press (which became the Prince Edward Gazette in 1836 and finally the Picton Gazette in 1848) was first published in December 1830.

In today’s edition we present our ever-popular ‘Year-in-Review’ where we recap all the major stories and happenings over the past 365 days.

JANUARY

•The Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board began their hunt for a new Board of Directors. The local public school board announced early last January that Mandy Savery-Whiteway would be retiring from her post effective Aug. 30, 2019.

Director of Education Mandy Savery-Whiteway listens to Tyendinaga Mowhawk trustee Mike Brant at a recent HPEDSB meeting. Savery-Whiteway announced she would be leaving her post at the end of August. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

A native Trentonian, Savery-Whiteway spent her last 35 years involved in education and had been a senior staffer with the HPEDSB for the past dozen years. “Education is a people business, focused first and foremost on students. It has been my privilege to be part of public education for over 30 years,” Savery Whiteway said.

Savery-Whiteway took over for Prince Edward County resident Rob McGall as director of education in 2013 and was at the helm of the local public education body for what was likely the rockiest time in its amalgamated history.

•Christi Belcourt, creator of Wisdom of the Universe, which now adorns St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church visited the church in January in a meet and greet session which included members of the church’s circle of friends joined with members of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. The event was well attended with 80 people shaking off the cold and circling the chairs in the sanctuary to create a place of warmth and understanding.

OPP Sgt. Stew Smith defrosts in his police car while on duty during February’s winter storm. (OPP East Region Twitter photo)

•Arctic temperatures blew through the County last January, bringing life to a standstill, including PECI Exams According to Prince Edward OPP, Officers responded to over 50 calls for service within a 24 hour timeframe of which 22 were reported as motor vehicle collisions. While the snow flakes started to fly Wednesday morning, the heavier accumulations started around mid day and white out conditions later in the day prompted OPP to close all roads in the southern end of the county due to the poor visibility.

•Wellington celebrated International Downhill Federation street luge star Kolby Parks with an event attended by well over 100 people at Highline Hall.

In his 10th season on the World Cup circuit, Parks completed his ascent from 74th among all competitors in 2008 to first last year. He joined his well wishers as they watched an award-winning short documentary, Kolby Parks – Downforce, produced by Aaron and Angela Bell that chronicled a journey from an instant love of the sport to becoming synonymous with it.

•Prince Edward County ratepayers will see their direct contributions to the municipality’s $4.5 million commitment to a new hospital on their 2019 tax bills.

Inheriting a decision from the previous council to increase municipal contributions to the community’s $16.5-million share of the new hospital build, councillors elected to adopt a one-per-cent levy on the total tax bill annually until the money is paid.

Chief administrative officer James Hepburn had initially recommended that council contribute $312,000 annually over 15 years in its operating budget into a dedicated reserve fund to finance the contribution. Any unfinanced money at the time the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation needed to draw on the funds could be borrowed through Infrastructure Ontario when required.

At present, the timelines provided to the municipality by the Quinte Healthcare Corporation suggest that could be in 2023. Athol councillor Jamie Forrester said purely for optics, he’d like to see the contribution expressed on the tax bill as a a separate tax levy, rather than a line item buried in the budget.

FEBRUARY

•Picton Pizzeria, formerly known as Angelo’s, turned back time when they moved to their location circa 20 years ago.

Andrew Stellatos shows of a 1994 snapshot of himself and former employee Mark Graham. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Call it a rebirth, call it Picton Pizzeria 2.0 but whatever you do, if you like pizza made in the traditional Montreal style, just call Andrew Stellatos and Megan Hutton at the familiar spot.

Angelo Stellatos opened the original restaurant in Nov. 1980 and spent about two decades in the location before transitioning to a larger, sit-down family dining room style restaurant a kilometre or two west on Main st. called Angelo’s in the late 1990’s.

•Michael Hymus, proprietor of Angry Birds generated $21,000 to go towards local food banks, forfeiting the profit from a week’s worth of sales.

The local businessman presented cheques for $7,000 each to the Wellington Storehouse Food Bank, the Picton United Church County Food Bank and the Picton chapter of the Salvation Army at his popular Angry Birds Rotisserie Chicken Restaurant in Picton on Friday afternoon.

•Members of Prince Edward County Council along with senior staff were provided an update on the five year Skyway Bridge rehabilitation project.

Quinn Mieske, contract services administrator and Muhammad Waseem, project engineer spoke at the Committee of the whole meeting at Shire Hall on behalf of the Ministry of Transportation with regards to what portions of $76 million bridge rehabilitation are underway and what’s ahead for one of four fixed links connecting Prince Edward County to the mainland.

The bridge was originally built over a three year span and officially opened during Canada’s Centennial year.

•The Prince Edward District Women’s Institute (PEDWI) celebrated the centennial of the Federated Women’s Institute provincially and federally Tuesday, but it gave most of its birthday presents to the community.

About 25 members gathered in the Ameliasburgh Town Hall 100 years after the federations were formed to celebrate with dignitaries from the organizations and other community members. The gathering also took place on the same date the initial Women’s Institute first met.

The former Queen Elizabeth school at 35 Barker st. in Picton. (Google StreetView image)

•The County’s bid to turn the vacant Queen Elizabeth Public School in Picton into affordable housing was struck down. The Picton Gazette has confirmed that a joint ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) submission for the former Queen Elizabeth School in Picton on behalf of the Prince Edward County and Prince Edward-Lennox and Addington Social Services (PELASS) has not been accepted by Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board.

Prince Edward County media and communications co-ordinator Mark Kerr told the Gazette via email Tuesday morning the bid “was not successful.”

•County maple syrup producers watched the temperatures closely, as a cold snap had left froze progress on syrup production ahead of Maple in the County.

An extended cold spell leading into March had backed up syrup production this year compared to a number of early runs in recent memory. Maple in the County chair Ron Hubbs was able to joke a bit about the more traditional season last Friday, though he was likely hiding a bit of nervous energy.

“With the cold weather, I was just wondering if there’s anybody in the room looking forward to warmer weather in the next 10 days or so,” he said while kicking off the 18th edition of Prince Edward County’s largest festival at Loha Farms.

•Developer Michael Hymus took an unexpected course of action early this week when he pledged to rent space at the Elk’s Hall to attempt to convince councillors and the public that Picton Town Hall is not needed as a public meeting space.

Hymus, who was proposing to purchase the heritage building for $525,000 to develop low-cost accommodations in the form of a 50-unit pod style hotel and a possible food and beverage operation, took issue with comments made by Picton councillor Phil St. Jean at the Feb. 28 committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Picton Town Hall. (Jason Parks/Gazette staff)

St. Jean was discussing a lack of public meeting space available. He noted the arena is not necessarily the most functional space for groups, the Lipson Room above Books & Company was lost to other uses, and the library space currently available and proposed is not a definite.

He also described the Picton Elks hall as “absolutely overwhelmed” and said groups need to book three months in advance for space.

•Prince Edward County’s library board received councillors’ go-ahead to tender a proposed $2-million expansion to its Picton branch library, but not without some consternation about costs and needs.

The board appeared at Thursday’s committee-of-the-whole meeting in response to a request council made at budget time for a detailed overview of the project, its cost estimates, and alternate funding sources after anticipated costs increased $800,000 from $1.2 million.

Library board chair Devon Jones told councillors the project is necessary because the 1907 Carnegie library, which is the hub of the six-branch system is simply too small.

•The County of Prince Edward received a cash infusion of $725,000 from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Minister Steve Clark made the announcement on Wednesday from the town of Innisfil, ON that a series of investments were being made to small and rural municipalities to help modernize service delivery and reduce future costs through investments in projects such as service delivery reviews, development of shared agreements, and capital investments.

APRIL

•Organizers of the volunteer-initiated project that will see Prince Edward County’s Millennium Trail rehabilitated and smoothed from the Carrying Place launch to the trail head in Picton assured Committee of the whole that the project would be finished on time and under budget.

Acquired by the County from the Canadian National Railway in 1997, the Millennium Trail is a reproposed abandoned rail line that was converted into a multi-use recreational trail.

The trail is popular amongst a wide array of recreational enthusiasts year-round, including cyclists, hikers, snowmobilers, ATV riders, and cross-country skiers.

Protest organizer Talia Epstein. (Desirée Decoste/For the Gazette)

•Hundreds of Prince Edward Collegiate Institute students made their dislike clear for the Ford Government’s cuts to education at a protest carried out on Main Street, Picton.

Students walked out of classes at 1:15 p.m. and marched to Picton’s cenotaph where they listened to messages of concern and calls to action from a pair of organizers and encouraged motorists to honk their horns in support as they travelled by.

Kayla Zachariah and Talia Epstein were among the handful of PECI students who heard about a student-initiated action day counter to announcements by the province that class sizes will increase and e-learning will be mandated, among other cost cutting initiatives proposed by the Ministry of Education.

•The Hub Child Care Centre in Picton celebrated 30 years in operation with a day of celebrations The local not-for-profit organization that’s served children and their families since 1989 celebrated their 30th anniversary with a “Touch a truck” lineup of farm, commercial and heavy equipment vehicles, games and special performers, treats and face painting.

•The Rotary Club of Picton hosted the annual Waterfall Tours, despite soggy weather conditions. Despite Saturday morning’s rain, organizers are deeming the 2019 edition as “very successful”  as the clouds broke in time for a wonderful sun splashed Sunday.

One and a half year old Gavin Cordes had a great view of Jackson’s Falls on his dad Ron’s shoulders. In total, over 3,000 visitors checked out Jackson’s Falls and Cape Vesey in 2019. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Between Cape Vesey and Jackson Falls, the club raised in excess of $9,000 dollars in donations for a Rotary water project somewhere in the developing world.

MAY

•Hoping to prove the flip-side of anger is hope, a peaceful Picton contingent taking part in the province-wide ‘May Day March Against Premier Doug Ford’ originated with a large group of concerned citizens flooding the area around the cenotaph with an estimated 150 attendees gathered to chant and express their concerns regarding recent cuts made by the province.

•For the second time in three years, a young farming family has had a complaint filed against them by a passer-by regarding the state of a muddy barnyard. Steve and Angie Everall along with their children Hayley and Ben operate Cedar E Lane farms on County Road 17 in the ward of North Marysburgh where they have nearly 30 head of top quality Charolais- breed beef cattle as well as four horses.

•Prince Edward County council has approved a motion to move the easement where the Sir John A. MacDonald statue currently resides on the Armoury property, owned by TGSL Holdings Inc., to adjacent Picton Library grounds.

According to a municipal staff report tabled with the motion, consultation with the board and staff of the Picton Public Library, the statue donors (David Warrick on behalf of the John A. MacDonald Project) and the sculptor, Ruth Abernethy, “The Holding Court” statue will be moved a short distance east to the western forecourt (front) of the municipally-owned library.

•Local secondary students traded school books for sandbags as water levels on Lake Ontario have been slowly rising over the past few weeks causing people to sandbag around their homes and while the municipality has provided free sandbagging stations throughout the County not everyone can physically fill their own bags due to illness, injury, age, ect.

PECI students work shovels and sandbags at the Johnson St. soccer pitch parking lot Wednesday morning. Secondary school students pitched in and filled sandbags for shoreline residents who are unable to fill their own sandbags at the stations throughout Prince Edward County. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Thankfully secondary students at PECI have volunteered their time and efforts to helping those members of the community.

• In addition to looking for a new Chief Administrative Officer, the County of Prince Edward will soon be on the hunt to replace its current Director of Community Development & Strategic Initiatives. Neil Carbone tendered his resignation to acting Chief Administrative Officer Robert McCauley.

•The morning was wet and muddy on Ostrander Point Rd. but that didn’t stop the public from celebrating announcement by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) that the organization and partners were officially conserving 31-hectares (76-acres) on the Hudgin-Rose property on the south shore of Prince Edward County.

JUNE

•Through the diligent work of Prince Edward County Firefighters and a hurried but successful evacuation that had been practiced and designed by Fire Prevention Officer Mike Branscombe, disaster was averted in Picton.

A Prince Edward County Firefighter douse a third floor fire at an apartment complex in south west Picton on Saturday afternoon. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

An overheated power bar at a third floor apartment in a building at the corner of West Mary and Spring streets led to a fire that called for firefighters from Stations 1 and 2 to assemble and battle the blaze for a period of time.

• The pride of Prince Edward County’s LGBTQ2S+ community and its supporters came shining through on a sunny morning in Picton.

Hurt and offended by comments made in a church bulletin by Father Robert Chisholm, regarding participation in local Pride festivities, upwards of 600 people gathered in front of St. Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church prior to mass Sunday morning to protest the position of local clergy.

•When it comes to unique wine tastings, its hard to stick a cork in Uncork Canada. At the Prince Edward Community Centre marked the 12th year of Uncorked Canada with last five of those years in the County.

All the wines are sourced from the judging of the All Canadian Wine Championships (ACWC) and are award winners. The competition has followed the progress of our country’s wine industry from its infancy to where it stands today, vibrant and competing successfully against the world’s best.

•Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith will be taking on a new challenge in the Ontario government.

As part of a massive cabinet shuffle undertaken by Premier Doug Ford, it was announced at Queen’s Park that Smith would be stepping up to take on the Ontario’s Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. Smith, who also served as Government House Leader, was previously the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

Minister of Longterm Care Dr. Merrilee Fullerton and Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith greet residents at H.J. McFarland Home. The province announced it was allocating 76 new beds and investing in facility upgrades. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

•It was a celebration 100 years in the making. Demorestville Women’s Institute celebrated their 100th anniversary at the Sophiasburgh Town Hall with approximately 100 people in attendance.

Not too many years ago the Demorestville branch was down to a scant three members and thanks to the efforts of the members Joan Williams, Ruth Rallison and Gwen Johnson, the women’s service club based in Sophiasburgh now have 13 active members and are looking forward to another 100 years of service to their beloved community.

•Just over seven years after Ministry of Health and Health and Longterm Care (MOHLTC) officials huddled residents and staff inside a common room and announced the 78-bed Picton Manor would be shuttered and closed, a new provincial government has righted a wrong committed that day in 2012 and allocated 76 new long-term care (LTC) beds to the County of Prince Edward and its H.J. McFarland Home.

JULY

•Alternatives for Women (AFW), a Prince Edward County non-profit that offers help for women of domestic abuse, has recently asked the public for help funding a new shelter.

The new shelter, dubbed Vi’s Place, is intended to be the first Women’s shelter in the County and will also feature four transitional housing units and one affordable apartment.

•A Prince Edward County OPP officer and his police service dog are very much a part of the happy ending of a search of two teen age girls reported missing in Algonquin Park.

OPP Canine officer Scott Gannon and search and rescue dog Zoe. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Constable Scott Gannon and Zoe, his specialized tracking dog, were part of a major search effort as members of the OPP Emergency Response Team (ERT), front line members from several OPP detachments, and several OPP Canine Units converged on the area assisted by Park Wardens and members of the Ontario Search and Rescue Volunteer Association (OSARVA).

•A Prince Edward County man has pleaded guilty of his role in a vandalism spree that caused upwards of $200,000 damage at Glenwood Cemetery last June.

The young man, a local resident who was 17 at the time of the incident but has since turned 18, stood before Justice Stephen Hunter in Picton’s Provincial Courthouse on King St. and entered a plea of guilty. Hunter levied 80 hours of community service, a year of probation, counselling and a number of other orders typically associated with the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).

•A Prince Edward County native and his playing partner from Stirling are on the top of the Canadian Pickleball scene for 2019.

Noah, an 11 year old golden labradoodle that’s helped his owner get back on his feet after a horrific car crash and was lost Canada Day weekend in Prince Edward County, is still being sought by a great number of local searchers. (Submitted Photo)

Barry Matthie of Bloomfield and partner Julie Cadeau went undefeated through the Canadians in Kingston earlier this month in the 60+ division at the 3.0 skill level. Matthie and Cadeau met up with the entry of Pierrette Guitard and Jean-Pierre De Beaumont representing the Fédération Québécoise de Pickleball in the gold medal finals and downed the opposing duo for a second time in the double elimination tournament.

•A copper brown labradoodle lost during the Canada Day weekend at a rental property in south Prince Edward County is out there in the wilds of this island. His owner can feel it.

Toronto’s Craig Pitman is appealing to Prince Edward County residents to keep their eyes out for Noah, an 11 year-old copper brown labrador-poodle cross that served as a therapy dog in palliative situations at Toronto-area hospitals.

AUGUST

•The Corporation of the County of Prince Edward has notified residents, Powers of Attorney, staff and Family Council of H.J. McFarland Memorial Home about unauthorized access to personal information that may have resulted in a privacy breach.

According to a letter obtained by the Gazette sent by Clerk Catalina Blumenberg addressed to residents of the municipally owned and operated long term care facility, the information included resident health information and employee records.

In the letter the County states it recently discovered a former employee at the home transferred work-related emails and documents containing confidential personal patient health as well as employee information from their work station and County email account to their personal computer and email account.

•A pair of players from Prince Edward County have helped the Napanee Express climb to the top of Canada’s softball world. Catcher Nic McGrayne and third baseman Aiden Reddick both played virtually the entire 2019 Softball Canada U16 Boys National Championships for wining the Express entry who topped the East Hants, Nova Scotia Mastadons 6-1 in Sunday’s final.

(From left) County natives Nic McGrayne and Aiden Reddick are national softball champions after their U 16 Napanee Express won the 2019 Softball Canada National Championships in Saskatoon, SK Sunday.
(Submitted Photo)

•Prince Edward OPP are reminding the public to remain vigilant and always think twice before depositing large amounts of money into strange bank accounts after a member of the community was defrauded of $6,000. Community Safety Officer Constable Karen German confirmed the ‘bail money/legal fees’ scam ensnared another victim on a growing list of people who have fallen prey to the fraudulent scheme.

Constables started a fraud investigation at a Wellington address after a female resident on Harbourview Court received a frantic phone call from a male whom she believed was her son.

•Prince Edward County Council have voted to rescind a proposed zoning bylaw amendment that would have prohibited second-unit dwellings utilized as short term accommodations.

The contentious motion was likely doomed from the start as such a manoeuvre likely violated Ontario’s Planning Act as the Zoning Bylaw Amendment failed to allow for public consultation and input. The amendment to the new bylaw was proposed by Councillor Jamie Forrester at the Public Planning Meeting where he proposed a ban on second-unit dwellings being used as an STA.

•The Prince Edward County Sports Hall of Fame (PECSHOF) will increase by two later next month when Larry Holmes and Mary Van Soelen are inducted into the shrine honouring the uncommon athletic pursuits of local citizenry.

Prince Edward County Fire and Rescue crews battle a blaze on Gilead Rd. A lone occupant and a dog were saved thanks to the quick thinking and actions of two delivery truck drivers. (Jason Parks/ Gazette Staff)

Holmes, a highly regarded hockey goaltender who backstopped a local entry to an Ontario championship and went on to be one of the very few Prince Edward County natives to play professional hockey, will be joined by Van Solen who was a standout in volleyball, participating in the Canada Winter Games for Team Ontario as well as being named Academic All Canadian during her time at York University.

•Two passers by noticed strange smoke emanating from the rear of a house on Gilead Rd. and are being credited with saving a pair of lives thanks to their quick thinking and appropriate actions.

A fire of an undetermined cause has razed a home at 313 Gilead Rd but a lone male occupant who was sleeping at the time and a canine are alive thanks to Brad Osborne and Greg Yaworski.

•A late Prince Edward County resident who was instrumental in the emergence of Ontario’s commercialized cider industry will be inducted as part of the 2019 class of the Quinte Agricultural Wall of Fame at Farmtown Park in Stirling next month.

The Wall of Fame committee announced this week the late Grant Howes will be honoured when the Quinte Agricultural Wall of Fame holds its 14th annual induction ceremony. The Wall of Fame honours those who have made outstanding contributions to agriculture and the food industry.

SEPTEMBER

•The local food sector received a major investment of $100,000 with a sequence of infusions in farm-to-table food and beverage operations in Prince Edward County.

The announcement was made by Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis on behalf of  Community Futures Prince Edward Lennox & Addington and the Rural Innovation Initiative. The new funding will allow local operations to expand their businesses and keep up with strong demands for the county.

•Picton resident Megan Smith brought the issue of flooding on East Mary Street to County Council’s attention at last Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

Smith is part of a group of concerned citizens who live on East Mary Street and whose properties have been affected by a considerable overspill of water from the adjacent Marsh creek. Though many have experienced adverse effects of flooding in recent years, Smith and her neighbours argue that the water levels on their street are exacerbated by infrastructure problems.

•Canadian business mogul Frank Stronach offered his vision of a 10,000 square foot beef processing facility in the south end of Prince Edward County  to the Prince Edward County Agriculture Advisory Committee.

Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach presented his vision for an organic beef farm and processing facility for southern Prince Edward County at the Agriculture Advisory meeting at Shire Hall. (Sarah Williams/Gazette Staff)

The proposed facility would be situated in South Marysburgh but the scale of Stronach’s vision is raising some eyebrows as well as environmental concerns. Having a swathe of sundry business ventures under his belt, from an organic cattle ranch in Florida to various racetracks throughout North America, Stronach, 87,  presented his plan to the committee with the intent of gauging community interest for the facility in question.

•The rides were roaring, the animals were calling and smiles were as wide as a bright, blue September sky as the Prince Edward Agricultural Society’s annual Picton Fair offered up its 184th edition.

While final tallies were still being determined as of Monday, Fair organizers figure upwards of 10,000 people were in attendance over the course of the weekend and the final tally will indicate a higher number of fair-goers over 2018.

•The County of Prince Edward has accepted an offer made by the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund (SOPF) to help recover losses incurred from the sinking of the Pitts Carillon Barge in Picton Bay in March,  2017.

The sinking of the Pitts Carillon at Picton Terminals in March, 2017, has cost the County of Prince Edward a net of $205,042 The County accepted the offer of $394,000 from the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund (SOPF). (Dave Tugwood/For the Gazette)

The amount offered by SOPF and accepted by the County was $394,110.76. SOPF is a federally funded initiative mandated to help the victims of oil spills. With 30 years experience and over 400 claims in total, SOPF has only seen 10 claims made by municipalities.

Of those claims made by municipalities, the compensation awarded to the County was the largest ever offered.The County had originally asked for close to $600,000 in compensation.

OCTOBER

•Canadians across the country drew attention away from party politics and towards an issue that affects us all-climate change. Protests occurred with people attending in droves from coast to coast.

Here in Picton, a fair sized protest was staged on the corner of Washburn and Main Sts. Among the many protestors, the sense of hope and need for change was strong.

Many held placards as cars drove by, honking in support. In the wake of mounting environmental concerns, protests took place around the world with Canadian protestors numbering in the hundreds of thousands including large scale protests in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Toronto’s Tannis Reddy became the first woman in the 16 year history of the County Marathon to win the overall race Sunday, completing the 42 KM circuit in 2:50:18. (Sarah Williams/Gazette Staff)

• As it has some years prior, the 16th annual County Marathon began with wind and rain. But then clouds parted and Toronto’s Tannis Reddy crossed the finish line and into history as the first female participant to ever win the overall race.

Reddy, 28, finished the marathon with a time of 2:50:18, which is nine minutes faster than her last race, the Boston Marathon. She was beaming post-race, emerging relatively unscathed and with only one blister to speak of.  Reddy added that thoughts of her imminent vacation in Barbados helped get her through some tough spots on the course.

“I’m really excited and happy. I think being the first female to win this race is pretty cool,” Reddy told the Gazette. “All of the ladies I passed, everyone on the course who was cheering, was amazing. When I heard people say, ‘It’s a girl, It’s a girl,’ I just thought, ‘Okay, yeah, I’ve got to do it for all these women’.”

•It was our sad duty to report the long time publisher of the Picton Gazette and our sister newspaper the Napanee Beaver has died. Jean Morrison was surrounded by the love of her family Sunday morning when she peacefully passed away at her Napanee home.

Jean Morrison at the offices of the Napanee Beaver in 1957. (Morrison Collection)

Jean Morrison was 97 years old.

“Jean Morrison was an integral, active and admired leader in the community newspaper business for many years, a long time member of the Canadian Community Newspaper Association and the International Press who also served as President of the OCNA in 1987,” said OCNA Executive Director Caroline Medwell.

•About a year and half after two vandals chose to enter Glenwood Cemetery and desecrate over 150 gravestones and monuments- some of them dating back to 19th century- the criminal portion of the matter has come to a close.

In Picton’s Youth Court Justice Stephen Hunter delivered his verdict against one the two males who were charged with toppling and destroying $200,000 worth of gravestones at Picton’s ‘City of the Dead’. Hunter found the young man, aged 15 and a resident of Kingston at the time of the acts vandalism, guilty.

The young man was sentenced 80 hours of community service as well as 12 months of probation and ordered to undergo counselling.

•The impetus for the County of Prince Edward to source, hire and orientate its next Chief Administrative Officer has a deadline. Acting CAO Robert McAuley announced that he will be retiring by the end of the year.

In April 2019, McAuley accepted County Council’s invitation to work as Acting CAO. McAuley took on the action role when the ‘working relationship’ between then-CAO James Hepburn and the municipality ended.

•With the chaperone of a minority government, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is heading back to 24 Sussex Drive. The Liberal Party saw 157 of their members elected in the federal election and the party will again hold the position of power at the House of Commons.

Victorious Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis enters the Empire Theatre in Belleville. Ellis was elected to his second straight term in the 2019 Federal Election. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Locally, the race for the Bay of Quinte was incredibly tight as Liberal Neil Ellis eked out a return trip to represent concerns from the Quinte area in Ottawa. Ellis was elected with 24,351 or 39.3 per cent of the votes cast in the riding, a sharp decrease over 2015 where a total of 29,281 ballots were cast in his favour.

Conservative candidate Tim Durkin fell by a total of 1,465 votes, earning 36.9 per cent of the ballots cast. NDP Candidate and Picton resident Stephanie Bell tallied in third place with 9,770 or 15.8 per cent of the ballot.

Green Party candidate Danny Celovsky picked up 3,744 of the votes while People’s Party Candidate Paul Bordonaro was on 1,202 of ballots cast in the Bay of Quinte in 2019.

NOVEMBER

•Not that she needs it in the eyes of her thousands of fans from Prince Edward County, Kingston and elsewhere but Miss Emily and her career have received a serious dose of validation.

The local songstress and Milford native has been nominated for three major Maple Blues awards. Miss Emily is up for 2019 Entertainer of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year after being selected by the Maple Blues Awards Nominations Panel for her outstanding achievements in blues music in Canada over the past year.

•Through the hard work of local firefighters,  a home on the outskirts of Carrying Place didn’t receive any damage in a blaze.

Loud bangs and large flames were evidence on Hiscock Shores Rd. early Saturday morning of a detached garage and a recreational vehicle burning up in an undetermined fire. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

A rude 2:24 a.m. wake up call for home owners on Hiscock Shores Rd  Nov. 2nd indicated a recreational vehicle (RV), a small detached garage behind it and a small pull trailer beside it were fully involved and although the conditions this weekend were windswept,  wind thankfully did not play a factor in this call.

Stations Six out of Consecon and Eight out of Carrying Place as well as Nine out of Ameliasburgh were on site with approximately five fire trucks and approximately 22 firefighters at the peak of the fire.

•It was a start to the month of November very few County residents will forget for some time. High winds left some 6,000 homes without power in Prince Edward County as trees toppled powerlines and debris played havoc with restoration efforts across the community.

The villages of Wellington, Bloomfield, Cherry Valley and Carrying Place were extremely hard hit as was parts of Sophiasburgh ward. While many customers in Prince Edward County only needed to survive a few hours without electricity, there were pockets without power for up to three days.

•Dr. Niigaan Sinclair, an Indigenous writer, educator, advocate and columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press spoke to a wrapt audience of close to 200 at St. Mary Magdalene Church.

Author, educator and columnist Dr. Niigaan Sinclair spoke at St. Mary Magdalene Church Tuesday evening about all sides of the legacy of Sir John A. Macdonald. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

The event was hosted by the Prince Edward County Public Library in hopes of beginning a broader exploration of Sir John A. Macdonald’s legacy, given the imminent resurrection of his familiar statue to be placed in the library forecourt by month’s end.

•With the support of Bay of Quinte MPP Smith and neighbouring MPPs, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to urge the federal government to act immediately to appoint an IJC Commissioner from the region hit hard by record high water levels in both 2017 and 2019. In his letter, Ford noted flooding has caused extensive damage to public and private property and severely impacted businesses that support the region’s vital tourism economy. He indicated the cost to municipalities, private landowners and businesses in the region “will reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

DECEMBER

•The face of Picton Harbour is changing with proposed developments. Exactly how much change will occur was brought to Council’s attention when CJ Thompson of Tenacity Capital spoke at Shire Hall during the Regular Council Meeting.

Thompson presented his vision for an improved marina, replete with boardwalk and functional operational facilities as part of a public-private ownership between his business and the County. Though Thompson’s request did not die on the floor, so to speak, council did pass a motion requesting a report from staff on operational options for marinas in the County.

•Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis has been appointed to a portfolio he can “grow” into.

It was announced in Ottawa by the Government of Canada that Ellis was selected by the Right Honourable Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau to serve as the Parliamentary Secretary for the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Marie-Claude Bibeau.

Ellis said he very excited to work with the Minister and representative of the Quebec riding of Compton-Stanstead promoting and furthering Canadian agriculture and working with producers and industry leaders in the agri-food industry.