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Letters & Op-Ed, February 24 2021

Family Day was a hoot and a half Over this past Family Day Weekend, my family participated in the Town of Pelham’s Virtual Family Day Adventure. This involved us completing a series of tasks with our family team, giving us points for the game.

Family Day was a hoot and a half

Over this past Family Day Weekend, my family participated in the Town of Pelham’s Virtual Family Day Adventure. This involved us completing a series of tasks with our family team, giving us points for the game.

Some challenges guided us to local business websites to find information for fill-in-the-blank questions, while others had us getting more creative and taking pictures of our art projects or videoing ourselves re-creating and acting out scenes. All of the challenges were extremely well thought out, and the variety had us using our imaginations and got us excited about the possibilities!

We set up an indoor camp and roasted marshmallows over a camp stove, re-created a puck drop in hockey, and who could forget dressing up in our bathing suits for “Dreaming About Summer!”

Our family got increasingly motivated as we climbed in the standings and became exceedingly more competitive, as we were determined to complete all of the challenges. Overall it was an excellent family activity that I thoroughly enjoyed. The challenges were creative and had us thinking while bringing many laughs and fun moments as a family.

A big shout-out to everyone at the Town of Pelham and the sponsors who made this event possible and worked throughout the weekend to bring a fun adventure to so many families!

N. Anderson Fenwick


Remembers the Ansley School—and Jim Currie

Coincidence or small world, by chance while browsing online for information about the Ansley family and the Riverbend Inn I encountered John Chick’s Column Six article [Now this is what we call a coincidence, Feb. 17, p.1].

When I was a child, my parents often took me to see the Ansley sisters and I knew Jim Currie when we were kids. I remember Olga, Gladys, and Kate, but not the other sisters. I knew Jim had joined the RCMP and the family was so proud of him. I have fond memories of playing Chopsticks on the piano with Jim and visiting the animals in the barn—I only really remember a horse. I had heard that Jim had cancer.

I never did know the connection between my parents and the sisters. Possibly one or more may have been in nursing during World War I.

Several years ago when the Riverbend Inn opened, my husband and I stayed there for a night for old time’s sake for me. Thank you for bringing good memories back.

Barbara Campbell Toronto


Another disappointed TD Bank Fonthill customer

Having moved to Fonthill in 2014, I was pleased to discover that the bank I have used since it took over Canada Trust has a branch here, very conveniently situated near the town centre with lots of convenient parking. Though I now do much of my banking online, it is always a reassurance that the branch is close by when personal dealings with one of the resident friendly staff is necessary. Very rarely is it necessary to have to wait too long to speak with a teller.

Then came COVID and somebody made the decision to close the Fonthill branch, making it necessary when a visit to the bank was required, to make the longer journey to the much busier branch on Niagara Street in Welland. Fortunately, this was short-lived and soon the Fonthill branch reopened, albeit with the necessary COVID protocols in place.

Now I am in receipt of a letter from TD, advising that my branch at 1439 Pelham St. is closing on Friday, July 16, 2021, at 6 PM. Why? Was the closure during the onset of COVID just a trial run to test if patrons could manage without this branch? Or is it that it just does not generate enough profit for the shareholders? Surely someone has done their due diligence and discovered that with all the development—and that’s another totally upsetting story — in this area, then there is going to be a much larger population in need of banking services.

I am very disappointed with this decision and am giving careful consideration to cancelling all my accounts with TD and moving to a closer financial establishment.

Mike Athay Fonthill


Possible to be compassionate towards all living beings

Once, when volunteering by selling tags to raise money for a local animal rescue group, I well remember a few irate people. Why? Simply because the money being raised was for animals and not children.

Janet Gritter's letter “Animal losses more moving than human?” [Letters, Feb. 17, p.7] reminded me again how some people make it a competition between humans and animals. Why?

Can there not be enough compassion and concern in one's heart to care about both? What happened to this unsuspecting deer was horrific and violent. Then the hunter(s) took it further by leaving blood and guts on display for all to see with no thoughtful respect to anyone coming to the park to enjoy the day.

Humans make their own choices and they know there are sometimes consequences, but this pregnant deer had no choice when her life and her twins' lives were taken in 2021.

And yes, Janet, I do oppose hunting and any such form of violence towards all lives, whether human or animal.

Faye Suthons Wainfleet


Open letter to the government of Canada

We have very a serious situation in this country. Google and Facebook, two of the richest companies in history, control the on-ramp to the internet highway in Canada. They decide what we as a sovereign nation see and don’t see in the news. To make matters worse, they take the news produced by Canadians and don’t pay for it.

Meanwhile, all Canadian news media companies, big and small, are suffering for two reasons: First, they don’t get paid for their content by Facebook and Google. Second, Facebook and Google take over 80 percent of all Canadian digital advertising industry revenue. These massive American companies get virtually all of the revenue and don’t pay for content. Movie content doesn’t work that way in Canada. Music content doesn’t work that way. TV show content doesn’t work that way. So why is news content treated differently?

We only have to look south of the border to see what happens when real news companies disappear and social media platforms distribute divisive, fake news. We need to support healthy, independent, diverse news companies as the backbone of our democracy.

This is urgent. It’s a fact that news companies across Canada are going out of business. COVID-19 is accelerating the decline. Journalism jobs are disappearing. That means real news keeps disappearing and hate and fake news will be all that’s left to distribute.

Let’s not let this happen in Canada.

But there is good news. Australia has figured out the solution. They created a law that forces the trillion-dollar monopolies to pay fairly for news content. This costs the taxpayer absolutely nothing.

We strongly encourage the government to move quickly. Canada needs your leadership.

John Hinds, President/CEO News Media Canada



The perils of being a public figure

There are some perceptible societal trends and behaviors that should be of concern to all of us. One of those unwholesome and downright dangerous trends is that what used to be vigorous debate now turns so quickly to tactics such as personal denigration, character assassination, physical harm and even the destruction of an opponent’s property.

Likely, one of the most poignant examples of such loathsome behaviors is the recent attack on the houses of democracy in Washington, D.C. It is plausible that many attended this rally with legitimate motives to peacefully protest their perception of an issue. However, it appears that peaceful protesters were infiltrated and incited by others with more divisive and cataclysmic motives and methods. Consequently, many demonstrators, perchance unwittingly, got caught up in what turned out to be an unruly and wantonly destructive mob.

It is to be hoped that such incidents of discordant behaviors that occurred in the US Capitol will not be imported northward, or in any other direction.

More locally, there are two unpleasant provocations that should shock and disconcert the residents of Niagara. Such incidents should forewarn of what could become perilous methods to resolve differences within this region. Such gross behaviors should not be tolerated and sobering reprimands need be instituted to curtail such conduct in the future.

What a shame that Niagara should attract such national attention

The first of these examples is the unmitigated attacks by a few dissidents on Dr. Mustafa Hirji, the Acting Director of Health for the Niagara Region. These shameful attacks were grave enough to be commented on by the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premier of Ontario. What a shame that Niagara should attract such national attention.

The second example is the resignation of Councillor Lucas Spinosa from Welland’s city council. The reasons given for this resignation are: vandalism at his family business, threats of physical violence against himself, family and staff, and a constant string of online threats and harassments. Upon writing this, what comes to mind is more like a scene from a gangster movie rather than describing incidents in a winsome little community in the midst of the picturesque Niagara Peninsula.

Certainly, the citizens of this country have the inalienable right to object to and criticize the workings and decisions of their municipal, provincial, and federal officials and administrators. However, that right does not license anyone to publicly denigrate or physically threaten to harm these officials, their families or property.

Finally, the healthcare system, the city council and many other organizations have faced unrelenting stresses and unfamiliar challenges associated with the COVID pandemic. Under such persistent pressures, there may be occasional errors and unintended outcomes as a result of those responsible to get us through this pandemic with the least amount of harm. There is plenty of evidence to commend most of these decisions and actions and we should celebrate those good outcomes. While there may have been errors and unintended consequences, we should conscientiously avoid mob-like behaviors and threatening our decision makers with personal harm.

Canadians are known around the globe to be above such behaviors. Let us not tarnish that reputation by countenancing unseemly conduct.


PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

Vaccine waiting game continues; Help Emmett

The good news on the vaccination front this week is that studies in various countries are showing that when increasing the time period between the first and second dose it seems to make the Pfizer vaccine more effective. A study concerning Israeli healthcare workers shows that the first dose is 85 percent effective and adding the second dose within one month after the first, as is currently recommended, provides little added protection in the short term. In fact, one Canadian scientist contends that the length of time between the two doses could be safely extended to nine or ten weeks.

By extending the time frame between doses more people could be vaccinated with the first dose before having to circle back to do the second dose. Hundreds of thousands of shots are set to arrive each week for the foreseeable future, and we can only hope that all levels of our healthcare system have the logistics in place to deliver them at an expedited pace. I have heard from many of our seniors who are living on their own as to how anxious they are to receive their first shots. Latest statistics show that Canada now ranks 50th when compared to other countries and their vaccination rate. Israel leads the way with 80 percent of their population vaccinated, and the US ranks 5th on the list with just over 17 percent of Americans vaccinated. The Americans are still on track to have 100 million citizens vaccinated in Biden’s first 100 days in office. Canada currently has 1.3 million residents given the first dose.

In Niagara there were 26 new cases on Friday with the number of deaths in the region at 365. The number of active cases in Pelham had dropped to nine with all residents self-isolating at home. The positivity rate in Pelham was at 2.3 percent, which is classified in the low category.

A week or two ago an article appeared in the Voice about a little boy named Emmett Gervason. He was born without an opening in his left ear for sound to enter. His story can be found at gofundme-an-ear-for-emmy. His parents have located a doctor in the US who can perform corrective surgery to give Emmet hearing in this ear—at a cost of $250,000 dollars. His parents, Amanda and Aaron, could use some help paying this amount of money. Funds raised to date are just a little over $53,000 dollars. Please, let’s show this family that we all strongly believe in the adage, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Please go to the website, read about little Emmett and his family, and search your hearts and pockets for a donation for this little guy’s operation. His family says thank you. Until next time…