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Prince Edward County Decade in Review – highlights from 2013

As we welcome a new decade in 2020, Countylive.ca celebrates its 10th anniversary taking a look at highlights of the past 10 years.

2013

General Tom Lawson, Chief of Defence, speaks with George W. Wright, 92, of Picton, who is a veteran of the Devil’s Brigade. The veterans of the First Special Service Force received the Minister of National Defence Award of Excellence at Parliament Hill on January, 27, 2013. The event was hosted by Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs. Photo by Corporal William White CFSU(O) Photo Services ©2013 DND-MDN, CANADA

One of Prince Edward County’s most distinguished soldiers, George Wright, 92, of Picton, was among 13 members of the Devil’s Brigade honoured in a private ceremony in Ottawa. The men were presented with the commendation for The First Special Service Force and individually with the Minister of National Defence Award of Excellence.
In 1944, Wright won the American Silver Star after risking his life to allow a wounded comrade to reach safety. Wright is well-known in the County as a retired detective sergeant of the now defunct Picton Police Department. He was unable to attend an event last February in Washington where members of the elite regiment were honoured with the Congressional Gold Medal. He was also honoured by County council. Wright passed in December 2018, at age 98.

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– One Billion Rising Video by Amber Putman/Sue Capon

Prince Edward County residents stopped traffic downtown Picton in support of a global movement to end violence against women.
About 100 participants met outside the Picton Branch Public Library and danced, carried placards or watched in support of the One Billion Rising event organized by Christine Renaud. Rallies were held in 203 countries.
The One Billion Rising campaign began as a call to action based on the statistic that one in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at seven billion, this adds up to more than one billion daughters, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, lovers and friends. Click here for full story 

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The success of Sandy Macpherson’s Sail for a Cure last summer was just the beginning as the County resident is making another splash as a member of the British Youth Plymouth Sailing Team competing in a 1,000 mile sprint around the Arabian Gulf against some of the best sailors in the world. MacPherson, 19, raised more than $15,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society on a four-day solo fundraising sail about Lake Ontario last summer. He is in his second year at Plymouth University where he is taking a BSc in Navigation and Maritime Science, advancing his sailing knowledge to a professional level.

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Jam-packed Sophiasburgh Town Hall for the first day of the Ostrander Point Environmental Review Tribunal appealing the Ministry of the Environment approval of Gilead Power’s Ostrander Point industrial wind turbine project on the south shore of Prince Edward County. – Sue Capon photo

Vehicles lined Demorestville’s main street as about 150 people travelled to the Sophiasburgh Town Hall for the first day of the Ostrander Point Environmental Review Tribunal, appealing the Ministry of the Environment approval of Gilead Power’s Ostrander Point industrial wind turbine project on the south shore of Prince Edward County.
Tribunal members Robert Wright and Heather Gibbs, lawyers for the Ministry of the Environment and Gilead Power were present along with parties to the appeal, the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) and the Alliance for the Protection of Prince Edward County (APPEC) and their legal representatives Eric Gillespie and Natalie Smith. Appeals are to be heard by PECFN, on grounds of harm to plants, animals or the natural environment; and the APPEC, on grounds of harm to human health.

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Prince Edward Collegiate Institute staff, students and community members showed their support in great numbers at the “OneMatch” Stem Cell and Marrow Drive in support of student Sarah Reddick.
“The OneMatch goal was 50 and we registered 289 – with 100 of those being our own Panther students,” said teacher Greer Koutroulides. “They were lined right up all day. Twenty-six people also registered to donate blood at the next clinic in Picton.”
Sarah was unable to attend as she was back in hospital fighting an infection but she was able to make a video appearance at the school.
“Sarah is a beautiful 16-year-old, who is looking forward to finishing high school and going to university to fulfill her life-long dream of becoming a teacher,” said Koutroulides. “In order to reach her dreams, Sarah will require a stem cell transplant.”
(UPDATE: Sarah earned a Bachelor of Science specializing in Biology and Psychology and is completing a Bachelor of Education at Queen’s)

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POOCH rally at Queen’s Park. – Sue Capon photo

Prince Edward County residents took a first step in their bid to remove the Picton  hospital from the Quinte Healthcare Corporation. Almost 200 citizens boarded four buses to rally for their hospital at Queen’s Park. The core committee of the Patrons of our County Hospital (POOCH), reported a short, but good meeting with Health Minister Deb Matthews followed by meetings with local MPP Todd Smith and Conservative party health critic Christine Elliott.
“The petition – signed by 5,520 citizens –  explained the grievance of the citizens is that their hospital “is being moved toward extinction.” It outlined the history of the hospital from its financially responsible state in 1998 as a full service, 42-bed facility, funded and built by County residents, service groups and practitioners, through to its forced amalgamation with hospitals in Belleville, Trenton and Bancroft.

Hospice president Birgit Langwisch, County Mayor Peter Mertens and MPP Todd Smith spoke to guests attending the opening ceremonies. – Sue Capon photo

Prince Edward County’s residential hospice is a dream come true following the official ribbon cutting at the 40 Downes Avenue facility in Picton.
Visitors toured the new home for patients at the end of life. County mayor Peter Mertens told the grand opening crowd he was impressed with the hospice staff and board, its volunteers and mostly, with the community.
“This is an enormous financial undertaking and the people of this county have stepped up to the mark,” said Mertens. “The care and attention to detail that has been implemented in the hospice is going to ensure the clients, the patients, and their families are able to spend their last days in dignity, in comfort, and in an environment that lends itself to sharing those last moments in peace. It is a remarkable effort.”
Nancy Parks, executive director, says the centre reflects and honours a community that holds hospice palliative care near to their hearts.
“This home belongs to the community, it was created by the community, and will be operated and supported by the community,” Parks said. Click here for story and photos

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There were about 100 protesters, mostly from the County, who braved the bitter cold and wind outside the main gates of the Procter and Gamble facility in Belleville to await the arrival of the premier Kathleen Wynne. She greeted the protesters and promised to speak with them when she completed a tour of the plant and a roundtable with local business leaders. The protesters attending were mostly opposed to wind projects in Prince Edward County and Amherst Island. Local school bus drivers also voiced concern over the request for proposal process for school bus service. -Paul Wallace photo Story here

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Astronaut Chris Hadfield ‘visiting’ students at Pinecrest school. – Sue Capon photo

Students at Pinecrest Public School were among thousands coast-to-coast who gained a new appreciation of music and technology in a live musical link-up with the International Space Station (ISS).
Astronaut Chris Hadfield and Barenaked Ladies frontman Ed Robertson collaborated between earth and space to co-write the official song for Music Monday 2013. The end-result featured Hadfield playing the song on guitar from the International Space Station, while Robertson and the Wexford Gleeks, a Toronto school choir, join him to unite in song with schools and communities across the nation.
The County students joined in the singing of I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing).
Hadfield is the first Canadian Commander of the ISS and has built rock-star status using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to connect with people around the globe.  Click here for story 

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The 2013 Schmalz Cup Champions are the Picton Pirates of the Empire B Junior C Hockey League. With just a little under eight minutes left in the third period of Game 5, Mitchell Smith would score the equalizer for the Pirates and thus lit up the spirits of the home town crowd of 723 screaming fans who had never seen an OHA Championship in their community. The comeback was completed when Pirates forward Levi George scored the game winner (3-2) with just a little under six minutes left in the series.
As time on the clock hit zero the entire community it seemed, stormed onto the ice in excitement. Many fans were seen with tears in their eyes for their beloved Pirates.
OHA Chief Executive Officer Scott Farley presented the coveted Schmalz Cup Trophy to the teams Captain Brandon Peever and the Assistant Captains Brad Jacklin, Jack Davidson and Evan Greer. The 2013 Schmalz Cup Champions are the Picton Pirates of the Empire B Junior C Hockey League.

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The Prince Edward Yacht Club is hosting this year’s Eastern Yachting Circuit event. The regatta is the cornerstone of the Yacht Club’s 75th anniversary celebrations. Experienced sailors join “first-timers” to enjoy the protected sailing venue of Picton Bay and the Adolphus Reach, while participating in a traditionally family and friends oriented regatta. – Robert Quaiff photo

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The endangered Blanding’s turtle is helping the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists take down turbines. The Environmental Review Tribunal has allowed the appeal of the Ostrander Point Project by PECFN on grounds of serious and irreversible harm to the natural environment, and has revoked the approval of the Gilead Power nine turbine project. The approval of the project by the MOE came under fire as it was issued Dec. 20, 2012 – just before the Christmas holidays. The tribunal decision was announced Wednesday after 40 days, 185 exhibits and testimony of 31 expert witnesses appeared before the panel of lawyers Robert Wright and Heather Gibbs in Demorestville and Toronto.

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Wellington’s weekend celebration of its 150th anniversary was highlighted by the musical gala ‘Wellington Thru the Ages’ Friday evening before a full house at Highline Hall in the community centre.Song, dance and sketches were tied together with historical commentary by Roseanne Blower. Presented in 10 scenes, the program included music from the Golden Voices Choir, schoolchildren from CML Snider and featured tributes to settlers, Tara Hall, the telephone, the Cannery Years, flappers, the war years and the Dukes. Click here for story and videos.

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Prince Edward County was one of the hardest hit in province by the December 2013 ice storm.
The storm cost the County almost $500,000 in damages, emergency response costs and cleanup. The storm caused widespread damage and blackouts across southern, western and eastern Ontario, leaving more than 800,000 hydro customers without power at its peak.
The municipality’s public works crews began removing branches and fallen trees from the County’s 1,100 kms of roads when the storm began Dec. 18. Warming centres were opened Dec. 22-24 to provide residents and their pets with a place to warm up and charge mobile devices. More than 100 adults and children made use of the centres, including 25 who stayed overnight. Clean up continued well into January.
(It took two years for the Ontario government to finalize payments from the disaster relief program. The County received $422,673 in 2015. Ontario is reimbursed by the federal government for a portion of the response and recovery costs).

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“Milo, you’re dead. Everybody notice, I want it to feel real.” – Assistant Director Jason Bourke giving direction to actors in the field, including Taylor Terpstra, of Picton. – Sue Capon photo

Canada has long been known for its super spies. Prince Edward County was a location for the filming of a two-hour documentary on Camp X: The School for Super spies (working title) to be aired in the spring of 2014.Yap Films, commissioned by History Channel Canada, is documenting a selection of personal stories of agents who attended Camp X – the first spy training school of its kind in North America.
A portion of the re-creation involved about a dozen actors from the County acting as spy trainees for filming at the former Camp Picton property now owned by Loch Sloy Holdings, on “the hill”. The former military camp was used for Bombing and Gunnery School training during the Second World War. Click here for story and photos

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