by Margaret Knott
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Annual Archives
Margaret Knott's What's New on Frontenac Islands articles appear with the kind permission of the The Kingston Heritage Newspaper.

August 16, 2011
WI’s Scene of the Crime Festival Hosts Grant Allen Award winner Maureen Jennings & Guest Authors

Following on the heels of an already busy summer on Wolfe Island, the 11th Annual Scene of the Crime festival brought together a cadre of Canadian writers of the crime genre, writers and would be writers as well many guests. All interested in meeting and hearing from the authors and about their books. The Scene of the Crime festival is small if compared to other events on the island, for example, the road race or the family ball tournament, but year after year they come , many for a second or third time to enjoy a well organized day held in variety of places on the island.
This year’s guest authors all nominated for, or winners of, writing awards, included: Elizabeth Duncan, A Brush with Death, (Brannigan mystery series); C.B. Forrest, (The Weight of Stones, Slow Recoil; R.J. Harlick (Meg Harris mystery series set in Quebec) and Howard Shrier, (Jonah Geller investigator series Buffalo Jump, High Chicago). Choosing particular portions of their books or new manuscripts they read to an attentive audience.
Vicki Delaney a prolific crime writer, (psychological suspense, Constable Molly Smith series), a Scene of the Crime board member presented a well attended writing workshop “Writing the Criminal Mind”-creating the Character of the Antagonist, which because of its popularity may in fact be lengthened in future years.
Guest lecturer Staff Sgt. Kristina Patterson, from the Belleville Police Service, currently Officer in Charge of the Criminal Investigations Unit (who befriended Vicki Delaney) and obviously loving what she does, offered insights into overcoming fear, self protection in the face of danger, the criminal mind, and tactics used by police officers everyday.
And last, but not least, the winner of this year’s Grant Allen award, British born Canadian writer , Maureen Jennings participated in a panel discussion with the guests authors moderated by Vicki Delaney on Writing the Villain.
Jennings, this year’s recipient of the Award for her contribution to Canadian crime writing. is acknowledged for her Murdoch mystery series set in late 1800’s Toronto and adapted for TV, her Christine Morris Books, many short stories, and coming full circle, the recently released Season of Darkness, the first book in a WW2 crime trilogy set in Britain.
The Grant Allen award, individually created in the form of a kaleidoscope by local artist Linda Sutherland, is designed to have particular significance to the winner. The kaleidoscope was chosen because a familiar painting of Grant Allen’ seated in his study in England shows one on his desk.
In presenting this year’s kalaidescope adorned with glass tubes and marbles, Festival board member Rev. Chris Carr read a note from the artist to Jennings. Of Detective Murdoch she said, “perhaps a man before his time, he sometimes used glass tubes and beakers and chemistry to solve his mysteries so the glass rods express his forward thinking and experimental nature.. Of course marbles were a common pastime,” he read.
‘This is absolutely amazing,” Jennings said in accepting the book-like-box containing the award noting that the picture painted on it was the image of a the photograph (found in an antique store) used for the Murdock series. “I don’t know who he is it is, but that is who Murdoch looks like,” she said. Opening the box she lifted out award exclaiming as she raised it to her eyes, “How beautiful, how beautiful.” Jennings went on to read an excerpt about Dunkirk from her newest book “Season of Darkness”. This was followed by a one-on-one informative interview between the author and the Whig Standard’s Greg Burliuk. The event offered opportunities to meet and greet at the Island Grill, to buy books from Novel Idea, experience island hospitality at the luncheon held at the WI United Church Hall and dinner at Trinity Anglican’s St Margaret’s Hall where this year’s short story contest winners were announced. They are: 1st for ‘Blue Plate Special” by Ken Loomis, Chilliwack, BC; 2nd “He’s No Humanitarian, But Damn Can He Take A Punch” by Sam Wiebe, Vancouver; 3rd “They Gave Him the Gears” by Michael Januska, Toronto who was present to accept the award from Scene of the Crime President Violette Malan.
The annual Scene of the Crime Festival celebrates Wolfe Island's heritage as the birthplace of Canada's first crime writer, Grant Allen. The event is made possible through its dedicated board of directors and volunteers. Next year’s Scene of the Crime Festival will be held Sat. August 12, 2012

Posted by M Knott at 08:46 PM
August 09, 2011
Wolfe Island Food Producers Hold 1st “Farm to Table “ Dinner

The Wolfe Island food producers organization, ‘Taste of Wolfe Island’ presented a ‘farm to table’ dinner, under a great white tent in front of the Town Hall on the main street of Marysville, for over 175 diners on a beautiful evening in late July. Local produce, herbs, meats, local breads and sweets, specialized jams, sauces and salad dressings were all part of the extensive menu prepared by islanders. Well known Chef Eric Connell and Jen Connell worked in a mobile kitchen on site, from Mobile Kitchens Canada Inc., for the occasion. They were assisted by a host of enthusiastic volunteers.
The dinner provided the 175 dinner guests the opportunity to taste the best in local cuisine, building on the connection from ‘farm to table”, and for the producers to showcase their food products. The menu included Pykeview Meadows ‘Meatball’ (Bison) with Henderson Farms ‘Apricot Jalapeno Glaze’; slow- cooked ‘Black Angus’ beef from de Ruiter Farms as well as salads,(warm carrot, cold beet) roasted new potatoes, seasonal vegetables and ‘Grilled Polenta’ for vegetarians; plus WI Bakery shortcake and deserts. Produce was provided by Okee’s Farm; Van Wagner Farm CSA & Market Garden, Windkeeper Community Farm, and Sugar Woods Farm. Table flowers were by Margaret Pyke.
It has been a busy time for the Taste of Wolfe Island organization since its inception in February 2010, with the launch of an island ‘ Farmer’s Market’ in May of the same year. It is now held throughout the growing season on Saturdays in front of the WI Town Hall, where it offers island products and now, this premier event of a ‘Farm to Table Dinner’.
The aim of the island’s food producers is to increase relationships between growers and processors, chefs, B&B’s and distributors, to create experiences based on a sustainable food system. “It is all about encouraging local food consumption, education about the food we eat, and offering opportunities for culinary tourism, while at the same time supporting local food producers. The Food to Table Dinner was our first event focusing on all those aspects,” according to Windkeeper Community Farm operator Kathy Rothermel, president of the organization. The Taste of Wolfe Island Food to Table dinner was supported by a $9,000 grant from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism & Culture…Celebrate Ontario Fund. For further information about Taste of Wolfe Island, email: Ask about Aug. 28th Farm Tour on Wolfe Island.
Around Town: It has been one very busy summer. Traffic is¸ dare I say, UP from other summers. Many more walk-ons, tourists, families, young people and cyclists coming by way of the “free ferry”, owned by Ontario tax payers. They are encouraged by radio and TV ads, newspapers and Kingston’s Info Centre to board the ferry for a much better view of Kingston’s Royal Military College, Fort Henry, Garden Island, and sailing ships while en route to the island’s Big Sandy Bay, a close up of Wind Towers, or to Cape Vincent, NY via Horne’s Ferry. Or maybe simply to see all that the village of Maryville has to offer and to participate in a host of events. The ride itself is often a great family event for many, although vehicle traffic is rather overwhelming, all keeping MTO’s summer student employees working very hard.
Family Ball: Perhaps bringing the most vehicular traffic to the island was the 26th annual Family Ball Tournament. The heavy downpour on the Friday did not stop the tournament getting underway this year with 27 teams playing at 3 locations ( Community Centre, Sacred Heart School) with elimination games Friday evening and all day Saturday, completing the last game before 8pm. The Radtke-Reitzel Family team were the A Division winners with the MacDonald Family Team winning in the B Division
The Fargo Team received the Bill Kyle Sportsmanship Memorial Trophy presented by Karen Kyle.
The Wolfe Island Family Ball tournament, played by teams made up of both men and women using a larger ball, known as a Mellon ball, is among the last of such tournaments in Ontario. This year the teams seemed to have a greater number of younger folk playing, grandchildren perhaps, maybe even great grandchildren, all looking forward to next year’s tournament. * Howe Island’s Gene Manion, retired pilot and author of best selling “Flying on the Edge”, was invited to conduct a speaking forum on northern bush plane and helicopter flying at the annual Oshkosh Air Show in Wisconsin, the largest aviation celebration in North America in late July. *Wolfe Island Corn Maze Information: IS NOW OPEN * You can support the Wolfe Island Community Centre’s fund raising efforts by playing golf at the Alston Moore Golf Links on Sundays as All green fees will be donated to the Community Centre. For more information call: 613-385-2461.
WI’s Sacred Heart of Mary Parish mourns loss of Archbishop Francis Spence. Parishioners who knew Francis Spence as the Archbishop came to know him differently in his retirement when he frequently came to the island to celebrate Mass in the absence of a priest. In the homily at his funeral, Fr. Joe Lynch spoke of the Archbishop’s attention to detail, his dignity, his quiet attempts at humour and his brilliant mind. At Sacred Heart we saw that brilliance in his sermons, always a little longer than intended, as suddenly his eyes would light up as he offered yet a new insight. I will remember his compassion during my husband’s long illness, and the prayers he offered on his behalf. But what I will remember most about this thoughtful man, attuned to the world, yet almost shy in his approach, was his fidelity to the Church and his vocation as a Catholic priest. Such fidelity is an example for us all to remember as we mourn his passing.

Posted by M Knott at 08:38 PM
August 02, 2011
Wolfe Island Wind Towers stopped for maintenance…

Did you happen to wonder why, or even notice that the wind towers on Wolfe Island were not turning last week? If you did, the explanation according to Mike Jablonicky, Site Manager of the Wolfe Island Eco Power Centre revolves around preventive maintenance. “The annual Preventative Maintenance Program is a proactive program,” Mike explained. “ It is not carried out as a result of break downs, faults or tower failures. As a matter of fact the program is a way of making sure we don’t have breakdowns, faults or failure. It generally occurs during the summer, low production months for wind farms so we pick one. This year July,” he said.
Jablonicky noted that during the annual 3 or 4 day maintenance period, ( longer if extra maintenance work is required) they work with Hydro One who shut down the island’s point of connection at the Gardiner Sub Station, ensuring that contractors and their own Wolfe Island crews can work on the extremely high voltage equipment in the safest environment possible .
“Our Black and MacDonald friends were back carrying out the Program where we check, lube, operate, measure, test, tighten, sample, diagnose every item within the fenced area here at the substation, not much different than performing the 5000km oil change in your own car. When cleaning the 230,000 volt breaker insulators the crews make sure that any dirt or buildup is removed and polished clean.
“Over the last weeks, “ Mike continued, “ if you were on the island you may also have seen Siemens crews using professional rope access, inspecting turbine blades looking for cracks or any other blade deficiency from their root at the hub to their tips, as well as anything that in any way might cause their inefficiency. The crews are completing last year’s remaining inspections. Later this summer (and every 2 years), you will see turbine cleaning crews using the same rope access methods, to ensure our turbines look as new as the day we built them.
Other plants check their prime generator turning equipment and so do wind farms,” he said. “ Our prime mover is the wind and the blades that make up the turbine rotor are what turn the 2.3 Mw generator, so we ensure the blades are in perfect shape to do the job.”
“We generally inform the township and the power authorities about what we are doing but sometimes we forget the people we should be calling as we have this time. So, as we go forward we will let the good people of the island know what’s happening. And by the way,” Jablonicky concluded, “if anyone ever has concerns, curiosities or complaints about the wind plant, please call or visit. You are welcome to visit . I don’t get many visitors………” Phone: 613.385.2045

*The Wolfe Island 197.8 megawatts Wind Facility is located on the island at #209 - 4th Line Road. At this time it is the second-largest in Canada and includes 86 (80 metre) wind turbines. The power produced is sold under a 20-year Renewable Energy Supply II Contract with the Ontario Power Authority. TransAlta owns and operates the Wolfe Island facility through its wholly owned subsidiary Canadian Hydro Developers.

Posted by M Knott at 07:30 AM
August 01, 2011
Frontenac Islands opens door to new business in Marysville

Frontenac Islands council approved a minor variance for a 'take out' shop to sell specialty coffee/ lattes, home made gourmet ice cream and sweet goods on the main street of Marysville. The walk-in location, in an accessory building beside the residence, is just a few metres away from the WI ferry dock and will be easily accessible particularly by walk-off ferry traffic. (Does this approval open the door to new business operations in the village, to further economic development?)

The variance requested by island resident Mike Phillips, raised alarm bells on the part of an adjacent property owner and a number of island businesses who rely on the strength of summer sales to stay open, (or not), through the winter months.

During a discussion, Phillips, defending his request, said people coming from Kingston and Toronto are accustomed to finding specialty coffee and ice cream but can't find it here on Wolfe Island. “I will not be selling anything that the island already has and it will bring tourism and maybe other new businesses.” Supporting Phillip's request Darin Madore of the island's Shanti Retreat (formerly Brown's Bay Inn) commented that islanders fear new businesses ” but we should break the status quo and bring in new things to attract more people.”

*The General Wolfe's Mustafa Ismail noting traffic and parking issues in the village called on the township to develop a master plan for village business development (businesses, ferry line ups, parking, etc. ” We need some structural changes. Without that we will not move forward,” he suggested.

*WI Pub & Pizzeria operator James Kirkham spoke of his dependency on summer revenues to remain open during the winter, adding that he also sells ice cream and coffee. “But the island does need more (businesses) to attract visitors,” he concluded.

*A very concerned Dan Hogan owner of Megaly's Grocery & Convenience, whose business relies heavily on summer trade with ice cream being a specialty said, the new business will affect his business because of its location.

*Summer resident Matt Dochoda commented that Marysville needs to be more tourist friendly suggesting it offers very little for them.

Councillor Wayne Grant had no problems with the opening of new businesses but has a problem with the location. “I think it will cause more congestion in the ferry line,” he said. Councillor Springgay wanted some assurance that although the planning act allows for 25% of residential property in the village to be used as a home based business, that in this instance, “the variance is exclusive to this applicant.” A concern was raised about an ice cream cart operating without a permit, by-law enforcement issues, types of businesses, parking etc.

Frontenac County's Joe Gallivan, said that under 'Incentive Program' work done by the County, a Community Improvement Plan developed for Marysville, when undertaken, will address many village parking issues and commercial concerns including business development.

The variance received approval from the Health Unit (as a take out facility only), and was recommended for approval by Town Planner Tunnock Consulting as meeting the Official Plan criteria, (home based business) with conditions related to waste and signage.

Deputy Mayor Jones and Councillor Norris voted in favour of the variance . Councillors Grant and Springgay against. Mayor Doyle broke the tie noting he could see nothing in the Planning Act to stop the shop and that an OMB appeal would be very costly for the Township.

In other business: *With council's approval a Zoning By-Law Amendment application made by Bob Clark Consulting on behalf of Werner Daechsel (refused twice by Council) will be appealed to the OMB.

*Council also approved an application for a variance to allow an additional half storey to a garage made by Robert Malcolm and Philip Street.

  • County of Frontena Planner Joe Galivan brought forward a Frontenac County proposal for planning services being offered to each township in the county. “I believe it is very doable, certainly less costly, offers day to day planning, face to face meetings,” he said. “We are aligned with economic development and are prepared to work with the community. In terms accountability it would be with the council.” The concept was met with approval by council and will be further deliberated. Galivan will aso meet with staff concerning the proposal.

*From Thomson & Jemmett Insurance, Blair Shaw and Scott Lee were present to answer questions on the coverage and premiums of the Township's policy. A RFP for insurance will be brought up at the August meeting.

*Council awarded a contract for the surface treatment of Frontenac Islands roads in 2011, to Smith Construction, $239,747.64 for Wolfe Island and $166,901.60 for Howe Island, ( a $406,649.24. total). Frontenac Islands Council meets next: Howe Island, Mon. Aug. 8th, 6:30 pm.

Around Town: Proclamation Day on Howe Island was a celebration of the date (July16, 1792) General John Graves Simcoe (Upper Canada's Lieutenant Governor) named the island Howe after general Sir William Howe. A rousing success, commemoration of the date will become an annual event..
* The annual Wolfe Island Family Ball tournament is next weekend (July 29,30). Expect ferry traffic to be very heavy and plan for it. Better still, park and walk on if you can.
* You will be happy to know there will OPP presence at the WI Music Festival Aug. 5-6th. *Wolfe Island's Big Sandy Bay Conservation Area has become a very popular destination particularly during the HOT weather,(maybe too popular).
*Don't forget Euchre, Thursday's, 7 pm at United Church Hall. * visit

Posted by M Knott at 10:25 AM