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.

March 28, 2012
Frontenac Islands Council Catch Up

These last couple of months there has been little news concerning the work of Frontenac Islands council mainly due to the more “news exciting” activities going on in the community that made the paper. But, Council has been busy with all members attending meetings here there and everywhere and Mayor Doyle and Deputy Mayor David Jones making their voices heard on behalf of Frontenac Islands at Frontenac County meetings.
As well, aside from the many duties and regular meetings as well as special meetings specifically at this time 2012 budget meetings council members also serve as representatives to local island organizations and boards with the mayor serving as ex officio member on all of them. This year’s appointments were made at the February meeting of Council. Councillor Barbara Springgay’s include - Wolfe Island Big Sandy Bay Stewardship Committee; WI Historical Society; WI Community Centre Board; WI Business and Tourism Association; Marysville Waterworks Class EA Steering Committee. Deputy Mayor David Jones - Howe Island Schoolhouse Group; the Cataraqui Source Water Protection Authority Board. Councillor Wayne Grant - Wolfe Island Community Centre Board; WI Recycling and Waste Disposal Committee; WI Volunteer Fire and Rescue Committee; WI Community Medical Clinic Board; Marysville Waterworks Class EA Steering Committee. Councillor Patrick Norris - Howe Island Recycling and Waste Disposal Committee; HI Fire and Rescue Committee; HI Social, Cultural and Recreational Activities Committee. (FYI..Committees of Council operate according to the Township’s Procedural By Law.)
Items of interest to the community passed at the February meeting include the placement of AED’s from the Heart & Stroke Foundation on the township ferries at Simcoe and Howe Islands; approval for the purchase of a furnace for the WI Community Hall; deferred a Howe Island resident’s request for turtle signs ; (deferred again to April on Howe Island.)
Council is reviewing the township’s procurement policy at this time. Requested by Deputy Mayor Jones, Council members receive email notifications for action reminders re certain items, also identified in minutes.
At the March meeting acting as a committee of adjustment and in consultation with Planner Joe Galivan, council supported the request to allow property entries from an abutting Unopened Road (Nokomis Property,Howe Island) Allowance and Development Agreement with the Township. Deputy Mayor Jones has lingering concerns.
In other business:1. Deputy Mayor Jones requested the Howe Island Quarry item be deferred (allowing Planner Galivan opportunity to become current with the file)., also Turtle signage due to his concerns that the overuse and inappropriate location of signs on Howe rectified by their removal during last year, will happen again. Jones thanked Deputy Clerk-Treasurer Carol Dwyre for making requested changes to minutes.
2. Council supported the circulation of a resolution that the four Fountenac County Public Works Managers in Frontenac County, ( Leo Greenwood), meet to jointly discuss challenges in areas of transportation management; waste management; possible joint purchasing cost saving opportunities; other funding sources. Outcomes will be distributed to the four councils, including recommendations. The resolution was the result of a report by Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) “Facing our Fiscal Challenges.”
3. WI resident Pat Sanford will once again rent the WI Community Hall to operate the Stone Heron Gallery from June 22nd to September 3, 2012, with access available to her from May 1st.
4. Council approved a $5000., 2012 budget request to the WI Community Centre Board to deal with current electrical bills. Councillor Grant thanked the CCB’s Paul Hogan for his efforts and the addition of a zamboni through a FCFDC grant.
5. Kathy Rothermel, WIBTA president presented a letter for the next budget meeting which calls upon the township to assume responsibility for Info Centre and Public washrooms,
6. AECON’s Guy LaPorte presented the Annual Wolfe Island Waste Site Report. “ Does anyone want to talk garbage,’ was his opening line. He commended recycling efforts, noting that it along with the continued site’s low use the site itself, it could last 2019. “Covering is an issues and should be done every other week in the summertime and at least 16 times a year,” he said. Golder and Associates presented a report and cost estimate for 2012 Groundwater, Residential Drinking Water and Surface Water Monitoring for the site.
Council concerns: Councillor Grant noted concerns re Township newsletter funding for the rink funding which will clearly identified as donations, fundraising and reserves next time. He noted DaWSON Point Dock in need of some repairs by MTO. Councillor Springgay raised concerns about recent hiring process . (length of interviews). Council members are looking for Senior of the Year Award recommendations.
FYI: Frontenac Islands (ongoing) budget meetings are long and sometimes difficult. Facing heavy infrastructure, equipment and community needs, and the fact that WI’s residential tax rate was reduced by 11 % , in 2010 deliberations are focussed at not raising taxes (too much) this year.
Council meets next Howe Island Tuesday. April 10th , 6:30
Around Town: * Watch for news of WI’s new Gardening Club. “Great 1st meeting with lots of ideas. “ The General Wolfe Hotel has opened for the Season… New menu, refreshed facilities… big plans .. * Visit the WI Boat Club for a list of summer sailing, boating courses etc, at
Coming events: * Easter Egg at the rink Sat. am April 7th, 11 am * Wolfe Island Boat Club Open House, Thursday April 19th, 6:30pm - 8:30pm St. Margaret's Hall, Wolfe Island, Registration is open!

Posted by M Knott at 11:00 AM
March 24, 2012
DeBruin completes Iditarod - The Last Great Race from Anchorage to Nome

Dogsledder Hank DeBruin , born and raised on Wolfe Island successfully completed the 2012 Iditarod Race in Nome, Alaska on March 17, 2012. after 12days,22hrs.13 min.50sec. Originally registered as a rookie musher he is will now be classified as a veteran of the race.
DeBruin and his wife Tanya McCready-DeBruin, also from Wolfe Island own and operate “Winterdance” a dog sledding tour company that operates out of the Haliburton Highlands near Algonquin Park.
News of his success at Iditarod came by way of family members, who announced that Hank had completed the race from Anchorage to Nome - over a 1000 miles of rugged trail through unfathomable weather conditions.
“Hank finished yesterday afternoon at approximately 5:20pm eastern time,” according to his sister Maryanne (DeBruin) Walker. “With over 3000 Facebook members from literally around the world we were able cheer on Hank and the Winterdance team. For 13 days we followed his progress through frigid temperatures, difficult trails, blizzards, frozen tussocks, blow holes, mountain ranges and valleys,” she said. “With tears in our eyes and a lump in our throat we watched Hank go under the Burly arch where his wife Tanya and four children, Logan (12), Dustyn (10), Michaela (5) and Jessica (3) were waiting to see him realize his dream.” (Hank’s Dream).
Maryanne noted that Tanya's brother Ward McCready who had accompanied Hank to Alaska was not there at the finish as he was in Anchorage looking after dropped dogs. “It was an emotional finish for anyone who was watching and following along. Hank has made history,” she concluded.
Hank Debruin reached Nome Saturday afternoon at 1:13 pm crossing the finish line in 49th position with 10 dogs on his gang-line running well.
Further information can be found on the Winterdance Facebook Fan page at: Time records at

Posted by M Knott at 10:24 AM
March 22, 2012
Mount Kilimanjaro- Rwanda Trip rewarding at every level

“ I dreamt of going to Africa, of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, its tallest peak, so when to the idea of a an (RMC) expedition to Africa, to happen during Christmas break (2011-12) came up during the summer, I knew I wanted to be part of it.” said RMC Officer Cadet Jennifer Allen, a 3rd year Mechanical Engineering student, a keen scuba diver and a climbing enthusiast. Jen, 20, the daughter of Island residents Kathy Rothermel and Bill Allan, was speaking at a gathering organized by the Wolfe Island Women’s Institute (for her) to share her Kilimanjaro adventure/ Rawanda impressions.
“When we got back to RMC in September, we hit the ground running to plan the “Kili Project”, put the paperwork together ( a foot high) to prove its worth, submit an application for funding and wait. A month later, ‘Kili” was approved. We had money and a plan and set out to select a team.”
Jen said the tryouts involved military leadership, physical fitness and general motivation towards the subject area, interviews basically. The trip was to provide strong educational and humanitarian components. “Logistics before and during the trip were big and every one had a job. No one was a floater. My job was equipment and transport coordinator( tents, food, airfare etc. But this trip wasn’t only about getting to the top of a mountain,” she said. “We wanted something more than that so we decided to pick a charity and raise $20,000 for it. We chose to establish a “Summit Scholarship” for Canadian university studies by a former child soldier, in partnership with Child Soldiers Initiative founded by LGen (Ret’d) Romeo Dallaire.
Cadet Allan went on to describe the three-week expedition beginning with the physically fit team’s departure, kit in tow, money in their pockets Toronto to Amsterdam and on to Nairobi. The team included 10 Officer Cadets from across Canada, (6 young men 4 young women) at varying ages representing different faculty’s , a number very fluent in both French and English.
“On our first day, our tour guides took us to the largest slum in Kenya, a terrible place with so many people living with nothing, in terrible conditions, garbage, sewage everywhere but it was amazing , happy children who loved to have their pictures taken, came to greet us. There were smiles and easy conversation and somehow the place seems to work,” Jen said following up with pictures. The team also toured a medical clinic, and other projects in the area.
“The following day was filled with wildlife sanctuaries and sad stories about endangered species,” Allan said. “ Poaching of elephant tusks still goes on and every effort is made to save the very sensitive young .”
Day three included a bus trip (“it would not pass an emissions test”) from Nairobi to Tanzania through not very fertile land taking the team to the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro where they met their main guide, Charles, for the journey up the mountain and his team of guides and porters. He was not happy that the Canadian team intended to carry their own complete kit: back packs (food,water, tents,etc.) weighing some 75 lbs., set up on their own, without the assistance of porters and their choice of the shortest and most difficult route to the top and shortest route to the bottom to begin the educational portion of their trip.
Cadet Allen took us through the days of the climb. Nine and a half, hot, steamy hours, in a changing altitude, settling down at 10pm ( on a muddy patch with terrifying monkey noises during the night,) the First Day of the actual climb. No one quit. It was onward and up ward:
“ Blisters on our backs; tired and sore; huge spectacular panoramic views; need to focus as we climbed with no ropes. Day 3 most technical arriving at a level with the clouds; a like being on Mars; Day 4 hard to acclimatize; needed extra time; left a flag; then rocky terrain the last spot before going to the top; precarious washroom hanging on a ledge, ate at 5pm, slept,( hale/cold) till 11pm, ate chocolate, etc. ready then to climb to the top with red headlamps to keep night vision in tact; very cold, moved slowly, kept singing. Got to peak- 5895 metres at 8 am raised a flag, left at 8:30 am. Everyone was surprised and happy for us,” she said. Jen’s descriptions and pictures drew uhs and ahs. “The trek down the mountain took 18 hours with the team stumbling barely (not) able to walk.”
“But the journey was not over as the educational part of the trip began (after a 2-day break to recuperate) at the Kigali Genocide Memorial where we tried to come to grips with the genocide then and still going on in the Congo, involving child soldiers” Cadet Allan said. “We also visited a Rwandan rehabilitation centre for former fighters and heard many tragic stories.”
There was also time in those last days to visit the town, the markets, mingle with the people and play with the local children before the Team went on to the last planned visit. “Probably the most difficult,” she said, “it was to two genocide memorials that are churches in what was a Tutsis area during the 1994 genocide, where 2000 people were taken into them and killed. There was even a room to kills babies.There was evidence everywhere, clothes and belongings taken from them left in piles, blood stained walls, bones. People my age did it. Cadet Allan said. “You could feel the horror of it all. Humankind gone wrong.”
“We live privileged lives in Canada so all the Team experienced on this Rwanden trip has been life changing for us in every way. As Officer Cadets we are grateful for what we have learned. “ With a quick look at the clock and ‘a thank you for listening’, Officer Cadet Allan left to catch the ferry back to RMC.

Posted by M Knott at 10:17 AM
March 18, 2012
Being Active at every age important to Islanders

It is hard to believe that with spring upon us Wolfe Islanders can look back on a winter where water levels stayed well up and the ferry, the community’s life line remained in Marysville, not once forced to pull in to the winter dock. And what a winter it was. Little snow, fluctuating temperatures, rain and lots of wind leaving downed trees and broken branches everywhere.
In spite of the weather, the Community Centre Board along with WIN the (Wolfe Island Network for a Healthy Community) and the WI Community Medical Clinic offered a variety of activities and programs for everyone throughout the winter and continue to do so. At the new rink, ( closed now due to warm weather) there were skating programs for children and adults, lots of free skating and hockey. As well, a number of visiting teams came to the island to take advantage of the NHL sized rink for hockey practice and a game or two. (Next year with a better winter there will no doubt be more of that.) And of course there was Chili Fest held at the Community Centre for the first time, which was a wonderful success. (A spring and summer line up of activities, dates and times is being finalized.)

The Community Medical Clinic which features a lower level , was the location for 2 sessions of quilting, one night weekly for 10 weeks each . Both sessions were followed up with a mini quilt show. The Community Medical Clinic itself has been the location for a number of meetings and programs offered through the KFL&A Health Unit and the Kingston Seniors Association which also holds a Foot Care Clinic every 6 weeks .
And now WIN In conjunction with the Kingston Seniors Centre is offering a new 8 session program ‘Movement for Life’ focusing on wellness through movement. Further, with Lyme Disease on the rise, the KFL&A Health Unit will once again alert the public to signs and symptoms , testing for and prevention of Lyme disease at a meeting also at the Clinic. (March 28th, 7 pm) . And finally, Cooking for One (or two) a four-week series designed for those over 60 begins at the WI United Church Hall.
A Youth Strategy program is underway, a Community Garden is planned . Add to the list many community information meetings, (ie. the Emerald Ash Borer, tree planting project , upland habitat through Tall Grass Ontario),
At the same time the very popular WI Historical Society continues its Speaker’s Series most recently with Dan Haslip of Explorer Diving and The WIPP continues to offer music and fun events. All this to say that Wolfe Island with its small population and very active and committed volunteers, works hard at keeping people active and engaged. For more information about coming events and WIN visit the web site

Posted by M Knott at 07:55 AM