Letters: week of April 11

A heartfelt, if belated, thank you

Sir: My family wishes to congratulate the Purdy Family on the 120th anniversary of Purdy Fishery, and to add a personal thank you for rescuing our nine-year-old mother, Lillian Wheatley Francis, from Lake Huron in 1913.
Although the four Wheatley children, ages 7, 9, 11 & 13, were forbidden to build a raft, they did so anyway and secretly enjoyed many days of fun in the sun using long sticks to push themselves along the shoreline as they jumped on and off their raft.

Although their father, John, was born and raised in Blackwell, he had just moved his family back to the T.C. Wheatley family farm on Blackwell Road, and none of the children could swim!

One day, my mother found herself alone on the raft and an offshore breeze quickly sent her out into the lake. Her brother ran to his father for help, who in turn ran to the nearest telephone to enlist the assistance of a Purdy Fishery boat, which set off to rescue her.

When the fishing vessel came as close to shore as possible, my grandfather swam out to receive Lillian as they handed her down.
Many years later, my sister and I often accompanied our mother to Purdy’s to purchase oysters for a special homemade stew. This was a special treat she would make for us after a long and busy day selling vegetables that our parents, Lillian and A. C. Francis, grew at their farm on Blackwell Road.

On these occasions, she would remind us of the story of her rescue.
On this auspicious anniversary year, Lillian’s daughters want to gratefully send a special thank you!

Connie Francis Newland
Mary Lou Francis

New York, New York
(temporarily at the Francis family home)



Long-time radio broadcaster says thanks for everything

Sir: I would publicly like to thank Sarnia-Lambton’s residents for the help they have given me over the past 40 years or so.

I couldn’t have done my job as easily as I did without the help of all of them: educators, health professionals, firefighters, police officers, unionists, coaches, politicians, non-profit agencies, and the clergy.

They are the backbone of this community.

A thank you to all the local small business owners who purchased advertising over four decades, supporting local radio and paying my salary.

And, especially, to the loyal listeners: every time I turned on the microphone I was talking to them. I thank them for allowing me into their homes all these years. I had the best job ever and had so much fun doing so.

Thanks also to all who sent retirement cards and gifts. There are simply too many to thank individually, but their best wishes mean the world to me.

I am also humbled on being named to the Mayor’s Honour List. All I did was try to do the best I could at my job, be fair and honest, and spread a little cheer to the world.

May all be blessed with peace, joy and good health in the future.

Lee Michaels



Paper leaf bags create other problems

Sir: Regarding the banning of plastic leaf bags on July 1.

I have, since moving into my residence over 40 years ago, done my civic duty by cleaning my sidewalks, maintaining the boulevard, and cleaning the gutter so that surface water can run away.

Quite often I clean up bags of leaves from other properties, and have always seen this as a civic duty and the neighbourly thing to do.

Many times I have cleaned up water-soaked leaves and placed them in plastic bags weeks before the scheduled leaf pickup. Paper bags do not stand up to prolonged storage of leaves as do the plastic ones.

I realize the City has to cut costs somewhere, and I have no problem cleaning up my own property. But maybe I should do what other people do and leave the boulevard and gutter cleanup for someone else, or wait for the once-in-a-blue-moon gutter cleaning by City Works.

Phil Nelson




Truck speed dangerous

Sir: I travelled to Michigan recently and after getting on Highway 402 at Indian Road I was in the far left lane.

I was travelling at 75 kilometres per hour in the 70-km/h zone when two transport trucks passed me doing about 90 km/h.

They didn’t slow down until they went round the curve, where the speed limit drops to 50 km/h.

It was done very suddenly, as if neither of the drivers had ever been here before.

My question is, where are the Police?

Alan Palmer



Good riddance to former integrity commissioner Swayze

Sir: Robert Swayze doesn’t get it. We don’t want the former integrity commissioner to have anything to do with our present council, city staff, the mayor or our new CAO.

My basic basic message is, get lost. He cost us too much, and not only just in money.

I believe there was a plot by a disgruntled few to install a new mayor, they used Swayze to promote their cause, and, like sheep, most of the council went blindly along.

I’ve encountered many bullies in my life and I can immediately tell one a mile away. Mayor Mike Bradley doesn’t have the capability, attitude or ability to harass and bully. It’s just not in his makeup.

The bottom line is the whole plot backfired. The lies were ignored, disgrace came upon many, and they were ousted.

Our mayor has serviced us well for many years. We are lucky to have him and I will want him for as long as he wants to be our mayor.


John Parker



Pierre Trudeau was a mountain who has a molehill for a son

Sir: I came to Canada when Pierre Trudeau was prime minister and immediately liked his style.

I read how he declared martial law in 1970 and agreed with the move, which prevented Quebec separation. I also had a good laugh when he put a finger to some protesters.

He was an intellectual with a bombastic personality who knew how to select the right kind of people to help run government. One of his protégée became prime minister.

If Pierre were prime minister today he would show his finger to Donald Trump and tell him to go suck an egg. He’d face Trump, not as an admirable adversary, but as someone beneath his attention.

Now, let’s see Justin. In my opinion, he doesn’t have the right people to help him run the government, but has selected people based, I believe, on friendship and past acquaintances.

His claim to success is his charisma, and the passage of a cannabis law making the smoking of marijuana legal. Instead of acting as the leader of the nation, he kowtows to the U.S. president, who often belittles him in public.

Justin is now awakening to the fact charisma only goes too far. It doesn’t take long for people to dump such a person when he doesn’t live up to his reputation of as a leader. Comparing the father to the son is like comparing Mount Everest to the smallest mountain.

Justin has failed to live up to his father’s legacy, and I strongly believed the Liberal Party would be better off without him at the helm. Respectfully yours,


Marcelo B. Villanueva Jr.