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Letters: week of Mar. 14

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Looking forward to a city council that works in harmony

Sir: Having watched the last council meeting, I must remark on how refreshing it was to witness Coun. Brian White state that he, along with the others, was prepared to lift the sanctions placed upon the mayor by the previous council, and saying, that since most of council and several key members of city staff are new, this is a new beginning for everyone.

I believe that most of the electorate will be pleased to have those at City Hall focused on the business at hand, without past events casting a pall over their proceedings.

I do understand, not everyone in the city is prepared to put the past, in the past. Some people just cannot forgive, do not believe in second chances, will die, still clinging to their anger and hatred.

There will be those who find reasons to dredge up the past, and cannot understand why the rest of us would rather look toward better days. We can only leave them to their gnashing of teeth, venomous speech, and poisonous pens.

I was disappointed when Brian was re-elected. I was afraid he could not overcome his emotional attachment to past events. He has given me hope, that even if his feelings are not totally changed, he is willing to try to work past them. Brian, like the mayor, also deserves a chance to prove himself.

I look forward to a cohesive council working in harmony, for the people they represent.


Dorothy Allan



Steady work, management changes could solve PSWs shortage

Sir: Regarding the March 7 article, “Local health care system under strain from growing shortage of PSWs.”

My husband has three PSWs that come and help him, for which we are extremely grateful. Their shifts are varied.

They sponge-bathe him and help with his exercises. They are not allowed to lift more than 25 pounds so sponge bathing, exercises and chatting is the extent of what they can do.

I have to be there to move him to the wheelchair for his exercises

It would be great to have the consistency of having one PSW for all the visits, but they are filled into available slots.

I have to train each new PSW on my husband’s exercises and how to deal with his restrictions and illness, whether they come once as a fill in or as a new permanent.

PSWs tell me they are not happy with the disorganization of the organization they work for and have no time to get from one client to the next, running late unless they short-change each client to keep on schedule.

The article states: “Much of the work is casual and not permanent part-time, let alone full-time.  It could be 20 hours one week and then down to 15 the next, and then back up.”

More PSWs would be willing to start employment with agencies and nursing homes if they could work full-time, earn a good living and not have to have a second job.

This would also attract more male PSWs who are allowed to lift patients.

I would ask these agencies why full-time employment is not being offered to PSW applicants. And when new staff are hired, why they don’t give them a client’s full needs. That would help the PSW and not cause anxiety for the client with many different PSWs looking after them.


Marianne Bustard



Why are there still accessibility problems at City Hall?

Sir: Once again, I have faced the issue of a lack of accessibility at Sarnia City Hall.

I attended there on March 4 and if my husband hadn’t been with me, I wouldn’t have been able to reach the mayor’s office. He had to hold open the elevator doors and they closed on me twice as I tried to get my scooter into the elevator.

The mayor’s office is another problem. I cannot access it without having someone with me.

If I ever wanted to enter City Hall and visit the mayor on my own it would be impossible.

After sitting for four hours at the city council meeting, I called my husband to come pick me up because I could NOT ACCESS the main floor washroom.

I was under the impression it had been made accessible for the first day of the municipal election voting last October, but, unfortunately, it’s not.

I really don’t know what else to do. I’ve been asking for a resolution to this accessibility problem for over a year now. Sincerely,


Sandi Compagnion



Recognizing an exceptional couple and all they do for community

Sir: Amid the recent elegance and eloquence of the Men Who Cook gala, one man was singled out.

Long-time cook and supporter Marty Raaymakers was presented with a special Outstanding Super Cook award, by the executive director of the Huron House Boys’ Home.

Marty deserves the recognition. He has been a participant and donor at the event since its beginning, and has generously shared his talent and personal space with winners and helped raise thousands of dollars for the Boys’ Home.

And what Marty has done for the Boys’ Home is a sampling of what he’s done for our community.

He supports numerous charities and organizations, contributes vision to the business community, and mentors entrepreneurs.

Until December, he owned an engineering firm and in retirement is part of Gfive Inc., which is redeveloping the old Sarnia General Hospital location.

But here’s the thing. As wonderful as he is, his support is made possible through the affection and hard work of his wife Pam. They have a reciprocated love that is palpable.

Marty and Pam Raaymakers are a blessing to this community and all who know them.

Thank you, Marty and Pam, for all you do.

Sharon Crowe




Mayor Mike Bradley and his new council are off to a great start

Sir: What a refreshing city council meeting it was that took place on March 4.

The developer behind the proposed Bright’s Grove housing project has bent over backward to satisfy the awkward concerns of Bright’s Grove residents. They deserve rational rewards for their sizable investment in this project.

Please be aware that the incremental returns of taxable infrastructure can only complement the improvement wish list and realistic concerns expressed for roads, parks and shoreline improvements, which were very well represented by the eloquent public at large that attended this pivotal meeting.

We, as a collective, cooperative group of diverse citizens have proven we’re open to development in our progressive city.

The fair citizens of Sarnia welcome concise and controlled development, as guided by the Official Plan and dictated by our planners and diligent employees of City Hall.

How refreshing it was to view the removal of the restrictions for our lifelong mayor, Mike Bradley. We can now move forward with a progressive and solidified city council. It bodes well for a rewarding future for the city.

I take great relief in the resounding voter royal flush that rid our city of the backbiting and backstabbing and damn foolishness the previous council deemed normal.

The future will write the shame they deserve for building walls and shaming people who contributed to making Sarnia the incredible city it has become.

I welcome the new council like a breath of fresh air! Carry on Mayor Mike. Your vision and life-long commitment is well served by your new and revitalized council members, who bring faith, harmony and a new attitude to the Sarnia we are proud to call home.


James Dillon



International Women’s Day articles implied men are biased against women

Sir: I don’t know who wrote the Feb. 28 articles “Seven ways to be an advocate for women’s rights” and “We honour all passionate, determined women,” but I noticed some peevish and confusing language used.

First of all, anyone who does not respect everyone inherently has a problem that can’t be solved by a local newspaper column.

Every single one of us is a product of the miracle we call childbirth. Without women, we would not be. That said, men and women are inherently different. Sorry, but this is just how our universe works.

I don’t think social barriers exist today that could stop any woman from doing anything she strives for.

“Domestic work” needs to be filed under the “ignorant” category. If anyone has a problem domestically (assuming male-female courtship) then I think the problem is beyond that of respect for women. If you had a same-sex roommate not “Divvying up these jobs” would they not also be up to the same scrutiny?

This is a problem that should be solved by clear communication and love. This is not exclusive to relationships. In fact, democracy is based on communication and consensus.

I would welcome a woman to politics with open arms, so long as the platform was reasonable and the candidate seemed to have community interest at heart.

Articles like these create a bad atmosphere. Placing blame aggravates. They subtly imply men are biased against women.

I could be totally ignorant and exceptions do exist, but I haven’t associated with or even met anyone who feels they are “better” than women and need to exploit them.

Most men feel this way, making that page a redundant and difficult read. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know for sure we love our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and any other women in our lives, and wish for them to prosper.

We should celebrate each other, always.


Joshua Tracey



The Leprechaun’s Ball

On the Emerald Isle when the brier’s green,
Occur strange sights seldom seen.
There’s golden rainbows and small clay pipes,
And wee folk dancing every night.

I’ve heard stories of the leprechaun, but
Before you see ’em they’re surely gone.
Yet one green misty night in the brier,
I saw them jigging round the fire.

Sean and I were in green Irish woods,
Gathering shamrocks and just being good.
While searching near a hidden creek,
We heard faint giggles from fifty feet.

Near the giggles grew a small green fire,
Perhaps six inches high – no higher.
We crouched low for a better look,
To our surprise we saw a small green cook.

He wore a tall green hat and pulled-up socks,
And stirred a pot of simmering shamrocks.
Smoke curled from his pipe of clay,
Why, I remember his grin still today.

A band of gold encircled his brim,
My little finger seemed bigger than him.
He had golden buckles and a puggish nose,
Glimmering eyes and curly toes.

Sweet music floated on wings of air,
Fifty-one leprechauns were dancing near.
They passed the poteen with a smack of their lips,
As each in turn took a good Gaelic sip.

Suddenly the gaiety quickly slowed down.
Sure we were that we’d been found.
But they all looked north with reverent faces,
Bowed their heads, stood still in their places.

The banshee’s wailing was heard afar,
O’erhead the Death Coach had a full car.
The wee folk respect, it must be said,
Erin’s children when they’re dead.

Soon flying fast through the green night air,
We spied King Darby hurrying near.
He rode atop his beloved steed,
O’er dales and glens, woods and mead.

His hummingbird lighted on a leaf,
And all the wee folk knelt beneath.
With a golden smile he waved to all,
To officially begin The Leprechaun Ball.

Tiny green fiddlers fiddled their fiddles,
That sounded just like ten thousand giggles.
Dancers danced on mists of green,
Pipers piped, but none were seen.

They danced and ate and passed the ladle,
And kicked up their heels to Irish reels.
We enjoyed the sight late into the night,
But suddenly they gave us a terrible fright.

They saw us cowering behind the trees,
So they cast a spell which made us freeze.
We’d heard what happens to caught spies,
That now are spiders, toads or flies.

Well, old King Darby drew us near,
Sean and I were in a terrible fear.
With a grin and a snap he made us small,
And requested our presence at the Leprechaun Ball.

We reeled and laughed with our new found friends,
‘Til the green mist lifted to signal the end.
With a glean in his eye the good King said:
‘Tis sure’n the hour yous be abed.

He waved his shillelagh to return our height,
Wished us well and bade good-night.
And as they rode the winds away
I suddenly remembered it was St. Patrick’s Day.

I’m sure the lot of you think me a blarney liar, but that night I assure you
I danced ’round a green fire.


Francis Lynch





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