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Week of June 9

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Save the trail and put people before cars

Sir: There is a delicious twist of irony in your May 19 story about city officials cracking down on homeowners who are infringing on the sanctity of the Howard Watson Trail.

This is the same city that is proposing to lobotomize a kilometre of the trail by paving it over to provide residents of The Rapids subdivision easy access to Exmouth Street.

Whilst the city was snoozing, council voted to save power shoppers three minutes on their commute, at the cost of reducing the trail to a narrow path alongside another noisy, traffic-laden, fume-heavy road.

As for the notion of a wildlife corridor, I guess that is the cost of progress.

I understand this has been on the books for years, but we are trading lifestyle for short-term convenience. As Joni Mitchell so aptly penned in the ‘70s, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

I urge friends and users of the trail to act before it is too late. The original advocates for the trail lobbied the former Clearwater council long and hard to preserve this urban treasure. Now is the time to put people before cars.

Mike Tanner

Sarnia

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Machine replaces bridge toll-takers

Sir: Toll-takers on the Canadian side of the Bluewater Bridge have lost their jobs and been replaced by equipment which causes unacceptable delays for travellers heading to the United States.

These “things” confuse those who travel infrequently and are unprepared to deposit what is required to lift the gate and allow them to proceed.

Frequently, a traveller gets out of his/her car to examine the “thing” more carefully, trying to figure out what to do.  The delays in getting through the toll booths are considerably longer than going through customs.

Sadly, those who earned their living employed as toll-takers have become unemployed – replaced by a big, ugly metal box.

At a time when many people will be taking vacations and traffic is at its peak, the decision-makers got the ridiculous idea to automate the toll booths.

One can contact the Bluewater Bridge at 519-336-2720 and let them know how these changes are unacceptable and demand the return of the toll-takers who lost their jobs.

Bernice Rade

Forest

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Demonstration Schools critical to success of children

Sir: My son has recently returned to Grade 10 at his home school in Sarnia after completing two highly successful years at Amethyst, the Provincial Demonstration School for children with severe Learning Disabilities (LD) that services Lambton-Kent.

My son’s reading and writing level improved from a Grade 2 level to a Grade 7 level in just two years.  We couldn’t be more proud of him or more grateful for the opportunity he had to work with the dedicated and caring teachers, counsellors and support staff.

Unfortunately, Ontario has halted the applications to the three English-language Provincial Demonstration Schools beyond the 2016-17 year. They say they are reviewing the demonstration schools so they can offer the best learning experience for all students.

I agree that it is important to help ALL children with LDs succeed in school. Teachers and Educational Assistants are overtaxed and don’t have enough supports.

However, I think it should be made clear that helping ALL children with LDs will not look the same for ALL children.  LDs vary in how they affect children’s learning, as well in their severity. You will not find a one-size-fits-all solution.

All the extra supports that my son had were not enough to bring his reading level past a Grade 2 level.  Amethyst was a last resort.

The Minister of Education acknowledges that Provincial Demonstrations do work. And yet the Ministry has capped enrolment at the schools to half the number of students they can hold. The schools are not advertised.  I have met many families and teachers who have never heard of Amethyst.

These schools should be used:

* To help the children whose LDs are so severe that the mainstream school system can’t help.

* To help find improved ways to help those children who can stay at their local schools, but need more assistance.

* To pass on the knowledge of how to best teach children with LDs to teachers across Ontario.

We need to think about the children who will need Amethyst in the future.  We need to keep these schools open!

Dana Petko

Sarnia

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Correcting the Grey Cup record books

Sir: Re: your column about the 1933 Grey Cup game actually being played in Point Edward, not Sarnia.

I would personally like to thank you for bringing this historical misprint to the forefront again. I must commend Mr. Robert Graham from the Village of Point Edward for his research as well his persistence to address this issue.

I would like to update you on what the response has been. In October of 2015 I received a positive reply from a Mr. Robert Sproule, the key researcher in Canadian football for the Canadian Football Research Society.

I quote a portion of his response, which read: “It would appear that the majority of the Ontario newspapers named the site as Davis Field, Sarnia, but for historical accuracy it should be the Village of Point Edward. I have added this name to the front of the scoring summary of the 1933 Grey Cup. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.”

Mr. Sproule has passed on to me a copy of the scoring summary.

I also understand that my letter was read at a Point Edward Council meeting. I have not heard from them on what action, if any, they are planning on taking. It would probably go a long way if they helped spearhead this initiative.

To date, I have yet to hear from two key players, The Canadian Football Hall of Fame and The Canadian Football League. I suspect it has probably been buried under much paper on someone’s desk.

For the sake of the good citizens of Point Edward I hope that someday the Canadian Football establishment will correct this historical inaccuracy.

Again, thank you for including this in the Sarnia Journal.

Lou Mattiacci

Burlington, Ont.

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City Hall listened to complaint

Sir: On behalf of a group of concerned apartment residents who overlook the railway crossing at Front and Maxwell streets, I would like to publicly thank City of Sarnia staff for listening and responding to our complaint.

They used a new process last year to repaint the warning lines at the rail crossing, with the unintended result of greatly increasing the noise level generated by each moving vehicle as it crossed.

The city promptly responded to complaints and ground down the grooved in the lines, which significantly, though not entirely, helped.

This spring, true to their promise, road crews completed the grinding and virtually eliminated the problem.

Now, we await repainting under the assumption that won’t recreate the issue.

Thank you, City of Sarnia staff.

Fred Mathewson

Sarnia

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“Petty” crime in Canatara must stop

Sir: In 1993 Rudy Giuliani, the Republican mayor of New York, hired William J. Bratton as his police commissioner to implement the ‘Broken Window Theory.’

The thought behind it was that if “petty” criminals are given permission to do what they want, the level of criminality might escalate to more serious offences.

Bratton had become head of the New York City Transit Police in 1990. He described George L. Kelling, author of the book “Broken Windows,” as his intellectual mentor, and implemented zero tolerance for fare-dodging, faster arrest processing methods, and background checks on all those arrested.

The theory has been used as a motivation for several reforms in criminal policy, including the controversial mass use of “stop, question, and frisk” by New York City Police.

In Toronto, they called it “carding” when people were stopped, asked for identification and the police recorded the information. This was stopped in Toronto because it was determined to be “profiling” against a particular group of people. Since then, gun crime has increased.

Bratton’s goal was to attack while the offenders are still “green,” to prevent escalation to more serious criminal acts. According to a 2001 study in New York by George Kelling and William Sousa, rates of both petty and serious crime fell suddenly and significantly, and continued to drop the following ten years.

The “petty” crime committed in Canatara Park needs to be dealt with differently than what’s being done now. Complaints to the mayors of Sarnia and Point Edward have brought no relief from the speed and noise coming out of the park onto Sandy Lane and Alfred Street. People are driving over the grass just to leave ruts and throwing garbage out car windows. Kids on bikes and moms pushing baby buggies are frightened by the asinine behaviour, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I watch and listen to the noise and actions of this criminal element all summer.

What was described in The Journal article made for interesting reading, but I want to know who is going to do what before the next election.

Don Ballantyne

Sarnia

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Enough with the coyote fear-mongering

 

Sir: I am writing in response to the letter from Kathy Ptaszynski alerting pet owners to a predator attack.

I am amazed how easily she lays blame for the death of her beloved cat Cleo and others in the Cathcart area at the feet of coyotes.

Does she not realise that the owners are the cause of their cats’ demise. Not only is it against city bylaws to allow cats and dogs to run at large, it’s common knowledge there are coyotes in and around the Sarnia area.

And yes, a coyote will kill a cat or small dog if it has the chance. It is only doing what is natural, which is exactly why cats should be kept indoors and dogs under control at all times.

Coyotes are beautiful creatures and have been here many years. It is we who are encroaching on their habitat.

Ms Ptaszynski states: “Something must be done to control these predators.” By that I assume she would like someone to exterminate the coyotes so she can let her future cats roam freely and illegally. It is we who need to be controlled, not the coyotes.

I take great exception to the fear-mongering part of the letter that stated “before a small child is a victim.”

Really? That is totally absurd. How many small children wander the streets night or day without their parents?

I live in the Michigan-Murphy area and walk my dog around 11 p.m. every night. I have often seen coyotes and have never been approached by one. In fact, just the opposite. Once they see me they go in the opposite direction.

They are beautiful creatures and shy by nature and greatly misunderstood.

Tony Arnold

Sarnia

 

 

 

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