ST. ANNE’S CONCERT BAND TAKES GOLD
The St. Anne’s Concert Band made their return to competition on Thursday, March 30 at MusicFest Regionals in Orillia, ON where they were awarded with Gold. (Submitted photo)
St. Anne’s Concert Band is Gold in Orillia, ON!
After three years of competitive hiatus due to the pandemic, the St. Anne’s Concert Band made their return to competition on Thursday, March 30 at MusicFest Regionals in Orillia. The 27 member band performed two pieces of music exceedingly well and were awarded a Gold standing along with an invitation to compete at MusicFest Canada Nationals which will be held in Niagara Falls in May.
Elianne Kreuger received special recognition with an Honour Award for her dedication to the music program and the concert band. As a fifth year student, she is the only student in the band to experience band before, during, and after the pandemic. Her commitment to music was recognized by festival judges, her bandmates and Josh Geddis, who teaches music and directs the Concert Band.
Prior to COVID, the St. Anne’s Concert Band was made up of over 50 students, half of whom were senior music students with three to four years of playing experience. During the pandemic with significant restrictions on playing, many students dropped out of band and stopped taking music.
“When the year started, we had 16 students in the band, that number has grown to 27 now. What makes this band particularly interesting is that five of the band members are in Grade nine and have only been playing their instrument for six months! Our senior students had an extremely shaky two and a half years of limited playing due to COVID. When you hear this group, they play like a band with twice the experience, and sound like a group twice their size. I am incredibly proud of these young musicians for bringing band back to St. Anne’s. Going from 16 to 27 members and a Gold standing in less than a year is a very fast turn-around,” said Geddis.
The St. Anne’s Band will head to Nationals in Niagara Falls where they will compete alongside approximately 175 of the best school ensembles from across the country in May.
Band members are also looking ahead to their annual “May Melodies” concert which will be held on Thursday, May 4th in the St. Anne’s Gym at 6:30 p.m. This concert will feature the Concert Band, Jazz Band, special guests and a performance by the Huron Perth Catholic District School Board (HPCDSB) Huron County Honour Band which is made up of over 40 Grade 6-8 students playing alongside members of the St. Anne’s Band.
“May Melodies” will serve as a fundraiser for the music program. Admission is a suggested donation of $5 or more. Children under 12 are free.
St. Anne’s Catholic Secondary School is located at 353 Ontario Street in Clinton.
STORM CHASER SPEAKS AT FLOOD EMERGENCY PLANNING MEETING
The keynote speaker, at the annual Flood Emergency Planning Meeting, hosted by Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority on March 28, was Mark Robinson. He is a meteorologist with The Weather Network and he is also a storm chaser and co-host of two television series, “Stormhunters” and “Unearthed”. (Submitted photos)
Meteorologist and storm chaser Mark Robinson, of The Weather Network, spoke on March 28, about Extreme Weather in the Great Lakes Region. He was the keynote speaker at the annual Flood Emergency Planning Meeting hosted by Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA).
Robinson, who has been present at 25 different hurricanes, is co-host of the television series “StormHunters” and “Unearthed”. The speaker shared his experiences chasing storms including personal encounters with tornadoes.
It can be a challenge to forecast storm events in southern Ontario as storms pick up moisture as they pass over the Great Lakes, according to the presenter. Storms often develop along the lines of lake breezes blowing off of Lake Huron and this has the potential to cause severe weather and heavy rains.
Ontario is not immune to tornadoes, Robinson said. There were 60 confirmed tornadoes in Ontario in 2021 and, said Robinson, more than 40 of those were in southern Ontario.
“When we have these tornadoes in southern Ontario we’re talking about an extremely densely populated area and that is a big problem,” he said. “Yes, we see tornadoes, we see storms, just as strong in southern Ontario as we do down south. We’ve had multiple EF-4s.”
The Goderich tornado was an example of a tornado that started on Lake Huron, Robinson said. (One person died and 37 were injured in that Aug. 21, 2011 tornado, which was a severe F3 tornado on the Fujita Damage Intensity Scale).
“No country in the world gets more tornadoes than the United States,” Robinson told the crowd of more than 40 people. “We (in Canada) come a very close second. The geography of North America is set up perfectly to be a thunderstorm producing machine.”
As a storm chaser, Robinson has had a front-row seat for some major storms. He shared an example of a supercell storm that produced a tornado, about 1.5 kilometres wide, near Point Clark, where he was present. That storm started out on the lake.
“The funnel itself was buried way back into the storm itself,” he said. “This is the big issue with southern Ontario storms…because we have that extra shot of moisture from the Great Lakes, it gives us high-precipitation supercells.”
Shown in the photo are the four presenters at the Annual Flood Emergency Planning Meeting, hosted by Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA), and held at the Masonic Hall in Exeter on March 28. From l-r are: Ross Wilson, ABCA Water and Soils Resource coordinator; keynote speaker Mark Robinson, meteorologist and storm chaser, of The Weather Network; Davin Heinbuck, ABCA Water Resources coordinator; and Marissa Vaughan, chair of the ABCA Board of Directors.
With a tornado in Kansas, for example, the funnel might be clearly defined and seen whereas in an Ontario storm that tornado might be buried inside a wall of precipitation.
The Tornado Alley area doesn’t stop at the U.S.-Canada border but extends northward. One difference between Ontario and some midwestern or southern states of the United States is the extent of the impacts tornadoes tend to have. Most people have basements in Ontario so, in general, the impact may not be as severe as warm-weather locales, such as the southern U.S. states, where often buildings do not have basements.
A supercell thunderstorm may not be the most common type of storm in Ontario but it is a particular concern. Sometimes called ‘rotating’ thunderstorms, supercell storms have a rotating updraft or ‘mesocyclone.’
“Supercell storms don’t mean big storms,” Robinson said. “Sometimes people think supercell means giant storm…what it means is the central core of the storm is spinning.”
The supercell storms in Ontario sometimes aren’t as big as the storms in other parts of North America, such as the Tornado Alley region, but these storms in Ontario can still have tornadoes associated with them.
The presenter showed a video of an EF-5 storm, outside of Winnipeg, with a minivan, and even a house, uplifted and spun around in the tornado.
When people see a green sky during a storm event that’s generally because of the presence of hail, according to the speaker.
“What happens is you get the sunlight being filtered through and only the greens and blues make it through to your eye,” he said.
It is often easier to predict the approach of winter snowstorms than it is to predict a supercell thunderstorm, according to the presenter. The thunderstorms can be among the most destructive and also the hardest to predict.
The La Niña climate pattern, which leads to heavy rain and flooding in parts of Canada, has taken place for three years in a row.
“We’ve never had three years of a La Niña situation,” Robinson said. “This is the first time we’ve ever had that.”
This exceptional weather situation makes it harder to know what to expect in terms of coming weather events.
There isn’t enough evidence to connect any single event, such as a hurricane or fire, to climate change, he said, but if we look at 30 years of data we can begin to see changes happening to climate even in southern Ontario. The effects right now may not be as significant as on the west coast, or Texas, or Antarctica, but there are changes to Ontario’s weather, resulting from global warming. One of those changes is to extreme precipitation events and an increase in clusters of storms. There is also a shifting of Tornado Alley towards the northeast which brings it farther into southern Ontario.
It’s not always possible to link major storm events, in any given year, directly to the effects of climate change but looking over a 30-year period, the impacts of a changing climate are being seen, according to the presenter.
“We are already beginning to see some of the effects of climate change in southern Ontario and across North America,” according to Robinson.
The number of extreme rain and snow events is likely to increase, he said.
“We are seeing the probability of those nastier events increasing over time,” he said. “How fast that’s going to occur, that’s something we’re still working on.”
Southwestern Ontario may be less affected by climate change in the short term than some other parts of North America, he said. This part of North America could be a climate “refuge” of sorts, in the near term, compared to some other parts of North America, such as Texas and other southern states.
The flood emergency planning meeting took place at the Masonic Hall in Exeter. ABCA was able to host the event in person this year. There were 47 people who attended the meeting, including municipal Community Emergency Management Coordinators; local public health staff; police; Emergency Management Ontario; and county municipal representatives.
Staff from ABCA provided a review of the roles and responsibilities of the Province of Ontario; municipalities; conservation authorities; and other agencies during flood events. They spoke, at the annual Flood Emergency Planning Meeting, on the flood forecasting and warning program and provided a Spring flood outlook.
Ross Wilson, ABCA Water and Soils Resource Coordinator, spoke on the operation of Parkhill Dam; shoreline monitoring and messaging; and river watch, ice jams, and event monitoring and communications. ABCA staff collect data in the field with ‘boots on the ground’ and ‘eyes on the ground’ through river watch monitoring and by measuring, in the field, snowpack density.
Davin Heinbuck, ABCA Water Resources coordinator, described the Meteorological and Environmental Data Network ABCA uses. This network collects data from the Parkhill Climate Change Station; from the Volunteer Rain Gauge Network; and from the Provincial Groundwater Monitoring Network. At stream gauge locations, ABCA collects data on precipitation; air temperature; water temperature; wind speed; wind direction; solar radiation; and soil moisture. Heinbuck provided a spring flood outlook indicating there was no risk of ice jams with no significant snow pack and river ice gone but that there was saturated ground so runoff would move quickly in the case of large rain events.
Heinbuck outlined the key players in flooding emergencies. He outlined the roles and responsibilities of the conservation authority, municipalities, and the Province of Ontario. He also described ABCA’s Flood Emergency Plan. He provided numerous examples of local flooding. He explained how ABCA protects life and property through programs that manage natural hazards such as flooding and erosion. Heinbuck also explained the different levels of flood messages. Those messages include Watershed Conditions Statements (Flood Outlook and Water Safety); and Shoreline Conditions Statements (for flooding and erosion). He also described the more serious levels of flood messages which are Flood Watches; and Flood Warnings (the most serious level of message for flooding that is imminent or occurring). He described how a ‘watch’ has the ingredients that would make a flood event possible and the warning indicates the ingredients are mixed together and have become a storm.
To learn more visit the flood messages page: Flooding.
UNITED WAY CELEBRATES SURPASSING GOAL
After a successful campaign raising $2,292,557 United Way Perth-Huron (UWPH) had a reason to celebrate! And celebrate they did by honoring the spirit of community at an event held at the the Best Western Plus, Arden Park Hotel in Stratford on Thursday, March 30.
“We appreciate the incredible support of our region throughout the campaign,” said Ryan Erb, UWPH executive director. “Despite the economic challenges our community faced, donors stepped up to help us not only reach, but surpass our goal of $2.289 million. Another record-breaking year! We are humbled by the generosity and caring of Perth-Huron and see a brighter future ahead for the people we help support and the organization.”
“It was great to celebrate our campaign, as well as the volunteers, donors and communities who gave so much to UWPH,” said Rob Edney, UWPH campaign co-chair. “It takes a collective effort to ensure vulnerable people get the help they need, and the spirit of Perth-Huron was really on display tonight and throughout the campaign.”
“Thank you to everyone who attended tonight’s event,” added Leslie Edney, UWPH campaign co-chair. “To hear firsthand some of the ways UWPH’s work positively impacts local lives thanks to the generosity of our community is inspiring. We’re looking forward to returning next year as co-chairs and continuing UWPH’s work across our region.”
Two hundred and fifty-six guests enjoyed dinner generously provided by the Hayter family and heard about the positive impact their support has on local lives from speakers including: Elise Metcalf, Andrea Loohuizen, Gwyneth Woods, and Tanya Hefkey from the United Way Connection Centres in Exeter, Listowel, Stratford and Wingham. UWPH Executive Director Ryan Erb spoke about the organization’s Community Renewal Company initiative. Singer-songwriter Stephanie Sellers also performed.
UWPH presented Volunteer Spirit Awards to: Caroline Baker, Dariel Bateman, Gwen Bradley, Joan Brady, David Clarke, Cheryl Dunn, Kara Greydanus, Marilyn Holmes, Shawn Lawler and Randy Schwartzentruber. Home & Company Real Estate received a Workplace Spirit Award, Blackcreek Technologies picked up a Sponsor Spirit Award and Saputo Dairy Products received a Corporate Spirit Award.
The top 10 workplace fundraising campaigns were also highlighted, with FIO Automotive Canada topping the list by raising over $101,000 in employee donations. FIO also provided a dollar-for-dollar corporate match.
UWPH would also like to thank event sponsors: Best Western Plus, The Arden Park Hotel; Famme & Co.; IATSE Local 357; Sherwood Music; investStratford; and Samsonite.
LIGHT UP THE COMMUNITY WITH LOVE FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS
Hearts in the two sizes pictured, but in Neon Blue, are now available from Wuerth’s Shoes on The Square in Goderich as a fundraiser for the Alexandra Marine and General Hospital Foundation. (Submitted photo)
The Alexandra Marine & General Hospital Foundation (AMGHF) is launching a new campaign in support of their treasured healthcare team.
The AMGHF is undertaking a new fundraiser and they hope that as a community people will join with them and show their love for their frontline workers with the purchase of a ‘Hero Heart’. The AMGHF wants to help the community recognize their Healthcare/Frontline workers in a tangible and visible form. The AMGHF knows firsthand how hard they have worked and continue to work, and they are tired.
“As we reflect on the struggles and challenges brought on by this pandemic, there is also much to be grateful for. Many thanks go out to all the staff and physicians involved in the pandemic response. Thank you to our community and partners for supporting us and each other as we navigated through this once in a lifetime global event,” said Jimmy Trieu, CEO and president, Huron Health System. “Let us be reminded that when we work together, we can tackle challenges that come our way. The fight continues and we are prepared to care for the most vulnerable.”
Let’s light up the community with love for them.
“We have partnered with Our Glowing Hearts and we want to see a Neon Blue Heart in as many windows as possible. The hearts can remain in your window as long as you like, all year – even better!” said Sherry Marshall, Board chair, AMGHF. “Drop by Wuerth’s Shoes downtown Goderich (142 The Square) for a look at how beautiful these hearts are, and look around the community to see how many of our local businesses and residents are joining in. Join us and light up our community with love.”
This beautifully crafted LED neon heart is dedicated to the healthcare heroes who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic. The heart is designed so that people can give it to a healthcare hero or place it in their front window to spread love to anyone passing by. Every heart comes with a baseplate and a screw for securely attaching it to the base plate. The base plate provides a sturdy base to place on a window sill. The frame is routered out of 3/4″ laminated hardwood, hand sanded, and assembled in Canada. Each heart is unique and variations should be expected and treasured as a unique element. There are two sizes: Large – 12’x10’ and The Mini Heart – 7’x7’.
“We are so grateful for our healthcare team at Alexandra Marine and General Hospital. We have so many dedicated people at AMGH, they make it all work everyday, all day and all night. They are here for all of you,” said Kimberley Payne, Executive director, AMGHF. “We can show them in this beautiful, visible way how much we appreciate them. Let’s light up the community with love.”
For more information or to place an order for a Hero Heart please contact Kimberley Payne at email@example.com or call 519 524-8508.
The AMGHF works in partnership with AMGH to ensure that quality health care is available to all residents of Huron County and neighboring communities. The AMGHF has been helping to enhance patient care and safety since 1993.