Honouring the Thomasburg Spring

The unveiling ceremony for the first of seven historical plaques to be posted in Hastings County this summer will be in the community of Thomasburg.

In 2017, the Hastings County Historical Society unveiled five historical plaques in Belleville, now it’s moving into the county.

On Saturday, The Thomasburg Spring will be honoured with a plaque.

Society President Richard Hughes.


The project was given a boost by a donation from Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group.


The public is invited to the ceremony in Thomasburg at the Spring Garden. at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Belleville’s Canada Day time change

Belleville’s Canada Day celebrations. (File photo: John Spitters / Quinte News).

There is a big change to Belleville’s July 1 Canada Day celebrations this year, and it has to do with the timing.

The Belleville Chamber of Commerce runs the celebration for the city, at Zwick’s Park.

Event coordinator Susan Walsh tells Quinte News the city has decided to keep the celebration on July 1, Sunday, but with a shorter time frame.  The events will start at 3 p.m. and run straight through to the fireworks, which begin at 10 p.m.

Walsh emphasized there will be many  free attractions throughout the day and continuous live entertainment on the main stage.
The charge for parking will be $5.


A warning about rabies this summer

Public health officials are warning people to look out for animals that could spread rabies this summer.

The health unit that serves Northumberland County is urging members of the public to reduce their exposure to these animals.

This includes wild animals like raccoons and bats, as well as dogs and cats.

In 2017, the health unit investigated 388 suspected rabies exposure cases and 249 of those involved dogs.

Richard Ovcharovich of Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge heath unit.


He says rabies is a “serious disease” caused by a virus.


Public health inspectors investigate each incident to determine if there is a risk of rabies to the person. If a domestic animal is involved, it is quarantined for 10 days to determine whether or not it is sick with rabies.

The health unit provides rabies vaccines if a health care provider says it’s necessary.

Power stretchers helping paramedics

Superintendent Dominic Rehayem of Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Services on a powered stretcher (Photo: Submitted)

The new power stretchers used by the Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Services are cutting down on injuries suffered by working paramedics.

A recent study in Ontario indicated that paramedic services using the power system stretchers showed a 78 percent decrease in injuries to the paramedics.

Last year the local service replaced the regular stretchers with those with a power system.

Chief of the Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Services Doug Socha told the Emergency Services Committee recently they have decreased the number of lifts paramedics make on each call, which decreases the exposure to insurance benefit claims, and increases patient safety.

Socha says there have been no lifting injuries to paramedics lifting at the back of the ambulances since the installation.

He said he is seeing “a benefit already” with the implementation of the power stretchers.

Looking to solve the doctor shortage

Karen Poste, Manager of Economic Development and Strategic Initiatives for the City of Belleville (File photo: Quinte News).

Belleville has decided that a first step in a bid to recruit nurse practitioners will be to get the provincial government to fund more positions for them.

Earlier this year Councillor Paul Carr had asked for a staff report on the issue of recruiting nurse practitioners to help with the  shortage of doctors.

Manager of Economic and Strategic Initiatives Karen Poste says, unlike doctors, the nurses cannot bill the province but must work in provincially supported areas, such as clinics.

Poste canvassed the Ministry of Health and a number of health agencies.


Poste says each nurse practitioner at clinic can care for as many as 800 patients.  In Ontario, the province funds 25 nurse practitioner led clinics, one in Belleville.


Belleville’s water buggy helping neighbours

Mobile Water Refill Station, Quench Buggy (Photo: Quench Buggy)

Belleville has put its water buggy to good use this week, handing out some water to a neighbouring community in a boil water situation.

Belleville is lending a helping hand, in fact, giving hundreds of litres of water to the municipality of Tweed.

Tweed Mayor Jo-Anne Albert calls it a “wonderful” gesture.

Tweed had an issue with its water system Monday, leaving Main street without water and the rest of the town with low water pressure.

A boil water advisory went into effect.

Manager of Belleville’s Environmental Services Perry Decola tells Quinte News that Mayor Taso Christopher and city council offered the city’s water buggy unit as “assistance neighbour to neighbour.”

Half the 1200 litres of potable water was used in the first day.

Tweed Mayor Albert says it’s an example of good neighbours.


The Hastings Prince Edward health unit will undertake water testing, and there must be two days of good tests before the boil water advisory is lifted.

Earning $$$ on the job

The percentage of people on social assistance in the Hastings-Quinte area who are earning money from a job is higher than the provincial average.

A recent report to the Community and Human Services committee indicates that, as of this spring, just over 16% of the local Ontario Works caseload reported earnings from work.

This is nearly 4% higher than the provincial average.

Also 44 people left the social assistance program in March due to finding employment.

As of March, the Ontario Works caseload sat at 2,797 representing a little over 4800 people.

The report indicates the caseload usually increases sightly in the first quarter of the year since employment opportunities decline at that time.

There was a notable increase in average earnings due to the increase in the minimum wage in January.

The committee had called for the report in an effort to assist municipalities in responding to current labour market vacancies within individual communities and to promote the Hastings County employment program.

Colton retires from Air Force Museum

National Air Force Museum of Canada Executive Director Chris Colton. (Photo: submitted/ National Air Force Museum of Canada)

The long-time executive director of the National Air Force Museum of Canada, at Trenton, is stepping down at the end of this month.

Following 36 years in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Chris Colton retired as lieutenant-colonel and operation officer at CFB Trenton.

Colton followed that with 16 years as executive director of the museum.

He points to the museum’s expansion, and particularly the restored Handley-Page Halifax bomber.

He says the museum is a great tribute to the air force.


Inside the National Air Force Musem of Canada. (Photo: submitted / National Air Force Museum of Canada)

Colton says he looks forward to retirement when he can do “whatever” he wants.

You can hear more of the Chris Colton interview by Host Mary Thomas on Newsmaker Sunday, this Sunday at the noon hour, on 800 CJBQ.


Winning the Mayor’s History Hunt

From left: Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher, Bryon Barrett, Isaac Leavy and Historical Society President Richard Hughes, June 11, 2018 (Photo: Mary Thomas/Quinte News)

The winners of the Mayor’s Hunt for History contest in Belleville have been announced.

Mayor Taso Christopher presented the awards at city council Monday night.

The contest, run by the Hastings County Historical Society, encouraged elementary school students to visit the downtown history plaques, installed by the Society.

The students would learn about the major events in Belleville’s history and answer some questions about them.

First place winner Isaac Leavy received a special visit with the Belleville Senators, including four tickets to a game with a behind the scenes tour of the dressing room and other team facilities.

Second place winner Bryon Barrett won a tour of 8 Wing at CFB Trenton to see a small-arms simulator, visit the air traffic control simulator and tour an aircraft.

Belleville Mayor Taso Christpher presents Susan Sweet with 2018 Senior of the Year Award, June 11, 2018 (Photo: Mary Thomas/Quinte News)

Also at council this week, Susan Sweet was named 2018 Senior of the Year.

Special housing program for violence victims

Chair of Hastings-Quinte Community and Human Services Chair Belleville Councillor Garnet Thompson and Director Erin Rivers, June 13, 2018 (Photo: Mary Thomas/Quinte News)

A new provincial program will help victims of violence obtain housing under a new Special Priority Program.

The program was outlined at a meeting of the Hastings-Quinte Community and Human Services Committee on Wednesday.

This benefit for social housing is different in that it allows the individual to move anywhere within Ontario, and not necessarily into a social housing unit within the person’s community.

It provides access to social housing for eligible individuals and families leaving abusive and violent situations, including survivors of domestic violence and survivors of human trafficking.

Executive Director Erin Rivers told the committee that it means they can go where family and friends’ support may be.

Rivers explained the person receiving these benefits would be taken off the social housing waiting list.


Rivers says anyone interested in the portable benefit can apply at the Community Services department.

Funding for the special program is available to eligible applicants across the province on a first-come first-serve basis.

The program will be re-evaluated in three years.

$$$ for two social housing projects

Belleville Councillor Garnet Thompson (File photo: Mary Thomas/Quinte News)

An apartment building with affordable housing units, proposed for Belleville, may receive some funding through Hastings-Quinte social housing.

The Community and Human Services Committee decided Wednesday to recommend that the Springale Development Inc project receive $800,000 for a 17-unit building, with 10 units being affordable.

Committee chair Belleville Councillor Garnet Thompson called it “a wonderful project”.

The company and Altogether Affordable Housing Corporation are proposing a joint-venture relationship and proposing to build a 32-unit building on Great St. James Street in two phases. The first phase will be 17 units with 10 units being affordable.

The committee is also recommending the awarding of $513,655 to a second Springale project, for a five-unit building in Bancroft.

The company has partnered with NHCIA to build the units on Chemaushgon Road.

Director Erin Rivers told Quinte News, “The province is stressing the importance of community partnership and both projects demonstrate that we have the builder and not for profit agencies working together to find solutions to the affordable housing crisis.”

The recommendations go to the Hastings County council meeting later this month for final approval.

Putting people at risk: Boyce

Belleville Councillor Egerton Boyce at Hastings-Quinte Emergency Services meeting, June 13, 2018 (Photo: Mary Thomas/Quinte News)

Hastings-Quinte Emergency Services is putting up a fight against the use of emergency ambulances for non-emergency hospital transfers.

At the Emergency Services meeting in Belleville Wednesday, the committee decided to take some action, both locally and at the provincial level.

For years, the committee has been concerned about ambulances being used for these transfers.

It ties up crews and the service gets none of the $45 that a member of the public pays for each transfer.

Belleville Councillor Egerton Boyce told the committee the process has been broken for a while and it’s at a critical point. Rather than pay for a service, they (hospitals) are calling us and they don’t pay us.”

Boyce said, “They are using ambulances the wrong way, saving on their budget but putting people at risk.”

Hastings County CAO Jim Pine told Quinte News, “The last time we did numbers we were talking in the range of $600,000 a year we calculated to the Ministry (of Health) and the hospitals.”


Hastings County CAO Jim Pine at Hastings-Quinte Emergency Services meeting, June 13, 2018 (Photo: Mary Thomas/Quinte News)

Pine says he doesn’t know why the private transfer companies, sometimes used by hospitals, can’t handle all these transfers.

Emergency services officials will meet with the hospitals and meet with the new minister of health at the Association of Municipalities meeting in Ottawa in August.


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