Hickey sentenced to 4 years for manslaughter

The Quinte Regional Courthouse in Belleville. (Photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber / Quinte News)

“My heart hurts,” 16-year-old Kyle Fudge wrote about the death of his grandfather in his victim impact statement that was read aloud during the manslaughter sentencing hearing of Joshua Hickey.

At the Quinte Consolidated Courthouse on Friday, the 31-year-old Quinte West man was sentenced to serve four years in a federal penitentiary after pleading guilty last month to the October 2016 beating death of 63-year-old Alvin Morrison.  Judge Geoffery Griffen granted Hickey credit for time already served so altogether he will spend another 35 months in custody.

“Even though you were taken from me, you will always be in my heart,” Fudge wrote.  It was one of two victim impact statements presented to the court, the only one read aloud and by Morrison’s daughter.

The teen wrote how he had missed several weeks of school as he struggled with the ongoing pain of losing his grandfather with whom he was very close.

“Words cannot explain what my poppy meant to me,” wrote Fudge.  “My heart hurts.  While you’re in heaven please watch over me.  You’ll always be on my mind and in my heart even though you’re gone.”

Evidence entered in the case showed that on the day of Morrison’s death on October 11, 2016, he had been drinking with Hickey’s father Albert Hickey.  Following a bit of horseplay at a residence on Old Highway 2, Albert Hickey fell and hit his head rendering him unconscious.  Morrison had attempted to get Albert Hickey up multiple times, Joshua Hickey who was sober, requested that Morrison stop and a fight ensued.  Joshua Hickey struck Morrison multiple times with a closed fist and Morrison didn’t fight back. Morrison was taken to Trenton Memorial Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. An autopsy determined that blunt force trauma caused Morrison’s death.

Hastings County Assistant Crown Attorney Adam Zegouras and defence lawyer Pieter Kort presented two differing requests for sentencing.  Zegouras wanted to see a six year prison term handed down while Kort was more akin to a two to three year sentence.  Presenting several manslaughter cases in where the victim died as a result of an altercation, Zegouras said the range of four to ten years was ‘appropriate to circumstances similar to this.’   Zegouras argued the aggravating factors presented in the case were Hickey’s previous criminal record, his failings to comply with probation orders and how he thought Hickey felt ‘justified’ in his behaviour.  A mitigating factor was his admission of guilt which Kort said proved Hickey was remorseful.

Hickey briefly addressed the court to speak to his actions on that fateful night.

“I am so sorry,”  Hickey said quietly.  “I don’t know what to say.”

Judge Griffen noted it was a difficult exercise coming to his decision as the case presented a unique set of circumstances.

“Alvin Morrison is dead and Mr. Hickey is responsible,”  stated Judge Griffen.  “Mr. Morrison was loved by many and there is nothing that we can achieve today that will cause his family the relief of having him with them.  We want everyone to understand Mr. Morrison’s worth is much more than the sentence that will be given here today.”

Judge Griffen also voiced a concern regarding Hickey’s level of impulse in the way he reacted that night.

“There certainly was a better way to handle this,” said Griffen.  “It was an elevated and highly emotionally charged situation and his reaction was what it was.  This shouldn’t have resulted in blows to Mr. Morrison.  That shouldn’t have happened.  It should be denounced.  If you’re going to resort to violence to solve a problem there must be consequences.”

Along with sentencing, Hickey was ordered to provide a DNA sample, is prohibited from having any weapons for 10 years and must attend counselling while in prison.

‘Massive’ disclosure in child porn case against Anthony Garry Solomon

Quinte Consolidated Courthouse in Belleville. (Quinte News File Photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber)

The child pornography case against a retired local orthodontist has been put over until September 14 to give counsel time to go over a massive amount of disclosure documents.

Anthony Garry Solomon was not present at the Quinte Consolidated Courthouse on Thursday when defence counsel Peter Girard spoke to the matter on behalf of Solomon’s counsel,  Matthew Friedberg of Toronto.

Girard requested the matter be put over until next month to allow time to go over what he called a ‘massive’ disclosure.

On July 12, members of the Belleville and Toronto police services executed a search warrant at a Toronto residence and charged the 69-year-old with one count each of making child pornography, possessing child pornography, voyeurism recording images of a person over the age of 18 years and voyeurism recording a person under the age of 18.  The charges stem from a Belleville Police Criminal Investigations Branch investigation that determined for many years Solomon was inappropriately video recording adults and children under the age of 18 without without their consent or knowledge.

Solomon had operated his business on North Front Street for many years.

The matter is currently under a publication ban to protect the identities of the victims and evidence in the case.

On Thursday, Crown Attorney Lee Burgess requested Justice Christopher Peltzer make adjustments to the publication ban after the identity of two teenage complainants was published by a local newspaper with their parents’ consent.

The order now states there shall be no publication of any name of a complainant or anything that would identify the complainant unless they have written consent from the complainant.  Burgess advised that the consent be written in a manner that it would please police, the court and the crown if it were to come into question.

More charges laid against murder suspect

Quinte Consolidated Courthouse in Belleville. (Photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber / Quinte News)


‘Go with your gut’ to the Fermentation Festival

Pyramid Ferments co-owner Jenna Empey encourages the public to take care of their well being by going with their gut. (Instagram Photo: Pyramid Ferments)

Go with your gut.

That’s the message Pyramid Ferments owners Jenna Empey and husband Alex Currie have been spreading through the region for years with their sauerkraut, kimchi and brine products made out of Prince Edward County.

Empey said they are hoping it’s one the public will bite into at the first annual Ontario Fermentation Festival at the Crystal Palace in Picton on August 19.

“Gut health is so important,” said Empey.

Jenna Empey

Empey says the day long celebration of the Ontario Fermentation community has something for everyone.  There will be a fermented farmers’ market with over 40 artisan and farm vendors, food vendors, a beer garden, workshops and guest speakers.  There is even cabbage bowling.

Jenna Empey 2

The event gets underway at 10 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m.  Admission is $8 with kids under 12 free.

Visit http://www.ontariofermentationfest.com for more details.

HPE Addictions and Mental Health moving downtown

Hasting Prince Edward Addictions and Mental Health Services Chief Executive Officer Garry Laws. (Photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber / Quinte News)

It’s been a long road getting there but Hastings Prince Edward Addictions and Mental Health Chief Executive Officer Garry Laws says they are ready to move into a bigger office space that will allow them to address client and staff needs more efficiently.

On September 5, HPE Addictions and Mental Health Services will move from its current 3 Applewood Drive location in Belleville to more than double the office space at the former provincial courthouse site at 15 Victoria Avenue. Together the agency provided access to a wide range of programs including mental health counselling, substance abuse, problem gambling, housing and youth services for 2,400 individuals in 2016/17.

CEO Garry Laws said thanks to almost $3 million in new government funding since the two entities amalgamated in 2015, more counselling services have been added for an increasing amount of people requiring the services thus creating the need for more space.

Garry Laws

He said counsellors are providing high quality treatment care. The primary focus is meeting client needs and where they are at ‘literally and figuratively.’

“You have Hastings County, Youth Hab, Peer Support South East Ontario close by,” explained Laws. “It is kind of a hub. It’s accessible with added parking, closer to the transit station, easier access to counsellors and other services as opposed to traveling to the west end then back downtown.”

Garry Laws 2

Mark Almeida co-owner of Applewood Reality Corp. that owns both buildings said by spring the HPE Addictions and Mental Health will have acquired 18,000 square feet of space at the Victoria location after Probation Services transitions into its new office still located within the building.

MOECC investigating uncovered salt pile at Picton Terminals

Ben Doornekamp of Picton Port Terminals speaks to Prince Edward County’s Committee of the Whole (File Photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber / Quinte News)

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change is investigating Picton Terminals for noncompliance with a Provincial Officer’s Order to cover salt piles at the quarry.

On November 1, the MOECC issued an order that included 13 items pertaining to the covering of storage piles of salt and its stormwater runoff; dust and spills from petroleum coke; plans and measures to prevent discharge and removal of contaminants and drainage.  As part of the order, Picton Terminals is required to cover them within 15 working days of shipment receipt.  The company is also required to conduct quarterly samplings for two years of the groundwater and surface water, which includes Picton Bay.

According the MOECC, the ministry has not yet received results for Bay water sampling.  The first round of results (not including Picton Bay) have been received by the ministry and they indicate impacts to local groundwater and a neighbouring property, with potential impacts to Picton Bay, as a direct result of bulk salt storage on the property.

MOE Spokeswoman Cathy Chisholm said on July 26, the ministry learned that the salt was not covered within the required 15 days.  She said staff went back out to the site last week and found that the pile was still uncovered.

“As a result, the noncompliance has been referred to the Ministry’s Environmental Enforcement and Compliance Office (formerly IEB) for investigation,” said Chisolm.  “In the meantime, ministry staff have asked Picton Terminals to cover the salt and ministry staff continue to regularly visit the property.”

In December, owner Ben Doornekamp told Quinte News the company decided to pull out of a rezoning application needed for a multi-million dollar expansion because after speaking with their lawyers and planning department they felt addressing the Ministry’s concerns was more imperative than the rezoning matters that could take years to clean up.

On Tuesday, Doornekamp said the 300,000 tonne salt piles have been covered since last year’s orders were issued.  He said word of this incident being referred to the Ministry’s EECO for investigation was news to him.

“We have received salt on five different occasions this summer,” said Doornekamp.  “We receive it, move it and cover it within 15 working days.”

He said when MOECC staff attended his business he explained a heavy wind storm caused a tarp to blow off one of the piles last week and the company is in the process of putting them back on.  He explained the piles are normally covered with a tarp, secured with ropes and weighed down by gravel around the edges.

He added the company has been proactive in creating berms to assist in deterring salt runoff and dust from entering his neighbour’s property.

He offered he is meeting with the MOECC on Wednesday August 15 to discuss building two storage sheds for the salt piles as a plan to ‘completely eliminate the salt runoff.’

“We have developed a stormwater management plan to cover them in dry storage,” said Doornekamp.  “We are optimistic that after 36 years of being uncovered, that when salt arrives next year, it will go into dry storage.”

This new information piqued the interest of Chisolm who said she is eager to hear more about he plan on Wednesday.


Mayor Quaiff will consider Liberal candidacy race

Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff. (Photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber / Quinte News)

Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff says he is going to give it some serious thought and discuss it with his family before making a decision to enter the race for the Bay of Quinte provincial Liberal candidacy.

Mayor Quaiff says he has made no decision about his political future, following a recent Belleville Intelligener article stating he was tapped on the shoulder by Liberal Northumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi.

Speaking from the Association of Municipalities Conference in Ottawa, Quaiff said the story’s circulation along with lawn signs scattered around the County are pure speculation and he hasn’t filed nomination papers.

Robert Quaiff

He said he will sit down with his wife Susan and family after AMO to discuss his political future.

Robert Quaiff 2

Quaiff was elected mayor in 2014.  He began his tenure at Shire Hall as North Marysburgh councillor in 2000.

Sitting Bay of Quinte riding president Peter Landry said they are looking for the right candidate to unseat incumbent PC MPP Todd Smith.  He added the party has a handful of potential candidates who have expressed an interest however he remained tight lipped on their names.

Peter Landry

He said to date no one has submitted a formal nomination form.

Quinte West hires new Economic Development Coordinator

New Quinte West Economic Development Coordinator, Ben Hagerman assumed his new role at City Hall on Monday August 14, 2017. (Photo: Submitted)

The Quinte West Economic Development and Tourism Services Division welcomed a new member on Monday.

Ben Hagerman has officially assumed his duties as the new Economic Development Coordinator.  A graduate of the business administration program at Trent University, Hagerman brings five years of economic development experience to the city and was previously working in community development with Loyalist Township.

Hagerman said he is excited to join a great team adding there is a real sense of community in Quinte West.  He is looking forward to expanding upon that and keeping the momentum going.

Ben Hagerman

Economic Development Manager Linda Lisle says she is pleased to have Hagerman join their team.

Linda Lisle

Hagerman takes the reins from Christina Edwards-Scott who is now the executive assistant to the city clerk, Kevin Heath.

House fire in the County under investigation

UPDATE @ 12:15 P.M.: Fire investigators are on the scene of a blaze in Prince Edward County this morning.

24 firefighters from stations one and four responded to a waterfront cottage at 1821 Big Island Road, around 7:45 a.m., where flames had already spread through the structure.

Deputy Fire Chief Robert Rutter tells Quinte News firefighters had to take a “defensive approach” when they arrived and didn’t enter the cottage.

He says it took about an hour to get the flames under control and nobody was injured.

Some firefighters are still on scene dousing hot spots, while investigators look into a cause.

A preliminary damage estimate hasn’t been released.

Prince Edward County fire officials are investigating a blaze at a home on Big Island.

Just before 8 a.m. crews were called to 1821 N Big Island Road for the report of a fire.

Social media reports indicate response to the fire was delayed due to an incorrect address provided at the time of the call.

Crews remain on scene.

Details are still few.  It’s believed there was no one home at the time of the fire, however that hasn’t been confirmed by officials yet.

Public review of Quinte Skyway Bridge study begins

Photo of existing conditions of Quinte Skyway Bridge provided in public information documents.

Plans to repair a major link connecting Prince Edward County and Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory take another important step forward Thursday,

In April, residents and municipal officials agreed to a five-year timeline for the Quinte Skyway Bridge rebuild that is estimated to cost $76 million.  Both municipalities signed off on the plan that will have the lowest impact on emergency services and minimal traffic delays due to short construction zones with one lane open and traffic lights.

Now in the design phase, Ministry of Transportation spokeswoman Brandi Duhaime explained they have completed a Transportation Environmental Study Report for the bridge and it will be available for public review and comment Thursday August 10.

Brandi Duhaime

The 83-page report available for public consumption studied existing terrestrial ecosystems, wildlife habitats, species at risk and transportation impacts.  According to the report, field surveys were completed on July 11, 2011, June 18, 2012, August 30, 2016 and June 20, 2017.

“In addition to background information and field surveys, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte were consulted in order to obtain traditional knowledge on the ecological function and traditional values provided by the study area,” wrote the author of the report Mike Bricks, MCIP, RPP, Morrison Hershfield Senior Environmental Planner.

The public review period ends September 25.

Stirling-Rawdon police force applies for OPP positions

Police Chief Dario Cecchin says the employees of the police service understand that council has the obligation to explore if policing can be done at a lower cost by OPP during a press conference in council chambers Tuesday morning. (Photo: Nicole Kleinsteuber / Quinte News)

The entire Stirling-Rawdon police force has applied to join the Ontario Provincial Police if the detachment disbands in the near future.

In June, council voted to accept a police costing from the OPP at $1.5 million – a savings of $300,000 a year.  The Ontario Civilian Police Commission has still yet to rule whether or not the move would provide adequate service.

In the meantime, Police Chief Dario Checcin said he and his nine officers were required to apply to the OPP and to his understanding they will be given positions locally or within the vicinity if they meet certain requirements.

Police Chief Dario Checcin

The Municipal Policing Bureau is overseeing the job applications and is expected to make a decision by September.  If the OCPC approves next month then training taking place in October and the OPP begin policing in January.  If an OCPC decision is made later, the other option is training in February with an OPP takeover in the May/June period.

OPP Contract Analysis and transition coordinator Sgt. Peter Marshall said all of the police members will be taken as long as they are in good standing.  If the move is approved, Sgt. Marshall will facilitate the transition from municipal service to OPP.

Sgt. Marshall said all of the Stirling-Rawdon force recently attended an info session on the move.  He added the officers are very ‘well informed to the transition period.’

“The OPP is very accommodating in that they will keep the officers in Stirling if that is their choice,” said Sgt. Marshall.  If they (officers) choose to move somewhere else in the province, they have the option.”

New classroom opens for volunteer firefighters

The Hastings Prince Edward Mutual Aid Association fire training garage and storage facility located at 22 Chester Road in Trenton. (Photo: submitted)

Fire officials and dignitaries cut the ribbon on a classroom in the new fire training complex in Trenton on Wednesday morning.

In June, volunteer firefighters with the Hastings-Prince Edward Mutual Aid Association unveiled a new $160,000 garage and storage facility that also has a classroom and training tower. The 6,000 square foot, three bay garage and dry storage centre stores fire service vehicles and equipment.

On Wednesday, Prince Edward County Deputy Fire Chief Robert Rutter said having more space with air conditioning is great because it makes it more comfortable for students learning to become firefighters.