401 underpass work needed
On Labour Day, while taking the 15-year-old to her part-time job at the South Lancaster Subway store, we drove past a sight that is, unfortunately, all too familiar.
The exit ramp onto the eastbound 401 off of County Road 34 had been closed off. There was an ambulance, a fire truck, some police cars, and a whole bunch of motorcycles parked on the side of the road. There was a stretcher too and some paramedics had loaded someone on it. I didn’t stick around but, I assumed, said person was loaded into the ambulance and transported to a hospital. I hope that person is okay.
Unfortunately, traffic mishaps at that particular part of the 401 are not uncommon. Safety experts say that highway traffic is the most dangerous thing most people will encounter in their lives. We can’t but help wonder if those same experts were thinking of the 401 when they said that.
Shawn Fowler, who helps run the Sweet Tooth Bakery in Lancaster, says this past year has been a “train wreck” of accidents as far as the 401 is concerned. The Ministry of Transportation has had the Exit 814 underpass on its radar for many years. In last week’s paper, we carried a story about how the ministry has hired a Toronto-based firm to study the underpass replacement. It was hardly a good news story because, although the Ministry classified it as a “Group B” project (meaning it has a higher priority than Group C projects or, presumably, the following letters of the alphabet) it did not release a timetable regarding potential reconstruction dates.
We can choose to be optimistic and see the hiring of the Toronto firm as a sign that the roadwork is imminent. But seeing as how the MTO has been promising this work for a while, we don’t think we’ll get too excited until the government makes a formal announcement.
North Glengarry Awards
North Glengarry Township has released the names of its award winners, all of whom will be honoured at an awards banquet at the end of September. We at The Glengarry News are honoured to have been chosen Business of the Year.
In my Aug. 30 column, I referenced King Solomon’s advice of letting someone else praise you instead of heaping it on yourself. We’ll take that tack here regarding our own award, but that won’t stop us from extolling our fellow winners.
They include Elizabeth Caddell (Citizen of the Year), Audrey Nixon-Crawford (Senior of the Year), Marshall Wilson (Youth of the Year), Brenda Noble (Dedication & Leadership), George Currier (Lifetime Achievement) and the Maxville & District Chamber of Commerce for Community Service Group.
It’s an impressive list. Soon, the township will release biographies on all of the winners and we look forward to printing them in this newspaper.
Drama fest funding
It’s encouraging to see the “never say die” attitude that area drama teachers are displaying in the wake of Sears Canada’s decision to pull its funding from the annual one-act play festival.
For decades, the festival has been one of the most anticipated events of the year for high school thespians. That’s not about to change. There will be a local festival – this year at Holy Trinity Secondary School – and it will continue to provide our young actors (and stage managers and technicians and behind-the-scene people) with the theatrical experiences they have come to crave.
I could be biased given my own theatrical background – I studied theatre arts at two postsecondary institutions and once harboured dreams of becoming an actor – but I’m of the opinion that the arts need to be emphasized in our schools. It’s a good thing that almost every school has a music and art program of some kind, but not all of them have thriving theatre departments. That’s sad.
A lot can be learned about life in the theatre. If you doubt that, read the famous monologue from William Shakespeare’s play, As You Like It:
All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.
The late Kurt Vonnegut believed that to be the ultimate expression of human existence. Indeed, he believed it defined us so completely that no other writer needed write a word after that. Shakespeare nailed it.
Yes, the theatre is not just a fun pastime or a way for some attention-starved kids to get a few moments in the limelight. The theatre is a study of life itself.
Due to its financial situation, we can hardly fault Sears for pulling the plug but we can give a standing ovation to the drama teachers, students, parents and other volunteers who will still work hard to make this festival possible.
At the movies...
Jumping from theatre to cinema for a second, I can’t be the only Glengarrian who’s excited about the upcoming film version of Agatha Christie’s immortal Murder on the Orient Express.
This is the fourth time the story has been adapted to the silver screen – the first was 1974’s star-studded version that saw Albert Finney receive an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Hercule Poirot, Christie’s mustachioed and fastidious Belgian detective. This time around he’s played by the Irish Shakespearean actor Kenneth Branagh, whose mustache is so wide that it rivals the one former Glengarry News publisher JT Grossmith sported during his tenure here.
To be sure, moviegoers will probably see it just because of its star-studded cast – which includes such luminaries as Dame Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz, and audience favourite Johnny Depp.
No matter the reason they see it, they’re in for a treat. Murder on the Orient Express is the best murder mystery ever written and Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time. Her work has only been outsold by Shakespeare and the Bible (strange to note that all three are referenced in this column.) If you’re completely ignorant of Murder on
the Orient Express – meaning you didn’t read the novel in high school and haven’t seen any of the film adaptations – do yourself a favour and keep away. Try to go into the theatre as fresh and uninformed as possible. The conclusion should be just as riveting as Marion Crane’s murder was at the end of the first act of 1960’s Psycho. It’s sad, too, to think that no modern filmgoer will be able to see that film without knowing what’s going to happen. Pop culture has ruined it for us.
Fire hall sign
You’ve got to hand it to South Glengarry Councillor Lyle Warden for letting loose on the township’s sign policy on Tuesday evening.
Mr. Warden was upset that the township’s fire department wouldn’t allow the sign outside the Martintown fire hall/community centre to promote this past weekend’s fundraiser for Tammy Christie, a local mother of three who’s battling an aggressive form of cancer.
Traditionally, the fire hall signs have only been used to promote fire safety. This, too, is valuable but there’s no reason why the signs can’t be used to advertise other community endeavours, particularly ones designed to support a local woman who is fighting for her life.
Thankfully, South Glengarry Township agreed to promote the event on the sign. Let’s hope that the township will revisit its sign policy. Those signs are township property, after all.
Baseball season winds down
I sure am missing Kevin Macdonald, the late president of The Glengarry News, these days.
About twice a month he would visit the office to talk about how the paper is doing. During his visits, he would always find time to come to the editorial section to chat with us.
We rarely talked about the newspaper; we talked about outside interests. Mr. Macdonald was a big fan of the theatre so he and I would often talk Shakespeare and Marlowe and Greek tragedy. But he was also a big baseball fan (he cheered for the Washington Nationals) and, prior to the start of the 2016 baseball season, shared a Sports Illustrated prediction that the Cleveland Indians would win the World Series. They were wrong, of course, but oh so close.
Mr. Macdonald told me that because he knew my father is a huge fan of the Cleveland Indians (I am a nominal fan just because of my dad.) So I wish Mr. Macdonald was around right now. I wish he was here so we could talk about the Tribe’s 18-game win streak (I’m writing this on the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 11) and assure me that 2017 is indeed the year for the Cleveland Indians.
Of course, he might not cheer along with my dad and I seeing as how the Nationals are also poised to make a splash in the post-season. Still, all I can say is “Go Tribe!!!”