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Law imperils butternut recovery

publisher Jun 6, 2019 - 4:43pm

A  new batch of butternut seedlings have been sent into the world to pull the endangered tree back from the brink – but this spring’s lot may have been the last.
Landowners flocked to the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority’s specialized cold storage facility on Dilworth Road this spring to pick up their baby butternut trees, carefully grown at the Ferguson Forestry Centre from resilient seeds harvested across Eastern Ontario.

Butternut trees in Canada and the US have been decimated by the butternut canker, an incurable fungal disease scientists believe originated in Asia.

Since 2005, the RVCA has planted a total of 29,000 new butternuts across Eastern Ontario, partnering with landowners and other groups willing to care for the fragile trees on their properties.

But that could end now that proposed changes to the provincial Endangered Species Act have been signed into law.

The new rules, included in the Province of Ontario’s More Homes, More Choice Act, will allow developers to pay into a province-wide conservation fund instead of supporting localized, targeted efforts to save or replace the threatened species they disrupt. It’s unclear how the provincial pool of money would be doled out: money paid for local butternut destruction may no longer fund local butternut recovery.

That could leave the RVCA’s program without the critical funding it needs to collect resilient seeds to nurture new seedlings for reforestation. And it’s been a hugely successful model, if only because landowners have been so eager to plant the disappearing trees.

“I haven’t had a butternut on my property for more than 60 years,” said Mountain resident Fred Baker, who participated in the program for the first time this spring. He picked up 20 seedlings on May 10. “It’s a good, natural food for animals and wildlife, beautiful wood to work with, great saw logs if you can get them to that size. They’re beautiful to sit under.”

Progress is achingly slow: of the 2,000 free seedlings handed out this spring, only about 30 per cent will live to age five, according to program manager Rosemary Fleguel.

“It’s a slow, steady drip to get butternuts back onto the landscape,” she said. “But it’s still 30 per cent more than what was there, and they’re from genetically superior parent trees. What we don’t know is how many of these seedlings will be able to fend off the canker disease into maturity to produce seeds of their own.”

Fleguel estimates that 50 to 60 per cent of the population in eastern Ontario has died or is no longer reproducing since she started monitoring the trees in 1992.

“I’d say about 50 per cent still exist as viable trees, but every year a certain percentage fall off the edge,” she said. “The urgency to find these tolerant trees cannot be overstated.”

New Pornographers, Shad to headline Beau's Oktoberfest

publisher Jun 6, 2019 - 11:16am

The New Pornographers and Shad will be the headline acts at Beau’s Oktoberfest September 20 and 21 in Vankleek Hill.

The mainstage will be hosted by podcasters Jeremy Taggart and Jonathan Torrens, will feature Polka King Walter Ostanek, and 15 additional bands that will make up the 100 per Canadian line-up.

Last year’s festival attracted 17,000 people  and raised $94,323 for non-profit groups.

 

401 construction

publisher Jun 5, 2019 - 9:56am

Construction season is here! The Ministry of Transportation has issued a letter and maps to inform the public of the numerous constructions zones that will be encountered on Highway 401 this year. Projects taking place in the Township of South Glengarry include Raisin River Bridge/County Rd. 2 Underpass and Westley Creek Rd.

 

https://www.southglengarry.com/en/news/highway-401-seasonal-constructio…

Boxes torched

publisher May 29, 2019 - 8:16am

Another spring ritual is leaving its mark.

The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry OPP detachment is investigating a series of acts of vandalism involving residential mailboxes on Concession 8 Road and 2nd Line Road in South Glengarry.

Several mailboxes were burnt or otherwise damaged sometime on the night of May 23/24.

EOSSAA soccer championships for GDHS, le Relais

sean May 28, 2019 - 7:18pm

Both high schools in Alexandria captured EOSSAA 'A' soccer titles today in Kingston. Glengarry DHS' senior boys won, as did le Relais' senior girls. 

Unfortunately, the events concluded after The News had gone to press this week. Brief stories are posted to Sports in the Glens, and we will have full coverage in the newspaper next week.

Emergency department doctor shortage

publisher May 24, 2019 - 10:40am

Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) is experiencing a temporary shortage of Emergency Department Physicians.

“Our current doctors are working extra shifts to ensure proper coverage and care to our community, and we have several new recruits starting July 1, including two from the Hospital Foundation’s “Adopt a Medical Resident” program,” the CCH says.

“Every attempt is made to match our Emergency Department (ED) schedule to patient arrival patterns, but this is never fully predictable. It is during the morning and early afternoon hours that most patients arrive in our ED, and this is where we concentrate our staffing. In the late-night hours, our volume of new patients is low, and there are fewer doctors on duty. During the overnight hours, the ED staff are busy with ambulances and critically ill patients.”

“While we do our best to see everyone that presents to the Emergency Department quickly, patients with less urgent conditions may have longer waits. Moving a doctor from daytime to the night would result in much longer daytime waits, affecting many more people.”

“It may benefit the community to understand that less urgent conditions will be more efficiently seen during morning and early afternoon hours. In fact, during the day we have up to four doctors on duty. We want everyone to know that we always strive to provide the best care possible in a timely way. If your condition is less severe, the wait time will likely be better during the day when we have higher staffing levels,” the CCH says.

Discover Glengarry: A real blast

publisher May 16, 2019 - 10:38am

The 2019 edition of The News' Discover Glengarry And Beyond tourism guide hits the streets May 22. Every subscriber will receive a copy. Plus, copies will be distributed to businesses and tourist information centres in Ontario, as well as at local events.

Of course, the guide can be picked up at our office at 3 Main St. South, Alexandria.

You can also view the entire publication online here.

Drugs, weapons seized

publisher May 13, 2019 - 10:39am

Two North Glengarry residents have been charged after Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry Ontario Provincial Police officers seized a quantity of drugs, weapons and currency during a raid May 10.

Robin Rozon, 40, and Melanie Larchevesque, 39, have been charged with possession of a controlled substance for purpose of trafficking, possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime and failing to comply with an undertaking.