Opinion: Tons on the go over next couple of weeks

By Mike Williscraft

Another grab bag this week in an attempt to cover some ground…

Judging by the response Monday night, I would have to say Grimsby’s Mayor Jeff Jordan and town staff made lemonade from some lemons.

A mix-up at the Mayor’s Breakfast was transformed into a new information event at town hall – held Monday night.

With the gallery full, the partition was opened to allow for more space for visitors. Lots of questions, lots of interest, good work all around.

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A separate matter for the Town seems to be the revolving door of staff.

New CAO Harry Schlange has not endeared himself to many staff and concerns – voiced to me by residents that he will follow patterns displayed in other communities in which he has worked – continue to mount.

Key among the changes is Fire Chief Mike Cain’s “early retirement”.

It was pretty clear from the get-go Schlange has a set manner in which he conducts business. That is not a bad thing.

What is concerning is Schlange is expected to be CAO for a relatively short time as he is nearing retirement. Going into the hiring process, many on council wanted to seek a young, aggressive CAO who would rework Town processes (not unlike Schlange) but would also be around to implement those changes and grow the system along with the community.

Choosing a candidate nearing retirement to overhaul your system is a peculiar choice, but not necessarily a bad one. The jury is out, but they certainly are watching very closely.

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A very nice lady named Irene stopped into our NewsNow office last week after a lady left her a gift certificate for letting the other woman go ahead of her in line. She had no way to get in touch with the woman and wanted to say thanks.

So, “Thanks!”

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We are now entering the Christmas zone.

Starting with this week’s Smithville Santa Claus Parade running through next week’s Grimsby parade and Festive Friday’s shopping events in the downtown (starting this week for four straight Fridays) to Beamsville’s Miracle on King Street planned for Saturday, Dec. 14.

This is nothing to say of the many craft and back sales hosted at churches and by community groups over the coming weeks.

Believe me, we are trying to get to all we can, but there is so much happening there is no way we can fit it all in each week. So, be patient, if you saw us out an event and your information has not been included as yet, it will come.

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Next week is an important week for us, Grimsby Firefighters Association and Grimsby Benevolent Fund.

NewsNow and Deliveries Unlimited will be working together to get the special food drive bags out to every home in Grimsby. To boost the profile of the program, the paper and sales flyers will go inside the bag, except in rural areas where all will go in mailboxes.

It is the biggest single event for GBF on its calendar and it takes a small army to attain success.

After the food is brought in, it fills the gymnasium at Trinity United Church and volunteers come out in droves to make it all happen. By “all” I mean first the food, toys and household products are sorted, then they are organized and boxed up on the way to developing Christmas hampers for the scores of families in need.

It’s busy, It’s chaotic. It’s amazing.

This year will be a bit odd for me as it will be the first year since I came to town in 1995 that Marion Thorp won’t be there to oversee the night.

Marion, who retired last January after 25 years of service to GBF, was always at or near the door to direct newbies (and vets) to wherever there was an area of need. Maybe she’ll show up. Maybe she’s on a cruise. Such is the life of retired folk and more power to her.

All the details for volunteer needs are in our story on Page 6, so I won’t go over all that.

I will encourage anyone who has time to give, though, you simply won’t have your heart warmed any more than that night when you see a sea of humanity all working to help people who are in a rough spot and, as GBF founder Mike Barretto always said, “need a hand up, not a hand out.”

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