May 28, 2020

PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS

Scott Preston poses with his purple pride and joy, showing it off on his quiet Saint-Lazare driveway before towing it down to make a lot of noise at Napierville Dragway this weekend.

Saint-Lazare’s Scott Preston isn’t going to let the pandemic slow him down, at least not behind the wheel of his new dragster. As an airline employee, like many others, he has found himself with a lot of extra time these days - time that he’s been putting to use by getting finishing touches done on the 1,800-pound rear-motor dragster he’s been working on for over three years.

“It’s just about ready,” says Preston. “I’m going to finish it up and this weekend I’ll be taking it out on the track for the first time to run some trials. We’re going to see how it goes.”

It will be this car’s first run but far from it for Preston who’s been working on and driving dragsters for 45 years.

“I started when I was 16,” he said, “and I’m still going.” He acknowledges with some pride that there are, “…no...

May 28, 2020

Ste. Anne’s provides financial support

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Ecomuseum Zoo volunteer Céline Germain is looking forward to resuming her volunteer activities as soon as the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Ecomuseum is given the green light from the province to reopen.

A love of children and their natural curiosity prompted retiree Céline Germain to volunteer her time at the Ecomuseum Zoo in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue for the past two years, sharing with them the beauty of wild animals in a natural setting.

After more than two months now, it all seems like a distant memory as the entrance to Ecomuseum remains closed to the public and volunteers because of the COVID-19 epidemic in Quebec.

Deeper appreciation of nature

“All their activities came to a complete stop,” Germain told The Journal. “I was scheduled for an event on a Friday night and everything was cancelled. I’m still waiting for the reopening and whatever safety measures are put into place.”

As she awaits word regarding its eventual reopening, Germ...

THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO

Animatch dog adoption operator Helen Lacroix says while canine adoptions have increased since physical distancing and isolation rules came into play, the organization is maintaining its high standards to ensure their charges go to good long-term homes.

Animal shelters in the area have seen a substantial increase in their adoption numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and while this might seem like good news for abandoned animals, it also raises some concerns as to their ultimate fate down the road once the crisis has passed.

Dogs

The number of adoptions at Animatch has more than tripled, according to Helene Lacroix, operator of the well-known dog adoption service. Lacroix and her team are obviously thrilled but Animatch still enforces strict screening procedures to make sure dogs go to a good home. Lacroix is aware of the possibility of some people adopting animals merely to keep children busy during social isolation, or as a ‘safety blanket’ to help them weather the...

May 28, 2020

PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK

Sûreté du Québec (SQ) spokesperson Sgt. Ingrid Asselin reports that on May 26 round 5:30 a.m. police officers from the Beauharnois-Salaberry MRC station were called to the area of a vehicle sales garage located on Boulevard Monseigneur-Langlois in Valleyfield where a man was seen stealing a new pick-up truck.

With the description obtained, the truck was then observed in Vaudreuil-Dorion and when the police attempted to intercept it, the driver fled and was then located at the back of a grocery store on Boulevard Cardinal-Léger in Pincourt. After a short search, the suspect was quickly arrested not far from the scene and brought to the police station to be questioned by investigators and then to appear at the Valleyfield Courthouse.

Philippe Lambert, 28, has been charged with 10 counts, including vehicle theft, dangerous driving, fleeing from police and mischief. He remains detained until his investigation for his release.

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On May 21, construction materials...

May 21, 2020

PHOTO COURTESY THE OFFICE OF PETER SCHIEFKE

Vaudreuil-Soulanges Member of Parliament Peter Schiefke congratulates the region’s residents for the outstanding display of community cooperation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

This week, I would like to extend a message of immense gratitude.

Over the last two months, we have individually and collectively navigated our way through the storm brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through it all we, as a community of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, have remained steadfast and positive. It has made the difference in outcomes from a health standpoint and has once again brought us closer together, ironically at a time when we have to keep our distance.

I know that there are families just like my own who are counting the days until we can be reunited with our loved ones.  It is hard to be physically distanced from those we love the most, and it is inspiring to see stories of those who have found innovative solutions to continue to meaningfully connect while...

May 21, 2020

PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS

New owners Andrew Dumas and Sheena Purcell, pictured above in front of a window covered with rainbow-coloured generosity, are taking donations and topping up  free meals for those in need during the pandemic as they start off a different kind of summer season at Sauvé’s.

Celebrated Hudson casse croute Chez Sauvé, taken over last fall by husband and wife team Andrew Dumas and Sheena Purcell, has not only persevered during the pandemic but has been running an ongoing campaign to provide free meals for individuals or families in need during these trying times.

“It’s been an amazing success,” Dumas was pleased to report several weeks into the campaign. “The people of Hudson have really shown their generosity, and people who might be temporarily finding it hard to make ends meet are getting food for their families.”

Free meals so people don’t go hungry

The campaign was kick-started with a donation from Amanda Walker of Royal LePage, and a starter fund from the owners at S...

PHOTO COURTESY VICTORIA ZABIELSKI

Despite the scarcity of mask-making materials, Victoria Zabielski searched online for weeks before finding and securing a quality fabric for her washable, reusable masks.

As COVID-19 continues to drive the demand for certain products to the point of prolonged shortages, local residents have to resort to resourceful and creative ways to get the essentials needed to weather the pandemic.

Some residents come up with innovative ways to make the best of their time spent in social isolation by fabricating products that are in short supply, including masks and disinfectant gel. A student at Collège Bourget, Victoria Zabielski of Saint-Lazare, like every other high school student in the area, ended up with plenty of time on her hands this spring and she decided to use that time constructively. Seeing the shortages and high demand for masks, she opted to start making her own.

“We’re all stuck at home,” she told The Journal. “We finished school on the 13th of March...

May 21, 2020

PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

The goats are better behaved than most dogs, obediently following their owner and have a special love of eating dandelions, much to Lévesque’s delight.

The COVID-19 outbreak that saw the population sequestered in their homes for the past two months has had some surprisingly positive effects on the greater community – one notably being that area animal shelters have seen adoptions take place in record numbers. And while dogs and cats are the usual go-tos when most people are looking to adopt, a Notre-Dame-de-l'Île-Perrot woman has recently discovered the joy of owning goats.

“The follow me everywhere like dogs,” said Marie Lévesque, owner of  caprine sisters Coton and Ouaté, which basically translates to 'cotton wadding,' commonly used in French for the word 'hoodie.'

“If I walk, they walk; if I stop, they stop, and they don't bark.”

The goats have become such a fixture in the area that some parents have been helping alleviate their children's quarantine boredom b...

May 21, 2020

PHOTOS COURTESY CASEY COSTELLO

(From left to right): Team Blue – Mackenzie;  Team Red – Addison; Team Yellow – Marjane, and Team Yellow – Seanna are four of the 44 dancers who participated in a Dance-A-Thon Saturday, May 9 to raise money for charity.

Since social distancing came into effect due to the coronavirus, Costello Irish Dance team has transferred all classes and activities online. In an effort to keep the dancers engaged, founder Casey Costello and his team have been giving their students weekly challenges. Last week’s challenge was a Virtual Dance-A-Thon Fundraiser. The dancers raised money in an effort to support three different COVID-19 related initiatives:


- Montreal Children's Hospital (Team Red)
- Family Resource Centre (Team Yellow)
- Le Pont/Bridging Food Bank in Hudson (Team Blue)


As a school from Vaudreuil-Soulanges with dancers ranging in age from three to 15 years, the team felt all three area community-based organizations were important to support.
The dancers in th...

May 21, 2020

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal, standing outside the entrance to city hall, says he thanks all residents for following provincial government recommendations to stay home over the past two months and respecting social distancing measures.

As the province begins to slowly relax restrictions related to the COVID-19 virus in Quebec, Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal said the city has been providing its residents with uninterrupted services for the past two months amidst the epidemic.

Special protocols have been put into place to ensure the health and safety of its employees is being maintained, Cardinal told The Journal. While walk-in traffic into city hall has been suspended for the past two months, citizens can still obtain services by contacting the city by phone or email. Employees are also communicating with each other through teleconferencing and maintaining social distancing while on the job.

“Everything is going well at city hall,” said Cardinal. “It’s the same thing with...

May 21, 2020

THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JOHN JANTAK

Roughly eight weeks after Saint-Lazare Director General took a sick leave from his position, residents area asking if any changes had been announced in regard to the sanctions imposed on him in March for alleged shortcomings in behaviour and management of files.

The May meeting of the town council of Saint-Lazare was a bit modified from the regular format, in that it was once again conducted entirely by remote videoconference in accordance with the current rules for social distancing.

Addressing citizens’ questions online

With the council meeting being held remotely, citizens were invited to pose questions online in advance of the meeting. Resident Alan Nicol sent in a question regarding the sanctions imposed on Director General (DG) Serge Tremblay on March 17. The sanctions focused on Tremblay’s reported behaviour towards members of council and his treatment of certain unspecified files under his management.

As Tremblay went on medical leave starting the...

May 21, 2020

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon welcomed the news that small stores in our region will finally reopen on May 25 following the lead of the Island of Montreal.

With most stores set to reopen on May 25 across the Island of Montreal, except for indoor shopping malls, Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon welcomed the news because it means many retail outlets in the off-island municipality can also finally begin operating again.

The reopening of our regional stores comes one week after Mayor Pilon penned an open letter that was published in The Journal last Thursday, May 14, calling on the provincial government to consider allowing off-island municipalities that are a part of the Communauté Métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM),  including Vaudreuil-Dorion, to reopen stores ahead of Montreal.

As part of the CMM, stores across several off-island municipalities, including Vaudreuil-Dorion, have had to remain shut even though COVID-19 self-isolation measures were slowly being lifted in...

May 21, 2020

PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

Hudson’s popular second-hand store known as ‘The Bunker’ is among the many in the region that have had to temporarily shut their doors to both donors and shoppers leading to a drop in the amount of funds they typically funnel to area charities and food banks.

The novel coronavirus has forced some retailers to adapt to an online transaction model but for small friperies and second-hand shops in the region, going online is not a realistic option. And with rent and utility expenses still requiring payment on the brick-and-mortar structures, resuming normal operations without a consistent stream of customer revenue is posing significant challenges to the organizers.

NOVA Hudson

“Everything has basically come to a full stop,” said Janet Ellerbeck who founded and coordinates the two Nova boutiques in Hudson which resell donated items with all funds raised being distributed to Nova Hudson to cover operating expenses for the Nova nurses, formerly known as the Victorian...

May 21, 2020

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Volunteers sort through empty refundable bottles and cans in Saint-Lazare during a fundraising drive initiated by IGA Déziel last Saturday, May 16. More than $5,000 was raised to help La source d’entraide continue to provide food to needy families in the community.

A refundable bottle and can drive held last Saturday, May 16, by the IGA Déziel in Saint-Lazare to raise money for La source d’entraide collected $5,118 which will help the community organization continue to provide food for families in need.

A steady stream of vehicles filled with bags of empty cans and cases of empty beer bottles snaked through the parking lot on Chemin Sainte-Angélique as volunteers unloaded the contents and placed them into one of two large containers.

Helping local families

For the IGA Déziel, it was a way to give back to the community in an effort to ease the difficulty some families are facing due to food shortages caused by recent job losses related to workplace shutdowns that have be...

May 14, 2020

PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS

Famille Déziel IGA stores like the one in Hudson (above), Saint Lazare and Vaudreuil-Dorion will be collecting empty bottles and cans on Saturdays in May to raise money for local charities Le Pont Bridging, La Source d’Entraide and L’Actuel to help those impacted by COVID-19.

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced significant change on communities and presented many ongoing hardships incuding loss of work for individuals or businesses, difficulties of isolation and social distancing, and the frightening and sometimes devastating effects felt by families or loved ones of people struck directly by the virus.

It has also caused a great deal of positive action and an upswelling of community support.

“I’m floored how people have come together,” said Saint-Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo by phone. “It’s very clear that the community has stepped up.”

This can be seen in the attitudes and actions of individuals from respecting social distancing and volunteering their ti...

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