News

A look back at the year that was from a Delhi perspective 0

Compiled by Barbara Simpson, Delhi News-Record

JANUARY

Jan. 6: Delhi babe captures title: Norfolk's first baby of 2010 hailed from Delhi. Marissa Malynn Dawn Sims arrived at 9:05 a.m. on New Year's Day at Norfolk General Hospital. Her parents Angela McArthur and Greg Sims were actually hoping that Marissa would be born on Jan. 9 because the rest of the family has birthdays on nines.

Jan. 13: Delhi 'poised for growth': Norfolk Mayor Dennis Travale shared a positive outlook for Delhi at the mayor's annual levee. Delhi is headed for a year of growth, he predicted. Once all the homes in Delhi's new subdivisions are sold off, new business will come to town.

Jan. 20: A fantastic skate: Delhi ice dancer Michael Coreno and his partner Allie Hann-McCurdy earned a fifth-place finish at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. As the top two seeds were readying for the Olympics, this granted them a berth at the Four Continents Cup in Estonia.

Jan. 27: Hats for Haiti: The local community responded to the massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti on Jan. 12. Several fundraisers were organized by local schools. Staff and students of Delhi Public School each paid a toonie to wear a hat during a regular school day. Our Lady of LaSalette also held a movie and popcorn fundraiser.

FEBRUARY

Feb. 3: Delhi factory to close: Delhi Industries will close its local factory effective March 31, confirmed company president Inder Chohan. Its Brantford factory will follow suit on April 30. Sixty-one jobs at the Delhi branch would be lost. The manufacturer of industrial fans and blowers credited decreasing sales due, in part, to the exchange rate.

Feb. 10: Pharmacy expands into Delhi: Plans for a Delhi location of Roulston's Pharmacy were announced. The 3,000-square-foot store is now located in the Canada Trust Square. It opened its doors in June.

Feb. 17: 'Mathletes' aim for victory: Students of St. Frances Cabrini School showed their mathematic prowess globally through a curriculum-based online portal. Several individual students and classes ranked tops in Mathletics on its Canadian leaderboards. Mathletics features mini games, such as rapid-fire addition and multiplication, to strengthen students' math skills.

Feb. 24: Humane society offered new home: Business owners Randy and Janice Moffatt offered a rent-free 1,000-square foot space in Delhi to house the Simcoe and District Humane Society. They were alarmed when they discovered the humane society operates out of a trailer. Membership of the society, however, voted against accepting the Moffatts' offer, choosing to continue focusing on building a new facility.

MARCH

March 3: School bell rings again at Windham school: Displaced W.F. Hewitt students settled into their temporary home at Windham Central School. The board temporarily reopened the closed middle school after a fire damaged the W.F. Hewitt campus of Waterford Public School. Damage to both the school and its contents were pegged at more than $200,000.

March 10: 130 Oxford County students intend to attend DDSS: Just years after facing possible closure, Delhi District Secondary School may now face overcapacity. To date, 130 Oxford County students - hailing from the soon-to-be-defunct Norwich District High School and its feeder public schools - announced intent to enroll at DDSS. "It's pretty exciting for us," said principal Shayne Mann.

March 17: Delhi's top citizens: Longtime volunteers Mary Jane Kekes and Ron Kichler share the title of Delhi Citizen of the Year. Kekes and Kichler have been heavily involved in the Hungarian and German halls respectively. DDSS student Kelsey Stanczyk was named the Delhi Junior Citizen of the Year. She has been involved in drama productions and school council during her high school career. The annual awards are sponsored by the Delhi District Chamber of Commerce.

March 24: Main Street building to bite the dust: A longtime eyesore on Main Street was issued a demolition order. Owners of the derelict building, wedged between Home Hardware and Julie's Travel Service, were asked to demolish the building by April 1. County building staff deemed the second floor and roof of the building unsafe and unsuitable for occupancy. The county would later step in and organize the demolition after the property owner failed to act.

March 31: Planting seeds of community: Delhi Public School was recognized for its facility upgrades with a Delhi Improvement Award. Over the last few years, the local public school has acquired a five-room portable, fresh paint and ceiling tiles, and outdoor landscaping. These upgrades come at a time when students of the now defunct Windham Central are returning to Delhi Public School. The award was presented by the Delhi District Chamber of Commerce.

APRIL

April 7: Princess comes in peace: Delhi native Brenda Biller returned to town, hoping to spread her Think Positive Think World Peace campaign locally. Biller, who has legally changed her name to Princess Peace, has been running her T-shirt and social media campaign in the Windsor area for years. She had hoped to purchase a Main Street storefront to sell her merchandise and offer ministerial services.

April 14: Paralympics are an eye-opening experience: Delhi resident Lisa Dyjach received a last-minute phone call to volunteer at the Vancouver Winter Paralympics. The former developmental services worker drove Paralympic officials to different sporting events. The experience opened her eyes to all the research going into developing modified tracks and equipment for Paralympic athletes.

April 21: Nunsense is habit-forming: Backstage Capitol Theatre staged its first community theatre production. Brantford's Joan Minnery directed and starred in the local production of Nunsense. A local cast played the rest of the nuns in the musical comedy.

April 28: Strength in numbers: Community groups rallied together to bolster their memberships through an inaugural Fair & Share. The job fair-style event allowed the public to learn more about clubs and organizations in the community. "What we have in common is a decline in membership," said Donna Hussey, of Delhi, who helped organize the fair. "We're hoping to showcase today what we have to offer and get new members."

MAY

May 5: Soldiers headed to Afghanistan: Three local soldiers were deployed to Afghanistan. Master Bombardier Adam Holmes and Master Bombardier Cory Harrison, both of Delhi, and Bombardier Herman Bueckert, of Langton, were part of the major deployment of the 56 Field Regiment. This was Norfolk's largest deployment of soldiers to a combat zone since the Second World War.

May 12: Sprouting a second life: A growing potato company purchased the Delhi Tobacco Auction Exchange Hall. The Norfolk Select Potato Company now utilizes the 65,000-square-foot facility to wash and package potatoes. The price tag was once set at $700,000, but the actual selling price was not disclosed.

May 19: Accessibility for everyone: As the province ramps up its accessibility standards, Delhi's ethnic halls have been readying themselves with wheelchair ramps and chairlifts. The Delhi Belgian Club installed a wooden ramp on the west side of its building. The Polish, German and Hungarian halls also have either ramps or chairlifts for disabled patrons.

May 26: Clinic open to the public: The walk-in clinic at the Delhi Community Health Centre is the only public walk-in clinic left standing in the county. A week prior, the local physicians behind the West Street Walk-in Clinic announced they would only be an after-hours clinic for their own patients effective July 1.

JUNE

June 2: A quiet room of their own: Homeowners in the area of Cultus, Frogmore and Clear Creek sought some rest in Delhi. A group of women rented a Delhi apartment to relieve their health problems they claim are caused by nearby industrial wind turbines. Some of their reported symptoms include ear pressure, vertigo, nausea and leg twitching.

June 9: High on top at DDSS: Vice-principal Alison High was named the new principal for the coming school year. She replaced outgoing principal Shayne Mann who returned to Paris District High School. High, 40, followed in the footsteps of her mother Helene High, who was principal at Simcoe Composite School. "I feel good knowing that Alison will be principal," Mann said.

June 16: Sime says volunteer: Ninety-one-year-old Gertrude Sime, of Delhi, was recognized for 60 years of continuous volunteer service. Sime has been heavily involved with the Delhi legion, holding various positions on the Ladies' Auxiliary. She started volunteering with the Royal Canadian Legion once her two brothers returned home from the Second World War.

June 23: Berry good weekend: This year's Strawberry Festival added another fruit to its celebration - the rhubarb. The annual baking contest now features jams, pies, loaves/cakes and muffins made out of rhubarb. "With the tobacco industry failing, Delhi is doing a lot of work to keep the town alive and on the map," said Diane Bertling, one of the festival organizers.

June 30: Singing farewell to cancer: The Delhi United Church rallied around their young music director's battle with breast cancer. Heather Chwastiak, the mother of three young children, was diagnosed with the disease last fall. The United Church Women fundraised to finance a housekeeper for her and took turns tending to her children. Chwastiak thanked the congregation with an I Kicked Cancer concert at the church in June.

JULY

July 7: Bounty of broadband Internet coming: The Broadband for Norfolk project focused its attention on the west region of the county. Communication towers were in the future for Glen Meyer, Green's Corners and LaSalette, allowing residents to access high-speed service. A fiber optic wire was also laid along the Delhi Rail Trail to alleviate congestion during transmission.

July 14: 'No words can express it': Delhi couple John and Marcia Wright finally brought their adopted son Kaleb Agegnew home. The Wrights, along with hundreds of Canadian families, were placed in limbo when Imagine Adoption filed for bankruptcy. Creditors, however, were able to approve a restructuring plan and re-establish its relationships with an Ethiopian orphanage quickly. "No words can express it," Marcia said of finally picking up their son. "Finally, six years after trying to start this family, it's finally happening."

July 21: Pedalling into the past: An exhibit of Delhi's rich cycling history pedaled into the Delhi Tobacco Museum & Heritage Centre. The exhibit entitled Backpedalling featured souveniers from local cyclists, including jerseys, trophies and even a model velodrome. The opening was timed to coincide with another successful Le Tour de Norfolk. This year, more than 700 cyclists participated in the slew of rides.

July 28: Sinking drowning stats: Staff of the Delhi Kinsmen Pool offered free swimming and basic first aid lessons during its Family Fun Day. The hope was that public education could put a dent in the number of drownings this summer. "It's a lot of parents not supervising kids and kids unable to afford swimming lessons," said Patricia Vehof, head lifeguard.

AUGUST

Aug. 4: Infrastructure improvements: The hamlet of LaSalette received upgrades to its roadways and walkways this summer. Not all residents were pleased by the work. Bernie Byer, of Byer's General Store, believes all the roadwork was hurting his summertime business. "This is the time of year that I make my money for the year and it's not going to be there," he said.

Aug. 11: Windham murder probe continues: Police continued to investigate a murder at a farmhouse northwest of Simcoe. Investigators, including a forensic team and members of the OPP Criminal Investigations Bureau, were on scene for a few days at the former tobacco farm. Brian Rose, 30, of Norfolk, was charged with first-degree murder and is in custody.

Aug. 18: Delhi company to double workforce: Delhi's Waltco Systems received a $242,000 loan to double its workforce from the federal government. The local manufacturer of cooling towers will be developing cutting edge technology specifically designed for tower systems that operate in winter climates. Eight additional workers will be added to the payroll.

Aug. 25: Travellin' Down Tobacco Road: Windham Street, a stretch of gravel road that connects Argyle Avenue and Industrial Road, was reopened to the public with a new moniker. Tobacco Road will now provide access to the Delhi Industrial Park. The small thoroughfare was originally under the control of the Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers' Marketing Board, but with the sale of the former auction exchange hall, it was handed over to the county.

SEPTEMBER

Sept. 1: A six-year bicycling journey for sight: A 10-year-old Pinegrove girl was recognized for her fundraising efforts by Lions District Gov. Jack Buchner. Sara Schram has raised $4,750 during the Lions' Journey for Sight rides over the last six years. "It makes me feel good to help people," Schram said. She plans to visit the Leader Dog Program to see all her fundraising at work firsthand.

Sept. 8: Tractor incident claims life of Delhi resident: A 75-year-old Delhi resident died on his family farm after he was rolled over by a tractor. Wilfried Scheers was discovered pinned underneath a tractor at his son's grape farm in the hamlet of Glenshee. Scheers was known for his passion for archery, starting up a club for the sport in town.

Sept. 15: Delhi Rotarian basks in start of whirlwind reign: Karen Oakes, of the Rotary Club of Delhi, was named the first Canadian woman to oversee Rotary District 7090. The newly minted district governor brought the three-day district conference to her home community this year.

Sept. 22: Harvestfest hits a milestone: The 40th annual Harvestfest celebrated with new digs. The traditional downtown celebration was instead held on the grounds of the Delhi Community Centre this year. "It's shaping up to be excellent," chairperson Debbie Wilbur said. "People have been coming up to me and saying how nice it was to have everything in one location."

Sept. 29: Rotarians get taste of Delhi heritage: The Delhi District German Home hosted scores of Rotarians during the district conference gala. Rotarians from across the district - a territory that sweeps across from southern Ontario into western New York - dined on county produce and were entertained by traditional Hungarian dancers.

OCTOBER

Oct. 6: Bick's tank farm not pickled yet: Delhi Coun. Mike Columbus remained optimistic about the future of Delhi's Bick's Pickle tank farm. While J.M. Smucker Co. announced it will close the farm in November 2011, the site is "one of the most environmentally safe tank farms in the world," Columbus said. He believes growers groups may be interested in the operation.

Oct. 13: Raiders win big at fair: Delhi District Secondary School won the grand championship title at Young Canada Day. The school had strong finishes in all activities - both women's and men's tug of war matches, road races, cheerleading and special effects - on the day set aside for students at the Norfolk County Fair.

Oct. 20: Delhi family absent from Marreel inquest: Improved medical care is needed in suspected cases of excited delirium, suggested a jury at the inquest into the death of Jeffrey Marreel. The Delhi native was zapped with a Taser after acting erratically at Fisher's Glen in June 2008. Evidence at the inquest reconfirmed the Taser had no effect on Marreel. Excited delirium, a fatal condition that mimics cocaine intoxication, may have instead been at play.

Oct. 27: Mayor Dennis Travale defeats rival Wheaton: Norfolk Mayor Dennis Travale was swept back into power, defeating challenger Clarence Wheaton by a margin of nearly 2-1. Windham Coun. Jim Oliver defeated sole challenger Bill Culver. Langton Coun. Roger Geysens and Delhi Coun. Mike Columbus were both acclaimed.

NOVEMBER

Nov. 3: New digs for seniors?: A new seniors' residence is being envisioned at the site of the former Delhi Foundry. The 54-unit residence with rooftop solar panels and a garden would also offer ground floor commercial space. The building could aid in revitalizing downtown Delhi, said Jim Gates, the Burlington developer behind the project.

Nov. 10: Laid-off workers get some help: The Delhi Action Centre has been helping former workers of Delhi Industries figure out their futures. A total of 137 workers lost their jobs from both plants earlier this year. Only 43 have "adjusted" by either retiring, landing a job or attending full-time school so far. The centre has been providing resume help through to offering first aid training.

Nov. 17: Delhi remembers: A cross-section of people representing Canada's military campaigns stood in a giant circle at Delhi's cenotaph on Remembrance Day. Veterans from the Second World War through to the Bosnian peacekeeping mission were in attendance. Delhi mother Brenda Langas laid a wreath in honour of her son Kyle who served more than six months in Afghanistan and survived.

Nov. 24: 'Home away from home': The diamond anniversary of the German Homes Ladies' Society was celebrated in grand fashion. A collage of their mementos crafted by Canadian artist John Schweitzer was presented to the women at their banquet. An open house was also held in order to share stories and souvenirs over the last 60 years.

DECEMBER

Dec. 1: Delhi singer named Brantford Idol: Delhi mother Tina Gates won over Brantford judges like Susan Boyle did on Britain's Got Talent. She was named Brantford Idol, beating out a professional singer-songwriter for the title. Gates works full time at the office of MPP Toby Barrett and has three daughters who also love to perform.

Dec. 8: Jack Frost nipping at their noses: Delhi's Santa Claus Parade saw its first marching band this year. The Simcoe Senior Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps performed in subzero temperatures for the crowd. "It's tough for the horn line," said drummer Joe Nault of Brantford. "Their valves can freeze up on them. They put a mixture of alcohol and valve oil into their instruments to prevent them from freezing up."

Dec. 15: Big Creek littered with big bags: A Delhi man discovered a hundred fertilizer bags that he believes may be leaching chemical residue into Big Creek. These bags are littering the banks and bed of the stream behind the McLaughlin warehouse. An environmental inspector attended the scene and didn't believe there was any impact to water quality, confirmed spokesperson Kate Jordan.

Dec. 22: Santa's little helpers: More Delhi residents reached out for some holiday help this year. The Coldwell Banker Delhi Toy & Food Drive helped 38 families, 140 singles and 72 children this Christmas. Both the number of singles and children increased dramatically compared to last year.

Dec. 29: Holiday tradition: About 60 people attended the annual Christmas dinner at Delhi United Church. If it wasn't for the Christmas meal, "we'd be spending it at home by ourselves," said Brenda Travale, 58, who came with her son Steven, 33, and a brother.


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