Saturday, 20 December 2014, 10:18 pm

Light up your holiday season

By LUCA GUARDARI
Staff Writer
The Winter Festival of Lights will light up your holidays this season. PHOTO BY LUCA GUARDARIShine a light; the Winter Festival of Lights is back for the holiday season.
Dazzling Niagara Falls with an array of beautiful lights since 1983, the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) invites you to walk into a winter wonderland.
With over three million stunning lights  along five-plus kilometres throughout Niagara Falls, the OPG’s display has since attracted over 1.3 million people from around the world.
The Festival of Lights has become a winter getaway.
Tourists’ interest has increased over the years, as what used to be called off-season for the Falls has now become a busier and longer season due to the winter popularity of the lights.
One of the premier illumination festivals in North America, the festival has over 120 sparkling ensemble displays.
Adding even more excitement to the stunning array of lights is the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles display on Clifton Hill.
Colourful renditions of favourite turtles, Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo,...

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Artist returns favour to local shelter

By CHRISTOPHER BREEN
Staff Writer
Close-up images of the Christmas ornaments created by St. Catharines artist Jennifer Newman. SUBMITTED PHOTOSA local artist is giving back by committing financial support to the community through sparkling original-design baubles.
Jennifer Newman, artist and owner of Kaunis Designs, said she has launched three new seasonal holiday ornament designs and an impressive 25 per cent of each sale in the Niagara area will be donated to Gillian’s Place, a shelter for abused women and children in St. Catharines.
“I designed these ornaments because I wanted to create a unique and enduring symbol of hope, strength and beautiful,” Newman said in a media release. “The first organization I chose to support is Gillian’s Place because they were there to support me when I needed them.”
As a primarily self-taught jewelry designer Newman began her journey experimenting with beading techniques before moving to fine macramé and, finally, on to wirework. Never satisfied with the ordinary she was always striving to create unexpected designs that bring beauty...

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Provincial revenue down $509 million in spring budget

By KEVIN FARRELL
Staff Writer
Fresh off winning a majority government in June, the Ontario Liberals are facing a bleak provincial economic projection outlook, with revenue down $509 million. This means the economy is growing much more slowly than was originally projected.
This means spending plans in the government’s current budget will be reviewed, and taxes may rise too.
“If it means lowering the province’s debt then I am all for a little tax increase. Would appreciate cuts in other places first though,” said Severen Fathers, a Bachelor of Applied Business in Hospitality Operations Management student here.
What can the government do to respond to a revenue drop this significant?
“The government can respond to slightly lower revenue in any number of ways: they could cutback services, sell assets, delay the balanced budget date, or, as you say, raise selective taxes or fees,” said Cindy Forster, Welland MPP (NDP).
Ontario is already looking at a $12.5-billion deficit,...

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Community Care bringing hope

By CHRISTOPHER BREEN
Staff Writer
Community Care volunteers hit the streets during the St. Catharines Santa Claus parade to gather donations. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER BREENIt’ll be a Merry Christmas for 3,000 local families because somebody cares.
For 95 years Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold, with its partners and the community, has been making Christmas wishes come true.
Imagine having to decide between paying rent and utility bills or buying food, and now facing Christmas. With the help of community volunteers, generous donations, and other partners, Community Care helps local families remove the stress associated with those choices through various programs.
This year Community Care has six Christmas programs: Be a Shining Star, Adopt an Angel, Adopt a Teen or a Senior Angel, Keep Someone Warm, Adopt a Family, and Fill a Barrel.
Be a Shining Star provides financial support for the other programs that are hosted throughout the Christmas holidays. Members of the community are welcome to, and encouraged, to donate as any and all amounts help. For donations of more than $10,...

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Government budgets to support troops

By KEVIN FARRELL
Staff Writer
Canadian soldiers patrol in Badula Qulp, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 17, 2010. Submitted PhotoThe federal government has announced it plans to spend $200 million over the next six years on the issues related to mental health in the Canadian military.
In the last decade, 128 regular forces and 32 reservists have committed suicide.
“More must be done to combat mental illness in support of the Canadian Forces,” said Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, at a press conference in Halifax.
There are a few major ways these funds will be utilized.
“There will be major new operational stress clinics with professional staff.
“The major clinic will be in Halifax with satellite clinics,” said Rick Dykstra, MP for St. Catharines (Conservative). “The main clinic in Halifax is due to open in 2015,” continued Dykstra.
The satellite clinics will be in St. John’s, N.L., Chicoutimi and Montreal, Que, Pembroke and Brockville, Ont, and Kelowna and Victoria, B.C. Digitization of records will also be a key component.
“This way we can speed...

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Welland keeps up fight for its hospital

By JAKE CAMUS
Staff Writer
The Welland County General Hospital at 65 Third St. SUBMITTED PHOTOChanges in the region’s health system do not seem to satisfy its residents and the Niagara Health Coalition (NHC) knows this.
The province had announced a plan to close five hospitals in the Niagara Region to accommodate one larger hospital within the southern tier of the region.
Residents of Welland, young and old, have banded together to do something about it as Welland County General Hospital is one of the five targeted for closure.
Local residents Mary Montpetit and her 11-year-old son Roger joined thousands from across the province in protest at Queen’s Park to save their local hospitals. Roughly 3,000 people from across Ontario marched up and down University Avenue in Toronto demanding something be done about these changes. 
The five hospitals planned for closure include the general hospitals of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls, Welland, Port Colborne and Fort Erie. The province plans to replace the older facilities with a new...

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Powerhouse support

By STACEY BULMER
Staff Writer
Cortney Mossman and Ann Godfrey represented the Family and Children’s Services Niagara. PHOTO BY STACEY BULMERIt was unanimous. There is no better investment of tax dollars than in assisting young people who care for family members challenged by physical and mental illnesses.
Last Friday, the Young Carers Initiative held a full-day conference to boost awareness of the Powerhouse Project. It ran from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Club Roma, 125 Vansickle Rd., St. Catharines.
Besides raising awareness, the event also thanked St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley for the Ontario Trillium Benefit grant of $136,100.
“Powerhouse Project is an excellent organization,” Bradley said. “It’s sad that this kind of project doesn’t exist all over Ontario.”
Young Carers are young adults, children and youth under the age of 25 who help provide care for family members affected by chronic illness, physical or intellectual disabilities, mental health issues or addiction, Michelle Lewis said.
Lewis, the acting program manager, said the carers aren’t necessarily related to the people...

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