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January 2011

Major merger of JPPS/Bialik and Herzliah/UTT Planned

JPPS/Bialik President Arnold Cohen and Head of School Laurence Fhima have sent a letter to parents, confirming steady rumours in the community about what can only be described as the biggest merger in local Jewish day school history.

The letter comes at the same time that the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) has announced that it will be accepting applications beween February 7 to 18 for a potential new high school (initially for Secondary I only) in the former Wagar High School building. If there is sufficient interest, the school could begin operating next year.

Below are the extraordinary details of the planned mega-merger. It will be interesting to see what the reaction is from present-day and future parents who have chosen between the two schools for a reason.


The priority of your Board of Directors is ensuring that JPPS-Bialik remains a centre of
excellence, providing students with a pathway to Jewish life and with the foundation to
thrive bilingually in Quebec and modern society. 
At our meeting on Wednesday evening we will be sharing our proposal with you for the
strengthening of our school system through a merger with UTT/Herzliah while ensuring
that the next generation of Jewish Montrealers continues to benefit from dynamic Jewish
Day Schools.
Informal conversations between the volunteer leaders of our two school systems led to an
understanding that we are facing common challenges and a decision to work together
towards a bold new future. We envision drawing from the best of both systems in order to
create a new, unified school that offers Jewish students of Montreal an enriched
educational opportunity designed for engaged learners who will face the challenges of an
ever changing 21st Century. 
The bringing together of JPPS-Bialik and UTT/Herzliah will take a few years. We are
planning for a new middle school (Sec I and Sec II) to be built over the ‘Y’ and for the senior
grades (Sec III – Sec V) to be housed on the Bialik site, all effective August 2013.  We are
also proposing to combine the JPPS and UTT elementary schools on a fully renovated (UTT)
St. Kevin site and to create a brand new Sec I through V high school on the West Island. We
should point out that the search for an appropriate site on the West Island is underway.

We appreciate that rumours have led to speculation and concern within our school
community.  I am sure that you will appreciate that we could not be more forthcoming
until we had some certainty that our proposal is achievable. We are pleased to report that
Federation has now assured us that we will have access to the significant funds required to
invest in our staff and our facilities. Furthermore, we believed that it was essential and
appropriate for faculty and staff to learn of the proposal from us first, which occurred
The JPPS-Bialik Board has established a recommended path, but our ultimate success
depends on your support and active involvement. With that in mind, we are now launching
a consultation process. If we are to build a true centre of excellence, we need to benefit
from the wisdom and input of faculty, parents, students and the entire JPPS-Bialik family. 
The meeting on Wednesday evening is the first step in what we hope will be an ongoing
and productive dialogue. We look forward to seeing you there.

Signed by Arnold Cohen and Laurence Fhima

Bestselling NY Times Author Has Kind Words For Yours Truly

NY Times bestselling author/filmmaker Ian Halperin specializes in undercover investigations. He is the author of seven bestselling books and has directed three films, including the highly acclaimed documentary The Cobain Case. Halperin has appeared on hundreds of TV/radio shows including Dateline, Anderson Cooper, Howard Stern, Geraldo Rivera and The CBS Early Morning Show. He is a native of St. Laurent and attended Dawson College and Concordia with me.

I read his very popular blog on a regular basis and I would like to thank him for the kind words he gave to me which you can read here.

The Hampstead Traffic Soap Opera

As a Côte Saint-Luc city councillor and a motorist who drives down Fleet Road  frequently (who doesn't?) I think I speak for most people that the new left turn rules implemented by Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg and Councillor Harvey (Safer With) Shaffer are quite difficult to digest.

I drove down Fleet today, passing the master sign which highlights all of the changes. It is not humanly possible to read those advisories within the few seconds it is in view.  At most stops towards the Montreal section of Fleet, there are of course further instructions as to which 15 minute interval  during weekdays you can turn. Perhaps ever  motorist should enrol in a course taught by Mr. Steinberg and Mr. Shaffer. They can subsequently test us to see if we remember all of these variations.

You can see the CTV report here.

Here is the transcript  of the CTV Montreal News report. Check out the viewer contents at the end.

Left-hand turns for motorists heading east on Fleet St. are restricted in a cascading series of 30 and 15-minute intervals.

Starting at 7 a.m., drivers can turn from eastbound Fleet St. onto the western entrance to Netherwood Crescent.

At 7:30 a.m. the western entrance to Netherwood Cres. is off-limits, and drivers can turn left onto the eastern entrance for 15 minutes.

At 7:45 the only place to make left-hand turns is on Harland St., followed 15 minutes later by Finchley St.

After 8:15 a.m. and for the rest of the morning rush hour drivers can turn left onto Dufferin St.

Drivers are always permitted to turn left from eastbound Fleet St. onto Queen Mary St.


Viewer Comments (I have left the spelling the way it was submitted by the viewers)

I'm a 30 y.o and the posted time-slots on those signs are TOO SMALL!!! How is one suppose to read those signs when one is driving 30-40 even 50km/h

Best of all, poor visibility (heavy rain/snow) will make it virtually impossible to read. Did the monkeys of a council forget our winter climate. Snow occasionally sticks to signs, i.e. covering the allowed time slots.

I predict many fender benders and some serious accidents. Monkeys!!!



Enough with the ridiculous regulations, Hampstead residents need a way to leave the town, forcing everyone onto one street wont solve any problems. Cote-St Luc needs to figure things out and open Cavendish, Hampstead suffers because Cote St Luc city council past and present can't figure it out.



clifford hecht
Again, another reason to open up Cavendish Boul. Unbelievable, how what is a half a kilometer straight road is imposable to construct! It's been April Fools for over 30 years! I'm sure all the people who had stores in the Cavendish Mall aren't laughing, as half of it is now torn down for a new development. I hope all these new people moving in don't mind not making left hand turns on Fleet!



must be april fool's day!!! gosh 15mins? ahahahaha what is your counselor/mayor thinking?? oh wait, he must be thinking left! hahah



Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do....



Eric in Montreal (Not Hampstead)
How many people live in Hampstead again? (And how big(or small if you're a half empty kindda person) is that Burroughs?)

For a community that even likes to restrict "Public" Transit on its streets I don't see how this comes as a big surprise(or better yet why we should even give a ...)

Seriously Tom; I think it must be April 1st there on a regular basis!

My 2 cents...




Is it April 1st?



Thoughts on CTV Montreal's (CFCF) 50th Anniversary

I had the pleasure of being interviewed on CTV Montreal January 16 about the station’s 50th anniversary.


In its day, CFCF TV was known for much more than its newscasts. A lot of original programming came out of its Park Extension headquarters at 405 Ogilvy Avenue: Mr. Chips, The Tapp Room, Flashback, Kin to Win, McGowan’s Montreal, Travel Travel, Fighting Back, Sportsnight, The Habs This Week, Grand Prix Wrestling, Magic Tom, As It Is and much more. There was even an attempt to have The Q 92.5 FM morning man Aaron Rand to his then side kick Tasso Patsikakis (Paul Zakaib) host their own late night comedy show a la Letterman and Leno.

Today,  known as CTV Montreal,  the station’s programming is limited to an outstanding newscast which airs three times weekly and twice on weekends.
This week longtime co-anchor Bill Haugland is being reunited with sportscaster Dick Irvin and weather forecaster and program host Don McGowan. At there is a wealth of nostalgia to view.

These days the  CTV Montreal newscast is overseen by news and public affairs director Jed Kahane and executive producer Barry Wilson. They work with a large crew of researcher, producers, camera operators and many others.

Mutsumi Takahashi has been the co-anchor for 24 years now. She is joined  by the smooth Todd van der hayden while  Debra Arbec handles late night and  Tarah Schwartz and Paul Karwatsky do weekends.  Lori Graham delivers the weather, with Lise McAuley covering weekends,   and Brian Wilde, Randy Tieman, André Corbeil and occasionally Paul Graif handle sports.  The reporting team includes Annie DeMelt, Stéphane Giroux, Maya Johnson, Tania Krywiak, Christine Long and Mose Persico (entertainment), Kai Nagata (Quebec City), Aphrodite Salas, Cindy Sherwin, Anne Lewis and Caroline Vlan Vlaardingen. Behind the scenes there are people like assignment editor Amy Fernandez and researchers  Peter Schiavi and Holly Haimerl

And whom can we remember from newscasts past? There are Herb Luft, Brian Britt, Robert Vairo, Lynn Desjardins, Joe Singerman, Andrew Marquis, Mike Donegan, Mike Piperni, Liz Travers, Sandy Krawchenko, Bob Benedetti, Ron Francis, Brian MacGorman, John Grant, Ralph Noseworthy, Frank  Cavallaro, Brian Nelson, Leslie Roberts, Brian MacFarland,  Ken Ernhoffer, Howard Schwartz, Rob Faulds, Jack Curran, Suzanne Desautels, Jeannie Lee, Tom Velk, Ron Reusch Dr. Mitch Shulman, Del Archer  and many more. Whom have I missed? Let me know by email at

I have received a lot of amazing feedback to this posting.

Here is what Del Archer had to share:

"I arrived in Montreal from Vancouver on the weekend Pierre LaPorte's body was found in the trunk of his car. I had listened to the coverage while driving across Canada, spent that night in a motel on the Ontario side of the border and saw the military roadblocks set up on the westbound (Quebec) side as I was driving east. I had no idea what I'd gotten myself into but it was an amazing time to be in the province.
 I met with Bert Cannings and Mike Donegan on the Monday and was on air the same day.  I stayed with 'CF for seven years, moving over to the television side in about 1973 as a reporter and later became a fill-in anchor for Andrew Marquis.  The night of the Parti Quebecois election, I was offered the opportunity to join CTV network News and I remained there for the next 23 and a half years. Montreal in the 70's was an exciting, LIVING, storybook with a new chapter virtually every day and I loved every minute of it. Thanks for  giving me the chance to add my name to your list."
 See my story on page 40   in this January 19 edition of The Suburban Newspaper.   

Ilan Ramon home significantly damaged in fire

A fire broke out at a home on Ilan Ramon Crescent in Côte Saint-Luc’s District 2  in the early evening of January 11.  No one was hurt and the fire department arrived in time to ensure that the fire was contained and then extinguished.  Neighbours applauded the efforts and professionalism of the Montreal firefighters who arrived within four minutes of the call to 911.

The cause was reportedly a heating pad left on in  the master bedroom, which shorted,  created a spark and caused the mattress to catch fire. Due to the intense heat of the fire, the sprinkler system was triggered  and released more than enough water to keep the fire at bay. That is the good  news. The water damage has devastated the property and fears are that the majority of the home will need to be gutted and redone.  Most of  the family’s possessions have been damaged by the fire or the water.  


What has most impressed me is how all of the neighbours have banded together to assist this family, which may be homeless for some time. The lady of the house, for instance, works during the day and has asked if anyone can find a place for her mother to stay at that time. A number of offers have already come forward.

As one neighbor explained, this should serve as a reminder of the importance of regularly checking smoke detectors and update any fire extinguishers  in the home.  Talk to your family about the danger of fire and what to do if one occurs.  


CSL Resident Sam Kloda meets Harrison Ford

Côte Saint-Luc financial advisor Sam Kloda was recently invited  by the Aero Club of Washington to attend their annual National Aeronautical Association Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy. This year it was presented to actor  Harrison Ford for  engaging the nation's youth in aviation and inspiring tomorrow's leaders, innovators and enthusiasts to secure a strong future for all of aviation.   

Sam Kloda  Ford Ford, owns and personally flies five different aircrafts. He uses a lot of his time and money to help young people become pilots.  “I met Mr. Ford and took a few photos with him,” Kloda shared with me. “ I spoke to him for a few minutes in Yiddish. He speaks a bit,  but understands more. He is a really  nice guy.

“In 1994 I started working part-time for a US organization in Washington on an aviation problem,” Sam added. “I have a Masters degree in Mathematics.  After I completed the project, I was invited to many parties. Each year I travel to Washington and other US cities to visit friends in aviation and meet new ones. I have been very fortunate to meet famous test pilots, aviation designers, astronauts and  military figures.”

Sam is the brother of prominent event coordinator Harry Kloda.

Seeking good homes for two beautiful cats

As the Côte Saint-Luc city councillor who has taken on the role of animal welfare, particularly when it comes to cats, I want to share the availability of two beautiful felines for adoption. In the next few weeks I will be announcing details of the city's new Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR) Program.

Rebecca Fernando, a member of my CSL Cats Committee, is looking to find homes for Franklin (below left)  and Chelsea (right).



Franklin is a bit over a year old, he has been dewormed, deflead, vaccinated and fixed. He is very loving, docile and gets along well with other cats.

 Chelsea is six months old, she has been dewormed and deflead (arrangements are in the process of being made to have her fixed and vaccinated). She is playful and loving but still a bit timid around people.  If you are interested please email me at and I will put you in touch with Rebecca.


Former Pumpernick's owner Moe Kaizer passes on

Only weeks after the demolition of 40 percent of the Cavendish Mall was completed, a gentleman who played a very important role in the once proud shopping centre’s history has passed away. Moe Kaizer died on December 25. He spent his last years at Maimonides Geriatric Centre on Caldwell Avenue in Côte Saint-Luc.

Moe, of course, was the owner of Pumpernick’s Restaurant. Originally located on Decarie Boulevard near Queen Mary Road, Moe moved to the Mall in the late 1970s. Unquestionably this was the Mall’s most successful restaurant ever.  It was a destination dining spot, where people from across the island would travel to enjoy the vast menu and tantalizing salad bar. Moe was always on duty. And he guarded that salad bar as if it were a bank. If it was not part of your meal and you dared to try and grab a roll or some cole slaw, Moe would literally order you back to your table.  Regulars adored him. When he decided to close up shop, several attempts were made to fill the void, but Chilis, Sternz Rhapsody and Jakes all failed. To this date, the now mini-mall is still without a full serve restaurant.  

Here is what my constituent Phil Matlin had to say about Moe:  “I knew him since 1952 when he was the buyer for Ruby Foo's Restaurant. He was one of my customers when I started with my dad in the produce business. From Ruby Foo's  I think, he went to Juniors on Pare and Mountain Sights. I do know that he then went into partnership with Billy Manella at the  Miss Snowdon Restaurant. He eventually took full ownership and changed the name to Pumpernicks, which he moved to the Cavendish Mall. I spent many evenings with him in the restaurant and watched his business grow and become a regular stop for everyone - teenagers to the seniors. I did lose contact with him after Pumpernicks closed. I was no longer in the business and did not keep up the friendship. During my time in the produce business he was one of the best restaurant men in the city. Certainly in the top three.”

I was contacted by a former employee of Moe's, now residing in Toronto. "I worked during high school at Pumpernicks on Queen Mary   in the mid 70's, rising from  from the ranks of dishwasher to busboy to short order cook," said this gentleman, who requested anonymity. "I have a vivid recollection of Moe running into the kitchen after the busboys hustling them on a busy Saturday night yelling, "Come on....Come on....Come on Man!  Once I sliced a cheesecake too thick and Moe, ever so vigilan,t ran into the kitchen exclaiming to the head chef, "That boy is ruining my profits."  I once sliced the cheesecake too thin and the waitress told me the customer asked whether I cut my finger slicing the cake. He was not a mean person and knew how to run a tight ship. I remember the head chef saying that he liked working for Moe because he gave him freedom in the kitchen."

IRest in peace Moe.