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October 2018

Another successful CSL Cats Committee Benefit Concert is in the books

Eight years ago I helped establish the first-ever Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee. We began with a small group of volunteers, spearheaded by Shelly Schecter of Educhat and a small allocation from the city.

MeandMitchK
Myself and Councillor Mitch Kujavsky. (Photos by Rami Negev)

Very quickly we learned that if you are going to conduct a Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt Program there is a heavy cost attached to this task, so fundraising was absolutely necessary. The fabulous Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Milo, rehearsed on our premises so I approach then to do a benefit concert at the Wagar Auditorium. From that very first event seven years ago, we had a big success on our hands. Our committee came together and staff from the set stepped up to lend an invaluable hand.

Josephonsstage
Conductor Joseph Milo.

The most recent annual concert took place on October 9 at Wagar, a change from all our previous late August dates. We made the switch to ensure that we avoided a hot and stuffy evening. Well October began on the cool side, but wouldn’t you know it on the day of our event a 60 year record for high temperatures was set. A day later it was cold outside again. That being said we sold more than 300 tickets. Singers Alexandra Cohen (also our emcee) and Nicole Arrage were superb. The Musicians of the World were their usual delight and the Gideon Vigderhous Quartet brought the crowd to its feet. We especially appreciated it when Gideon integrated the word “Meow” into one of his numbers and had the audience repeatedly shout it out.

Gideonplays
Gideon Vigderhous

We thank our main sponsors, Sean Flynn from Expedia Cruise Ship Centers, Chuck Altman from Little Bear Pet Supplies and D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum. Artist Nelly Leitner donated a beautiful painting we held a raffle for. Committee members Ronnie Roter and Randi Kader sold cat novelty items and raffle tickets. Tireless worker Fern Collier-Pereira began working on our bake sale months ago and persuaded so many wonderful people to contribute goods.  Ellen Kogut introduced our first kosher snack corner.  Chuck Altman also donated some nice items for the raffle.

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Chuck Altman

Councillor Mitch Kujavsky, a cat and dog owner, co-chaired the event with me. His wife Jordana baked some delicious muffins. Councillors Ruth Kovac, David Tordjman, Steven Erdelyi and Sidney Benizri were in attendance. Elisabeth Prass represented David Birnbaum. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein was out of town at a conference, but send words of welcome in our program book. Former Councillors Sam Goldbloom and Glenn J. Nashen were on hand and I very much appreciate their support. Sam and wife Bev have a cat and as such Sam still sits on our committee.

Mere words cannot express how grateful we are to Diane Liebling, the devoted chairman of our Cats Committee.

IMG_3627
Sean Flynn and his team at Expedia.

 This year our CSL Public Library assumed the primary organization of the event. Thanks to Chief Librarian Janine West, main coordinator Danielle Belanger, Farah Mohammed, Lisa Milner and Justin Burnham.

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Our bake sale in action.

 Parks and Recreation remained a key player, most notably the invaluable Alvin Fishman and Maurizio Giobbi who once again handled the key logistical tasks. We are sad to say goodbye to Michel Leblanc, the uber-talented caretaker at Wagar who retires soon. He did a magnificent job the last few years handling our sound and lighting needs.

NellyCheryl
Nelly Leitner presents her painting to Cheryl Roth.

Regine Banon in Communications and graphic artist extraordinaire Ruth Farrugia play a crucial role in ensuring we market the event property.

Thanks to our Finance Department and Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson for overseeing our budget.

There are so many committee members to thank, Rachel Alkallay being one of them. Rachel oversees an information table once a month. She also sold many tickets and is a very devoted individual.

While everyone went home pleased with the evening’s entertainment, our Cats Committee gained the security of sufficient funds which will allow us to continue the hard work of rescuing homeless cats, having them sterilized and looked after medically and arranging adoptions when possible. We have a group of people who foster cats while we seek homes for them. Then there are the good souls who feed outdoor cats year-round. That is where the proceeds from our bake sale and raffle will go. We are grateful as always to the Côte Saint-Luc Hospital for Animals which tends to the cats we rescue.

Now our work continues. Some other smaller-scale fundraisers will take place. People can always make a donation. Someone who prefers to remain anonymous, now residing elsewhere, sent us a very generous cheque. Another individual bought 10 tickets for people who could normally not afford such an evening.

If anyone wishes to volunteer for our committee   email dianeliebling@gmail.com   or   log on to www.cotesaintluc.org/cats.

Here is an interview I did with Nancy Reich on Breakfast TV.

Here I am on CJAD with Andrew Carter.

See Glenn J. Nashen's blog.

 


Local Wiffle ball season concludes in Côte Saint-Luc

The 2018 Wiffle ball season concluded recently at Singerman Park in Côte Saint-Luc

Mark
Mark Rabinovitch

 

Wiffle ball is a variation of the sport of baseball designed for indoor or outdoor play in confined areas. The game is played using a perforated, light-weight, resilient plastic ball and a long, typically yellow, plastic bat.  Organizers of the local Wiffle ball league want to construct an actual stadium modeled around the old Jarry Park, the original home of the Expos. See photo below.

WIffleBall1

Mark Rabinovitch,   a cardiologist practicing at Clinique MedicElle, told me that  he started playing Wiffle ball with a group of friends from Côte Saint-Luc’s and the Montreal General Hospital around 1999.  “We played our games at Macdonald Park, and when we heard about a Wiffle ball tournament in the US, a group of us went to South Bend, Indiana to compete,” he says.  “We were outclassed,   but had a memorable time. Our love for Wiffle ball led us to hearing about another aficionado in Jericho, Vermont, who built a Wiffle ball field named Little Fenway. We made about three trips to Little Fenway  and that site has grown to include Little Wrigley and Little Field of Dreams.”

About  three years ago, Harold Cammy  from our Parks and Recreation Department invited the group to start playing at Kirwan Park. They now have a pool of about 25 players and compete with teams of five to eight on each side, every Sunday morning from May until the end of September.  Singerman Park serves as their base. Players range in age from nine to their late 70s.  There are three   father and sons players and daughters have played, too.  “The games are fun and not too competitive,” Rabinovitch says.


Wiffleball2

Our council has  allocated funds for a dedicated Wiffle ball field at Singerman Park. Rabinovitch and his group want to call it Expos Park at CSL Yards as a homage to the Expos and Camden Yards. City Council has yet to discuss the name and I am told this will be placed on an upcoming agenda.

2017 wiffleball game

“Wiffle ball is a game I used to play in the country with my cousins and neighbors, including kids of all ages and our parents,” noted Dr. Rabinovitch. “That is one of the attractions - it doesn't require any expensive equipment or special talent to go out and have fun together. 

I love baseball, but as we all know, a softball can hurt, if you're hit. The wiffle ball  is a plastic ball, with several holes, designed to throw curve balls, and other tricks. That's all Wiffle ball requires - a plastic bat and ball. A friend of mine even sent me an algorithm, showing how injuries from a wiffleb all are almost nonexistent.”  

I must admit I have not seen any games yet. But next season I will make it a point of doing so, perhaps even offering to step in as a pinch hitter.

Those interested can email wifflecsl@gmail.com  or shurob2007@hotmail.com


Autism Speaks Canada bringing a Dog Walk to our very own Trudeau Park

The City of Côte Saint-Luc is proud to be hosting  the  Autism Speaks Canada  Dog Walk  on Sunday, October 21 (9:30 am to 11:30 am) at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park on Mackle Road. The event goes  rain or shine. I cannot think of a better way to start my birthday off.

EngDog Walk POstcard

One in 66  individuals is diagnosed with autism. Autism Speaks Canada aims to raise awareness and fundraise to support family community services and research into causes and better interventions for autism and related conditions.

“We recognize and value that dogs provide unconditional love to all,” said Krista Leitham, the Regional Walk Coordinator. “Specifically, to the family living with autism, dogs also provide important therapeutic support.  Both research and pet therapy providers alike support that dogs provide important pet therapy to individuals with autism which help improve their social interaction, increase attention and cooperation, decrease anxiety and provide support for independence skills.”

Our Dog Owners Committee, chaired by Jonathan Goldman, is supporting this wonderful initiative. I urge all dog owners to register with their dogs of course.  

Dog photo - Andria 1

“This is the first time ASC will hold an ASC-branded Dog Walk,” said Leitham. “At our signature Walk events across Canada, we have an increasing number of pet therapists participate, in addition to families with trained therapy dogs. The idea for an ASC-branded dog walk is inspired by an ASC supporter in Alberta, a veterinarian with a son on the spectrum and he has organized a local dog walk for the past few years.”

Leitham notes how research supports that dogs (pets) help improve social interaction, increase attention and cooperation, decrease anxiety and provide important tools for independence skills. Research articles are available on the Autism Speaks (US) website, an example is here.

Also, an increasing number of schools are including trained therapy dogs into the classroom pedagogy or after-school programs. This is a true grassroots initiative with local community support. Merchants with dog care services are new to participate at an event like this and welcome engaging with the community by exhibiting their services and leading family-friendly and dog-friendly activities.

The response on social media has been consistently strong. A noted number of community groups and organizations are sharing our posts. We encourage participants to register online so we can best prepare for the number of participants.

Registration is online at (English) www.autismspeaks.ca/dogwalk or (French) www.autismspeaks.ca/promenadedechiens. Event-day registrations are welcome, but online is preferred. The cost is $30 fee per family or team; just one person needs to register to represent the family or team. Registrants with their family or team are encouraged to fundraise. Donations are preferred by credit card online or cash/cheques can be remitted on event day.

Event day activities will include the following:

  • Exhibitors: Dog care specialists, local community organizations, each will lead a family and dog-friendly activity.
  • Event day contests: Best Dressed Dog, Best Dog Trick, Best Doggie-Owner Look-a-Like, Best Halloween Costume, Best Dog Strut, etc.  Contest winners receive a gift.
  • Pre-event contest for Best Dog Photo :Registrants are invited to send in a dog photo with the dog’s name and breed, and share their story how their dog is important to their family, especially if they are a family living with autism. The photo and story is posted onto the Montreal Autism Speaks Canada facebook and event Instagram @ascdogwalk leading up to the event. The public vote will be announced on event day.
  • Prize Draws: Fundraising Reward tickets are remitted to registrants on event day based on their fundraising. The more you fundraise, the more tickets you receive. On event day, registrants select which Prize Draws to place their tickets towards to increase their chances to win.
  • 1 km Dog Walk: To close the event to empower families both directly and indirectly affected with autism.

For more information e-mail kristaleitham@autismspeakscan.ca  or log on to   www.autismspeaks.ca.

 


Autism Speaks Canada bringing a Dog Walk to our very own Trudeau Park

The City of Côte Saint-Luc is proud to be hosting  the  Autism Speaks Canada  Dog Walk  on Sunday, October 21 (9:30 am to 11:30 am) at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park on Mackle Road. The event goes  rain or shine. I cannot think of a better way to start my birthday off.

EngDog Walk POstcard

One in 66  individuals is diagnosed with autism. Autism Speaks Canada aims to raise awareness and fundraise to support family community services and research into causes and better interventions for autism and related conditions.

“We recognize and value that dogs provide unconditional love to all,” said Krista Leitham, the Regional Walk Coordinator. “Specifically, to the family living with autism, dogs also provide important therapeutic support.  Both research and pet therapy providers alike support that dogs provide important pet therapy to individuals with autism which help improve their social interaction, increase attention and cooperation, decrease anxiety and provide support for independence skills.”

Our Dog Owners Committee, chaired by Jonathan Goldman, is supporting this wonderful initiative. I urge all dog owners to register with their dogs of course.  

Dog photo - Andria 1

“This is the first time ASC will hold an ASC-branded Dog Walk,” said Leitham. “At our signature Walk events across Canada, we have an increasing number of pet therapists participate, in addition to families with trained therapy dogs. The idea for an ASC-branded dog walk is inspired by an ASC supporter in Alberta, a veterinarian with a son on the spectrum and he has organized a local dog walk for the past few years.”

Leitham notes how research supports that dogs (pets) help improve social interaction, increase attention and cooperation, decrease anxiety and provide important tools for independence skills. Research articles are available on the Autism Speaks (US) website, an example is here.

Also, an increasing number of schools are including trained therapy dogs into the classroom pedagogy or after-school programs. This is a true grassroots initiative with local community support. Merchants with dog care services are new to participate at an event like this and welcome engaging with the community by exhibiting their services and leading family-friendly and dog-friendly activities.

The response on social media has been consistently strong. A noted number of community groups and organizations are sharing our posts. We encourage participants to register online so we can best prepare for the number of participants.

Registration is online at (English) www.autismspeaks.ca/dogwalk or (French) www.autismspeaks.ca/promenadedechiens. Event-day registrations are welcome, but online is preferred. The cost is $30 fee per family or team; just one person needs to register to represent the family or team. Registrants with their family or team are encouraged to fundraise. Donations are preferred by credit card online or cash/cheques can be remitted on event day.

Event day activities will include the following:

  • Exhibitors: Dog care specialists, local community organizations, each will lead a family and dog-friendly activity.
  • Event day contests: Best Dressed Dog, Best Dog Trick, Best Doggie-Owner Look-a-Like, Best Halloween Costume, Best Dog Strut, etc.  Contest winners receive a gift.
  • Pre-event contest for Best Dog Photo :Registrants are invited to send in a dog photo with the dog’s name and breed, and share their story how their dog is important to their family, especially if they are a family living with autism. The photo and story is posted onto the Montreal Autism Speaks Canada facebook and event Instagram @ascdogwalk leading up to the event. The public vote will be announced on event day.
  • Prize Draws: Fundraising Reward tickets are remitted to registrants on event day based on their fundraising. The more you fundraise, the more tickets you receive. On event day, registrants select which Prize Draws to place their tickets towards to increase their chances to win.
  • 1 km Dog Walk: To close the event to empower families both directly and indirectly affected with autism.

For more information e-mail kristaleitham@autismspeakscan.ca  or log on t o   www.autismspeaks.ca.