Thursday, January 31, 2008

PEI's Ice Storm

The freezing rain started Monday night.
Our power flickered off and on throughout the night, finally going off for good at 5:30am Tuesday morning. Today, Thursday, at 12:05 pm the power came back on.
The pictures below were taken at and around our house Wednesday morning, January 30th.

Photos from Islanders from across the Island - The Guardian
Photos from The Guardian Staff
Photos from Islanders from across the Island - CBC
Photos from the PEI Talk Forum Folks

CBC News Stories:
Update - Saturday Feb. 3rd:
More than 1,000 Islanders still in the dark
Thirty-eight crews working to restore power
The Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE – Thirty-eight crews from P.E.I. and New Brunswick continued to work throughout the day Sunday to restore power to the more than 1,000 Islanders still in the dark.

Areas still affected by outages resulting from last week’s ice storm are: Dickson Road, Elmswood, Hartsville, Hunter River, Wheatley River, Toronto, Mayfield, St. Patrick, St. Lawrence, Huntley, Bedeque, Chelton Beach, Borden-Carleton, Darnley, Rattenbury, Alberton and O’Leary and some surrounding areas.

“We are still hoping to have the majority our customers on by Sunday night but we are advising our customers to continue to prepare,” said Maritime Electric spokesperson Kim Griffin.

Update - Sunday Feb. 3rd -

For Immediate Release
February 3, 2008

Public Safety Office Provides Update on Storm Relief

CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI -- The Emergency Measures Organization, part of the Prince Edward Island Office of Public Safety, says things are gradually returning to normal following the ice storm last week and freezing rain on the weekend.

As of late Sunday, Maritime Electric said power had been restored to all but about 500 Island households. The PEI Division of the Canadian Red Cross in partnership with Island communities scaled down operation of relief centers throughout the weekend, and by Sunday evening all relief centers had been closed. Public Safety, Red Cross, community and Fire Department personnel continued to monitor community needs during the weekend.

Throughout the storm and the resulting power loss, staff at the EMO office responded to calls from individuals and municipalities, arranged for generators to be delivered to communities in need, coordinated local response with Red Cross, communities and Fire Departments, provided fuel to keep generators operating at relief centers, and liaised with their federal counterparts at Public Safety Canada. Throughout it all, Carolyn Bertram, Minister Responsible for Public Safety, said Islanders displayed a true sense of community.

Update Monday Feb. 4th -
Power outages down to 100 from storm
The Guardian

Just over 100 people were still without power in the province late Sunday night, following an ice storm last week.

Kim Griffin, spokesperson with Maritime Electric, said 38 crews have been working to restore power over the weekend, and while stormy weather Friday night and Saturday caused only a few scattered outages, it did set their schedule back.

“We were slowed down several hours by the weather (on Saturday).’’

While they hoped to have power restored tonight, Griffin said there may still be pockets of customers without power this morning, due to minor problems that occur when lines are recharged. Any customers still without power by mid-morning are asked to contact 1-800-670-1012 to report it.

She said while the cost of the storm is still unknown, early estimates are in the range of $2 million. Roughly 300 poles were damaged in the storm.

Meanwhile, the P.E.I. division of the Canadian Red Cross scaled down operation of relief centres over the weekend as conditions improved.

By Sunday night, all centres had been closed, but the Department of Public Safety, Red Cross and local fire departments continued to monitor community needs.

Public Safety Minister Carolyn Bertram said she was proud of all those who have helped out throughout the week.

“Once again the people of our province have proven their remarkable ability to give of themselves, their time and their resources.’’

The areas still affected by outages are Middleton, Freetown, Darnley, Rattenbury, Park Corner and Corner Hill.

Monday, January 28, 2008

SWC indoor track sets record

SWC indoor track sets record
The Journal Pioneer

The Summerside Wellness Centre (CWC) has reached another milestone.

A record number of people used the facility’s three-lane, one-quarter km indoor track Thursday.

According to SWC officials 508 walkers and runners used the track, its highest ever one-day total. The indoor track is open seven days a week, Monday to Friday 6 a.m to 10 p.m., on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

A UPEI home for an athletic facility?
A UPEI home for an athletic facility?

There are arguments in favour of building this Canada Games structure at UPEI,
but there are also some concerns.
Barring any more concerns about rock concerts, it's a sure bet the 2009 Canada Summer Games athletics facility will be constructed at the University of Prince Edward Island.

There are a number of obvious arguments in favour of UPEI as the location for the last major piece in the facilities puzzle for the national event Aug. 15-29 of next year. But there are concerns as well. The value of the green buffer space between CARI and the commercial development approaching the Charlottetown Mall cannot be underestimated. The visual impact of the parkland setting of trees, creek and little walking bridge is a welcome respite. Now a large section of that will be gone. Additional road access will be needed so we can expect even more land to be used for pavement, lights and parking.

One wonders why a multi-purpose facility wasn't built some two years ago when the artificial turf soccer field was constructed. Why wasn't there more foresight to building a track around the soccer field, along with sufficient bleachers, instead of trying to correct that problem today?

UPEI has no legacy of track and field, so why this urgency of having this facility on campus? Perhaps the track will jump-start an athletics program that already thrives in other Atlantic universities like Dalhousie.

The proposed new field has already drawn interest from football supporters who see this as an opening to getting football back as a varsity sport. Football was effectively boxed out of the turf field and the sport now sees a chance to find a new home on campus after all.

The concept plan presented Wednesday night also raises the issue of MacAdam Field, already bumped from its former location by parking and mobile classrooms and then relegated to the rugby pitch and practice facility. Now it looks like MacAdam Field will become an orphan again.

The plan has the new track and field facility on an east-west axis built right over MacAdam Field. Granted, this is a concept, but it indicates a lack of any long-range planning, at least for this facility, if they are going to start tearing up a field two years after it was built.

The plan is to excavate down four metres and build a berm around the track to transform the athletics facility into a bowl setting. The plan also calls for 10 acres to be developed, along with a practice facility in the northeast end of the development.

Leaving a legacy is always a key component of the Canada Games. Since P.E.I. schools are the largest supporters of track and field today, there should be guarantees of their access to this facility. The venue should be seen as a provincial facility and not solely a UPEI venue.

The UPEI location will also result in considerable extra cost in building this facility, first targeted at approximately $2 million and now heading towards $5 million. Stonepark was considered to be a strong contender for the athletics facility because it has a natural bowl and a track already there.

The concept plan calls for a 400-metre synthetic competition track, natural grass infield, grandstand with permanent seating for 1,400, temporary seating for 5,000, timing tower, results room and equipment storage.

Summerside will host the Games opening ceremonies at the new Wellness Centre as week one will be based in the western part of the province with the athletes village at Slemon Park. Week two shifts to the eastern end of the province with the athletes village moving to UPEI and the closing ceremonies now scheduled for the athletics facility.

Time ran out on making a decision for the athletics facility and UPEI was picked as the only site suitable given the limited time frame left. The decision is probably the right one but let's make sure the proper facility is built this time.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

An open letter to members of the Autism Hub from Mike McCarron

From Left Brain/Right Brain


What follows is the text of an open letter, Mike McCarron, grandpa of Katie McCarron wishes to pass on to Autism Hub members.

An open letter to members of the Autism Hub.

I wish to thank each of you for your words; both about Katie and about people with special needs in general. In a world where differences easily become reasons to devalue people, your words have always conveyed respect, dignity and love for those with special needs.

I know that each of you from time to time question if you should express yourself and wonder if you are making a difference. Your opinions and descriptions of your travels in life have made a big difference to one grandfather and I suspect to many other parents.

In the days following my granddaughter’s death I was very upset. As I read comments from autism “advocates”, I moved from upset into anger. Many wanted to twist what happened to fit into their own agendas. All of you know the dialogue. I began to feel that all reason and common decency had been beaten out of society and replaced with hysterical and illogical screaming. Every time I would read some “advocate” say they could understand how a person could kill a child with autism I would bristle and await their self serving monologue of martyrdom. I even viewed a film clip that turned my stomach but it was receiving wide acclaim.

Then I encountered a different film, one of a little girl bouncing on a trampoline and I met Kevin. Next I found Kristina and the rest of your sites followed at different times mostly by reference from one of these two. During the extremely long trial process of twenty months I have visited your sites, some almost daily. Sometimes I would comment under a pseudonym but most of the time I just read and drew strength from your thoughts and your love. My interest in your posts varied by topic but I was always gratified and reassured by the love you expressed for your children and the respect shown for all people with differences.

I have had the pleasure of meeting some of you in person, I have corresponded with some of you, and still others I know only through your words on the internet. But words are so vitally important. The words used by some are frightening, intended solely for shock value, but are very divisive in the long term. Every time an “advocate” classifies autism as a fate worse than death they not only display the weakness of their own mind, but they do a terrible disservice to every autistic person. Your words and posts, firmly grounded in respect and love, foster the understanding needed for social movement toward improvement.

I sincerely hope that parents new to the autism community encounter the hub and your sites long before visiting many others. I find it strange to recommend sites that value human dignity; every site should, but too many don’t. That is what makes your sites so valuable. It seems that autism falls prey to every kind of con artist, they need to be exposed. It also seems that anything can be said about people with autism if the person saying it claims it was done to create awareness, they need to be set straight. Please continue to lead by example, do it as time permits but do what you can and what you already do so very well.


Mike McCarron

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Getting down to business, then fun and games

Getting down to business, then fun and games
2009 canada summer games
Journal Pioneer

Just call him the seven-million-dollar man.

Wayne Carew heads the group fundraising for the 2009 Canada Games in P.E.I.

Lately, the vice-president with the Friends of the Games has been dashing across the Island with other Canada Games officials to capture local business interest.

"We don't just need money," Carew explained at a Kensington and Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon Friday.

The Summer Games have a $33-million budget, with $7 million needed from the efforts of the Friends. But Carew told the Kensington business audience the Games could also use value in kind; to run the event they need everything from computers to cars, and massive amounts of food. (Think 1,600 loaves of bread, 35,000 potatoes and 11,000 litres of milk to start).

Carew explained the Friends have been encouraging business participation, support and help in getting national corporate contacts.

He said in an interview about half a dozen national Games sponsors have been lined up with announcements expected to start within a month; another half dozen he described as 90 per cent complete.

Carew said they've been presenting the Games as a marketing opportunity. "It's too easy to say no to a donation."

A presentation video depicts young athletes in celebration and comments from the likes of Olympians Cindy Klassen and Dave "Eli" MacEachern. Games officials also come armed with statistics - like the expected 150 hours of Games broadcast time.

Kensington itself will see action in soccer and softball (with upgrades planned to facilities at Kensington Intermediate Senior High and Community Gardens, respectively) as well as water sports in the Southwest River in nearby Clinton. Carew stressed it's a great chance to promote the community.

A number of such presentations have been delivered locally, particularly at chamber of commerce functions, with more planned.

He's been pleased with the response. One at a chamber event in Summerside led to contact with the president of a national company.

Carew himself volunteered because of the legacy the Games leave for sport but also the chance they provide to promote tourism and economic development here.

"It is really a once in a lifetime opportunity."

Friday, January 25, 2008

Running in the cold and dark

Last night was the 2nd night of running clinic. We meet at Sporting Intentions at 5:30. It was -14 degrees and colder in wind chill.

We dress in warm reflective clothing. You can see me in the middle of the photo, my jacket glows and my shoe laces glow and reflective bend on his knee. Some of us wearing Yak Trax because avoid slipping. Some people have lights.

There are some people from last group and new people. I know saw a new people like Nancy Morris who training to Boston Marathon. Some other people are training to Boston too.

Last night we run 8km at threshold pace on our running route #2. It was cold enough that the water in my water bottle was starting to freeze but I was warm.

8km (5 mile) PEI In Motion Running Route #2 Map:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Canada Games will be P.E.I.'s chance to shine on national stage

Canada Games will be P.E.I.'s chance to shine on national stage
The Journal Pioneer

Six thousand volunteers, a $33-million budget, 4,400 athletes and 2,500 coaches and other officials.

The logistics of the 2009 Canada Summer Games are staggering, as is the economic impact, pegged at a cool $100 million plus.

The Games will make big waves in Canada's smallest province, according to Joseph Spriet, president of the 2009 Canada Games Host Society and Wayne Carew, vice president of the Host Society's Friends of the Games Division.

They were guest speakers at the 108th President's Annual Dinner, organized by the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce and held last night at the Loyalist Lakeview Resort.

"There are one million athletes out there who want to be part of that 4,400," said Carew.

"It's almost like a game of Survivor, " he joked.

"Only this is real. They want to go to P.E.I. That's the last thing they think about when they go to bed at night, and the first thing they think about in the morning."

That represents a priceless marketing opportunity for the Island, as do the 150 hours of broadcast time devoted to the Games over the two-week span, Aug. 15-29, said Carew.

But Carew urged business people to think beyond that time frame, since athletes, their families, coaches, support staff and corporate sponsors will be arriving at least a week before the event and lingering a week later.

"So the two-week Games becomes a four-week extravaganza - a four-week opportunity for chamber members.

"This will be the largest event P.E.I. has ever hosted."

There are many firsts in the 2009 Canada Summer Games, including the fact events will be staged in 18 communities from one tip of P.E.I. to the other.

"Eighteen communities, 40 specific event venues," including Summerside and the city's wellness centre, said Carew.

"We feel it's going to be the largest attended Canada Games ever."

He went on to say one of the greatest challenges facing Islanders in the 2009 Games is ensuring future "Heather Moyses" aren't denied their chance to reach the world stage because of a lack of resources.

Every "nickel" over the seven million dollars Island organizers have committed to raise from corporate sponsors would remain on the Island, to help Island athletes achieve their dreams, said Carew.

Parents should think through the details of a big-kid bed and make sure there are no other events or big changes coming up soon such as beginning day care or weaning off the bottle.

Public gets lowdown on Games track

Public gets lowdown on Games track
The Guardian

There was little opposition as Charlottetown residents gathered Wednesday to hear about a proposed athletic facility on the grounds of the University of Prince Edward Island.

Robert Arsenault, facilities division co-ordinator for the 2009 Canada Games Host Society, spent much of the meeting describing the concept for a site to hold running and athletics events. He said it will be a 400-metre track of eight competition lanes on an artificial surface surrounding a natural grass infield.

That natural grass infield can be used for soccer or football in the future, he said.

The track will be built directly over the existing MacAdam Field, which is now used for rugby.

Arsenault said the plan is to dig down four metres, resulting in a “fairly large excavation.’’

The soil that will be removed will be piled up in a large berm surrounding what would then become an almost sunken track, helping to reduce wind at the track level and providing a slope for seating spectators.

Elevations of the berm will not be much higher than the elevation of the land as it now is, he said.

The south side of the track near the university’s perimeter, or ring, road will be a concrete retaining structure that will include eight rows of concrete seating.

That will be the only permanent seating at the site and will seat 1,400.

On the opposite side of the track will be a flat gravel bed that can accommodate truck-mounted stadium seating that can be brought in for major events.

The closing ceremony is expected to be held at the site and between the permanent concrete seating, the truck-mount bleachers and the sloped berm, organizers hope to seat 5,000.

“Will there be rock concerts held there?’’ asked Joan Cumming, who along with her husband, Jim, are the owners of Garden Gate Inn further up University Avenue.

No, said Gary Bradshaw, vice-president, finance and facilities for UPEI. He said the university would ensure the site is used strictly for athletic events.

Cumming also asked about lighting and was told there is no plan by the Canada Games organization to install lighting, but underground infrastructure will be installed during construction that might accommodate lighting in the future.

Cummings wanted to know about sound systems. Arsenault said it will consist of two small “horn speakers’’ on top of a central building.

Former city councillor Philip Brown asked about plans to accommodate even more traffic getting into and out of the university.

Bradshaw said a third road into the campus has long been and still is a high priority.

Right now the best option seems to be working out an agreement with the Charlottetown Mall, he said.

That would see a new road running from the back parking lot of the mall, parallel to the Confederation Trail into the campus.

There is also negotiation for lights at the UPEI road off Belvedere.

“You mentioned football,’’ said city Coun. Mitchell Tweel, not wanting to let the opportunity pass.

He was told that the proposed track was similar to the facility at St. Mary’s University in Halifax and that varsity football would only require some pads of artificial turf laid over the track for “end-zone runouts.’’
“You are talking about sustainability, well . . . varsity football is the answer,’’ he said.

Wednesday’s meeting was only to receive public input so council will debate and decide on the issue at some later date.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Canada Games picks UPEI site for major athletics venue

This area near UPEI could be the future home of a Canada Games facility. The athletic venue
will be on the agenda of a public meeting in Charlottetown tonight. Guardian photo

Canada Games picks UPEI site for major athletics venue
The Guardian

The 2009 P.E.I. Canada Summer Games host committee has identified UPEI as the preferred location for a multi-million dollar athletics venue.
Joe Spriet, president of the 2009 Canada Games, said Tuesday the university has been the preferred site since the bid process began.
The City of Charlottetown will host a public meeting tonight where the athletics venue will be one of three topics on the agenda. Putting such a facility on the campus requires a zoning change, meaning a public meeting is mandatory. The meeting takes place at the Charlottetown Hotel at 7 p.m.
The athletics venue, if it goes ahead at UPEI, would be an ambitious endeavour, covering 10 acres between the university and the Charlottetown Mall.
The venue would start north of the ring road at UPEI. MacAdam Field, the new artificial turf field at UPEI, would not be affected.
The venue was thought to be headed to Stonepark Junior High School, one of the locations identified in consultant Ken DesRoches' report in 2006.
Spriet said initially UPEI showed little interest in the athletics venue "until some issues came into play with respect to what you do with a beautiful facility after the Games.
"You can't just create a white elephant, nobody wants that. One of our huge concerns was after the Games in September '09, that we've got a facility that can be put to proper use with proper operational dollars and programming. Where better than UPEI, if we can make it happen,' Spriet said.
Officials at UPEI were not immediately available for comment.
As one of the stakeholders, the City of Charlottetown as agreed to contribute $500,000 towards the venue.
Mayor Clifford Lee said the city has no interest in taking on operational costs of another facility.
"It's not a decision for the city to make as to where the facility ends up, we're not building it, we don't own it and we're not going to be responsible for the operational costs after the fact,' Lee said.
Among the features at the venue would be a track and enough seating for thousands. It would be the largest facility built for the 2009 Games.
Back when the host society submitted its bid it was thought the athletics venue would cost $3 million. Spriet said the cost will be "a little larger but I won't go to a number at this point. It's somewhat larger (than $3 million).
The cost would be cost-shared by the three levels of government under the federal infrastructure program.
And, although no one is talking about it now, the project could include a new access road - beyond the current two entrances to UPEI.
"I can say this much, it's probably high up there on UPEI's wish list,'' Spriet said.
The president of the 2009 Games said they hope to have council's decision on the rezoning application very soon.
"We've got to get going. In the spring the shovels have to be in the ground and it's got to be built by the time the snow flies next fall.'

P.E.I. submits bid to host Island Games


P.E.I. submits bid to host Island Games
The Guardian

Prince Edward Island’s bid has been submitted to the International Island Games Association to host the NatWest Island Games in 2013.
Now that the Island Games Association of P.E.I. has the support of the Prince Edward Island government, the association will continue to promote the Island’s attributes to the member islands before the final vote takes place June 28.
Prince Edward Island would host 14 sports, over 3,000 athletes, more than the Olympic Winter Games, roughly 2,000 spectators and at least 30 international media organizations.
P.E.I. had its largest ever group of 60 athletes compete in the 2007 NatWest Island Games in Rhodes, Greece, and came home with four gold, five silver and seven bronze medals. The Island placed 13th in a group of 25 participating islands.
“Hosting these Games would be a tremendous boost to the athletic community on Prince Edward Island,” said Jeff Wilbert, judo coach and NatWest Games 2007 medal winner. “Having the Games on P.E.I. would mean many more Island athletes could participate with even greater results.”
Wilbert said the Island has a strong organizing committee that is “very committed to P.E.I. becoming a host, so I know we will have an excellent chance of winning and showing these islands our beautiful island.”
Alicia Wilbert, a gold- medal winner in 2007, was thrilled to have such an opportunity.
“I have won national competitions but the NatWest Games was special,” she said.
“I loved the cultural experience of meeting athletes from different parts of the world, the level of competition was more closely matched among the islands, everyone was so friendly and the Greek food was the best.”
Prince Edward Island is competing against Bermuda for the 2013 Games.
Even though Bermuda is well known, Prince Edward Island will have all the state-of-the-art athletic facilities that are required in place subsequent to the 2009 Canada Games.
P.E.I.’s proposed dates of June 29 to July 6, are at the end of the school year.
Bermuda is proposing April, which would be more challenging for member-island organizers.
Prince Edward Island was the first North American island to join the International Island Games Association.
Between now and June, the Island Games Association of P.E.I. plans to launch a sustained marketing campaign to educate the voting islands more about P.E.I.


P.E.I. in the running to host 2013 NatWest Island Games
The Journal Pioneer

Prince Edward Island's bid has been submitted to the International Island Games Association to host the NatWest Island Games from June 29 to July 6 in 2013.

Now that the Island Games Association of P.E.I. has the support of the P.E.I. government, the association will continue to promote the Island's attributes to the member islands before the final vote takes place June 28.

P.E.I. had its largest ever group of 60 athletes compete in the 2007 NatWest Island Games in Rhodes, Greece, and came home with four gold medals, five silver and seven bronze medals.

The Island placed 13th in a group of 25 participating islands.

"The cultural experience is one that I will always remember," said Ashley Caulier of Brooklyn, who participated on the soccer team at the NatWest Island Games in Rhodes. "I am still in communication with many of the new friends that I met.

"The people that you meet are culturally different, but, in many ways, we share a common experience having grown up on an island. The competition was friendly and fun."

P.E.I. would host 14 sports, over 3,000 athletes, more than the Olympic Winter Games, roughly 2,000 spectators, and at least 30 international media organizations.

Caulier said it would be an honour to host the 2013 Games.

"I would be so proud to show them our beautiful Island," she said. "We have brand new turf fields and, after the 2009 Canada Games, everything will be in place to host this kind of competition.

"To hold an international event of this size would be a stepping stone for more international events."
P.E.I. is competing against Bermuda for the 2013 NatWest Island Games.

Even though Bermuda is very well known, P.E.I. will have all the state-of-the-art athletic facilities that are required in place subsequent to the '09 Canada Games and will offer more direct and cheaper air connections than Bermuda.

P.E.I.'s proposed dates are at the end of the school year.

Bermuda is proposing April, which would be more challenging for member-island organizers.

Between now and June, the Island Games Association of P.E.I. plans to launch a sustained marketing campaign to educate the voting islands more about P.E.I., highlighting organizational capabilities, facilities, scenery, food and culture.

The slogan for the campaign is 'An Island Of Memories Awaits Your Arrival.'
A look at the Island Games
The 2013 NatWest Games will be significant, as it will be the first time the NatWest Island Games is hosted outside Europe.

  • - Currently there are 25 member islands in International Island Games Association and most of the islands are European.
  • - Member islands must not exceed 150,000 in population, so Prince Edward Island is one of the larger Islands.
  • - There is no age limit on athletic participation so other athletes like judo player Jeff Wilbert who is over 40 years of age can participate and win medals competing against younger athletes.
  • - Prince Edward Island was the first North American island to become a member of the International Island Games Association.
  • - The sports that P.E.I. would offer are: athletics, badminton, basketball, cycling, football (soccer), golf, gymnastics, judo, lawn bowling, swimming, table tennis, tennis, triathlon, volleyball.
  • - On the web:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Amal Hashem 1948-2008

Amal N. Hashem


Members of the PEI RoadRunners Club were saddened to hear of the passing of our friend Amal "Mel" Hashem. Amal was a generous supporter of the RoadRunners Club and sponsor of the Mount Edward Grocery Run.

Our thoughts and sympathies are with Salem and the rest of Amal's family.

Amal N. Hashem


(click to enlarge & read)
Photo credits: PEI RoadRunners
More PEI RoadRunner Photos of Amal Hashem

Friday, January 18, 2008

Truth and Justice

"Almost all of her statements are how the autism affected her, not Katie.
This is not a delusion or psychotic.
Dr. Terry Killian
Public Statement

If the measure of a person's life could be quantified by the number of people that loved them, then Katie, in her brief 3 1/2 years, achieved well beyond all of us.

I'd like to recognize the tireless efforts and personal sacrifices of the States Attorney's Office, specifically Kirk Schoenbein and Kevin Johnson, and the Morton Police Department, specifically Ray Ham and Bill Roth, for the relentless pursuit of the truth and justice. We are blessed to have these caring and professional people in our community.

I'd like to thank all the people that worked with Katie. Specifically, Kia Quick and Stephanie Blair - your ability to make Katie smile while you taught her is a testament to your talent and love.

I ask all parents and especially those of children with disabilities to ALWAYS love your children and be proud of them. Cherish every moment you have with them. Love, patience and tender efforts are the best therapies.

Paul McCarron
"Love, patience and tender efforts are the best therapies."

The picture in the photo above is "It Shouldn't Hurt to be a Child" from Victims of Violence

Here are some posts by members of the autism community.

Kristina at Autism Vox has written a number of posts on Katie's murder and Karen's trial and put together this list

Ari Ne’eman, President of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, on phony ransom notes can have real consequences in Talking Justice

Niksmom at
Maternal Instincts writes that words cannot do justice and posts again after the verdict.

Kev at Left Brain / Right Brain posts Dear Katie

Liz at I Speak of Dreams posts, with sorrow and tears.

SL at Stop. Think. Autism calls shame on the media (again) and dedicates this post to Katie.

Brett at 29 Marbles references a post he wrote back in May of 2006 while we wait; this is his post after the verdict.

Ed posts a short video remembering Katie.

Rose at Hard Won Wisdom entitles her post AutismSpeaks: Katie McCarron’s Death.

Whose Planet Is It Anyway? posts a poem remembering Katie.

Mike Stanton at Action for Autism writes about a just verdict.

Steve D at One Dad’s Opinion writes this post for Katie and her family.

GFCF Mommy posts nothing’s going to change my world.

Go to AspergerSquare8 to see a beautiful square garden (pink) .

Andrea posts for children now gone.

Maddy at Whitterer on Autism writes about Katie McCarron—-theft of joy.

Club 166 reminds us Primum non nocere.

Kyra at This Mom on The Verdict.

Gretchen’s post is called empty-handed.

Autismville posts for Katie McCarron

Sharon at The Family Voyage posts about Katie.

For Katie, Never Forgotten is by Kassiane

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Katie McCarron...

For 2 weeks, in July of 2006, I picked flowers every day for a little girl I never met, who at 3, died far too young, simply because she was autistic. It was the 2 weeks of Alex's "Autistic Celebration Run" and every day, as I accompanied Alex across Prince Edward Island on my bike, I picked flowers along the way for Katie and put them in a loop in my detachable handlebar bag.

Again these days my thoughts are with Katie. They are with her father and
grandparents who so adored her, with her sister....

Katie's mother, Karen McCarron, is currently on trial for Katie's murder.

Karen McCarron is charged with 4 counts, two of which are 1st degree murder.
She is also charged with obstructing justice, and concealing a homicide.

"I hated the autism so, so much," McCarron said.
... I just wanted autism out of my life."

Back in June 2006, Katie's grandfather, Mike McCarron, offered us the following insight into Katie's short life on Autism Vox's blog :
"I would like to say something about Katie. Some newspapers have reported that this was done to end Katie’s pain; let me assure you that “Katie was not in pain”. She was a beautiful, precious and happy little girl. Each day she was showered with love and returned that love with hugs, kisses and laughter. Katie loved music; she would fill in some of the words in children’s songs as my wife would sing along with the CD that would be playing, their own version of “karaoke” . She liked to dance, she loved to do the “hooky poky”. She loved being in among flowers and tall grass. She would say “I like grass”. She enjoyed the zoo and because of all of the drills and flashcards she could identify the animals. Which I thought was pretty amazing for such a young child. She was also the only little child in her non-autistic play group that could identify an octagon. My wife and son had a party for her the day they heard that from the teacher.

She enjoyed having her grandmother dress her in new little outfits and dresses, and I think this is important. We have four grand-daughters, my wife loves to buy them frilly little dresses. When my wife went into a store she would never ask for three normal dresses and one autistic dress. I think we need to be very sensitive to the special needs of these children but at the same time not be oblivious to the numerous typical traits that are also developing. Katie was first and foremost a little girl, she enjoyed people making a big fuss over how pretty she looked. My wife would take her to the beauty shop to have her hair trimmed. Katie enjoyed going to the mall and looking in all of the stores and windows. These are female things.

She went to special schools everyday, the staff at those schools cherished her. I can not say enough for the staff at Mariposa. They were so very much more than professional therapists, they adopted her and loved her deeply. Katie was so lucky to be with them everyday.

There is also another young lady in North Carolina who worked with Katie during non-school hours. The bond that she had with Katie was unbelievably deep. I am amazed that a single Mom working to raise a son by herself could find so much extra love. Maybe love is one of those special resources, the more you give the more is given back.

Katie loved the park, the swings, the slides and being outside. She played with her dolls and toys; she loved “teletubbies” and brought joy to all of those that had actual contact with her. Yes, she was autistic. Developmentally she was behind other children. But her small victories would create unbelievable joy for those who loved her. I can not describe the ecstasy of having her little arms around my neck or of watching her and my son roll around on the floor playing in shear happiness.

Each day I ask the Lord if I could take her place, and perhaps He could return Katie to the loving arms of my son and my wife. So far that prayer has not been granted. But in the meantime I can assure you that no one will describe her murder as “understandable” or devalue her in anyway without my personal challenge to them and the organizations they represent.

I must apologize for the length of this post, please know that I keep each of you in my prayers."

Katie's Memorial Grove

Trees For Life, Restoring the Caledonian Forest

Friday, January 11, 2008

Musical friends happy to help with marathon fundraising effort

Musical friends happy to help with marathon fundraising effort
Sally Cole
The Guardian

When Lisa Deagle decided to join Canada's national Team Diabetes and run the Brazilian marathon this June she found herself in a dilemma.

How could she afford to raise $6,100 necessary to cover the costs of her fundraising effort, as well as the flight, meals, accommodations and team events?

Without giving it a second thought she picked up the telephone and called her brother, Elmer, a mandolin player for help.

“We started brainstorming, and he came up with the idea of organizing a concert for me. He has lots of connections in the music industry.

“So he started putting it together and getting everyone lined up,” says Deagle.

The end result is the Team Diabetes Celtic Music Night, which will take place at The Guild in Charlottetown on Jan. 18 at 7 p.m.

The concert will feature performances by J.J. Chaisson, Kendra MacGillivray, Elmer Deagle, Emmanuelle LeBlanc, Anastasia Desroches, Colette Cheverie, Peter and Kevin Chaisson, Lisa and the Deagle Sisters and several other special guests.

Elmer Deagle says he’s happy to do his part.

“Lisa has been busy training for the marathon and trying to do fundraising, so it’s our way of helping her out. It’s a lot to take on, especially with her work schedule,”?he says.

Deagle, a registered nurse, works a month off and a month on at a First Nations reserve in northern Manitoba.

And she appreciates the support that she’s receiving.

“It’s awesome. Initially, it seemed like a lot of money to raise.

“But with help of my family and friends it looks like I’ll be able to do it,” says the East Baltic native.

MacGillivray is also pleased to support the cause.

“Elmer gave me a call one night, and I was only too happy to participate,” says the award-winning fiddler who has just finished recording her fourth CD, Love of the Isles, with him.

Benefits like this one are important, she says.

“From day one, I was encouraged to give back to the community. That’s why I like to participate as much as I can,” says MacGillivray, who plans to play an air, a traditional strathspey and some reels.

It’s all music to Lisa Deagle’s ears, who became inspired to run the marathon for several reasons.

“I’ve always wanted to run a marathon. My family has been affected by diabetes. My mother and my grandmother both had diabetes. And as a nurse, I’ve worked with people with diabetes.

“So when I heard about running a marathon with Team Diabetes, it all came together for me,” she says.

Leslie MacPhee, Team Diabetes co-ordinator, is impressed with her creativity.

“Lisa Deagle has thought outside the box about how she could raise money. She has chosen an event that will appeal to people she knows and has brought in other forces to help her,” says MacPhee, during a telephone interview.

At a glance

Training for a marathon

* Lisa Deagle runs five days a week. On Wednesday, for instance she ran 10 km.

* Normally she runs by herself but occasionally she gets together with some girls from work.

* Her biggest fear? Getting an injury before the run and not being able to follow through.

“I know that I can do it as long as I don’t get injured.”

* Deagle has been running on and off for the past two years. She started training seriously three months ago.

* Foods that give her energy include raisin bran, apple, banana, milk and eggs.

All-star Celtic team raises funds for diabetes

The Guardian

When you’re in need of raising funds for a cause, it pays to have a brilliant Celtic musician as an older brother who’s connected to some of the best names in Celtic music on P.E.I.

This is the truism that was brought to life last Friday night at The Guild in Charlottetown as Lisa Deagle and her older brother, well-known guitarist/

mandolin player/fiddler Elmer Deagle, put together one boombastic barn-burner night of Celtic music.

All for the cause of raising money for Lisa’s participation in the Brazilian marathon this June with Team Diabetes for the Canadian Diabetes Association, the show was a sell-out. And by its end, the high dollar figure raised for the cause was only exceeded by the height of spirits in the house.

Despite the poor weather that hovered about the Island that day, which actually kept a couple of performers from getting to the show, the turnout was spectacular. And it’s safe to say that all in attendance must have been quite proud that they made the trek out in the elements, as soon as they heard the beginning act that night.

Yep. They broke out the big guns first — J.J. Chaisson on fiddle, Kevin Chaisson on piano and Elmer Deagle on guitar and fiddle. They played a fiery opening 20-minute set that probably shook all the snow off the roof of The Guild.

Commencing with a slow air and then moving into a barrage of strathspeys and reels, complimented by the addition of young Summerside piper Harley Peters (playing Scottish Soldier and Amazing Grace), their set was thoroughly enjoyed by the appreciative crowd.

Colette Cheverie of The Celtic Ladies then took over the stage, with accompanist Jon Matthews on guitar, to perform several heartfelt tunes.

Through songs like Stan Rogers’ Tiny Fish for Japan, and Francis James Child’s Sweet William’s Ghost, Cheverie performed passionately, eyes perpetually closed, as her smooth voice echoed throughout the theatre.

Melvin Ford was the host of the night, and at the beginning of the second half, we were treated to a couple of vocal performances from him, including Fields of Athenrye and Leaving on a Jet Plane, which the crowd sang along with (particularly my Aunt Muriel sitting next to me . . .).

Up next on the bill was Emmanuelle LeBlanc of Vishten. The group has been touring the world for the past while and is up for two ECMA nominations in a few weeks.

With accompaniment from Elmer Deagle on guitar (who has also been a member of Vishten for about a year now), LeBlanc began with a lovely, sweeping, sliding tune on the tin whistle, written by Deagle.

Following it up with a couple of reels and a jig played on a higher whistle and then a bodhran performance (complete with some Acadian chair step dancing) as Deagle played some fantastic fiddle, their set was one of the most impressive of the night.

“Comb your hair, Elmer!” yelled an audience member at the shaggy-mopped Deagle, as he prepared the stage for the next act of the evening, his three sisters, Lisa, Donna and Rhonda.

“I haven’t combed it in five years,” he replied, as the audience hollered in laughter.

Singing songs such as I Told You So by Randy Travis and Goodbye is All We Have by Alison Krauss, the sisters sang in a pleasant blend of harmony and were given an encore for their performance.

Kendra MacGillivray was the much-anticipated final act of the night. And where the first act blew the snow off the roof, in her commanding fiddle power, accompanied by Kevin Chaisson on piano and Elmer Deagle on guitar, MacGillivray then proceeded to tear that roof off.

Cutting, cutting, cutting into the notes like a friggin’ Ginzu knife through honey dew melon, MacGillivray just ripped through a set of reels to begin (The Messer Medley), followed by a dreamy, beautiful air called Love of the Isles (the name of her new CD) and then finished off the tremendous set with a few raging reels, as rosin dust soared up in clouds above her head.

As if that wasn’t enough, we were all then treated to a magnificent finale of all the performers from the night up on stage, led by J.J., Elmer and Kendra on fiddle, complete with step-dancing and non-stop clapping and stomping from the fired-up crowd.

All in all, it was certainly one of the best Celtic music shows I’ve seen in a long time. And if you’re sad you missed it but would like to make a donation to Lisa Deagle’s Team Diabetes cause, check out

Also, special thanks to Ward MacDonald and my Aunt Muriel Jay, for the favour of saving a seat for me.

I have a correction from last week’s column: Battery Point’s album was released in July of 2007, not in the winter of 2007.

Next week: Let’s laugh the winter away, with the Off-Centre Comedy Festival at The Mack

At a glance

* What: Team Diabetes Celtic Night.

* Where: The Guild, Charlottetown.

* When: Last Friday, Jan. 18.

* Who: A group of some of the Island’s best Celtic entertainers.

* Why: To help Lisa Deagle raise $6,100 for Team Diabetes and the Canadian Diabetes Association.