We’re in the home stretch of the municipal election; after a solid month of intense campaigning, there are less than two weeks until voting day on Monday, Oct. 27.
Aside from the traditional election devices designed to secure votes, many candidates have stepped up their social media game; the resulting discussion and debate simply did not exist during the last election. I hope that it has enlightened and attracted a new swath of voters.
The centerpiece of the race, however, remains the all-candidates’ meeting, sponsored by this newspaper. It was standing-room only that night at the Pyramid Centre, and attendees were treated to thoughtful discussion as well as some explanation (or defense) of our current council’s decisions on the hot-button issues: the green bridge, Green Arc and the Quarry high dive, to name the big three.
(I must congratulate Stew Slater on the outstanding job he’s done covering this election, in addition to his usual fine work. If you attended the all-candidates’ meeting, you know that it was a packed three hours of information, and his coverage was both informative and easy to read. As someone who’s covered elections [and with assistance from another reporter] trust me when I say that you’re reading some excellent journalism.)
In his editorial last week, Stew had the prescience to list what was absent from the debate: the landfill expansion, Cadzow pool and environmental issues. I am buoyed and concerned not to hear our hospital arise as a concern. During the election four years ago, St. Marys Memorial Hospital’s services — most importantly, its emergency department — was under review. It was an uncertain time for our small-yet-mighty hospital.
While some changes have taken place, our emergency department is strong (and freshly renovated). We are fortunate to have many family physicians as well as allied healthcare professionals to serve our community in a variety of ways. Four years ago, a caring community helped stave off changes, but the future is always uncertain when it comes to healthcare, a provincially funded service.
I am proud to be a member of the St. Marys Memorial Hospital Foundation, which, thanks to your generosity, is able to help shore up our hospital. In addition to helping pay for those much-needed Emergency department renovations, the foundation has also supported the new nurses’ station and the new digital x-ray machine, as well as ongoing commitments to healthcare professional recruitment and retention. Strong community support makes for a strong bargaining chip, if ever we need to again stand firm for our hospital’s future.
This Saturday — schedule it around the advance poll, if you’re ready to set your decisions in stone — please consider coming up to the Wellness Centre (at the north end of the hospital) to participate in the foundation’s fourth annual Radiothon fundraiser. You’ll find a full list of events elsewhere in this paper, but rest assured there is something for everyone to enjoy.
This year, the foundation has decided to take advantage of the fact that our candidates have been popping up at practically every public event over the past month. We’re “wagging the dog” by challenging candidates to come up to the Wellness Centre and save face by taking a few whipped cream pies in the face for the hour between 10 and 11 a.m.
The invitation has seen a begrudgingly good response thus far. I hope that the competitive spirit of this election is revealed in the amount of money we raise in this special fundraiser, but also that candidates enjoy the event in the spirit in which it was intended (you’ve all been warned!). It’s been a hard-fought race; let’s stand in solidarity for one morning, for one of the best causes in town.
It always rains on Radiothon day (all the better to wash off that whipped cream!), so dress appropriately if you’re coming. It’s a long day for volunteers, but also so very fun.
Here’s one of my own creations that warms the weariest of bones.
Andrea’s Potato, Fennel and Parmesan Soup
1/2 cup butter
1 medium onion
1 large bulb fennel, trimmed and chopped
2 medium white flesh potatoes, skin on, chopped
1-946mL carton beef broth
1 Tbsp. dried sage
3/4 - 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 medium apples, cored and chopped
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper
Melt butter over medium heat in a stockpot, add onion and fennel and sauté until softened. Add potatoes and sauté until coated and starting to soften. Add broth, sage, stir well, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover and reduce heat to medium-low to allow vegetables to fully cook. Add cheese and apples, stirring to ensure even heating. Salt and pepper to taste, then add vinegar and purée with an immersion blender, adding water as needed to thin it out. Makes plenty of soup.