35-August 31_ 2011-Bick's leaves Elgin Fields by dbreckles


									01 - FRONT AUG 31_Layout 1 11-08-30 2:38 PM Page 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                               18 PAGES, No. 35, August 31, 2011

            A short, sharp reminder to our readers that if sum-
         mer is almost over, school can’t be far off – next
                                                                                  Bick’s leaves Elgin fields
                                                                                     After this season the Bick’s     Dunnville Chronicle on Sept.              “We tried to buy the Bick’s       pick cucumbers while seated –       ones in the late 1960s.             then,” said Lena Schulz, Cor-
                                                                                  cucumber sorting plant on           28.                                    label with a consortium of farm-     are now a common site all over         “They were picking them by       nelius’s daughter.
            That means that drivers must sharpen their skills                     Highway 3 east of Aylmer will           The jobs at these plants are       ers but they turned it down say-     the area. Cornelius Peters said     hand, one person at a time with        These aides made what is
         extra keenly.                                                            not process or sort any more cu-    the tip of the iceberg. The deci-      ing it was not for sale. The U.S.    he designed and built the first     a hamper. That’s how they did it             CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
            The treasured youth of our community are going to                     cumbers for the company after       sion has a multiplier effect that      government has programs to
         be channelled back into our educational institutions                     operating continuously there for    impacts many more people in-           help them move operations to
                                                                                  over four decades.                  cluding the sorting plant which        the U.S.,” said Jake Peters.
         and it’s our job to see that they get there safely. Noth-                   At its peak the plant sorted     processed and sorted cucumbers            The sorting plant has been
         ing else will do.                                                        almost 30,000 tons of cucum-        for Bick’s since 1969.                 run by the Peters family since it
            The youngsters will be in a daze of wonderment                        bers a year for Bick’s. The cu-         Demand from the sorting            opened, first by Cornelius Pe-
         and distraction, the eldest student pedestrians almost                   cumbers were used for pickle        plant employs at least a thou-         ters for more than 20 years, and
                                                                                  production.                         sand families in farming, pick-        then by his son Jake since 1994.
         daring a collision in a studied disregard of roadway                        The JM Smucker Company,          ing and processing cucumbers.             The family has made a great
         safety.                                                                  which owns the Bick’s brand, is         “Stretching all the way from       contribution to agriculture and
            Around the schools we must be acutely attuned to                      closing pickle-making opera-        Chatham to Dunnville it was at         industry in the Aylmer area by
         a darting pupil or a roadway congested by pedestri-                      tions at a facility in Dunnville    least a thousand families af-          running the plant for over 40
                                                                                  and a pickle tank farm in Delhi,    fected. Of course some are say-        years and through the many pi-
         ans and vehicles.                                                        cutting about 150 jobs directly     ing that is understating it, that it   oneering, innovative technolo-
            Our rural roads will again be travelled by slow-mov-                  by the end of the year. At the      is much more, but I don’t want         gies they introduced, which
         ing buses loading and unloading pupils and students                      end of September 2010 when          a figure out there that’s way too      changed the way Bick’s graded
         with too much on their minds.                                            the plant closures were an-         high,” said Jake Peters, owner         and sorted cucumbers and the
                                                                                  nounced it hit the Dunnville        of the sorting plant.                  machines they used to do it.
            Too often we drivers are busy saving five minutes                     community hard.                         Jake Peters said he was               The sorting station and plant
         that will mean absolutely nothing should disaster hap-                      “No one knew anything            blind-sided by the announce-           has seen tremendous changes
         pen.                                                                     about it. No one knew it was        ment that Bick’s was pulling out       over the years. The way that cu-
            A bit slower, a bit more attentive and put that damn                  coming. No workers had feared       of Ontario as were the Dun-            cumbers are picked, delivered,
                                                                                  for their jobs,” reported the       nville and Delhi communities.          graded and sorted by the entire
         cell phone down. It’s the equivalent of driving drunk.                                                                                              Bick’s corporation has been im-
            The Dieppe raid was not the only failure Dad ex-
         perienced. His campaign to get an indoor swimming
                                                                                  Police: take care                                                          pacted by the Peters family and
                                                                                                                                                             the innovations they have intro-
                                                                                                                                                                Cornelius Peters began
         pool at the high school here was, too, doomed to fail-
         ure. From his childhood on the water in Sarnia and
         at the folly on the French coast in 1942, he decided
                                                                                  with schools open                                                          working with cucumbers in the
                                                                                                                                                             late 1960s, initially for Mathew
                                                                                                                                                             Wells in Dorchester, before that
                                                                                     Aylmer Police are reminding      ing extra caution, he said, par-       operation was bought by Bick’s
         swimming was an essential skill. He saw the terrible                     motorists to take care with chil-   ents should remind their chil-         in 1967. He started with a single
         cost in drowned Canadian soldiers, so many lost just                     dren soon returning to school.      dren about safety rules they           acre with his uncle Henry Pe-
         yards short of even attaining the beach. But an indoor                      Officers would be monitor-       must follow as pedestrians and         ters, delivering to Heinz in
                                                                                  ing “community safety zones”        bicyclists.                            Leamington, in 1965 and then
         pool at East Elgin was never to be, for fear of losing                   around schools in town, espe-          Children darting out between        jumped to 125 acres the follow-
         the precious football field there.                                       cially for speeding and inatten-    parked cars or bicycles wander-        ing year.
            So we took up the challenge with the preliminary                      tive driving, Sergeant Michael      ing across a street without re-           He began to innovate almost
         planning of East Elgin Community Complex, joining                        Knight said.                        gard to oncoming traffic could         immediately; where he saw a
                                                                                     Penalties for infractions in     result in tragedy, he warned.          need or problem he designed a
         the committee primarily to see that a swimming pool                      those zones double during              He also urged parents to en-        solution. The picking aides –
         was at least included on the plan to provide a future                    school times.                       sure children bicycling to             large platforms on wheels
                                                       CONTINUED ON PAGE 4           In addition to drivers show-     school wore protective helmets.        where a crew or a family can

         Over $100-million project                                                                                                                                                                From left are Cornelius Peters and Cindy and
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Jake Peters at the Bickʼs sorting plant on High-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       working for the company continuously since
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       1969. Bickʼs is moving their pickle operations
                                                                                                                                                                                                  way 3 east of Aylmer. The plant will not be sort-    to the U.S.

         STEGH finally gets go-ahead                                                                                                                                                              ing cucumbers for Bickʼs after this season after

                                                                                                                                                                                                  “Big heart” failed fighter in end
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (AE/Darren Breckles)

            Ontario Health Minister Deb      pected to start in 2014, the proj-      About $14.5-million of the       to pay 10 percent of the con-          Wednesday, Aug. 24, for the
         Matthews last week gave St.
         Thomas Elgin General Hospital
         the green light for a major rede-
         velopment, estimated to cost
         over $100-million.
                                             ect will include a new 15-bed
                                             regional mental health ward, as
                                             well as, in the same three-storey
                                             addition to STEGH, a new ex-
                                             panded emergency room and
                                                                                  cost must come from local
                                                                                     Elgin County and the City of
                                                                                  St. Thomas are expected to
                                                                                  throw in $4-million each, with
                                                                                                                      struction cost, plus all the fur-
                                                                                                                      nishings for the additional
                                                                                                                      MPP Steve Peters accompanied
                                                                                                                                                             funding announcement, which
                                                                                                                                                             he noted would be his last be-
                                                                                                                                                             fore he stepped down from of-
                                                                                                                                                             fice leading up to the Oct. 6
                                                                                                                                                             provincial election.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Parents remember
            With actual construction ex-     spacious new operating rooms.        the rest coming from the public,    Minister Matthews to STEGH                 He was praised by speakers
                                                                                                                                                             at the announcement, held in the
                                                                                                                                                             atrium of the hospital, as a tire-
                                                                                                                                                             less supporter of the hospital
                                                                                                                                                                                                  “amazing” Shawn
                                                                                                                                                             and its planned redevelopment.                                              In addition to several nieces        He had attended professional
                                                                                                                                                                 The project will also move                                           and nephews, his parents list       fights in Hamilton the night be-
                                                                                                                                                             all the hospital’s outpatient                                            two other survivors who were        fore his death, and slept over at
                                                                                                                                                             services into the now-vacant                                             like children to Shawn—his          a friend’s in Ingersoll.
                                                                                                                                                             first floor of STEGH’s continu-                                          dogs Patsy Cline and Cowboy.            He went to bed about 4 or 5
                                                                                                                                                             ing care wing.                                                              Shawn always loved country       a.m., and never woke up, dying
                                                                                                                                                                 Hospital workers and public                                          music, his parents said in an in-   of a heart attack in his sleep.
                                                                                                                                                             officials attending the event                                            terview in their home Monday,           “He was a physical speci-
                                                                                                                                                             cheered the news, while a group                                          and never forgot where he came      men, and clean living,” his fa-
                                                                                                                                                             of about a dozen supporters of                                           from, even though for the last      ther said. No one would have
                                                                                                                                                             Jeff Yurek, Progressive Conser-                                          four years he had run a mixed-      ever suspected heart problems,
                                                                                                                                                             vative candidate for this riding,                                        martial arts training gym in Las    though they did run in the fam-
                                                                                                                                                             all clad in bright blue T-shirts                                         Vegas.                              ily.
                                                                                                                                                             bearing his name and political                                              He came home in the end, to          While their son had become
                                                                                                                                                             slogans, offered polite applause.                                        be buried in Delmer Cemetery,       a celebrity as a result of world
                                                                                                                                                                 They occupied about half the                                         not far from Corinth.               kickboxing championships and,
                                                                                                                                                             seating on the floor of the                                                 Shawn attended Eden and          in more recent years, training
                                                                                                                                                             atrium, leaving hospital workers                                         Straffordville Public Schools       winning fighters for the Ulti-
                                                                                                                                                             and some dignitaries standing                                            and East Elgin Secondary            mate Fighting Championship,
                                                                                                                                                             during the event.                                                        School.                             Mr. Tompkins said he’d de-
                                                                                                                                                                 Liberal candidate Lori Bald-                                            Mrs. Tompkins said, “He          scribe Shawn first as “a human-
                                                                                                                                                             win-Sands was also there.                                                was an amazing person. He had       itarian.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Shawn Tompkins
                                                                                                                                                                 MPP Peters, first to speak,                                          a big heart.”                           He was always looking after
                                                                                                                                                             said, “This is an amazing day                 by Rob Perry
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         But, Mr. Tompkins added, it      people, Mr. Tompkins said.
                                                                                                                                                             for me,” and, as his last formal         of The Aylmer Express
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      was Shawn’s heart that failed       Shawn would come across
                                                                                                                                                             announcement as MPP, “It                “He lived 100 lives in 37
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      him in the end.                             CONTINUED ON PAGE 11
                                                                                                                                                             couldn’t be a more amazing           years.”
                                                                                                                                                             one.”                                   That’s how Colleen Tomp-
                                                                                                                                                                 Noting he had been born at
                                                                                                                                                             the hospital, he thanked the
                                                                                                                                                             provincial government for its
                                                                                                                                                                                                  kins recalls her brother Shawn,
                                                                                                                                                                                                  who died of a heart attack in In-
                                                                                                                                                                                                  gersoll on Sunday, Aug. 14, at
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Express closed

                                                                                                                                                             St. Thomas dated back to the

                                                                                                                                                                 The history of health care in
                                                                                                                                                                                                  the age of 37.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     He’s the son of Jack and
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pauline Tompkins of Corinth,
                                                                                                                                                                                                  brother to Fred Tompkins and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      on Labour Day
                                                                                                                                                             1880s, he said, and the first hos-   his wife Tanya, Jackie Van Hap-        The Aylmer Express business      morning.
                                                                                                                                                             pital opened in 1892. That was       pen and her husband John, and       office will be closed for Labour       Display advertisers are asked
                                                                                                                                                             followed by Memorial Hospital        Colleen, and brother-in-law of      Day, Monday, Sept. 5.               to have copy to the Express by
                                                                                                                                                             in 1924, and STEGH in 1954.          Sam Stout.                             The newspaper will be pub-       this Friday at noon.
                                                                                                                                                                 He recalled that, in the early      Shawn is also survived by        lished as usual and on sale in         Classified ads will be taken
         Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews, left, was applauded                cility. The hospital has been lobbying for such a project since                                                                                     some district stores late Tuesday   until Friday at 5 p.m.
         at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital as she announced a                  the early 1990s. More pictures are inside.                                 1990s, when first elected as         his wife Emilie, a London
                                                                                                                                                             mayor of St. Thomas, he heard        schoolteacher who he married        night, and in remaining stores         The office will re-open,
         provincial go-ahead for the planned redevelopment of the fa-                                                                      (AE/Rob Perry)
                                                                                                                                                                     CONTINUED ON PAGE 16         almost 10 years ago.                and in the mail Wednesday           Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.
02 - PRO_Layout 1 11-08-30 1:47 PM Page 1

         PAGE 2–AYLMER EXPRESS–Wed., August 31, 2011

         Spitfires start 2011-2012 season
               by Darren Walcarius
             Aylmer Junior C Spitfires
         began their 2011-2012 campaign
         with an open tryout at East Elgin
         Community Complex last week.
             Tryouts are still ongoing for
         some hopeful Spitfires as they
         then began exhibition play on
         Saturday night in Aylmer against
         visiting Norwich Merchants.
             Several Aylmer and area na-
         tives came out, including:
         Spencer Roloson, Mitch Rolo-
         son, Cody Benner, Brett Haines,
         Cody Underhill, Trevor Stewart,
         Lucas Easterbrook and Josh
             The game started out with
         some action at both ends of the
         ice, until the Merchants scored
         near the midway mark of the
         first period to open up the scor-
             The Spits responded on a
         goal by Brett Haines assisted by
         Coy Kulich just past the five-
         minute point only to have Nor-
         wich bounce right back to regain
         the lead a minute later.
             The period ended 2-1 in
         favour of Norwich.
             In the second period, the Spit-
         fires fought back to tie the game
         at two, just past the midway
         point, with the goal from the
         stick of Greg Phillips set up by
         Cody Underhill.
             Norwich again fought back                                                                                                     Bayham Mayor Paul Ens, right, joined other adult competitors in            each had to down a quarter of a watermelon. Mayor Ens, in ad-
         and scored a shorthanded goal to                                                                                                  a watermelon-eating contest in Straffordville, Saturday, part of           dition to his elected office, is a long-time volunteer on the festi-
         take the lead and never looked                                                                                                    the hamletʼs annual celebration in honour of the fruit. Adults             valʼs organizing committee.                            (AE/Rob Perry)
         back adding one more before the
         period’s final buzzer, holding the
         4-2 lead heading into the final
             The Merchants added two
         more goals in the third to solid-
         ify the victory for the visiting
         squad, 6-2.
                                                                                                                                           Bick’s leaves Elgin fields
                                                                                                                                           CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1                    The friction and the tines        had a pretty good idea how it         had asked them what their in-
         Next up                                                                                                                           still a hard job much more bear-      damaged the cucumbers and            worked but I had never seen it.       tentions were in Ontario. We’ve
             The Spits now travel to Nor-                                                                                                  able and many families spent          were inefficient so Cornelius        The hoses ran on a bigger pul-        obviously had good relations
         wich on Friday, Sept. 9 and are                                                                                                   most of their days on them,           Peters searched for a solution as    ley on one end to make it go          with them since 1969 and my
         back home the following night                                                                                                     making their livelihood and           he had done with the picking         faster and a smaller pulley at the    dad had built several graders for
         to host Simcoe at the East Elgin                                                                                                  raising their children. Many          aides.                               other end to keep tension on the      them. At one time they used ex-
         Community Complex with a                                                                                                          mothers, including Cornelius’s           “When dad had started they        hose as it went around. So I de-      clusively all of his graders that
         special game at 7:15 p.m.                                                                                                         wife Mary Peters, had their           had the little tiny shaker graders   signed them,” said Cornelius          he had built.”
             Also, anyone wishing to pur-                                                                                                  youngsters next to them as they       which damaged the cucumbers          Peters.                                   Though Bick’s was down to
         chase a season pass, mini-flex                                                                                                    worked picking or sorting cu-         a lot. That’s when he came up           The air hoses are run in par-      two grading stations from 11 in
         pass or Kids Club membership,                                                                                                     cumbers.                              with the Accugrader and that         allel by the pulleys in a circular    the province at one time, they
         please see our website for details                                                                                                    Many farmers and workers          solved that problem. They no         motion, pulling the cucumbers         gave Jake Peters assurances that
         or sign up at our next home                                                                                                       are second- and third-genera-         longer had the damage and            along a chute through hanging         his operation was viable and
         game.                                 Cody Underhill of Aylmer Spitfires Junior C     East Elgin Community Complex, Saturday
                                                                                                                                           tion, having grown up on the          that’s why they changed the          chains which straighten them to       would be continued which is
             C’ya there!                       hockey team went after the puck during an ex-   night. Norwich won the game 6-2.
                                               hibition game against Norwich Merchants at                                 (AE/Rob Perry)
                                                                                                                                           farm and on these picking aides,      whole system around. The com-        face in the same direction. The       why he built the grader. After
                                                                                                                                           surrounded by cucumbers from          pany said themselves on differ-      hoses get progressively further       incurring over $150,000 in ex-
                                                                                                                                           their earliest memories.              ent occasions they wouldn’t          apart along the chute, dropping       penses building the grader, it
                                                                                                                                               When they started operations      have been the company that           cucumbers of given sizes onto         was only used for one season.
                                                                                                                                           at the current grading station on     they became here in Canada if        six chutes running perpendicu-            Smucker’s had made consid-
                                                                                                                                           Highway 3 in 1969 they used           it were not for Cornelius Pe-        lar to the main chute and into        erable investments in buying
                                                                                                                                           graders that were designed and        ters,” said Jake Peters.             waiting containers for each of        1,500 new plastic containers ,
                                                                                                                                           supplied by Bick’s. The early            When asked how he came up         the six diameters Bick’s re-          capable of holding up to 950

                   Hills Pharmacy Presents
                                                                                                                                           ones were small with a narrow         with these technical innovations     quired.                               pounds, to work with the new
                                                                                                                                           chute that did not process the        – particularly as he has no train-      The machines he built, which       grading system at the sorting
                                                                                                                                           cucumbers very quickly—a              ing or engineering education –       he gave the name Accugrader,          plant.
                                                                                                                                           fraction of what they are able to     Cornelius Peters said he spoke       were the first of their kind in the       “They had just spent, a year
                                                                                                                                           handle now.                           to a lot of people with experi-      country. The principle and es-        prior, over $2-million in invest-

                                                        Walk Your Way to                                                                       “When we started they were
                                                                                                                                           tiny little graders. The chutes
                                                                                                                                           were only about 12 inches wide
                                                                                                                                                                                 ence in engineering and listened
                                                                                                                                                                                 to what they had to say. Then he
                                                                                                                                                                                 would tackle the problem him-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sential design are still used to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      this day, although there have
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      been some technical upgrades
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ments at the Dunnville plant. So
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            it did take me off guard. I real-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ized they were revamping and
                                                                                                                                           and they fed into garbage cans.
                                                         Good Health!
                                                                                                                                                                                 self.                                like electronic scales. They          were down to the two grading
                                                                                                                                           We had old-fashioned abacus              “I spoke to an engineer who       speeded up the grading process        stations, myself and Tom Has-
                                                                                                                                           adding machines and we had to         worked for Ford in some of           and increased production dra-         kett, just north of Simcoe. But
                                                                                                                                           add it up by hand and make sure       their big plants. I kept telling     matically.                            before I had built this $150,000
                                                                                                                                           it was right. They didn’t have        him what I was trying to do and         Cornelius Peters designed          grader last year I was told, ‘No,
                                                                                                                                           electronic scales until the           he said, ‘Don’t tell me what         and built over a dozen of the         Jake, we have no intention of
                                                                                                                  Register                 1990s,” said Cindy Peters,            works with the machines, tell        grading machines for Bick’s           shutting you down.’ And we
                                                                                                                                           Jake’s wife.                          me the problems. What are you        and other customers over the          only got the one season out of
                                                         Tuesday,                                                  Early
                                                                                                                 and WIN
                                                                                                                                               “I remember working on the
                                                                                                                                           machine and having a little one
                                                                                                                                                                                 trying to solve.’ I learned a lot
                                                                                                                                                                                 from that. Identify the problem
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      years. He ran the sorting station
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      until 1993 when his son Jake
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            it,” said Jake Peters.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Jake Peters has been in talks

                                                    September 6, 2011                                            Nordixx
                                                                                                                                           in the stroller right beside me.”
                                                                                                                                               The original machines
                                                                                                                                           worked with a series of chains
                                                                                                                                                                                 and find a solution,” said Cor-
                                                                                                                                                                                 nelius Peters.
                                                                                                                                                                                    His daughter Lena said she
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Peters bought the operation and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      made some further technical
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      improvements and upgrades in-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            with Smuckers to try to recoup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            some of the cost he incurred in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            building the new grader.
                                                           7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.                                                           parallel to one another with          always wondered what he could        cluding fully electronic and au-          “The whole family is hopeful
                                                                                                                                           tines on them that moved down         have achieved if he could have       tomated machines and a larger         because we have heard the
                                                       East Elgin Community Complex                                                        the chute, underneath and back        gone to school or trained as an      grader.                               Smucker brothers and the fam-
                                                                   Aylmer                                                                  around, in a circular motion.         engineer in light of all of his         “I implemented the elec-           ily are good people. So we’re
                                                                                                                                           The cucumbers went through            achievements without training.       tronic platform scales. Actually      hoping they’ll take care of us
                                                                                                                                           hanging chains that lined them           “I had guys that worked with      a year-and-a-half ago we had          and treat us fairly,” said Jake
                                                                                                                                           up so they were all facing the        me that said, ‘You know in           built a brand new grader for          Peters.
                                                                                                                                           same direction. Then they were        Mexico they do it with hoses.’ I     Bick’s pickles at my own ex-              He is still using part of the
                                                                                                                                           pulled along over a series of         came up with the idea for air        pense. So this did blind-side me      facility to grade cucumbers for
                                                                                                                                           progressively larger diameter         hoses in the early 1970s, ’73 or     because prior to building it I had    Hartung Brothers Inc. and
                                                                                                                                           slots so that cucumbers of dif-       ’74. They were softer and            told them my intentions to build      hopes that they will take up
                                                                                                                                           ferent sizes fell into their corre-   moved the cucumbers along            a bigger grader that could han-       some of the extra capacity at the
                                                                                                                                           sponding slots and into waiting       better with no damage. And I         dle the volume better and de-         plant now that Bick’s has left.
                                                                                                                                           containers.                           had a guy working for me that        liver a better quality grade. I

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