Prestigious D’Arcy McGee citizenship medals presented

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It was my honour to attend this weeks ceremony by D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum at the CSL Aquatic and Community Center.

The ceremony was set up three years ago by the engaging and charismatic Birnbaum to honour exceptional citizens for their outstanding contribution to society, in particular affecting those of us residing in the D’Arcy McGee riding, which includes Cote saint-Luc, Hampstead and Snowdon west.

This year’s winners were Baruch Cohen, Susan Wener and (posthumously) Jean Lapierre. Jean’s daughter graciously accepted the award. In addition, the Victor C. Goldbloom ‘Vivre Ensemble’ essay contest winner was Reisa Gilfix (Grade 10, Herzliah High School).

The ceremony also included a video presentation by Quebec Pemier Philippe Couillard.

An excellent jazz combo ensemble entertained the crowd from the Saint-Luc secondary school.

Baruch Cohen, left, is feted on his 90th birthday by well-wisher Frederick Krantz, founder and director of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research. (Photo CJN)

Baruch Cohen
Baruch Cohen recently celebrated his 97th birthday. During the second world war, Baruch survived pogroms, anti-Semitism, state-sponsored tyranny and forced labour camps in Romania. He escaped to Israel and later made a life here in Montreal with Sonia, his wife of 73 years. Upon retirement from his position as a financial officer, Baruch completed a Master’s Degree in Jewish Studies. He subsequently devoted 30 years of volunteer service as Research Chair of the the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research. He spearheaded the first holocaust commemoration in memory of Jews killed in Romania and Transnistria 23 years ago, an event that continues to be held annually.

Susan Wener (Photo: The Georgia Straight)

Susan Wener

For 30 years, Susan Wener has dedicated her life to helping others. She is a therapist for people struggling with life-threatening illness. She speaks across Canada at literary festivals, medical conferences, universities and libraries, touching on subjects such as the doctor-patient relationship, integrative cancer care, overcoming obstacles and other topics related to health and well-being. Following a near death experience at 18, Susan knew that her mission would be to work with the gravely ill. She hasn’t looked back since. Her moving memoir, “Resilience” and recent Tedx Talk have reached thousands, far beyond our community’s borders.

 

Jean Lapierre

Jean Lapierre was a former member of Parliament, minister and political analyst on English and French radio and television. He died tragically along with four members of his family in a plane crash into 2016. Lapierre made perhaps his greatest mark in a final career as political analyst. He did regular spots that topped the ratings on Radio 98.5, CJAD, CTV, TVA and other media outlets. His commentaries garnered huge audiences in English and in French, and inevitably elicited reactions from politicians, other journalists as well as regular watchers across the province, who reacted to his daily scoops and analyses and discussions around the water cooler and supper table. What happens in Quebec City and Ottawa can sometimes seem remote and isolated from our lives in CSL, Hampstead and western Montreal. Jean Lapierre made it less so. He deserves our recognition for enriching our lives and widening our horizons.

Congratulations to the winners and the family of Jean C. Lapierre for this well-deserved honour.

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Two outstanding CSLers celebrate amazing birthdays

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George and Phyllis Nashen

 

Two great Cote Saint-Lucers are celebrating amazing milestone birthdays. George was born in 1923 in Kishinev, Romania. Phyllis was born in 1928 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Today, my father celebrates his 94th birthday and just three weeks ago my mom turned 89.
Their story is one of immigration and hard work, public and community service, romance, travel, family and friends.
My father, the grandson of a Hasidic Rabbi, and the son of revolutionary Russian arrived in Montreal before his first birthday. My mother was the daughter of trailer manufacturer in Sommerville, Mass. Dad graduated from Baron Byng High School in the famous class of 1939 (which recently celebrated its 77th reunion). His studies in accounting were interrupted by the outbreak of WWII.   Mom studied journalism at Boston University.

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

 

My dad enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and spent the next three-and-a-half years deployed overseas, mostly stationed in London, England. He had hoped to be a pilot, but colour-blindness changed those plans and instead he worked in the Payroll division of the General Accounting Office, headquartered in Harrods of London. Instead of serving as a pilot, he paid them every two weeks. He endured the bombardments and hardship of everyday life in London but fortunately was safe relative to so many of his close buddies who never returned from the front lines.

Teenager Phyllis Schertzer in the 1930s on her father’s car

 

On a ‘boys weekend’ to Cape Cod in 1948 my dad’s luck ran out – or did it? – as his car broke down stranding him for a couple of days in Boston. All alone, he reached for the crumpled phone number of a girl his father had pressed into his hand back in Montreal, courtesy of a family friend who happened to be the girl’s uncle. Not knowing anyone and with nothing to do, dad made the call and so began an international romance. They were married in 1951 and have celebrated 65 wedding anniversaries together, so far.
After returning from his military service he began working for Richter and Usher Accountants. He joined his uncle in business and became an important manufacturer of shirts and jeans for more than 35 years. My father set up his factory in Saint Leonard D’Aston, between Drummondville and Trois-Rivieres, employing more than 200 employees, over 10% of the town. Nearly every family in the area was touched by his business operations and this community of hard workers “outfitted Canada” for many years.

Phyllis Schertzer and George Nashen, Wedding Day, September 15, 1951. Chateau Garod, Brookline, Mass.

In addition to running a very active household with five rambunctious men (four boys plus dad), Mom trained as a “social councillor” and volunteered for 12 years at Meadowbrook  Elementary School in Lachine, helping kids 9-14 years old, visiting them at home and meeting with their parents. For the last 30 years mom has purchased and wrapped her own Christmas gifts for girls and boys at the Shriner’s Hospital. An accomplished artist in watercolours, oils, stained glass, sculpting and more for more than 40 years, my mother has exhibited her works and even taught courses for more than 10 years as a volunteer at Golden Age (Cummings Centre for Jewish Seniors).

Phyllis and George Nashen, September 15, 1951

Phyllis and George have made their home in CSL for nearly 60 years, raising their four sons and watching all eight grandchildren flourish close-by.
Active until most recently in many sports, and still very busy with leisure, arts and community life they are well known and very much liked by those whom they meet casually and on a regular basis.

Phyllis 85 and George 90

My mother and father were very fortunate to have visited over 40 countries and enjoy wonderful memories of travel and meeting people all around the world. They have spent most of the last 28 winters in Florida and until last year my dad was still busy golfing and bowling and not long before that playing tennis. They both continue to attend courses, play bridge and enjoy many regular social activities. My dad is proud of his membership in the CSL Men’s Club, the camaraderie of his many friends, and his regular spot up at the microphone during question period.
Not too many get to celebrate such milestone birthdays in pretty good health surrounded by so many members of their family, close friends and good neighbours. My parents are a very loving and lucky couple to enjoy such richness and happiness. Please join me in wishing these two extra special people very happy, and healthy birthdays! To 120!!

vCOP grows to 92 on its 11th birthday

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Canada Day not only marks 150 years of Canada but also the 11th birthday of our city’s beloved volunteer Citizens on Patrol group. To mark the occasion the volunteer group that I began and continue to lead held its pre-summer BBQ last Tuesday evening at Trudeau Park.

City Councillors Ruth Kovac, Allan J. Levine and Sam Goldbloom joined me and Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, City Manager Nadia Di Furia, Public Works Director Bebe Newman and of course Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson and Manager Philip Chateauvert to thank the volunteers for their efforts and dedication.

Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen and Supervisor Mitchell Herf inaugurate the newest vCOP electric scooters

When I started this group I envisioned one day having 120 volunteers to ensure round the clock voluntary shift coverage. As we get closer to the 100 mark we see the highly marked vCOP vans patrolling at all times of day and night. With summer here, the electric scooter patrol is also out on the road and in our parks.

vCOP 10 year pins were presented to Jacques Berkowitz, Murray Brookman, Harvey Cherow, Martin Labow, Phil Lackman, Phil Mayman and Harvey B. Schwartz (Photo Sayed Sadir)

“I know that volunteering for vCOP makes you happy,” said Mayor Mitchell Brownstein. “It also makes our residents very happy, as you’re keeping a watchful eye on our streets, our homes, our parks and our kids, parents and grandparents. Thank you so much,” the mayor said.

Long service pins were handed out to those reaching five and ten years of service. Special mention goes out to Susie and Harvey C. Schwartz of Cavendish Boulevard and Allan Greenberg of Freud Avenue who signed up 10 years ago to the day, after they heard me promoting the fledgling group on CJAD.

Supervisor Susie Schwartz with husband/patroller Harvey

Special thanks to Susie Schwartz, Elaine Meunier, Philip Chateauvert, Phil Mayman, Marty Labow and Allan Bramson for organizing, setting up, cooking, schlepping and cleaning up. Well done folks! Thanks as well to Mark at Maxie’s in the Cavendish Mall for donating the fruit platter.

Most of all thank you to our loyal and eagle-eyed troupes who make themselves available throughout the day and night, at special events and at emergencies. You folks are tremendous and make our city so special.

vCOP 5 year pins were presented to Eric Goldapple, Helen Gwiazda, Issie Karpman, Roz Kastner, Peter Kurti and Robert Lefcort (Photo Sayed Sadir)

vCOP offers Vacation Spot Checks of your home while you’re away on summer vacation. Sign up here. To find out more about joining vCOP please visit our website.

Federation CJA’s Mission to Montreal was a fun, filling, sell-out success

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Thanks to Federation CJA for a great tour around Old Jewish Montreal on the recent Around the Bagel tour. What an enthusiastic turnout for the #MissionToMontreal where participants explored the Jewish history and culture of our beloved city along with the Museum of Jewish Montreal and The Segal Centre for Performing Arts!

Federation CJA is celebrating 100 years of building community.

La #MissionToMontreal a connu un véritable succès en permettant, à un grand nombre de participants, d’explorer l’histoire et la culture juives de notre merveilleuse ville avec @Musee du Montreal juif et @segal centre. La Fédération CJA est fière de célébrer 100 ans au cœur de la communauté. Et notre histoire ne fait que commencer.

Thanks to co-chairs Samantha Mintz and Warren Werbitt. This was a unique, fun way to spend the afternoon with old friends and meet new people too. And, oy, the nosh from Cheskie’s was awesome!!

Our mayor is a great actor, but I’m the acting mayor!

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Councillor Glenn J. Nashen and Mayor Mitchell Brownstein at the June 12, 2017 Council meeting

I’m always honoured, and somewhat excited, when my turn comes up in the council rotation to serve as Acting Mayor. This week a resolution was adopted that read:

“Be it resolved that Councillor Glenn J. Nashen is and shall be named Acting Mayor of the City of Côte Saint-Luc, effective July 1, 2017 up to and until September 30, 2017 inclusively, and further that the aforementioned Councillor Nashen shall have and may exercise the powers of the Mayor when the said Mayor is absent or unable to perform the duties of his office.”

Last time I served in this capacity our mayor, Anthony Housefather was elected to Parliament and I suddenly found myself serving as the actual Mayor of the City for two months (November and December 2015). This time around, while I may be the acting mayor I can assure you that our current mayor, Mitchell Brownstein, is the real actor.

Founder and executive producer of the CSL Dramatic Society, Brownstein has performed in nearly every production and is currently starring in the Little Shop of Horrors, on stage now in the CSL Harold Greenspon Auditorium (through June 25).

It’s a privilege to serve my community and to always be ready, just in case.

New bike path and EV charging station coming to City Hall parking lot

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The reconstruction of the of the Cote Saint-Luc City Hall parking lot will soon be underway with a new layout to improve vehicular access and visibility while improving pedestrian safety.

The project includes the reconstruction of the sidewalks, the curbs, the asphalt roadway and parking area, as well as the replacement of the lighting and security cameras.

The main improvements include:

– A new drop-off area at the main rear entrance,
– An elevated section of the roadway and pedestrian crosswalks at the intersection of the
main roadway from Cavendish and the delivery ramp for City Hall,
– A new sidewalk on the south side of City Hall, from Cavendish to the main rear entrance,
– A new central sidewalk median for pedestrians in the main section of the parking lot,
– A new bike path from Cavendish to Sir Walter Scott,
– A double charging station for electric vehicles,
– The addition of approximately 23 parking spaces, (143 spaces compared to the current 120 spaces),
– Replacement of the street lighting and cameras for improved safety.

The work is scheduled to start in July and be completed by mid-October 2017.

Public tenders were opened by the Purchasing Department on June 7, 2017. Six tenders were received ranging in price from $1,941,716.78 to $2,322,010.66 all taxes included. The lowest tender was received from Groupe TNT Inc. is conforming to the tender documents for a total of $1,941,716.78 taxes included.

A previous purchase order was issued for electric vehicle charging stations at the Aquatic and Community Centre and at City Hall. The City Hall EV double charging station will be installed during the reconstruction.

 

New site now in the plans for new synagogue

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A register for a rezoning bylaw to enable a new synagogue to be created on Mackle Road by the Fondation Sepharade Kollel Avrechim was held on Thursday, June 15 at City Hall. 23 people signed the register. Only 17 were required to sign in order to call for a referendum.

The register was called for, under provincial law governing rezoning, after 33 out of 56 eligible residents signed a petition to demand the register a month earlier.

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said if enough people sign the register, there will be no need for a referendum and, as a result, another location will have to be found for the synagogue.

The city wishes to help its residents and support its institutions. Given the results we will help the congregation to find a new location.

As the Councillor for the area (District 6) I believe it is important to keep our residents united and supportive of one another. I am confident that a better solution can be found to meet everyone’s needs.

Mayor Brownstein said he met with the residents and Rabbi Benoliol after the register closed and assured everyone that we shall work together as a community to find the congregation a more suitable place for them in our City.  The mayor said we are moving quickly to find solutions and all parties are pleased with our proactive approach and that he expects to be able to announce an excellent alternative shortly.  We are a beautiful, proud community that shall always find solutions to accommodate each other through consensus building, he said.

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