My debut at the CSL Golf Classic

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Quite the foursome: Sam Goldbloom, George and Glenn J. Nashen and Mike Cohen

Quite the foursome: Sam Goldbloom, George and Glenn J. Nashen and Mike Cohen

What a great day to become a golfer! A record 104 people teed off at the 36th annual Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic this morning at the Meadowbrook Golf Course. Not only was it my first time out for a game of golf  but it was also my first time at Meadowbrook, which I have advocated to preserve for more than 25 years. And best of all, I was joined by my dad to coach me along.
The format of play was called “Scramble” which helps speed up the game as players decide which golfer hits the best shot off the tee and then all players from that foursome play their next shot from that point. Play continues from hole to hole in the same fashion for the rest of the outing.
George Nashen giving tips on swinging and posture

George Nashen giving tips on swinging and posture

With tips and advice that even Tiger Woods would have benefited from, my 92-year-old father and veteran golfer, George Nashen, quickly upped my game from rank amateur to rookie superstar.
Unbelievably, I had the longest drive on four of nine holes compared to my friendly foursome including event co-chairs Mike Cohen and Sam Goldbloom along with my fatherly coach. I attribute my rookie success to decades of practice at mini-golf and playing Wii Sports with my kids. Or perhaps it was just beginners luck. In any case it was great fun.
Mike Cohen keeps his eye on the ball

Mike Cohen keeps his eye on the ball

What’s more, I was completely awestruck at the sheer beauty and grandeur of Meadowbrook. Finally, standing among century old trees, seeing the sprawling expanse of the fairways and amused by the three groundhogs that plowed their way across the course I was proud to have, at long last, validated my position in advocating the preservation of this priceless gift of nature in the heart of our city. It must stay green forever!
Meadowbrook is nothing short of an oasis that must remain green in perpetuity

Meadowbrook is nothing short of an oasis that must remain green in perpetuity

The golf outing was followed by an awards banquet honouring long-time volunteer Ron Yarin at the Aquatic and Community Centre.
Sam Eltes, president of Silver Star Mercedes-Benz, sponsored a hole-in-one contest. If someone achieved this feat they would have driven away in a brand new Mercedes-Benz. While my hopes were high, I fell embarrassingly short of the prize and will practice on my Wii for next time.
Not even a veteran golfer like George Nashen was able to snatch the top prize Mercedez... this year.

Not even a veteran golfer like George Nashen was able to snatch the top prize Mercedez… this year.

Many thanks go to the title sponsor, Freemark Apparel Brands and its Bench brand. Mark Routtenberg, president of Freemark  and former co-owner of the Montreal Expos, served as honourary chairperson for this year’s event. Routtenberg, who raised his family in Côte Saint-Luc, was the guest speaker at the luncheon and spoke about the Expos and the possibilities surrounding the return of baseball to Montreal.
“Montreal can definitely support Major League Baseball,” Routtenberg said at the banquet. “We have the taste for it.”
Honouree Ron Yarin was, and is, a huge baseball fan and those paying tribute referred to his life-long passion for the sport.
Ron Yarin was presented with a birthday cake sculpted as  Ebbets Field in NY

Ron Yarin was presented with a birthday cake sculpted as Ebbets Field in NY

Marty Labow, Yarin’s friend for 37 years called him (in Yiddish)” A Gute Neshoma,” literally,  A Good Soul. Both are also members of Cote Saint-Luc volunteer Citizens on Patrol. “We’d patrol from six in the morning till nine, then golf until noon,” Labow said. “When we didn’t feel like patrolling at six, we’d golf early in the morning and patrol afterwards.”
vCOP and volunteer superstar Ron Yarin

vCOP and volunteer superstar Ron Yarin

Harold Cammy is a longtime friend. “I looked up the definition of a ‘Mensch’ last week and I saw two words: Ron Yarin.”
Mayor Anthony Housefather said of Yarin, “He encompasses what Cote Saint-Luc is all about. Volunteerism, compassion, kindness and civic duty.”
Communications Director Darryl Levine produced a collage of photos and video in tribute to Yarin. “I was moved to tears,” said Councillor Mitchell Brownstein.
Speaking about the possibilities of Major League Baseball returning to Montreal, legendary sportscaster Dick Irvin asked Routtenberg, “Do we need a new stadium or can we get by with the old one?”
Routtenberg responded, “If they fix up the stadium and replace the roof it can work. It’s not the ideal site but in today’s economy we can save $400,000 this way.”
Rabbi Sidney Shoham attended to pay tribute to his old friend Yarin as well. “When the Beth Zion was just built in 1956 we played baseball in Westminster park, just in front of the shul,” the rabbi recounted. “Our team was named Westminster Homes.”
Beth Zion "Old-Timers" George Nashen and Rabbi Sydney Shoham

Beth Zion “Old-Timers” George Nashen and Rabbi Sydney Shoham

Other local personalities participating in the annual outing and luncheon included Police Commander Marc Cournoyer and his predecessor at Station 9, Sylvain Bissonnette. Even Montreal Police Mascot Flick was out on the links, with police escort by Sargent Bryan Cunningham. Jazz great and Cote Saint-Lucer Oliver Jones was there as was Mayor Anthony Housefather and the City Council.
Police mascot Flick with his trusty sidekick Sargent Bryan Cunningham conduct a golfers ID check on George and Glenn J. Nashen

Police mascot Flick with his trusty sidekick Sargent Bryan Cunningham conduct a golfers ID check on George and Glenn J. Nashen

I thank my good friend Mike Cohen for being persistent in inviting me out to golf course for the last ten years. His nudging finally paid off. Thanks to his co-chair, my friend and old neighbour on Cork Avenue, Sam Goldbloom as well. The two, along with Recreation stalwarts Harold Cammy, Alvin Fishman and the energetic staff and volunteers of the entire department put on a great event. I’m already looking forward to my next game, next year!
CSL Golf Classic co-chairs Mike Cohen and Sam Goldbloom relaxing after a brutal 9 holes!

CSL Golf Classic co-chairs Mike Cohen and Sam Goldbloom relaxing after a brutal 9 holes!

Three cities thank Commander Bissonnette

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The mayors and many councillors of the cities of Cote Saint-Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West held a small reception to honour and thank outgoing Police Commander Sylvain Bissonnette. Bissonnette wrapped up his duties at Neighbourhood Station 9 last week and moved over to head up Station 8 in Lachine.

CSL Council thanks Commander Sylvain Bissonnette for his outstanding service

CSL Council thanks Commander Sylvain Bissonnette for his outstanding service

Mayor Anthony Housefather thanked Bissonnette for his exemplary service saying he will leave big shoes to fill.

As councillor responsible for public safety, I met and spoke to Commander Bissonnette quite often. He showed great understanding and sensitivity to not only the Jewish community but the greater community, its multicultural characteristics, and to our seniors.

His co-operation with city officials was exemplary. I’ve worked with many station commanders, and I’m saddened to lose him. He’s an outstanding leader.

Bissonnette’s encouragement and assistance in the launching of the volunteer Citizens’ on Patrol about six years ago was fantastic. Bissonnette recognized that vCOP is an asset, not a hindrance, to the work of the police. He was a partner in this project from day one, helping with the planning and training. It’s in great part due to his vision and willingness that Cote Saint-Luc has the lowest crime rate in the Montreal agglomeration.

More:

Cllr. Mike Cohen’s blog

Montreal community pays tribute to good cop

Jewish community bids adieu to Commander Bissonnette

PDQ9 Commander Bissonnette moving to Lachine

Commander Sylvain Bissonnette knighted by Order of St. John

Montreal community pays tribute to good cop

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Janice Arnold, Staff Reporter, Canadian Jewish News, Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Outgoing Station 9 commander Sylvain Bissonnette, centre, is toasted by Moshe Ben-Shach, left, and Rabbi Reuben Poupko

Outgoing Station 9 commander Sylvain Bissonnette, centre, is toasted by Moshe Ben-Shach, left, and Rabbi Reuben Poupko (Photo: CJN)

The Jewish community bade a fond farewell to a police officer it considers a good friend: Sylvain Bissonnette, who was commander of Station 9 serving Côte St. Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West for nearly seven years.

A reception was held Aug. 27 for the well-regarded Bissonnette at Federation CJA just before he left the post to take up his new command of Station 8 in Lachine this month.

The federation’s chief operations officer, Moshe Ben-Shach, spoke warmly of, not only Bissonnette’s close co-operation with the Jewish community, but of his interest in and efforts to understand it.

Ben-Shach recalled that the first time they met was soon after Bissonnette came to Station 9. The federation’s annual March to Jerusalem was departing from Cavendish Mall, and members of the anti-Zionist haredi sect, Neturei Karta, were holding a demonstration.

Bissonnette wanted to make sense of Jews protesting against Israel. “We talked for about four hours about the different facets of the Jewish community,” recalled Ben-Shach, who was impressed by Bissonnette’s quick grasp of the complexities.

From then on, the two worked closely together on many files – some public, some not – including the incidents of synagogue vandalism in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

“You were always available to listen and support, and you instilled that in your team,” Ben-Shach said.

Bissonnette was a familiar figure at community events, such as the annual Yom Hashoah commemoration.

Ben-Shach described two important projects the federation completed with the help of Bissonnette over the past year. One is an emergency-preparedness plan developed in conjunction with Station 9 and Côte St. Luc’s public security department.

“We hope it will never be tested, but it’s comforting to have it in place,” he said.

The other is conducting drills in schools to prepare students and staff for what to do if there is a gun shooting.

“This will go a tremendous way in making our community safer,” Ben-Shach said.

“He was always there to offer security and reassurance when something was happening, whether at holidays or sad events, like vandalism,” said Rabbi Reuben Poupko, spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel Beth Aaron in Côte St. Luc.

“He was always thoughtful and considerate.”

In a jocular mode, typical of the easy relationship between the two, Rabbi Poupko added, referring to the PQ government’s proposed values charter and its possible ban on displays of religion by public servants: “You’re getting out just before you have to arrest someone for wearing a kippah.”

Bissonnette, a 24-year veteran, was visibly touched by the tribute. He thanked the federation for its constant collaboration.

He said he came to Station 9 with the belief that the police should serve all of the population and that it’s important to form partnerships with local political and communal institutions.

“I knew the Jewish community was important. I wanted to know your needs, your ways, your history, your roots, your traditions,” he said.

“I wanted to do everything in order that history not repeat itself. That was my mission, and I made sure my officers understood it.”

As a history buff, he was already knowledgeable about the Middle East and conscious of the risk of a local reverberation when an incident happened there.

“It’s important to be pro-active,” he said.

As a token of appreciation, the federation has planted five trees in Bissonnette’s name in Israel.

Indeed, the Jewish National Fund is an organization he is well aware of: its office is in the same building as Station 9.

The Côte St. Luc city councillor responsible for public security, Glenn Nashen, told The CJN that Bissonnette “showed great understanding and sensitivity to not only the Jewish community but the greater community, its multicultural and aging [characteristics].”

His co-operation with city officials was exemplary, he said.

“I’ve worked with five station commanders, and I’m saddened to lose him,” Nashen said. “He’s an outstanding leader.”

One project that stands out for him is Bissonnette’s encouragement and assistance in the launching of a volunteer citizens’ patrol about six years ago.

Made up mainly of retirees, the patrol is the only one of its kind in Quebec, he said. Bissonnette recognized the vCOPS (volunteer Citizens on Patrol) as an asset, not a hindrance, to the work of the police.

“He was a partner in this project from day one, helping with the planning and training. It’s in great part due to his vision and willingness that Côte St. Luc has the lowest crime rate in the Montreal agglomeration,” Nashen said.

– See more at: http://www.cjnews.com/?q=node/113784#sthash.ukcsiCIZ.dpuf

New police commander for Cote Saint-Luc, Hampstead, Montreal West

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We have said adieu to veteran commander Sylvain Bissonnette who has vacated his Cote Saint-Luc office in Neighbourhood Station 9 to make room for incoming commander Marc Cournoyer. The change in command took place last week.

Meeting our new police commander, Marc Cournoyer

Meeting our new police commander, Marc Cournoyer

Cournoyer, a 25 year veteran of the force has held positions in many parts of the Montreal territory, including  Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Park Extension, and Pointe Claire.  He began his police service out of the station in Westmount.

His work included assignments on the morality squad and working with women suffering from domestic violence.

The new commander looks forward to working in partnership with the Public Security departments in the three cities as well as with the volunteers of CSL EMS and vCOP.

The first days of Commander Cournoyer’s introduction were far from ordinary with a stabbing incident on Kingsley Road, a rare occurrence in this city.

As he entered City Hall for his first formal meeting with Mayors Housefather, Steinberg and Masella, City Managers and myself earlier this week, the commander was stopped by a lovely older lady with a walker and was complimented on his suit. “You’re fine looking gentlemen,” the woman said. “Are you all from the same group?” she quizzed to the current and former commanders along with a regional chief. I interjected that they were police officers, which she politely brushed off. “Such handsome men, are you undertakers?” she joked.  The commander pulled back his jacket to reveal a shiny police badge and a service revolver. “Oh my,” she said, her eyes wide in astonishment. “I better let you get on with your business,” as she shuffled off.

This began the next step in Cournoyer’s career. The unknown and unpredictable nature of policing in Cote Saint-Luc.

I look forward to working closely with the commander in ensuring Cote saint-Luc’s position as the safest community in the region.

Felicitations Commandant Cournoyer. We wish you a long and successful career in our city.

Jewish community bids adieu to Commander Bissonnette

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Rabbi Reuben Poupko and Moshe Ben shach present a plaque to Commander Sylvain Bissonnette

Rabbi Reuben Poupko and Moshe Ben Shach present a plaque to Commander Sylvain Bissonnette

Federation CJA held a small reception on Tuesday evening in honour of Police Station 9 outgoing commander, Sylvain Bissonnette.

Montreal Jewish Community Security Coordinating Group chairman Rabbi Reuben Poupko was joined by Federation CJA Operations Chief Moshe Ben Shach and Community Security Director Adam Cohen along with local police commanders and community members involved in security.

Poupko and Ben Shach noted that Bissonnette was an exceptional police representative who made enormous efforts in getting to know the Jewish community well. They credited him with providing excellent police services particularly during tense times in the Middle East and when an outbreak of stone throwing had been perpetrated against Jewish institutions here in the West End of Montreal.

In his remarks, Bissonnette said that when he took on the role of commanding the police force in Cote Saint-Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West he wanted to understand more than the residents.  He wanted to understand their parents, grandparents, their culture and their history. Bissonnette himself is a historian and his academic training served him well in his role as commanding officer in a territory that is rich in Jewish and multicultural communities.  The three cities are officially bilingual, with a strong sense of attachment and involvement, he noted.

This marks Commander Bissonnette’s last week in charge of PDQ9 before heading over to take up command in Lachine.

In the words of the commander, we don’t say good-bye to our friends, we just see them less often.

Bon voyage et bonne chance monsieur le commandant.

Letter: No one should blame police for the unfortunate death of man at centre of standoff

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THE GAZETTE AUGUST 20, 2013

Re: “Côte-St-Luc man, 71, arrested in standoff dies” (Gazette, Aug. 20)

It is very unfortunate that Isidore Havis, the man at the centre of the Côte-St-Luc standoff, has passed away, but the police should not be chastised or held accountable for the unfortunate ending.

The authorities did everything in their power and under the circumstances to try get the man to surrender peacefully and without harm, all to no avail. Such a standoff should have taken no more than a few hours to be resolved, yet they waited patiently for nearly 20 hours.

The police may not be perfect, yet every day they put themselves in harm’s way to protect honest, law-abiding citizens and suffer casualties to themselves and their property. They, too, are human and should be given more credit than condemnation. They tried their best to resolve the standoff in order to avert loss of life.

Daniel Evans

Pierrefonds

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

In my opinion:

As I wrote on my blog a few weeks ago I believe the police did a superb job in this case, acting with calm, cool professionalism seeking to bring about a peaceful resolution. They were focused on public safety, on securing the neighbourhood, on ensuring the well-being of those in the immediate vicinity – police officers and residents alike – and presumably on the safety of the suspect as well.

I am well aware that our local PDQ9 Commander Bissonnette was on scene throughout the incident and his concern for the community is of primary importance.

Thank you to the Montreal and Quebec Provincial Police departments for their work and to their officers for putting themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe.

Please see my letter to the Montreal Gazette concerning the need for gun control.  I received many hateful and despicable responses to my letter from those who supposedly and erroneously proclaim a right to bear arms, presumably to defend the right to speak freely which they would seek to deny me. Fortunately, all of the feedback from Cote Saint-Lucers was most positive and supportive.

It is very unfortunate that Mr, Havis has died.  I extend my condolences to his family.

PDQ9 Commander Bissonnette moving to Lachine

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Commander Sylvain Bissonnette

Commander Sylvain Bissonnette

The Montreal Police Department has announced that Station 9 Commander Sylvain Bissonnette will be leaving the Cote Saint-Luc – Hampstead – Montreal West Neighbourhood Station and will be taking command of the station in Lachine.

Commander Bissonnette has been an outstanding leader and invaluable resource to the City of Cote Saint-Luc. During his six years as local commander he made exceptional efforts to become part of the fabric of our city. I am personally appreciative of the support Commander Bissonnette has shown in my capacity as chair of the Public Safety, Transportation and Emergency Preparedness committees.

In particular, the commander has been completely supportive of our local Emergency Medical Services volunteers and Public Security agents. Moreover, he went above and beyond in his support of our volunteer Citizens on Patrol team, creating an annual police award for vCOP, coming out on evenings to help train our volunteers in surveillance and public safety strategies as well as on the history of policing, and in integrating the vCOP initiative into his vision of public protection among his local officers and across our city.

L-R: Former Public Security Chief Michel Martel, vCOP Supervisors Mitchell Herf and Susie Schwartz, Commander Sylvain Bissonnette, Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, vCOP Senior Supervisor Lewis Cohen

L-R: Former Public Security Chief Michel Martel, vCOP Supervisors Mitchell Herf and Susie Schwartz, Commander Sylvain Bissonnette, Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, vCOP Senior Supervisor Lewis Cohen. Commander Bissonnette launches the annual police award to a member of vCOP.

Sylvain Bissonnette joined the Montreal Police Department (Service de police de la Ville de Montréal -SPVM) in 1989. An extremely varied career has led him to his current position as commander at Poste de quartier (Neighbourhood Police Station) 9 (PDQ 9).

Glenn J. Nashen with Police Commander Sylvain Bissonnette

Glenn J. Nashen with Police Commander Sylvain Bissonnette

After working as a factionnaire in Parc-Extension-Villeray and downtown Montréal, he became an agent de formation. Promoted to the position of sergeant in 1994, he was assigned to Outremont-Mile End. In 2000, he was transferred to the Section du traitement des appels, where he was responsible for call reconfiguration and data connections with the Section système administratif de la gestion des alarmes.

When he was promoted to the rank of commander on January 19, 2003, SPVM management entrusted him with PDQ 4 (Dollard-Des Ormeaux, Roxboro). Later he was transferred to the Division de la qualité des services, where he directed police operations over the entire territory and eventually took on responsibility for the Unité canine and Section cavalerie.

Mr. Bissonnette earned a bachelor’s degree in history at McGill University, as well as a master’s in history and a certificate in police management and security at the Université de Montréal. He wrote a book and participated in numerous documentaries on the history of the police, and is one of the co-founders of the police museum. He uses history to create bonds between the community and the police.

CSL Public Security Chief Michel Martel, Montreal Police Assistant Commander West Division Pierre Brochet, Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, Neighbourhood Police Station 9 Commander Sylvain Bissonnette

Former CSL Public Security Chief Michel Martel, Former Montreal Police Assistant Commander West Division Pierre Brochet, Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, Neighbourhood Police Station 9 Commander Sylvain Bissonnette

Commander Bissonnette has worked very hard to bring his station and police officers close to the residents of Cote Saint-Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West.   He and his brass attend regular council meetings of all three cities, participate on various committees, offer expert advice in safety and security matters and are always at public events.

We will surely miss Commander Bissonnette, a true friend of Cote Saint-Luc, and congratulate him on this promotion.

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