Note to London school board, it’s time to honour our own


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The London-based school board has quietly made it known the expanded Edward Street Public School is about to christened June Rose Callwood Public School.

It’s certainly not a name singularly associated with this city. Not to downplay the contributions of the popular journalist, author and social activist, but is this the wish of the existing school community, or is the name change driven by the incoming population from Balaclava and Scott Street public schools?

Edward Street was chosen to accommodate these students because of the size of its playground and proximity to the two closing schools.

It is undergoing about $6 million in renovations that will see a new library, gymnasium, classrooms and improvements to the playground.

The T-J’s Nick Lypaczewski is currently talking to Edward Street parents who have raised concerns about the new name and the process undertaken to hang this shingle on the school in its new incarnation.

We won’t steal Nick’s thunder, but you have to ask why the need to scrap the name in the first place? It has stood the school in good fashion and certainly has greater significance to the community than June Rose Callwood.

London-based school board spokesman Richard Hoffman told the T-J, “Anytime a school community is sort of merged or, you know, two school communities come together like is happening with Edward Street, there’s a naming committee that’s created and it’s a published policy that we have on the books.”

That may be true, but it certainly didn’t result in name changes at Forest Park Public School when it absorbed students from Mary Bucke Public School and the Early Childhood Education Centre.

Ditto for the rebuilt Locke’s Public School.

In any event, did the committee include the following individuals on the short list under consideration?

Lance-Cpl. Ellis Wellwood Sifton from West Elgin, awarded a Victoria Cross and a bona fide Canadian hero.

Dr. Dorothea Crittendon, who moved with her parents to St. Thomas in 1924. She was the first woman chairman of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, appointed in 1978.

Edra Sanders Ferguson, who was the first woman to practise law in St. Thomas, the first woman in the city’s history elected alderman and the first woman to run for mayor.

If these individuals were not considered by the naming committee and the London-based school board, then it is a shameful oversight and an explanation is in order as to why preference was given to someone with no apparent connection to St. Thomas/Elgin.

If this is the best you can do, don’t meddle with the status quo.

TRASH REVISITED

Exactly three years ago, we spun a tale of trash, trains and Talbotville.

It was a speculative exercise in which City Scope wondered what if a savvy businessman — with a keen knowledge of waste collection, recycling and materials recovery — purchased a 700-acre plot of farmland on the east side of Sunset Road south of Talbotville, with a plan to haul Toronto’s garbage by rail to a transload facility to be built on said property?

Returning to that scenario for an update, what if this individual were to expand on this undertaking, ditch the transload facility and instead purchase the up-for-grabs Ford assembly plant on the market for $23 million?

Now you could run Toronto’s trash up the rails from Talbotville and haul the water-tight rail cars owned by First Waste Transload Inc., right into the massive structure.

Especially if the birthplace of hundreds of thousands of Crown Vics now housed state-of-the-art waste incineration technology.

It’s entirely feasible you know.

ON TRACK OR UNDERPERFORMING? 
Last week in this corner we posed the question — What impact have ill-conceived administrative strategies at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital had on fundraising activities undertaken by the hospital foundation?

We understand there has been no backlash from hospital donors to CEO Paul Collins’ retire/rehire shuffle of last summer.

However, we also have been advised when STEGH hired Allan Weatherall as director of development in October, 2005, he indicated to the board of directors the hospital fundraising was underperforming and should generate between $3 and $4 million per year.

Today the hospital foundation struggles to clear the $1.2 million mark.

So, you have to ask, does the hospital continue to underperform in its fundraising efforts because the community has lost faith in the administration and board of directors?

City Scope would love your feedback, participate in the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital Foundation poll below.

If you donate to the STEGH Foundation will you . . .

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“If Ontario’s public health units really want to help, why don’t they direct the millions they spend on mystery shopping, on training and education instead?”

Dave Bryans, president of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association, in a letter this week to the Times-Journal on the practice of recruiting young people under the age of 19 to attempt to purchase tobacco products in variety stores.

City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to: mccallum@stthomastimesjournal.com.

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5 thoughts on “Note to London school board, it’s time to honour our own

  1. June Callwood is a well-known heroine around Toronto. Her name is attached to many progressive institutions around here. I have never heard of her referred to as “June ROSE Callwood”, nor is the middle name recorded in any past and present documents. Is it the same person? What is her connection with London?

  2. Ken: It’s the same person and forget about a London connection. What’s her tie to St. Thomas/Elgin?

    Ian

  3. Don’t have a clue. Maybe she visited Alma College way back in the day…

  4. I’m not up on the latest new on this, but what is happening with all of the schools that are now going to be empty? Myrtle, Elm, Balaclava, Scott Wellington…These are huge historic Buildings….are they just being torn down?

  5. A fella was walking around our neighborhood this past Monday (Woodworth and Edward area), seeking signatures on a petition to keep the name “Edward St. School”. I signed the petition, and wished him luck.

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