Saturday, June 28, 2014

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak - Denninger’s - A Hamilton Diamond’s Anniversary (Part 2)

Chef Lynn Crawford signing at Denninger's 60th Anniversary
Denninger’s - A Hamilton Diamond’s Anniversary (Part 2)

My last column, about the Denninger’s Foods of the World 60th anniversary, veered a bit to the nostalgic. However, given the enthusiastic comments I heard, it apparently struck a chord with readers who are truly fond of the institution.

I mentioned I was looking forward to meeting Chef Lynn Crawford at the re-launch of the venerable King Street Store as she demonstrated how to grill some special cuts of meat, and that it promised to be a grand, and likely popular, occasion.

Well I was right on one front. It was busy as all get out: I didn’t get to interview Chef (who had many contractual obligations to fulfill) or even to see her cook. (Immodestly, I think my own Tomahawk steak, cooked earlier in the week, was perhaps every bit as good as hers.)

Arriving shortly after 10 a.m. the newly-finished patio was already hopping. There was also a goodly and excited crowd inside the store; Chef was sequestered with her assistant checking emails; Denninger’s Co-owner Martin Frank was trying to juggle parking and site access issues; flocks of PR folk were attending to last minute details. The stress was palpable. And just as I was about to try to introduce myself to her, it was ShowTime.

Chef Lynn has an innately warm and engaging public persona much appreciated by the crowd, which included Mayor Bob Bratina and various Denninger’s staff and family members. The warm and uncomplicated Sunni Genesco of K-Lite and CHCH (which in a symmetrical twist is also celebrating 60 years in Canadian TV Broadcasting this year) conducted a Q&A which was followed by Chef interacting with her fans and signing cook books.

In my earlier interview with Frank he had told me about Crawford coming aboard to help market the company’s products. “Part of the deal is she likes to come survey the facilities… it was amazing the response we received from her. She was so excited… almost to the point of jumping up and down – she got right behind the counter and tried everything from our schnitzels to our Oktoberfest (sausage).”

During the interaction with Genesco, Crawford said she felt “part of the Denninger’s family,” noting “there are people here who like food more than I do.” Frank had told me Chef was very partial to Denninger’s whistle dogs, a bacon-wrapped sausage. Crawford confirmed that during the Meat n’ Greet, joking she had eaten 16½ when she came to familiarise herself with the store!

In between taking selfies with, and dispensing hugs to, audience members, she organized an impromptu Whistle Dog eating contest: two hardy souls battled it out for a copy of her most-recent cookbook, published last fall (At Home with Lynn Crawford: 200 of My Favourite Easy Recipes).

Meanwhile, inside the store and on the patio, the crowd was busy shopping and visiting with the various suppliers who were on hand to provide samples of their wares. It was delightful to taste the almost creamy Ferrarini prosciutto, hot sauce from Uncle Nathan, Thornbury Cider, Liberté Yoghurt, Ritter Sport Chocolates, and Hewitt’s Dairy ice cream (love the coconut!), those being but a few of the goodies one could try. And that’s not including the slew of Denninger’s in house specialities, including – here’s my nostalgia re-surfacing – Polish Paczki spiked with plum butter, just like at my father’s store, aka Euro-donuts in the store’s vernacular.

One product stood out for me, and not just because I regularly stock it in my pantry, or the pitchman’s distinctive cowboy hat. Doug Renfro came all the way from Fort Worth in Texas, bearing salsas and other products based on or inspired by his Grandmother’s recipes. Mrs. Renfro’s Gourmet Salsas has a few years on Denningers: founded 74 years ago, Doug said when they heard Denninger’s was celebrating, the Renfro family wanted to support them by celebrating with them. “It was a no-brainer,” he added.

About 15 years ago, Denninger’s was the first retailer in Eastern Canada to give Renfro’s a shot. Now Renfro’s is the “biggest of the little guys” and to my palate make uncompromisingly great and tasty products, including a ghost pepper salsa I have yet to try. Still family-owned, they rank among the top ten of the ~500 Salsa brands in the U.S., and were recently named one of seven finalists across America for the 2014 DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Go get ‘em cowboy!

Of his trip to Hamilton, Renfro said “I had a great time & it was obviously a momentous occasion for the family.” I think we can look forward to other milestones for Denninger’s: there’s is an expansion agenda, though the company is coy on potential locations and timelines.

And Chef Lynn is slated to be back to cook hams at Christmas. Perhaps I’ll get to meet her then…

To see more pictures, click here.

To see all past columns please see (and “like”) the Food for Thought Archives

Alex (Alex can be reached at fft@thehamiltonian.info ) or on twitter @AlexBielak

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Media Release- Flamborough Ward 15 Councillor Registers for Municipal Election

Councillor Judi Partridge
Flamborough Ward 15
City of Hamilton

Flamborough Ward 15 Councillor Registers for Municipal Election

Hamilton June 26, 2014: City Councillor Judi Partridge today registered her candidacy for re-election in the upcoming October 27 municipal election. As a well-known advocate for her Flamborough community, Partridge is committed to serve the residents of Ward 15 Flamborough in Waterdown, Carlisle, Millgrove, Freelton and part of Greensville for her second term of council.

Locally, Partridge has acquired a reputation as the “go to” person who “gets things done”. She emphasizes that the community spirit of her residents gives her the strength to work hard on their behalf.

“Together we have accomplished a great deal in the last three years,” said Partridge. “From removing the

Tweet of the Moment- on Russ Powers bowing out of Hamilton Municipal politics

Sorry to hear bowing out of politics. He has contributed a lot.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

In Memory and in Honour of Ann Bruce

Ann Bruce
It is with great sadness and sense of loss that we report the death of Ann Bruce. You may recall that Ann wrote a legal column for The Hamiltonian. Her last work that we published can be found by clicking here.

Sadly, Ann lost her battle with cancer. Ann was known for the passion she brought to her work and her commitment to justice.

Rest in peace Ann.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Meet Ward 9 Contender- Marie Robbins

Can you tell us why you chose to run in this election? What do you hope to accomplish?

Stoney Creek has been my home since birth. I grew up here, had my first job as an elementary teacher, operated a successful business, and raised a family in this community. In addition, I have deep roots in Stoney Creek as a volunteer, and with these experiences, I now want to have a chance to give back in an even greater way to this community which has given myself and my family so much. As councilor, that means taking action to improve quality of life by nurturing our community’s growth, promoting the city's natural and cultural heritage and by investing in necessary infrastructure and transportation requirements.

As much as anything else, being councilor is also about getting the 'little things' right on a daily basis. This means that a good councilor will always have an ear open to residents and will work with the community. When you do that right, there will be a wealth of small (but important) improvements happening constantly.

Can you briefly describe your experience, and/or what you believe you have to offer as a candidate?

For 32 years I owned and operated a successful chain of flowers shops in Stoney Creek and Hamilton; Stoney Creek and Smith McKay Florists. Throughout my career, I was constantly interacting with the

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Picture of the Moment

Shot by Hamiltonian staff- Carmela

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

DeCaire- Here to Stay

As a result of a 4-3 decision at the Police Services Board, Hamilton Police Chief Glenn DeCaire will continue to be our Chief for at least the next two years. 

The Hamiltonian applauds the board and the Chief for resolving this issue and hopes we can move beyond it and refocus all of our energies on the best interests of the city.   

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Remarkable Approach to a Remarkable Issue by M Adrian Brassington

What I’m going to propose here will be regarded by some as ludicrous, by others as insulting, and by yet another group, naïve. That’s OK; I’m a big boy. And I’m used to being dismissed because of my voice, for what I say. So as a brief precursor, I’d like to state that a) I was born in Hamilton, raised within its current environs, b) have lived in more areas of the city than most, and c) my personal history with Hamilton goes back to the mid-60s, so I have a qualified perspective. Even if I’m perceived as being a loose –if not finely aimed- cannon. !

My proposal is simple (remembering that ‘simple’ is not the same as ‘easy’): that where the issue of ‘complete streets’ is concerned, where the discussion of ‘the revitalization of downtown’ is the topic, this combined cause needs to take an distinct, if not revolutionary approach. And this approach is one where the needs of the ‘downtown area’ are addressed independently from others in the city.

Already I can hear the hue and cry of other wards. Some of the clamour comes from the respective

Friday, June 13, 2014

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak Denninger’s - A Hamilton Diamond’s Anniversary (Part 1)

Denninger’s - A Hamilton Diamond’s Anniversary (Part 1)

Sometimes the stars align. With my 60th column for the Hamiltonian, I get to honour the Diamond Anniversary of (another) Hamilton Institution: Denninger’s Foods of the World. (A recent column congratulated Tim Hortons on the fifty golden years since their first store opened in Hamilton. So we move from gold to diamonds!)

Not just that, but I get to reflect on my own roots in what is close to the 60th year of operation of the Parade Delicatessen in London, England. My parents, immigrants from post-war Poland, built that business, and I worked there most Saturdays and holidays as a lad. My parents are gone, and I’ve moved on: the Parade, a local landmark, continues to prosper.

The parallels (see even the cover picture for this column) are striking: they may explain why I get such a deep sense of satisfaction, and yes, sense of place, when I walk into a Denninger’s store. The sights and smells pull me back in time; familiar aromas of cured and smoked meats and fresh baked goods, the taste of generous

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Earl's World and the $185,727.75 Question

Integrity Commissioner Earl Basse has now been with us since 2010.  The Hamiltonian checked in with Mr. Basse to determine how much he has been paid so far, and what Hamiltonians have received for his service. So far, Mr. Basse has been paid $185,727.75 (GST/HST included)

While investigations into alleged code of conduct violations by city councillors are a core part of Mr. Basse's duties, there is more to it than that. At our request Mr. Basse prepared a summary of the types of things he has done and does. His document, unedited, can be viewed by clicking here.  Reviewing this document will give you a good sense of what we are paying for, what we are not paying for, and the nature of the work. The table below also summarizes the results of investigations:

* for a more complete understanding of the table above, please review Mr. Basse's document that has been linked to.  It is best to click on the table above, to see it in a larger form. Note: we have interpreted the category "reprimand" (see Basse's document) as a violation- reasoning that a reprimand would not be appropriate if there was no underlying violation. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Meet Cam Galindo- Contender for Ward 9

Can you tell us why you chose to run in this election? What do you hope to accomplish?

A few weeks ago, I announced my candidacy for City Council in Ward 9 because I believe that it’s time for a fresh start. After arriving in Hamilton as a refugee when I was younger, I decided to dedicate my life to public service as my way of giving back to the community. I then realized that there was only so much I could do at the ground level of community service and that if I wanted to have the positive impact that I had in mind for the community, I would have to run for political office.

I have three main priorities amongst others for the ward. First, is the expansion of HSR bus service in order to properly serve the increasing number of commuters as a result of our growing population. Doing so would not only benefit the local economy but also improve the quality of life for local residents. Second, is continuing to invest in local infrastructure to repair our roads and to address the issues of local flooding and flooded basements, especially for homeowners living below the escarpment. Third, and most important to me, is going back to the role of the “traditional councillor” because I believe in individual accountability. If

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

McHattie's results of his Mayoral Platform Survey

Click here to see a video of  Clr. McHattie's results of his Platform Survey related to Mayoral Campaign.

The Best Files- Culture Club?

The following is an article featured in The Bay Observer. It is replicated here with permission. 

Municipal Challengers: Think for Yourself

Posted by: John Best June 6, 2014

Looking at the Hamilton Municipal race at present there is a possibility of the largest number of new faces on council in memory. In addition to a new mayor, we will have new representation in Wards 1, 3 and 9 for sure. In addition there is a likelihood of a new face in Dundas if Russ Powers steps aside. There also is some potential for change in Wards 2, 10, 11 and 15. With 8 ridings in some measure of flux it is important that the candidates in these ridings consider working together. If you are running because you want change, the first thing to change is the old boy’s club around the council table. That clique is successful because they can cobble together a voting bloc. Some of them also co-opt new councillors because of their long-time relationships with staff and their ability to help newcomers “sort through the bureaucracy.” On the flip side the bloc can punish uncooperative council members by thwarting their initiatives. It was unfortunate to see the three new faces on council from the 2010 election so easily assimilated by that voting bloc. Even if only four new members (three councillors plus the mayor) are elected they have the potential to make a difference if they stick together. There are still a few members outside of the clique who can be brought onside as needed depending on the issue. As the campaign unfolds the potential newcomers should start turning their thoughts to how they will bring about needed change in what has become a deeply entrenched and corrupt political culture in Hamilton. For their part voters should question candidates closely about how they are going to implement change. New faces are only of use if they bring with them a new way of doing things.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Meet Jimmy Dean- Contender Ward 8

Can you tell us why you chose to run in this election? What do you hope to accomplish?

With changes to my work life, I’m in the position for a new career challenge. I want to bring a new and different perspective to the job. I’ve always aspired to implement change. One thing I see is the need to reduce the “red tape” and improve decision timelines.

Can you briefly describe your experience, and/or what you believe you have to offer as a candidate.

I will provide over 25 years of corporate work experience, collaborating with very diverse groups of people in implementing business processes and system changes and nearly 50 years of living life as a Hamiltonian. I’m married, with three children, my parents are retired and live in the east end of the city, my father an ex Stelco employee, my two younger sisters also live in Hamilton, my children are enrolled in the French Catholic school system and my wife’s family all live here as well, so I can relate to the issues we face living in Hamilton.

Where or how can constituents learn more about you and/or contact you?

I’m available at jimmydean.iam@gmail.com and soon through my website, http://www.votejimmydean.com/

Thank you.
Jim (Jimmy) Dean

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Problem and the Plan- Following Up with the City Manager

City Manager Chris Murray

Mr. Murray:

In December of last year, the public was made aware of the results of a staff survey conducted in the spring of that year. The survey found:

- 25.7 per cent of city employees feel they've been pressured to compromise their ethics and values 
- 50 per cent of employees feel they can report misconduct without fear of retaliation 
- almost 60 per cent are unsure or disagree that their code of conduct concerns are handled properly

Obviously, these are disturbing results. and, on the heels of these findings, you committed to resolving these issues. You also stated that you expected that council would hold you accountable.

Can you provide Hamiltonians with an update as to what is being done to confront and solve the underlying issues that served as a basis for these survey results. How will you know if these situations have been adequately resolved? Has council held you accountable and if so, what form did that take.

Thanks for the opportunity to speak about this issue and to provide you an update.

As you pointed out, early last fall an Ethics Review was completed by Internal Audit. It told us that many areas of the organization demonstrated strong adherence to ethics and corporate values, however some areas require additional focus. A Management Action Plan (MAP) was prepared by Senior Management Team in response to the review, which was approved by Council in December 2013.

The MAP sets out a five year implementation plan that was to be integrated with our work on corporate culture (more about that in a moment.) One of the key deliverables of the MAP is to ensure that all employees receive training / information on the Code of Conduct Policy and sign off on it in 2014.

Last year also saw the beginning of our work on corporate culture and the development of guiding

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Hamiltonian

As you may have heard, I have registered to run for Councillor in Ward 10. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed being the Publisher of The Hamiltonian  and am proud of the discussions, topics, guests, readers and staff that all have contributed to the success of The Hamiltonian.

I am very much looking forward to campaigning in Ward 10 and these efforts have already begun. In terms of The Hamiltonian, I have wonderful and capable staff, and I have delegated the lion's share of authority over to them, who will ensure The Hamiltonian continues to capture important discussions and issues in Hamilton. That being said, I will remain as Publisher and oversee the operations and provide guidance as needed.

I thank-you for your ongoing support and understanding.

Teresa DiFalco
Candidate for Councillor Ward 10

Media Release-Teresa DiFalco registers to run for Ward 10 Councillor

Media Release

Teresa DiFalco registers to run for Ward 10 Councillor

Hamilton Municipal Election 2014 – Teresa DiFalco, Publisher of The Hamiltonian has registered to run as Councillor for Ward 10.

Born and raised in Hamilton, and making Stoney Creek (Ward 10) her home for last 26 years, Teresa is looking forward to providing invigorated leadership and new ideas to Ward 10 and the broader City of Hamilton.

Teresa was recently named Citizen of the Year by the Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes her years of service in the community including advocacy, volunteering, fundraising, and offering a bursary award each year to students at a local school.

Teresa has volunteered her time and talents to several committees, including the Stoney Creek Urban Expansion Community Advisory Committee. She is the President of the Fruitland-Winona Community Association for Safe and Healthy Neighbourhoods, Publisher of The Hamiltonian and is also a member of Hamilton’s Engagement Committee, and the Farmers’ Market Focus Group.

Teresa has vast experience in Government and has held senior positions in the Ontario Government. She worked in the Ministries of Health and Long-Term Care, Community and Social Services, Attorney General, Management Board of Cabinet, Gaming Secretariat, Environment, Labour, Transportation, and Cabinet Office. Teresa has received many awards recognizing excellence in public service and her leadership.

DiFalco is well known for her community involvement and her work with children, seniors, and people living with a disability. 

Teresa has secured the confidence and trust of others by being a strong leader, straight shooter, and standing firm on principle, character and integrity. She is currently refining her platform, which will be shaped and finalized through her discussions with residents of Ward 10, and the taxpayers of Hamilton.

“ I am looking forward to working for the people of Ward 10 and Hamiltonians. I believe that serving as a Councillor should not be a lifelong career. It is an opportunity to provide service to your fellow citizens. I am asking for your vote so that I can be your voice, your partner and your champion.”


To learn more about Teresa DiFalco’s campaign, please visit Teresa’s website at www.voteteresadifalco.com,or contact her at TeresaDiFalco@cogeco.ca, or by phone at 905-643-8990.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Meet Steven Knowles- Contender for Ward 14

Can you tell us why you chose to run in this election? What do you hope to accomplish?

Like any candidate, I see a need for someone, notably like myself, to step into the role and give better justification to the resident tax payers in Ward 14. I don’t believe that Ward 14 is getting the representation that they deserve from the incumbent and I am certain that once given this opportunity, I will prove to be a positive representative of the ward.

While my platform is diverse, my main goal is to accomplish a freeze, and subsequent reduction in ward 14s property taxes. Since amalgamation, Flamborough has seen a 50% plus tax increase. As if this isn’t bad enough, the ward has received less in service than ever before. I firmly believe the incumbent is tired and has lost focus on the city’s spending. This ward needs someone who respects the constituents hard earned money and gives meaning to the tax dollars.

Can you briefly describe your experience, and/or what you believe you have to offer as a candidate.

My experience is mainly in the foodservice industry from supplier to grower. My "day job" is as a Fresh Commodity Buyer for a large wholesale company. In my spare time, through partnership, my wife and I (alongside our two young boys) grow garlic a variety of other fruits and vegetables (see www.knowlesfarms.com).

This experience, from labourer right to upper management, has afforded me the opportunity to gain a perspective from multiple angles. Through my negotiation skills, to budget formation and adherence, I have the necessary abilities to better manage the city's services and tax roll. Creating a budget forecast is one thing, truly understanding and having the ability of foresight to stick to that budget is another. Ward 14 and the city of Hamilton need someone that cares and holds the city's finances to the same regard as their own. I am ready for the challenge.

Where or how can constituents learn more about you and/or contact you?

I suggest constituents contact me through my website at www.stevenknowles.ca or I can also be found daily on the floor of the Ontario Food Terminal. All kidding aside, I look forward to this election and hope to represent Ward 14 in this next term of council. I have always been told my greatest form of job security is my own work ethic. I am ready to work for you!

Thank you again,
Steven Knowles