Water back on at Crossroads

The official word was given late Monday afternoon (Sept. 9) that the water at Crossroads School was fit for drinking again. It had been shut off since the first day of school (Sept. 4) due to a bad sample.
The school also had shut the tap water off in the bathrooms because there’s always the chance that children may forget and drink from the taps when the water fountains are off limits.
Purchased water was being made available.
Although the water is back on, much discussion went on at a meeting Monday night at the school. The Crossroads school council was well-represented there, including Marie Saunders (chair), Sheri Stamarski, Ralph Hill, Lucy Wilson, Holly Caul, and Twyla Darrah (community rep).
Also attending were parents, teacher rep Donna Kowalski, Superintendent of Education Terry Ellwood, school board trustee Martin Darrah, board maintenance supervisor Murray Quinn, and La Vallee councillors Jim Belluz, Rick Seidel, and Tom Morrish.
Bill Limerick, environmental health team leader with the Northwestern Health Unit in Kenora, and Dave Coates of the health unit office here were on hand, too.
After talking with several people, it seems the school council and many parents felt their questions were not being answered, and that the lack of communication between the school board and people involved with the water problem at Crossroads was causing the tension to escalate.
One parent, Ralph Hill, said he’s calculated that this water problem started in 2001 and that last year, more than 40 percent of the school year was without drinking water.
Hill has spent many hours of his own time talking to manufacturers and getting recommendations for installations of filter systems and systems that provide clean water.
He is aware that several local contractors and plumbers went into the school and all agree the water delivery system was put in backwards. It also is a general feeling that the chlorination was put in the wrong place, along with the UV system, which were installed by the board.
I guess the good news is that the water is okay for drinking, and was used Monday at the school. I guess the area that needs to be worked on is communication between the board and Crossroads school council.
I was told by one of the school council members that the frustration and anger that flared up at Monday night’s meeting was because questions have not been answered in a timely fashion.
Also it was stated over and over that parents were being ignored, especially when they asked, “Was the system put in wrong?” Parents feel the board is “a master at avoiding questions.”
One parent was very upset when told that Crossroads students, staff, and all other employers should consider themselves fortunate to have the privilege of drinking bottled water.
A municipal councillor stated it would be an asset if the school board and Crossroads school council could communicate—that would have allowed a lot of problems to be dealt with at the forefront.
Let’s hope the water at Crossroads remains at a quality fit for drinking.
I contacted the school board and the health unit office in Kenora to try to talk to Mr. Ellwood and Mr. Limerick but neither men were available. I realize, however, it was short notice and I will try to talk with them this week for their input about the meeting.
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In other school news, an open house is planned for Friday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. A reminder Crossroads is holding its Terry Fox Fun tomorrow (Thursday) at 1 p.m. Everyone welcome.
There is a new teacher at our school. Cristol Bailey is working half-time teaching Grades 5-6 in the afternoon. Welcome, Cristol.
And Donna Kowalski is teaching Grade 2 instead of Grades 6-7.
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Dev-Lynne’s monthly gas draw was won by Wanda Woodgate, who took home a 151-piece tool set.
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Many of us will be remembering the terrible day a year ago today as Sept. 11, 2001 changed our lives.
But perhaps through it all, there can be a feeling that “peace” is the most important thing to work for, strive for, and live for. And perhaps words to live by for all of us are “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”
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Robin’s 2¢:
One Sunday, a pastor asked his congregation to consider giving a little extra in the offering plate. He said that whoever gave the most would be able to pick out three hymns.
After the offering plates were passed, the pastor glanced down and noticed someone had contributed a $1,000 bill. He was so excited that he immediately shared his joy with his congregation, and said he’s like to personally thank the person who had placed the money in the plate.
A very quiet, elderly, saintly widow shyly raised her hand. The pastor asked her to come to the front. Slowly she made her way to the pastor. He told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much and asked her to pick out three hymns.
Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation, pointed to the three handsomest men in the building, and said, “I’ll take him and him and him.”