By Linda Benson

I have found this past couple of weeks to be rather emotional, with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, after 7 decades as our reigning monarch. This affected me on a level I could never have expected. I suppose the feelings I had, came from me, a Brit, never knowing another British Monarch in my own 7 decades. Queen Elizabeth has been at the helm of the royal household since my earliest memories. Although we all knew her time was near, especially since the passing of her beloved and longtime husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, her death was expected in the short term. Yet I grieve for her and for Great Britain, as she will be remembered for the conscientious and hardworking monarch we have ever witnessed. I am sure she will be missed by many.  Although I am also sure there are others, worldwide, who perhaps welcome her passing as a new era, bringing about a more modern approach to the British Royal Family, or perhaps there are those who think the end of this dynasty is near.  For me personally, I will continue to miss her and what she represented to my country of birth.

There is much talk about the upcoming Municipal elections. I have been researching the candidates, especially for my Ward 3 area. As for the Mayoral candidate, I can’t quite figure it out, yet. I trust our community is doing their due diligence and preparing to go to the poles and vote in their own preferred candidate. I urge you to get out there and vote, after all it is not only your right to do so, but it is an honor and a privilege afforded to us.

You may wonder why my column is short this month, I can tell you that I am also going through emotional times with the illness of several of my own friends and loved ones at this time. Hopefully I will have more community news in the next edition.

In the meantime, I urge you to go out and support some of our local, charitable businesses and organizations such as the 541 Eatery & Exchange, a wonderful ‘pay it forward’ café.  I have visited them several times in the past couple of weeks and this is certainly a worthwhile cause, feeding the many in our community who find themselves in a vulnerable situation. Donations are greatly appreciated. Like many other small & local businesses they have suffered during this past two years.

Think about donating your well-loved and useable clothing, and perhaps kitchen appliances to St. Vincent de Paul, they take everything from art work to furniture, which all need to be clean and in good condition. Helping Hands Street Mission and St. Matthews’s House are always looking for help, in donations and in some volunteer capacity. And, if you are able, Indwell is a great organization where volunteering, as well as a monetary donation, is much appreciated.

Woodlands Park is fast becoming a favorite place of mine to sit, reflect, enjoy the art work; all while enjoying my coffee and/or lunch from the 541 Eatery.  There have been a couple of great basketball fund raisers for very worthy causes. I can’t believe Autumn is just a few days away.  I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer.