Public service workers picket in Huntsville

(January 30 HUNTSVILLE)  It’s been a month since the collective agreement for Ontario public servants ran out, and tomorrow (Saturday, January 31) provincial employees will picket at Arrowhead Provincal Park to show their dissatisfaction.

Featured Photo updates Story: OPS workers picketing at Arrowheard Provincial Park say province forcing them into a strike

Workers in the Ontario Public Service (OPS), represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), will be at Arrowhead from 9:30 to 10:30am to hold an information picket over what the union says is the government’s refusal to bargain a fair collective agreement. Ontario employees have been staging a series of these information pickets across the province, with the most recent picket action today in Ottawa. The picket tomorrow is being organized by OPSEU Local 317 that covers various ministries in our region. It’s expected that Ambulance Communications Officers, Corrections Officers, Courthouse employees and staff with the Ministries of Natural Resources and Service Ontario will brave the cold tomorrow to make their concerns known.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said that the government is refusing to recognize the legitimate bargaining demands from his members, and is intent on freezing wages and cutting benefits in the current contract.

“Government negotiators at the bargaining table appear they would rather push the OPS into a strike than negotiate a fair deal with their employees,” Thomas said. “Yet this same government seems to have no problems with wasting billions of dollars on failed privatization schemes.”

Thomas said that the union has repeatedly told Premier Kathleen Wynne that his members can provide these services better and cheaper than the private sector, which has been affirmed by Ontario’s Auditor General. Despite this, that message is not filtering down to the bargaining table.

“Investing tax dollars directly into public services and public sector jobs will actually save the taxpayers money,” Thomas said. “If the government spent even a fraction of the money on public services and public service workers that is now wasted on private contractors, we would have better, more reliable and more accountable services for everyone.”

Members are now protesting in a bid to get that message across. “Kathleen Wynne needs to take action now and direct her negotiators to start bargaining a fair contract with those who provide crucial services in this province,” Thomas said. “That would be in the best interest of all Ontarians.”

Screen Shot 2015 01 30 at 6.31.28 PMOPSEU represents all frontline Ministry employees who work directly for the Ontario government. The current collective agreement expired Dec. 31, 2014. A vote in November showed 90 per cent of OPSEU members would support strike action.

What Ontario public servants are in OPS in Parry Sound-Muskoka? Members of OPS include workers with the Ministries of Natural Resources, Children and Youth Services, Training, Colleges and Universities, among other ministries that have workers in Parry Sound and Muskoka.

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Good samaritan helps injured OPP officer after Hwy 400 crash

(January 30 GEORGIAN BAY) A good samaritan stopped to help an injured OPP officer after the car he was driving struck a snowbank on Highway 400 near Georgian Bay Road early this morning. The unidentified officer was responding to a call when he encountered slick road conditions and struck a snowbank in the northbound lanes, narrowly missing a rock cut. He was able to exit his vehicle after contacting the OPP Communications Center to advise of the incident.

A driver passing by stopped and provided the officer a warm place until the arrival of Simcoe County Paramedic Services and additional officers. The officer was treated at the scene and taken to a Midland area hospital by paramedics where he was later released after receiving treatment for minor injuries.

One lane of north bound Highway 400 was closed for 5.5 hours while members of the OPP Central Region Technical Traffic Collision Investigation Unit (TTCI) conducted an on scene investigation into the reasons for the collision that happened between Georgian Bay Road and Crooked Bay Road in the northbound lanes.

 

Miller collects more signatures on road maintenance petition

(January 30, HUNTSVILLE) The signatures are mounting on a petition to request the province take action to improve winter road maintenance.

A spokesman for Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller says there was a steady flow of people today at the Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville. Miller had invited residents to come sign the document and share their own experiences on the roads. Complaints have been increasing about what appears to be below standard maintenance on provincial roadways, Highway 11 being an example for the driving conditions people have been facing. In Muskoka, Highway 11 is maintained by Carillion Canada Inc., which last year was fined by the Ministry of Transportation for substandard service on provincial roads in the Thunder Bay area. Carillion is about three winters into its 12-year contract to maintain Highway 11 and other provincial roadways.

Miller already raised concerns about road maintenance levels last year at Queen’s Park. While no specific date is set, Miller can present this petition in the legislature any time after February 18 for a response from Transport Minister Steven Del Duca.

Anyone interested in signing the petition, or displaying it to collect names, can download the document by clicking here. Once signed, the original signed document can be returned to Miller’s office in Parry Sound or Bracebridge or mailed to Room 440, Legislative Building, Queen’s Park, Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A8.

Specifically, the petition asks “That the Ontario Ministry of Transportation take immediate action to improve the maintenance of winter roads based on the positive benefits of the previous delivery model, where MTO plays more of a role in directing the private contractor.”

Related Articles:

January 30, 2015, MNW: Good samaritan helps OPP officer after car slides into snowbank on Hwy 400 today

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Fentanyl abuse prevention plan launching in Parry Sound-Muskoka

(January 29 MUSKOKA) The Muskoka Prescription Opioid Prevention Strategy (MPOPS) team hopes to have the Patch4Patch program in place across Parry Sound and Muskoka by March 2015 in a bid to stem abuse of the drug, Fentanyl.

The MPOPS team recognizes the misuse of fentanyl is having a devastating impact in many communities throughout Ontario causing unnecessary deaths.  The intent of the Fentanyl Patch4Patch Initiative is to limit the availability of fentanyl patches, ultimately enhancing the overall health and safety of communities across Ontario.

Parry Sound – Muskoka MPP Norm Miller met with members of MPOPS on January 16 when they presented details of the prevention plan. “I fully support Vic Fedeli’s Private Members Bill and the Patch4Patch initiative,” says Miller, “and I look forward to debating of Bill 33 with the hope that it receives swift passage through the legislature.”

Bill 33 Safeguarding our Communities Act was introduced by Vic Fedeli, MPP Nipissing, and received first reading in legislature in October 2014. If enacted, Bill 33 would have legitimate users (physician prescribed) trade in their used fentanyl patches for new prescribed patches.  To know more about the Patch4Patch initiative, visit: http://www.oacp.on.ca/Userfiles/Files/NewAndEvents/PublicResourceDocuments/Master%20Patch%204%20Patch-FINAL%202014.pdf

 

 

Phone scam hits Lakeland Power customers across our region

(January 28, 4:30pm BRACEBRIDGE) Customers of Lakeland Power are being warned of a telephone scam in which the scammers demand money from customers and threaten to cut power off if they don’t pay up.

Chris Litschko, CEO of Lakeland Power, says the hydro scam has been crossing the province and now it’s affecting Lakeland Power customers in Parry Sound, Almaguin and Muskoka. He says customers were first contacted in Sundridge on Monday, and then Burk’s Falls customers were getting inundated with calls yesterday. Now the scam calls have been reported across the entire area Lakeland serves, including Muskoka.

The company notes it would never approach customers this way. If you should get such a call, Lakeland asks customers to report it to the OPP.

Be aware! Here’s how the scam works:

Customers get a call from someone claiming to be a Lakeland Power employee and saying your account is in arrears. The scammer then says you must pay the outstanding amount in the next few hours or your power will be disconnected. You’ll be asked to pay by credit card over the phone, with pre-paid Visa cards from a local store, or through a wire transfer. They may even provide a confirmation call back number, where you will reach a different person – also identifying themselves as a Lakeland Power employee, confirming the amount owing and how to pay to avoid immediate disconnection of power.

Says Sharon Shipston, Customer Service Manager for Lakeland: “Lakeland Power has strict procedures regarding disconnection of power due to non-payment which include multiple notifications over the phone and through the mail well in advance of any disconnection action. We do not take credit cards directly over the phone, only through our third party credit card vendor Paymentus. We do not accept pre-paid Visa cards or wire transfers. We encourage our customers to sign up for our pre-authorized payment program or pay online or at the bank.”

If you have any questions about your account status, customers are asked to call Lakeland Power’s call centre Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

About Muskoka News Watch – consider donating to keep your Muskoka info flowing: Muskoka News Watch exists primarily on donations. If you like being informed, please toss a few dollars our way using the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page (you can use Credit Cards or Debit). Your support is needed and appreciated. Thank you!

Muskoka Lakes seeking input into strategic plan by survey and meetings

(Media Release January 27, 2015, PORT CARLING) The Township of Muskoka Lakes Council is undergoing a strategic planning process and is encouraging input from the community to help shape the long-term vision for the Township. Input is sought through an online survey and residents are invited to a series of input sessions in February. Full release from the Township today follows:

The planning process will provide many opportunities for residents (both year-round and seasonal) and the business community to share their ideas and let Council know what is important to them. The new strategic plan is scheduled to be finalized this spring and will establish key directions, goals and objectives for Council to focus on over the next term of office.

“Council wants to know what matters the most to the community – what is most important to residents and local businesses,” explains Township of Muskoka Lakes Mayor Don Furniss. “These priorities will start an important discussion of where we are today, and where we want to go in the future. “

Community Engagement

A community survey has been launched to collect community input and will remain open until the end of February 2015. The community survey is available online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MuskokaLakesStrategicPlan_2015CommunitySurvey

Hard copies of the survey are also available. Please contact the Township office at (705) 765-3156 for more information or to inquire about obtaining and submitting a print version of the survey.

Residents are also encouraged to join the discussion through Community Input Sessions. A session will be held in each Ward. In addition, a special session will be held in the GTA to make the planning process more accessible for seasonal residents. The sessions are scheduled for:

  • Ward A Torrance Community Centre – Saturday, February 14, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Ward B Windermere Community Centre – Tuesday, February 5, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Ward C Port Carling Community Centre – Wednesday, February 4, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • GTA Session: Hilton Garden Inn Toronto/Vaughan – Monday, February 9, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. 3201 Highway 7, Vaughan, On

A draft plan based on community input will be made available for comments from the public prior to being finalized.

Township of Muskoka Lakes Strategic Planning process

Another two snowmobile thefts in Muskoka, this time in Gravenhurst

(Published January 19, 12pm) Thieves have been lifting snowmobiles from locations in Muskoka, keeping OPP from the Bracebridge and Huntsville detachments busy investigating the thefts.

Two more went missing sometime overnight Friday, January 16 from locations in Gravenhurst, one from a parking lot at a Gravenhurst hotel and another taken off a trailer from an area of cottage.

According to police reports, a black and white 2015 Polaris Switchback bearing marker 9AH805 valued at approximately $16,000.00 was stolen from the hotel parking lot. A red 2010 Polaris Dragon with an image of a dragon on its side bearing marker 5AB902 was stolen from an area cottage, taken off of a trailer.

So far this winter season, Bracebridge OPP has investigated six reported thefts of motorized snow vehicles.  In Huntsville on January 10, 2015, police say someone stole a snow machine from the back of a pickup truck parked at Hidden Valley Resort. The theft also occurred overnight. Taken was a 2011 Skidoo MXZ 600, 4 stroke.  It is described as being white in colour with yellow and black on it, and being worth about $7500.00

Police suggest owners  take extra steps to ensure that snow vehicles are well secured and often chains and cables are not enough.  Additional security measures need to be applied to deter potential thieves such as trailer tongue and wheel locks being utilized along with outside security lighting on buildings.

Police are asking anyone with information about any of these snowmobile thefts to contact the OPP at (888) 310-1122 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. You can submit your information online at www.crimestopperssdm.com if you have any information on this crime or any other crime. Crime Stoppers does not subscribe to call display and you will remain anonymous.  Being anonymous, you will not testify in court and your information may lead to a cash reward of up to $2,000.

Snowmobile Safety Week kicks off

(January 16, 10am, ORILLIA) With three Ontario snowmobile deaths already on record (across the OPP jurisdiction) this season, drinking while snowmobiling was a hot topic today as the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) kicked off provincial Snowmobile Safety Week at OPP General Headquarters in Orillia. Snowmobile Safety Week runs from January 17 to 25, 2015.

Following the OPP’s investigation, alcohol was found to be involved in all three of the fatal incidents and was the primary cause in two of them. Two of the three victims were not wearing a helmet. Those tragedies occurred in Killaloe in eastern Ontario, and in Kirkland Lake and Emo in the northwest.

Snowmobile Safety Week runs from January 17 to January 25, 2015

Last season (2013-2014), 21 people died while snowmobiling (in OPP jurisdiction) and the OPP continues to see recurring contributing factors. Alcohol was involved in at least 7 of last season’s incidents and speed was found to be the primary cause in 11 of them.

With several weeks left in the 2015 season, the OPP is reminding snowmobilers to take charge of their own safety as this is the only way to eliminate snowmobile fatalities.

Trails are presently ‘open limited’ in Muskoka Lakes

In Muskoka, the Muskoka Lakes Snow Trails Association (MLSTA) say its trails are “open limited”. This means you have to ride with caution and there may be areas that won’t be well groomed and some sections may be packed but not groomed. The Association also warns sledders to stay off the ice and wait for any ice trails to be staked. Director Mike Webb also cautions that AMBER is the new bubbler colour, not red, so be careful of lights you see out there at night. He adds flashing bubbler lights are not necessary nor preferred. At any rate, he advises checking with your local snowmobile club to know whether conditions are safe.

More Sledding Safety Tips

>Do not ride if you have consumed alcohol or drugs: Snowmobiling under the influence of any amount of alcohol or drugs carries severe penalties. If convicted of snowmobiling while impaired, a rider could lose all driving privileges (car, truck, motorcycle, off-road vehicles and snowmobiles). The same “Warn Range” suspensions issued for having a BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) between 0.05 and 0.08 mg. that apply to driving a motor vehicle, also apply to driving a snowmobile.

>Take it Easy: Always ride within the speed limit, within your own ability and according to current trail and weather conditions.

>Slow Down at Night: Ride cautiously at night and never outrun your sled headlights.

>Know Before You Go: No ice travel is ever completely safe. Hypothermia or drowning from riding into open water or falling through the ice are serious risks, as are collisions with fixed objects such as docks, ice huts or shorelines.

>See and Be Seen: Good judgment, depth perception and quick reaction time depend on being able to see properly at all times. Slow down and keep right in reduced visibility situations like snow dust, sun glare, heavy falling snow, or when visor or glasses are fogged up; always wear bright colours and reflective materials so others can see you more easily.

>Ride with Companions: Never snowmobile alone. Riding buddies can provide immediate assistance for breakdowns, when getting stuck or in emergency situations.

>Be Prepared: Snowmobiling incidents occur in unpredictable and uncontrolled natural settings where each rider needs to always expect the unexpected. Snowmobiling can take you far away from emergency assistance, so each rider must be prepared by carrying a tool kit, spare parts, flashlight, first-aid kit and survival items such as high-energy food, fire-starting equipment and a compass.

>Be Aware of open water due to ice Ice Bubblers (ice bubbler lights in many colours) and remember, No Ice is Safe Ice

In Muskoka, the Muskoka Lakes Snow Trails Association (MLSTA)

Alcohol involved in all 3 Snowmobile Deaths so far this Season; and Comparing Year-over-Year Stats

Snowmobile deaths in Ontario have shown an increase since 2011. Year-over-year tragedies:

  • 2014/2015 to January 16, 2015: 3
  • 2013/2014: 21
  • 2012/2013: 18
  • 2011/2012: 13
  • 2010/2011: 17
  • 2009/2010: 24

To learn more about safe snowmobiling and Snowmobile Safety Week, visit:
Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs
Provincial S.A.V.E. (Snowmobile ATV and Vessel Enforcement) Unit

The OFSC is committed to proactive leadership in promoting safe, responsible riding, on and off Ontario snowmobile trails, by building safer snowmobiling knowledge, attitudes and behaviours through rider education, safety legislation, development and enforcement. The OPP is committed to saving lives on Ontario’s highways, trails and waterways through the reduction of preventable injury and death. Initiatives are developed and delivered through the Provincial Traffic Safety Program.

Photo by Tyler Olson

 

 

Airport land sale: will it fly at Muskoka District Council? Update Jan. 20: Yes, it did

(Published January 21, 10am, MUSKOKA) Muskoka District Council last night voted 13-9 to sell land to Muskoka Aircraft Refinishing so it can expand its business. More details to come. The vote was recorded. If interested in who voted for and against, click on the images to view in larger size.

Muskoka airport land sale Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 12.07.42 PM

(Published January 16, 1pm, MUSKOKA) Will it fly or won’t it? At question for District of Muskoka Council again Monday night is a proposed sale of land at Muskoka Airport. The sale of about 4 acres (that could increase to seven acres) of woodlot west of the main runway would allow for a business expansion by Muskoka Aircraft Refinishing (MAR).

On Monday night, Council is scheduled to vote on a recommendation to proceed with the land sale that could see the provincial and federal governments kick in just over $1.4million to aid the expansion project. At least 25 new jobs are expected to be created because of it (with more jobs on the horizon should MAR secure another contract it says is in the works).

Featured photo shows woodlot development area

Expansion at airport could include $1.4million in joint provincial/federal funds

Last October, the Planning and Economic Development committee forwarded a resolution to council (see Resolution wording at end of article) that would pave the way for the sale of the woodlot and enter into the joint government funding proposal. To receive dollars from FedNor and the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF), the District would have to kick in 35%. That proposed funding deal, once approved, is expected to work out this way:

  • FedNor (25%): $900,000
  • EODF (25%): $555,000
  • District (35%): $800,000

District staff have estimated it would take five-and-a-half years to recover the District’s investment portion if it sells the land — or 11 years if it chooses to lease it instead.

Resolution on table since November, original Muskoka Aircraft Refinishing application came in 2011

The committee resolution in October went to District in November, but because the District Council was in a lame duck position after the municipal election it was revisited in December.

Muskoka Airport
District Councillors toured Airport Jan. 6

At the December meeting, Samantha Hastings, Commissioner of Planning and Economic Development, gave an updated report on the woodland development proposal. A decision was deferred again to allow new District Councillors time to learn more. During that same meeting, MAR General Manager Bob Cooper told Council his company is working on a new parts manufacturing contract with an international aviation business that could bring even more new jobs; and that MAR was entering into an educational partnership with Fanshawe College through the schools aircraft painting program with 25 students set to start in September 2015. Note: The application for the joint government funding

In the past, some District Councillors have expressed concern about selling any of the airport property, period. Others worried about the cost to the District to develop the land for lease or sale. The possibility of more-than-matching funds from the two government agencies provide another opportunity for Council to consider the value of the proposed expansion, and its economic impact.

Gravenhurst District Councillor Terry Pilger was on District Council from 2000 to 2010 and previously sat on the airport sub-committee.  “I have always felt the airport was a major asset for Muskoka, and it’s continued development was a key issue in the recent election,” he says. “Just getting back to the Council table, however, I needed a bit of time to get up to speed and look at all the ramifications. I am convinced this project is a window of opportunity, and we should act!”

SnowClearingAtAirportJan6
Clearing runway at Muskoka Airport Jan. 6

Pilger was one of five District Councillors who toured the airport during a blizzard on January 6. He, along with Councillor Paul Kelly of Gravenhurst, Councillor Don Smith of Bracebridge, Councillor Allen Edwards and Mayor Don Furniss of Muskoka Lake got a first-hand look at the expansion area. According to airport officials, Huntsville Councillors Nancy Alcock and Karin Terziano were also expected to be there, but bad weather and accidents on Highway 11 made it impossible for them to attend.

“The airport is certainly an economic engine,” said Furniss. “This tour was was a good opportunity for Councillors to make a better informed decision,” but he said he preferred to not comment directly on the land expansion until back at the Council table. Added Smith, “Many municipalities don’t normally have the ability to have a hands-on impact on job creation and certainly the airport provides it.”

Not everyone is in agreement on the ways the airport can help Muskoka’s economy. Opponents say a longer-term plan for the airport must be produced before any further decisions are made and some pilots have expressed concerns about the sale limiting the potential for runway expansion. They argue more runway capacity would help the airport handle future traffic that could also bring economic benefits.

MAR signed a five-year contract with Bombardier in March 2012 to paint amphibious aircraft, and was working on securing another large contract that together could provide about 100 jobs all told. The company then pulled its expansion plans for the woodlot areas (in April 2011 the company had applied to expand on both the west and east sides of the airport) and officials said they were considering locating elsewhere. MAR is still in business at the Muskoka Airport today.

References and Related Articles

Reference: November 17, 2014 Recommendation

THAT the District of Muskoka enter into funding agreements with FedNor and the EODF and THAT proceedings to initiate the sale of property be commenced and THAT once funding has been confirmed and estimated expenditures have been further validated, a staff report be brought forward to amend the Project Budget

AIrport Resolution

$8million from feds for Georgian Bay/Lake Simcoe projects

(Published January 16, 12:30pm PARRY SOUND) Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement has announced $8 million in funding for 32 environmental projects aimed at improving the ecosystem health of Lake Simcoe and South-eastern Georgian Bay. He made the announcement this morning in Parry Sound on behalf of Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council.

$8million in new project funding for South-eastern Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe watersheds

The news of a second round of funding was welcomed by protectors of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve. “This two-year project will help to improve the coordination and collection of water quality and nutrient information in eastern Georgian Bay,” says Greg Mason, General Manager of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve (GBBR). “This will provide improved environmental information, help to conserve critical habitats and their species, and help to mitigate potential sources of pollution within the GBBR.” The GBBR received $191,305 as its portion of the funding.

Featured Biosphere photo courtesy of Thom Morrissey Photography

Funding will further programs of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, among others

Some of the accomplishments of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve include its State of the Bay environmental report card, water quality monitoring, as well as educational and outreach programs points out Glenn Hodgson, Reserve Chair. “There’s a lot of important work to be done, and this will help us with a number of initiatives, such as providing  long range education and support for ongoing programs to enhance and protect the East Georgian Bay coastline — and all our great Georgian Bay Biosphere Reservewaterways. Our next step is to develop further programming needs — and it appears the government is open to new proposals.”

When announcing the funding today, Clement detailed the importance of the Lake Simcoe and South-eastern Georgian Bay watershed. They are “important natural resources, vital sources of drinking water and regional economic drivers that support the tourism and recreation industries,” he said. “To protect these important water resources, our Government is investing in new environmental projects focused on restoring ecosystem health and improving water quality for residents in the region.”

This is a second round of funding under the renewed and expanded Lake Simcoe/South-eastern Georgian Bay Clean-up Fund, which aims to restore the ecological health of Lake Simcoe and South-eastern Georgian Bay and improve water quality for the residents and wildlife of the region. As part of this funding, the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve will receive $191,305 to work with three municipalities over two years to expand monitoring in Georgian Bay and ensure consistency in how nutrients are measured by stakeholders conducting similar monitoring.

Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve
GBBR’s Greg Mason, David Bywater and MP Tony Clement at left with Becky Pollock & Glen Hodgson at right. GBBR received over $191K for its programs.

 

 

References and Related Articles

Quick Facts
>
Economic Action Plan 2012 committed $29 million over five years to continue to support the Lake Simcoe Clean-up Fund and extend it to include South-eastern Georgian Bay.
>The Lake Simcoe/South-eastern Georgian Bay Clean-Up Fund supports community based projects that are focused on reducing phosphorous levels, restoring ecosystem health and improving water quality. This Fund builds on the success of the Government’s $30-million investment under the Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund and is part of the Government’s comprehensive approach to ensure clean water for all Canadians, which includes projects like the clean-up of contaminated sediment in Great Lakes Areas of Concern.
>The Lake Simcoe/Southeastern Georgian Bay Clean-Up Fund supports ongoing work under other Government of Canada initiatives, including the Canada–United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health, 2014, and the National Conservation Plan.

 

January 29 is Fire Safety Night at Shield Home Game

(January 16, 2015) The January 29 home game of the South Muskoka Shield is Fire Safety Night – the Shield will welcome Sparky and the Gravenhurst Fire Crews.

Shield end first half of season on high note

(December 19, 2015 Shield Update by Sue Penwarden) The South Muskoka shield won both games again on the weekend and are presently in first place in the Northern division of the GMHL.

Friday night they hosted the Sturgeon Falls Lumberjacks in a 3-1 game.  Goalie Mosny was robbed of his shutout with just 0.6 seconds left on the clock.   It took a shootout to win in Bracebridge against the Blues on Saturday night.  Final score was 4-3.

The next game is in Haliburton on Jan 7 and next home game is Jan 8 at the Graeme Murray Areana.

The players, owners, volunteers and fans would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

(December 6, 2015 SHIELD UPDATE by Sue Penwarden) The South Muskoka Shield extended their win streak to 15 this weekend with a 1-0 win over Almaguin Friday night and 4-3 win over Seguin Saturday night.   The Shield are sitting in first place in the Northern division of the GMHL and second overall. Goalie Robin Gustavsson who currently sits on top the leader board with a .950 save percentage was a driving force of the Friday night win. The depth of the goalie cadre shone Saturday night when Garret Wills stood between the pipes with a .929 saves percentage.
The Shield hit the ice next Friday at 8pm at the Graeme Murray Arena in Gravenhurst against the Coldwater  Falcons.  The team will be collecting new unwrapped toys for the local toy drive.   

(November 23 SHIELD UPDATE by Sue Penwarden) The SOUTH MUSKOKA SHIELD  added 4 more points to the win column this weekend with a 11-1 win over the Bobcageon Storm Friday night and a 6-2 win over the Seguin Huskies In a Sunday afternoon battle.

The Shield currently sit in second place behind the Temiscaming Titans however the Titans have played 3 more games than the Shield.

Next home game is Friday November 27 when they honour frontline responders with the second annual Brad Pearsall night.  With proceeds going to Tema Conter in support of those suffering from PTSD.

(October 19 SHIELD UPDATE by Sue Penwarden) The South Muskoka Shield had a productive time over the weekend. They were in South River on Friday night to take on the Almaguin Spartans. In a game riddled with penalties the Shield came out on top with a 5-3 win which included a last minute empty netter.

On Sunday night it was off to Bradford to take on the Rattlers in a heartbreaking 4-3 loss.

Monday the Shield took on the Coldwater Falcons in Coldwater. The Shield dominated right from the 1:19 mark of the first period. Carl Lyden, Juraj Kamenicky and Karlis Lagzdins each contributed 2 goals throughout the game and were the 3 stars in the 10-2 decision.

The Shield play next on Friday night and will be supporting the community with the annual Pink in the Rink game. Wear PINK on the this special night and a portion of your ticket cost will be donated on behalf of the team to the Canadian Cancer Society in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness.

Also it will be our first of 3 nights supporting   K.P. Manson Public School reading program. Buy your tickets at the school and a portion of the ticket costs will be donated back to the school.  It will be a fun night for all.

(October 15 SHIELD NEWS) The South Muskoka Shield GMHL Junior A hockey club are all set to face the Almaguin Spartans tomorrow in a rare Friday night away game in South River.  The last time these 2 clubs met resulted in an intense 3-4 win for the Spartans on Shield ice.  Puck drops at 7:30.

On Sunday the Shield will visit the Bradford Rattlers at the BWG leisure center in Bradford. 7:30 game then it’s off to Coldwater Monday night at the Coldwater Community Center to take on the Coldwater Falcons, and again game time is 7:30.

Seeking best Muskoka photos for Muskoka Conservancy contest

Muskoka Conservancy seeking Photo Contest submissions; winner earns Michael Foster Award

 

Winning Muskoka photos
Winning photo from 2014: Misty Marsh, Doe Lake Road by Rod Brazier

(January 15, 2015, BRACEBRIDGE) Muskoka Conservancy has announced its annual Muskoka Conservancy Photo Contest is on again. Winners of this contest will be given the Michael Foster Award, named in memory of local photographer, and Muskoka Conservancy supporter, Michael Foster who was integral in the creation of the contest.  This year, the theme of the contest is “What Muskoka means to you”.

The contest is open to all amateur photographers and includes youth and adult categories.  Conservancy officials say it will be judged on creativity, technical excellence, composition, overall impact and artistic merit.  The judging panel is looking to honour photographs that provide unique insight into the natural, built and cultural elements of Muskoka and the surrounding area. The deadline for the contest is April 1st, 2015 and the winner will be announced at the Muskoka Conservancy Annual General Meeting on June 6th, 2015.

“Michael was a very accomplished photographer and Muskoka Conservancy has been blessed with many of his stunning images of our nature reserves.  Michael had an eye for the beauty of Muskoka and a love for our natural landscape.  We are so pleased to be offering this award in his memory,” says Kristie Virgoe, Executive Director with Muskoka Conservancy.

Contest Dates

  • Submission deadline: April 1, 2015
  • Winners announced: June 6, 2015

For official contest rules, visit www.muskokaconservancy.org/photocontest or call 705-645-7393.

About the Muskoka Conservancy
For over 25 years, the Muskoka Conservancy (formerly the Muskoka Heritage Foundation and Trust) has provided comprehensive environmental stewardship and outreach programs. The first property was donated in 1990 and the Muskoka Conservancy has been protecting the regions’ natural spaces ever since. Today, the organization protects a total of 36 properties totalling over 2,300 acres of sensitive wetlands, forests, rock barrens, and shorelines.  With over 200 active volunteers, the organization keeps its operation costs low and dedicates most resources to stewardship projects, land conservation, and community outreach. Muskoka Conservancy believes in working with community to build and support a vibrant Muskoka that honours the natural environment and the traditions of the area.
Contact: Kristie Virgoe, Executive Director
Phone Number: 705-645-7393 ext 204

 

Gravenhurst man charged with being ploughed* while driving snowplow

(January 13, 12.30pm GRAVENHURST) A Gravenhurst man has been charged with impaired driving after he allegedly tried to run from police using a snow plow which crashed into a parked police car Sunday..

Members of the Bracebridge Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say they tried to conduct a traffic stop in Gravenhurst with a motorized snow vehicle on Sunday morning (January 11) at about 1:35am.  They say the driver tried to evade police, ultimately striking a parked police cruiser with its emergency lights going on Winhara Road in Gravenhurst.

A 32-yearold Gravenhurst man will appear in Bracebridge court on February 3 to answer to the charges.

*British spelling of plowed

Muskoka Lakes’ Public Works Director headed to Huntsville

(January 9, 10am PORT CARLING) The Director of Public Works and Engineering for Muskoka Lakes Township is going home. Jason Krynicki has been hired as the new Executive Director of Transportation Infrastructure at the Town of Huntsville, the town Krynicki was born in and grew up in. In fact, his first municipal job was as an operator with the Huntsville Waste Water Department.

“I was presented the opportunity to serve my home town and I accepted,” says Krynicki. “It wasn’t an easy decision to leave, but I’m excited for what lies ahead.”

Krynicki has 20 years experience in civil engineering, with 13 years in senior management. Today is his last day of work for the Township of Muskoka Lakes.

“Jason did a very good job for the Township over the past 2.5 years, and we’re sorry to lose him to Huntsville,” says Mayor Don Furniss, “but this is a great opportunity for him to return to his roots in a position with more scope and responsibility. We wish him every success in his new position.”

Furniss adds the Township will start searching soon for a new Director of Public Works.

 

 

OPP say drivers still need winter driving reminders

(February 8 3pm MUSKOKA) Police are asking drivers to take extra care while traveling on area roads on blustery winter days such as today.

Members of the Georgian Bay OPP say strong winds out of the west are blowing the recent snow falls across roadways in unprotected areas creating visibility challenges for drivers as the winter driving conditions vary from good to poor to nil.

Open area sections of Simcoe County Road 6 from Lafontaine to Elmvale, Simcoe County Road 29 from Tiny Beaches Road South to Horseshoe Valley Road, Highway 93 from Midland to Highway 400 and Highway 400 from Barrie north to Parry Sound are particularly vulnerable to white out conditions.

Drivers heading out should think ahead by choosing their route and have an alternate route in case of any road closures. Listen to local radio while in your vehicle to stay up to date on reported road closures or incidents.

“See and be seen” tips if you must head out on the roadways in poor weather conditions:

  • Be sure to clear all your vehicles windows and lights
  • Turn on your full vehicle lighting system and;
  • Drive to the road conditions

 

Flu on rise in Muskoka; hospitals take precautions

Flu spreading in Muskoka; hospitals warn against visiting hospital patients if you are feeling ill: Release from Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC)

 

(January 7, 2015, MUSKOKA) Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) is stepping up efforts to keep patients, staff, physicians and volunteers safe at hospitals in Bracebridge and Huntsville as the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has declared widespread influenza activity in our community.

The formal declaration signals MAHC to enact policies and strategies to control the further spread of influenza. While both hospital sites are not currently experiencing an influenza outbreak, precautionary measures are being put in place to help limit the spread of the flu virus.

You may notice staff, physicians and/or volunteers wearing masks. Those that haven’t been vaccinated are required to wear a mask at all times while working as long as the declaration remains in effect. This is for your protection and to help prevent an outbreak from occurring within our hospitals.

There are no visitor restrictions at this time. Visitors and outpatients are encouraged to clean their hands often using the hand hygiene stations throughout the hospital, and to don a complimentary mask if they wish.

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, which include sudden onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle and joint pain and headache, please DO NOT visit patients in the hospital.

“When there is widespread influenza activity in the community, we tend to see more patients admitted with the flu,” explains Karen Fleming, Chief Quality & Nursing Executive. “Our focus is ensuring it doesn’t spread from patient to patient and preventing an outbreak within the hospital.”

If you or a family member has the flu:

·        Stay home until the symptoms lessen
·        Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing. Immediately dispose of the used tissue and wash hands
·        Use the “Sleeve Sneeze” – cough or sneeze into the upper sleeve or elbow of clothing if tissues are not available
·        Avoid touching your face
·        Clean commonly touched surfaces frequently
·        Wash hands often with soap or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
·        Don’t visit people in hospitals or retirement/long term care homes

It’s not too late to get your flu shot if you haven’t already. Check with your local pharmacy or contact your family physician. Please consider protecting yourself and others.

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Who will carry the Pan Am flame through Bracebridge?

(January 5, 2pm): The Town of Bracebridge is accepting nominations for a designated community Torch Bearer to represent Bracebridge as the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Torch Relay comes through the community in June, 2015.

Bracebridge is presently working with TO2015 to finalize the community’s participation in the Pan Am Torch Relay. Town officials are looking forward to hosting the Pan Am flame in Bracebridge as part of the Relay and will announce the details of the community’s participation in February 2015.

Featured photo shows Pachi, the 2015 Toronto Games mascot

Three-thousand torchbearers will proudly carry the flame and share its welcoming Pan Am spirit on the 41-day journey towards the lighting of the cauldron on July 10, 2015 to officially open the Games.

The Toronto 2015 Pan Am Torch Relay is an invitation to the nation to join the journey, share the spirit and show community pride as preparations are made to welcome the best to the biggest international multi-sport Games Canada has ever held.

The selection criteria for the community torch bearer states that the individual shall embody the true spirit of the Games and the TO2015 vision to:

  • Inspire participation in sport;
  • Celebrate multiculturalism; and
  • Leave a legacy of sustainable excellence.

Nominees must also be at least 13 years of age on or before May 30, 2015, be a resident of Bracebridge and be able to run / wheel the assigned 200-metre segment of the relay. Nominees cannot be an elected official or candidate running for public or political office.

For nomination forms or more information about additional eligibility requirements, visit the Town of Bracebridge office at 1000 Taylor Court or visit www.bracebridge.ca. To learn more about the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am, click here.