Free income tax clinics for lower income residents

(February 28 MUSKOKA) Muskoka’s Community Services Department is coordinating a series of free tax clinics across Muskoka as part of the 2015 Community Volunteer Income Tax Program.  These clinics offer free tax preparation services to persons with lower incomes, including individuals and families, seniors and persons with disabilities.

“Today, the only way for low income persons to continue receiving government benefits (social assistance, Trillium Benefits, GST, Child Tax Benefits, etc.) is to file a tax return,” explains Rick Williams, District of Muskoka Community Services Commissioner.  “We are working with volunteers and community partners across Muskoka to host these free clinics so that individuals and families with low incomes don’t miss out on important income.”

Free income tax filing clinics start this week across Muskoka

Volunteers who have been registered with the Canada Revenue Agency will be available at each clinic to prepare returns for qualified persons who have simple tax returns, generally consisting of employment, pension or social assistance income and Ontario Trillium Benefit claims for rent or property tax.  Volunteers are not able to complete income tax and benefit returns for deceased persons, bankrupt individuals, or individuals who have capital gains or losses, employment expenses, or business or rental income and expenses.

The free clinics are scheduled across the region starting this week (locations in all Muskoka municipalities) and and  and run through March and April. See schedule below this article and contact each location if you wish to know more about these clinics. To learn about other ways to access the free tax preparation services, please contact Helena Johnson, Case Aide, District of Muskoka Community Services at 705-645-2412 Ext. 1482 or hjohnson@muskoka.on.ca

Free tax clinics in Muskoka

 

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OPP News Briefs: Snowmobile crash in Tiny Township, drug bust in Gravenhurst, arrest in Bracebridge car break-ins

(February 28 GEORGIAN BAY) Members of the Southern Georgian Bay Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) were dispatched at 10:20am February 27, 2015 to a report of a single snowmobile crash on the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) # 304 trail.

Tiny Township man in critical condition in Toronto hospital

The report came to the OPP Communications Centre in Orillia from Tiny Township Fire Services after two snowmobilers came upon the scene of a snowmobile and an injured, unconscious lone male approximately 300 meters north of the 17th concession of Tiny Township that would appear to have struck a tree alongside the trail. The owner of the snowmobile, a 44-year-old Tiny Township man, was treated at the scene with the assistance of the Tiny Township Fire Service and their 4trac equipped John Deere Gator. He was transported by Simcoe County Paramedic Services to Georgian Bay General Hospital and was later transported to a Toronto area hospital for treatment of his critical injuries.

Scene investigators were assisted by members of the OPP Central Region Technical Traffic Collision Investigation Unit who are continuing their investigation as to the cause of the crash. Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or has any knowledge of the incident is asked to contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122.

Traffic Stops leads to drug busts in Gravenhurst

(February 28 GRAVENHURST) On Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at approximately 2pm, the Muskoka Vice Street Crime Unit conducted a traffic stop on Highway 11 North in Gravenhurst and along with the Community Drug Action Team (CDAT), the Emergency Response Team (ERT) and the Ontario Provincial Police K-9 Unit arrested two men who were found to be illegally in possession of a quantity of prescription pills along with a quantity of cash.

The drugs seized have a street value of approximately $7200.00 and the total seizure is valued at $11 400.00.

40 year-old James Labelle of Gravenhurst has been charged with:

•           Possession of a Schedule 1 substance for the purpose of Trafficking CDSA5(2);

•           Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5000 CC354(1)(a)

25 year-old Matthew Jingle of Gravenhurst has been charged with:

•           Possession of a Schedule 1 substance for the purpose of Trafficking CDSA5(2);

•           Failing to Comply with a Probation Order CC733.1(1)

Both of the accused will appear in Bracebridge court on April 28th, 2015 to answer to their charges.

Later the same day, Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 at approximately 5pm, the Muskoka Vice Street Crime Unit conducted a traffic stop on Muskoka Road South in Gravenhurst and along with the Community Drug Action Team (CDAT), the Emergency Response Team (ERT) and members of the Bracebridge detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) arrested three people who were found to be illegally in possession of a quantity of prescription pills.

The seized pills have a street value of approximately $720.00.

59-year-old Bogdan Jakubasz, 36-year-old Charmaine Holtz and 26-year-old Brittany Weagle, all of Gravenhurst, have each been charged with one count of Possession of a Schedule I substance and will appear in Bracebridge court on March 24, 2015 to answer to their charges.

Bracebridge man charged after vehicles broken into on Sherwood Drive

(February 28 BRACEBRIDGE) On Thursday, February 26th, 2015 at 8pm, Bracebridge Ontario Provincial Police were called to Sherwood Drive, Bracebridge regarding a man that was caught by a witness breaking into vehicles. The witness detained the man until police arrived.

An 18 year-old Bracebridge man was arrested and charged with Theft Under $5000 CC334(b) and will appear in Bracebridge Court on March 24, 2015.

Health Minister meets with Mayors about Muskoka hospitals

(February 24 QUEEN’S PARK) Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins met with three Muskoka Mayors yesterday to discuss the future of hospital services in Bracebridge and Huntsville.

Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith, Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison and Township of Muskoka Lakes Mayor Donald Furniss met with Dr. Hoskins at Queen’s Park.

Photo shows Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care for Ontario

On behalf of the residents of Muskoka, the Mayors re-confirmed the importance of, and support for, the continued delivery of a full range of emergency, inpatient and surgical services at both the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital in Bracebridge and the Huntsville District Memorial Hospital.

Specifically, the Mayors asked that Minister Hoskins:

  1. ensure that the changes to the health care delivery system currently being implemented to improve hospital efficiency do not negatively impact access to services and the quality of care;
  2. ensure that the changes undertaken recognize the unique and important role that smaller hospitals, such as the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital have in promoting economic development and creating sustainable communities in Ontario; and
  3. take appropriate steps to ensure the continued delivery of a full range of emergency, inpatient and surgical services at both the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital in Bracebridge and the Huntsville District Memorial Hospital.

Mayor Smith said it was a productive meeting. “We talked about the challenges that are facing our local hospitals,” stated Smith in a press release issued after the meeting. “The Minister was quite receptive to hearing about those challenges and understood the issues presented. As a doctor himself, he brings a unique perspective to the conversation. He is committed to working with our area to make sure that future health care is as good as it can be.”

Mayor Smith also commented, “I think we had a sympathetic ear. Although I can’t speak for the Minister, it was certainly clear that he listened very intently to our concerns, he was well aware of the local situation, and was committed to helping in some way.” In a briefing note prepared by the Town of Bracebridge, Smith also reinforced that the continued delivery of acute care services at  South Muskoka Memorial Hospital is crucial to the long-term sustainability of his community and the continued provision of adequate health care services for Bracebridge residents.

The Muskoka politicians committed to staying in regular contact with the Minister of Health and Long-term Care. The delegation also expressed appreciation for his openness and insights regarding the delivery of hospital services in Bracebridge and Huntsville.

 

Related Articles,

December 2014, MNW, Technology boost for hospitals from Muskoka businesses

November 14, 2014, Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare outlines future plans

October 22, 2014, Huntsville Forester, Province commits to funding health hubs in Muskoka

 

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Update: Bracebridge woman dead after apartment fire Saturday

(February 23 BRACEBRIDGE)  63 year-old Gwendolyn Cartwright, the victim of Saturday’s apartment fire at 19 Monck Road, Bracebridge, died this morning in hospital in Toronto.

Occupants from neighbouring apartments still can’t return to their homes and officers from Bracebridge OPP say arrangements are being made to meet their needs.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Ontario Fire Marshalls’ office and the Muskoka Crime Unit.

(February 22  BRACEBRIDGE) A 63-year-old Bracebridge women is fighting for her life in a Toronto hospital after a fire at a Bracebridge apartment building Saturday night (February 21, 2015).

Shortly after 6pm. members of Bracebridge OPP responded to 19 Monck Road.  An apartment on the ground floor of the two-story complex was fully engulfed with local residents attempting to suppress the fire.  Responding members of Bracebridge Fire Department entered the apartment and located the lone unconscious female resident.  The victim, 63 year-old Gwendolyn Cartwright, was taken to South Muskoka Memorial Hospital and subsequently transported by air ambulance to Sunnybrook Hospital with life-threatening injuries.  She is presently listed in critical condition.  The victim’s two dogs in the apartment died.  All other residents of the complex were evacuated without injury.  They were assisted by Muskoka Victim Services and the Salvation Army.  Many were housed in local motels with the assistance of the District of Muskoka.  Firefighters had the blaze quickly under control.  The victim’s unit was destroyed and neighbouring apartments sustained extensive smoke damage.   There were working fire alarms in the apartment.

The cause of the fire in under investigation and the members of the Ontario Fire Marshalls’ office have been called in to assist.

South Muskoka Shield Coach voted tops in the hockey league

The Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League (GMHL) announced the winners of top performers of the season today. Among the winners was the South Muskoka Shield’s own Frank De Masi, who was recognized as the best coach in the league for the 14-15 season.

The Shield’s Sue Penwarden reports Mike Gambacorta was also named as first runner up for best defenceman, Braden Smith was second runner up for being most sportsmanlike and Matus Spodniak was first runner up for best new rookie (15/16 year old).

The first play off game for the Shield is this Thursday at the Meaford Arena at 7:30pm. Then it’s back to back home games for the Shield at the Graeme Murray Arena in Gravenhurst.  The puck drops at 8p.m. Friday,  then again Saturday on Saturday at 7pm.

For all award winners, click here.

NDP approve Mobbley to stand as Parry Sound-Muskoka candidate nominee

(February 15 PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA) The Parry Sound-Muskoka NDP Riding Association has announced Clyde Mobbley is good to go: He has been officially vetted by the Federal New Democratic Party of Canada as a nomination contestant in the riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka.

Clyde Mobbley
Clyde Mobbley

This is the final stage in being approved to be on the ballot at the nomination meeting that will determine who will be the NDP candidate in the upcoming 2015 federal election.

Mobbley says two more federal NDP nomination candidates could also be approved by the party to possibly run in the next federal election in Parry Sound-Muskoka. Mobbley ran for the NDP locally in the provincial election as well. In the 2011 federal election, the NDP ran Dr. Wendy Wilson.

OPP Marine Student program now taking applications

(February 13, 12pm BRACEBRIDGE) The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Bracebridge detachment is currently seeking applications for a Marine Assistant position for 2015.

The purpose of the program is to provide an opportunity to gain exposure and experience within the field of law enforcement through hands-on experience.  The student will learn marine safety and related legislation, boat maintenance, to prepare reports and to interact with the public as a representative of the OPP.  Marine students work alongside a qualified OPP marine operator on a police vessel conducting marine checks on recreational boaters for safety equipment usage, safe vessel operations and enforcement of statute law which includes the Canada Shipping Act 2001, the Criminal Code of Canada and the Liquor Licence Act.

The following is a list of minimum requirements in order to be considered as a candidate:

Must be at least 18 years of age; Possess a Pleasure Craft Operators Card;

  • Must be at least 18 years of age;
  • Possess a Pleasure Craft Operators Card;
  • Have a minimum Ontario G2 Driver’s Licence;
  • Have CPR and First Aid;
  • Have strong swimming abilities, good communication skills and a professional appearance;
  • Previous boating experience is also an asset.Only electronic applications will be considered and can be found at http://www.gojobs.gov.on.va/SEP.asp or the Career pages of www.opp.ca. It is recommended that you retain a copy for proof of application.

    Applications will be accepted from February 13, 2015 – March 1st, 2015.

    “This is a great opportunity for anyone that is looking at a career in law enforcement.  It provides the student with the opportunity to gain exposure and experience while allowing them to learn and assist with all aspects of marine safety”, comments Sergeant Todd Selvage, Bracebridge OPP Marine Unit.

And then there were five: Liberal nominees now approved

(February 12 PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA) With the official nod by the Liberal Party of Canada given to Mary Robertson now, all five potential candidates to represent the Federal Liberals in Parry Sound-Muskoka have been approved to run as candidates.

Mary Robertson
Mary Robertson

Feb. 12: Mary Robertson’s approval to run as candidate announced

There’s no word from the Parry Sound Muskoka Federal Liberal Association yet as to when Liberals in our region will make their top choice for candidate in the 2015 Federal election. The election is slated for October, but could come much earlier should Prime Minister Stephen Harper dissolve Parliament earlier.

Feb 11: Eric Gonneau gets Liberal green light

(February 11, 11:30pm PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA)  Eric Gonneau, a fifth generation Muskokan, has now received the approval of the Liberal Party of Canada to be a nomination candidate for the riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka. He is the fourth out of five potential candidate nominees that needed to be approved through the party vetting process before they could become official contenders for candidacy. The other three approved potential candidates are Phyllis Winnington-Ingram, Trisha Cowie, and Paul Everitt.  Gonneau got his green light on February 9 and Mary Robertson has yet to announce whether she, too, has been ‘green lit’.

To learn more about all candidate contestants, click here to visit the Liberal riding association website.

Release from Eric Gonneau

Eric Gonneau, Liberal nominee
Eric Gonneau

Upon hearing of Eric’s approval, Eric’s uncle Wayne commented that “after living in the area for over 100 years our family has deep roots and Eric knows the issues affecting the residents.”

Eric’s campaign will focus on issues that matter to area residents including the environment, job creation, veterans affairs, transportation, and communications (internet).  “I believe all levels of government, Federal, Provincial and Municipal need to establish a positive working relationship.  There is a staggering amount of work to be done within infrastructure renewal, health care, and the environment to name but a few.  No one has enough money for what needs to be done and we need to be working together,”  said Eric.

“I look forward to being part of Team Trudeau” further commented Eric,  “I believe that my experience, professional expertise, abilities, skills, political philosophy and understanding of the issues uniquely position me as the best candidate for the Parry Sound – Muskoka riding in 2015.”

His father Barry is ecstatic about Eric’s venture into politics.  He’s announced it to all his hockey teams and artisan colleagues.  Dave Doucette, a martial arts instructor and former OPP constable says, “One of Eric’s strengths is an analytical mindset which directs him to formulate solutions where others only see problems.”

Eric looks forward to connecting with area residents at upcoming events.  Eric may be reached at 1-866-904-1005 or eric@gonneau.ca.  Or visit his website www.gonneau.ca <http://www.gonneau.ca> for more info. Eric received the green light from the party on February 9.

ABOUT ERIC: Eric was born in Parry Sound and raised in Glen Orchard, near his family homestead of Minett.  He attended both Glen Orchard Public School and Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School before being accepted for a final semester at the Ontario Science Centre Science School, a unique school that each year selects up to 50 students from across Ontario.

 

Related Articles:

February 10, MNW, Two more potential candidates get Liberal green light

Bala Falls Update: MLA confirms stand against project

(February 11, 9pm MUSKOKA LAKES) The Muskoka Lakes Association (MLA) has made its opposition to the North Bala Falls hydro project official to Township, District and First Nations Council members. The development by Swift River Energy Limited (SREL) would see a 4.5-megawatt run-of-the-river waterpower facility built on the south side of the north Bala Falls (south side of the north dam), a facility the association believes is wrong for Bala and Muskoka.

A letter addressed to the Township of Muskoka Lakes Council today reads “Over the past few years the MLA has been intently watching the debate over the proposed hydro-electric facility at Bala Falls. While we have not commented in the past, we feel our members wish us to take a stance regarding this precedent setting development.”

While this may be the first time the MLA has voiced its opposition directly to local politicians in writing, it has questioned the project in the past to the province. In October 2012, the MLA wrote to Ontario Environment Minister Jim Bradley saying “our Board of Directors has discussed the issue extensively and concluded that without further review, the current project is not appropriate for Muskoka.” (To read that letter on the MLA website, click here). Today’s letter confirms the association’s position is unchanged, but its own resolution stating official opposition is new. The MLA Board met Thursday February 5 to discuss the proposed development and to decide on a course of action regarding the project.

The MLA board confirmed its opposition by passing a resolution that included the following*:

The Muskoka Lakes Association confirms its position that the Swift River Energy Limited (SREL) proposal to construct a hydroelectric facility at Bala Falls is an inappropriate and disruptive use for the businesses, residents, tourists and cottagers of Bala and the larger cottage area of Muskoka;

Further that the Muskoka Lakes Association notes the power potentially generated from this facility is not needed;

Therefore be it resolved that the Muskoka Lakes Association hereby confirms its opposition to the construction of the proposed Swift River hydroelectric facility at Bala and further that the Association’s opposition to this project be communicated to its membership, interested stakeholders, such as the Wahta Mohawk community, Williams Treaty Nations, local cottager associations, local municipal governments, local media and the Ontario Minister of Energy and the Premier of the Province.

The letter containing the resolution is signed by MLA President Michael Hart, and by the association’s Vice-Chair of the Political and Land Use Committee, George Boddington. It was copied to Wahta First Nation Chief Philip Franks, Beausoleil First Nation Councillor Karry A. Sandy-McKenzie, all District of Muskoka Councillors, the Moon River Property Owners’ Association, the West Muskoka Cottagers Association and to local media.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 12: In a message today to MLA members the association says it will also be communicating its resolution to the Energy Minister and the Premier’s office. Further, it noted, “The MLA regrets the emotional political schisms that have developed in the township, and particularly Bala, over this issue. Whatever happens to the North Falls, we hope all residents, politicians and community leaders will pull together to ensure the best outcome for the community. The MLA looks forward to assisting in that process.”

The MLA is also scheduled to make a presentation on water quality at the next meeting of District Council on Tuesday, February 17. You can view that presentation by clicking here.

This Friday, Township of Muskoka Lakes Council will receive a report from its CAO about the North Bala Falls Hydro Project recommending the possible make up of a working committee to look at construction mitigation, and a letter to the Premier about revenue sharing, among other items.

Photo shows proposed build site beside north Bala dam, taken December 9, 2014.

*February 12 Correction Note: Text has been corrected from original article yesterday that read “This is the resolution.” The letter circulated yesterday stated “The appropriate portion of the resolution is as follows:”. MNW regrets the error ).

Strike action continues for community health workers

(February 10 HUNTSVILLE) A strike by about 3,000 Community Care Access Centre Care Coordinators (CCACs) and other health professionals is now into its second full week, and despite the frigid temperatures, pickets are ongoing at the entrance to hospitals in Huntsville and Bracebridge. Today almost 20 workers lined both sides of the entrance road to the hospital in Huntsville, waving at passersby and offering information. Featured photo shows four women on one side of the street at 10 am: by 11am their numbers had more than doubled. Today the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) also launched radio ads to increase awareness of what the workers want — which they say is a return to the bargaining table to talk wage hikes. The CCAC Health Professionals had a two-year wage freeze in their last contract and are seeking a 1.4 per cent increase rather than a wage freeze in a new contract. The workers have been without a contract since March 31, 2014.

(January 30, MUSKOKA) Members of local Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) who belong to the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) are on strike today but Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) expects no disruptions at Muskoka hospitals.

Noting the labour dispute has nothing to do with MAHC or its nurses, a release from MAHC advises that hospital sites in Bracebridge and Huntsville may be targeted as picketing sites. Patients and visitors coming to those hospitals are not expected to have any problems accessing the buildings due to any picket lines.

A small group of CCAC members are picketing today near the entrance to the hospital in Huntsville.

“We want to assure our staff and patients that regular hospital services are being maintained as the labour disruption is not related to any matter between MAHC and ONA members employed by MAHC,” says Natalie Bubela, Chief Executive Officer. “At no time should any of the picketers impede your access to hospital property as you have a right to cross a picket line.”

The release also states MAHC respects the collective bargaining process and the rights of these striking ONA members, and that its priority continues to be patients and providing high quality care.


Two more potential candidates get Liberal green light: Trisha Cowie and Phyllis Winnington-Ingram

(February 10 PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA) Two more wanna-be federal Liberal candidates have been approved by the party to possibly run in the next federal election in our riding. Trisha Cowie and Phyllis Winnington-Ingram received the needed approval of the party to stand as candidates in late January. Paul Everitt passed the vetting process back in November. Still waiting to be ‘green lit’ by the Parry Sound-Muskoka Federal Liberal Association are Mary Robertson and Eric Gonneau. (UPDATE JAN 11 – Eric Gonneau received green light on Feb. 9. Read about Gonneau getting green light). There’s no word yet on when local Liberals may get to vote for the candidate of their choice to represent them.

On receiving word they got the nod, Cowie and Winnington-Ingram issued press releases to announce their status as candidate nominees was official. To learn more about them, please read their releases below.

Release from Trisha Cowie

Trisha Cowie, Liberal candidate nominee
Trisha Cowie

Trisha Cowie is pleased to announce that she has been officially “green lighted” by the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) as a nomination contestant in the riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka. This is the final stage in being approved to be on the ballot at the nomination meeting that will determine who will be the Liberal candidate in the upcoming 2015 federal election.

“The nomination process provides a great opportunity to meet with thoughtful people from all walks of life, and to talk with them about the issues facing this riding,” says Trisha. “I look forward to continuing to meet people and share ideas for solutions to meet our challenges.”

Trisha lives on Bass Lake with her family and is the proprietor of Cowie Law Professional Corporation. She is a strong proponent for transparent and accountable government, and believes the government should be able to balance a budget while supporting programs that create jobs, fight poverty, and promote fairness and opportunity for all Canadians. Trisha earned an Honours B.A. at the University of Toronto, Juris Doctor at the University of Western Ontario, and studied Emergency Management at Fleming College.

If you would like to meet with Trisha, she will be attending the SpeakEasy at the Griffin Gastro-pub in Bracebridge on the last Thursday of each month at 7 pm. For further information or to volunteer with Trisha’s team contact her at trishacowie@gmail.com or 705-762-4944. More information can be found on her website at www.trishacowie.com.

Release from Phyllis Winnington-Ingram

Phyllis Winnington-Ingram, a lifelong resident, business owner, researcher and community development specialist in Muskoka and Parry Sound, is now approved by the national Liberal party as a nominee contestant in the up-coming Federal Election. It is expected that the Federal Election will be called on or before October this year.

Phyllis Ingram
Phyllis Winnington-Ingram

Phyllis says she felt compelled to run for election because “It’s time we have an elected representative who really understands the challenges our region faces.  I believe in supporting the talents of local people and their communities so as to create a prosperous and sustainable economy.  This in turn will provide the capacity to fund the local supports and service organizations that are the heart and soul of our communities.”

In citing the source of her commitment she made clear that “As both a small business owner and a single parent for almost 20 years, I have had to face significant challenges on more than one occasion.   As we all know, long term jobs and promised business opportunities have not materialized.  It is time we take back our power and develop local solutions to local problems.  We need people committed to bringing success to both themselves and their community through self-engagement, innovative ideas, dedication and hard work. Those are the qualities I see every day, in the people I meet across this riding. The current Government has done little to inspire and support the people of Parry Sound Muskoka to take their future into their own hands.”

Phyllis noted that over the years she has worked closely with Federal Government Agencies, Ministers and elected officials in bringing positive changes to the Co-operative and Not-For-Profit sector in Parry Sound Muskoka.  Phyllis, a wife, mother and grandmother, believes “we need to get back to our hardworking, pull ourselves up by the bootstrap” roots. She emphasized her belief in a combination of individual responsibility and collective action so as to create healthy, dynamic communities and a robust economy. “We are committed as Liberals” she said “to leaving our children a better country than the one we inherited.”

To learn more about Phyllis, visit NominatePhyllis.ca, or call 705-646-9412/705-641-8265

 

 

Local high schools get new flags for flag day from MP Clement

(February 9 5pm MUSKOKA) MP Tony Clement today invited everyone to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our national flag. To mark Flag Day, he has sent new flags to each of the high schools in Parry Sound-Muskoka where he says he is ” sure they will be raised with great pride in celebration of this special anniversary. Our flag is a symbol of our Canadian identity and a source of pride from coast to coast to coast.”

In a letter, Clement reminds his constituents that the Canadian flag was officially adopted on February 15th, 50 years ago and raised for the first time on Parliament Hill, across Canada and at Canadian missions around the world. Since 1965, the red and white maple leaf has been the most significant symbol of our identity and a source of inspiration and pride for us all.

Clement says we can can show our pride by taking part in the “Share your moment with the flag” challenge. The challenge invites all Canadians to share a photo or a short video of themselves with the flag, to share it on social media (Twitter and Facebook) using the hashtag (#FLAG50) and to encourage their family and friends to do the same.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I thank you for helping Canadians celebrate our flag, and I wish you all a very happy 50th anniversary of the National Flag of Canada,” says Clement. Flag Day is this Sunday, February 15.

Featured photo of flag off stern by MNW

Half million dollars damage estimated in Muskoka Lakes cottage blaze

(February 6, 11am MUSKOKA LAKES) Firefighters did their best to save a cottage in the Three Mile Lake area of Muskoka Lakes last night.

Firefighters from Station 7 (Windermere/Raymond), Station 9 (Milford Bay), and Station 6 (Port Carling) responded last night just before 11pm to a cottage fire at 1041 Carlo Enterprise Road.  Due to the configuration of the cottage roof, the deep snow, and the cold, Fire Chief Richard Hayes says this fire was difficult to extinguish, but the firefighters can take pride in knowing their efforts “made a difference.”  The cottage was about 1900 square feet in size, and the dollar loss is estimated $450,000.  Hayes says no one was present at the cottage at the time of the fire, which appears to have been caused by electrical issues.

27 accidents on Hwy 11 yesterday; two OPP cruisers damaged

(February 4 BRACEBRIDGE) Bracebridge Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to 27  collisions over the course of the day yesterday, Tuesday, February 2, 2015.

Shortly before 10:30 a.m., two separate multi vehicle collisions occurred on Highway 11 south in the area of High Falls Road and Alpine Ranch Road, Bracebridge.  An officer who had arrived on the scene of the collision near High Falls road was stopped in his police cruiser when an oncoming vehicle lost control and crashed into the cruiser causing minor damage.  The officer was not injured.  Police temporarily closed Highway 11 South at Highway 141 to remove the involved vehicles.

Shortly after 8pm., an officer conducting traffic control on Highway 11 North near Taylor Road in Bracebridge was stationary in his cruiser when an approaching vehicle collided with the cruiser causing significant damage.  The officer and the other involved driver were taken to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries.

Bracebridge OPP would like to remind motorists to adjust their driving in response to changing weather and road conditions. Reducing speed and fully engaging headlights for visibility are key factors in traversing the highways safely.