Highway 118 East reopened following collision investigation

Highway 118 East near Carnarvon has been reopened following an investigation into a single vehicle collision.

Officers from the Haliburton Highlands Detachments of the Ontario Provincial Police attended on Highway 118 just west of One Mile Drive in the early morning hours.

The collision occurred at 2:00 a.m. when a single motor vehicle left the highway and struck a rock cut.

A lone male occupant received serious injuries as a result of the collision.

Members of Haliburton Highlands OPP and members of the Technical Collision section attended the scene for the investigation of the collision.

Additional assistance was provided by the Bracebridge Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police.

Highway 118 was closed for investigation of the collision and has now been opened to traffic.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Haliburton Highlands Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police.

MNR tracking “full sized” bear that was hit by a vehicle near public school

OPP and MNR officers are currently trying to track a large bear that was hit by a vehicle near a public school.

This morning at 7:20 am a collision occurred between a motor vehicle and what was described as “a full sized bear” on Old Barrie Road between Penetanguishene Road and Line 1 of Oro-Medonte Township.  This was near W.R. Best Public School.

School authorities were notified and the school along with its students were secured for safety.

Officers from the Barrie Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police are on scene along with Officers from the Ministry of Natural Resources who are currently tracking the bear.

The Barrie OPP, for the sake of public interest, would like to notify the public of this information so that if they see the injured bear they are asked to contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or the Ministry of Natural Resource at 1-866-514-2327.

 

Minimum wage increase takes effect in October

As part of its balanced plan to build Ontario up and help people in their everyday lives, Ontario is raising the general minimum wage from $11.25 to $11.40 on October 1, 2016 – the third consecutive year it has increased.

Minimum wage rates for liquor servers, students under the age of 18, hunting and fishing guides, and homeworkers will also increase at the same time.

In 2014, the government passed legislation to tie minimum wage increases to Ontario’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), providing annual, reliable increases to workers and predictability for businesses. As a result, full-time minimum wage earners in the province are making $2,392 per year more than they did three years ago.

This builds on progress the government is already making to support Ontario workers and help connect people with jobs including:

Modernizing the province’s employment and labour laws with the goal of improving the lives of vulnerable workers, while supporting business
Investing more than $1 billion a year in employment and training services

Helping low and middle income Ontario students with the cost of tuition in order to keep post-secondary education within the reach of all families, while building the best-educated workforce in the world

Investments of nearly $174 million in 2016-17 for programs that support apprentices, employers and training delivery agents

Improving access to labour market information and making it easier for job seekers to make informed decisions about their education, training and careers
Increasing the minimum wage in a fair and predictable manner is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs.

The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

QUICK FACTS

This is the 10th minimum wage increase since 2003.

Minimum wage increases are announced by April 1 each year, and are in effect on October 1 of the same year.

The primary sectors employing minimum wage earners are accommodation and food, retail trade and agriculture.

Beaver Creek Prison under lockdown in Gravenhurst

Officials at Beaver Creek prison in Gravenhurst are keeping mum about what’s prompted a lockdown at the facility.

On September 27th, at about 8:40 p.m., the lockdown was put in place in the medium security unit at the prison to enable staff members to conduct an “exceptional search.”

Officials say the search was ordered to ensure the safety and security of the institution, its staff and inmates. Normal operations will apparently resume as soon as it is considered safe to do so.

Regularly scheduled visits may be affected. Visitors who have already planned a visit are asked to contact the Institution directly.

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) says it is committed to preventing the entry of contraband into its institutions. CSC also works in partnership with the police to take action against those who attempt to introduce contraband into correctional institutions.

Tougher penalties for drug impaired drivers starts October 2nd

If you’re high and behind the wheel, you’ll face stiffer penalties if caught starting in October.

The province is improving the safety of Ontario roads by bringing in penalties for drug-impaired driving that match those already in place for drunk drivers.

Starting October 2, 2016, drivers under the influence of drugs will face the following penalties:

A $180 penalty

An immediate licence suspension of three days for the first occurrence, seven days for the second occurrence and 30 days for the third and subsequent occurrences upon failure of a roadside sobriety test

A possible 90-day licence suspension and a seven-day vehicle impoundment following further testing by a drug recognition expert at a police station

Mandatory education or treatment programs, and installation of an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, for drivers with two or more licence suspensions involving alcohol or drugs within a 10-year period

These new measures were introduced as part of the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act last year. In addition to these penalties, impaired driving can lead to criminal charges which could ultimately result in a loss of licence, additional fines and jail time.

Keeping our roads safe is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

QUICK FACTS

According to the Office of the Chief Coroner, 39 per cent of drivers killed on Ontario’s roads in 2013 had either drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol in their system.

Drug-impaired driving collisions in Ontario had an estimated social cost of $612 million in 2013.

The Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act was passed on June 2, 2015. It also included tougher penalties for distracted driving and “dooring” cyclists, as well as new rules for school crossings and pedestrian crossovers.

(photo via driving.ca)

Man charged with Stunt Driving on Hwy 69

A Scarborough man’s been charged with Stunt Driving after police say he was clocked going more than 50km/hr over the speed limit.

On September 27th at 2:25a.m., a member of the West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) was on radar patrol on Highway 69 in Henvey Township.

The officer observed a motor vehicle traveling at more than 50 km/h over the posted speed limit. As the officer attempted to catch up, the vehicle followed a transport in an unsafe manner and then passed it. A traffic stop was conducted.

The driver of the motor vehicle, Hai Lun Li, 37 years of age from Scarborough was charged with;

Stunt Driving – Excessive Speed greater than 50km/hr. over the speed limit contrary to the Highway Traffic Act (HTA)

Careless Driving, contrary to the HTA

His driver’s licence was suspended for 7 days pursuant to the HTA.

Muskoka makes Expedia.ca’s top green locations in Canada list

Muskoka has made another top list, this time highlighting the region for its reputation as a leader in green initiatives.

Expedia.ca’s travel blog cite’s the district in its 17 Greenest Cities in Canada list.

The article is a part of Expedia’s Eco-Travel: Environmentally Conscious Tourism series.

Check it out to see why:

https://travelblog.expedia.ca/17-greenest-cities-canada/

Lakeland Networks rolling out 1 Gigabit fibre service to rural homes and businesses

Lakeland Networks is changing lives by rolling out 1 Gigabit fibre service to rural homes and businesses.

The municipally owned company was first out of the gate in Ontario to bring 1 Gig service to businesses of Muskoka towns in 2014. Now, with the help of the Federal-Provincial Small Communities Fund, it has gone one giant step further, connecting even out-of-town residential customers with the highest Internet speeds available, anywhere.

It is the first Canadian company to make fibre to rural customers a reality.

Lakeland has released a video telling the stories of such customers, whom for less than $100 can now upload, download and browse using their blazing fast fibre connection. With no data cap, streaming of movies, videos, and TV shows has never been easier. Included is a fully featured phone line for local and long distance calling.

The attached video features Maria aka Nozie, who uploads her accordion performances in under five minutes from rural Bracebridge; Jennifer Maloney, a food blogger sharing recipes with large photos she could never have uploaded before, and who previously had little or no access to high speed of any kind from her home, east of Bracebridge; and Hannah, a high school student who used to struggle with uploading her homework and essays but no longer.

The ambitious $8.6 million project to extend Lakeland’s existing fibre network was made possible with $5.7 million from the Small Communities Fund. Since being selected for funding a year ago, the company has managed to roll out another 100 kilometres of fibre optic in areas beyond Bracebridge and Huntsville (such as Port Sydney and parts of Utterson). “We are very thankful for our federal-provincial partnership which we hope to build on, to provide high speed internet to more customers in rural Muskoka and other parts of Ontario” says Chris Litschko, Chief Executive Officer, Lakeland Holding Ltd.

“We’re well ahead of plan both in fibre construction and customer connections due to the quality and commitment of our great team,” says Litschko.

Lakeland Holding is owned by six municipalities, including Bracebridge, Huntsville, Parry Sound, Burk’s Falls, Sundridge and Magnetawan. Since 2007, Lakeland Networks has expanded its infrastructure to over 400 kilometres of fibre.

About Lakeland Networks

Lakeland Networks, a division of Lakeland Energy Ltd. is a subsidiary of Lakeland Holding Ltd. which is owned by 6 local municipalities: Bracebridge, Huntsville, Parry Sound, Burk’s Falls, Sundridge and Magnetawan. These municipalities amalgamated their electricity assets together to form Lakeland Power Distribution Ltd. (electricity distribution) and Bracebridge Generation (green waterpower electricity generation). Later, they created Lakeland Energy Ltd/Lakeland Networks to help support areas of business that needed assistance, providing services including high-speed fibre internet, VoIP phone service, point-to-point networking for business Internet, and full service IT and local area network and VLAN extension solutions.

For more information contact:

Bill Gispen, Manager, Lakeland Networks
1-844-662-7722 ext. 507
bgispen@lakelandnetworks.com

Video Title: A Canadian First: Rural Fibre to the Home. Video available at https://youtu.be/AcM0cYiOSbQ

Connect with the company:
Facebook.com/Lakeland-Networks-1575613902688269/?fref=ts
Twitter.com/@LakelandNetwork

Vehicle crash claims the life of well known community activist

Police say they’re investigating after a Hyundai Sonata left Hwy 11 Monday evening and crashed into a rockcut in Huntsville, claiming the life of a well known community activist.

It happened just after 8pm – Huntsville Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), along with Huntsville Fire and Muskoka EMS were dispatched to the crash.

Police say the Hyundai Sonata had left the road and struck a rock cut northbound north of Stephenson Road #1 in the town of Huntsville.

The deceased, according to a post on the page ‘Let’s make Bracebridge Great Again’ was the page’s co creator Steve Hern.

Police say the male driver was the only occupant of the vehicle and was taken to a local hospital with undetermined injuries at the time.

The investigation is continuing.

(Photo via Steve Hern’s FB Page)

 

Historic Gravenhurst Albion Hotel getting heritage plaque

The Albion Hotel is getting a heritage plaque.

The public is invited to meet with Town Councillors at the Hotel, located at 100 Muskoka Rd N, Gravenhurst on Saturday October 1st, at 6pm, as the historic landmark is recognised.

The ceremony will follow the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario’s General Meeting, which chose the Albion for this year’s meeting backdrop. Archivist Judy Humphries will be on hand to conduct a history of the Gravenhurst Albion Hotel starting at 5:00 p.m.

“It has been an exciting journey so far and we’re at a point where everyone is thrilled to see what has become of the Albion Hotel,” said Hank Smith, Chair of the Gravenhurst Municipal Heritage Committee. “The unveiling of the official bronze plaque will be the final step in recognizing this important heritage building in our downtown.”

Guy Gagnon, the hotel’s current owner, refurbished the exterior or the building in 2013, these renovations helped to secure a Built Heritage Award from the Municipal Heritage Committee.

Under the Ontario Heritage Act, the Albion Hotel was named a heritage site in 1983, giving it designation as a building of Cultural Interest. The hotel, which was constructed in 1888, replaced the original Albion that burned in the Great Fire of 1887. The Albion was constructed in the Gothic Revival period and is one of the few remaining examples in Muskoka of Century Hotel architecture. Special features of the building include the double window dormers, decorative rounded brick arches over the windows with wooden carved inserts which are all well preserved to this day. The structure was an important part of life during the lumber and steam eras.

Today the Albion is home to ‘The Arts at the Albion’ which moved into the Hotel in 2013 and occupies the area which was originally the kitchen and dining hall.

The building also contains a number of apartment units, David Dawson’s studio and the Albion Tavern.

Bracebridge Transit extending free service until mid-October

Bracebridge residents and visitors are advised that Bracebridge Transit will be extending free ridership until mid-October.

On August 29th, 2016, the Town introduced a new transit system, “Ride the Wave”, with free ridership for the first month. The bus service follows an hourly schedule on a single route within the Town’s urban core.

Everyone is invited to try the new transit system and the Town would appreciate any feedback you have to assist them in offering the best service.

Earlier:

August 2016 – After much contemplation, the Town of Bracebridge officially launched its new transit service on Monday, August 29th, 2016.  Members of Town Council invite residents to take advantage of the free month of ridership that is being offered. “Ride the Wave” and become familiar with the Town’s new public transportation system.

“We wanted to brand our new transit service in a fun and memorable way,” stated Mayor Graydon Smith as he boarded the temporary 20 passenger bus that will run until the Town’s new accessible, low floor bus arrives.  “Ride the Wave’ exemplifies the excitement Council feels with the unveiling of this long awaited service.  We want people to view riding transit as participating in something that is positive and advantageous.

When you ‘Ride the Wave’, you are taking part in a new transportation trend that we hope will become an integral part of our community.”  Working closely with an appointed Transit Working group, a one hour circuit route has been developed that will assist residents in the urban core access retail merchants, recreational and education facilities, as well as medical and professional services.

Fees have been set at $2.50 per trip for adults and $2.00 per trip for seniors and students.  Children 5 and under accompanied by an adult ride for free. Individuals who anticipate using transit on a regular basis will benefit from the monthly pass.  Monthly passes will be available for purchase from the Municipal Office, the Bracebridge Public Library and the Bracebridge Sportsplex by October.

“With a total of 47 stops along the route, there will be plenty of places for people to get on board.  Each stop is clearly identified with a Bracebridge Transit sign.” said Walt Schmid, Director of Public Works.  “We expect that the route may need some adjustments over time as we learn more about where are riders are coming from and where they need to go.”

Bracebridge Transit has launched a detailed website (www.bracebridgetransit.ca) that offers a wide range of information about the service including detailed information on fares, schedules and route, as well as transit etiquette.
Bracebridge Town Council first began exploring the need for a transit system back in 2008.  In 2014, Council ratified a motion to begin to develop both a conventional and specialized transit service for the community.

Staff began to work with a variety of stakeholders until a Transit Working Group was established in 2015. In June of 2016, Hammond Transportation was identified as the successful respondent to a Request for Proposal and entered into a contract with the municipality to offer the conventional transit service.  A similar agreement is in the works for the delivery of Bracebridge Mobility, a door to door specialized transit service for those unable to use the conventional transit service.  It will be launched later this fall.

“It is well documented that communities grow when they have a thriving public transit system. Transit connects people to jobs, schools, services and to other people.  It is environmentally sound and will have positive impact on our community for years to come.” said Mayor Smith.  “It is the wave of the future. We hope that everyone will take the opportunity to “Ride the Wave” by riding the bus.”

Bracebridge Fire Department holding Open House

Bracebridge’s Fire Department is inviting the public out for a fun, informative evening about fire prevention.

On Wednesday, October 5th at 6:30 p.m. the Bracebridge Fire Department will be hosting an Open House at Station One on Dominion Street to celebrate this year’s Fire Prevention Week.

The Fire Department will be providing the public with a variety of information needed to ensure that Bracebridge families and local businesses remain safe for years to come.

The theme for this year’s Open House is “Don’t Wait, Check the Date”

Bracebridge firefighters will be informing residents to check the date on their smoke/carbon monoxide (CO) alarms and to replace them if required. Manufacturers recommend replacing a smoke alarm every ten (10) years and a CO alarm every seven (7) years. The Fire Department extends the invitation to come out and meet some of the local firefighters, indulge in food and refreshments, and win some great prizes.

Some of the fun activities being offered at the Open House are:

– Complimentary hamburgers, hotdogs;

– A children’s firefighter challenge (including extinguishing a simulated house fire; stop, drop and roll station; a hose carry; and a baby carry);

– How to prepare a home escape plan;

– Various giveaways and prizes;

– Try on fire-fighting gear and see the equipment used in emergencies;

– And don’t forget about meeting the department’s mascot “SPARKY the fire dog”.

“We look forward to spreading the fire safety message in a fun and memorable way,” says Fire Prevention Officer Mike Peake.

Every home in Ontario must have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas. In addition each home must have a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm outside sleeping areas. It is strongly recommended that additional CO alarms be placed in areas where fuel burning appliances are located, the distance from the appliances should be determined by the manual of the detector.

For more information about this informative event, email Peake at mpeake@bracebridge.ca or call the Fire Department at 705-645-8258.

(Photo via Town of Bracebridge)

OPP seeking tips about outdoor marijuana grows

The OPP would like to ask the public to be on the lookout for suspicious activity associated with outdoor marijuana harvesting.

Marihuana harvesting season is approaching and the OPP would like the assistance of the public in reporting suspicious activity. Usually outdoor marihuana is kept outdoors as long as possible to maximize the yield. The harvesting usually begins after the first frost of the year as most plants will not typically survive a second frost.

If you are out hiking in remote areas watch for the following telltale signs of outdoor marihuana grow operations:

Hand tools – shovels/rakes. etc.

Power tools – weed eaters/chainsaws. etc.

Watering supplies – hose/pumps/generators. etc.

Soil/peat moss

Fertilizer/grow chemicals

Plastic Barrels

Camouflage netting

GPS and radios

Camp supplies – sleeping bag/stove/lantern/tent. etc.

The OPP is requesting the assistance of the public in reporting potential grow sites. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Orillia OPP at 705-326-3536 or Call Crime Stoppers at 1-800- 222-TIPS. (1-800-222-8477) or submit your information online at www.crimestopperssdm.com if you have any information on this crime or others. Crime Stoppers does not subscribe to call display, you will remain anonymous. Being anonymous, you will not testify in court and your information may lead to a cash reward of up to $2,000.00.

Orillia man charged with possessing child porn

Members of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Orillia detachment assisted by the Child Sexual Exploitation Unit have arrested and charged an Orillia man following a child pornography investigation.

On September 22nd, police say they arrested a 69 year old male for possessing child pornography.

Reginald Magee of Orillia is charged with three counts of Possession of Child Pornography.

The accused continues to be held in custody pending a bail hearing.

The investigation is continuing.

MAHC board appoints new directors

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare is pleased to introduce three new Directors, appointed earlier this month to the Board of Directors following a recruitment drive this summer.

Rhonda Lawson joins the Board for a one-year term, bringing a wealth of board experience from for-profit and not-for-profit corporations. Ms. Lawson is a corporate executive who currently heads up her own human resources consulting firm.

Michael Walters has also been appointed to a one-year term as a board director, having served as a community member on the board’s Strategic Planning Committee last year. Mr. Walters is the Executive Director for the Georgian Bay Treatment Centre and has an extensive background in mental health.

Moreen Miller joins the Board for a three-year term with professional experience from the aggregate sector. She has also served on advisory boards for mining and aggregate, as well as land and watershed stewardship.

In addition, two new community members have been appointed to standing board committees. MAHC is pleased to welcome Linda Walsh and Adam Hutton to their community member role, joining Betsy Rothwell, Gordon Horne and Richard Augustine.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am excited to welcome these new members who bring the Board to our full complement,” says Board Chair Evelyn Brown. “We have a dedicated group of talented volunteers with diverse skills and I am looking forward to working with them.”

The Board of Directors is a 17-member skills-based, volunteer body with 12 elected directors. The Board plays a key leadership role in setting policies and visioning for the hospital and provides oversight of the delivery of health care in the communities that we serve. Learn more about the Board of Directors on our website.

Muskoka charity shortlisted for international award, but is unable to sustain 17 Girlz Unplugged groups

This year has brought a mix of great and not so good news to a local charitable organization.

YWCA Muskoka has been offering programs for girls and youth for almost 20 years through school based Girlz Unplugged programs, summer leadership and high school youth programs.

Thirty nine percent of the participants the organization serves are 18 years and under.

In May of this year, YWCA Muskoka was nominated by one of its funders for the “With and For Girls Award”.

In its 2nd year, this international award is given by a collective of 7 organizations united by a common belief that girls are agents of change, to 20 organizations from around the world and accompanied by a flexible cash grant and two years of organizational mentoring to build capacity and develop programs.

The With and For Girls Award highlights the accomplishments and dedication of locally led, girl-centred organizations that are based in the communities they serve and have annual revenues of less than $500,000US. Staff and volunteers at YWCA Muskoka also completed an application, provided a photo submission with the help of Girlz Unplugged program participants, and participated in a unique ‘Skype’ interview with a group of 17 and 18 year old young women from Chiapas Mexico.

In the end, YWCA Muskoka was one of 44 organizations shortlisted from 34 countries for the With and For Girls Award. YWCA Muskoka will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017, an accomplishment particularly noteworthy as the local organization serves over 1200 people each year through a multi-site model that takes a wide range of violence prevention, leadership, and poverty reduction programs to participants across Muskoka’s largely rural region.

YWCA Muskoka works through partnership with school boards.

“To be nominated among girls-centred organizations from around the world, and then shortlisted is an incredible honour and really validates the quality of what we do as a ‘small and mighty’ community YWCA and reflects back to us what our funders and donors believe about the importance of working with girls and young women,” says Executive Director, Hannah Lin. “Our task now is to continue to deliver on our mission, stay true to our values, and find the means to keep on providing impactful experiences and developing innovative opportunities that involve girls as decision makers.”

YWCA Muskoka will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017, an accomplishment particularly noteworthy as the local organization serves over 1200 people each year through a multi-site model that takes a wide range of violence prevention, leadership, and poverty reduction programs to participants across Muskoka’s largely rural region. YWCA Muskoka works through partnership with school boards and community agencies, and advocates and provides leadership on issues affecting women and girls. Doing the work without core operating funding from federal or provincial government has been an ongoing challenge for YWCA staff and board members for the past ten years and is getting tougher.

The organization has had to make the difficult decision this year to scale back one of YWCA Muskoka’s longest running programs, Girlz Unplugged, until sustainable funding can be found. For the past four years, Girlz Unplugged was funded by a grant from the Canadian Women’s Foundation. The grant also allowed the YWCA to develop the community based YWGRO mentorship program, but the funding came to an end in June and so far staff have been unsuccessful in securing another grant of a comparable size that would enable the YWCA to reach girls at all 17 schools in Muskoka. Prior to the CWF grant, the YWCA Muskoka had a few years of steady government program funding for Girlz Unplugged from Muskoka’s designation as a northern community.

The highly acclaimed and much in demand youth programs have been offered in every school in Muskoka, as well as Moose Deer Point First Nation. Girlz Unplugged programs had the benefit of 4 years of external evaluation to become evidence based, and YWCA Muskoka youth programs have proven to be highly effective at increasing self-worth, confidence and building peer support in young people, with additional sessions are often requested by school principals, teachers, parents and the students themselves.

The cost of one Girlz Unplugged program is in the range of $2500 to $3000 depending on location. This fall’s groups are being funding with the generous support of local service clubs including the Rotary Club of Bracebridge, Rotary Club of Gravenhurst, Stephenson’s Lions Club, and municipal community grants from the Township of Lake of Bays and the Town of Bracebridge. Funding is also being provided by the Kenny Foundation, the Brian Schaal Memorial Golf Tournament, and third party fundraisers including the Art in August event organized by Mary Spring of Huntsville; and the Dads of Muskoka’s Riverboat Cruise.

“We run with project and program specific grants, special events and fundraising, and the generosity of our donors. This year we’ve had 17 successful grants ranging from $500 to $90,000, and 9 unsuccessful grant proposals,” says Lin, “It breaks my heart that this may be the first in 15 years that we can’t just show up and make sure we’re there for the girls that need and expect us at each of Muskoka’s school through Girlz Unplugged. The demand isn’t going away, it’s actually growing, but competition for the grants is also growing and the number of funding opportunities and even the size of the grants are decreasing.”

The organization has hired a part time Development Coordinator, Tracey Mellersh who is focusing on individual donations and corporate giving.

Staff and volunteers are still hoping to raise $30,000 from grants, events and donations to be able to provide Girlz Unplugged to girls at 12 additional elementary schools in the 2016-17 school year and are investigating social enterprise options for further sustainability.

“R. gained so much confidence about herself, was surrounded by like minded girls and she felt so loved and respected. It’s a phenomenal program and I am so happy that she can be a part of it. All young girls should participate in a program like Girlz Unplugged, it is amazing the influence it has.” – Girlz Unplugged participant’s parent

For more information about YWCA Muskoka or if you have an idea about funding opportunities for girls, please contact Hannah Lin, Executive Director or Stacey Schat, Youth Programs Coordinator at 705-645- 9827 or email office@ywcamuskoka.com

‘The Iron Workers Union: Part 3’ starts October 15th at the Chapel Gallery

Seven artists – Chad Arney, Matt Church, Hilary Clark Cole, Andrew Cohrs, Mikaila Davidson, Brendan Duggan, and Deb Harkness – working in metal, have come together to create The Iron Workers’ Union: Part 3 that will be on display at the Chapel Gallery beginning on October 15.

“The show is a gathering of artists with metal in the blood,” states Clark Cole. “We all love the medium and enjoy exploring its endless possibilities.”

The historical roots of today’s artistic metalworkers span cultures, civilizations and the millennia. Three thousand years after iron ore was first plucked from the ground with curiosity to the time when the clank and clatter of the blacksmith’s anvil ushered in the Iron Age then to the Industrial Revolution that changed nearly everything, metalworkers have had a profound effect on civilizations.

Metalworking techniques are varied ranging from hammering, soldering, brazing, forging and welding that transform metal into objects that fire our imaginations, awe us with their beauty or encourage us to question why. “I find metal an infinite medium. I continually challenge myself to see what might be possible in metal and I have yet to find it,” comments Hilary.

Inspiration for their work is as varied as the group. “I get my inspiration from everything including mechanical and natural forms,” says Brendan. “It’s an accumulative process that will take a lifetime to complete.” When making pieces for this exhibition, emerging artist Mikaila, was inspired by science fiction movies, as she wanted to “make something that looked like it came straight out of an Alien or Predator movie, something that could give you nightmares.” Recycled materials found along roadsides, in the woods or trash that are left behind and forgotten are the muse for Chad who gives these modern day castoffs new life as fun and entertaining assemblages. Matt Church who comes from a long line of blacksmiths wanted to create something new, to break away from his usual way of working and force himself into uncharted territories.

Learning their craft has required years of schooling, mentoring, experimentation and practice. Some, such as Deb studied at college then went on to apprentice at a blacksmith shop for nine years before venturing out on her own. While Brendan trained at traditional schools, most of this knowledge of welding techniques came from working in a commercial welding shop. Although Hilary was trained in the disciplines of sculpture and welding at the Ontario College of Art and Design, over the years, she has often been forced to innovate because there was no one to teach her what she wanted to learn.

Visitors to this exhibition will see how these seven artists are able to work with the hard rigid metal of steel and found metal objects and transform them into fantastical found object sculptures, mechanical works, flowers or life-size animals. “I hope the viewer will realize how difficult and challenging this form of art can be,” states Deb. “I hope they enjoy the work and gets a sense of the many varied metal crafting techniques are and how they can be put together,” adds Brendan.

The Iron Workers’ Union: Part 3 opens with a public reception on Saturday, October 15 from 1pm until 4pm. The exhibition continues at the Chapel Gallery until November 12. The Chapel Gallery is located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm until 5pm with admission by donation.

For more information, please visit www.muskokaartsandcrafts.com or call (705) 645-5501.

Friends for Life OSPCA Walk in Bracebridge raises money for animals

The sun came out for those taking part in a fundraiser this morning in Bracebridge for the OSPCA.

The annual Friends for Life Walk was held at Annie Williams Park where the goal was to raise $17,000 for animals.

Those taking part in this morning’s fundraiser which started with registration at 9am and the walk getting underway at 10am, were able to raise money both online and via pledge sheets.

Games and a BBQ were also part of the day’s festivities.

To learn more about the Muskoka OSPCA Animal Shelter, visit muskokaontariospca.on.ca

(Photo via Muskoka OSPCA on FB)

$36,000 raised by novelists for YMCA Huntsville Literacy Services

The final total of funds raised by the 2016 Muskoka Novel Marathon for adult literacy in Huntsville is $36,000 even.

“YMCA Huntsville Literacy Services is extremely grateful for this contribution to our community,” says Kate Meeks, who shared marathon convening duties with Susan Kulkarni. “A donation of this size will help over 100 recipients receive access to literacy programs. Many thanks to the committee members and writers who made this possible.”
The Muskoka Novel Marathon is an annual 72-hour writing retreat and literacy fundraiser that takes place in the Active Living Centre in the Canada Summit Centre in Huntsville. This year it took place July 8-11.

It is also a judged writing competition, and the winners’ manuscripts are sent directly to two publishing professionals. For the Young Adult/Juvenile category, it’s children’s book editor Peter Carver of Red Deer Press. For the Adult category, it’s literary agent Chris Bucci, who represents former Novel Marathon Best Novel winner Amy Stuart, whose Novel Marathon project eventually became the national bestseller Still Mine.

This year’s Adult winner is Kevin Craig of Toronto, who has won four times previously in the YA/Juvenile category, for his manuscript I Will Tell The Night.

The YA/Juvenile winner is Lori Manson of Toronto, for her manuscript Ned and Nora Stone.

The Most Prolific Award and peer-voted “Bum-in-Chair” Award were both won for the second year in a row by Lenore Butcher of Woodstock, Ontario, who completed a staggering 341 pages, equalling 72,400 words.

The Rockstar Award, for second-most prolific, was won by Michael Codato of Gravenhurst, who wrote 261 pages, or 62,300 words.

In other peer-voted awards: the Techie Award, for the writer who most assists other writers with technical issues, was won for the second time in a row by Dawn Huddlestone of Huntsville.
The Spirit Award, for the writer who most embodies the spirit of the Novel Marathon, was won for the second year in a row by Dale Long of Uxbridge, Ontario.

Two first-time writers tied for the Rookie of the Year Award: Rebecca Senese of Toronto and Cindy Watson of Bracebridge.
2016’s top fundraiser — for the fifth year in a row — was Cheryl Cooper of Bracebridge, whose final total is $3,050.

Funds raised by the Marathon go to the YMCA’s Literary Services in Huntsville. The program’s Team Leader, Nancy West, says the money will be used for upgrading the program’s curriculum, providing needed professional development opportunities for the teachers, and raising awareness in the community that literacy services are available, since those who need them most are the most difficult to reach. Government funds provided to the program don’t cover these needs, she notes.

“Every year you guys blow me away–how much money can 40 people raise?” Nancy West, team leader for the literacy program, told the writers during the event. “It’s just incredible. It’s what you embody and what you believe in, what you embrace as important to you. You couldn’t write what you write if you didn’t have literacy. It’s easy to take for granted when you have so many adults who just don’t have it, who find themselves stuck and want to get unstuck. This is what you guys do: you get people unstuck.”

Next year’s Muskoka Novel Marathon will take place July 14-17, 2017.

Safety recall for 175 Model Year 2016 Toyota Prius vehicles continues

Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) has announced it is conducting a safety recall of approximately 175 Model Year 2016 Toyota Prius vehicles in Canada.

In a statement on its website, Toyota.ca, the company reports that the involved vehicles are equipped with a front passenger airbag which contains stored, compressed gas in the inflator. A component in the airbag assembly may have been improperly welded and/or misassembled. If this occurs, the stored gas may escape without a deployment signal and result in the partial inflation of the airbag. This has been observed when the vehicle is parked and unoccupied for a period of time. An airbag that inflates in this manner can, under some circumstances, increase the risk of injury and the possibility of a crash.

All known owners of the involved vehicles will be notified by first class mail. Toyota dealers will replace the front passenger air bag assembly with a new one at no cost.

Information about automotive recalls, including but not limited to the list of involved vehicles, is subject to change over time. For the most up-do-date Safety Recall information on Toyota vehicles, customers should check their vehicle’s status by visiting toyota.ca/recall and entering the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

For any additional questions, customer support is also available by calling Toyota Customer Interaction Centre at 1-888-TOYOTA-8 (1-888-869-6828).

Dog walker attacked in Gravenhurst park

by Matt Sitler

Bracebridge OPP and the Muskoka Crime Unit are investigating an assault which happened at a park in the town of Gravenhurst.

On Thursday September 22nd, sometime between 7:30pm and 7:45pm, police say an unknown male assaulted an individual who was walking their dogs at Gull Lake Park.

Police say the victim received no injuries as a result of the attack and they are now asking anyone with information about the incident to contact Bracebridge OPP at (705) 645-2211 or to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Cranberry harvest season has begun in Bala

Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh is buzzing as this year’s cranberry harvest begins.

The cranberry season is the busiest and most exciting time of year for Johnston’s – and this year is no exception. Despite a summer drought, this year’s harvest may be the biggest crop ever with an anticipated 500,000 pounds of cranberries.

Farmer Murray Johnston has been closely watching this year’s crop.

“Rain is important for fruit growth. Our cranberries need an inch of water per week. While it’s been a dry summer, we can rely on our irrigation system to mimic rainfall,” says Murray Johnston.

Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh consistently produces the best quality cranberries in Ontario by using a harvesting method only used by 5% of growers in Canada. The picking method most commonly used by other growers takes a machine to ‘beat’ the vines, knocking off the cranberries. Most growers harvest this way because it’s fast and easy – and makes for fun commercials.

The Johnston family believes that gentle handling makes for better berries. They carefully comb their berries off the vines, resulting in less bruising and better quality fruit.

“Many people don’t fully realize the care and skill our team put into the cranberries we grow,” says Murray Johnston. “We plan to share as much of the process as possible with consumers so they feel an even stronger connection when they visit the farm.”

Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh, home of Muskoka Lakes Winery, offers their Bog to Bottle Discovery designated a Canadian Signature Experience. This guided farm tour and tutored wine tasting is offered every day at 11, 1 and 3. The tour has been revised this year to share even more interesting information about harvesting, cranberries, the onsite winery, and the Johnston family history. Harvest season at the Farm offers plenty of ways to celebrate Muskoka’s native fruit.

Activities offered everyday:

 Daily tours @ 11, 1 & 3

 See the harvesting and packinghouse operations

 Enjoy a wine tasting  Shop in The Cranberry Emporium

 Relax on the wine and cheese patio

 Sample cranberry goodies at the Cranberry Cafe (Open daily Oct. 1 – 16)

 Hike the trails

 Hunt for geocaches

 Critter catching for the kids

Activities offered weekends only:

 Wagon Tours offered all day (weekends between Sept. 24- Oct. 16)

 Helicopter Rides (weekends between Oct. 8-Oct. 16)

 Walk in the Berries (weekends between Oct. 8-Oct. 16)

The beginning of harvest season, is a unique time to visit Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh as they harvest a large percentage of white cranberries. The white cranberries are used to make Muskoka Lakes Winery’s White Cranberry Wine – a wine unlike any other in Canada. With 27 acres of cranberries to pick, harvesting should last until the end of October.

For more information, contact: Matt French at 705-762-3203 or by email, at: matt@cranberry.ca

Huntsville embarks on dark sky friendly info campaign

By Matt Sitler

The Town of Huntsville is embarking on a dark sky-friendly outdoor lighting information campaign to encourage residents to minimize light pollution in and around Huntsville.

The information campaign is to accompany the Outdoor Lighting By-law, a new by-law passed by Town Council in January 2016, requiring outdoor lighting fixtures to be dark sky-friendly.

“When we minimize light pollution, we are protecting the natural environment and maintaining a view of the night stars that most tourists rarely see,” said Councillor Bob Stone, one of the proponents of dark sky-friendly outdoor lighting.

Stone notes that there can be some misunderstanding about what dark sky-friendly outdoor lighting entails.

“We are not asking anyone to get rid of their outdoor lighting; we’re simply asking them to make sure the light is directed where it is intended and nowhere else,” he said, adding, “In the vast majority of cases, your lighting can achieve the purpose for which it was intended and still be dark sky-friendly and in compliance with the bylaw.”

All new fixtures are required to comply with the Outdoor Lighting By-law immediately. Residents have until January 2026 to bring existing fixtures into compliance.

“Ten years is a long time, and we did that on purpose,” Stone notes. “We’re hoping that as residents and businesses come to understand that they can be safe, secure, and well-lit – and still be dark sky-friendly – we hope everyone will want to comply. But that may take some time.”

For information about dark sky-friendly Outdoor Lighting and how to bring your outdoor lighting into compliance with the new by-law while still achieving your outdoor lighting goals, visit the Town’s Outdoor Lighting page.

Meth, cocaine seized in highway arrests

Two people face drug charges after police learned they were wanted on outstanding warrants & travelling the 400 in a speeding vehicle.

It happened on Wednesday at 9:14pm, when an officer with the West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) observed the vehicle travelling northbound on Highway 400.

During the stop, the officer learned that the occupants of the vehicle, including the driver, were wanted for warrants in other jurisdictions.

The occupants were arrested and the vehicle was searched.

As a result of the investigation:

Whitney THOMPSON, 30 years of age from North Dundas was charged with;

Speeding, contrary to section 128 of the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario,
Possession of Schedule I Substance – Methamphetamine, contrary to section 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA)
Possession of Schedule I Substance – Cocaine, contrary to section 4(1) of the CDSA
Three counts – Fail to Comply with Recognizance, contrary to section 145(3) of the Criminal Code (CC)

Correy GORDON, 38 years of age from Sudbury was charged with;

Possession of Schedule I Substance – Methamphetamine, contrary to section 4(1) of the CDSA
Possession of Schedule I Substance – Cocaine, contrary to section 4(1) of the CDSA
Five counts – Fail to Comply with Recognizance, contrary to section 145(3) of the CC

Both were held in custody pending a bail hearing.

 

Tuesday rollover victim succumbs to injuries

by Matt Sitler

One of the victims in Tuesday’s rollover north of Highway 12 has died.

The Orillia Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is still investigating the crash, which happened in Ramara Township.

At 7:31 a.m., on Tuesday, police were dispatched to County Road 46 north of Highway 12 where officers discovered the scene, which involved one vehicle. The 22 year old male driver from Selkirk was ejected from the vehicle and suffered life threatening injuries.

The 21 year old female passenger from Sebright suffered minor injuries.

The two occupants of the vehicle were transported by ambulance to a local hospital and the male was later air lifted to a Toronto trauma centre.

Police say the driver, Jacob Haylock, has since succumbed to his injuries and died yesterday.

The OPP Technical Collision Investigators (TCI) is continuing their investigation into the cause of the collision.

Province launches consultations to develop new dementia strategy

Ontario is launching consultations across the province to help develop a new dementia strategy, which will improve access to quality care for people living with dementia and boost support for those who care for them.

September 21st is World Alzheimer’s Day, and starting today, the province is inviting Ontarians to share their views on the new strategy through an online survey and will hold in-person consultations this fall.

Public input is being sought on key issues, including:

Providing supports to help people with dementia live well

Ensuring access to the right information and services at the right time

Coordinating care between health care and other service providers

Supporting care partners with their caregiving responsibilities

Having a well-trained workforce to provide dementia care

Raising awareness and reducing stigma about brain health and dementia.

There are approximately 228,000 people in Ontario currently living with dementia, with the number expected to grow as the population ages.

To support the consultations, the province has released Developing Ontario’s Dementia Strategy: A Discussion Paper, which is based on feedback from health care providers, people living with dementia and care partners from across Ontario.

The development of a comprehensive dementia strategy builds on Ontario’s current investments in improving the lives of people living with dementia and their families. This includes $31 million to strengthen Alzheimer Society chapters across Ontario and $54 million in annual funding to Behavioural Supports Ontario, as well as support for the Finding Your Way initiative that helps people living with dementia live more safely in their community.

Developing Ontario’s dementia strategy is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to live healthy and a health care system that’s sustainable for generations to come. It is also part of Ontario’s Patients First: Roadmap to Strengthen Home and Community Care, which is the government’s plan to improve and expand home and community care over the next three years.

QUICK FACTS

Dementia describes a group of conditions that affect the brain and cause problems with memory, thinking, speaking or performing familiar tasks. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.

The dementia strategy public consultation will build on discussions Ontario has held over the last year with people living with dementia and care partners who shared their personal experiences, as well as health care professionals and other experts.

Two people charged with possession of cannabis

Two Parry Sound residents face charges after police searched a vehicle on Bowes Street last night.

On Tuesday at 7:53pm, an officer with the West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) conducted a traffic stop on Bowes Street in Parry Sound.

During the stop, the officer observed a male passenger known to be wanted by police for failing to comply with his recognizance. During the interaction the officer observed Cannabis Marihuana and as such, both males were taken into custody and the vehicle was searched.

As a result of the investigation, Bradey RICHARDS, 18 years of age from Parry Sound was charged with:

Possession of Schedule II Substance – Cannabis Marihuana Under 30 grams contrary to section 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA)
Fail to Comply with Recognizance, contrary to section 145(3) of the Criminal Code (CC)
Possess unmarked cigarettes, contrary to section 29(2) of the Tobacco Tax Act (TTA)
He was held in custody pending a bail hearing.

Kenneth MALLETTE, 53 years of age from Parry Sound was charged with:

Possession of Schedule II Substance – Cannabis Marihuana Under 30 grams contrary to section 4(1) of the CDSA
Possession of Schedule I Substance, contrary to section 4(1) of the CDSA
Possess unmarked cigarettes, contrary to section 29(2) of the TTA

MALLETTE will appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound on October 20, 2016 to answer to his charges.

Barrie contractor fined $60,000 after worker was killed in a fall

M. Fuda Contracting Inc., a company providing construction site servicing, has been fined $60,000 after a worker was killed in a fall.

On February 4, 2014, workers were dismantling and removing trench boxes from a 20-foot deep excavation site at a construction project located at Bayview Drive and Churchill Drive in Barrie, Ontario. Two workers were removing pins that connected two trench boxes stacked one on top of the other. One worker stood on a ladder to reach the pin. After the last pin was removed the upper trench box shifted, and the worker on the ladder fell. That worker later died from head injuries.

The Ministry of Labour investigated and found that the upper trench box was not stabilized during the removal of the pins. The workers had not received any training on how to safely remove trench boxes from an excavation site. This was in violation of section 25(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

M. Fuda Contracting Inc. pleaded guilty and was fined $60,000 by Justice of the Peace Susan Hilton on September 20, 2016 in Barrie. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

Coffee, obscenities hurled at man in Parry Sound parking lot

Police say obscenities and coffee were hurled recently at a man in Parry Sound.

On September 16th, at 11:13am, members of the West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to a disturbance that took place at a parking lot on Joseph Street in the Town of Parry Sound.

The OPP investigation determined that one male began yelling obscenities at another male in the parking lot. The male that was yelling then threw a cup containing coffee at the victim.

As a result of the investigation, Shaun Arnold, 30 years of age from Carling Township was arrested and charged with:

Assault, contrary to section 266 of the Criminal Code (CC)
Mischief under $5000, contrary to section 430(4) of the CC.

The accused will appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound on October 20, 2016 to answer to his charges.

 

Lady Muskoka celebrating its 25th Anniversary this week

On Wednesday September 21st, Bonnie and Al McLellan will celebrate 25 years to the day of hosting guests aboard the Lady Muskoka.

Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith will be recognizing the McLellan’s for their years of service in the Tourism Industry at the Lady Muskoka Dock.

Date: Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Time: 11:30 a.m. Location: Lady Muskoka Dock at the Quality Inn (300 Ecclestone Dr.)

Plans for new Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club moving ahead

A recent donation will be put towards the realization of the new Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club facility, but still more is needed.

Sally Mills, Club President, was thrilled to receive a $1,000 donation this week from the Rotary Club of Bracebridge.

“Although the Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club received a generous $150,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to construct the green, the club still needs funding for planned fencing, landscaping, seating and lighting,” Mills explained. “We are very grateful to the Rotary Club for their support for this community project. We look forward to hosting the Rotary Club at the lawn bowling club when it opens next summer.”

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The construction of the lawn bowling green on the grounds of the Muskoka Highlands Golf Links is expected to be completed this week. Mills stated that “MJC Muskoka has been working long hours on this project, which started in mid-August. If the weather cooperates, the greenskeeper at the Muskoka Highlands is looking forward to being able to seed the green soon.”

To become a sponsor, get involved, or for more information about lawn bowling, visit www.muskokabowls.ca or email communications@muskokabowls.ca

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s largest granting foundations.

With a budget of over $136 million, OTF awards grants to some, 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities: www.otf.ca

Four hospitalized after rollover north of Hwy 12

Orillia Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is investigating a single vehicle rollover that resulted in four people being hospitalized with one airlifted to Toronto.

Today at 7:31 a.m., police were dispatched to County Road 46 north of Highway 12.

The 21 year old male driver from Selkirk was ejected from the vehicle and suffered life threatening injuries. The 22 year old female passenger from Sebright suffered minor injuries. The two occupants of the vehicle were transported by ambulance to a local hospital and the male was later air lifted to a Toronto trauma centre.

The OPP Technical Collision Investigators (TCI) is currently at scene investigating the cause of the collision. County Road 46 will be closed in both directions at Highway 12 until further notice.

 

Flouride to remain in Township of Muskoka Lakes’ water supply

Muskoka Lakes Council has voted 5-4 to keep fluoride in Township water.

The decision came down Friday after councillors were asked to weigh in on the issue. Most recently local dentist Dr. Luks and Simcoe-Muskoka’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardiner provided their opinion that fluoride should remain. Both were delegations at Friday’s meeting.

Opponents of the practice had wanted the District to remove it from Muskoka Lakes’ water due to its purported ill health effects.

In August the Township’s committee of the whole had voted to remove it.

West Muskoka Food Bank is on the move

The West Muskoka Food Bank is on the move.

The decision came after a council vote on Friday, after food bank organizers signalled that they needed more space.

More from the food bank’s Terry Chute:

“This morning (Sept 16th) the council of the Township of Muskoka Lakes gave final approval of the move of the food bank from the First Muskoka Church to a new location in the Glen Orchard Community Centre located directly across from the Glen Orchard Public Elementary School.

We are sad to say good bye to the First Muskoka Church location and the generosity of the folks there who have provided us with accommodation for the past 5 years. However they have assured us of their continued commitment to our cause and their blessing. We thank them very much for helping us get started.

As our programs grow and client base increases we find ourselves in need of more space. The basement of the community centre is ideal for this. There is lots of room to house all of the food bank in 1 room. In addition there is potential for starting a thrift store and/or a community kitchen in the future. Access is improved with fewer stairs. The location is right across from the school where a number of our client families attend.

Be assured that, although we are no longer in a church building, we remain a faith based organisation committed to welcoming and loving people of all faiths or no faith at all.

We will be moving next Thursday am from 9:00 – 11:00 am. If you have time to help us then or help pack boxes a few days before, please call Marilyn at 705 644 4345. Thank you.”

Resident tased in Parry Sound after police get call for help


OPP in Parry Sound say they tased a man after receiving calls for help from a local apartment building.

On Friday, members of the West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) were dispatched to a 9-1-1 call for help to an apartment building on Railway Avenue in Parry Sound.

Police knocked on the door and checked the windows. They say furniture was knocked over and garbage was all over the floor.

Police then kicked in the door where they say they were confronted with a man holding a hand gun. Police deployed a Conductive Energy Weapon (Taser) and disarmed the man.

The handgun appeared to be a Glock was in fact a gas powered pellet gun.

45 yr old David O’HAGAN of Parry Sound was arrested and charged with:

· Pointing a Firearm contrary to the Criminal Code (CC).

· Careless use of Firearm, Weapon, Prohibited device or ammunition contrary to the CC.

The accused will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound on October 20th, 2016 to answer to his charges.

Fellow councilors order Nishikawa to pay part of defamation judgment

Township of Muskoka Lakes Council wants Councilor Ruth Nishikawa to pay up after a judge found her guilty of defaming former Councilor Ron Brent.

At Friday’s council meeting, Councilors voted 5-4 to resolve that Nishikawa should pay the Township’s $25,000 deductible on its insurance policy – instead of sticking the Township, and in turn, taxpayers, with the entire bill for the judgment against her. A judge previously ordered Nishikawa to pay $30,000 in damages plus court costs, but until now, it was believed Township insurance would cover the entire bill, less the $25,000 deductible the Township would have to pay.

All Councilors, including Nishikawa, voted on the resolution. Nishikawa voted to abstain on the matter. A vote to abstain is counted as a ‘no’ vote.

Councilors Harding, Currie and Kruckel also voted not to penalize Nishikawa.

Brent says he feels justified now on two fronts.

“I’m glad a judge agreed with me and now a majority of councilors have agreed that I was wronged and she should pay.”  – Ron Brent

He adds he thinks the decision to first cover Nishikawa with Township insurance was mishandled and never even voted on by the previous council, giving her free rein to not have to apologize. Before taking her to court, Brent asked Nishikawa to apologize for sending a defamatory email to a private individual and Township and District Councilors. In the email, Nishikawa claimed Brent had divulged confidential closed session information.

“They [the past council and administration] should never have covered her in the first place. If she had thought she might be on the hook for money for damages, perhaps she would have simply apologized as I had asked,” continued Brent.

Brent says he will donate money received to Andy’s House Hospice.

Two people caught sleeping in stolen car

On Tuesday at 10:28 am, a member of the OPP’s Highway Safety Division responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle and located it parked on Hoddy’s Side Road in McDougall Township.

The investigation identified it as a stolen vehicle from Mississauga and the two people in the car who were sleeping were awakened and arrested.

Marco GRENIER, 38 years of age from Niagara Falls was charged with:

Possession of Property Obtained by Crime over $5000 contrary to the Criminal Code (CC).
Possession of Weapon for Dangerous Purpose contrary to the CC.
Take Motor Vehicle Without Consent contrary to the CC.
Breach of Recognizance contrary to the CC.
Fail to comply with Probation Order contrary to the CC.
Driving while under suspension contrary to the Highway Traffic Act (HTA).
The accused was held for bail and will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound.

Corrinda BELANGER, 32 years of age from St. Catharines was charged with:

Possession of Property Obtained by Crime over $5000 contrary to the CC.
Occupant of Motor Vehicle Taken Without Consent contrary to the CC.
Fail to comply with Probation Order contrary to the CC.

The accused will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound on October 20, 2016.

2nd Class Action meeting scheduled re: Spring Flooding

The legal requirements for a $900 million Class Action lawsuit against the MNR over the 2016 Spring flooding is moving forward this week in Toronto.

Another public meeting on the issue has been scheduled for this coming Sunday in Muskoka.

WHAT: A group of concerned Muskoka region residents have joined together to file the lawsuit against the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to recover the cost of property damage from the spring 2016 flooding.

WHO: Residents with properties on Lake Muskoka, Lake Joseph and Lake Rosseau that suffered property damage during record breaking spring 2016 flooding are working together to file the suit. Residents that suffered property damage are urged to attend the meeting. Property owners who are concerned that spring flooding will continue should also attend.

WHY: The suit takes the position that the Ministry of Natural Resources was negligent and mismanaged water levels throughout the Muskoka watershed leading to extensive flooding and property damage. The suit contends that the damage was largely avoidable and that the water levels in the Muskoka watershed were not managed as required by the Muskoka River Water Management Plan.

WHEN: Sunday, September, 18 at 9:30 a.m.

WHERE: Port Carling Community Centre, 3 Bailey St, Port Carling, ON P0B 1J0

Greenstone man charged with stunt driving

On September 11th, an OPP officer conducting radar enforcement on Highway 124 in McDougall Township witnessed a vehicle being operated at a high rate of speed.

It happened shortly before midnight 11:54 p.m. and the east bound vehicle was stopped for “Stunt Driving”.

The driver, 45 yr old Stephane Roy of Greenstone, was charged with:

· Race a Motor Vehicle contrary to the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario (HTA).

· Fail to surrender licence contrary to the HTA.

· Fail to surrender Insurance Card contrary to the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act (CAIA).

The driver was served a summons requiring him to attend the Ontario Court of Justice in Parry Sound on November 1, 2016 to answer to the charges. His licence was suspended for seven days and the vehicle he was operating has been impounded for seven days.

Every person convicted of Race a Motor Vehicle is liable to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, in addition to his or her driver’s licence being suspended.

Bracebridge Generation buys three water power generation companies

Bracebridge Generation has purchased three waterpower generation companies located in Haliburton County.

The acquired companies are Drag River Water Power Inc. and Irondale River Water Power Inc. both located near the Village of Haliburton, and Elliott Falls Power Corporation located near Minden.

“These acquisitions are part of a long term strategic plan to grow our green energy generation portfolio” said Chris Litschko, Chief Executive Officer of Lakeland Holding Ltd. “Company growth over the past 10 years has resulted in our staff becoming experts in construction, operation and maintenance of green electricity generation. Important to the Elliott Falls acquisition is it provides us with the ability to upgrade that facility in the future to produce more green power.”

Bracebridge Generation already owns a waterpower generation plant in Bancroft with staff travelling from its Bracebridge headquarters to service the plant.

“These acquisitions made operational sense since we were already travelling past them on our way to Bancroft. Adding these new facilities will improve efficiencies and reduces our overall costs” said Vince Kulchycki, Chief Operating Officer, Lakeland Holding Ltd.

In addition to these three acquisitions the company also started construction in 2016 on a $16.9M upgrade at its Cascade Generation station in Parry Sound.

“After years of negotiations we are fortunate to announce these acquisitions and the commencement of a multi- million dollar upgrade in Parry Sound all within months of each other,” said Litschko.

The acquisition near Minden took seven years of negotiations.

“I liked this plant from the start and it was obvious the owners took as much pride as we do in its operation and maintenance. A lot can happen over seven years, so to finally obtain this generation company was very gratifying and we look forward to generating green electricity well into the future.”

With these three acquisitions and after completion of the Cascade generation station upgrade in 2017, Bracebridge Generation will have invested $50M since 2005.

The investments have increased its green waterpower generation portfolio from three generation plants producing 2 megawatts to nine plants producing 15 megawatts that at full capacity can supply up to 13,500 homes with green electricity.

Company growth has occurred through mergers, acquisitions, expansions and station upgrades resulting in ownership of waterpower generation plants throughout the provincial areas of Hastings, Haliburton, Muskoka, Almaguin and Parry Sound.

New measures will transform political fundraising in Ontario

Ontario is reintroducing measures to change the way political parties raise and spend money after hearing from the public, experts and opposition parties.

The government’s proposed Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act would make the province’s election financing system among the strongest and most transparent in Canada. Key reforms include:

Barring corporations, unions and other groups not affiliated with political parties from making political donations,

Creating new restrictions on fundraising for politicians and political parties

Limiting third-party spending on political advertising.

The proposed legislation builds on a similar bill introduced in May 2016 and includes a broader range of legislative measures that would go even further to ensure greater transparency and accountability of parties and candidates to the public.

“With our government’s proposed reforms, Ontario’s electoral financing system would be the strongest and most transparent in Canada. These proposed measures strengthen our commitment to modernizing electoral financing and build on meaningful engagement with the general public, experts and opposition parties. I look forward to further measures to improve Ontarians’ engagement in the electoral process and to continue to increase public confidence.”
Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

The new bill would transform the province’s election financing rules by:

Reducing the total amount individuals can donate by almost 90 per cent (from $33,250 to $3,600 per year) — to a maximum of $1,200 to a political party, $1,200 to its candidates and $1,200 to its constituency associations or nomination contestants in an election year

Strengthening the rules to address coordination between political actors and third parties

Expanding the definition of a political contribution to include paid labour

Promoting greater transparency in political fundraising events by requiring political parties to post event details to their public websites, including information such as the fees charged to attendees and the intended recipients of those funds.

Later this fall, Ontario will also propose a further amendment to ban MPPs, candidates, party leaders, nomination contestants and leadership contestants from attending political fundraising events. In addition to these legislative measures, the government has committed to working with opposition party members to develop a code of conduct that would set out fair, balanced rules for all elected officials.

“We’re changing the way politics is done in Ontario. Through dialogue and collaboration with stakeholders, experts, the public and our colleagues of all political stripes, these transformative measures will — if passed — not only build Ontarians’ confidence in the electoral process, but will make our province’s election financing system among the strongest and most transparent in Canada.”
Yasir Naqvi (Above), Attorney General and Government House Leader

The new proposed Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act is part of Ontario’s commitment to reintroduce all government bills that were before the legislature in spring 2016, so that debate on important issues may continue.

QUICK FACTS

This bill includes all of the amendments that were made to the original Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act in committee.

The legislation proposes that the measures take effect on January 1, 2017, in order to have these reforms in place by the next general election.

Next to Québec, Ontario already has the lowest spending limit per voter for political parties during an election period in Canada.

Ontario also plans to move forward with a number of other legislative measures later this fall, including changing the fixed election date from fall to spring, allowing provisional registration of 16- and 17-year-olds and integrating, simplifying and modernizing a range of election processes, based on the advice of the Chief Electoral Officer.

 

Three people charged with arson

The OPP has charged three males in relation to a fire in the city of Orillia.

On August 12th, police were dispatched to a fire outside of a business at Atherley Road and Gill Street. After an extensive investigation the Orillia Crime Unit has charged three males with Arson in relation to the fire.

A 19 year old male from Barrie and a 19 and 20 year old from Orillia have been charged with Arson. They were released on a Promise to Appear in Orillia Criminal Court on October 18, 2016.

Members of the Orillia Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police are committed to public safety, delivering proactive and innovative policing in partnership with our communities. Officers value your contribution to building safe communities.

If you have information about suspected unlawful activity, please contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or visit Crime Stoppers at: www.crimestopperssdm.com or call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

 

Body of 61 yr old Toronto man recovered from Georgian Bay

Today at 7am the Southern Georgian Bay Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) received a report of a missing person from the Thunder Beach area of Georgian Bay in Tiny Township.

A search of the area was commenced by The Southern Georgian Bay Marine Unit along with Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) and the OPP1 helicopter.

The 61 year old male from Toronto was last seen at his cottage in Thunder Beach at approximately 12:00 a.m. on September 12, 2016.

At 9:30 a.m. the Southern Georgian Bay OPP Marine Unit and JRCC recovered a body from the waters of Georgian Bay near Thunder Beach in Tiny Township, ON.

The deceased is the 61 year old male from Toronto who went missing earlier this date. The Southern Georgian Bay OPP along with the OPP Identification Unit is continuing the investigation.

 

Throne speech promises include $540 a year in electricity savings for eligible rural ratepayers

As part of its balanced plan to build Ontario up and help people in their everyday lives, the Ontario government intends to introduce legislation that, if passed, would rebate an amount equal to the provincial portion of the HST on residential, farm and small business electricity bills as of January 1, 2017.

Rural electricity ratepayers would receive additional relief and commercial, institutional and industrial ratepayers would also benefit from lower electricity costs.

The government also announced that it will create an additional 100,000 licensed infant to preschool child care spaces within the next five years, starting in 2017.

The government’s plan was outlined in the Speech from the Throne delivered today by the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor. The speech opened the second session of the province’s 41st parliament.

The plan will continue to create economic growth and good jobs — the government’s number-one priority. The government will also balance the budget next year, in 2017-18, and Ontario’s debt-to-GDP ratio will decline — a sign of economic strength and fiscal responsibility.

The government’s plan will help people in their everyday lives by:

Delivering electricity cost relief through legislation to rebate an amount equal to the provincial portion of the HST on electricity bills — a saving of about $130 annually for the typical Ontario household; eligible rural ratepayers would receive additional relief, resulting in average savings of about $45 a month or $540 a year. Eligible small businesses would also benefit from the rebate and eligible larger businesses would also benefit from the plan through the expansion of the Industrial Conservation Initiative

Starting in 2017, creating an additional 100,000 licensed child care spaces for 0- to 4-year-olds within the next five years, bringing the number of spaces created since 2013 to 156,000 and doubling the current capacity for the 0-4 age group

Putting a new emphasis on math skills, expanding experiential learning, implementing free tuition for thousands of low- and middle-income students and encouraging more young people to turn their good ideas into start-up companies

Investing in skills training that aligns with the job market of today and tomorrow

Continuing to increase nursing care hours to enhance home care, reducing wait times for specialists, and connecting a family doctor or nurse practitioner to every Ontarian who wants one

Continuing to make historic infrastructure investments in schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and transit

Building a competitive business environment driven by innovative, low-carbon industries, including attracting international investment, continuing to cut red tape and implementing a cap and trade program to help people and businesses fight climate change

Continuing to work with its federal and provincial partners to enhance the Canada Pension Plan

The Throne Speech outlines the next steps in the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by making a high-quality college and university education more affordable. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is building a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
QUICK FACTS

Over the last two years, Ontario’s economy has grown by 6.1 per cent

In the first quarter of this year, Ontario’s real GDP growth was higher than that of the United States and all other G7 countries

Ontario unemployment this year has reached an eight-year low

In September 2014, the Premier’s mandate letters to ministers — 30 in total — were made available to the public for the first time. Mandate letters outline the specific priorities for each member of cabinet and their ministry. The Premier will be releasing new mandate letters to ministers in the coming weeks.

Organizers gear up for Muskoka Oldtimers Fall Food Drive for Manna

The Muskoka Oldtimers Hockey Club is gearing up for its Fall Food Drive for Manna, this year taking place on Tuesday October 4th.

On the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving every year for almost as long as the Muskoka Oldtimers and Manna have been in existence, dozens of volunteers have gone door-to-door all over Bracebridge and collected non-perishable food donations for Manna, and dozens more gather at the Bracebridge Fairgrounds to unload, sort and pack it.

Once again the Oldtimers are asking everyone to gather up their household’s food donations and put them in a bag on their front porch by 5:30. Please leave your porch light on.

School snacks, canned fruit, vegetables and fish, dried pasta and sauce, peanut butter, breakfast cereal, crackers and flour are always in high demand.

While the community is always very generous in both its giving and signing up to participate, the Oldtimers are always on the lookout for volunteers to collect food and to help sort it at the Bracebridge Fairgrounds.

Should you know anyone who might be interested in joining us, please let us know,” says organizer Rob Fraser. “We can never have too many volunteers!”

This is the most important food-raiser of the year for the Manna Food Bank, so please give generously. Manna also gratefully accepts monetary donations. Manna is a registered charity and tax receipts are issued for cheques.

The goal this year is to match previous years by collecting in excess of 13,000 lbs of food and $3,000 in cash and cheques.

Please call 705-646-0114 or email info@mannafoodbank.ca for more information or to volunteer. They cover most of the town but some streets do get missed, so give them a call if you are missed that evening.

A big thank you to 100+ volunteers who make this event happen, and to all of those who can spare a bit for Manna.

Big drug bust in Orillia: Seven people face charges

On September 8th at 7:00 p.m., OPP officers executed search warrants at two apartments at a residence on Elgin Street in the City of Orillia.

During the search police located and seized cocaine, heroin, cannabis marihuana, cash, weapons and paraphernalia associated with trafficking.

Jamie GOUDREAULT, 40 years old of Orillia, has been charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of Cannabis Marihuana and Possession of Heroin.

Terry MORRISON, 41 years old of Orillia, has been charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of Cannabis Marihuana, Possession of Heroin and Breach of Probation.

Blake NOLIN, 28 years old of Orillia, has been charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of Cannabis Marihuana, Possession of Heroin, Obstruct Police and Breach of Probation.

Dwayne WEBB, 26 years old of North York, has been charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of Cannabis Marihuana, Possession of Heroin, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime and Breach of Probation.

Tammy NOLIN, 47 years old of Orillia, has been charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of Cannabis Marihuana over 30 grams, Possession of Cannabis Marihuana for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of a restricted or prohibited weapon, Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose and Possession of Property Obtained by Crime over $5000.

All parties were held in custody pending a bail hearing today in Barrie Criminal Court.

Melodie ULRICH, 28 years old of Orillia, has been charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cannabis Marihuana and Possession of Heroin. She was released on a Promise to Appear in Orillia Criminal Court on October 25, 2016.

Lisa STOBBS, 36 years old of Orillia, has been charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cannabis Marihuana and Possession of Cannabis Resin. She was released on a Promise to Appear in Orillia Criminal Court on October 25, 2016.

 

Clement looking for answers re: Syrian refugee ‘replacement family’ controversy in Huntsville

Member of Parliament for Parry Sound-Muskoka, Tony Clement, is looking for answers after learning that a local Syrian refugee sponsorship group is being asked to consider a ‘replacement family’ after months of preparation and corresponding with a family waiting to come to Huntsville.

“The Liberal government has been reluctant to acknowledge the problems they have had with its Syrian refugee resettlement. The way it is treating some private sponsorship groups is appalling. Not knowing what will happen to these original families, who have been dreaming of coming to Canada for many months, is truly disturbing,” said Clement.

After months of delays, the Huntsville group was given only one week to decide if they will accept the ‘replacement family,’ which still could take months to arrive. If they opt to keep their original family, there is no guarantee they will ever come to Canada. It is being reported that this stark choice has been forced upon numerous private sponsorship groups across the country. The email received by the Huntsville group from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) stated the “delays have been disappointing for some private sponsors and (we) regret the challenges that we know this caused for many.”

The full CIC email is pasted below

Dee Mallette, a member of SRS (Syrian Refugee Sponsorship) Huntsville who has been working on settlement preparations for months, said “Over 60 volunteers have been waiting patiently to embrace the Ahlam family. Many have already given an abundance of time to ensure that everything is in order when the family arrives. Now we have been asked to take a replacement family. How do we tell the Ahlam family they may not come to us? We have been in contact with them several times and have received photos of them. ”

“Our hearts are broken, we feel like the Ahlam family is part of our own and they are already despondent because of the long wait to build a new life here,” said the Application Chair of the SRS Huntsville, Carole Walsh. “We have a house waiting and over $60,000 has been donated by our community. We truly feel we have made a promise to the Ahlam family that we cannot walk away from.”

“We are willing to consider assisting a replacement family,” said Nancy Wilding, SRS Community Relations Chair, “But we would like assurances that if/when the Ahlam family is cleared to come to Canada as Government Sponsored Refugees, that they could still come to Huntsville if they wish. The way this has been handled, with months of waiting with almost no information, then getting only one week to accept a replacement family, has put us under tremendous pressure and turmoil. ”

Nancy Knox of Bracebridge United Church said they were shocked to hear about the offer of replacement families and heard from their Syrian family immediately asking if they were going ‘to give up on them.’ “What a devastating message to deliver to refugees whose very life is held in a tenuous balance that they might be discarded by our government so that a more convenient family could be chosen.”
For further inquiries contact:

Sondra Read,
tony.clement.c1@parl.gc.ca <mailto:tony.clement.c1@parl.gc.ca>
MP Tony Clement, Huntsville Office,
705-789-4640

Nancy Wilding,
nancywilding@gmail.com <mailto:nancywilding@gmail.com>
SRS Huntsville Community Relations Chair

Letter from CIC to Huntsville refugee sponsor:

Dear members of the SAH (sponsorship agreement holder) Council,

This is regarding a number of delayed Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR) cases. As you are aware, the delays were in large part due to the fact that cases were made available to sponsors prior to the finalization of eligibility, medical, and security decisions to meet the demand from sponsors at that time and to have them included in the initiative to resettle 25,000 Syrians by the end of February 2016. We understand that the delays have been disappointing for some private sponsors and regret the challenges that we know this caused for many.

As a special exception given the pace and volume of the Syrian initiative, we will begin offering replacement cases in the coming weeks to those sponsors that have been impacted by these delays. As replacement cases become available, and as a matter of fairness, groups (and I assume the SAH) will be contacted directly by the Matching Centre in the order of the profile referral date starting with the oldest cases on the list; every effort will be made to provide a replacement case with a similar profile of the family originally sponsored. The cases offered as replacements will have passed medical and security screenings, and will therefore be travel ready. Sponsors offered a replacement case will have one week to confirm their willingness to accept a replacement case and one additional week to submit the new Sponsorship Undertaking to the Centralized Processing Office – Winnipeg (CPO-W). Due to the limited number of replacement cases available, only one replacement case will be offered.

By accepting a replacement profile, sponsors will be canceling the sponsorship for the previous case that is currently delayed. We understand that sponsors may have already been in contact with the refugee(s) whose case are delayed, and IRCC will contact these refugees to inform them that their case is still in process. Should any of the cases where a sponsor has cancelled to accept a replacement case ultimately be approved, they will be resettled to Canada as Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) with full support from the Government of Canada.

If sponsors choose to continue waiting for the original family they sponsored, rather than accepting a replacement case, they will be doing so knowing that IRCC is unable to provide timelines as to when that case will be finalized and there are no guarantees that the family will ultimately be approved for resettlement to Canada.

It is important to note that while the replacement cases will be expected to be finalized by the visa office shortly, timelines for the arrival of the refugee(s) will vary according to the individual circumstances of the family and the situation in the host country. Sponsors are advised not to make financial commitments at this point such as renting accommodations for replacement cases. The Notification of Arrival Transmission (NAT) will be sent once travel plans have been made.

We expect that the process of finding and offering replacement cases will take a few months, starting immediately, so we ask sponsors to be patient and wait to be contacted directly.

Thank you in advance for your continued collaboration and partnership.

Sincerely,

David Manicom
Associate Assistant Deputy Minister
Strategic and Program Policy Sector

OPP report deadliest Labour Day Weekend in 20 years

While the data is preliminary, the OPP is reporting 12 road fatalities, one marine fatality and one off-road vehicle death over the long weekend, marking the deadliest Labour Day Long Weekend in OPP-patrolled jurisdictions in 20 years.

Tragically, one of the fatal incidents involved a single-vehicle crash in Northwestern Ontario that took the lives of four of the vehicle occupants.

The OPP also conducted a robust Distracted Driving Campaign over the long weekend. Ahead of the campaign, the OPP issued a province-wide News Release and maintained a steady flow of messaging on its provincial and regional social media platforms, calling on all road users, particularly passengers, to become part of the solution in reducing the significant number of distracted driving-related road deaths that occur every year.

In spite of these efforts, the OPP laid close to 800 distracted/inattentive driving charges against drivers who jeopardized the safety of innocent men, women and children who took to the roads to enjoy the last summer long weekend before the start of a new school year.
While the OPP conducts focused enforcement campaigns every year, officers enforce distracted driving and other traffic laws 365 days a year.

This latest campaign brings the total number of distracted driving charges laid to date this year to over 8,800.

New work by the Brown Baggers in Bracebridge

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 17, 2pm-4pm

The Brown Baggers are once again expressing their love of art. From a number of potential and challenging themes, the members voted for the concept of time. Time is a reference to the past, present or possibly the future. “It’s a broad theme having many interesting interpretations and lending itself to a variety of mediums and styles,” says Georgina Winterburn.

Many of the members chose a personal or emotional response to the theme of time and have explored a particular moment in time that they have experienced. Some are thought provoking and perhaps even inspirational.

Each artist has evolved through a time of learning, a time of self-doubt, a time of discovery, a time of accomplishment and a time of sharing that accomplishment.

This exhibition represents a variety of artwork by a talented group of artists who started to paint together in 1985. Founded by the late Jean Forder and Iris Gammon, these two friends decided to pack a lunch and head into the countryside to paint. The popularity of this activity grew and the Brown Baggers have grown in number over the years.

Each week in the spring, summer and fall, art supplies, a good chair and protection against the elements are packed, and the group members venture out to paint en plein air. During the winter, when the weather is not so welcoming, the Brown Baggers meet indoors to share experiences, techniques, ideas and friendly critiques.

Every September members go on a five-day plein air retreat somewhere in Ontario.

Their adventures have ranged from the comforts of resorts and lodges to the rough camping of the Algoma School of Landscape Painting where no electricity or indoor plumbing was the greatest challenge and Beausoleil Island in Georgian Bay, were they were reminded of childhood adventures at summer camp. The YMCA’s Queen Elizabeth Camp provided a unique experience and accommodated everyone’s needs from kayaking, canoeing, hiking, campfire singing, fantastic food, and of course, spectacular scenery.

Organized workshops over the years, with noted, local artists have provided a wide range of valuable information in all media.

The group is an eclectic mix of skill levels, experience, and interests, so that, even with a particular theme it is difficult to predict the exciting array of artwork that will be at the show.

Visitors to the exhibition will see a variety of techniques and styles as the group is an eclectic mix of skill levels, experience, and interests, so that, even with a particular theme it is difficult to predict the exciting array of artwork that will be at the show.

Time opens with a public reception on Saturday, September 17 from 2pm until 4pm. The exhibition continues at the Chapel Gallery until October8. The Chapel Gallery is located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm until 5pm with admission by donation.

For more information, please visit www.muskokaartsandcrafts.com or call (705) 645-5501.

Natural food sources for bears in short supply

Parts of Ontario are experiencing shortages of natural food sources for bears.

Parry Sound and Muskoka areas are experiencing berry crop failure and shortages in nut crops.

Human-bear activity is directly related to the availability of natural foods. Given the current food situation, Parry Sound District is seeing an increase in reports of problem bears as bears search for alternate sources of food.

Bears rely on berry, acorn and beech nut crops to fatten up for hibernation and will travel great distances to find alternate sources of food when natural foods are poor or unavailable.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is urging residents and cottagers in Parry Sound District to take extra care to not attract bears to their neighborhood and reminds the public that the majority of bear encounters can be prevented. Please remove all birdfeeders including humming bird feeders. Safely store garbage until pickup day, clean barbecues, don’t leave coolers out, keep pet food indoors and feed birds only in winter.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry also encourages food service operations, such as restaurants or businesses with commercial dumpsters, to:
▪ Empty garbage and grease/fat containers frequently.
▪ Remove fruits and berries from trees as they ripen and do not leave them on the ground and bushes to rot.
▪ Use bear-resistant containers whenever possible.
▪ Lock dumpster lids every night.
▪ Avoid stockpiling garbage or grease/fat.
▪ Clean garbage containers frequently and thoroughly, using a strong disinfectant to eliminate odors.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry would like to thank the many people who are already eliminating attractants. It takes only one property where attractants are not managed carefully to draw bears to a neighbourhood. Everyone must work together to keep bears in the wild where they belong.

QUICK FACTS:
▪ If a bear poses an immediate threat to public safety by exhibiting threatening or aggressive behaviour, call 911 or your local police 705-746-4225 of OPP Parry Sound Detachment.
▪ For advice on reducing bear attractants, call the ministry’s Bear Wise reporting line toll-free at 1-866-514-2327; Hearing Impaired (TTY) 1-705-945-7641. You will be connected directly with a live operator during bear season (April 1-Nov. 30).
▪ Find out more about what to do in emergency and non-emergency situations.
▪ Visit ontario.ca/bearwise for more information on bears.

MAC announces local arts scholarship winners

Muskoka Arts & Crafts is pleased to announce the recipients for the Elene J. Freer Art Scholarship (Sponsored by Muskoka Arts & Crafts) and the Mae C. Kennedy Memorial Award.

Samantha Jarvis who graduated from Huntsville High school received the Elene J. Freer Art Scholarship. For each year of her post-secondary education, Samantha will receive, for a maximum of four years, $1,200 a year from Muskoka Arts & Crafts. Samantha’s paintings already demonstrate a mature, consistent and identifiable sense of style. She attributes her high school experiences to helping to develop her artistic style.

Like many artists, art provides Samantha with a means of expression. “

“I’’ve never really been good at explaining myself”, Samantha reveals. “”When something bothered me, I’ve always been the type of person to think things over by myself and come to a conclusion. Art provides me not only with a sense of wholeness but a way to represent myself and create a sense of individuality in a physical form. My whole life, I have had a strong fascination with people, made apparent through their continued reoccurrence throughout my work.””

Samantha has been accepted for the Art and Design Foundation Program at the Centre for Arts, Design & Information Technology at George Brown College.

Mikaela Wichers-Schreur received the Mae C. Kennedy Memorial Award for $100. Mikaela graduated from Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School and this fall will be attending George Brown Collage to further her education in jewellery. “

image

“My whole life, I’ve been surrounded by art and creativity,” says Mikaela. “I have a vision for myself; working hard every day in a jewellery studio of my own, creating art that speaks to people in ways that’s hard to explain with words.””

Muskoka Arts & Crafts wishes Samantha and Mikaela all the best as they purse this next step in their education.

Wine available on grocery store shelves starting Oct 28th

Ontario has selected the first grocers that could sell both domestic and imported wine inside up to 70 grocery stores across the province, increasing convenience and choice for consumers.

The winning grocers from across Ontario were selected via a competitive bidding process held by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).

The sale of wine in grocery stores is scheduled to begin October 28, 2016.

Reflecting a mix of independent and large grocers and geographic representation to ensure fairness, the successful grocers are:

Canex Canadian Forces Exchange System
Coppa’s Fresh Market
Farm Boy 2012 Inc.
Fresh Market Foods
Highland Farms Inc.
Loblaws Inc.
Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc.
Metro Ontario Inc.
Sobeys Capital Inc.
Starsky’s Fine Foods Hamilton Inc.
Uxbridge Foods Inc.
Wal-mart Canada Corp.
Yummy Market Inc.

While offering consumers more convenience and choice, Ontario maintains a strong commitment to social responsibility. By law, these grocers will have to abide by the requirements for the safe sale of alcohol overseen by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), including designated sales areas and standard hours of sale, limitations on package sizes and alcohol content and staffing and social responsibility training requirements. Ontario is also developing a comprehensive alcohol policy to promote the responsible sale and use of alcohol.

Supporting more choice and convenience for consumers is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

QUICK FACTS

Eventually, up to 450 grocery stores will be authorized to sell beer and cider and, of these, up to 300 may also sell wine.

Up to 70 existing winery retail stores that operate just outside a grocery store’s checkout will also be permitted to operate inside the store and share the checkout. These “wine boutiques” will broaden their assortment to sell wines made by other Ontario producers, and will be located at grocery stores that sell beer. These wine boutiques will be permitted to begin operating this fall, at the same time as wine is introduced to grocery stores.

Sales of beer in grocery stores started in December 2015. Between December 2015 and the second week of August 2016, grocers received more than 532,000 cases of beer from the LCBO, amounting to net sales of approximately $24 million.

Allowing wine to be sold in grocery stores across the province follows the final recommendations made by the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets. Other recent changes to beverage alcohol retailing in Ontario include the sale of beer in grocery stores last December, cider this June, and online shopping at LCBO.com.