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)


Almaguin Highlands OPP officer charged with impaired driving following rock cut crash

An Almaguin Highlands OPP officer is facing charges after a crash on Highway 141 this past weekend.

On Saturday just after 10pm, Huntsville OPP was notified about a vehicle crashing into a rock cut on Highway #141 in Utterson.

Police discovered that the 44 year old male, who police say is from Huntsville, had been drinking.

He was arrested and taken to the Huntsville OPP detachment for further investigation and has since been charged with Driving While Ability was Impaired and Refusal under the Criminal Code of Canada.

The driver has been identified as Provincial Constable Jaak Valiots who was off duty at the time of the collision. He is an 18-year member of the Ontario Provincial Police and is posted to Almaguin Highlands Detachment. The officer was uninjured as a result of the crash.

Valiots is to appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Huntsville on July 20th to answer to his charges.

52 year old woman hospitalized after snowmobile crashes into tree

No charges have been laid following a snowmobile collision that sent a 52 year old woman to hospital.

On Friday at 3pm, Huntsville OPP attended the scene where a snowmobile had been travelling on Trail #78 in the area of Hutcheson Road and Limberlost Rd.

The operator lost control and struck a tree.

A 52 year old woman was taken by ambulance to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

No charges were laid against the operator of the snowmobile.


Guelph woman hospitalized following snowmobile collision with tree

A snowmobile collision in Huntsville sent a Guelph woman to hospital over the weekend.

On Saturday at 5:48pm OPP attended the scene.

Police say the snowmobile was travelling southbound on Trail D102B in the area of Britannia Road when it struck a rock and then veered into a tree.

A 28-year-old Guelph woman was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

No charges were laid against the operator of the snowmobile.

In Northern Ontario on Saturday, two people died in a head on snowmobile crash near Searchmont, north of Sault Ste. Marie.

Both drivers, one 59-year-old male from Sault Ste. Marie and a 45-year-old male from Michigan died from their injuries at the scene. No names have been released pending notification of next of kin. The investigation into the crash is continuing.

Muskoka Olympian Dara Howell takes Gold in slopestyle

Dara brings home the Gold, Kim Lamarre, Bronze, in slopestyle event: Their wins give Canada even greater lead at Sochi

February 11: 8am: “I think that’s the best run I’ve ever done,” an ecstatic Dara Howell told reporters after her winning slopestyle run in the finals, held 4am this morning. Over a Dara Howell Feb 11hundred people gathered at the Muskoka Ski Club at Hidden Valley Highlands ski area to watch Dara, including many generations and relatives of the Howell family. Dara posted an 88.8 on her first run in the semi finals that started at 1 am and in her final run, she scored at 94.2

What’s Up Muskoka reporter Chris Occhuizzi was there with the emotional crowd. Read his account here in The Toronto Sun

Not only are Muskokans swelling with pride and Canada thrilled to have such a strong lead now in the overall media count, there are many other reasons why Dara’s win is so poignant and resonates across the Canada and the world of freestyle skiing. Sarah Burke of Squamish, B.C. trailblazed the sport of freestyle skiing and fought long and hard to have the event included in the Olympic Winter Games. She was a favourite to win gold at these games but her dream was cut short when she died in 2012 after a training accident in Utah. Skiiers who wanted to honour Burke by wearing Sarah Burke stickers on their helmets were told by the International Olympic Committee that the stickers would not be tolerated as they would be considered a political statement. Burke’s mother, Jan Phelan, was at the Sochi slopestyle site to see Burke’s legacy in action.

In an interview with CBC after today’s win by Dara, Huntsville’s hometown girl spoke about Burke:  “Earlier this week I said I wish a Canadian would win a gold medal, and it would be for Sarah. To be that person, I didn’t expect it and you work so hard for it, it’s truly amazing. I know she would be proud and happy and I just want to keep pushing this sport and pushing myself and doing what I love to do and I know she would honour that.”

Dara Howell has started off an exciting and historic day for women in sport. As well as the first slopestyle event, the first women’s ski jump competition also takes place in Sochi today.

ORIGINAL POST January 29, 2014: Midnight start won’t stop Huntsville from cheering on Dara Howell

Olympic cheerfest starts Feb. 10 at Midnight at Hidden Valley; Dara’s slopestyle events begin at 1am

Posted January 20, 5:40pm:  It’s not often we get a hometown girl realizing Olympic dreams and we can all cheer on slopestyler Dara Howell from the comfort of the Muskoka Ski Club on February 10.

The only catch is that her freestyle ski event will be happening midnight our time. So grab a nap and some java and join the crowd at Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area to cheer this talented 19-year-old on. The ski area has issued an invitation for those who want to join them in watching Dara make her bid for Olympic Gold in real-time.

Schedule of Dara’s Olympic Events:

Slopestyle, freestyle skiing, Muskoka, news about Muskoka, Dara Howell
Dara Howell of Huntsville competing in Olympic Slopestyle event
  • Ladies’ Slopestyle Qualifiers start at 1:00 a.m.
  • Ladies’ Slopestyle Finals start at 4:00 a.m.

Local ‘Cheer Dara On’ Details:

  • This is a FREE family-friendly event.
  • Time: From midnight February 10 to 5am February 11.
  • Where: Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area, Members’ Lounge
  • What: CBC Olympic coverage will be on the big screen; there will be activities for kids (make a sign to cheer on Dara!), and complimentary snacks. A cash bar will also be available for a limited time.

RSVP not required, but if you plan to come, organizers ask that you please join our Facebook event page by clicking here (or email if not on Facebook).

Organizers suggest you wear a Dara Howell shirt (available at Algonquin Outfitters), and sport Olympic colours (red, black & white!) and/or Olympic mitts to show your support.

Photo provided by Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area and Canadian Freestyle Ski Association.


Snowmobiler charged in head on crash on Graves Road

Yet another snowmobile crash this weekend in Muskoka. Police have charged 39 year old Paul Clark of Fergus with careless driving after two sleds collided head-on. The crash happened on a trail near Graves Road in Bracebridge and comes on the heels of a deadly crash that killed two Woodbridge men on Saturday. (For full story, see Muskoka To-Daily).