Barrie Police searching for armed robbery suspects: PHOTOS

Barrie Police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying two suspects following two armed robberies that occurred early yesterday morning.

Shortly after 6am police were called about two robberies that happened at Mac’s Convenience Stores located at 221 Ferndale Drive South and then 2 Marsellus Drive, in Barrie.

Investigators believe in both instances a single male suspect entered the store armed with a hand gun while a second male waited in the getaway vehicle.

The male made a demand for money, cigarettes and lottery tickets. The suspects fled in black newer model SUV in an unknown direction. It is believed that these suspects are responsible for both robberies. No injuries were reported by either victim.

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Suspect 1 description:

Male
5’8”, thin build
Armed with a silver handgun
Wearing: Black hoodie with “Support 81 Downtown” in flames
Black pants and shoes
Carrying a black backpack
Black mask covering the lower part of his face and a grey/beige mask covering the upper part of his face
Black sunglasses
Florescent gloves

* No descriptors available for second suspect.

The Barrie Police Service reminds business owners of the importance of maintaining and updating video surveillance equipment. Quality images help to identify suspects, can aid in arrests and have a tremendous impact during court proceedings.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Barrie Police Investigative Services at 705-725-7025, ext. 2129, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, leave an anonymous tip at www.tipsubmit.com

Councillor says OPP is harassing boaters with too many stops

By Matt Sitler

Is the OPP’s marine unit harassing boaters in Muskoka by stopping and checking on them too frequently?

A local politician has raised this question and has asked people to document instances of it with photos.

In a June 30th Facebook post on her ‘Ledger, TML Councillor Ward C’ public group page, Terry Ledger stated that it has been brought to her attention by many people and even from her own experience, that the OPP seem to be harassing people on the water.

“Yes, I say harassing because it seems that every time you go out in a boat, you get pulled over,” she wrote.

Further on in the post she added: “I have decided to try and document this and I need your help. If you get stopped in your boat, please take a picture and post it with #oppeevedinmuskoka”

We reached out to Ledger for further comment and she provided us with a statement, clarifying that: “Nobody has issues with the job the OPP does on the water, it is the frequency with which they do it that is having a negative impact on the peaceful, leisure time people enjoy on our waters.”

It’s a complaint from some boaters that’s being made more and more, especially during Muskoka’s busy summer months, but Bracebridge OPP Inspector Ed Medved doesn’t agree.

“To say that we are harassing the public is not true,” he says. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We’re out there engaging the public and encouraging them and educating them with respect to safe boating practices.”

Asked about the frequency of vessel stops made by OPP Marine patrol officers, Medved admitted some people can get stopped twice or more by ongoing patrols.

“Do we, on occasion, stop a vessel more than once or twice during the course of a summer season?,” he asks. “Yes, of course we do and that’s going to happen. Why? It’s because we are out there doing what the public expects us to do. I know we have a great deal of support with respect to our activities everywhere including local cottage associations and (other politicians).”

Medved says the Marine Unit adjusts its approach year to year and that the operation is largely resource dependant.

“I’d actually like to do more, frankly, because there’s some areas of the jurisdiction that don’t get covered off as well as I’d like,” he said. “The real story is we are being more strategic about the deployment of our resources. We’re going to problem areas versus generalized patrol. It’s data driven and intelligence led in terms of where we end up sending our vessels and officers in terms of engaging and educating the public about the safe way to boat.”

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Medved says people would be shocked to hear and know some of the stories that marine unit operators return to the office with at the end of some shifts, stories he says, that involve people either making mostly poor choices or being ignorant about required safety features and other facets of boating.

“We’re not in the harassment business, we’re in the public engagement and mobilization business,” he says. “The traffic to and through Muskoka is significant (during summer), so we have to pay attention to this. We’ve had a number of mishaps and tragedies over the years – in fact, most recently today (June 4th) a young boy was injured innocently while out with his family on a personal watercraft. So it’s important for us to be out there from a public safety perspective.”

Some local OPP marine patrol facts:

– In 2015, the OPP marine unit checked 2,657 boats in the Bracebridge OPP detachment jurisdiction. (Muskoka Lakes, Georgian Bay, Bracebridge and Gravenhurst)

– In addition, they did 131 cottage checks and accomplished 1,093 patrol hours

– In 2015 the marine unit conducted 16 alcohol screening device tests, checking on the sobriety of operators and only charged two people for impaired boating.

– In 2015 the marine unit laid 122 liquor infraction charges involving passengers on vessels and 12 other drug related charges.

– In 2015 the marine unit laid 223 marine related charges the bulk of which involved operators and passengers not having the right safety equipment.

“Two things we have zero tolerance for is open alcohol and consumption of alcohol on vessels and the lack of personal floatation devices,” says Medved.

But others, like Ledger (above), still feel the marine unit stops are happening too often.

“The issue is the amount of times people are stopped,” wrote the councillor in a reply on another of her group page posts. “If the frequency of being stopped in a car were the same, it would be ridiculous. People are getting stopped weekly but only go out a couple times a week. That’s just crazy.”

(Photo of Ledger via the township of Muskoka Lakes website, photo of OPP stopping boaters via ‘Ledger, TML Councillor Ward C’ public group FB page)

 

10 yr old boy suffers serious injuries in sea doo accident

Bracebridge OPP tell Muskoka News Watch that a 10 year old boy suffered serious injuries to his leg and foot this morning after a 3 seater personal watercraft accident on Lake Muskoka.

Inspector Ed Medved says no charges have been laid in relation to the incident, which happened at 10:45am this morning. The call came in from 1246 East Bay Road.

“Our investigation indicated they were doing everything right in terms of having a spotter, lifejackets etc, but at some point in the process his foot got tangled up in a tow rope, he found himself in the water and the tow rope was attached to his lower leg and foot area,” said Medved.

The Inspector adds that the boy was on the craft with his father while his sister was being towed on a knee board.

“When dad took off to move on, he went into the water and of course the rope became tight and taught and he sustained pretty significant injuries,” said Medved.

The boy was taken to Bracebridge hospital and from there the plan was to transfer him to a Toronto trauma centre, he added.

No word at this time on the boy’s current condition.

 

 

New medical pot dispensary enjoys brisk business

By Matt Sitler

One of the region’s newest medical marijuana dispensaries is seeing its customer base grow just as Canada’s pot laws seem set to become less restrictive.

Cal White, a franchisee owner with Legacy 420, opened his shop in the Wahta First Nation on the Friday of the past May 24 weekend, right across from his other business The Wahta Station on Muskoka Road 38.

The franchise has its head office in the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and White’s dispensary is the first Legacy 420 outside that First Nation.

He decided to get into the business to provide a one-stop local access for medical pot after hearing about problems people faced having to go on websites to place their orders and then waiting for Canada Post to deliver.

“There were some problems with that and certainly with the looming postal strike there’s even more concern about it,” he tells Muskoka News Watch.

Dispensaries in wait and see mode

White says his dispensary is open to all who qualify and that his customers already number in the hundreds.

“Some are local, some are obviously cottagers up here,” he says. “It’s pretty much the same demographic that comes and buys the smokes. We’re talking Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Midland, Barrie, Orillia – all down in those areas. It’s a pretty wide circumference really.”

For the most part it’s been more of a mature age group who’ve been showing up, he adds.

“The average customer is probably between 50 and 60 years old,” says White.

Although he says there are no restrictions as to the type of pot strains he can sell at the dispensary, he currently sells four but says they are looking to provide customers more variety in the future.

White notes the general public mood about medical marijuana dispensaries is that it’s in a kind of wait-and-see mode. He’s not had any trouble with the law or opponents of these types of new ventures.

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“So far we’ve not been bothered and we don’t really expect to because we’re on First Nations (land),” he says. “I know one of the biggest fears is that (some people) think we’re going to start selling to kids or just anybody off the street and that’s really not true. It’s the same as the smoke shops. I don’t know any responsible smoke shops that would even consider selling to kids. We card people all the time, both at the smoke shop and the marijuana (dispensary). We’ll card anyone that looks under 25.”

To buy marijuana from the dispensary, White says people need to have their medical marijuana card issued by Health Canada, a copy of a prescription they have or one of their pill bottles to show they have an actual condition that’s treatable by cannabis.

“I think people are finally coming to realize it’s not the ‘demon weed’ like we were told by Big Pharma as far back as the 30’s,” says White. “It’s just another medicinal plant and the First Nations have been using plants as medicine for all of eternity, so this is really nothing new to us.”

Legacy 420 is open between 11am and 7pm Sunday to Thursday and 11am and 9pm Fridays and Saturdays. The dispensary is located at 2190-A Muskoka Road 38 right across from the Wahta Station.

(Photos by Muskoka News Watch)

44 pounds of pot seized: St. Catherines man facing trafficking charge

A 29 year old St. Catherines man is facing charges after 44 pounds of pot was found in the vehicle he was driving on Highway 400.

On Tuesday May 17th a Barrie OPP officer  conducted a vehicle stop for a traffic infraction on Highway 400 near Ski Trails Rd. in Springwater Township.  The officer determined that marijuana was present in the vehicle and subsequently seized 44 pounds of marijuana.

The driver Steven Gionet of St Catharines was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking – over 3kg.

The accused will appear in Barrie court on Monday July 4th.

 

Ontario’s Labour Relations Board dismisses charges filed by TLDSB

Ontario’s Labour Relations Board (OLRB) has dismissed charges filed by the Trillium Lakelands District School Board against District 15 of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO).

OSSTF/FEESO teachers in Trillium Lakelands have been without a local contract for more than 20 months and have been engaged in a legal strike in the form of a selective withdrawal of services for the past six months in support of their efforts to negotiate a fair agreement.
In their application to the OLRB, the Trillium Lakelands Board accused OSSTF/FEESO of bargaining in bad faith by deliberately taking positions at the bargaining table that are illegal. The Board further claimed that OSSTF/FEESO’s strike action, based on its negotiating position, is also illegal.
OLRB Vice-Chair Patrick Kelly rejected the claims of the school board and ruled that none of the OSSTF/FEESO bargaining proposals in question are illegal. He also took no issue with the legality of the current job action, and dismissed all of the school board’s allegations.
“It’s time for this school board to stop playing legal games and come back to the bargaining table,” said Cindy Dubue, OSSTF/FEESO Provincial Vice President and chair of the negotiating team, in a press release. “They’ve used their bogus allegations as an excuse to avoid bargaining, and in the end they’ve succeeded only in prolonging a strike that should have been settled months ago.”
“Unlike the Trillium Lakelands Board, we have been committed to the collective bargaining process throughout these negotiations,” said District 15 President Colin Matthew. “Our members will certainly feel vindicated by this decision, but what they are really looking for is a fair, negotiated deal. It’s now time for the Board to finally sit down with us and engage in serious negotiations.”

Great weather for Bracebridge Farmer’s Market season opener

Today marked the opening of the season for the Bracebridge Farmer’s Market and the weather was fantastic to boot.

The market runs each Saturday in Bracebridge’s Memorial Park on Manitoba Street between 8:30am and 1pm until the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend.

Check out some photos from Opening Day and be sure to keep up on all the market’s news at http://www.thebracebridgefarmersmarket.com/

clotheswinebees

 

 

One person airlifted from Hwy 11 accident scene in Severn Twp

Bracebridge Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is currently investigating a serious collision on Highway 11 at Southwood Road.

At 12:40pm  emergency services were called to attend a collision at Highway 11 Northbound at Southwood Road in Severn Bridge.

There were two vehicles involved in the collision, with one person having serious injuries. The highway was temporarily closed by the OPP to allow the person to be airlifted to the hospital for immediate medical attention.

One lane in both Southbound and Northbound directions of Highway 11 has been re-opened to traffic.

The investigation is currently ongoing and an update will be sent out when the Highway is completely re-opened.

 

Charges laid after illegal garbage burning

Charges have been laid following an illegal burn in Muskoka Lakes.

At 10:45 Thursday morning, Muskoka Lakes Fire Department Station #6-Port Carling responded to a report of a large column of black smoke in the air as a result of a pile of garbage on fire.

Station #6 firefighters put the blaze out quickly – the investigation found that the pile contained plastics, rubber tires, metal, and other prohibited items being burnt.

When crews arrived the fire was found to be unsupervised by anyone on the property and as a result charges were laid.

Muskoka Lakes Fire Chief Richard Hayes wants to remind residence that any day time burning is banned between April 1st and October 31, unless you have a day time burning permit.

Permits can be obtained at the Township Office in Port Carling at 1 Bailey St.

If you are going to have a fire, whether during the day time with a permit or two hours before sunset it must be clean burning, supervised at all times, and have a good supply of extinguishing agent available to put the fire out.

Prior to starting to burn, please check the Fire Rating by checking the Township web page or calling 1 877 847 1577.

Gravenhurst Fire Chief praises team effort at battling recent wildfires

Gravenhurst Fire Chief Larry Brassard is singing the praises of area firefighters for their team efforts when the township was threatened by four recent wildfires.
“On Thursday May 12th, the Town of Gravenhurst was threatened by four significant wildfires that erupted and had to be battled concurrently,” he writes. “In the hours following these events, many people offered up very supportive comments, praising the work firefighters did in controlling and extinguishing these fires. Various media outlets also reported that we were ably supported by our friends from the Muskoka Lakes, Bracebridge and Severn Township fire departments, and I would like to publicly acknowledge the great work these departments did working alongside our crews. It was truly a team effort.”
“It’s important for your readers to know that many others stepped forward last Thursday to help as well. Our 9-1-1 dispatchers answered numerous calls and managed hundreds of radio transmissions and requests for contacts to allied agencies. The O.P.P. facilitated safe working sites for our firefighters along Highway 11 and Winhara Road. At several sites, members of the public stepped forward to help pull hose or carry equipment. Other Town of Gravenhurst staff and several of our past members stepped forward to help, as did a member of Town Council who also served on the department for many years. People brought water to thirsty firefighters and helped out in other ways too.
Many, including me, had the fresh images of the devastation of the Alberta wildfires in mind as the day progressed.”
“Thankfully, the collective efforts of a community contributed to a better outcome here. To all who lent a hand to keep our community safe that day, I express my heartfelt thanks. Gravenhurst truly is a wonderful place to call home!”
Gravenhurst Fire Chief Larry Brassard
(Photo via @HollyMatrimony on twitter)

Big drug bust in Bracebridge

A Smooth Rock Falls man has been charged following a big drug bust in Bracebridge.

OPP responded to a complaint from a motorist on Monday about a possible impaired driver on Highway 11 North at 10pm.

Officers were able to locate the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop near Taylor Road.

As a result of their investigation, the driver, 55 year-old Daniel Viau of Smooth Rock Falls was arrested and charged with the following offences:

  • Driving While Ability Impaired by Drug
  • Possession of a Schedule I Substance (Cocaine)
  • Possession of a Schedule II Substance (Cannabis) Over 3 Kg for the Purposes of Trafficking
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5000

The accused will appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge on June 14th.