Police and civilians alike are invited to make history by adding something special to the OPP Museum Time Capsule. The project is one of several being spearheaded by the museum in celebration of the OPP’s 100th anniversary. With a May 15 deadline looming, former and current members of the force, as well as the public, are invited to submit items related to the OPP’s past and present. The capsule and its contents will be stored in a brass column at the museum for 50 years, with the closing ceremony to take place on Oct. 13 – the date of the OPP’s 100th anniversary. According to Commissioner Julian Fantino, submissions have been “pouring in” since the project’s launch earlier this year. “There’s still one week left until the time capsule is closed and sealed for 50 years, and I am calling on people all over the province, including our own members, to make submissions before next Friday,” he added. Organizers are seeking items that speak to the everyday lives of the people who created them. Donations to date have included photographs, hats, letters, and newspaper articles. Electronic submissions are also being accepted. More information is available online at www.opptimecapsule.ca, or by contacting Roseann Rutledge at 329-6889.
Nighttime is the right time for the Orillia Spring Blues Festival. Determined to avoid the scorching heat that kept afternoon crowds away from a shade-starved parking lot, organizers have spread the annual event over three evenings (June 12 to 14). “We looked at what worked best on the main stage last year,” said Joe Fecht, chair of the volunteer committee. “We really didn’t get the crowds until the evening.” In addition to performances on the outdoor main stage in the parking lot across from Brewery Bay Food Co., the festival will feature an opening night show by vocal powerhouse Rita Chiarelli at the Orillia Opera House. “She has always been strong in the blues,” Fecht said of the four-time Juno nominee. Following hot on Chiarelli’s heels later that evening are main stage performances by Maple Blues Female Singer of the Year Suzie Vinnick, Treasa Levasseur, Donna Grantis, and Thunder Bay’s Tracy K. Saturday finds some old favourites returning to the stage, among them acclaimed guitarist Jack de Keyzer, Anderson Sloski with John Finley and Terry Blersh, and the wide-ranging styles of Juno-winners Fathead. “They’ve got a good name,” Fecht added. The Sunday evening kicks off at 6 p.m. with a blues jam led by the Steven Henry Band. “We will probably have the band play a bit then invite folks up (to play),” Fecht said. “We will probably have some kind of a sign-up process.” Ottawa-based Monkey Junk – a trio that blends swamp, R and B, soul, boogie, and funk – closes out the festival. “It’s a good lineup, and we are getting things well underway,” Fecht said. Johnny Flamingo, the Ronnie Douglas Band, Wayne Buttery, and the Sensations are among the acts scheduled to play local establishments over the weekend. Participating venues include the Grape and Olive Wine and Martini Bistro, Apple Annie’s Café, Brewery Bay, Maria’s Restaurant, Zats, Filou Bitro, and Sixteen Front. “We already have 10 (restaurants) who have signed up, so that is looking very positive,” Fecht added. “I think we are probably going to see at least two or three more.” More information is available online at www.orilliaspringblues.com.
John Crispo, a highly educated man who had a distinguished career as an economist, lecturer, and author and in later years served as a Clearview Township councillor for Ward 3, has died. Crispo, a Creemore resident, died Monday night at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto after an 18-year battle with cancer. He was 76. Ward 7 councillor Shawn Davidson said he was saddened by the news. "He was always a passionate individual," he said in a telephone interview with The Stayner Sun on Tuesday morning. "I quite liked him. Although our views on some issues were much different, I think both of us enjoyed the spirited debate that occurred often." Davidson and Crispo routinely sparred over local growth issues – a jousting that while at times was heated always appeared to contain an air of mutual respect. "He was as likeable as he was frustrating," Davidson said. Mayor Ken Ferguson was at Simcoe County council yesterday and could not be reached for comment. Coincidentally, council accepted Crispo’s resignation Monday night. Ward 4 councillor Thom Paterson, his voice cracking at times, read Crispo’s letter of resignation. "I regret having to inform you and my constituents that I will not be able to serve the remainder of my term as Ward 3 councillor because of a serious deterioration in my health," Crispo wrote. "Unfortunately, this resignation has to be effective immediately." He noted in the letter that he had hoped to "continue at least until we had an official growth plan approved by the county and the province but I cannot make it." He added that he hoped the township’s growth plan would "preserve and protect our rural character and history." Crispo said he liked the debate that occurred while he served on council. "I enjoyed sparring with some of you – you figure out who – and learned to live with mutual frustration with most of the rest of you," he said. "I suspect you will miss me as much as I will you." A final letter from Crispo was sent to constituents in his ward on Monday, explaining why he was resigning. In the letter, he thanked people for their support over the years, including Judy Fuke, his campaign manager. Crispo was elected to council in 2006, beating incumbent Marc Royal. He ran a strong grassroots campaign – one where he pledged to fight rapid growth in the municipality. Councillor Paterson was elected in the same election. Paterson moved to Creemore in March 2004 and the two met in September, quickly striking up a friendship. "We became friends and that developed out of a mutual respect for each other more than anything else," he said in an interview Tuesday. "He’d often just pull into the drive and come bounding through the front door." Paterson said he will miss his friend greatly. He said he last visited with Crispo on Sunday at Princess Margaret. "We had about an hour-long discussion," he said. "It was a very relaxed conversation. He wanted an update on Creemore and we just chatted." Paterson said Crispo was ready for what was to come. "He’d said his goodbyes." He said Crispo was in and out of hospital until the end of last week when he was admitted to palliative care at Princess Margaret. Crispo first came to the area as a weekender in the early 1960s and gradually spent more time in the area. He and his wife, Barbara sold their rural Nottawasaga home a few years ago and settled in Creemore, while also maintaining a home in Toronto. Crispo was an avid skier and golfer. He belonged to the Mad River Golf Club, south of Stayner and Devil’s Glen Ski Club, near Singhampton. Crispo grew up in Toronto and earned a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of Toronto (U of T) and a PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a professor at U of T and later professor emeritus. At the university, he was the founding director of the Centre for Industrial Relations. In the 1980s, on behalf of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, he campaigned in favour of free trade. Crispo also served on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s board of directors from 1991 to 1994 and was a director and member with several other organizations throughout the years. He wrote several articles and books, including Making Canada Work: Competing in the Global Economy (1992); Can Canada Compete? (1990) and Free Trade: The Real Story (1988). In 2002, he released his memoirs, Rebel Without A Pause. Crispo’s family was requesting privacy Tuesday but his friend, Art McIlwain, said a celebration of life service will be held in Creemore in due course. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and two daughters.