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2021-09-10

Spring Home and Garden Show this weekend

Kerry Barton and Allison Morgan of Rona Home and Garden encourage shoppers to think green when purchasing products for the home. The MBM Shows Spring Home and Garden Show is Saturday and Sunday at the Barrie Molson Centre. Admission is $7 for adults.

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2021-08-31

Angus library denied federal funding

People waiting for a new library branch in Angus are going to have to wait a little longer. The township was turned down in its application for Build Canada funding. The $3.4 million project was included in Essa’s 2009 budget, but it was dependent on success of the grant. Essa Mayor David Guergis said he was disappointed the township wasn’t successful, but congratulated other municipalities that received major grants. Coun. Sandie Macdonald said grassroots fundraising efforts would continue. Macdonald, who represents the Angus ward, has been a major proponent and fundraiser in the effort to build a new library. This is the second straight year Essa has been turned down for grant money to build the library.

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2021-03-29

Lotto winner beats the odds… twice

Dave Simmons is a rare bird. The Belle Ewart resident has won Lotto 6/49 not once, but twice in 2009. The 64-year-old design engineer won $224,639 in the Jan. 24 draw. He then followed up with a $19,055 win in the Feb. 21 draw. The first ticket was purchased at Sobey’s in Alcona. Simmons purchased his second ticket at Shopper’s Drug Mart on Innisfil Beach Road. “I checked my (second) ticket at the store,” Simmons said. “I feel fantastic and I am very pleased.” Married, Simmons said he planned to use part of his double windfall to help out his church and take a trip. Ontario Lottery and Gaming commission media spokesperson Teresa Roncon said winning in back-to-back months “is a fairly rare occurrence. I can’t recall the last time that’s happened. It’s just random chance. Congratulations to Dave.”

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2021-03-24

No plans to sell building: Legion

The president of Orillia’s Royal Canadian Legion is refuting rumours that members are contemplating a sale of the club’s waterfront building. Chuck Penny said he was unaware of any push to sell off the lakeside property and relocate the branch in the face of financial challenges. “That is certainly not on the executive’s mandate right now,” Penny told Orillia Today. “We are working away at things slowly, our bills are being paid.” The club will hold a regular general meeting on Wednesday evening, at which time members are free to broach issues related to the branch. “If somebody stands up and raises it, then you have to deal with it,” Penny said. “Certainly from the executive side, it is not an issue right now.” Despite maintaining a healthy membership, Orillia’s Legion is confronted with falling revenues, declining attendance and rising operating costs. A shortage of volunteers is also a concern. The club is taking steps to address funding problems and other challenges, but is not considering a sale of the property, Penny said. “We have not talked about selling the building and looking at alternatives,” he added. “I don’t think we would have trouble selling it. But what would you do, where would you go? “If we were to close that building, we would lose an awful lot of people,” he said.

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2021-03-24

Baby endures ‘hare-raising’ experience

Three-month-old Clara Barter gets up close and snuggly with the Easter Bunny on Saturday at the Penetanguishene Centennial Museum. The museum’s Easter Eggstravaganza featured an egg hunt, pin the tail on the bunny, crafts and prizes. For more pictures, click to go to The Mirror ‘s online photo gallery.

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2021-03-24

Avoid the credit trap

When someone’s credit-card bill arrives with a higher number than his or her bank balance, it can be a daunting moment. But, just when it looks like they’ve reached their max, the bank sends a notice to say it has increased their credit. It may feel like winning the jackpot, but it’s a slippery place to be, as people find themselves sliding more into debt with no way of climbing out. Kelly Hechler, a spokesperson for TD Canada Trust, said adding to people’s credit limit isn’t a trick used to get people spending. She said her bank has strict guidelines that must be met before handing over credit. “We have to look at each individual customer,” said Hechler. Before lending money, a bank looks at a person’s income, history of paying bills on time, any collateral items and current debts. Those figures are used to make a debt-service ratio to determine if they can access more cash. It’s not the bank’s job to monitor a person’s spending habits, said Hechler. “You have to demonstrate your ability to pay, and if you’re using one credit card to pay for another, maybe using credit isn’t the healthiest way for you to spend.” If a person is using debt for the wrong reasons, or spending is out of control, all banks have someone to sit down and talk to, she said. “Ultimately, each person is responsible for their financial situation. Think about consolidating your credit cards for a lower rate, or talk with a credit counselling resource. If you don’t take control, it can be stressful and frustrating when you need more credit, but can’t get it.” Gail Vaz-Oxlade, host of television’s “Til Debt Do Us Part,” has seen many families drowning in debt. And it’s her old-fashioned cash-in-jars approach that finally gets the message across to her clients. She makes participants withdraw money and put the bills into jars for transportation, rent, food and entertainment. As they write down their spending, they actually see the cash disappearing. Her catch phrase is that people have to get to the end of the month before they get to the end of the money. She has a good explanation for how society got into this spending pattern. “Many years ago, you couldn’t get a line of credit if you weren’t credit-worthy,” said Vaz-Oxlade. “It was only the triple-A client who was investing in renovations to their house, for those with a huge net worth, that could get a revolving line of credit.” But then banks started selling credit, and the public bought into the idea. “We started to think of credit as disposable income, and how we could work the minimum payment into our income.” People don’t think about how long it could take to pay back $30,000 before jumping at the chance to use it, she said. “As a society, we’re determined to have everything we want right now. We don’t want to have to choose or prioritize and deny ourselves anything.” Vaz-Oxlade makes people own up to their spending habits, but said it’s not entirely their fault. In order to get a credit card, the bank uses that debt-service ratio, and Vaz-Oxlade said that system has “gone out the window.” “I had one man on the show who had 17 credit cards and only earned $35,000 a year. He had access to $100,000.” With most people no longer using printed bankbooks, many people don’t bother to look at their monthly spending. And, after 15 years writing financial columns with little fanfare, Vaz-Oxlade said it’s her basic money-in-jars approach on television that hits home with viewers. Her first tip – aside from sitting down and planning a sensible budget to pay bills – is to make a wish list of future purchases like shoes or tools. “You can’t shop blindly and get things just because they’re on sale. The whole philosophy that it’s a deal isn’t true if you don’t need it. If you don’t make a list, you’re a fool putting yourself at the whim of marketing.” One piece of advice from a local financial adviser is to simply put away the plastic if you want to stay out of debt. Julie Larsen, a financial planner with Investors Group, said if people are serious about surviving the cash crunch, it’s time to go back to basics and save up for purchases. The first mistake is that people spend money as soon as they earn it – on things as small as coffee. “People wonder why they have no money left. If they’re spending $10 a day on coffee and lunch, then going out on the weekends, that could be the reason,” said Larsen. Another problem is that people get lured into buy-now-pay-later offers from local stores. “If you pay for it later, that money is going out the door in the future, and there’s no room to put money into savings or a retirement savings plan.” As a rule of thumb, people shouldn’t have more than 40 per cent of a debt load compared to income. Larsen said people should take a quarter of their salary and put it into savings. The rest can go to mortgage or rent payments, food and paying bills. To protect themselves in case of an emergency, people should also set aside three to six months’ salary, or have access to it through a line of credit, said Larsen. jramsay@simcoe.com

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2021-03-08

TBM ready for anything

The Blue Mountains announced it has completed the annual emergency management activities for the year including an exercise to develop plans to handle a pandemic influenza outbreak in the town. The exercise, as well as other requirements like community risk profiling and public education were all done in compliance with the standards set by Emergency Management Ontario and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, according to a recent press release from the town. Recently the town mailed out emergency preparedness guides to all residents living in The Blue Mountains, also as part of the management activities. The guides advised residents to prepare for 72 hours of self-sustainability in case of an emergency. This year’s exercise focused on maintaining community business continuity in case of the mock emergency outbreak. Steve Conn, emergency management coordinator for the town said he was happy with the ability of staff to deal with the scenario. "Our staff worked extremely well together, and created a sound plan to ensure business continuity in the town," he said. Conn also promoted the preparedness guides, which are available on the town website, thebluemountains.ca, or at the town offices, adding that individuals and families play a vital role in the town’s ability to respond to a crisis.

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2021-02-23

MS Walk has tough act to follow

Midland residents will be lacing up their walking shoes this Sunday for the 19th annual MS Walk. More than 28,000 people across the province are expected to walk to end multiple sclerosis this year, raising $6.7 million in pledges. Locally, organizers are hoping to match last year’s total of a little more than $36,000 – a 74 per cent increase from the year before. “Last year, (participants) were exceptional. Midland won an award for the best walk for overall fundraising,” said volunteer Marilyn Morasse, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease of the central nervous system, in 1991 at the age of 34. Despite her diagnosis, Morasse continues to live her life to the fullest, and has spent much of her time recently volunteering and fundraising for the walk. She even plans on taking part in the event. “If the weather is nice, my husband is going to push me in my wheelchair,” she said. People should come out for the walk to support those living with the disease, she noted. “You don’t know who it’s going to hit next (or) what family it’s going to (affect). It’s easier to understand if you’re around us more,” she said. “People think MS is this really scary, debilitating disease, and if they were to come out to something like this to volunteer or take part, they would get a better idea of what the disease is.” Funds raised by the MS Walk help people affected by MS in several ways. “This event helps to fund services for people with MS and their families, which can include providing information and referrals, supportive counselling, and mobility equipment,” Yves Savoie, president and CEO of the MS Society of Canada and president of the MS Society’s Ontario division, stated in a news release. “The MS Walk also helps fund the MS Society’s national research program.” Proceeds from the walk, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre, will help fund research into the cause and cure of multiple sclerosis, as well as provide services to people with MS and their families. To register for the walk, or for more information, visit or call 1-888-822-8467. nmillion@simcoe.com

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2021-01-04

‘Bathtub Girl’ wants to live in Barrie

A 22-year-old Mississauga woman, who murdered her mother, now wants to live in a halfway house in Barrie. It’s the third option presented by the woman, who with her younger sister were dubbed Canada’s notorious "Bathtub Girls" during their infamous trial in 2005. She is seeking release less than three years into her sentence as part of her mandatory annual review. Justice Bruce Duncan is deciding whether to grant her release from prison. Regardless, he shot down one plan earlier Monday. Her lawyer, Stephen Gehl, suggested there was a chance she could live independently on the campus of the University of Waterloo where she hopes to study engineering. "You’re asking that she be put up in an apartment in Waterloo on her own?" Duncan said to Gehl. "That’s going too far." Under the new plan, she would still take correspondence courses at the Barrie halfway house, should she be accepted at Waterloo. Two other plans — living at halfway houses in Brampton and near Hamilton — fell through because of funding and other concerns. The young woman has the marks and, if accepted, the college won’t know her criminal past, court heard previously. At 16, she and her younger sister, then 15, killed their 43-year-old mother by drowning her in the bathtub of their Mississauga townhouse. Both are serving a 10 year youth sentence for first-degree murder. Today, Duncan is to hear more arguments for release from the younger sister. He’s expected to decide later this summer whether one or both should be released from the Grand Valley Institution for Women near Kitchener. Court has heard that the older sister has been a model prisoner but still has emotional and psychological issues. Regardless, she will be eligible to apply for federal parole on Oct. 29, 2009 with her mandatory release after serving two-thirds of her sentence scheduled for March 11, 2013. For now, she remains entitled to yearly reviews by Duncan, who sentenced the sisters on June 30, 2006, and who rejected their bid for freedom during last year’s first annual review. She is currently eligible for day parole but hasn’t applied. Duncan could still decide to release her under his authority in connection with the mandatory reviews under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Although the latest assessment deemed her to be a "low risk" to re-offend, prison officlals and therapists believe she’ll need continuing counselling and monitoring for alcohol and drug abuse as well as family relationships once outside of prison. The sisters were dubbed the "Bathtub Girls" by the media during their sensational eight-week trial in the fall of 2005 for the Jan. 18, 2003 slaying of their mother. They were the first sisters to ever murder their mother in Canada. They fed their alcoholic mother booze and Tylenol-3 pills, and then drowned her in the bathtub of their Mississauga townhouse. They got away with the cold-blooded killing for more than a year until a friend went to police with information that their mother’s death wasn’t a booze-fuelled accident but a calculated and planned murder complete with an Oscar-worthy 911 call. Although adults, their identities and the identity of their dead mother remain secret because they were convicted as youths and are serving a youth sentence in an adult prison. -Torstar News Service 

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2020-12-29

Dancor project appealed to OMB

The Official Plan amendment that Clearview Township council approved in March for the Dancor development on the eastern edge of Stayner has been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Clearview’s director of planning, Michael Wynia, made the announcement at a recent council meeting. He says the appellant is Norman Emerson, a Stayner resident. Wynia says the OMB will likely schedule a pre-hearing and possibly a mediation session. He says that failing mediation or withdrawal of the objection, a hearing would likely occur in the fall or winter. Council approved an Official Plan amendment (OPA) and subdivision draft plan – before the municipality since June 2006 – at a meeting in March. The County of Simcoe must still approve the OPA. The Dancor development is one of the largest projects in Stayner in years. If the project goes ahead as approved by council in March, Dancor will be able to build a total of 998 dwelling units on its 74-hectare site at the corner of Highway 26 and County Road 7. The project includes 615 detached units, 64 semi-detached units, 115 townhouse units and 204 apartment units. There is also a commercial land component.

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