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Visitor restrictions at SMH due to outbreak

Alliston’s Stevenson Memorial Hospital is restricting the entry of visitors to the Medical Surgical Unit effective today (Sat., April 11) due to a gastroenteritis outbreak. The hospital reported an increased number of patients with symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea on the Medical Surgical Unit. After consultation with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, it declared a gastroenteritis outbreak. Investigations into the cause are ongoing. “For the protection of our patients, visitors, staff and the community, the hospital is implementing enhanced infection prevention and control measures,” stated hospital officials in a release. In additions to preventing visitor access to the Medical Surgical Unit, there will also be no admissions of patients to the unit until further notice, and all current patients in the unit have been put on contact precautions, staff are wearing gloves, masks and gowns as an added precaution and enhanced cleaning and disinfection has been implemented. Although visitor restrictions have been implemented, at the discretion of the team leader, visits to palliative and critically ill patients may be considered. The hospital has also advised that anyone using other services within the facility is asked to maintain a high level of hand hygiene, by cleaning their hands with alcohol-based rub on entering and exiting the hospital, as well as when moving from one area of the hospital to another. Family and friends of inpatients may contact the Medical Surgical Unit for information, but should be aware that patient care is the priority. When nurses are attending to patients, calls may have to be returned later in the day.


Fanning the flames of literacy

Mundy’s Bay Public School has been taking part in a reading challenge for the month of February. To conclude the month, a literacy celebration took place March 6. Students participated in a program delivered by author Michael Wade, while Midland police Chief Paul Hamelin, Mayor Jim Downer and representatives from the Midland Fire Department, including Geoff Caldwell, read to students.


Tornados win OMHA Spirit of Hockey contest

TNT Tornados Minor Hockey Association has won the grand prize for the Spirit of Hockey contest. TNT entered the contest earlier this year to help celebrate the Ontario Minor Hockey Association’s (OMHA) 75th anniversary. As the winning association, TNT fundraising director Sandra Castelijn said the group wins a $7,500 credit for OMHA programming, and barbecue for up to 5,000 people, up to 500 passes for players to the Hockey Hall of Fame and a visit from an NHL alumni. The club also gets a Hometown Hockey Spirit Contest banner, a commemorative print from Frameworth and TNT will be recognized at the OMHA annual general meeting. She said the approximate retail value of the contest is $10,000. For TNT’s entry it held a skate-a-thon fundraiser in January. At the event players sang happy birthday to the OMHA on the ice and served anniversary cake. Players also wrote 500 word essays about their hometown hockey spirit, passion for hockey, and example of how TNT has demonstrated sportsmanship or how the association celebrated the OMHA’s anniversary. Castelijn said she has just received word that TNT won the grand prize. More information will be available soon.


New group at GBSS Born to Read

A new crop of Georgian Bay Secondary School students has dedicated themselves to promoting children’s literacy in the community. The Born to Read Club, with teacher Amy Teed-Acres, will work with Bruce Grey Children’s Services raise funds to purchase and deliver Canadian children’s books to families in the community that wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy them because of financial difficulty. Families will also receive a letter from the students explaining the benefits of early literacy and reading to children. Teed-Acres will be the staff advisor, but she emphasizes that this is a "kids-for-kids" initiative. The group set a goal for the year to purchase 500 books, and raise $3,500.00. The students will also be selecting the books they purchase. Members of the community can help with the initiative by adopting a book in October at a cost of $10. Donations are also welcome. Contact Amy Teed-Acres at GBSS at (519) 538-1680.


Pickup almost hits officer

A South Simcoe Police officer had a tense moment last Friday night after he had stopped a vehicle at the corner of the 10th Sideroad and 10th Line. While speaking to the driver, the officer observed a black GMC pickup turning the corner onto the 10th Line, spinning his wheels and rapidly accelerating towards the two parked vehicles. The police car had its emergency signals activated. The officer attempted to flag the truck over and the driver almost rear-ended the vehicle the officer had already pulled over. The GMC swerved to miss the other vehicle and came close to hitting the officer. The truck finally came to a stop farther down the road. After speaking to the truck driver, the officer realized he was impaired. He was taken back to the police station where he blew at twice the legal limit for alcohol. A 38-year-old Innisfil man was charged with impaired operation of a vehicle and given a May court date. Man ditches his wheels Police were called to an area near the 4th Line east of the 10th Sideroad at approximately 1 a.m. on Saturday, March 21 in response to a car off the road. Officers arrived to find a man standing on the side of the road wearing only one shoe. He told police he was the driver and owner of the vehicle. Police noticed the man was unsteady on his feet and took him back to the police for a breath test. The man blew at twice the legal limit and was charged with impaired operation of a motor vehicle. House fight nets firearms South Simcoe Police removed 21 legal firearms from a Innisfil house after a fight broke out early in the morning on Sunday, Mar. 22. Police learned two men, a 43-year-old and a 27-year-old, started a brawl after one of their vehicles had been damaged. The younger man’s girlfriend was also assaulted when she tried to get involved. Both men are now facing assault charges. One was also hit with an additional charge of mischief, the other with a charge of assault causing bodily harm. No one was seriously hurt. The pair will appear in Bradford court in April. Four times over limit After receiving a tip about a vehicle being driven erratically, police pulled over a 43-year-old Innisfil man who was speeding along the 4th Line early last Sunday afternoon. He was clocked doing 90 km-h  in a 50 km-h zone – in the wrong lane. The driver was immediately taken back to the police station where he blew four times over the legal limit for alcohol. He remained in custody until sober and will make a court appearance in Bradford in April to face charges of impaired driving and driving with over 80 mgs. of alcohol in his blood system. Man threatens wife, guns seized A man who threatened to kill his wife is up on charges after she called police on March 23. Police arrested the man at his workplace and later returned to the couple’s house where 14 legal firearms were removed. The man was held in custody for a bail hearing Tuesday morning. More firearms found The new owner of a home called South Simcoe Police on Saturday, March 21 after finding a quantity of firearms and ammunition while cleaning out his garage. Police questioned the previous owner of the house to learn he had inherited the items and did not know what to do with them. The man got off with a caution regarding the careless storage of a firearm. Police removed the firearms and ammunition. They will be destroyed.


Up, up and away on the bay

The warm winds of spring made for a colourful day on Kempenfelt Bay Tuesday, as kite skiers took to the frozen lake for some high-speed riding. Spring-like temperatures have put an end to ice sports on the bay but it won’t be long now until the kiters will be riding waves. Police remind the public the ice is no longer safe.


Two suspected dead in house fire

There are two possible fatalities in a house fire in the northwest reaches of Adjala-Tosorontio that firefighters are battling at this hour (3 p.m., Mon., March 16, 2009) Just before 2 p.m. a neighbour of the home located at 996380 the Tosorontio/Mulmur Townline north of Rosemont, called 911 to report heavy smoke coming from the home. Another neighbour at the scene said an elderly couple lives in the home and may not have made it out. The couple seldom left home. The husband was confined to a wheelchair. The house is fully involved and firefighters from Rosemont and both Adjala-Tosorontio fire stations are currently on the scene battling the blaze, but the damage is already extensive. There’s little left of the home except the foundation now. Flames were visible initially. Now only smoke is coming from the ruins of the home. Reporter Kurtis Elsner is on the scene. More details, photos and video as they become available.


Petal pushers

Volunteers for the Canadian Cancer Society will be out and about in the coming weeks as they gear up for Daffodil Month. Phyllis Clapp and Donna Burton, co-conveners for the Midland/Penetanguishene fundraiser, have been living, breathing and sometimes even sleeping the campaign for the past few months. Although they agreed it has been a challenge, heading up the campaign for the first time will be worth it in the end. “I think Phyllis has been living it 24 hours a day,” said Burton. “It seems to be our topic of conversation no matter if we are at a card game or bowling. It stays with us.” While money from most cancer-related fundraisers goes to research, proceeds from this campaign will go half toward research and half toward administration, drivers and support groups, noted Burton, who has been a cancer society volunteer for 18 years. “Everything raised here goes to our people,” she emphasized. Last year, the local branch’s volunteer drivers drove 344 clients to cancer-related appointments, covering 275,023 kilometres at a cost of more than $96,000. Clapp, a volunteer for two years, said knowing the money raised stays in the community is what makes this fundraiser so important. “About four years ago, I had to take my husband to Princess Margaret (Hospital in Toronto),” she recalled. “I didn’t know anything about the fact that there were drivers available.” While their reasons for volunteering may be different, both women have found themselves drawn to the cancer society. “Right from the time I was a child … my dad helped with cancer here in Midland,” said Burton. “It was embedded in my being.” “I lost my dad to cancer,” added Clapp. “I wanted to help raise money so that we can help in some way.” Daffodil sales brought in almost $3 million for the Canadian Cancer Society in Ontario in 2008 – with the local campaign raising $23,000. Burton and Clapp are hoping to increase that to $30,000 this year. Volunteers have fanned out in the community taking orders for the flowers. They sell for $7 a bunch or $12 for two bunches, with delivery scheduled for April 3. Daffodil sales will also be taking place in local stores, banks and malls on April 3 and 4. [email protected]


Jumbo paper shredder coming to Penetang

A briefcase-sized paper shredder will do the job, but it can be time-consuming. For people with a whole lot of paper to dispose of, a truck-sized shredder will pay a visit to Penetanguishene on May 2. The community shredding day is also a fundraiser for the Midland Area Reading Council and Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Simcoe. The truck holds 4.6 tonnes of shredded paper, all of which will be recycled, which organizers say will save about 55 trees. The truck will be at the Village Square Mall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations for the two community organizations will be accepted.


I Hear That Train a Comin’

Hayden Burkitt, three, takes charge of Thomas the Tank Engine under the watchful eye of conductor David Janelle at the Thomas Depot at the Queen Street station in Tottenham. The depot offered playday for youngsters Saturday to come in and try out the selection of toy trains. Some of the proceeds from sales are going to help the local Tottenham Food Bank.