Farmer charged in animal neglect case

Animal neglect charges have been laid against a Tottenham-area man after 28 head of cattle were found dead on his farm in March. In total, 12 charges were laid against the farmer today (May 13), including failing to provide adequate food, water, medical attention, sanitation, ventilation and failing to provide for the general welfare of an animal. A tip from the public March 10 led animal cruelty investigators to the 7th Line beef farm, east of Tottenham Road, where they found the dead animals. At that time, investigators also seized 24 additional head of cattle deemed by a veterinarian to be living under distress. A dog was also removed from the farm and was euthanized because of a medical condition. The charges were laid under Ontario’s new animal welfare laws. If convicted, each count carry a maximum fine of $60,000 and a sentence of up to two years in jail, said OSPCA spokesperson Kristin Williams. The courts can also apply other penalties, such as a lifetime ban on animal ownership. The Alliston and District Humane Society and the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals conducted the investigation. The dead cattle were buried on the farm under the direction of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.


Provincial agency to handle Adjala-Tos water

Adjala-Tosorontio is contracting out the operation of its municipal water system to the province. Effective last Monday (May 4), the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) is responsible for operation and maintenance of the township’s water system. Discussions over the matter were conducted in camera in February, before the township passed a bylaw to enter into an agreement with OCWA. The township announced details of the agreement at the council meeting Monday. Deputy Mayor Doug Little said the agreement would save the township money, which would be used to offset water costs. He said the issue was handled in camera because it dealt with municipal personnel issues. The report from Wargel outlined that the decision would impact four fulltime municipal employees and a contract worker. Users should notice no difference to their service, according to council. "It is going to be status quo as far as we can see now. The only difference is we are going to see some water savings," he said. The three-year contract with OCWA will cost the township a fixed amount of $375,200 annually, plus CPI adjustments. A memorandum from director of public works Eric Wargel reported savings to the municipality would be over $100,000 per year. In addition to the savings, the township would have access to more resources than a municipality the size of Adjala-Tosorontio could afford on its own. Little said OCWA’s policies are at least as stringent as those of the municipalities, and that the agreement would also save the township on liability. Two of the municipal employees have been retained by the township and have been assigned other duties. The rest have been offered positions at OCWA, according to the report. During regular business hours, residents can still contact the township offices at 705-434-5055 with questions. The after-hours emergency contact is now 1-800-461-9675. OCWA already had a working relationship with township, as it handled the wastewater system in Everett. The agency also operates the water systems in other surrounding townships, including Essa and Springwater and was the agency that provided bridge financing for the Georgian Bay Water Pipeline that serves New Tecumseth.


Firefighters honoured

Staff photo: Michael Gennings Dave McKee, a captain with the Clearview Fire Department, was recognized for 15 years of service last Monday night at Clearview Township council. Presenting McKee with a certificate is Mayor Ken Ferguson (left) and Chief Dave Carruthers. Firefighter Rob LeBlond was recognized for five years of service and firefighter Rick Graham for 10 years. The two men were absent for the certificate presentation.


Local students reading into child literacy

There’s a group of students at Georgian Bay Secondary School  (GBSS) with a grassroots approach to childhood literacy. The Born to Read club at GBSS works in conjunction with Grey Bruce Children’s Service (GBCS) to purchase and hand out quality, Canadian, children’s literature to local families. Amy Teed-Acres is a teacher at GBSS and has taken the role of supervisor for the group. She leads over 50 students in the initiative. Most of their time is spent fundraising to purchase the books to be given out.  They add the books purchased to a literacy package, which includes the book and a letter from the students explaining the benefits of early literacy and reading to children. The packages are later given out to families through GBCS. "I feel very strongly, as do the students involved, that every child deserves to have the chance to be exposed to great literature," said Teed-Acres. "To have it and hold it in their hands regardless of a family’s socio-economic circumstances." The program was born after Teed-Acres, a mother of young children, herself, went to pay for some books she was buying for her girls. She wondered as she proceeded to the checkout how many families never visit a bookstore or library and how many kids then go to school already "behind" in terms of reading skills. "I then wondered if there was a way to get brand new books into the hands of kids and families," she said. "Even if one child begins to read or one parent starts to read to or with their child because of our program, then it’s worthwhile." Jennifer Sells, program manager at Keystone Child and Youth Services, sees first hand the benefits of the Born to Read initiative. Keystone has mutual aid programs for parents of preschool aged children and has given out the literacy packages prepared by the students. She said that there are many families who cannot afford to buy books and worry about borrowing books from libraries. "Books in the home are a really great stimulus for a child," said Sells. "It’s a wonderful way of getting their children to be good readers." Teed-Acres believes that literacy rates and skills are cyclical, that the importance of literacy taught at a young age, eventually yields parents who read to and with their own children because of their positive experience. Anyone can adopt a book to donate to a family. Contact Amy Teed-Acres at GBSS at 519-538-1680.