The 11th Annual Chamber of Commerce Community Awards Dinner on Saturday night could have gone by another name: Ladies Night. Time and again when an award recipient was announced it was one of Meaford’s finest ladies stepping up to the stage to receive the honour. Barb Cooper-Clumpus was presented with the Peter Francis Memorial Award. Long-time community volunteer Barb Rush received the Special Merit Award. Local Dairy Queen owner/operator Shirley Keaveney picked up the Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In the case of Keaveney extra precautions had to be taken to keep her in the dark about her award. As Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce Keaveney is one of the primary organizers of the awards dinner event. The Chamber’s Awards committee had to take some extra steps to make sure Shirley was surprised. "I’m completely shocked. I can’t tell you what an honour it is to receive this award tonight," said Keaveney after BIA President Richard Morris announced her name. "It’s a thrill to just get nominated," she said. Cooper-Clumpus was almost speechless after being presented the Peter Francis Memorial Award by Liz Francis. "Peter was a very dear friend. He was the one that introduced me to the Chamber," said an emotional Cooper-Clumpus. "He had a vision and I bought it. Peter sits on my shoulder all the time. This is a community with tremendous spirit and tremendous pride. I can’t tell you how much this means to me," she said. Barb Rush was very busy on Saturday night. She spent the evening volunteering her time and services to the Chamber of Commerce to help make the big evening a success. She received a massive round of applause when she went from volunteering to receiving the Special Merit Award from Mayor Francis Richardson on Saturday night. "I’m very thrilled and I’m almost speechless," Rush told the large audience. "I love volunteering and I love this community. Life isn’t what you get, but what you give," she said.
At the Wasaga Sun we are constantly exploring new trends and innovations in our industry to better serve readers and advertisers. The Sun and its sister papers in Simcoe County are part of the Metroland Media Group, proprietor of more than 100 papers throughout southern Ontario. On March 1 all Metroland tabloid papers converted to a modular format, resulting in some significant changes. The first, and most obvious, is the size. We have gone with a shorter tab that has proven popular with readers and advertisers in other communities. Why? First, and foremost, it’s easier to read, more manageable to handle. But that’s not all. The change in size comes with a switch to modular layout. Without boring you with industry chatter, it means the layout of the paper will be cleaner, allowing for more creative design of both editorial content and advertising. The change has wider ramifications. Most notably, it reduces the company’s carbon footprint because it requires the use of fewer resources to meet business needs. Change is ongoing and constant. We are committed to meeting the challenges, and also opportunities, presented by change to better serve the community. If you have comments about the new format send them to John Devine, group editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org
If nothing else, there seems to be general agreement that the traditional revenue and regulatory model for conventional television is broken. Now we’ll see how that translates into a solution for what troubles broadcasters like the local branch of A Channel (formerly CKVR and The New VR). Comments earlier this year by CRTC chairperson Konrad von Finckenstein could be interpreted as a sign the federal regulator is in a mood to listen to the tales of woe now coming fast and furious from conventional broadcasters. Addressing the Canadian Film and Television Production Association, he acknowledged the problems besetting the broadcasters, and hinted at solutions, including a rethink of the regulator’s refusal to approve the broadcasters’ love-to-have item: fee-for-carriage. He seemed to, however, attach a condition, saying that conventional broadcasters had never explained how the fee would further the objectives of the Broadcasting Act. That might be a bit of a chasm to bridge, as conventional broadcasters seem to be thinking more in terms of survival than ‘furthering regulatory objectives.’ Broadly speaking, the act is a big-picture set of principles and regulations governing broadcasting in Canada. It seeks to preserve and promote Canadian-owned and operated stations. It gives the CRTC authority to develop and enforce ownership regulations and content standards, such as the amount of Canadian and local content required to meet licensing criteria. A loosening of requirements to carry Canadian and locally-produced content has been identified by conventional broadcasters as a means to the end of becoming financial stable, but it’s fee-for-carriage – receiving a fee from cable and satellite companies to carry the signal – that has been pegged as the cure to declining revenues. “Fee-for-carriage is absolutely number one. We believe we can make it work if we have that extra revenue stream,” Peggy Hebden, station manager for Barrie’s ‘A,’ told me recently. Push is turning to shove as far as the broadcasters are concerned, as insiders like Hebden worry about the ability of local television to survive. Earlier this month the station let go 24 of its 74 employees. “In our heyday, we had 135 employees. We could make a profit at that time but now we can’t.” The station has been a fixture in the community since 1955. It has undergone a number of name and ownership changes, including CKVR, The New VR and now ‘A’ channel. It has been independently owned, a CBC affiliate, and is now part of CTVglobemedia. At the time of the Barrie layoffs, CTV also announced the closing of stations in Windsor and Wingham, and the cancellation of local content, including Barrie’s morning show. Instead of that show, early-morning viewers are watching a repeat of the suppertime news program; later-morning viewers see the 11 p.m. newscast. Across the ‘A’ network, 118 jobs were eliminated. It’s an indication of how dire the situation is for conventional television in smallish markets like Barrie, said Hebden. “If we sold every 30-second spot on our channel, we still couldn’t make money.” The station, and others like it, has not been profitable for years. “We can’t continue to do what we were doing. We were losing money anyway, we’re just losing it faster now.” Unlike specialty channels, which receive fee-for-carriage payments, conventional television has one revenue stream: advertising. “We need to come up with a new way. They (licensing regulations) need to be revised,” said Hebden, adding the regulations governing conventional broadcasting are 50 years old. During his address to the film and television association, the CRTC boss pointed to four challenges facing conventional broadcasters. 1) The global economic crisis: “It accelerated much more quickly than expected and caught everybody by surprise, including us.” 2) Advertising: “One of the first casualties of such an economic crisis is – inevitably – advertising. The broadcasting industry as a whole depends heavily on a strong, steady flow of advertising dollars … advertising placement is down sharply. The conventional TV broadcasters, who must depend entirely on advertising for their revenue, are obviously the sector most heavily affected by this downturn.” 3) Audience fragmentation: “A shrinkage of viewership of conventional TV has already been in progress because of the fragmentation of the audience. Specialty and pay channels have siphoned off many viewers … a lot of eyeballs have migrated to the discretionary sector and they have taken profitability with them.” 4) Challenge of New Media: “ … especially its on-demand capability and its attraction to advertisers. Younger Canadians in particular are turning to Internet-based and mobile media that hardly existed as entertainment sources ten years ago.” 5) Diminished role of conventional television: “What is also clear is that a lot of people are watching less conventional television than before.” The chairperson went on to identify four unresolved issues that need to be addressed in the drive to fix the ‘broken model.’ 1) Digital transmission: Most Canadians get their broadcast signals from cable or satellite. About 10 per cent get their signals over the air (OTA) using old-style antennas. The CRTC has set a deadline of Aug. 31, 2011, for the switching of analog signals to digital, however the industry is balking, saying it would be too costly to invest in OTA digital transmitters, when only a small number of households would use this service. The commission says it’s unacceptable that those households now relying on free OTA signals would lose them, or be forced to pay for them through broadcasting distribution undertakings (BTUs). Discussions are underway to arrive at a solution, with some sort of hybrid system probable, he said. 2) Local programming improvement fund: “Stations in smaller markets have been having difficulty in maintaining adequate levels of local programming, especially news … the fund’s objective is to provide incremental funding for local programming,” said von Finckenstein, who added, “ … terms must be set for administration of the fund, including eligibility to access it.” 3) Distant signals: “For some time, broadcasters have been asking for compensation for the retransmission of their signals outside their priority carriage market … the commission recognized the legitimacy of their claim … we believe that market-based negotiations between the parties will arrive at a fair price.” 4) Terms of trade: “The industry needs to have a template for agreements on rights, just as there are standard forms for the sale of a house.” OK, so there is general agreement the industry is in trouble. So what now? The CRTC boss outlined a three-phase approach. The first phase is to hold the scheduled licensing hearings in April, but with a dramatically reduced focus with the objective being how to help conventional broadcasters weather the immediate storm. Instead of seven-year licenses, one-year licenses will be granted. A review of the entire licensing system over the summer will constitute the second phase. The commission will look at “the reality of large ownership groups controlling both conventional and discretionary broadcasting services – with some of them also being major distribution undertakings.” According to the CRTC chairman, “The intent is to design a framework for licensing broadcasters – both conventional and specialty – on the basis of these ownership groups, not on the basis of the types of service they deliver. Such a framework would reflect the industry reality.” The third phase, in April 2010, involves “… a combined hearing for specialty and conventional television and assign privileges and obligations on that new ownership basis.” Sounds like quite the plan. Broadcasters hope fee-for-carriage lies somewhere amid the details. “This is not a selling problem or performing problem,” said Hebden. “We have great performance, but it doesn’t seem to matter.” The loss to Barrie and region of its local television station would hit the community hard, she predicted. “We’re very important and we need to have a local television station tell our stories. We don’t need our stories told from Toronto, and that’s what would happen.” To tell those stories, ‘A’ is required to produce 14 hours of local content per week, said Hebden. “Barrie is exceeding it with 20.5, including our repeats.” To a layman, it seems a balance needs to be struck between profit and local content. The station is, after all, a business. But without local content, there wouldn’t be any of “our stories” Hebden speaks of, and without those, little value to the community from a station merely based in Barrie, but carrying content readily available elsewhere. Many in the community are rallying to the station’s side, including MP Patrick Brown. “The majority of residents … adore having the ability to learn about local news, cultural activities and charitable events through the ‘A’ station.” “The CRTC must allow local television stations to add a second stream of revenue, a fee-for-carriage, which would be paid for by local cable providers.” Ultimately though, it would be the consumer who paid, as cable and satellite providers can be expected to pass on the costs. The CRTC has already rejected the fee-for-carriage request twice, with cable and satellite providers among the most vocal opponents. There’s no argument the industry is in trouble. The numbers speak for themselves. The CRTC recently reported that the profits of conventional broadcasters dropped by more than 90 per cent last year; the industry’s 2008 profits, before taxes, were a miniscule $8 million, compared with $112.9 million in 2007 and $233.4 million in 2004. Debt load, particularly with Canwest ($3.7 billion), compounds the problems facing local television, as the media giants struggle to service debt amid declining revenues. The industry is being assailed from a number of fronts, and, is “at a crossroads that people need to pay attention to. “It’s serious,” said Hebden, adding she doesn’t see how the CRTC could ignore the call for fee-for-carriage. The alternative is a stark one, she said. “We are so important and vital to this community and we could very easily shut down if something doesn’t change.”
Timothy Andrew Nightingale, 23, of Collingwood, pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice Apr. 14 to the indictable offences of breaking and entering a dwelling and using an imitation firearm in the commission of the crime. He was sentenced to two and a half years behind bars in a federal penitentiary, to be followed by three years on probation. Nightingale’s jointly accused – Grant Shuttleworth, also 23 and a Collingwood resident – pleaded guilty to similar charges plus a breach of probation last December. He received four years in a federal penitentiary. Prosecutor Paul Billington began by summarizing the evidence with a lengthy statement describing the case. He read that at 4:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 21, 2008, both accused went to a Matthew Way Co-op address, where they tried to buzz in but were denied entry. Driven by alcohol and seeking revenge for an uncle who was seriously assaulted 10 days before, Shuttleworth "went to the steel door and kicked it in," Billington said. Both men entered wearing cloth masks and brandishing air guns. A five-minute reign of terror by Nightingale and Shuttleworth ensued, during which the mother of two girls, age 11 and 13, was threatened with death if she did not reveal the whereabouts of the male occupant. According to earlier evidence, Nightingale was ordered upstairs to search in vain for the other man – who remained safely hidden in a closet throughout the invasion. Meanwhile the mother had dialed 911, leaving the line open for the dispatcher to hear as both perpetrators "walked around smashing a television and ripping off closet doors." A bedroom door was also broken in half, added the Crown. At one point Nightingale confronted the younger girl, after first kicking in her unlocked bedroom door. While the terrified victim watched from a corner, he told her: "I’m sorry, I don’t like doing this to kids." Shuttleworth then warned both girls and their mother that "there will be blood" if they could not locate the man they sought. When police arrived at approximately 4:45 a.m., Nightingale – who was still holding the weapon – attempted to flee, court heard. It was admitted in Tuesday’s court by both counsel that the first offender "doesn’t recall pointing a gun, but might have." Trial lawyer Cecile Applegate said on her client’s behalf: "They were playing around with air guns. Shuttleworth tied a bandana around Mr. Nightingale’s face and his own. He thinks it’s a joke. When Shuttleworth kicked in the door, Mr. Nightingale knows it’s no longer a joke. Unfortunately he could have turned around and walked out, but he didn’t." The accused stood before Mr. Justice Roland Harris: "I’d just like to say I’m very sorry," he said. The defendant will be bound by a weapons ban for life. A DNA order will be affected within days, and his probationary period will address issues of alcohol abuse and empathy. "Three hundred years ago," wrote Harris, "Sir Edward Coke came up with the phrase: ‘A man’s home is his castle.’ It’s usually the one place you can feel safe. Instead, in this case what was in store for a number of people not to mention the target, was stark horror.
In the brief running life of Rick Ball his ultimate dream has been realized. Competing in his first Boston Marathon – barely 20 months after taking up long distance running – the 43-year-old Orillia resident made history on Monday. “I got the record,” said Ball, a few hours after conquering the demanding, 26-mile, 385-yard Boston course. Ball, who lost part of his right leg in a 1986 motorcycle-truck accident, posted a time of 3:01:50. In doing so, the Toronto Transit Commission mechanic shattered the single-leg amputee world record of 3:04:16, previously held by Australian Amy Palmiero-Winters. While in Boston, Ball was also attempting to break the world mark of Richard Whitehead, a double-leg amputee from England. However, Ball fell short of the 2:57:00 time set by Whitehead in March at the Rome Marathon. Ball extracted a measure of revenge on Monday in Boston, finished nearly one minute ahead of Whitehead, who posted a time of 3:02:44. With this result, Ball has automatically qualified for the 2010 Boston Marathon. He said the crowd played a big part in getting him across the finish line. “I was afraid I was going to pass out and not finish. At one point, I put up my arms to the crowd and yelled bring me in, bring me in. They roared and roared so loud they nearly blew me off my feet,” said Ball. Among those cheering him on over the last few strides was his wife Stacey. “She (Stacey) saw me 200 metres from the finish line and I was white as a ghost. She knew I was going to end up in the medical tent. All I wanted was to see her,” he said. After crossing the line he headed directly for the comfort and support of a wheelchair. “There was three people working on me for 90 minutes in the medical tent,” he said. Ball has made dramatic strides in running in a short period of time. Orillia’s Athlete of the Year for 2008, he only began running about 20 months ago under the direction of his coach Roger DePlancke. Contacted on Monday at his Orillia home, DePlancke was thrilled to see Ball realize his goal. “I think he did really well and the truth is he beat the guy who is the world record holder (Whitehead), which is just fantastic. Now he has the chance to run again in the fall on an easier course and beat Whitehead’s record,” said DePlancke, a veteran of eight Boston Marathons. As expected, the latter part of the course was the toughest. “Heartbreak Hill beat the crap out of me out there. That’s where I hit the wall,” said Ball, referring to the steep series of hills located along the latter part of the Boston course. In the end, the race left him physically and mentally drained. “I had four bottles of water and four bottles of Gatorade and never went to the washroom after the race. I was that dehydrated after the race,” said Ball. While in Boston, Ball turned into something of a media celebrity, conducting interviews with various major North American daily newspapers, while also appearing on CBC Radio.
New Soccer Pitches Ready The soccer fields outside the Adjala-Tosorontio municipal building are ready for use this summer. The park outside the building has been under construction since last year, and is now ready for use. The township said people have been anxious to use them, and there have been a lot of inquiries from various groups. The township is now waiting for the weather to turn nicer before opening them up. Boil Water Orders Just Precautionary The five boil-water advisories in Adjala-Tosorontio in 2008 were all precautionary measures caused by false readings and scheduled system upgrades, said the annual report on the water system. The township received a perfect score from the Ministry of the Environment for its Inspection Report Rating Record, the summary report said. Three boil-water advisories in July – in Everett, Loretto, and Rosement – were issued by false positives in the testing procedure, the report said. Two other advisories in October, one in Loretto and another in Rosemont, were issued during upgrades to water systems in those communities, the report said. The report was provided to council March 2, and is also available to the public. It is available at the township office, and will be on the township’s website, in the public works section.
Drew Wright will once again take the stage in Collingwood. This time as the front man of his new band Fall and Divide. The quartet – which features Bret Carrigan (drums), Paul Fonseca (bass) and Jean Arcand (lead guitar) – will be performing at the Gayety Theatre on Wed., Apr. 29 and Thurs., Apr. 30. Wright, of Canadian Idol fame, has been playing with Carrigan – a former drummer of the band Honeymoon Suite – for several years and said the group formed in December. Wright said he got the name from a lyric in a Pink Floyd song, that said ‘united we stand, divided we fall.’ The group played a New Year’s Eve gig in Barrie – two weeks after forming, but this show will be the first display of the band’s original work. "It’s the first public display of Fall and Divide," Wright said. "We’ve been in hibernation working on material." The band has been recording songs at a studio in Collingwood and all those who attend the concert will receive a copy of the five-song disc. Wright said the group’s sound is rock-based, but he said all of the members have different musical influences. "It’s like throwing darts at a map. We’re all influenced by such different music," he said. Arcand said people can expect hard driving rock music, but with Wright’s voice, there will be a lot of melody. "It’s like an 800-pound gorilla wearing a Sunday dress," Arcand said. Wright said being in a band is what he always wanted to do. "I’ve always wanted to be in a band. I’ve never wanted to be just Drew Wright," he said. Even though the group has only been together for several months, everything is working out. "We’re all unique in our way," he said. "There is a sense of maturity and camaraderie." Carrigan is excited about the chance to showcase the band’s new songs. "It’s a great opportunity for us to show what we’ve been up to," he said. "That’s what we do best." Tickets are available by phone (705) 445-9030 or in person at Gabriele Photography at 133 Hurontario St., Collingwood. Ticket prices are $29.99 or $44.99 (includes a meet and greet). For more information, call 445-9030. You can also learn more about the band by visiting them at www.myspace.com/fallanddivideband or www.fallanddivide.com
A public meeting held last Monday night regarding a property immediately east of The Beer Store on Main Street in Stayner shed little clue as to what will be situated on the site if developers get the go-ahead from Clearview Township. Clinton Stredwick, a planner with D.C. Slade Consultants Inc., a Collingwood firm representing the applicant, said the plan is to construct a one-storey commercial building. The property is owned by a Savvas Koundouros. “We’re trying to build a commercial building that a tenant can rent or take over,” Stredwick told Clearview council last Monday night. According to township documents, the building would be roughly 2,800 square feet. The parking lot on the property would have space for 16 vehicles, including one handicap spot, Stredwick said. The public meeting was held under the province’s Planning Act because the property requires a zoning bylaw amendment for the project to go ahead. The amendment, if approved, would rezone the property to general commercial exception three from general commercial. The change would impact setbacks, allow parking to be located in front of the building, permit snow storage to be located in the landscaping buffer area and reduce the front yard landscaping requirement. Rossalyn Workman, a planner for Clearview, gave an overview of the property at the start of the public meeting last week. She noted the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) wants drainage and stormwater management issues on the site resolved before any approval is granted. Workman said the township is working on addressing the NVCA’s concerns. As well, she told council a neighbour has submitted a letter to the township, wanting a privacy fence built at the developer’s expense. Stredwick said he hasn’t spoken to the developer about the request for a fence but noted, “I can’t see it being a huge issue.” Michael Wynia, Clearview’s director of planning, was also at the meeting last week. He said that staff would do a thorough analysis of the application and bring a report back to council – one that recommends whether the zoning amendment should be approved or rejected.
With a family tree deeply rooted in local government, New Tecumseth’s chief financial officer and treasurer Paul Whiteside is retiring. Whiteside’s last day on the job is slated for July 3. The current manager of finance and deputy treasurer Mark Sirr has been appointed by council to fill Whiteside’s shoes. Whiteside has been with the municipality for 27 years, starting with the former Town of Alliston in 1982 as the treasurer and deputy clerk. After amalgamation in 1991, Whiteside continued his career with the newly created Town of New Tecumseth. "It’s been a pleasure and an honour to serve my whole municipality and community as a public employee," Whiteside said. "My decision to retire was not an easy choice." Taking a position as town treasurer saw Whiteside following in his father Lorne’s footsteps. Lorne was the treasurer and clerk of the Town of Alliston from 1951 to 1973. Whiteside’s Uncle Gerald held the position before that. Whiteside’s family history in the government began with his grandfather Joseph, who was the warden of Simcoe County in 1906. In 2005 Whiteside was awarded a Fellowship by the Society of Management Accountants of Canada in recognition of service to the society, the profession and the community. "Paul has contributed greatly to the Town of New Tecumseth. While we are going to miss him, we wish him all the best as he enjoys the greens and the many joys of retirement," said New Tecumseth Mayor Mike MacEachern, one of five mayors that Whiteside has worked with during his career. Born and raised in Alliston, Whiteside also served on the board of directors for Stevenson Memorial Hospital for 17 years. In retirement, he plans to continue being active in the community. "For the first few months, I think I’ll enjoy a little rest and relaxation. I plan on golfing, using the walking track at the New Tecumseth Recreation Centre and taking our dog for many walks," he said. "I would also like to do something for the community."
The Huronia West OPP say they received a report around 5 p.m. last Thursday that a young female in Stayner was sexually assaulted. Const. Mark Kinney says an investigation revealed that a man grabbed the female in the schoolyard at Byng Public School. “Fortunately, this female got away and notified a member of the Clearview Fire Department who immediately called police,” Kinney said. “Members of the Clearview Fire Department located the above male and followed him through several streets, updating police until they arrived and arrested him.” Police have charged Wesley Robinson, 51, of Wasaga Beach with sexual assault.