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Local public servants make sunshine list

Seventeen local public sector employees made the 2009 Sunshine list. The list is published annually by the Ministry of Finance and includes public sector employees who earn more than $100,000 in salary and taxable benefits. The 2009 list is for the 2008 year. In Collingwood, CAO Gordon Norris earned $129,210 in salary and $1,065 in taxable benefits. Former fire chief Sandy Cunningham earned $115,901 in salary and $890.85 in benefits. Peter Dunbar, director of leisure services made $115,562 in salary and $2,676 in benefits while Donald Green, manager of environmental services made $106,782 in salary and $416 in benefits. Treasurer Marjory Leonard ($104,784 and $958), director of library services Kerri Robinson ($104,848 and $461) and director of planning Gord Russell ($103, 936 and $955) made the list. In the Town of the Blue Mountains, CAO John Paul Graham ($128,788 and $9,876), director of engineering and public Reg Russwurm ($113,176 and $761) and director of building and bylaw David Finbow ($104,535 and $530) made the list. In Wasaga Beach, CAO George Vadeboncoeur earned $147,247 and $1,287 in benefits and Jim McIntosh, director of public works made $116,157 and $1,059 in benefits. Clearview Township CAO Sue McKenzie made the list with a salary of $105,275 and benefits of $772. Four employees at Collingwood General & Marine Hospital made the list, with CEO Linda Davis topping the list at $189,220 in salary and $558 in benefits. Linda Macleod, vice president of patient services, earned $120,510 and $381 in benefits. Also, registered nurses Deb Foubert ($106,563) and Denise Young ($106,449 and $199.59).


Drama at the Brier

It was circus move worthy of Barnum and Bailey or the Ringling Brothers. With his final rock in the 10th end against Saskatchewan, Coldwater curler Glenn Howard wipped out a two-point deficit and scored three points, en route to a dramatic 7-6 win on Monday evening at the Brier in Calgary. "It’s definitely not a shot you are going to make very often," said Howard, skip of Team Ontario. He readily admitted that if he had 50 chances to repeat that shot in a competition, he might only achieve the same result twice. "I knew it had to be letter perfect and hard enough to knock the Saskatchewan rocks out of the house. Thankfully it worked," said Howard. The shot drew thunderous applause from the thousands in attendance, including Glenn’s older brother Russ, who is skipping the New Brunswick entry at the Brier this week. "Russ seemed impressed. He came over to shake my hand, which was nice of him to do," said Glenn. The victory over Saskatchewan helped the Coldwater and District Curling Club rink maintain an undefeated record at 5-0. Entering play Tuesday, Ontario is tied for first place with the reigning world champions, the Kevin Martin rink from Alberta. Martin and his Edmonton foursome also posted their fifth win of the Brier on Monday evening, narrowly defeating the Brad Gushue rink from Newfoundland-Labrador by a 5-4 score. All evening at the Penngrowth Saddledome, Howard and his team of Richard Hart, Brent Laing and Craig Savill appeared to struggle against the Joel Jordison rink from Saskatchewan, missing numerous opportunities to take control of the game. "We were behind the eight ball most of the game and that was probably the worst game we’ve played all year," admitted Howard, who is appearing in his 11th Brier. Jordison jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second end and led 3-2 after four ends. Single points by Jordison in the fifth and sixth ends respectively provided his rink with a 5-3 lead after the seventh end, before Howard scored one in the eighth to narrow the gap to 5-4. Jordison added one in the ninth to set the stage for the dramatic comeback by Howard and his 2007 world championship rink. Earlier on Monday, Glenn Howard’s rink rolled to a decisive 8-3 win over Prince Edward Island. The win over Saskatchewan marked the second time in three days that the Ontario rink has been forced to come from behind to score a win at the Brier. Saturday, Howard and company needed three points in the 10th end to pull out a victory over the Brad Gushue rink from Newfoundland/Labrador. "We lose those two games and we could easily be 3-2 right now," said Howard. Tuesday morning, all eyes will be on the feature game of the day, when the two Howard brothers go head-to-head in Draw 9 action in Calgary. It marks the first time the two brothers have battled on opposite teams at the Brier. It is also the first time the brothers have competed together since 1993, when they won the Brier and later the world championship.


Boy struck by pickup in Cookstown

An 11-year-old Cookstown boy was hurt after he was hit by a pickup truck yesterday (Mon., March 2, 2009). The collision happened at the intersection of County Road 27 and Highway 89 at about 4 p.m. A northbound truck was turning west onto Highway 89, when it struck the boy. The boy was crossing the street with a group of other children. He sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene. His parents waived off further medical treatment and took him home. Police said the pedestrian "walk" signal was on. The driver had a green light, but did not yield to the walkers, police said. Leslie Booth lives on Cty. Rd. 27, just south of Hwy. 89. She said she didn’t see the collision, but it doesn’t surprise her that it happened. She has two young children, and said the traffic at the intersection makes her nervous. "We’ve got small kids and it is a huge concern for us," she said. "You take your life in your hands when crossing at that intersection." She said she frequently sees drivers speeding, and not paying attention. The 21-year-old Innisfil man driving the pickup truck was charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian.


Hugh Robertson was an icon in Midland junior hockey circles

The Georgian Bay hockey community is today mourning the passing of one of its hockey icons. A Perkinsfield resident, Hugh Robertson passed away Wednesday morning, following a lengthy battle with diabetes. Robertson was a former intermediate hockey player who later went on to play senior hockey. “Hughie was a great guy to be around and he was committed to keeping junior hockey in Midland,” said Gerry Asselin, the general manager of the Midland Atlas Block Flyers Junior C Hockey Club, speaking Wednesday with The Mirror. The team president, Robertson continued to provide input into the running of the Georgian Bay Mid-Ontario Junior C Hockey League franchise. “We were having organizational meetings for next season two weeks ago and Hugh was sitting in on those meetings and involved in the process going forward,” said Asselin. Stu Purcell was the general manager of the Midland franchise for approximately three years and spent a lot of time with Robertson. Besides his coaching and managerial duties, Robertson was also a skilled hockey player in his time. “Hugh had an incredible shot as a player and he went on to play later with his brother Doug,” remembered Purcell. “Hugh didn’t take over that team (the Flyers) for wealth. He took over ownership of the team simply because the kids needed a place to play. That’s what people need to remember about Hugh,” added Purcell. A businessman in Midland since 1971, Robertson operated a denture therapist clinic out of his office on Hugel Avenue. His brother Doug followed him into the same business, and continues to operate a denturist clinic in Orillia. Later when the previous owners of the Midland Jr. C franchise ran into financial problems, Robertson agreed to purchase the team and run it himself. After playing his minor hockey in Orillia, Robertson moved to Midland where he played intermediate hockey for several seasons. “A lot of people don’t remember Hugh was a heck of a senior player with the Oshawa Generals and he was part of those memorable rivalries between Midland and Penetanguishene,” said Purcell. Approximately five years ago Purcell was recruited by Robertson to rebuild the franchise after Darren Telford was fired as head coach. A highly opinioned man, Robertson rarely missed an opportunity to speak his mind and was always trying to think of ways to improve junior hockey in Midland. In many ways Purcell said Robertson had two sides to his hockey personality. He remembered one time when Robertson gave one player a verbal blasting for breaking one of his skates in practice. “One minute Hugh is yelling at the kid for breaking his skate, knowing the kid doesn’t have the money to replace the skates. Meanwhile, two days later Hugh provides the kid with a new pair of skates,” said Purcell. Besides hockey, family played a very important role in Hugh Robertson’s life. “He was very proud of both his son and daughter and spoke very highly of them,” said Purcell. “Hugh definitely put his time in with junior hockey in Midland and he will be missed for that,” said Penetang Kings general manager Larry Cowan. Like many who get into junior hockey, Cowan said Robertson did it because he loved the game and not for financial rewards. “That’s why we do it. We do it because we love the game. For that reason he will be missed in Midland, no question,” said Cowan. Hugh Robertson was the son of the late Charlie Robertson, a well-known stockbroker in Orillia for many years. Funeral arrangements were still be finalized for Hugh Robertson on Wednesday.


Dunlop lauded for belief in skilled trades

Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop went from plumber to politician, and now he’s being honoured for his belief in the value of skilled trades. Dunlop will be among six Ontarians inducted into the Klaus Woerner Skilled Trades Hall of Fame next week. Nominated by Georgian College president Brian Tamblyn, Dunlop is one of only a handful of provincial politicians with a background in the trades; he operated his family’s plumbing business for almost two decades before entering politics. He was one of the first politicians to push for the apprenticeship tax credit, and in 2002 wrote an extensive report on skills development for the minister of education. Dunlop also played a role in the establishment of the first Skilled Trades Centre at Georgian College, located at the Robbert Hartog Midland campus, and continues to advocate for a standalone Ministry for Apprenticeship and Skills Development. The Klaus Woerner Skilled Trades Hall of Fame recognizes people who have made significant contributions to the advancement of skilled trades and technologies. The induction ceremony will take place March 3 in Kitchener.


Ice jams have moderated: NVCA

Officials continue to warn of possible flooding in Wasaga Beach. The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority advises that flooding from ice jams in the Nottawasaga River have moderated, but remain in place and flooding could return as ice moves downstream, said flood warning coordinator Brian Smith in a flood advisory issued Monday. He said ice jams are difficult to predict and can cause a rapid change in water levels. Smith said weather forecasts call for above-freezing temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday, returning to below-freezing on Friday. "No liquid precipitation is expected. This scenario will result in consolidation of the snowpack but should not cause significant runoff and changes to stream levels," said Smith. People, especially children, are advised to stay away from all bodies of water as unstable ice, slippery banks and cold water may result in life threatening conditions. The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority continues to monitor the situation. The flood warning advisory is in effect until Friday. Call 424-1479 and dial 1 for the flood information line or visit


Museum plans $1.5M expansion

The Orillia Museum of Art and History will double its exhibit space with a renovation of its upper floors, a project pegged at about $1.5 million. Board chair Will Davis said utilizing the second and third floors of the historic Sir Sam Steele building would make available another 6,000 square feet of sorely needed space for exhibitions. “We have so many items in storage right now, we need the square footage to put things on exhibit,” Davis added. Today, many artworks and artifacts of historical significance are housed below grade, some of them in the subterranean cells that once housed prisoners during the building’s days as a police station. Renovating the upper two floors will allow the museum to expand its operation and bring many of these pieces into the light of day, said program director Katie Calcaterra. “We have over 100 pieces of art,” said Calcaterra. “We have 20 Group of Seven pieces, we have Arthur Shilling – lots of really important artists from the area. If you have more than one gallery offering different things for people to see, then it’s a smarter way of doing it.” A preliminary estimate pegs the cost of construction at about $1.5 million. Davis is hoping work can begin next year. “I think the shovel would be in the ground some time in 2010,” he added. The project, which follows on the heels of an ambitious renovation several years ago of the building’s ground floor, will include a sprinkler system on all floors and an elevator. Designed by Thomas Fuller and completed in 1894, the red brick and limestone building served as a federal customs house and a post office until its purchase by the city in 1956. It would come to house a police station, courthouse, jail and office space for various organizations before undergoing a $1.1 million restoration and renovation of its ground floor, basement and roof in 2004. In addition to its regularly rotating exhibits, the museum offers art programs for children and adults and a research room where residents can access a database of historic photographs and genealogical information. Additional space is planned for educational programs. “That is part of our mandate,” Calcaterra said. The museum must finalize its budget and seek out grants before launching a capital campaign, which could happen between the fall of 2009 and the spring of 2010, Davis said.


Wye Marsh workshop to focus on frogs

Fascinating frogs will be the subject of an upcoming workshop designed to help participants connect with nature. The Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre’s Frog Watch workshop is intended for children and adults alike. The session will teach how frogs – sensitive creatures that can be an early harbinger of harmful environmental impacts – improve our understanding of wetlands. By the end of the one-hour workshop, participants will be able to identify, by sight and sound, a number of frog species. The session takes place April 18 from 11 a.m. to noon. It is free with admission to the Wye Marsh. For more information, call 526-7809 or e-mail


Woman jailed six months for break-in

Andrea Falls, 24, of Creemore, pleaded guilty Apr. 14 to breaking and entering a dwelling house, receiving six months behind bars to be followed by 12 months on probation. The prosecution stated that overnight on Dec. 11, 2008, Falls and three others went on foot to an unoccupied address on the 6/7 Sideroad in Clearview Township. Once there, they forced open the front door by breaking a window, taking food, liquor, and some clothing. The Crown added that in the same time frame the accused smashed a window of an attached garage and took liquor, tools, and a 20-gallon fuel container. Police were called soon after by the homeowner, later finding about $1,000 in damage attributable to Falls, with the remainder owed by her co-accused. All four had allegedly put their vehicle in the ditch that night, and being unable to extricate it, spent the night in the victim’s home. Falls will be subject to a DNA order and she can’t associate with any of her jointly accused. In addition she will obey a nightly curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., while staying away from the victim’s address. Treatment and counselling for crack cocaine, depression, and respect for other people’s property were all endorsed as terms of probation.