High groundwater problem irksome

By Michael Gennings Staff The higher than normal groundwater level in the area this spring has caught the attention of Clearview Township officials. At council last Monday night, elected officials passed a resolution, moved by Ward 4 councillor Thom Paterson and seconded by Ward 6 councillor Roger McGillvray, instructing public works staff to prepare a report on the situation. Council wants the report to note the situation at some newer homes in the east end of Creemore, where water coming into basements has been a problem. The report is also to outline similar wet basement problems at some homes on Michael Street, off the Clearview-Tosorontio Townline and on 9/10 Sideroad. And officials want the report to include any possible solutions. Council passed the resolution after Paterson sparked a discussion on the topic at the end of last Monday night’s meeting. “I think what we’re looking for [from staff] is a statement of cause,” McGillvray said. By having staff prepare the report, McGillvray added officials can show residents they are aware of the high groundwater level and that they are trying to do something about it. “It shows we’re being diligent,” he said. Michael Wynia, Clearview’s director of public works, cautioned council though, saying there’s really nothing Clearview can do. That said, he noted one solution would be to demand that all new construction be built on concrete slabs – thus eliminating basements and the possibility they will flood. “I haven’t seen anything like this in 20 years in New Lowell,” Wynia said, referring to groundwater levels where he lives. Ward 7 councillor Shawn Davidson said the high groundwater problem can be found beyond Clearview. He homes in the Bay Colony residential development in Wasaga Beach have experienced basement flooding this spring. Steve Sage, the township’s deputy director of public works, said he’s fielded more telephone calls this year from people complaining about the high groundwater level than ever before in his 19-year career. Staff was instructed to submit its report on the high water level by May 25.


Trafficker guilty of selling ecstasy

Cory Anderson, 25, of Barrie, entered in-custody pleas April 9 to multiple counts of trafficking in ecstasy and ‘methocrystal,’ and was found guilty as charged. Anderson was arrested along with 37 others after transactions with an undercover OPP detective in the Project Splinter initiative. In Collingwood’s Ontario Court of Justice, federal prosecutor Scott Thomson advised that the project was spearheaded by an officer in the late summer and fall of last year. As a result of intelligence obtained, police conducted surveillance on the defendant and other suspects in the communities of Barrie, Collingwood and Clearview. Thomson said in August 2008, one of the suspects contacted the undercover operative about a proposed exchange of 100 tablets of ‘e’ for $1,750. This was arranged to take place at a department store in Barrie. On Nov. 3 another of the accused – who was affiliated with Anderson – met with the same officer at the Georgian College campus in Barrie. This time, 1,000 ecstasy tablets were exchanged for $1,000 in cash. Again in November the detective spoke to Anderson on the phone, asking about a further deal for 1,000 pills. Twenty pills and $60 changed hands before the officer told the accused "his customers were dissatisfied," and wanted 60 new tablets of the drug for $20. On Dec. 16, Anderson handed over two bags containing 10,000 pills for $20, court heard. That day the OPP Drug Enforcement Unit executed a CDSA search warrant in Barrie, unveiling a small grow-op of 25 marijuana plants with a total weight of nine pounds, finished Thomson. Defence counsel Brian McLellan said that prior to the drug bust his client went to Montreal with a friend, where he learned about a nice house and car (that could be had) with drug money. "He did the 500 pill and 5,000 pill deal without a driver’s licence or bank account. He was a middleman who met with the undercover officer about transfer and receiving," said McLellan. McLellan then proposed a sentence of two years less a day in the case. The federal Crown began his submissions with an overview of ecstasy’s use. "Ecstasy is a very dangerous drug, particularly in the hands of adolescents. It’s a scourge, an epidemic in our society, like pebbles in a pond and the ripples go out to the edge. Marriages get broken, jobs get lost and on and on. Annually $18.4 billion  is lost in Canada through drug abuse, with 732 deaths in a year," he said. In Anderson’s case, the drugs seized weren’t tested for any harmful ingredients other than the usual caffeine or benzene; however, buyers on the street assume they’re getting straight ecstasy, finished Thomson. Mr. Justice James Crawford ordered a pre-sentence report on the first offender, and set a return date of May 13 for a one-hour decision. $1,000 fine In other court news, Kevin Hughes, 37, of Collingwood pleaded guilty April 7 to driving with an excess blood alcohol level. He was fined $1,000 with a one-year licence suspension and given six-months to pay; the related charge of impaired driving was withdrawn. Gun charge Twenty-seven year old Todd Noel pleaded guilty April 7 to careless storage of a rifle. The Wasaga Beach man was granted a six-month conditional discharge with transfer of the weapon to a licenced holder. Shoplifter jailed 165 days Brian Pratten, 23, of Wasaga Beach pleaded guilty from the prisoner’s box Mar. 31, admitting to three thefts, a mischief, and a breach of probation. The accused was sentenced to 165 days behind bars on top of time served. In the Collingwood Ontario Court of Justice, prosecutor Paul Billington read that on Feb. 20 and 22, 2009 staff at the Riverboat Motel in Wasaga Beach caught Pratten on video as he carried a television and other goods "from someone else’s apartment to his own." The defendant then proceeded to destroy the cameras, court heard. On Mar. 19, Pratten was seen by Real Canadian Superstore security as he "selected three club packs of meat and some black socks, which he put in his own socks, putting the meat inside his pants." Billington said. All items were recovered on his person as he tried to leave the store. "Who wants to eat them after they’re put down his pants?" interposed Mr. Justice Roland Harris. Towards the end of March, a theft call came to Huronia West OPP officers, this time from the local Wal-Mart. There, Pratten attempted to remove a cell phone from its package, and "put fish down his pants" before heading to a bus stop. In the course of the investigation a vacuum and toaster were returned, along with the TV from the motel. A photo of items taken from Wal-Mart and put inside his trousers "fill up a bench," concluded the Crown. Pratten will be on probation for 18 months once his time is served, with terms to avoid alcohol and other offenders. In addition, he was ordered to stay out of the victimized stores. Area shoplifter jailed six months A 38-year old Collingwood woman entered in-custody pleas Mar. 31 to multiple counts of the theft under $5,000, plus disobeying court orders. Jennifer Dingwall received six months further jail time to be followed by 18 months on probation. In the Ontario Court of Justice defence counsel Cecile Applegate said her client "accepts the allegations as read" by the court clerk. . All items stolen by the accused were recovered and still saleable the lawyer said. Dingwall is currently on an earlier probation order which expires in October, 2009. She was ordered to stay out of the Wal-Mart and Zehrs store, and "to take counselling, especially for addiction on to oxycontin and stealing." Snow blower caper earns fine Michael A. Hilts pleaded guilty Mar. 31 to counts of theft and disobeying an undertaking, receiving a $500 fine for stealing snow blowers, and a further $300 fine for breaching his curfew. Court heard that sometime overnight on Nov. 21, 2008, the 20-year-old Alliston man targeted garaged snow blowers in his hometown. He and two co-accused then loaded the items onto a pickup, which was later pulled over by the Nottawasaga OPP. Hilts was also found to be on an undertaking at the time. The defendant was put on probation for 12 months with orders to keep a 100-metre distance from his cohorts, and to "not possess anyone else’s snow blowers."


What to do in Clearview’s Ward 3?

John Crispo’s resignation as the Clearview Township councillor for Ward 3 has left council with some decisions to make. Council declared the Ward 3 seat empty on Monday night, exactly a week after accepting Crispo’s letter of resignation. The same night as his letter was accepted, Crispo died of cancer at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. Township clerk Bob Campbell says that under the Municipal Act, officials now have 60 days to decide whether they will appoint someone to fill the vacancy or hold a by-election. The municipality has been in this position once before since amalgamation in 1994. In 2005, when then Ward 3 councillor Ian Lang died suddenly from a pulmonary embolism, council decided to appoint Marc Royal. Council made the decision after learning a by-election would cost $10,000-$20,000. Appointing someone again might be the best decision, since the next municipal election is just over a year away, in November 2010. In his resignation letter, read at council last week by Ward 4 councillor Thom Paterson, Crispo suggested council appoint Judy Fuke, his campaign manager, saying she is willing to serve if asked. Meanwhile, a celebration of life service for Crispo has been announced. The family says it will take place on Fri., May 8 at 3 p.m., at Station on the Green in Creemore. The station is located on Caroline Street. The family notes that donations in memory of Crispo can be made to the Princess Margaret Foundation For Cancer Research. Crispo died Mon., April 27 after losing an 18-year battle with cancer. Along with being a municipal councillor, Crispo was a respected and well-known economist, lecturer and author. Mayor Ken Ferguson issued a statement about Crispo on Friday. “He was very passionate about his ward and he will be greatly missed by his colleagues and friends in Clearview,” he said.


Alliston’s own fallen angel?

Tree sculptors Robbin Wenzoski, left, and Colin Partridge transform an old maple tree in front of St. Andrew’s  Church, on Wellington Street West in Alliston, into an angel using their chainsaws. The church commissioned the work. After the carving is done and the finish painted on, the two sculptors will have put about 40 hours of work into the project. Anyone who hasn’t checked it out yet, should take a drive or stroll by, it’s really quite remarkable.


Hospital warns of Mexican flu bug

Alliston’s Stevenson Memorial Hospital has issued an alert and is advising the community to be on the lookout for a virulent strain of an influenza-like illness that may have been carried into the country from Mexico. The hospital was notified by the Ministry of Health that cases of severe respiratory illness have been identified in various regions of south and central Mexico. The cases elevated from flu-like symptoms to severe respiratory conditions in about five days with some patients even needing assisted ventilation. Anyone who has returned from a trip to Mexico within the last two weeks and is experiencing signs and symptoms of an influenza-like illness is being advised to go to their local emergency room for treatment immediately. Signs and symptoms include a cough, sore throat, fever and chills, muscle and joint aches, and shortness of breath. It’s important to note that so far no cases have been identified at Stevenson Memorial Hospital. The hospital reminds the community once again that the spread of infections can be largely prevented by following a few simple practices including good hand hygiene by washing your hands well and often, the use of an anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, sneezing coughing into your upper sleeve or elbow rather than your hands and staying at home when you are ill.


No signs of flu locally

The first case of swine flu in Simcoe County was confirmed in Barrie on Monday but there are still no cases at Collingwood General and Marine Hospital. According to a press release from Illona Smith at G&M, the hospital continues to be on alert and is "monitoring the situation closely." Patients coming to the hospital can expect to be asked a number of relevant questions and may be asked to wear a mask if they are symptomatic. Patients who are asked to wear a mask must remain in the assigned waiting areas until they are asked to move. The hospital is currently rolling out pandemic plans to ensure they are prepared. Regular staff meetings are being held to ensure everyone is up to date on the latest information and plans and procedures are in place. If you have travelled to Mexico recently and are feeling well, monitor yourself for flu-like symptoms. In the meantime, go about your normal routine. If you are feeling well, it’s not necessary to go to the G&M’s emergency department or your family doctor. Smith said the hospital is reminding people to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly, cough or sneeze into their upper sleeve, stay home when they are sick, and talk to their health care professional if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit on Monday received confirmation that a resident of the region was infected with the swine flu. The individual had a mild case of the H1N1 virus, was not admitted to hospital, and has since recovered. "Our healthcare providers have been conducting increased surveillance, so we have been expecting that we would see a case," said Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the county. The illness was confirmed by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and was connected to a trip to Mexico. "The health unit, together with our local health care providers and our public health partners in Ontario and Canada, are continuing to monitor the situation closely," Gardner added. In a separate statement, the region’s Catholic school board said a student at Barrie’s St. Joan of Arc High School had tested positive for the virus. "However, we have been advised by the (health unit) that the case was mild and that the contagious period is passed," the board said. No other information was being released for reasons of confidentiality. The school will remain open, as the health unit has advised that "there is no elevated risk of transmission from this situation," the board added. If you have travelled to Mexico and are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness, contact your health care provider or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. – with files from Frank Matys.