Beaver Valley Outreach’s annual Easter Eggstavaganza once again drew crowds this year featuring an egg hunt in a mound of shredded paper, face painting, music, raffles and a petting zoo, organized by the Beaver Valley Agricultural Society. The event took place at the Beaver Valley Community Centre on Saturday, April 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This was the eighth consecutive year that BVO organized the event. Among scavenger hunts and egg dying crafts, BVO music director Jay Stiles started a drum circle for the children to participate in. BVO’s Treasure Shop brought along some items for sale, which, according to BVO executive director Carolyn Letourneau, helped raise the profile of BVO with families in the community and reinforce the importance of recycling gently used treasures to BVO. The Beaver Valley Agricultural Society, local Girl Guides, Kinettes and L.E. Shore Memorial library also organized events for the day. Letourneau offered thanks for the Rocklyn Academy girls and support staff, The Blue Mountains, Beaver Valley Preschool, Apple Valley Juice Co. and all of the volunteers. "Without your support this would not have been possible," she said. For more information on BVO programs and services, visit www.bvo.ca.
When she steps onto the competition floor Apr. 24 in Windsor, Mariposa Gymnastics Club member Ali Archer will be retracing a path she has taken numerous times before. While only 16, this will mark her fifth appearance at the Ontario Gymnastics Federation Championships. “It never gets boring because there are different kids every year and it’s a different level, so it’s always exciting,” said the ODCVI Grade 10 student. Her goal is simple. “At a competition (in St. Catharines) we just had, the same girls were there that I am going to be competing against in Windsor. At that event, I finished 11th, which was a big disappointment for me. I definitely want to finish in the top 10,” she said. At the recent Ontario Cup qualifying event, held at Base Borden, Archer finished third overall in the 14 and Over, Level 6 Division. At that event, Archer posted second-place finishes in the vault and balance beam, third on the uneven bars, while also posting a fifth-place finish in the floor program. While now accustomed to facing the best in the province, Archer said performing at such a high level takes a toll mentally and physically. “I get still get pretty nervous before I perform and I still shake a lot. But it is better in that I know what is going on in front of me and nothing I will be experiencing will be new,” said Archer. She is hoping efforts to improve her floor routine will provide dividends at the Ontario finals. As a member of Mariposa for 13 years, Archer has been one of the guiding lights in the club, and one of the senior gymnasts the younger girls look up to. She feels comfortable being a role model. “For someone to be in the club as long as I have, it’s only natural for the younger ones to look up to someone who has been here so long,” said Archer.
Parents, teachers, students and concerned community members filled the gym at Penetanguishene Secondary School (PSS) on March 11 to discuss the future of the school. The Simcoe County District School Board hosted the public meeting to offer an update on the activities of the accommodation review committee (ARC), struck by the board to review area high schools. High schools in Midland, Penetanguishene, Elmvale, Stayner, and Collingwood are part of an area review that also includes Wasaga Beach as a possible school site. School superintendent Janice Medysky told The Mirror the ARC’s purpose is to come up with a recommendation to present to trustees about secondary school capacity issues in this area. The recommendation could follow one of three different scenarios, she noted. “At this time, the ARC is considering three different scenarios: a four-school scenario, a five-school and a six-school, but we haven’t named any of the schools yet or located them,” she said. The public was given the opportunity last week to make delegations to the committee, as well as make comments and ask questions of board members. PSS teacher Janice Evans verbalized what many in attendance may have been thinking. “Small schools work,” she proclaimed to cheers and applause. “It’s a community school, and to lose it would be unimaginable to me. It’s a great place to live, work and educate our kids.” Laurie Buttineau lives in Penetanguishene and has two children – one graduating from PSS this year, and another who will start at the school in two years. She said she attended the meeting to hear reasons for closing PSS and for keeping it open, but said she left believing the school should stay open. “We’re a small town and we have lots to offer the direct community of Penetanguishene, as well as surrounding areas,” she said. “We have students who’ve graduated and who have returned to live and work in this area. It’s proven to be a great school.” The Town of Penetanguishene, represented by Mayor Anita Dubeau and CAO Eleanor Rath, also spoke at the meeting, as did PSS student Jade Huguenin and Norman Mason, supervisory officer for the Protestant Separate School Board of Penetanguishene – which is responsible for Burkevale school. They outlined many reasons for keeping the school open, including it’s tri-cultural heritage, bilingual character, unique curriculum, the town’s projected population growth and its proximity to many area feeder schools. The March 11 meeting was the fifth public meeting the ARC has held to date, said Medysky, who noted they have had very similar reactions at all the schools they’ve attended. “The communities are very supportive of their schools, which is really heartwarming,” she said. Another meeting, a working session, took place in Elmvale on March 12. The ARC is expected to make a recommendation to the facility standing committee on April 14. Protestant board pitches alternative The Protestant Separate School Board of Penetanguishene says it will do everything it can to preserve the town’s sole English-language secondary school. Supervisory officer Norman Mason told The Mirror the board has a mandate to educate and, although it has only provided elementary education, that could change. He said the board would be open to a partnership if that becomes the only way to keep PSS open. This could mean closing Burkevale’s current school and sharing the high school facility. If the public board decided to put PSS up for sale, Mason said, the Protestant board could buy the facility and run secondary and elementary schools out of it. “Keeping (PSS) open is important to the board because of the fact they feel that their graduates from Burkevale come to this school and it has been an excellent facility,” he said. “(The board) feels it should be contributing in the positive in helping to keep the school open for a better education system and a better community.” [email protected]
Students were trapped in a school bus for about two hours after it crashed into a hydro pole near Utopia this afternoon. The crash occurred on the 6th Line of Essa between the 25th and 30th Sideroads just after 3 p.m. when the bus entered the ditch and struck a hydro pole, downing power lines and preventing them from leaving the vehicle. Emergency crews had to wait until the hydro lines were shut down before they could remove the students. By about 5 p.m., the students were transferred to another school bus. The bus that crashed was from St. Joan of Arc High School in Barrie. Police and Essa firefighters are currently on the scene. It is still unclear how many students were on the bus. One person was seen being taken off the bus on a stretcher, and will be taken to Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie. There is no word yet on the extent of the injuries. Police blocked the 6th Line at both the 30th and 25th and are not allowing anyone in. Parents started arriving at the barricades while the children were still in the bus. One woman reported that her daughter was a passenger on the bus and that she called her on her cell phone. The girl reported the bus was “on its side” in the ditch and the students were being kept on the bus at the time.
Long-haul truckers want to warm up while keeping the planet cool, but it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep in only three minutes. With high fuel costs and increasing emission controls, idling the night away to keep a rig’s heater fueled just isn’t an option anymore. Not only can a big truck consume a gallon of gas every hour it’s parked, some new environmental laws are limiting idling times to only a few minutes per hour. When the need for air conditioning during the dog days of summer is added to the mix, a new system for year-round temperature control is a must. After being asked repeatedly for suggestions to this problem, Orillia Premier Truck & Trailer did some research and partnered with a couple of key suppliers to bring low-cost heaters and coolers. “We thought there has to be a solution,” says office manager Samantha Romanick, who has been with the company since it started almost three year ago. “It’s a cost-effective way to live in your truck, because these guys do – for weeks at a time.” The company is now an authorized dealer for Webasto Air Heaters that allow drivers to curl up warmly in their cabs without running the engine. It also now carries Indel B self-contained air conditioning units that run on an independent battery. “We teamed up with Webasto last summer,” says Romanick. “We just teamed up with Indel B in the last couple of months – it’s very new for us.” A vast improvement over the traditional heating method, the bunk heater consumes only two-to-five per cent of a gallon every hour, she reports. The relatively new repair and maintenance facility is proactive in problem-solving on behalf of its clients. If a trucker calls with a problem, owners and Peterbilt-trained mechanics Dwayne Buck and Ryan Crooke will attempt to find a solution that will allow the truck to reach a repair centre. “They’re great at diagnostic,” says Romanick. “Some customers will call them on the phone and describe a noise their truck is making and they’ll tell them what they can do to get their truck from A to B to get it fixed. “It’s extremely expensive to get road-side help.” Having worked together earlier in their careers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Buck and Crooke recognized the need for a heavy-truck shop in Simcoe County, opened it in 2006, “and never looked back.” Serving all makes and models, the Matchedash Street South centre is especially busy during these economic times as truck owners are more interested in repairing current vehicles than purchasing new ones. “A brand new heavy truck will run anywhere from $100,000 to $150, 000, depending on what it needs to do,” she explains. “Companies are putting their money into what they already have. Therefore, a company like ours is doing very well.” Whether it’s a furniture delivery truck, an owner-operated rig, or an entire fleet, Orillia Premier Trucks & Trailer takes care of the repairs and maintenance, as well as annual ministry inspections, full framework, engine and transmission work. “You name it, we do it,” she says. As the young business grows, the owners are already looking to expand. “Some of our clients will drive up here to see us, but it would be convenient for them if we had a location in the Barrie area,” she concludes. “There’s a high demand.” With competitive rates, innovative trouble-shooting and a willingness to give out their cell phone numbers, the leadership at Orillia Premier is highly customer-service oriented. “(Our customers) can call the guys any day, any time,” invites Romanick. For more information, call 705-327-9998.
A revitalization plan for Duntroon’s Islay Park was presented to Clearview Township council last Monday night. Jim Campbell, a member of the Nottawasaga Community Hall board, presented the plan. Board members are spearheading the project because the park is located next to the hall, on County Road 91, west of County Road 124. Board members, other volunteers in the community and municipal staff started planning for the revitalization project last year. The first phase will go ahead sometime this summer. According to a map of what the new park will look like, parking will be moved off County Road 91, to the northern part of the park, allowing for a total of 48 spaces. Campbell says the new location will be safer for park and hall users, who at the moment must park their vehicles along the southern portion of the county road and then walk along the road to access the park or the hall. The ball diamond in the park will be shifted to the south in order to accommodate the new parking lot. The diamond’s outfield will also be usable for soccer. New playground equipment will replace the old and out of date equipment that currently exists. The plan is to place the equipment just west of the hall, near where the existing equipment is located. A picnic area, including tables, will also be located just west of the hall. The plan calls for an outdoor stage to be added to the west side of the hall. As well, hiking and biking trails will be erected through a forested section at the south and west perimeter of the almost five-acre park. Officials also plan to move the entrance to the hall, from the east side of the building to the west side of the building, to better incorporate it and the parking lot. The work might also involve the installation of ground source heating loops beneath the playing field. The system, Campbell said, would be used to heat the hall. He said at the moment that component, however, is still up in the air as volunteers are trying to determine the cost and feasibility. The revitalization work will be paid for from several sources and conducted in three phases. Phase one, which officials say will start sometime this summer and hopefully be completed by the fall, will cost approximately $105,000. The first phase involves building the new parking lot, constructing sidewalks, moving the backstop for the ball diamond and the installation of new playground equipment and lighting. A berm will be constructed between the parking lot and the ball diamond. The township will contribute approximately $97,000 toward the first phase. Clearview’s portion was earmarked in the 2009 municipal budget. Officials also hope to generate $1,000 for the project by selling a shed that’s on the property. Campbell says they have also applied for a $25,000 grant through Ontario Hydro, which awards money for park upgrading projects. If the grant application is approved that money would offset Clearview’s contribution. Another $5,000 will come from fundraising. To generate the money, Campbell says a door-to-door canvassing campaign will be done sometime this year. Some fundraising events are also planned for this year and he said some corporations, including Walker Industries, which runs the quarry further to the west on County Road 91, have expressed interest in helping with the project. Phase two will involve extending the playing field and tree planting. A third phase consists of building the trails and the stage. Phase two and three haven’t been costed yet. The timeline for the second and third phase work isn’t known yet either and Campbell said it’s possible some of the work could be incorporated into the first phase. Members of council said they were impressed with the plan and the hard work that has gone into the project. “Parking there has been one of my pet peeves,” Mayor Ken Ferguson said. “I’m glad to see this going ahead.” Ward 5 councillor Robert Walker, a volunteer with Clearview Community Theatre, which uses the hall to present shows, said he too is looking forward to better parking. He said the parking that exists is hazardous. Deputy Mayor Alicia Savage commended the volunteers working on the project. “I hope to see more of this kind of thing coming forward,” she said. The park has a long history in the community. It was once farmland owned by P.T. McDermid. Information on a plaque at the park indicates that McDermid donated the land in 1936 to the Duntroon Women’s Institute. He gave the land in memory of his father, Peter McDermid, a native of Islay, Scotland. The Women’s Institute, when it disbanded a couple years ago, donated the land to the municipality.
The Penetang Kings showed two different sides of their hockey personality Sunday, in a 3-1 loss to the Alliston Hornets in Game 5 of their 2009 Junior C championship series. After skating out to a 1-0 first-period lead in Alliston, the Kings let the Hornets take the game to them, on their way to the two-goal defeat. With the win Alliston moved into a 3-2 lead in games in the Georgian Bay Mid-Ontario Junior C Hockey League championship series. Penetang was fighting for their playoff lives on Monday night, and forced a seventh and deciding game, when the two teams met Monday evening in Game 6 in Penetanguishene. “We played a strong first period, but I don’t know what happened from there,” said Kings head coach Adam Schaap, speaking with The Mirror after Sunday’s 3-1 loss. Ali Robitaille provided the Kings with a 1-0 lead at the 14:25 mark of the first period, teaming up with Matt Mawdsley to score on a power-play opportunity. But instead of drawing additional energy and motivation from the goal, Schaap said the Kings appeared to fall flat. “We seemed to lose our step in the second and third periods,” he said. Alliston also applied intense offensive pressure, which Schaap said had a definite impact on the final outcome. “I don’t think we got out of our own zone more than once or twice the entire second period,” said Schaap. In the second period Kings netminder Jacob McKendry was under siege, as Alliston held a 23-3 edge in shots. Kyle McPherson scored at the 14:05 mark of the second period to pull Alliston even at 1-1. Chris Brown put the Hornets ahead to stay at 4:51 of the third period, finding room behind McKendry. The goal was a power-play marker, the only extra-strength goal Alliston scored on the night. Both teams scored on one of their five power-play chances. Ryan Algar later sealed the win, scoring with 13 seconds remaining in the third period. “We didn’t have too many really good scoring chances in the games and the ones we did have, we couldn’t capitalize on,” said Schaap. Overall, Alliston out-shot Penetang by a 45-20 margin in the game. Heading into Game 6 on Monday, Schaap said the Kings weren’t about to throw in the towel. “The players knew the importance of winning Game 2 after losing the opening game of this series, and they went out and won that game. They know what they have to do Monday and won’t give up without a fight,” said the head coach.
A call to an all-girls boarding school on the evening of March 19 in Grey Highlands, south of Meaford, has led to criminal charges against an unruly student. Grey County O.P.P. responded to the call just after 6 pm. A 15-year old female had run away into a nearby wooded area. Concern grew as darkness approached and temperatures dropped because it was known she was not dressed in winter clothing. As the investigator made arrangements for the deployment of an O.P.P. Canine Unit the runaway returned. After returning she became defiant and threatened to leave again. She then physically assaulted her mother and the officer in attendance. Charged with the Criminal Code offenses of Assault and Assault Police is a 15 year-old female with an out of province address. She was held in custody over night but has now been released and is scheduled for first appearance in the Youth Justice Court-Owen Sound on April 21.
Penetanguishene residents interested in crime – preventing it, not perpetrating it – are being sought to advise the town’s police services board. The four volunteer members of the newly formed community relations committee will give input on programs, activities or programs designed to provide public education on drug abuse, crime prevention and community safety. Representatives of the French-speaking community, local businesses, seniors, and the school and youth community are needed. The committee is intended to meet every second month. Letters of interest will be accepted until April 24, with appointments to be confirmed May 5. For more information, contact town clerk Carey Tobey at 549-7453 or [email protected]