Innisfil man arrested for Barrie grow-op

A 48-year-old Innisfil man is facing several charges after officers of the Barrie Police Drug Enforcement Unit, accompanied by members of the Street Crime Unit, entered a business at 166 Saunders Rd., Unit 2, with a search warrant on Thursday, Mar. 19. Police found a sizable marijuana grow operation on the main floor, and a second one hidden on the upper level of the unit. In all, 900 plants at various stages of maturity were removed from the premises, valued at $500,000. Police also dismantled a considerable amount of equipment used in the operation. The man was charged with the production of marijuana, possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of marijuana. He’s been given a May court date. In other police news: Child bitten by a dog Barrie Police officers are investigating after a dog bit a 12-year-old boy Saturday. He was in the Harvie and Essa road area around 3 p.m. He was taken to RVH for rabies shots and police are still trying to figure out the type of dog that bit him, and who its owner is. Man charged after bar fight A 23-year-old Barrie man is in trouble after talking to police Saturday morning. He was in a fight at The Bank bar on Dunlop Street, and didn’t give the officer his real name at first. It turns out he was wanted for a previous offence, and the officer also found a small bag of marijuana on him after a search. He was charged with possession of drugs and obstructing police. Argument heats up between couple Barrie Police officers went to a local home after a separated couple had a fight Sunday. Police said they were together for 10 years and have been apart for two, and the man went to pick up a few things. They started screaming, and he left after the woman threatened to call police. He then called the home and left a voicemail threatening to kill her. She called officers and he was arrested for uttering death threats. Empty kegs stolen Barrie Police officers have charged a second person after five empty beer kegs were stolen from a Bayfield Street restaurant earlier last week. An investigation led police to a teen March 17, who returned the kegs to the Beer Store for a refund. On Sunday, a man was also arrested for break and enter. Four kegs were found and returned to the owner. Second charge for local man Barrie Police officers were called to the LCBO store on Mary Street Saturday after security stopped a man trying to take liquor without paying. Police said the 52 year old was drunk and was charged with theft and being intoxicated in a public place. He had just spent the previous night in jail for being drunk in public. Looking for driver Barrie Police officers are looking for a driver who didn’t stick around after a fender bender Saturday morning. Officers went to a crash at Bayfield and Simcoe streets at 2 a.m., after a sliver GMC truck hit a parked car. Witnesses had to run to avoid being hit first, and they managed to get a licence plate number. The truck took off down Lakeshore Drive. Fished out A 36-year-old Toronto man was fined $3,000 for catching too many whitefish in Lake Simcoe in February. A conservation officer caught Luigi Pompili with eight fish, and the limit is two. Six of the fish were hidden in a knapsack. He was fined by a Barrie judge March 11. RIDE stop Barrie OPP officers stopped an Orillia man early Saturday morning at a RIDE check on County Road 93. The 25 year old was charged with drunk driving and driving while suspended. He has an April 4 court date. Sunday night, officers stopped a different vehicle on County Road 93 near Crown Hill for a minor driving offence. His car was searched and the 19-year-old Penetanguishene man was charged for possession of marijuana.


Infrastructure cash for sewer plant

The federal and provincial government will each provide up to $181,333 to Clearview Township – money that will go towards upgrades at the Creemore sewage treatment plant. Simcoe-Grey MP Helena Guergis made the funding announcement on Wednesday. “The government of Canada is committed to rebuilding infrastructure and stimulating the economy,” Guergis said in a statement. “I know how important this project is to Clearview Township and the residents of Creemore.” Ken Ferguson, the township’s mayor, said he was pleased with the funding news. “This funding will offset capital costs which will benefit all taxpayers,” Ferguson said. “I can only hope the commitment from both upper tier governments to invest in our economy and our municipal infrastructure will continue.” The upgrades at the plant are estimated to cost $543,999, with Clearview contributing the balance. An exact amount won’t be known until the project is tendered and a contract awarded, something that won’t happen until after the township’s budget is approved in March. Richard Spraggs, the township’s director of public works, said Clearview applied for the money in November through the Building Canada Fund. He said the cash will help pay for what’s called an equalization tank at the sewage treatment plant. “What it does is take in high flows and store them and later puts them into the system when the level flowing into the plant slows down. So basically it’s a big storage tank,” Spraggs said. In total, the tank will be able to hold about 1,000 cubic metres of water, he added. The township estimates the tank will cost roughly $500,000. High flows have been a problem at the plant, particularly in the spring. The suspicion among municipal officials is that people are using their sump pumps to transfer water into the system – a practice that’s illegal. They also suspect water could be infiltrating the system along the lines to the plant. Last spring, the high volume of water coming into the plant resulted in officials having to truck sewage water to Stayner’s plant, where it was subsequently processed. The funds from Ottawa will also help pay for what’s called a programmable logic controller – what Spraggs described as a computer system to operate the plant. “There’s one there now – this is a back up,” he said. “The main one we had became inoperable in the summer last year and we had to switch to the back-up. It was just wear-and-tear.” The township estimates the system will cost $43,000. “All in all though we’re pretty happy to have this money,” Spraggs said. He said the work at the 10-year-old plant will begin in September.


Students get head start on trade certification

While not a completely new concept for Ontario, the carpentry apprenticeship program offered at Bradford District High School is the first of its kind in Simcoe County, Dan Barrett of the Local 27 Carpenters’ Union said. The apprenticeship program for Grade 12 students is a four-credit co-operative education course. It allows many students seeking to start a career in carpentry a head start on their apprenticeship for certification. “To be certified, it’s a three-part series,” Mr. Barrett said. “The students do their first part here in school and then are required to spend some time out in the field, before moving on to getting their Red Seal certification.” For many of the students in the class of 14 (with seven coming from Nantyr Shores Secondary School in Innisfil), it’s an opportunity to learn something outside the normal classroom structure and start their career goals a year earlier than many others, while still completing their high school education. For the carpenter’s union, it’s another way of ensuring people are using more certified workers in the labour force, Mr. Barrett said. “The students do not come out of this as a member of the union at all,” Mr. Barrett said. “When they are done, we will help them find work, either with a private practice or with union work. It is completely up to them what they want to do.” The course is about ensuring the students are given the proper skills to go out and join the workforce, something the construction business has not always done in the past, Mr. Barrett said. Carpentry is unlike any other skilled profession, as their is no license needed, unlike electrical work and plumbing. “Because we only have certification and are not a licensed trade, anyone can throw on a pouch and call themselves a carpenter,” Mr. Barrett said. “This is a way that we can ensure that those with a pouch are indeed skilled carpenters.” It’s a much different setting for most of the students in the class, who have spent years learning from a desk and reading off a chalkboard, Mr. Barrett said. “For many of these kids, they never would have gone to college or university,” Mr. Barrett said. “This gives them an opportunity to still get their education and start to work on their careers.” The students are essentially isolated from many of their peers in the school, with strict guidelines on how many hours are required throughout the semester. Each student can only miss 24 hours or they will lose out on the apprenticeship program. “I had one student who went away early for March break and now he is already down 11 hours,” Mr. Barrett said. “Not only that, but there is not a lot of time to get the projects done, as the class moves on without him and he is left to try and catch up.” As part of the apprenticeship program, students study the background of the trade, complete a machinery how-to course and safety certifications. They will also build an L-shaped wall. “The most important thing that they must learn is the discipline,” Mr. Barrett said. “If they are late more than six times, they will be removed from the program, much like they would on a site.” Teachers Sean Griffin and Jon Sweeny helped launch the program at the school. Mr. Sweeny is a certified carpenter and has worked hard in partnership with schools in the area to make the program known as one for the whole county, as it will accept students from any of the region’s schools. “A great deal of credit for our success needs to go to Glenda Galliford from Nantyr Shores,” Mr. Sweeny said. “She is a guidance counsellor there and has been a strong advocate for our program and promotes it very effectively.”


Councillors wary about bridge costs

Members of Meaford council are adamant that the cost of replacing the Bognor Bridge better be reasonable. The Municipality of Meaford has received more than $920,000 in funding to replace the bridge. With the municipality’s one-third share of the money factored in, the town has in excess of $1.3 million available for the bridgework. At council’s regular meeting on February 23 members of council were clear that they expect the project to cost less than that total amount. "I’m having a lot of trouble accepting that this bridge could run over $1.3 million. We’re replacing a one-lane bridge – with a two-lane bridge I hear now. There has to be some costs savings on this. I hear Chatsworth was able to get a new bridge installed for $150,000," said councillor Harley Greenfield. "Are we tying up a fortune in engineering and consulting fees? Do we have to? It should not cost that much," said Greenfield. Councillor Jim McPherson said he will be watching the costs of the project very carefully and expects municipal staff to find savings. "I don’t want to hear from another municipality that we got taken on this," said McPherson. In terms of the status of the bridge project CAO Frank Miele told council that the design work should come forward at the next committee of the whole meeting on March 9. "We’re confident that in the next few weeks we’ll initiate the RFP process. We should have a bridge in by the fall," said Miele. Deputy Mayor Mike Traynor said the municipality is fortunate the upper levels of government came through with funding for the bridge. "We’re blessed that the feds and the province have come forward with this $900,000. Whether it’s a single lane or double lane bridge it’s a bridge that will be there another 80 years," said Traynor.


ARC puts forward three recommendations

Members of the Accommodation Review Committee agreed to disagree Monday night. The committee, convened by the Simcoe County District School Board to come up with solutions regarding declining enrolment in the area, initially set out to come to a consensus on one solution but instead it is sending three recommendations to school board trustees. The 38-member committee first met one year ago. It set out to review high schools in Stayner, Collingwood, Elmvale, Penetanguishene and Midland and to make a suggestion about how to solve enrolment issues. Wasaga Beach was included in the process as a possible school site. Wasaga Beach does not have a high school and parents and politicians have been lobbying for one for many years. On Monday, the committee approved the three recommendations that will be presented to the board’s senior administrative staff this morning by committee co-chair and superintendent of education Janis Medysky. The recommendation that received the most support is a five-school scenario defined as status quo with upgrades. The committee recommends that all five existing high schools remain open and receive the renovations they require to properly serve the student population, whether its removing capacity in schools that have too few students or adding to schools that are over crowded and require facility upgrades. A second recommendation that was supported by three committee members is a four-school scenario that would see Elmvale District High School remain in operation, one high school remain in Midland and Penetanguishene with two schools to serve the catchment areas of Collingwood Collegiate Institute and Stayner Collegiate Institute. The scenario could include the construction of a high school in Wasaga Beach. A third recommendation supported by three committee members is a six-school scenario that would see all five existing high schools remain in operation and a school built in Wasaga Beach. The decision to finalize the three recommendations came right after a public meeting held Monday in the gymnasium of Stayner Collegiate Institute. More than 200 people attended the meeting, many coming to the microphone one by one for one-and-a-half hours to make a plea in support of Stayner Collegiate or voice their opinion that a high school in Wasaga Beach is long overdue. Educators said small schools have the highest graduation rate and politicians said Stayner Collegiate is pivotal to the community. People speaking on behalf of Wasaga Beach said they want their children to go to school in their own community and have a chance to reap all the benefits. Although the accommodation review committee was established to assess the physical structures of the schools – the bricks and mortar as it is often referred to – community members continually brought the discussion back to community and quality of student life. Throughout the process, Wasaga Beach and Clearview demonstrated their growth potential and community members defended their threatened schools as Clearview Township residents and politicians pleaded with the school board to protect their school and not allow Wasaga Beach to construct a school at the expense of theirs. "There is no reason a community of 16,000 should lose its school so a community of 16,000 can have one," said one Grade 11 student at Stayner Collegiate. With a lot of public support voiced for the five-school status quo scenario, Shawn Davidson, a Clearview Township municipal councillor who operates businesses in Stayner and Wasaga Beach, asked the committee after the public meeting if members would consider voting to reprioritize the recommendations. He said the committee could distance itself from the four-school scenario a little further by strengthening its support for the six-school scenario. Stayner Collegiate teacher Jared Singleton asked the committee to consider putting only the five-school recommendation to school trustees, saying the committee came close to a consensus on the option than members ever thought they would and it received a clear majority. But the committee did not vote on Monday night except to finalize its draft report containing three recommendations. The report will go to a special facility standing committee meeting on Apr. 14 and a special board meeting on May 14. The public is allowed to make scheduled delegations at both meetings by contacting Rita England at 734-6363. School trustees are expected to make a final decision on June 17.


Teen steals then crashes pickup truck

Teen steals then crashes truck A 16-year-old Beeton teen is facing charges of theft over $5,000 after stealing and then crashing a pickup truck Friday. A Second Street resident in Beeton called police to report a truck had driven into a tree on their front lawn at about 11 p.m. two males running from the scene. The next morning, the owners of the 2001 black GMC reported to police the vehicle had been stolen from their Dayfoot Street home in Beeton. Further investigation identified a local 16-year-old male as the culprit who had allegedly stolen and crashed the vehicle. The young offender, who cannot be named, is charged with Theft over $5,000, and three counts of Breach of Probation. Electronics and booze stolen Electronics and booze were stolen from a Beeton residence after a break-in some time Thursday night or Friday. Police were called at about 7:40 p.m. Friday, after the Smyth Crescent resident noticed the break-in. An Acer Espire 5500 laptop computer and a Bell HTC touch phone were stolen. The computer has a 15-inch monitor, silver sides and a black top. It has a gauge out of the right side, and is valued at $899. The phone is worth $399, police said. There was also an assortment of alcohol missing, including Woody’s cooler, Inniskillin wine, and other ice wine of various brands. Footprints found at the scene indicate there might be two suspects, police said. It is believed they left through a side patio door, before exiting through the back of the property. An OPP crime scene investigator took photographs of the prints. Statue Grabbed A 40-centimetre resin statue was stolen from the front lawn of a Darling Crescent in Alliston Sunday. Police were called just before 4 p.m. after a resident noticed someone had stolen the statue, which was of a girl. It is about 7 kilograms. The resident said there have been several small thefts on the street recently. Can’t Find It Anywhere An Angus resident woke up Sunday morning to find their GPS unit stolen from their car. The car was parked at the resident’s house on Tree Top Street. Missing is a Garmin Nuvi 200 GPS unit, valued at $250. There was also a plug and play North American map card, which is used the system, stolen from the car. The map card is valued at $150. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


Happy Easter from One Cute Chick

Tia Shea had lots of fun posing for the camera while her mother Amanda took this picture for her Easter scrapbook layout. She looks like she is going to have a fantastic Easter weekend, Are you? If you have an interesting, unique, beautiful or funny photograph you would like to share with Herald readers in our Parting Shots feature, e-mail a good quality jpeg copy to us at [email protected] or drop off a hard copy to us at our offices at 169 Dufferin St. S., in Alliston. It’s just past the Alliston Legion. Parting Shots can be found inside the back page of both our Tuesday and Weekend editions and a full gallery of past Parting Shots is posted in our photo gallery section of our website.


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 [email protected].


Survey says: Residents love Simcoe County

Lakes and beaches are what most Simcoe County residents identify as local icons and landmarks, but when it comes to challenges, garbage tops their list. An Ipsos Reid survey conducted last fall revealed the good and bad in Simcoe County, from the perspective of 1,601 residents. "Satisfaction with the County of Simcoe as a place to live is very high and the percentage of residents rating their satisfaction as very satisfied … has increased from 79 per cent to 81 per cent," said county clerk Glen Knox. Residents "like it here," the Ipsos Reid key findings indicated. Growth is shaping opinion, as more and more people surveyed are more-recent arrivals; fewer people surveyed grew up here. As a result, previously accepted landmarks, such as the Martyrs’ Shrine, are listed as the top icons; the percentage of people citing that fell to six per cent, from eight three years ago. Lakes are tops with 21 per cent, followed by beaches (at 14 per cent). Both are up significantly over 2005. Nearly twice as many residents – 12 per cent, up from six per cent three years ago – said they didn’t know what the recognizable landmarks in the county are. One-third of residents couldn’t name one. In terms of challenges, however, 20 per cent of residents said waste management was tops, followed by taxes, at 10 per cent, and land use planning at 10 per cent. Significantly fewer mentioned road repair – 11 per cent, down from 21 per cent three years ago – as a concern. In its investigation, Ipsos Reid found the Site 41 controversy played a key role. Mentions of the site rose to 15 per cent, up from six per cent three years ago. In 2008, three times as many residents called the county regarding garbage – 15 per cent, up from five per cent – three years before.


Innisfil man part of child porn ring, police say

A 34-year-old Innisfil man is among 57 suspects across the country charged in one of the largest child pornography investigations ever. South Simcoe Police, RCMP and OPP Project P officers seized a computer containing images of child sexual abuse from an Innisfil home Wednesday morning. The Innisfil suspect has been charged with two counts of possession of child pornography and one count of making child pornography available. A 19-year-old Orillia man faces the same charges. Some of the other suspects in what is being called the the largest-ever, co-ordinated investigation of Internet-based child sexual abuse in Canada, were charged with the more serious crimes of sexual assault, sexual interference and making child pornography. The operation involving RCMP and 35 police departments coast-to-coast centered on an Internet ring in which participants exchanged child porn. Police say they seized more 130 computers, "dozens and dozens" of hard drives and "thousands and thousands" of disks and other computer storage hardware. Local police worked with direction from a high-tech base in Ottawa that found and tracked online child porn in Canada and beyond. "Additional searches, arrests and charges are anticipated in the coming weeks," said RCMP Chief Joe Buckle, who urged public co-operation to root out child pornographers. "The police are committed to tackling these tough issues." Lianna MacDonald, director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, said the arrests and seizures underscore the extent of the problem of child sex abuse and the need for Canadians to "wake up and recognize that this growing problem is affecting all of our children." "Secrecy is the cornerstone of child sexual abuse," MacDonald said. "Today, we are opening up these conversations and starting to educate Canadians about this growing problem." Files from TorStar Net