EDHS vandalized: Police

Huronia West OPP say Elmvale District High School was vandalized. The incident happened around 12:30 a.m. on March 23. Police went to the school in response to an alarm that was triggered. "Upon arrival it was discovered that unknown individuals used a 20-pound propane tank to break the south window of the athletics department," Const. Mark Kinney said. "Fortunately the school did not lose any property in this crime." Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the detachment at 429-3575. Tips can also be left with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.


Pets perish in fire

Two dogs and two cats died in a house fire close to the base of Blue Mountain last weekend. The Blue Mountains Fire Department responded to a fire at 128 Brooker Blvd. on Friday at 10:37 a.m. on Friday, March 6. When fire crews arrived, the entire back wall and roof of the two-storey home was on fire. No one was home at the time of the fire and a neighbour placed the emergency call. Fire Prevention Officer A.J. Lake said crews gained access to the roof space and were able to quell the flames quickly enough to reduce structural damage and content loss. Fire fighters tried to revive the pets, but were unsuccessful. A rabbit did survive the blaze. Lake estimated the loss from the fire at $180,000. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


Volunteers keep Good Food Simcoe rolling

The truck from Glen Huron Farms rolls up early in the morning to the front door of the Innisfil Lions Hall in Alcona. The monthly delivery is eagerly awaited by a dozen volunteers from Good Food Simcoe who will soon sort a variety of fresh produce onto tables inside the hall. Bob Billinger is one of those volunteers. The Crossroads resident is out this Thursday morning with his wife, Maureen. “We joined Good Food Simcoe last August,” Billinger says. “We like helping the community by making fresh fruit and vegetables available to them for better health.” The program was started by a small group of volunteers with guidance from the Barrie Community Health Centre. Since its inception, momentum has been gradually building to the point where the group now serves an average of 70 families a month who purchase either a small bag for $10, or a large bag for $15, on the third Thursday of each month. This month’s offerings include premium quality red peppers,zucchini. mushrooms, lettuce, potatoes, cabbage, apples, carrots, plums and onions. “We’re both retired and we wanted to help out and do our best to get the best quality produce, for the best price, to people,” Billinger says. “We buy in bulk and get produce at about 50 per cent off the retail cost. Members of our board of directors visit different supermarkets to price items.” Good Food Simcoe is a not-for-profit organization, he says. “Anything we make on the bags goes back into buying the product,” Billinger says. “It’s open to everyone. We’ve been approaching different organizations for donations to help us out. Our goal somewhere down the line is to buy some bags we can give to people who can’t afford it. We don’t want to know who gets it. We know the Lions Club distributes a couple of bags to people they know can use it.” On a typical packing day, between 11 to 15 volunteers show up and work with great precision to fill the bags. It takes less than an hour for them to complete the task. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., purchasers can come to pick up their bags. Every effort is made to source products either locally, from Ontario, or Canadian growers. “We want to support our farmers,” Billinger says. “We always have a little joke whenever we get oranges.” Sharon Wozniak of the Barrie Community Health Centre is impressed with the Innisfil contingent. “We have a wonderful group here, plus our board of directors,” she says. “It’s a real credit to the community. It truly is a local effort.” For volunteer co-ordinator Cathy Richardson, “It’s a great job. I love it. Some of our volunteers come every month to pack.” Orders for food can be made, cash only, through Adam & Eve Tanning at 1070 Innisfil Beach Rd., Innisfil Denture Clinic, 980 Innisfil Beach Rd., or Second Time Around, 7328 Yonge St., just south of Innisfil Beach Road. On June 25 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., the group is hosting a showcase for local growers and health-related organziations at the Innisfil Lions Hall. There will be a guest speaker, bake sale and volunteer recognition as well. For more information, call Richardson at 436-3178.


New Tecumseth’s longtime CFO retiring

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."


Chamber serves up new business networking opportunity

The Wasaga Beach Chamber of Commerce is launching a business networking breakfast. Dubbed Breakfast at the Beach, the event will take place the second Thursday of each month, with the first taking place on April 9. Sarah Adams, a Wasaga Beach chiropractor, is a member of the chamber’s networking committee, which set out to expand on an existing networking event called After 5. Once a month a business operator hosts After 5 at their place of business, sometimes partnering with another business that does not have a storefront location. During the event people have a chance to network while the host has an opportunity to promote their business. The evening networking sessions, co-sponsored by the Wasaga Beach Women’s Business Association, are held one per month and are so successful among the local business community that there is a one-year waiting list to host the event. Adams said the committee looked at ways to offer more networking opportunities for chamber of commerce members and potential members. But because not everyone was able to attend After 5, which as the name suggests begins after 5 p.m., Adams said the committee decided to offer a morning event. Chamber of commerce president Henning Geiler said morning meetings of any kind have proven to be well attended. Breakfast at the Beach begins at 7 a.m. and breakfast is served at 7:15 a.m. The event will end by 8:30 a.m. so people have time to get to their place of business by 9 a.m. Adams said the first few events will take place at Beverly’s On Main Grill House, located on Main Street, but she is hoping that other restaurants will come on board and, in the future, the event will rotate to other businesses. She said Beverly’s On Main can accommodate about 50 people for this particular event. Adams noted Breakfast at the Beach will be a little more structured than After 5. A guest speaker will give a 20-minute presentation beginning at 7:50 a.m. Speakers will range in expertise and the opportunity is open to chamber of commerce members. The first speaker is Ellen Riches of Indigo Group, an accredited education provider. She will speak about the fear of public speaking. "As small business owners, we are called on to speak in public every day," said Riches. "Communicating about our business at networking events and to potential clients is one of the key ways that we build our business." Adams said she hopes people will be inspired to set aside their fear of public speaking and take the opportunity to share their expertise with the group. Adams said she hopes everyone in attendance will have an opportunity to introduce themselves and say something about their business. Geiler said, like After 5, the networking events are meant to be a fun, relaxed environment and that is why they are so successful. "A big part of business and networking is word-of-mouth advertising," said Geiler. "The stronger your business relationships are, the stronger your business is," said Adams. They say people are more likely to do business with people they know and trust and that often results in referrals. The Wasaga Beach Chamber of Commerce has 258 members. A membership costs between $150 and $200 per year, depending on the type of business. For more information about the chamber and its events, including Breakfast at the Beach, call 429-2247. Members and non-members can also register online before Tues., April 7 at www.wasagainfo.com. Tickets cost $15 for members and $18 for non-members. People are asked to pay at the door by cash or cheque. Beverly’s On Main is located at 140 Main St.


Bluewater saves the (Labour) day

Summer vacation could have been cut short this year. A calendar anomaly has Labour Day falling on September 7 this year, which forces school boards to begin the school year before the long weekend that characteristically marks the end of summer vacation. However, the Bluewater board has come up with a solution to save the final days of freedom, at least for students in the district. In following the rules of the Education Act, school boards across the province are required to begin the 2009 – 2010 school year prior to Labour Day. The Bluewater board decided to use some of the allowable professional activity (PA) days at the beginning of the year so that students will not have to attend classes until September 8. The school year for staff will begin on September 2. The schedule, which has students in class until June 29 will be submitted to the Ministry of Education for approval on May 1, 2009.