Town selling off properties

New Tecumseth is declaring land in Beeton and Tottenham surplus to allow for it to be sold. In Beeton the property is at 195 Centre St. N. The parcel of land is landlocked and abuts several properties. Beeton Coun. Richard Norcross said one of the residents abutting the land would like to purchase it. The land is an easement and is not suitable for buildings, which Norcross said the owner is aware of. Norcross said the owner already enjoys the use of the property and would like to legally own it. "He just wants to enjoy the property and pay us to do that," said Norcross. The former youth centre in Tottenham is also being declared surplus. The property is located at 34 Queen St. N. At last week’s committee of the whole meeting, Greg Perantinos pitched a business deal to council to buy the property and operate his ice cream shop at the location. Last summer Perantinos’ ice cream shop was located just south of the Queen and Mill Street intersection in downtown Tottenham, next to the Royal Bank. "It would just really allow me to bring the community together," said Perantinos. Coun. Jim Stone said allowing Perantinos to expand his business at the new location would enhance Tottenham’s downtown. "Tottenham’s downtown has been going backwards, we’ve had businesses leave and we’re getting a lot of holes there," said Stone. "He’s a great entrepreneur and a great asset for Tottenham." Earlier this year Coun. Jess Prothero asked council to approve demolishing the former youth centre building. He said when he brought that up before it was because of the way the building looks. Prothero said he supports Perantinos’ vision for the building and is looking forward to see how it would appear.


Rumor has it, community theatre onstage

Wasaga Community Theatre is staging Rumors, a play by Neil Simon. Simon is an American playwright who has written more than 30 plays including The Odd Couple and Brighton Beach Memoirs. In Rumors, first published in 1988, guests arrive at the posh apartment of New York City’s deputy mayor to celebrate his 10th wedding anniversary only to discover the house in darkness. The first guests to arrive, a pair of lawyers, discover the deputy mayor has been apparently shot and rumors fly. They discover it is a superficial wound and try to keep it quiet until they find out what happened. They call a doctor instead of the police, in an attempt to keep the shooting out of the media. As more guests arrive, dressed in gowns and tuxedos, they begin looking for the food, drinks and the host only to discover the wife of the man who has been shot is missing. "It just gets more and more complex as it goes along," said director Pat Drury. Drury said the host spends the entire play upstairs, passed out in bed, unseen by audience. She said the play has many great lines, delivered by the 10-member ensemble cast that has been rehearsing since the beginning of February.   "We chose it because it’s extremely funny. The audience seems to like the comedies, especially now, they need something to perk them up a little bit and we were looking for another comedy and its really hard to find really good comedies," said Drury. "We want to give them what they want and we want to do it too because it is fun for us." She said the theatre troupe has performed several Neil Simon comedies over the years and they are always popular. Drury had to write to Simon’s agent, promising not to stray from the original script, in order to get the royalty rights to perform the play. Evening shows on April 16-18 begin at 8 p.m. and there is a Sunday Matinee on April 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $15 each and are available at Major’s Guardian Pharmacy, The Corner Market, IDA Pharmacy, The Crow’s Nest Books and Gifts in Collingwood and Barb’s Clothes Closet in Stayner. The theatre group offers tiered seating. Visit www.wasagacommunitytheatre.com. Cast: David Clayton Laura LaChapelle Al Davidson John Clayton Marion Bell John Robinson Jennifer Smith Pat Drury Sherrie Halliday Ilona Armstrong


Injured soldier returns home to warm welcome

Wayne Burkholder stood curbside early Thursday afternoon, a small Canadian flag gripped in one hand and both eyes fixed on the procession of vehicles that inched past groups of like-minded well wishers. An OPP cruiser led the slow-moving convoy through Orillia’s downtown, followed closely by fire trucks and an ambulance. In the rear of the ambulance, on a bed, was Warrant Officer Tim Aleman – man of the hour. The 43-year-old Joyland Beach resident was returning to his community two weeks after being injured in a bomb blast while serving in Afghanistan. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t know him,” remarked Burkholder. “We should stand behind our Canadian Forces.” Yellow ribbons donated by a local flower shop adorned lampposts and store fronts, a symbol of support for Aleman, a member of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment. “We have handed out over 700 (ribbons) already,” shop owner June Morgan told a reporter the previous day. “It is really nice to see the community rally behind this family and all servicemen in Orillia.” Standing next to Burkholder was Rama resident John St. Germain, who wore a camouflage-print ball cap dressed with tiny metal pins, including two bearing red poppies with the words “We remember.” “They are heroes,” St. Germain said moments before the procession arrived at the foot of Mississaga Street. “I have lost family members in (wars).” St. Germain then spoke of his own son, who at 22 is preparing to join the military. “It is his life,” he added. “I can’t change it. But I told him, you belong to them once you join.” Friends Patti Ivey and Carrie Vardy dressed in red and brought three Canadian flags, waving them encouragingly as the procession passed. They had come simply “to thank him,” Ivey said. “To say we appreciate what he is doing for us and our freedom. It makes you proud. “If we can’t take a couple of minutes to do that, then what is wrong with us?” she added. Vardy concurred. “We are here living our lives and enjoying ourselves, and they are not,” she added. Event organizer Barb Shakell-Barkey said she was “overwhelmed” by the turnout.


Ball sets world record

In the brief running life of Rick Ball his ultimate dream has been realized. Competing in his first Boston Marathon – barely 20 months after taking up long distance running – the 43-year-old Orillia resident made history on Monday. “I got the record,” said Ball, a few hours after conquering the demanding, 26-mile, 385-yard Boston course. Ball, who lost part of his right leg in a 1986 motorcycle-truck accident, posted a time of 3:01:50.  In doing so, the Toronto Transit Commission mechanic shattered the single-leg amputee world record of 3:04:16, previously held by Australian Amy Palmiero-Winters. While in Boston, Ball was also attempting to break the world mark of Richard Whitehead, a double-leg amputee from England. However, Ball fell short of the 2:57:00 time set by Whitehead in March at the Rome Marathon. Ball extracted a measure of revenge on Monday in Boston, finished nearly one minute ahead of Whitehead, who posted a time of 3:02:44. With this result, Ball has automatically qualified for the 2010 Boston Marathon. He said the crowd played a big part in getting him across the finish line. “I was afraid I was going to pass out and not finish. At one point, I put up my arms to the crowd and yelled bring me in, bring me in. They roared and roared so loud they nearly blew me off my feet,” said Ball. Among those cheering him on over the last few strides was his wife Stacey. “She (Stacey) saw me 200 metres from the finish line and I was white as a ghost. She knew I was going to end up in the medical tent. All I wanted was to see her,” he said. After crossing the line he headed directly for the comfort and support of a wheelchair. “There was three people working on me for 90 minutes in the medical tent,” he said.  Ball has made dramatic strides in running in a short period of time. Orillia’s Athlete of the Year for 2008, he only began running about 20 months ago under the direction of his coach Roger DePlancke. Contacted on Monday at his Orillia home, DePlancke was thrilled to see Ball realize his goal. “I think he did really well and the truth is he beat the guy who is the world record holder (Whitehead), which is just fantastic. Now he has the chance to run again in the fall on an easier course and beat Whitehead’s record,” said DePlancke, a veteran of eight Boston Marathons. As expected, the latter part of the course was the toughest. “Heartbreak Hill beat the crap out of me out there. That’s where I hit the wall,” said Ball, referring to the steep series of hills located along the latter part of the Boston course. In the end, the race left him physically and mentally drained. “I had four bottles of water and four bottles of Gatorade and never went to the washroom after the race. I was that dehydrated after the race,” said Ball. While in Boston, Ball turned into something of a media celebrity, conducting interviews with various major North American daily newspapers, while also appearing on CBC Radio. 


Three vying for Rec Complex pro shop

If a contract for the pro shop in the New Tecumseth Recreation Complex goes to the best bid, a private hockey school has threatened to pull out of its ice time, New Tecumseth council heard Monday night. A report from Parks, Recreation and Culture manager Joyce Epstein recommended the town rent the empty pro shop to George’s Arena Sports Limited, which is owned by Glenn Tilson. Epstein said Tilson is from Tottenham and has run a similar business in Bolton for about 10 years Deputy Mayor Rick Milne asked Epstein if she was aware that the owners of C and C Sports, Clay Birkett and Chris Pilon who were also vying for the contract, rent ice at the complex for Basic Hockey Skills camps. Milne said if the contract doesn’t go to C and C Sports the town could lose $30,000 in ice time rentals from the school. Epstein said George’s Arena Sports was chosen based on the pro shop application only. Regarding the potential loss of ice rental, she said she has also had inquiries from another private hockey school looking for ice time should Basic Hockey Skills pull out. Hutchinson Sports previously occupied the pro shop space in the new arena from October 2007 until this past January. Epstein couldn’t comment on why Hutchinson Sports left the arena because it is a legal matter. George’s Arena Sports was chosen as a replacement after each of the three applications was evaluated by Epstein, the New Tecumseth Recreation Complex co-ordinator, the senior buyer and a council member. George’s Arena Sports had the highest overall score. The contract negotiated is for a four-year lease, with the owner paying $10,000 plus GST each year for the space. Epstein hopes the pro shop will be open and operational as soon as possible. Improvements to the space are expected over June and July and the pro shop is expected to be fully operational for the start of the regular winter ice season in August. A final vote will decide the issue this coming Monday. 


Town will light up stop signs

A memorial for Brandon Pugh remains near the intersection of 9th Line and 20th Sideroad. Pugh was killed Nov. 11 when his car was struck by a 17-year-old northbound driver who disobeyed a stop sign. Innisfil council has approved the installation of hazard beacons on two stop signs at the intersection. The intersection has been the scene of numerous accidents, including the fatality, in recent months. Town staff is also investigating the feasibility of placing rumble strips on the roadways approaching the crossing.


Vial of Life a comfort for mother, daughter

Patricia Manning and her mother Rosealie Inglis are stocking their fridge with Vials of Life. They feel a little more secure knowing their medical history and a list of current medications is tucked safely in the door of their refrigerator, and paramedics know exactly where to look for it. The Vial of Life is a program delivered in partnership with the Simcoe County Paramedic Association and Medichair, a Barrie-based company that sells home medical equipment and mobility products. The Vial of Life is to be kept in the top right hand shelf of the refrigerator. A kit is available free and includes a sheet of paper where people can record all their medical information and a pill bottle to keep it in. A magnet notifying paramedics that the Vial of Life is inside is displayed on the refrigerator door. The sheet of paper tells paramedics everything they need to know about a patient’s existing medical conditions, current medications and drug allergies if the patient is unable to communicate. Paramedic and association board member Janel Perron said when attending a call, the first thing paramedics do is check the patient, then one paramedic will go and look for medications and the Vial of Life if there is one in the home. Perron said there is probably tens of thousands of the packages in use in Simcoe County considering anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 are given out each year and the program has already been running for several years. Perron said just last week, he and his partner responded to a call and benefited from the information contained in the Vial of Life. "The person wasn’t able to communicate all of the information that we needed, she was unable to speak more than two words at a time and we located the vial and all of her detailed history was right there which was very helpful to us," said Perron. He said, as an example, when responding to a patient experiencing cardiac chest pain, paramedics are only able to administer nitroglycerin if the patient has received it before, unless one of the paramedics on scene has IV – intervenes – training. Perron said the protocol is in place because it is such a strong medication it may have an adverse affect on the patient unless there is a history of the use of that drug. Manning and Inglis live together in Wasaga Beach. They recently learned of the Vial of Life program during a visit to Collingwood General and Marine Hospital. Due to various illnesses, paramedics were recently called to their home three times in two weeks to treat Inglis, who is 99 years old. When the third call to paramedics was made, Inglis’ Vial of Life was filled out and in the fridge. Manning was there and could communicate with the paramedics on behalf of her mother but she said having the information at her fingertips really helped. "When you are upset and excited it’s hard to remember," said Manning. She said the Vial of Life was used to help check her mother into the hospital and when Manning arrived all she had to do was sign the admission papers. "But not only is it a time saver, it can be a lifesaver," said Manning. The program is open to anyone but is particularly useful for people who have a serious drug or food allergy, any medical conditions or are taking prescribed medication. Perron said the Vial of Life program is under review and Simcoe County Paramedics may need to ask people for a small donation to cover the cost of the program. He said clinics are being planned for May but details have not been finalized. "I think every household should have one," said Manning. "It’s a must," said Inglis.


Town supports bid for Pan Am Games equestrian event

The Blue Mountains council voted Monday in favour of officially supporting a $1.87 million bid for the 2015 Pan American Games equestrian event to be held at the Thornbury Horse Park being developed by the Cedar Run Corporation. Councillor Michael Martin gave council some background on the bidding process at their March 2 meeting. He explained that although Cedar Run is committing to pay the $1.87 million it will take to get the park ready for the games, the bid committee requires that the town give assurance that they support the bid. There are several steps for the bidding process. Currently, Cedar Run’s bid is up for consideration by a bidding committee in Toronto. That committee is responsible for choosing locations across Ontario for the various Pan Am events so they can compile them for a bid application to the Pan American Sports Organization. Another bid committee will review those applications and decide on the location for the 2015 games. At this point, the town has agreed to support Cedar Run’s bid. The Blue Mountains has not signed a contract, only declared interest in pursuing the bidding process. Should the site be chosen for the Ontario application, contracts will be drafted, reviewed and possibly signed. Deputy Mayor Duncan McKinlay said the concept of the Pan Am games in The Blue Mountains is a good one for the community and for economic development, but he wants to make sure it’s not going to cost the taxpayers. If the town enters into a contract agreement with Cedar Run for the Pan Am games, they will ultimately be responsible for making sure they deliver a venue for the games, according to McKinlay. "We had to say that we’re ready to go to the next step," said McKinlay. "That we’re willing to consider the agreement." However, the town still has the option not to continue in the bid process should they find out that there is a risk that the taxpayers will have to bear the near $2 million burden. Cedar Run representative, Peter Lush, made a presentation to council to say that they had adequate security and equity in the horse park to cover the costs of infrastructure and ensuring the park is up to Pan Am standards. "This will be remarkable for the community and ourselves," said Lush, adding that the games would bring $2 billion of economic activity to the province and create thousands of jobs. According to Lush, the $1.87 million represents 44 per cent of the cost of the infrastructure required to host the games; the federal and provincial governments fund the other 56 per cent. Lush said Cedar Run’s application to host the equestrian event for the Pan Am Games would include the dressage, eventing and jumping events. The Pan Am games are held every four years. The 2011 event will be in Guadalajara, Mexico.