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2022-04-25

Haines Dam in Clarksburg has major issues

The Grey Sauble Conservation Authority Board of Directors received good news and bad news about its dams in Clarksburg at its regular meeting last Wednesday. The Haines Dam in Clarksburg is in very poor shape and may have to be removed by the Conservation Authority in the near future. On the other hand the Clendenan Dam is in strong shape and has no immediate major repairs required. The Grey Sauble Conservation Authority Board of Directors received a full report about all of the Dams it owns and operates throughout the watershed at last Wednesday’s regular meeting. Water Management Director of Operations Doug Hill delivered the report at the meeting. The report detailed purpose and current state of repair of each dam the Authority owns and operates. The Board of Directors discussed the report in significant detail at the meeting (see related story in this issue). The Haines Dam in Clarksburg warranted particular attention in the report because it is in very poor condition and serves very little purpose. Hill said the Haines Dam is in excess of 100 years old. In the 1980s the Authority considered removing the Dam, but significant local opposition to that idea prevented that from happening. At the time a significant investment was made into the structure using provincial funds. "There are still some issues with this dam," Hill told the Board at the meeting. He said the dam in reality serves no useful purpose. The structure is approximately three metres in height and the reservoir behind it is completely filled with sediment. "This is a significant liability for us. The dam has no current purpose or use and if it breaks we will have a serious environmental issue on our hands," said Hill. He said water is currently seeping through the north embankment of the dam resulting in erosion and the risk of the bank eventually failing and releasing the built up sediment behind the dam. Hill said the Authority faces a significant cost with the Haines Dam regardless of how it chooses to proceed in the future. "The dam has no recreational benefit, no wildlife habitat benefit and no flood control benefit. It’s more of a liability," said Hill. In order to remove the dam the Authority would have to incur significant costs to remove the built up sediment in the reservoir. "There’s a significant cost to maintain this dam and there’s significant costs to take it out. Either way, down the road it will require significant costs," he said. The authority built the Clendenan Dam in 1975 immediately upstream of Clarksburg. It cost approximately $1 million and estimated to be worth $5 million now. It is the largest dam the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority owns. Hill said Clendenan Dam is in generally good condition and doesn’t require major repairs. The Authority is monitoring a slight problem with settlement of the earthen berm over the fish way. "The dam has functioned very well in terms of capturing ice during break ups," said Hill. Authority Chair Dick Hibma said eventually the Board of Directors would have to make a decision about the Haines Dam and begin preparing for the financial implications of what will need to be done. He said he leaned towards supporting the removal of the Dam and said that decision will have to be made upfront in order to communicate to member municipalities the financial requirements the maintenance of all the Authority’s dams will require.

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2022-02-08

Budget trimming under way

The Municipality of Meaford has begun the process to cut its 2009 proposed operating budget. Meaford council at a special meeting last Thursday afternoon received an update about the 2009 budget from municipal staff. The initial budget included an 18% increase in local taxes. Council deemed that amount too high and asked staff to bring back a budget with an 8% local increase. At Thursday’s meeting, members of staff brought forward a budget update that identified more than $800,000 in proposed cuts to the budget that if implemented will achieve the 8% increase council asked for. "We have worked very hard to make sure you have a budget before you at 8%," said CAO Frank Miele. "We focused on cutting services not mandated by the provincial government," said the CAO. Council looked over the list of proposed cuts and made general comments and suggestions about the overall budget. No lengthy debate or discussions about the proposed cuts was held at Thursday’s meeting. Many of the proposed cuts will be controversial with the public. They include: eliminating dust suppression on rural gravel roads to save $100,000, reducing the gravel maintenance budget by $70,000, cutting the municipality’s subsidy for organized sports at the ball park and the arena to save a combined $55,000, eliminate the service to collect leaf and yard waste to save $71,400 and re-organizing the planning department in order to reduce costs in that area by $31,000. The update also proposed cutting staff salary increases proposed in 2009 by $200,000. "You’re going in the right direction. Thank you, but I’m convinced we can continue. I can see some other areas to cut," said Deputy Mayor Mike Traynor. "We need to set the tone. We’re being told loud and clear that we need to do something here to make the pendulum swing the other way in order to get out of the rut we’re in," said Traynor. The proposed elimination of the leaf and yard waste collection program generated a significant discussion. The municipality spent a significant amount of money in 2008 upgrading the leaf and yard waste collection station at the 7th Line Operations Centre. The money was spent in order to ensure the collection of that waste material is done within Ministry of the Environment guidelines. Staff are now proposing not to activate that facility and instead leave it unused. Councillors were concerned about the optics of constructing a facility one year and then keeping it closed the next year. Several councillors suggested the municipality look at a user fee for the collection of leaf and yard waste as a means to add revenue to municipal coffers. CAO Miele said the administration would explore that avenue and report to council about its implications. The spectre of user fees to collect leaf and yard waste led Mayor Francis Richardson to suggest examining user fees for overall garbage collection. "Maybe it’s time to eliminate all the free bags and make it a user pay system," said Richardson. "Municipalities are going more and more to user pay systems where they can. We need to look at that," said the Mayor. Other suggestions to raise money include implementing a business licensing fee for the municipality and bringing in a dog license fee. CAO Miele said staff would investigate the logistics of those ideas.

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2021-10-05

Drama at the Brier

It was circus move worthy of Barnum and Bailey or the Ringling Brothers. With his final rock in the 10th end against Saskatchewan, Coldwater curler Glenn Howard wipped out a two-point deficit and scored three points, en route to a dramatic 7-6 win on Monday evening at the Brier in Calgary. "It’s definitely not a shot you are going to make very often," said Howard, skip of Team Ontario. He readily admitted that if he had 50 chances to repeat that shot in a competition, he might only achieve the same result twice. "I knew it had to be letter perfect and hard enough to knock the Saskatchewan rocks out of the house. Thankfully it worked," said Howard. The shot drew thunderous applause from the thousands in attendance, including Glenn’s older brother Russ, who is skipping the New Brunswick entry at the Brier this week. "Russ seemed impressed. He came over to shake my hand, which was nice of him to do," said Glenn. The victory over Saskatchewan helped the Coldwater and District Curling Club rink maintain an undefeated record at 5-0. Entering play Tuesday, Ontario is tied for first place with the reigning world champions, the Kevin Martin rink from Alberta. Martin and his Edmonton foursome also posted their fifth win of the Brier on Monday evening, narrowly defeating the Brad Gushue rink from Newfoundland-Labrador by a 5-4 score. All evening at the Penngrowth Saddledome, Howard and his team of Richard Hart, Brent Laing and Craig Savill appeared to struggle against the Joel Jordison rink from Saskatchewan, missing numerous opportunities to take control of the game. "We were behind the eight ball most of the game and that was probably the worst game we’ve played all year," admitted Howard, who is appearing in his 11th Brier. Jordison jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second end and led 3-2 after four ends. Single points by Jordison in the fifth and sixth ends respectively provided his rink with a 5-3 lead after the seventh end, before Howard scored one in the eighth to narrow the gap to 5-4. Jordison added one in the ninth to set the stage for the dramatic comeback by Howard and his 2007 world championship rink. Earlier on Monday, Glenn Howard’s rink rolled to a decisive 8-3 win over Prince Edward Island. The win over Saskatchewan marked the second time in three days that the Ontario rink has been forced to come from behind to score a win at the Brier. Saturday, Howard and company needed three points in the 10th end to pull out a victory over the Brad Gushue rink from Newfoundland/Labrador. "We lose those two games and we could easily be 3-2 right now," said Howard. Tuesday morning, all eyes will be on the feature game of the day, when the two Howard brothers go head-to-head in Draw 9 action in Calgary. It marks the first time the two brothers have battled on opposite teams at the Brier. It is also the first time the brothers have competed together since 1993, when they won the Brier and later the world championship.

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2021-10-05

Glenn Howard wins battle of brothers

Sometimes it’s hard to separate family from curling. Such was the case Tuesday morning in Calgary, when the Midland born and raised Howard brothers, Russ and Glenn, faced each other in a historic meeting at the Tim Hortons Brier. In the end, it wasn’t the titanic battle the fans at the Penngrowth Saddledome had been hoping for, but it was one for the history books. "I got a big kick playing against Glenn and I know he enjoyed it," said Russ, speaking with TSN following the game. It marked only the second time in the long history of the Brier that two brothers had skipped against each other in a national men’s curling final. Glenn Howard’s Coldwater and District Curling Club rink scored three points in each of the first and fifth ends, en route to a 7-2 win over the New Brunswick rink, skipped by Russ. "It was pretty cool to play against my brother and it’s too bad we had that bad shot on that angle raise in the fifth end, or else it might have been a closer game," said Russ. The win helped the Team Ontario rink, skipped by Glenn and consisting of Richard Hart, Brent Laing and Craig Savill ,maintain an unbeaten record at the Brier, improving to 6-0. Kevin Martin’s Alberta rink kept pace with Howard, posting a decisive win over British Columbia on Tuesday morning to also improve to 6-0. To add to the Howard threesome, Steven Howard played with his dad Russ on Tuesday morning. "It’s just an awesome experience playing in my first Brier with my dad and playing against my Uncle Glenn," said Steven, 24. Russ said playing with his son will be a moment he’ll remember for the rest of his life. "When your son is born, you count his fingers and toes and you hope he is healthy. When he is three or four then you start thinking about how cool it will be when he starts kicking a baseball or soccer ball around. Like me ,you hope he plays golf. But for him to play in my sport (curling) is totally unbelieveable. Steven is soaking it up and living the dream. To play against Glenn is such a bonus," said Russ. In providing an exclamation mark to the brother battle, Glenn helped the New Brunswick rink sweep the final shot by Russ into the house, before the two teams shook hands. The Howard family was well represented at the rink on Tuesday, with Glenn receiving cheering support from wife Judy and son Scott. In Calgary, Russ was cheered on by his wife Wendy and daughter Ashley, who earlier this year skipped her own team to an appearance at a Canadian finals in the junior division. Meanwhile, Barbara Howard spent Tuesday morning at the Midland Curling Club watching her two sons battle on ice in the company of friends and fellow curling fans. After jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first, the Ontario rink later increased its lead to 4-1 in the fourth end. In the fifth end, Russ attempted an angle raise to score one, but instead rolled his own shot stone to far and surrendered three to Glenn, increasing the Ontario lead to 7-1. Visibly angered by missing the shot, Russ Howard displayed a rare burst of anger in front of the thousands in attendance, slamming his curling broom against the ice. "I played an angle raise and tried to punch it (the rock) through a hole that wasn’t even there," said Russ later. Given the dominance of the Glenn Howard team within the curling world this year, Russ knew he had a tough test going into the game. "They have such a great team. We didn’t really expect to post a win when we woke up this morning," said Russ, who is making a record 14th appearance at the Brier. With the loss to Team Ontario, New Brunswick dropped to 2-4 in the standings. Russ Howard and his rink went on to play the Jeff Stoughton rink from Manitoba on Tuesday afternoon, with Glenn Howard scheduled to face the same Manitoba rink in the evening draw.

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2021-09-15

Group advocates for Midland seniors

The Midland Seniors Council has spent months collecting information on how to accommodate the town’s growing population of older people. Elizabeth O’Connor, a spokesperson for the group, addressed Midland council Monday night outlining the results of a needs assessment of vulnerable seniors in town. Several key needs surfaced, she pointed out. They included transportation, a seniors facility and recreational opportunities, safety, opportunities to interact with children and youths, and accessibility. “We feel very fortunate to have this type of representation in our community,” O’Connor said of the seniors council. “Since we are an arm of council, we are your people on the ground.” O’Connor said there are two categories of seniors residing in the area: recently retired individuals in good health, and a more frail and needy group that cannot speak for itself. It’s the second group the seniors council would like to focus on, she said. “Seniors have said they would like to have a facility,” she said. “We have Askennonia (Senior Centre), which is great … but (many) don’t feel it offers a space where they can just go and have coffee.” O’Connor said the assessment pinpointed a number of desires, but the seniors council has selected four to focus on: transit, a seniors facility, safety and information. The organization recommended: • expanding Midland Transit to key community locations, such as the malls, big-box stores and the hospital; • creating a drop-in facility for seniors where they could gather informally; • improving pedestrian safety by increasing the number of crossings and slowing traffic in senior facility areas. O’Connor also requested council support the efforts of the seniors council to find and establish an ongoing method to communicate with area seniors. “We want to put the message out there that we are working with (town) council,” she said. Coun. Gord McKay said, “Many of us (know what it’s like) to deal with aged parents. You see the isolation they have to deal with…. (The seniors council) gives us an arm to be able to reach out to that population.” [email protected]

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2021-01-14

Caring a universal language

A group of women trying to make a difference in the fight against HIV in Africa is looking close to home to raise money for their cause. Kathy Proudley, a member of the Huronia chapter of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign, said the group will be holding a fundraiser later this month to raise money to help buy school uniforms, cover school fees and assist community gardens. The group’s goal is to raise awareness and mobilize support in Canada for African grandmothers, many of whom are raising children orphaned when their parents died of AIDS. The event, scheduled for March 28 at the Midland Legion, will feature Geph Mitchell in an Elvis Presley tribute, with additional music by Back 2 Back DJ Services. Proudley said the group is hoping to raise upwards of $3,500. “It’s going to be a great night,” she said. “The world is getting to be a much smaller place…. What happens in Africa affects us all.” Tickets are $15 each and are available in Midland at the legion, Johnstone’s Musicland, Sergio’s Italian Sandwiches and Hair Fantasy, as well as Marlynn’s Buro Plus in Penetanguishene. More than 150 groups of Canadian grandmothers have taken up the call for action – raising more than $1 million for the campaign. The money is directed by the Stephen Lewis Foundation to community-level organizations in 14 sub-Saharan African countries that provide grandmothers with food, housing grants, school fees and grief counselling. For more information on the group, visit www.stephenlewisfoundation.org/grandmothers. [email protected]

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2021-01-01

Insurance brokers bring on the beef for shelter

Hambly Insurance Brokers in Cookstown and Peel Mutual Insurance Company teamed up to help fill plates at My Sister’s Place recently. The insurance companies donated $1,500 worth of beef to the Alliston women and children’s  shelter. Peel Mutual provided half a cow, while Hambly paid to have it cut and wrapped. Seen here, from right, Jane Steiner of Hambly Insurance and Bill Morley of Peel Mutual get ready to deliver the beef, with My Sister’s chair Anne Skeates.

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