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2021-10-06

Men ‘jumped’ me, boy tells court

A teenager was punched, held underwater and had his earrings ripped out during a tussle over a controversial Balm Beach fence, a Midland court heard Tuesday. The boy, now 15, was the first witness called in the trial of John Marion and his son Greg. The boy cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The two Tiny Township men were charged with assault causing bodily harm after allegedly roughing up the then-14-year-old when he twice scaled a six-foot-high wooden fence to cross the Marion property. The youth shared his version of the events of July 24, 2008. “I saw a man charging out of the back door and screaming,” said the boy, referring to Greg Marion. “When he said, ‘Get the f*** off my property,’ I stepped in the water and said, ‘I’m not on your property.’” At that point, the Mississauga teen said before Judge Jon-Jo Douglas, Greg Marion “jumped” him and pushed him in the water, ripping out his diamond-stud earrings and pushing him under the surface. The boy also injured his right hand in the scuffle. “I was trying to keep my head above water because he was on top of me,” he said. “Then the older Marion came running out and struck me in the back of the head.” The boy’s account aligned with that of his father, who told Crown attorney Jennifer Armenise he saw Greg Marion speaking with his son, who was standing ankle-deep in the water at the time. “The gentleman in question lunged at my son,” said the man, pointing at Greg Marion in the courtroom when asked to identify the person he saw that day. Dressed casually in faded jeans and an untucked, striped dress shirt, Greg Marion had no visible reaction to the testimony. The alleged victim’s father said when another man entered the fray, taking a swing at his son, he was already sprinting to the scene to help. He pointed to John Marion, dressed for court in a grey sports coat and black slacks, as the second assailant. Defence attorney David Wilcox challenged the testimony, suggesting the younger boy threw the first punch when John Marion pushed him toward the water. “I didn’t punch him,” said the boy, shaking his head. In his cross-examination of the father, Wilcox offered up the theory that he was the aggressor, actually punching John Marion twice in the head after the initial fracas ended. “I never punched either one of them,” said the man, a self-employed contractor. Three witnesses to the altercation gave testimony that in some ways contradicted that version of events. Freda O’Brien, a Toronto resident vacationing at Balm Beach last July, said it was John Marion, not Greg, who first confronted the boy and “struck him with a closed fist.” Mike and Michelle Davis also pointed to John Marion as the initiator of the melee, although they differed as to whether he pushed or punched the boy. Michelle Davis told police at the time that it was a shove, but said Tuesday it was a punch. In addition, O’Brien and Mike Davis each stated the teen’s father threw punches during the incident, contradicting what he had stated earlier. “They were all punching,” said O’Brien. “It was a huge ball – just like you’d see in a cartoon – all arms and feet.” John Marion’s wife, Elisabeth, said it was her son Greg who first approached the boy as he crossed their property for the second time. As the pair spoke, she told the court, her husband walked toward the boy and pushed him toward the water. “All of a sudden, the boy took a swing,” she said. “Then he grabbed my husband by the shirt and swung him around.” She said the boy’s father quickly arrived and began hitting her husband and forcing his head underwater. “(John) got out from under him and crawled on his hands and knees up to the beach, and (the man) kept punching him in the back of the head,” she said. Elisabeth Marion testified she never saw her husband or son strike either the boy or his father. Armenise questioned Elisabeth Marion about the impact the long-running fence dispute has had on her life. Acrimony over public access to the beach in front of the Marions’ waterfront home has led to name calling and vandalism. “Living hell,” the longtime Balm Beach resident said of the last few years. The disagreement has seen a chainsaw used on a portion of the fence and a pellet gun fired at the Marions’ car, as well as a section of fence being set ablaze just 12 hours before the July 24 confrontation. The Crown has called all the witnesses on its list, while the defence will continue to present its case when the trial resumes May 28. [email protected]

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2021-10-06

Students travel for Habitat for Humanity

A bruising round of dodge ball at Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School kicked off a campaign to build a new life for residents of an impoverished country scarred by civil war. Travis Frampton and Mady Harber, both 18, leave April 24 for a two-week stay in rural Tajikistan, an earthquake-prone region with a battered infrastructure and inadequate housing. There they will join a dozen members of Habitat for Humanity Global Village to build a home for a family in the town of Nurek. “They need attention on the world stage,” Frampton said moments before students at his alma mater plunked down a toonie each to spend the afternoon drilling one another with rubber balls. All proceeds went toward the $5,000 in travel expenses and building materials each participant in the upcoming build are expected to raise. “The support is just amazing,” Harber added. Both graduates of the local separate school, the two met in a Grade 12 philosophy class. “We realized we shared a lot of the same interests,” Frampton recalled. When her like-minded friend decided to leave Orillia to help build a house for a single mother of eight in El Suyate, Guatemala last year, it was Harber who organized a fundraising coffee house event at the school. The resulting experience was life changing for Frampton. “It is not something I ever want to stop doing,” he added of the labour intensive but satisfying work. “It made me realize how ridiculous it is the things we complain about here.” Neither is Harber a stranger to the spirit of volunteerism. Proceeds from a locally produced CD and concert she organized last year raised more than $3,600 for the local Habitat chapter. The upcoming trip, “is going to be the first of many,” she added. “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.” Harber plans to study international development with the aim of improving living conditions for residents of Third World countries. “When I set my mind to something, I try my best to make it happen,” she added. Anyone wishing to contribute to the upcoming trip can do so online at www.Canadahelps.org

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2021-09-28

Plane forced to land at Billy Bishop Airport

A student pilot who experienced complete engine failure was forced to land his plane at the Billy Bishop Regional Airport just east of Owen Sound on Tuesday, March 31. It was a tough way to learn, but he sure did a good job. The incident occurred at 12:30 p.m. The airplane, a single engine Beechcraft Bonanza, was part of the fleet utilized by the Seneca College flight program based at the Buttonville Airport in Markham. (North of Toronto). It was piloted by a 21 year-old male student accompanied by a 21 year-old male passenger. They had left Wiarton Airport on route to Midland, ON. While flying over Owen Sound they experience total engine failure at 9,500 ft. The passenger issued a Mayday call, which was received by air traffic controllers in Toronto as they looked for a place to land. The pilot decided to glide the plane toward the Billy Bishop Regional Airport, situated on Highway 26 just east of Owen Sound, in the Municipality of Meaford.  After gliding for several kilometres and descending, the powerless plane was landed at the airport without incident. There were no injuries or damage to the aircraft. Grey County OPP officers were able to report the miraculous outcome back to the Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton, who had asked for police to observe the aircraft.

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2021-09-02

ATV riders caught on snowmobile trail

Two off-road enthusiasts were caught riding their ATVs where they didn’t belong on Saturday. A Southern Georgian Bay OPP officer spotted the men on an Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs trail in Tiny Township. The off-roaders were stopped and charged under the Trespass to Property Act after being told they could not operate their vehicles on snowmobile trails during the winter months. One of the men was also charged with driving with a blood-alcohol content over 80 milligrams.

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2021-03-02

Wright to hit the Collingwood stage with new band

Drew Wright will once again take the stage in Collingwood. This time as the front man of his new band Fall and Divide. The quartet – which features Bret Carrigan (drums), Paul Fonseca (bass) and Jean Arcand (lead guitar) – will be performing at the Gayety Theatre on Wed., Apr. 29 and Thurs., Apr. 30. Wright, of Canadian Idol fame, has been playing with Carrigan – a former drummer of the band Honeymoon Suite – for several years and said the group formed in December. Wright said he got the name from a lyric in a Pink Floyd song, that said ‘united we stand, divided we fall.’ The group played a New Year’s Eve gig in Barrie – two weeks after forming, but this show will be the first display of the band’s original work. "It’s the first public display of Fall and Divide," Wright said. "We’ve been in hibernation working on material." The band has been recording songs at a studio in Collingwood and all those who attend the concert will receive a copy of the five-song disc. Wright said the group’s sound is rock-based, but he said all of the members have different musical influences. "It’s like throwing darts at a map. We’re all influenced by such different music," he said. Arcand said people can expect hard driving rock music, but with Wright’s voice, there will be a lot of melody. "It’s like an 800-pound gorilla wearing a Sunday dress," Arcand said. Wright said being in a band is what he always wanted to do. "I’ve always wanted to be in a band. I’ve never wanted to be just Drew Wright," he said. Even though the group has only been together for several months, everything is working out. "We’re all unique in our way," he said. "There is a sense of maturity and camaraderie." Carrigan is excited about the chance to showcase the band’s new songs. "It’s a great opportunity for us to show what we’ve been up to," he said. "That’s what we do best." Tickets are available by phone (705) 445-9030 or in person at Gabriele Photography at 133 Hurontario St., Collingwood.  Ticket prices are $29.99 or $44.99 (includes a meet and greet). For more information, call 445-9030. You can also learn more about the band by visiting them at www.myspace.com/fallanddivideband or www.fallanddivide.com

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2021-01-04

Second person confirmed dead in blaze

Investigators have found the remains of another victim in the rubble of a home north of Rosemont that burnt to the ground yesterday. The unidentified body was found earlier today (Tuesday). The body of a woman was pulled from the burning building yesterday, but she was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said autopsies are scheduled for tomorrow. Neighbours said an elderly couple lived in the home at 996380 Mulmur-Tosorontio Townline, north of the 5th Sideroad. A passing motorist pulled the lifeless body of the elderly woman from the house, said OPP Const. Melody Tourigny. An elderly man was unaccounted for, but police suspect he was home at the time of the fire. Police said they don’t know if the remains found today belong to the missing man. Police and fire investigators are examining the remains of the home, most of which was leveled by the flames right down to its foundation. Neighbours said they didn’t know the couple, and said they were rarely seen. One neighbour said the man could not walk, and the woman also had difficulty walking. She was only occasionally seen walking to the end of the driveway to pick up the mail. Police have not released the identities of the deceased. Next of kin have not been notified. Firefighters were called to the home just before 2 p.m., after neighbours spotted plumes of thick, black smoke and called 911. Clouds of smoke were also visible as far away as Alliston. When firefighters arrived they found a fully-engaged house fire. The motorist had already pulled the woman’s body from the home. She was pronounced dead at the scene by the coroner’s office. Firefighters from the Rosemont District Fire Department and both Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department stations responded to the call and remained on scene all afternoon. Firefighters from New Tecumseth were called in to provide coverage at the Adjala-Tosorontio stations. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office. Police have taped off the scene. The investigation is ongoing. The cause of the blaze and damage estimates have yet to be determined.

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2020-12-30

Van Loan silent about top Ontario Tory job

Could York-Simcoe’s Member of Parliament be a candidate for leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party? Rumours are afloat that Peter Van Loan, now serving as Public Safety Minister in Stephen Harper’s government, is assessing whether a run at the P.C. leadership would be in his best interests. John Tory’s departure from provincial politics after a disastrous by-election loss recently has created widespread speculation about his eventual successor. The party will meet to choose a new leader June 30. Van Loan is no stranger to the provincial scene. He served as president of the Progressive Conservative Party under Mike Harris. Since entering federal politics in 2004, he has held four influential cabinet posts. John Trotter, an Innisfil businessman and staunch Van Loan supporter, said, “Peter is the type of individual who would excel at any public post. He’s very well qualified to make his own decisions and he knows I think he would make a great public servant at any level. He is a tremendous elected official – either as a Cabinet minister, or provincial premier.” Sources told a Toronto newspaper that Van Loan has been contacting party members, trying to determine his level of support. Chris McCluskey, press secretary for Van Loan’s ministry, said Van Loan isn’t commenting on the speculation about his political future. “He is very focused on his work as Public Safety Minister,” McCluskey said. “His focus is on the job.” That job includes meeting with high-ranking officials of the Barack Obama administration this weekend. As for Van Loan, the only public comment he made about Tory’s departure was it “was a great loss for all the people of Ontario.”

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