Visitor restrictions at SMH due to outbreak

Alliston’s Stevenson Memorial Hospital is restricting the entry of visitors to the Medical Surgical Unit effective today (Sat., April 11) due to a gastroenteritis outbreak. The hospital reported an increased number of patients with symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea on the Medical Surgical Unit. After consultation with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, it declared a gastroenteritis outbreak. Investigations into the cause are ongoing. “For the protection of our patients, visitors, staff and the community, the hospital is implementing enhanced infection prevention and control measures,” stated hospital officials in a release. In additions to preventing visitor access to the Medical Surgical Unit, there will also be no admissions of patients to the unit until further notice, and all current patients in the unit have been put on contact precautions, staff are wearing gloves, masks and gowns as an added precaution and enhanced cleaning and disinfection has been implemented. Although visitor restrictions have been implemented, at the discretion of the team leader, visits to palliative and critically ill patients may be considered. The hospital has also advised that anyone using other services within the facility is asked to maintain a high level of hand hygiene, by cleaning their hands with alcohol-based rub on entering and exiting the hospital, as well as when moving from one area of the hospital to another. Family and friends of inpatients may contact the Medical Surgical Unit for information, but should be aware that patient care is the priority. When nurses are attending to patients, calls may have to be returned later in the day.


Chamber makes it through a tough year

This past year certainly was the best of times and the worst of times for the Meaford and District Chamber of Commerce. On the best of times side of the ledger, 2008 saw the Chamber continue to remain financially healthy, its total membership continues to exceed 200 and it continued to have a very active, visible and dedicated board of directors and staff involved in multi-faceted projects to improve the business atmosphere in the community. On the worst of times side of the ledger, the Chamber had to experience a severe budget cutback in its contract with the Municipality of Meaford half way through its fiscal year. The cutback resulted in the Chamber reducing its staff complement by one position. The Chamber of Commerce held its annual general meeting at Meaford Hall last Wednesday evening. The evening featured a number of changes for the Chamber of Commerce. Long-time Meaford businessman Geoff Solomon assumed the Presidency of the Chamber’s Board of Directors from President Rod MacAlpine at the meeting. Dairy Queen owner Shirley Keaveney became Vice-President of the Board. In addition, long-time Board of Directors member and Past-President Barb Cooper-Clumpus retired from active duty on the Board of Directors. Solomon said he is looking forward to his term in the President’s chair. "I’m quite excited about the future. I’m looking forward to the future," said Solomon. "We have an amazing Board and I know we can do great things," he said. Cooper-Clumpus said her time with the Chamber has been an incredible journey. She said just over 10 years ago the Chamber was virtually inactive with only 18 members. "I’m very proud to have been part of all of this," she said. "I wish the Chamber every success as it moves forward," she said. The meeting also featured an inspiring presentation from guest speaker Anna Bradford – the Director of Culture with the City of Hamilton. Bradford spoke about the important role culture will play in municipal economic development as Ontario’s municipalities move forward during these times of economic change. Bradford detailed the extensive "cultural mapping" project the City of Hamilton is currently undergoing and she stressed the importance of cultural planning for any community’s future economic growth. Bradford noted that Meaford is well on its way in terms of culture pointing to the presence of Meaford Hall as a huge plus for the community. "This building is just amazing," she said. Outgoing President MacAlpine gave a detailed report about his three years in the President’s chair. "The first two years were a lot of fun," MacAlpine joked, in reference to the budget cutbacks mandated by the municipality in 2008. "The financial picture was not pretty and we knew we had to do our share for cost savings," said MacAlpine. As a result of negotiations with the municipality the Chamber experienced a 27% reduction in the amount it received through its contract for tourism services with the town. MacAlpine said as a result the Chamber needed to reduce its staff total by one position. The timing worked in favour of the Chamber as long-time tourism coordinator Danielle Mulasmajic accepted a position with South Bruce Peninsula. As a result of this change Jamie Petit moved up from his position at the Chamber to become Manager. "Jamie does everything. He’s a great asset to the community. Jamie you have earned a lot of respect and you’ve made us look good," MacAlpine said Wednesday night. MacAlpine said the Chamber received $135,000 from the municipality for 2008, with a $15,000 contingency to recognize that the budget cut occurred half way through the year. "We worked very diligently to stay within that $135,000. At the end of the year we were over by $3,300. We decided not to ask the municipality for that amount," he said. "In the final analysis it’s all about helping our municipal succeed. I believe we have turned a corner in our municipality over the past year," he added. Despite the budget cutback the Chamber of Commerce actually increased its accumulated operating surplus by $7,000 in 2008. The Chamber now has a surplus of $27,692 available for future budgets.


Over 2,800 attend successful home show

From flooring to fitness, and landscaping to laser therapy, more than 100 diverse vendors displayed their products and services during the successful New Tecumseth Home, Health and Leisure Show. An estimated 2,800 visitors attended the 41st annual event, which was held for the second time at the New Tecumseth Recreational Complex on Industrial Parkway in Alliston. The show was hosted by the Alliston and District Chamber of Commerce. "Wow, what a great home show," said ADCC president Michael Keith. "Every year the show gets bigger and better. On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Alliston and District Chamber of Commerce, I give my sincere thanks to all the exhibitors for participating in the show." The Shop Locally theme is a priority for the ADCC, Keith confirms, and was evident in this year’s show with the strong show of area businesses. The planning committee invited vendors to do more than show up though, they also encouraged them to show off. Based on effectiveness, signage, presentation and creativity, a group of impartial judges awarded the Best Booth Award to the Alliston Home Building Centre for the second year in a row. Alliston Home Building Centre also took home bragging rights for the Greenest Booth, a new award this year that came with a bushy prize from RPN Trees. Picking the winner of the Best Booth and the Greenest Booth was challenging for the judges. All of the vendors who participated did a fantastic job of putting together their booths. With a well-organized and visually appealing booth comprised entirely of environmentally friendly products and services, as well as a ‘Kiddies’ Korner’ to entertain children at the show, the friendly staff of the Alliston Home Building Centre took home both awards. Children attending the show were also entertained by fan favourite clown Smoothie (Don Gates), and by the Ontario Early Years Centre staff, who displayed information for parents and set up a play area for youngsters. The big winner of the weekend, however, was Alliston resident Elaine Tindal who won the grand prize raffle, worth more than $2,000 that was tied into the show’s "green" theme this year. Among the environmentally friendly products she took home were a collection of Energy Star-rated appliances including a ceiling fan, dehumidifier, air purifier, and water cooler. She also received a low-flush toilet, a push lawn mower, a hot water tank jacket, CFL light bulbs, compostable bags, outdoor clothesline kit, yard waste bags, a bucket of eco-friendly cleaning products, and more. Tindal was thrilled, saying she could use everything she had just won. But no one went home empty handed. All attendees were provided with a complimentary re-usable green shopping bag from Sobeys. Volunteers from the Stevenson Memorial Hospital Foundation handed out the bags while welcoming guests and goodwill donations. A total of $2,836.75 was raised for the foundation. The Rotary Club of Alliston presided over the money booth attraction this year where visitors could try to capture air-borne "money" to win prizes. By charging a toonie per try, the club raised a further $300 for the hospital. ADCC president Keith acknowledges the entire team that made the weekend possible, including Encore TeleSolutions, the 24-hour tele-reception service that sponsored the show hotline in the months leading up to the event. "Our congratulations to the show committee for making it such a successful event," said Keith, who added, "a personal thank you to John and Joan McFarland for co-chairing the home show committee. "Another thank you goes out to all the volunteers who worked so hard, and to the staff of the recreation complex who were invaluable." The committee is already planning a meeting to set the foundation for an even better show in 2010.


Collingwood not on the map

Collingwood isn’t on the map, at least not according to members of Collingwood council. Jane Sinclair, manager of health and cultural services and Bob Ruttan, manager of Tourism Simcoe County – formerly the Huronia Tourism Association, spoke to council on Monday evening. The pair were looking to get feedback and opinion on the Simcoe County guide map, golf brochure and the discover Simcoe County website. Sinclair said the County is looking to do a better job at promoting tourism in the county. She said about 10,000 copies of the golf brochure are available and 100,000 copies of the guide map. Sinclair said the area attracts about six million people tourists annually and is the fourth largest tourist area in the province. "We have a lot of great assets in Simcoe County," she said. However, members of council weren’t pleased with how the town was perceived in the guide map. The map lists two locations in Collingwood, the Collingwood Public Library and the Days Inn. "How do we get our tourist attractions on the map?" asked Counc. Mike Edwards. Counc. Norman Sandberg said there is also no mention of The Blue Mountains. He said even though they are not in the county, Blue Mountain resort does have a major impact on Collingwood tourism. "What are you going to do about that political line?" he said. "We have nothing according to what you have given us." Counc. Dave Labelle asked how much does Collingwood pay to the program and the answer was between $12,000-$14,000. Labelle said he has had a "bee in his bonnet," about the program since it was called Huronia Tourism. Labelle is concerned that Orillia and Barrie are reaping the rewards from municipalities like Collingwood. "It’s going to take a lot of convincing… that we are getting value," he said. "If all the small municipalities have been paying for the big cities to benefit, that’s disappointing. Myrtle Beach north is what we’ve been called and you wouldn’t know it by looking at this." Mayor Chris Carrier said it’s important the Tourism Simcoe County works with the Georgian Triangle Tourist Association. Sinclair said thanked council for the feedback. "That’s why we’re here," she said. "That (feedback) was excellent."