Car club could be forced to put it in park

Midland’s Memory Lane Cruisers may soon be just that – a memory. The car club, which has been cruising around town for the past 15 years, is in jeopardy of having to turn off its engines for good as the once-popular club’s numbers continue to dwindle. Treasurer Sue Miller said with the current president and executive committee preparing to step down, the Cruisers are desperately seeking new and interested parties to help save the club. “We can’t run it by ourselves. We need someone to step in,” she said. “You can’t run it with just two people.” Miller and her husband joined the club 10 years ago as a way to get to know other car lovers, she recalled. “We used to stop at the show and see all the old cars, and then my husband decided to buy one,” she said, adding the club allows members to get together with their old cars and chat with other owners. The club meets every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. in the Canadian Tire parking lot in Midland, where an array of hot rods, classics and new cars attract attention. “This is a tradition that should be kept alive,” she said. “(The club is) a place to make new friends among the members and the onlookers who come by to admire, dream and reminisce.” The group is also active in raising money for a variety of local charities, including the Salvation Army Food Bank and the North Simcoe Hospital Alliance dialysis unit. For more information, contact Sue Miller at 549-7893 or [email protected], or Phyllis Morrow at 770-3367 or [email protected] [email protected]


Beach woman missing for two weeks

Penny Warne has been now been missing for two weeks. Police have been looking for the 57-year-old woman since she was reported missing by her friend on Sun., Feb. 15. OPP spokesperson Const. Peter Leon said the police have searched by air, land and sea and are using every resource at their disposal in the search for Warne. In the last week-and-a-half, the OPP have used a helicopter to search the shoreline and divers to search waterways but Leon said there is no sign of Warne.   Warne was last seen leaving work at Wal-Mart in the beach when her shift ended at 10 p.m. on Feb. 11. When Warne missed her shift on Feb. 13, Sally McCarthy, a co-worker and friend, became worried. She went to Warne’s Mosley Street apartment on Feb. 15 to see if she could find her. She found the back door unlocked and her dog was tied up outside, possibly for quite a while. McCarthy said that is when she notified the police. The police then notified Warne’s son and daughter. Amy Warne said she first learned her mother was missing at 11 p.m. Sunday. She drove to Wasaga Beach from Windsor, where she lives, with her fiancé on Monday morning. Upon searching the apartment, Amy said the only thing that was missing was her mother’s winter boots. Her car was in the driveway, her purse, cell phone and winter coats were all inside the apartment. Amy said she fears the worst but hopes she is wrong. "I am hoping that she bought a winter jacket and she is wearing it," said Amy. As police continue their investigation, Warne’s family have been in Wasaga Beach putting up posters and seeking information as to the whereabouts of the missing woman. Leon said last week police have no specific reason to believe Warne is in the water but it is important to exhaust every possibility.   "My mom is very cautious and particular about being around the water," said Amy. Amy said Warne is very well known in Wasaga Beach. Originally from Michigan, she has lived in Wasaga Beach for more than 20 years. She said her mother is very outgoing socially but is really a homebody at heart. She worked for many years in the cleaning industry – at one point running her own business – and has met many people through her business and working at other jobs. Warne is twice divorced but Amy said she had been doing some Internet dating and had been in conversation with a few men. Amy said her mother had a date with a man scheduled for Thursday. "We love her and hope for her safe return," said Amy. She said she and her mother had recently been dress shopping for Amy’s upcoming wedding and her mother was really looking forward to that. Amy and her fiancé said they are grateful to Wal-Mart for putting them up in a motel while they are in town. The managers there have also provided them with money and gift cards for food and supplies. Amy’s brother and father are also taking part in the search. "If anybody has any information about where she is or what she was doing after last Wednesday, call the police immediately, please," urged McCarthy. Warne is described as white, five feet and five inches tall with a medium build, blonde, wavy hair, a fair complexion and wearing glasses. Leon said the investigation will continue until the police have exhausted every possibility but the reality is that at some point police resources will have to be redistributed elsewhere. He said that will be up to the investigators. Anyone with information is asked to contact Huronia West OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or 429-3575.  


Local group endorses energy plan

Members of the Simcoe Huronia Association for Renewable Energy (SHARE) are applauding the province for its plan to introduce a Green Energy Act next month. The local group has been promoting renewable energy and energy conservation in the Midland area for three years. “With the provincial government’s support, moving our society away from fossil fuels and toward more sustainable and clean energy sources will happen sooner,” SHARE president Susan Hirst stated in a press release. SHARE is lending its support to an Ontario Sustainable Energy Association campaign to inform Ontarians the province could add 250,000 jobs and generate 31,000 megawatts of energy simply by importing technologies and processes already widespread in Europe. SHARE noted the legislation would provide for priority purchase and access to the grid for all renewable energy projects, and would provide pricing that more equitably reflects technologies such as wind, solar and biogas. “If we continue to invest in technologies that further destabilize our climate, we are going to pay a bigger and bigger price,” said Jose Etcheverry, energy director of the David Suzuki Foundation. “Countries like Germany and Spain are producing enough renewable energy to power all of Ontario, with much less renewable energy resources. They’re way ahead of us, but, with our abundant natural resources, we can catch up very quickly.” SHARE is a non-profit corporation with the mission to promote sustainable energy through education and conservation. For more information, visit sharehuronia.googlepages.com, e-mail [email protected] or call 527-0922.


Pressure on Liberal budget to deliver

Ontario’s Finance Minister, Dwight Duncan, will deliver his government’s much-anticipated provincial budget on Thursday and area officials will be watching closely to see what goodies it contains. Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson told The Wasaga Sun he will be looking for the Liberals to deliver several key things for Ontarians, who are struggling to survive the economic downturn. For starters, Wilson said the government should implement a three-month sales tax holiday for the purchase of new cars. He said the move would help people wanting to buy a new vehicle and aid the automotive industry. Continuing on the vehicle theme, Wilson said the government should introduce an incentive to get old cars off the road. He suggested a $2,000 rebate towards the purchase or lease of a new car, when an older vehicle – say 10 years or more – is turned in. He said the move would stimulate the economy and help the environment. As well, the Conservative MPP said the government should "implement broad-based relief to Ontario businesses, including, but not limited to, moving the corporate tax rate down from 14 per cent to 10 per cent. Doing so means all provinces in Canada have the same rate, which would result in Canada having the lowest corporate taxes in the G8. Other provinces are doing it. We should too." The Liberals would also be wise to implement a retail sales tax holiday on hotels and attractions to promote Ontario tourism, a move that would benefit everywhere, Wilson said. Another smart move the government could make would be to introduce a "five per cent annual cap on property assessment increases and send MPAC assessors back into the field immediately to bring assessments inline with actual property values," Wilson said. In other areas, Wilson said he would like to see the government fast track the Highway 26 redevelopment and start planning for the highway to be redeveloped all the way to Barrie. He also wants to see the government "introduce an initiative to immediately begin [building] new long-term care beds throughout Simcoe and Grey counties to bring the exceptionally high waiting lists down." Premier Dalton McGuinty announced Monday that his government will spend $27.5-billion on roads, schools, hospitals and public transit over the next two years in an effort to create 300,000 new jobs. McGuinty said the huge infrastructure investment – which he said will be detailed in Thursday’s budget – will be topped up with another $5-bilion from the federal government. Finance Minister Duncan has indicated that this week’s budget will include a deficit of about $18-billion over two years. Debbie Kesheshian is the executive director of the United Way of South Georgian Bay, an agency that helps fund various social organizations and programs. She said the budget should include funding for an array of social programs, in particular the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy. "It’s fine to have these strategies but they need to be funded," she said. The strategy, announced in 2008, aims to reduce youth poverty by 25 per cent in five years, Kesheshian said. She said the Liberals should present a budget that does more to help the disabled and unemployed. And the budget should include stipulations that allow for more tax benefits for people and corporations that are donating to charities. The Liberals should also invest in proven charitable organizations. Kesheshian said charitable organizations can often deliver services and programs far more cost effectively than government. A budget that included more Ontario child benefits and an increased minimum wage would also be helpful, she said.


Man jailed 61 days on multiple charges

Former B.C. resident Michael James O’Hara, 27, pleaded guilty from the prisoner’s box in the Collingwood Ontario Court of Justice Feb. 3 to several charges including disobeying a probation order, drive witth excess alcohol and failing to attend court. The defendant received 45 days behind bars for failing to show, with 16 further days on the breach and was fined $1,000 for blowing over the legal limit. Crown attorney Judy Bielefeld said as of July 1, 2003 the defendant had neglected to make $1,114 in restitution to the State Farm Insurance company from a prior conviction. On Oct. 11, 2003 Collingwood police made a traffic stop with O’Hara at the wheel. He later blew breathalyzer readings of 130 and 140 mg per cent said the Crown. The accused will be a prohibited driver for a year, with three months to pay the fine.


Collingwood council pans games bid

Collingwood Council won’t be financially backing The Blue Mountain’s bid to be an event host for the 2015 Pan American Games. At council on Monday evening, a request came forward asking the municipality to be a co-guarantor, along with TBM, for $1.8 million in funds for improvements to the Thornbury Horse Park, which would be used for the equestrian events. Counc. Ian Chadwick felt the event would not only be a great thing for the area but it might also get the municipality on board with the Collingwood Regional Airport. Collingwood has been asking TBM to become a member of the airport services board. Chadwick also felt this was a good chance to participate in a regional event. “Every hotel will be full. Every restaurant will be full,” he said. “I just think we need to look at the regional impact. It will be huge.” Counc. Tim McNabb disagreed and said if they aren’t going to support the Collingwood Airport, he wasn’t going to support their bid for the games. McNabb didn’t feel it was a smart move for the town to “go into debt,” for a piece of property that isn’t in Collingwood. “I’m against this for the airport reason,” he said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate.” Counc. Kathy Jeffery was in favour of offering moral support for the bid but not financial support. Collingwood Mayor Chris Carrier said dealing with Wasaga Beach and Clearview Township on the airport services board gives the municipality a greater comfort level in supporting the bid. “If this was Clearview Township or Wasaga Beach, it might give us more comfort,” he said. Council defeated the motion by a vote of 5-1. Grey County council, however,  endorsed the bid to attract the 2015 Pan Am Games equestrian event to the local area. The Blue Mountains has agreed to support a bid to hold the equestrian event at the Thornbury Horse Park, which is being developed by the Cedar Run Corporation. At county council’s regular meeting last Tuesday, The Blue Mountains Mayor Ellen Anderson updated county council about the bid and asked for an endorsement from county council. “Your support shows the bid committee that the County of Grey is behind the bid. They regard partnerships as very healthy,” Anderson explained. “This is a wonderful opportunity for us and your support does not tie the county into anything specifically,” said Mayor Anderson, who has also invited the Town of Collingwood and the County of Simcoe to offer their support to the bid. Grey County Warden Kevin Eccles met with Mayor Anderson extensively prior to the meeting last Tuesday to discuss the bid proposal. Anderson also brought several pictures of the proposed equestrian centre to the meeting for councillors to take look at. Warden Eccles gave his complete support to the proposal. “If this does go forward it will create a facility that is world renowned,” said the Warden. “There are no financial impacts (for the county) on this going forward,” said Eccles. The Blue Mountains Deputy Mayor Duncan McKinlay said the equestrian centre would create enormous spin-off benefits for the entire region. “The creation of that facility will provide work for local contractors. It will be a permanent, high calibre facility to host a number of events each year that will provide employment in the tourism and agricultural industries,” said McKinlay. Owen Sound Mayor Ruth Lovell-Stanners said the bid could lead to a great opportunity to let the world see the local area. “It sounds like something that would be huge for Grey County and would showcase our area,” she said. County council unanimously voted in favour of supporting the equestrian bid. The Cedar Run big is currently up for consideration by the Toronto bid committee, which is responsible for choosing the various event locations across Ontario for the games. Once the locations are selected the overall Toronto bid committee submits an application to the Pan American Sports Organization for consideration. With files from Chris Fell and Erika Engel