Allen Kidd, 9, and Jason Hurdle participate in the Bowl for Kids Sake event Sunday at Knight Haven Lanes in Penetanguishene. The fundraiser, which kicked off the previous evening at Midland’s Bayshore Lanes, benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Simcoe. The annual campaign ends March 28.
Police pulled over a suspected drunk driver in Tay Township last week, but it turned out she hadn’t had a drop to drink. She was, however, trying to send a text message while driving. Southern Georgian Bay OPP report the incident happened on Highway 12, near Rumney Road, around 6:30 p.m. on April 16. A 45-year-old Brampton resident was charged with careless driving. Police, in addition to reminding motorists to always focus on the road, credited the concerned citizen who reported this driver with averting a potential tragedy.
Meaford resident Garry McEachern is looking for about 8,000 people. McEachern is busy these days working with a special committee planning the 40th reunion celebration for Georgian Bay Secondary School to be held this July. The reunion is taking place from July 3-5. McEachern and a special committee have been meeting for the past few months preparing the event. "Reunion weekend is beginning to take shape," he said in an interview last week. "We’re looking for everybody who went to GBSS from 1968 and on," he said. Several events for that weekend are being planned. The committee plans to have two tents set up in the Market Square on Saturday morning for breakfasts prepared by local service clubs. In addition, a number of local bands will be playing at the Market Square throughout the day. "Most of (members of the bands) are people that graduated from the High School. We also hope to have the top three finishers from GBSS Idol playing that weekend," he said. Saturday night of reunion weekend will feature a dance at the arena. McEachern said the entire weekend will be very family friendly. "We’re hoping to have lots of things for graduates with young families to do," he said. Events and plans about the reunion weekend are being listed online at www.meaford.com McEachern said the toughest part of organizing the reunion is finding all the people that attended school in Meaford. "If we graduated 200 kids every year since 1968 that’s about 8,000 people. We’re slowing getting the names together. We hope to send a letter (about the reunion) out on April first," he said. The TD Bank in Thornbury and Fotos and Flowers by Joanne in Meaford have reunion information slips available at each location. If local residents know the address or email address of an out of town GBSS graduate they are encouraged to fill out a slip at one of those two locations. "We have close to 50% of the graduates on the lists we’ve sent out. We’re hoping that 2-3,000 people come back for that weekend," said McEachern. The idea to plan a reunion began to percolate with McEachern last year as Meaford United Church celebrated its 100th anniversary. He said Grey Highlands Secondary School in Flesherton recently celebrated its 40th anniversary and felt that Meaford should do the same. Those thoughts led to a booth at the fall fairs in Meaford and Thornbury and from that a reunion committee formed. Costs of the reunion will be $25 per person and $40 per family.
Police have ruled out driver error in a multi-vehicle crash on Hwy. 400 last week that sent an Alliston man to hospital with life-threatening injuries. Thursday morning a northbound transport truck crashed through the centre guardrail on Hwy. 400 just north of Hwy. 88. The truck collided with a southbound Ford Explorer, driven by a 40-year-old Alliston man. The man was airlifted to a Toronto hospital where he was in critical condition. OPP Sgt. Dave Woodford said there was no update on his condition. His identity is not being released. Woodford said investigators have ruled out driver error, but they still aren’t sure what caused the crash. He said the truck driver would not be charged. “It could have been one of those things that he hit a patch of ice and flew across the highway,” Woodford said.
Visitors are once again free to come and go from Alliston’s Stevenson Memorial Hospital as officials announced the risks associated with a viral outbreak are over. Visitor restrictions were put in place at the hospital last Saturday after a number of patients and staff on the Medical Surgical Unit exhibited symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Special measures were put in place to limit further spread of the suspected gastroenteritis outbreak to patients and visitors were not allowed on the Medical Surgical Unit for a period of approximately 24 hours. After controlling the outbreak and with no new admissions to the unit, family members were allowed to visit their loved ones on Sunday. Contact precautions were still in place and visitors and staff wore gloves, masks and gowns. Today, (Fri., April 17) the outbreak status has been lifted and visiting hours have returned to normal. The infection is still prevalent in the community and hospital officials remind the public that if they are ill they should not be visiting people in health-care facilities. People may unknowingly bring the infection into hospital when visiting sick relatives or friends. "Our staff who always do a stellar job, worked quickly and constantly to contain this outbreak," said Gary Ryan, President and CEO of Stevenson Memorial Hospital. "Effective hand washing also helped to keep the illness from spreading," he added. The hospital and Simcoe Muskoka Health Unit also remind the community that proper hand hygiene is one of the best ways to fight the spread of disease. People should always wash their hands with soap and warm water or alcohol based hand rub for at least 15 seconds. They should ensure their hands are clean before preparing or eating food, after using the washroom, and before or after any person-to-person contact. Alcohol hand sanitizer is available throughout the hospital and visitors are reminded to clean their hands before visiting.
A young horse named Bella was left to bleed on the side of the road and later died after a motorist hit the horse and rider and drove away. Police announced on Thursday, April 9 that The Blue Mountains resident Martin Wickens, 46, was charged with careless driving and failing to remain at the scene. He is scheduled to appear in court in Owen Sound on May 14. Jessica Ruppel, a show rider and coach, was riding three-year-old Bella on the 9th Concession outside of Redwing around 5:30 on Tuesday, March 31. Something she does often. She had put a deposit down on Bella and was trying her out before buying her. Monica Wolf was riding on the road with Jessica, about 15 feet in front of her. Several cars passed them with no reaction from the horses. Ruppel said she noticed a pick-up truck coming towards them quickly and on the wrong side of the gravel road. She and Wolf moved to the side of the road as far as they could and began waving at the driver to slow down. The driver held his speed and continued towards them, missing Wolf and colliding with the back end of Bella, causing her to fall forward on top of Ruppel. The driver stopped his landscaping vehicle about 50 feet away from the injured horse and rider. Wolf watched as the driver and passenger got out of the vehicle, walking a little of the way toward them. Ruppel and Wolf both said they were angry at the driver, and asked him why he hadn’t moved over. The driver yelled at the two women who were riding the horses, both he and the passenger got back into the vehicle. They fled the scene. Bella was injured and bleeding on the side of the road. Ruppel, Wolf and Bella’s breeder, Suzanne Hess, tried to keep her from standing while they waited for the vet. The vet attempted to stabilize the horse with painkillers and fluids. But, according to Ruppel, she became more distressed. The vet then sedated her in order to turn her over. The horse’s pelvis was shattered. Two hours after being hit, Bella was euthanized. “My only regret,” said Hess. “Is that I trained her to stand still when traffic is around. She stood still and trusted that she was doing the right thing.” Ruppel said she had a black eye and was bruised. She had some aches, and on the encouragement of family and friends, went to the hospital on Wednesday to be examined. She sustained no serious physical injuries. Police are still investigating the collision. Ruppel works with horses full-time, and often rides on the road. She and Wolf said that cars rarely slow down and move over enough to make way for a horse and rider. Often the horse and rider are sprayed with gravel and the horse gets spooked. “We have the right of way,” said Ruppel. “Horses are allowed to be on the road.” Hess described Bella, a Hanoverian Thoroughbred Cross, as a very curious horse, who sometimes acted more like a dog. Her show name was Royal Symphony. “She always understood exactly what you wanted from her,” said Hess. “She was loving … she had real character and a super temperament.” Hess said Bella was the best babysitter horse she had. When freshly weaned horses were put in the pasture, Bella took care of them, making sure they stayed in a group, acting like a “big sister.” Bella would have turned 4 years old on June 3. She started training for riding at age three. After just nine times with a rider on her back, she was walking, trotting and cantering, according to Hess. That summer, several children rode her, and she remained calm, relaxed and quiet for the new riders. Bella was buried at the farm where Ruppel works. Hess said one student rider is going to plant a tree with small pink flowers at the grave. Hess said she and others will approach the local MP and mayor to ask that any road with a horse and rider pedestrian sign be designated a 50 km/h zone. She encourages others to make the same requests so that no other horses and riders are injured or killed. “I hope Bella hasn’t died in vain,” she said.
The learning process isn’t engaged when a non-specific presentation is “pulled of a shelf and delivered,” says Lisa MacKenzie, president and founder of Canadian Business Health Management (CBHM). “We’ve all sat through canned training and we all know how that goes.” Instead, MacKenzie looks for certified specialists who are dynamic personalities capable of developing and delivering programs specifically designed to meet client needs. “These are very much workshops,” she says of the corporate training she brings to her clients. “We model in the training what they need to be doing when they go back.” Company trainers, including Jean Sinden who specializes in performance training, work in collaboration with participants through facilitation rather than opting for a more instructional approach. “Workshops can be challenging, fun, productive and, from time to time, tense,” she acknowledges. “It’s really the synergy of the group that brings out the real challenges and how they can solve issues.” As a result, participants take ownership of the process and “can really walk away with some great tools,” MacKenzie adds. In 1997, MacKenzie (a registered nurse by trade) started providing first-aid training. From there it evolved into health and safety training, and then into wellness. While 95 per cent of the training is done at the client’s premises, when CBHM moved into new facilities in downtown Orillia two years ago, they gained their own training room allowing in-house monthly courses as well. MacKenzie’s husband Ian, who has a business-consulting background, joined the team in a later expansion. In addition to sales and marketing duties, Ian has developed a first-aid program that has been approved by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and by the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB), which has also approved his two-day Part One Certification program – a must for joint health and safety committees. Performance training was added to the mix when Sinden joined the team seven years ago. This goes hand in hand with health and safety, MacKenzie explains. Rarely does a corporation choose only one component to focus on, she adds. Instead, the interconnections between several programs tend to be used together in a continuous process of learning. With a background in leadership development and strategic planning, Sinden has spent about 90 per cent of her career speaking and training. Although she spent much of her earlier career in the financial-services industry, she has delivered CBHM’s performance training across sectors. Acknowledging a changing workplace and the changing demographics of the workforce, she starts by providing an overall briefing of why the changes are necessary to mesh with the overall corporate vision. “I see the lights go on,” Sinden says. “Helping them understand the context and what it means to them is important.” She works with employees, supervisors and team leaders, and corporate leaders to strengthen targeted competencies. She does this by leveraging existing performance to build skills and knowledge to meet the changing demands of the client. “Knowledge is what you know,” she explains. “Skills are what you do with what you know.” While companies usually seek solutions to problems that have already arisen, Lisa MacKenzie says there’s value in being proactive. “They already have an idea of where they were before, and where they want to go,” agrees Ian. “We’ll set out a path that can help guide them.” In a conference setting, CBHM is available to kick off the event and set the tone. For details, visit www.YourSafetyExperts.com or call Lisa directly at 705-325-0006, extension 223.
Flyerland.ca, the online product produced by Metroland, is launching a Chinese version of its website. “It’s (one of) Canada’s largest ethnic groups and just as Chinese newspapers are very popular, Chinese people like to read a lot of their information in their first language,” said Alvin Brouwer, vice-president of advertising and product development with Metroland. Flyerland.ca is now available in both traditional and simplified Chinese. A French version is being launched next week, and Punjabi and Hindi are expected to follow in the future. To view the Chinese version, go to , , or . Flyerland.ca launched March 17, 2008 and gets more than 10 million page views a month. “It’s national so you can search for 10,000 cities and towns across Canada and get not only national retail offerings, deals and coupons, but offerings from local retailers, too.” Given the current situation of the economy, Brouwer said it’s good timing to launch a multi-lingual product offering flyers and coupons.