Man arrested at Meaford Hospital

A Meaford man faces several charges after a tirade at an area hospital on Saturday afternoon. The incident occurred at about 2 p.m. after a man, who had fallen off his bicycle, was transported by ambulance to the Grey Bruce Health Services-Meaford. While being assessed and treated he became agitated and aggressive. Threats were directed at one of the nursing staff and he was asked to leave the facility. He went into a room in the emergency department and came out with a metal chain belt in hand.  The belt was swung around in a threatening manner toward staff and slammed into the counter at nurse’s station. The man refused to leave and continued to shout obscenities before Grey County OPP officers attended. During his arrest he was non-compliant and combative and a struggle with police ensued before he was brought under control.  Karl Wegner,52, of Meaford was charged with the Criminal Code offences of Utter Threats, Possession of a Weapon Dangerous, Assault with a Weapon, Two Counts of Cause Disturbance and Resisting Arrest. He is in custody and scheduled to appear for a bail hearing in the Ontario Court of Justice-Owen Sound.


Carrier in favour of separating from County

While there are no plans to separate from the County of Simcoe anytime soon, Collingwood Mayor Chris Carrier says he has thought about it. At Monday’s meeting, Carrier made a comment "whether or not we become a city somewhere in the future," during a discussion about Collingwood’s complete community plan. Carrier told The Connection that he is not pleased with the direction Simcoe County is heading, focusing on "Capital R regional government," and would be in favour of separating from the county. However, he said there have been no  formal discussions on the issue. He feels the county should provide services such as social housing and long-term care, but road improvements and water and sewer decisions should be made by the municipalities. "I think there are benefits and I have thought about it," he said, referring to separation, but added, "there is no political will at the provincial level to make it happen." Carrier doesn’t want the County to make decisions about Collingwood’s water and sewers. Carrier said as its own city, Collingwood would make decisions on planning and road improvements – including County roads. Carrier has been outspoken against the County’s Official Plan and feels it goes against the Provincial policy statement on development and said it is full of political solutions and not good environmental sustainability. In order to become a city, the municipality would have to hold a local referendum and make an application to the province. However, Carrier said local municipalities could collaborate on a municipal services board or as a single municipality and make decisions for the area. He said under this system, they could still contract services from the County, much like the City of Barrie does. "I think it would be beneficial for Collingwood, Clearview Township, Town of Blue Mountains and Collingwood to be one municipal entity or a collection under a municipal services board," he said.  "You contract services from the County and that’s what you continue to do. I think local government is the best bang for the buck."


Fun foodies

Victoria Beaudoin of Burkevale School, Megan Corsini of Monsignor Castex, Cooking School Assistant from The Real Canadian Super Store Candra Delong and Amber Stacey-Orchard from James Keating joined together with six other public school students during March break to prepare and sample various dishes. The "Stuffed Full of Fun" March Break camp offered the students a chance to prepare Stuffed Loaded Potatoes, Taco stuffed Pasta shells, Devilled eggs and stuffed apple dumplings. The children had a chance to meet new friends and the best part – they got to eat what they made!


Council concerns holding up animal shelter

Adjala-Tosorontio council might be backing off on some strong demands they have placed on plans for a humane society animal shelter. Monday, Deputy Mayor Doug Little said he thought council had originally supported his previous request for bars on the windows of the Alliston and District Humane Society’s proposed shelter. He said he is willing to waive the request, but he wants a clause in the site plan agreement making bars mandatory if thieves start targeting the building. "The first time that we have the police services there for a break-in, there (should) be a clause that they put bars on the windows," he said. Little made his comments after a deputation from the society that was supposed to clear up any misconceptions about the ADHS’s plans for the building, which will be built on its property on the 4th Line north of the 5th Sideroad. David Funston, an Alliston veterinarian and spokesperson for the ADHS, said the volunteer group is not expecting break-ins to be a problem. "We will not keep any drugs or money on the premises," he assured council. He also said the shelter will mainly house domestic cats and dogs, along with the occasional other small animal, such as rabbits, hamsters or birds. Once in a while, the humane society is also asked to care for farm animals. Funston said bars on the windows and chain link perimeter fencing (another request from council) will not only be uninviting, but also cost prohibitive. The non-profit society run by volunteers has been fundraising to build the shelter for more than 20 years, and is now poised to finally start construction. The ADHS executive is concerned the additional requests will slow construction because there isn’t enough money. Funston said the shelter would have signs posted advising any would-be thieves that there are no drugs in the building. Little said he thinks letting the building go up without bars isn’t a good idea. "Thieves and robbers don’t stop to read signs," he said. Little said he lives two concession lines over from the proposed building, and his house has been broken into a few times in the past few years. "I’m looking out for your benefit, or at least I’m trying to," he said. Council chambers and the parking lot of the municipal building were both full for the deputation. Many of the people in attendance were in support of the humane society, with more than half leaving when the deputation was over. Individual councillors are now beig invited to submit their comments to the planning department. They will then be added to the final site plan agreement before being returned to the humane society. E-mail reporter Kurtis Elsner at [email protected]


Supporters rally to save Tec North School

Parents are organizing a rally to save a rural school they say is an important part of their community. The rally is slated for 2 p.m. this coming Sun., April 19 at Tecumseth North Elementary School. Parents and supporters who want to keep the school open held a meeting last week after the Simcoe County District School Board indicated it would likely close the school by the end of the 2009/2010 school year. Darlene Jebb, a mother of three children currently attending the school, helped organize the meeting to see what could be done to stop the closure. "We were really pleased (with the turnout). We had between 50 or 60 people out for it. There was really a cross-generational crowd. Everyone from parents who currently have children who attend, to students who have graduated, to grandparents who have students attending there," said Jebb. Last month school board trustees forwarded a recommendation to close the school permanently. The final vote on the matter will be at a special school board meeting in May. The decision would mean students from Tec North could be sent to Alliston Union Public School, Tecumseth Beeton Public School and Cookstown Central Public School. The recommendation came from an Accommodation Review Committee (ARC), an ad-hoc committee formed by the school board to study potential closures. The ARC was made up of school staff, parents of students and community members from Tec North and three other schools being reviewed. Jebb said parents are also planning to travel to a public meeting about the potential closure April 27 at the board office in Midhurst. She said the current plan is to carpool to Midhurst, but she is hoping to find sponsors to help pay for a bus. The people are meeting at the Beeton Foodland parking lot at 5:30 p.m. The board meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.


Visitor restrictions at hospital over

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.


Stroud getting the iron out

Stroud’s poor water quality will be ironed out this year. Council has approved $1.2 million to build a filter that should make the often rusty-water clearer. While the water meets provincial standards for safe drinking water, the groundwater from three wells falls below the aesthetic objectives. An iron and manganese removal system will be added to Stroud’s water facility. “It looks like rust will finally be able to sleep in Stroud now,” Coun. Peter Kmet said. The coloured water had become a problem for residents over the years, with some complaining they couldn’t wash their clothes in the brown water. Innisfil council has sole-sourced the project to C.C. Tatham & Associates, which will speed up the design and construction of the filter system.


Program delivers healthy messages to girls

Girls in one Midland school are learning some important messages about living a healthy life thanks to a new program by Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Simcoe. Go Girls! Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds is a mentoring program for girls between the ages of 12 and 14. It is designed to encourage physical activity, healthy eating choices and the development of a positive self-image. “The goal is for the girls to have an appreciation of the benefits of an active lifestyle,” said France St. Amour, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Simcoe. “We want to support the girls (and) provide them with the right tools to choose and maintain a healthy lifestyle. We’re trying to enhance their confidence and self-esteem…. If their inside feels good, then they will feel good on the outside, too.” The program, which runs in seven sessions and is led by volunteer female mentors, incorporates fun, educational games and activities. The idea is to build the mentor/participant relationship – as well as spark self-reflection and group discussions about healthy living and emotional, social and cultural issues. Each session is structured around three key Go Girls! themes: active living, balanced eating and feeling good about oneself. While Go Girls! is a national program, it has only recently been launched in North Simcoe, noted St. Amour, through a pilot project at Mundy’s Bay Public School. “The need is there. When you look at the bigger picture, you (realize) that girls between 12 and 14 don’t really do physical activity – unless they’re athletic. I think every school should have a program like this,” she said. “It helps them transition between (being a) teen and adulthood.” Rae-el Woo and Abigail McTague are the first two participants in the local program. They said they are enjoying their experience. “I thought it would be a cool thing to do after school,” said Rae-el. “It’s pretty fun.” Abigail agreed, saying the Go Girls! program is teaching her how to avoid making bad decisions in the future. Principal Barb Condren said she felt the program would offer an excellent opportunity for female students to address issues such as self-esteem, eating disorders and healthy living. She added that having someone closer to their own age to discuss these issues with seems to be what appeals to participants. “Girls are facing a lot of tough decisions. This is a great opportunity to not only get guidance, but also present choices.” Although the program is starting off small – only two students signed up for it this time around – St. Amour is confident it will grow as more young people learn about its benefits. In the meantime, she is hopeful she will be able to recruit enough mentors to deliver the program to three groups next year. For more information on the Go Girls! program, call 526-5051 or visit www.kidsdomatter.com. [email protected]


ATM kiosk safe haven for assault victim

A woman fought off a drunken assailant and barricaded herself in a downtown ATM kiosk last week. Midland police report the woman was walking in the area of King Street and Hugel Avenue around 7 a.m. on April 1 when she was approached by an intoxicated male. The man grabbed her and tried to push her to the ground, but the woman was able to escape and flee to the relative safety of a nearby ATM kiosk. The thug fled when the woman called police, but officers found him a short time later. The 20-year-old man has been charged with assault and two counts of breach of probation.


G&M lifts visiting restrictions

Collingwood General and Marine Hospital has lifted its visiting restrictions, which were implemented the last week of March due to the outbreak of a contagious virus on the first floor of the Hume Street facility. For a period, some patients at the hospital – 10 at one point – were suffering symptoms of gastroenteritis, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. “The G&M Hospital recognizes that the recent visiting limits posed problems for the families and friends of some patients and thanks the community for its understanding and cooperation during this difficult time,” said Linda MacLeod, the hospital’s vice-president of patient services and chief nursing officer. The hospital lifted visiting restrictions Wednesday. Patient visiting hours are now 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., except in the intensive care unit, where the hospital said in a news release visiting hours will be determined based on the patient’s condition. While visiting restrictions have been lifted, the hospital is asking that people not visit if they are ill and those who have been ill should wait at least 48 hours after the last symptoms disappear before visiting.