A 33-year-old Adjala-Tosorontio man is facing sexual assault charges in connection with advances he made to a 14-year-old girl. The alleged assault happened in February, but wasn’t reported to police until mid-April. Police said the man had been buying the teen gifts and giving her affectionate compliments in the months leading up to the assault. The teen was not injured during the assault, police said. The man’s name was not released to protect the identity of the victim, police said.
After signing up more than 4,000 members since opening last November, Innisfil’s new YMCA appears to have caught the public’s attention. Yet, not everyone sees the YMCA, which operates programs out of the town’s new recreation complex, as an all-inclusive facility. Some residents claim it caters to the relatively well heeled, with the cost of a basic membership ($89 per month for a two-parent family) remaining out-of-reach for many, including middle-income families. The fact the Town of Innisfil negotiated a 40 per cent discount for municipal employees while others are left on the sidelines makes matters even worse, according to at least one resident. “Of course government employees should not be given a discount,” said Churchill resident Debbie Placidi. “Especially because the YMCA was originally supposed to benefit the poorest. The YMCA was always about being there for those who could not afford the high price of a regular gym. How is the Y benefiting the whole community if not all can afford it?” Any Town of Innisfil employee, working more than 25 hours per week, is eligible for a 40 per cent discount off the YMCA’s posted rate, Town of Innisfil CAO Larry Allison said. “It matches what the YMCA does with their staff,” Allison said. “It includes the Innisfil Public Library, South Simcoe Police Service and Innisfil Hydro employees.” The town’s mayor, deputy mayor and the rest of Innisfil council are also eligible for the special discount. Dawn McAlpine, city clerk for Barrie, and Andrea Say, town clerk for Midland, told the Journal employees in those municipalities do not receive a YMCA discount. Fee discount programs aside, the YMCA of Simcoe-Muskoka boasts of a long-standing policy of helping people of lesser economic means join. This fact is documented in their 2007-2008 annual report. At year’s end, there were 11,976 full fee members, the document states. There were 3,975 “assisted members” on the roll too, a figure representing 25 per cent of the total membership. The policy is reaffirmed in a message from Tom Coon, the YMCA’s CEO for Simcoe-Muskoka and Mike Rowe, chairperson of the board. “The YMCA has been there for the many thousands of individuals who, because of their personal economic circumstances, could not afford the full fee, but who were able to participate because of our values in action of never turning away anyone on the basis of need.” Having to prove need is something Placidi finds distasteful. “Yes, the staff is willing to sit with you and discuss lower payment options but why do we have to do this at all? Why do we who can’t afford the prices of the Y have to be pulled aside, show proof of income and other papers that are required. For most, this is a degrading, humiliating and embarrassing procedure that not all are comfortable doing. Many would not bother; therefore the Y automatically eliminates the poor. This is outrageous.” Elizabeth Oakley, the YMCA’s regional marketing and communications co-ordinator, said residents seeking fee reductions speak to a specialist on staff. “We don’t turn anybody away. There’s no obstacle. They speak to a specialist at our membership desk. They will look at a person’s rent or mortgage and life expenses. It’s based on the individual.” Silvana Bowman of Ireton Street believes her family wouldn’t be eligible for reductions even though the regular YMCA fees keep the facility remains out of reach. “We’re a two income family,” Bowman says. “I don’t feel we would qualify (for a subsidy), but I didn’t ask. I don’t know what the procedures are, but I know right now we couldn’t afford it.” Bowman and her neighbours wonder why there isn’t a discount program that could be offered to Innisfil residents so they could enjoy the municipally-owned facility. “I think it’s great (Town staff) is getting a discount, but I think 40 per cent is a bit much. The police are definitely OK, but where do you draw the line? They should be able to offer something to the public, too. I have a friend who just wants to use the pool for a few laps two or three days a week. But not at $9 a pop (day use fee).” Meanwhile, Bowman’s neighbour, Melinda Baker, switched to the Innisfil Y from a private health club. “We joined the Y at Christmas,” she says. “We go primarily because my son needed some personal training. We were very pleased when we had two exchange students visiting from Japan. They were added to our family membership.” “They’re definitely doing a lot of good things for the community,” Bowman agrees. However, Baker asks, “If we got 20 families on our street together, could we get a discount? If the numbers are high could the service be enhanced for everyone? We want the Y to make a profit but could we get a break as well? They could offer incentives. If you recommend a member, can you get a discount? At the end of the day, it’s a business whether they get one person or family at $89 per month or a group at $50 (each) a month. A lot of seniors are on a fixed income. Could you bring a group from Sandy Cove acres and get a discount? “These days, we have employers asking for no wage increases, or even wage cuts, some people are working fewer hours and being asked to take less holidays. If the Y has incentives for larger corporations, could they do it for the public, too?”
Most people probably don’t consider the environment when deciding where to get their teeth cleaned, but one local business aims to protect your mouth and the planet. Middletown Dental Hygiene, operated by registered dental hygienist Nancy Johnston, features everything from environmentally-friendly paint and flooring to reusable tools and towels. “I’m just trying to make a healthier community,” Ms Johnston said. When starting the business, Ms Johnston said she did a lot of research into environmentally-sensitive dentistry. She found the Eco Dentistry Association, a group dedicated to the cause and is now a member. Creating a green business started with the creation of the workspace, as Middletown features low-voltage lighting, Marmoleum flooring and paint that’s low in volatile organic compounds. Marmoleum is a type of linoleum with a number of environmental advantages, including the fact it is made from renewable materials. Volatile organic compounds are emitted as gasses from some solids and liquids and can lead to the formation of smog. It’s in the day-to-day operation of Middletown Dental Hygiene where most of the environmental practices are found. “I really looked into reducing disposables,” Ms Johnston said. Instead of the disposable cups and paper bibs used at many dental offices, Middletown uses glass cups and towels made from bamboo and cotton. Bamboo has the added environmental benefit of being a quick-growing plant, meaning it is more sustainable if grown properly. The towels Ms Johnston uses are homemade and she aims to launch her own line of products for the dental industry. Other reusable items in the Middletown office include the stainless steel tips used on some of the dental equipment, such as the saliva ejectors. While many dental offices use disposable plastic tips for these items, Ms Johnston sterilizes the steel tips after each use. To do the sterilization, she uses a steam autoclave, which uses distilled water and no chemicals. She also reduces chemicals use by using a digital x-ray machine. Traditional X-ray machines require chemicals to develop the prints. Also, the digital X-ray machine exposes clients to about 80 per cent less radiation than traditional X-rays, she said. “I’m really trying to raise awareness (of environmental issues),” Ms Johnston said. “I want people to be healthy. I want my children to have a healthy world.” For cleaning equipment, Middletown uses an eco-friendly line of dental disinfectants produced by a Canadian company called Micrylium. While making Middletown environmentally-friendly meant more up-front costs, the business can save money over time by not buying so many disposable items, she said. “I think the biggest commitment is time,” she said, noting cleaning and sterilizing the reusable items takes longer than tossing away disposables. Response to Middletown’s green initiatives is positive, Ms Johnston said, noting some clients visit her specifically because of the business’ environmental practices.