Thief swipes fancy sports car

A $100,000 sports car was stolen from a garage in Tiny Township last week. Southern Georgian Bay OPP report there are no suspects in the theft of a 2004 Shelby Hite kit car on Tiny Beaches Road South, which was reported stolen on April 29. Police have determined entry to the garage was made by forcing a door. The stolen car is a blue hardtop with a white stripe down the centre. It bore an Ontario licence plate with the number AYFZ 478. Anyone with information about this crime can call 526-3761 or at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or submit a tip online at .


Bluewater school board promises public consultation

The Bluewater District School Board announced it would reach out to parents, staff and students in order to improve the board’s accountability and transparency, according to a press release. At the regular board meeting on Tuesday, April 21, trustees voted to review board policies and processes according to an outline they had drafted earlier that week. The document lists several plan highlights including public consultation, which included a proposal for annual consultations, union and federation leader meetings, customer satisfaction surveys, focus groups and a formal review of the complaints process. The board also voted to send the final review report to the Minister of Education, Kathleen Wynne. This review effort comes after Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MP Larry Miller publicly criticized the board for mishandling his constituent’s complaints. Following this criticism, BWDSB chair and trustee for Meaford and The Blue Mountains, Rick Galbraith, resigned suddenly. At the March board meeting, several parents attended to speak to the board about their specific situation and voice their disappointment in the way their complaints or issues were handled by the staff and board of the Bluewater district. Jennifer Yenssen was acclaimed chair and promised she would review the issues presented as well as those recently brought to her attention. MPPs Bill Murdoch and Carol Mitchell wrote a letter to the Minister of Education, Kathleen Wynne asking for ministry support in the review process. Yenssen and BWDSB Director of Education, Mary Anne Alton then wrote their own letter to Minister Wynne also asking for support. Wynne’s response was positive and the ministry is involved in the process now, with a formal request to receive the final review report once completed according to the plan adopted by the board on Tuesday. Yenssen said in a press release that the board must "embrace and demonstrate its commitment to partnershops, accountability, transparency and effective communication." "When its commitment to these core values is challenged, whether real or perceived, steps must be taken to re-establish public confidence," said Yenssen in a press release. Trustee John Chapman said the board’s action to develop and adopt this plan showed the public’s comments have "not fallen on deaf ears." "This is not a knee jerk reaction," said Chapman at the board meeting. "We took care and time … we heard the community, and we have a responsibility." The board committed to holding two public consultations by the end of June, one located in the north of the district and one in the south.


Dental hygienist uses green ideas to keep teeth white

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.


10 months for repeat offender

Robert James Harvey, 33, of no fixed address, entered in-custody pleas April 21 to domestic assaults and multiple counts of disobeying orders by consuming alcohol. The defendant was sentenced to 10 months behind bars on top of time served, to be followed by two years on probation. In the Ontario Court of Justice, prosecutor Dean Ring read that as of Dec. 13, 2008, Harvey was living in Collingwood at the invitation of his sister and her husband when he returned home in a drunken state. As time went on he became increasingly agitated, and then engaged in "drunken tomfoolery with his brother-in-law, got on top of him and started punching him in the bedroom," said the Crown. The accused passed out on the floor soon afterwards. Police were called to remove him from the premises and sober him up. On Mar. 7, 2009, Harvey came to the attention of Huronia West officers, who found the defendant "stumbling on a Creemore roadway." He had beer in his backpack and a flask of whiskey in his front pocket at the time court heard. As before, he was in clear violation of a probationary term to abstain from alcohol. One month later, Huronia West officers encountered him again when they were dispatched to a dispute on Sunnidale Road. The caller reported "a male pushing a female and yelling." Snowballs were also being tossed at the woman by the accused, added Ring. Once more Harvey was drunk, engaging in both verbal and physical confrontation with the woman. Defence counsel Cecile Applegate stressed the need for addiction counseling, but found a term of abstinence too onerous for her client. "Clearly he’s an alcoholic and has difficulty abstaining," she said. However Mr. Justice Roland Harris saw a pressing need for the term. "It’s really hard to imagine a probation order that does not include abstinence," he began, adding: "The public, I think deserves protection despite his addiction. If he wants to stay home and drink himself silly, fine… but not be in public without guarantors.’ "The reality is that he wasn’t able to abstain. He could not stop himself, and he continued to the point where he was blacking out, does not recall how he got into a jail cell," rejoined Applegate. Harvey then addressed the Bench. "It’s gone to far. I’ve just destroyed my life," he said. The accused was ordered to take the Partner Abuse Response (PARS) program and to continue his existing counseling, with emphasis on assaultive behaviour as well as alcohol abuse. In addition, the court ruled he can’t be outside his home with alcohol in his system and will provide such samples into an approved screening device as police may demand. Probation for "deplorable" fraud Forty-six-year-old Tamara (Tammy) Bell, formerly of Collingwood, pled guilty April 21 to attempting to defraud a local resident, receiving a suspended sentence as 12 months on probation. Bell, who by her lawyers’ calculation has a criminal record of over 190 convictions, is currently in "supportive living" in Richmond Hill. Court heard that on May 28, 2008, the accused went door-to-door on Nettleton Court in Collingwood, soliciting homeowners for money "to get to Orillia." For the most part she was refused, having only "some success," read the Crown. Bell was co-operative with police upon her arrest. "Do you have anything to say?" asked Mr. Justice Roland Harris. "Other than I’m sorry for people I’ve taken money from," was the reply. "This was an attempt – you mean, over time?" "Yeah," said Bell. "There’s been discussion over how courts should treat people with ridiculous records. With some judges, the sentence actually goes down, with judges throwing up their hands," Harris began. "This deplorable fraud… I say that, because most people are kind hearted, they tend to want to believe you, it undermines their faith in people as a whole." Bell was banned from the town of Collingwood with the exception of occasional attendance at supportive counseling. Thieving earns 95 days Kenneth Black, 40, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty from the prisoner’s box Apr. 21, answering to charges of theft under $5,000 plus disobeying court orders. He was sentenced to 95 days behind bars with 18 months probation attached. In the Collingwood Ontario Court of Justice provincial Crown Dean Ring advised that on Mar. 4, 2008, Collingwood officers were called to the Loblaws store about two men who were making off with cosmetics and some meat including steaks. Black, who was one of the suspects, was stopped and arrested with $194 in goods on his person. The accused was also breaching a probation order. In September of last year Black allegedly went to the local Wal-Mart, where he "smashed a display case (while) trying to get at a laptop." Ring added no claim for restitution was made in the incident. The following October, Black was implicated in the theft of $500 in Canadian currency plus a number of lottery receipts, all taken from the Nottawa Conveniece store. A second man was also involved, court heard. The defendant was ordered to avoid any contact with his co-accused, to not be in any store with the third party named – and to stay out of Wal-Marts, Loblwas, and the Nottawa Convenience store. He was further ordered to make $250 restitution to the latter within 60 days of the onset of probation. Employee theft case remanded A 19-year-old Stayner man pleaded guilty Apr. 21 to charges of theft under $5,000, and was ordered to return to court June 2 for sentencing. The prosecution alleged that in January 2009 Adam Wyant stole over $720 in cigarettes, cards, beverages and magazines while working as a clerk at the Esso Mac’s Convenience store on Highway 26. While Wyant did not confess to the arresting officer, he agreed with the Crown’s synopsis as read. Both a pre-sentence report and a transcript of the summary will be prepared for the upcoming hearing. Accused says collision predates drinking Thomas Andrew Hackett, 35, of New Lowell entered guilty pleas Apr. 14 to charges of having an excess blood alcohol and driving while disqualified. In the Ontario Court of Justice, Crown prosecutor Paul Billington read that on July 15, 2008, Huronia West OPP officers were notified of a driver failing to remain at an accident scene. Investigation revealed that a BMW had rear-ended a trailer that was being towed by a tractor, and that the BMW had later broken down on Sunnidale Road. The driver, who was Hackett, had then hitchhiked to New Lowell with his friend, said the Crown. When police caught up to the accused at his home, the car keys were in his pocket and there was an odour of alcohol on his breath. Breathalyzer tests were done, resulting in readings of 126 and 96 mg percent at the highest and lowest, court heard. After entering a plea, Hackett claimed he got a ride home after the collision, and then began drinking beer; however, he admitted to being a disqualified driver dating from an offence in 2006. Mr. Justice Roland Harris ordered a transcript of the evidence, and the defendant will return for disposition on Apr. 28. Pugilism earns 45 days Kirk Phillips, 28, of Wasaga Beach, pleaded guilty April 14 to assaulting another man, receiving 45 day intermittent jail term followed by a year on probation. Court heard the first offender came across the victim on July 28, 2008 at the Boston Pizza in Wasaga Beach. With money issues in mind, Phillips insisted on having "a word" with the victim, who wanted no part of it. The accused persisted, and there was a scuffle outside in which Phillips punched the other man in the right cheek. The Crown added the victim’s friend intervened by "jumping on Phillips" back and afterward all three went back inside the restaurant." The victim had sufficient bruising to his eye to seek medical attention, and was told there was damage to the orbital bone that would require surgical reconstruction. "It was a big first offence," finished the Crown. Mr. Justice Roland Harris imposed a 10-year weapons ban and a DNA order in the case. Hackett was ordered to avoid Boston Pizza and the complainants, and will pen a 200-word apology to the victim within 15 days. Counseling for violence was also endorsed as a condition of probation. "This is about as far from a consensual fight as you can get," wrote the judge. Blackberry destroyed in dispute A 29-year-old Springwater Township man entered a guilty plea April 14 to the offence of mischief under $5,000, and was granted a conditional discharge as 12 months on probation. On Dec. 11, 2008, Jason Jonathan Callan was the subject of a call to police about a domestic disturbance at a Rainbow Valley Road address. The Crown advised that Huronia West officers arrived on scene to find the female complainant "crying to someone on a cell phone." The woman told police "she’d come to see homeowner Callan, they’d argued, and he threw a chair at her (with not contact)." The defendant also tossed a beer in her face and then "smashed her Blackberry against the wall." As the accused had already replaced the phone for is full value, the prosecution did not proceed on the charge of domestic assault. Callan was ordered to keep the peace and to have no contact with the complainant "except in an amicable way."


Blues festival chills out

Nighttime is the right time for the Orillia Spring Blues Festival. Determined to avoid the scorching heat that kept afternoon crowds away from a shade-starved parking lot, organizers have spread the annual event over three evenings (June 12 to 14). “We looked at what worked best on the main stage last year,” said Joe Fecht, chair of the volunteer committee. “We really didn’t get the crowds until the evening.” In addition to performances on the outdoor main stage in the parking lot across from Brewery Bay Food Co., the festival will feature an opening night show by vocal powerhouse Rita Chiarelli at the Orillia Opera House. “She has always been strong in the blues,” Fecht said of the four-time Juno nominee. Following hot on Chiarelli’s heels later that evening are main stage performances by Maple Blues Female Singer of the Year Suzie Vinnick, Treasa Levasseur, Donna Grantis, and Thunder Bay’s Tracy K. Saturday finds some old favourites returning to the stage, among them acclaimed guitarist Jack de Keyzer, Anderson Sloski with John Finley and Terry Blersh, and the wide-ranging styles of Juno-winners Fathead. “They’ve got a good name,” Fecht added. The Sunday evening kicks off at 6 p.m. with a blues jam led by the Steven Henry Band. “We will probably have the band play a bit then invite folks up (to play),” Fecht said. “We will probably have some kind of a sign-up process.” Ottawa-based Monkey Junk – a trio that blends swamp, R and B, soul, boogie, and funk – closes out the festival. “It’s a good lineup, and we are getting things well underway,” Fecht said. Johnny Flamingo, the Ronnie Douglas Band, Wayne Buttery, and the Sensations are among the acts scheduled to play local establishments over the weekend. Participating venues include the Grape and Olive Wine and Martini Bistro, Apple Annie’s Café, Brewery Bay, Maria’s Restaurant, Zats, Filou Bitro, and Sixteen Front. “We already have 10 (restaurants) who have signed up, so that is looking very positive,” Fecht added. “I think we are probably going to see at least two or three more.” More information is available online at www.orilliaspringblues.com.


MPP weighs in on border battle

Having the province mandate a solution to the Innisfil-Barrie should be “the last resort,” according to York-Simcoe MPP Julia Munro. “My first choice would be a negotiated solution between the two municipalities,” she says. “Number one, it has to be fair. In this situation, fair is an agreement that leaves Innisfil with the appropriate balance between residential and industrial and commercial assessment. You need that sound financial base. Anything less than that it’s more than not fair – it dooms the residents of Innisfil. It’s a very serious issue. There has to be a win-win between Barrie and Innisfil.” What’s on the table now, “doesn’t meet the fairness test,” she says. Innisfil believes it will lose 2,600 hectares of developable land to Barrie if the province steps in. Munro says she has been very involved in discussions with both Innisfil and provincial representatives. “I have had a number of informal discussions with minister (Jim) Watson, Mayor Brian Jackson and Simcoe County Warden Tony Guergis,” she says. “Any boundary decision impacts on Simcoe County. It’s not just Barrie’s gain – it takes a whack out of Simcoe County. I’ve tried to ensure all decision makers will be in synch and do what would be fair to Innisfil.” There’s the larger picture for residents residing outside of the two communities to examine as well, Munro adds. “It’s important for other municipalities in Simcoe County to understand the ramifications. These boundaries should be there for the efficient collection of monies for services. You can’t have one (municipality) bankrupting the other.”


County councillors approve new per diem

Grey county councillors have approved an increase in the per diem they receive for driving and reading. In a very narrow vote at last Tuesday morning’s regular meeting, county council approved a resolution from its Finance and Personnel committee giving themselves a new per diem for the time they spend driving to meetings held outside of Grey County. The committee approved a resolution at its April 28 meeting recommending that county councillors be paid an additional half day per diem for travel and preparation time when councillors attend out-of-town meetings. The vote narrowly passed through the county’s weighted voting system by the slimmest of margins – 40-39. Councillors Dave Fawcett and Howard Greig were on their feet immediately saying the new per diem was ridiculous. Greig and Fawcett combined to bring forward a resolution to delete the committee’s recommendation. In a recorded vote their resolution was defeated 40-39. Councillor Fawcett, the Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Grey Highlands, said he couldn’t support the new per diem because he felt driving to a meeting in Toronto and a reading background papers was part of the job. Fawcett also pointed out that county councillors already received a hefty salary increase in 2009. Councillor Howard Greig, the Mayor of Chatsworth, said county councillors receive mileage for their travel and their accommodation is paid for when they attend out-of-town meetings that require them to travel to Toronto the night before. Greig said he served on the Association of Municipalities executive for a number of years and often had to travel to Toronto the night before an official breakfast meeting. "There’s not a whole lot going on the night before the meeting – I would read my package. This is part of our duties as county councillors," said Greig. "I don’t know how we can justify this," he said, noting that he couldn’t support such a change without having an idea of the overall cost to county taxpayers. The minutes from the committee meeting did not indicate an anticipated cost of the new per diem. The issue spurred a colourful debate around the county council table. "I find it perplexing that councillor Greig doesn’t believe his time is worth a half day per diem," said Southgate Mayor Don Lewis. Owen Sound councillor Arlene Wright said the committee felt county councillors deserve compensation when they are driving long distances through bad weather to attend meetings on behalf of the county. "We’re taking a person away from their family. They should be compensated a half day," said Wright. During the debate Warden Kevin Eccles pointed out that the county does have a policy to compensate councillors when they have to travel more than 500 kilometres to out-of-town meetings.