Bell acquires The Source

One of Barrie’s largest employers has a new corporate owner. Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) Inc. is acquiring the Canadian headquarters for The Source by Circuit City on Bayview Drive, and its 756 retail stores across Canada. The Source employs 438 staff at its 402,000-square-foot national office and distribution centre in Barrie. Another 3,000 employees are scattered across Canada working at the retail outlets. The company had filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors in Canada shortly after its parent Circuit City did the same in the U.S. before Christmas. Bell is buying the assets from InterTan Canada Ltd., the Barrie subsidiary of Circuit City. Acting president Bruce Dinan told Barrie staff in a communication, “This is a great outcome for our company. We are moving forward as part of Canada’s largest communications company, one with considerable financial strength, a rich history of technological innovation and a firm belief in the long-term potential of our business. “The acquisition of The Source, which remains subject to court approval, follows an active sales process that saw our company receive interest from a number of serious buyers. All current InterTan employees will be given the opportunity to continue on in their current roles, on substantially similar terms, under the new ownership. Our head office and warehouse facility will remain open and fully operational. Upon closing of the transaction, Ron Cuthbertson will return to lead the current management team. In the meantime, it’s business as usual at The Source.” Key to the deal is that a wide array of Bell electronic products, such as wireless, TV, Internet and home phone services, will eventually replace those of rival Rogers Communications in Source stores starting in January 2010. The purchase will also bring the number of stores offering Bell wireless products closer to Rogers, who operates 1,100 outlets, and Telus, who operates approximately 800 stores in Canada. The Source will continue as an independent subsidiary, run by the present management team, under the new ownership structure. Terms of the deal were kept quiet. However, a Bell representative said the company is paying less than the $260 million (U.S.) Circuit City Stores Inc. paid four years ago when it bought the chain of stores, then known as Radio Shack. “It was a very good marriage,” said Wade Oosterman, president of Bell Mobility and chief brand officer for Bell. “I think the existing management, who were going to continue on and run that business, saw the product breadth we would bring to the table as very attractive to them.” In 2008, The Source’s revenue was $643 million. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2009. With files from Torstar news service


Frosty the Snow… Bunny?

Alliston’s Reyes family made the best of this week’s weather when they made a snow Easter bunny on their front lawn. The family took advantage of the cancelled school buses, and built the six-foot-tall snow sculpture in about two-and-a-half hours Monday afternoon. The snow is expected to taper off this week, but the cold temperatures will remain with us through the Easter long weekend, meaning the Reyes’ bunny likely will too. The lows through to Easter Monday will drop to -3 to -5 C each night and the highest temperature we can expect is on Friday at 9 C with an average of about 5 C the rest of the weekend. Tomorrow (Wednesday) temperatures are only expected to climb to about 2 C and more light snow is on the way.


Town looking for comments on burning bylaw

The Town of Collingwood is looking for public comment on its newly proposed open-air burning bylaw. Those wishing to speak to the proposed bylaw are asked to contact the clerk’s department. The town is currently mulling over the bylaw to replace the bylaw passed last year, which was considered restrictive and was passed without public comment. The previous bylaw didn’t allow the use of outdoor fireplaces, campfires and allowed very little outdoor burning. "I don’t wish to delay it," said Collingwood Mayor Chris Carrier. "I’m hoping we can deal with it a little more quietly. But not as quietly as we dealt with it last year." Under the proposed bylaw, residents must get a fire permit for $25, and all fires must meet fire department specifications. Residents will be allowed: • A fire for an outdoor fireplace with a spark arrestor – 15 feet away from any building, structure, property line, tree, hedge, fence, roadway, overhead wires or combustible article. • Cooking fire between sunrise and midnight that measures .3 metres in each direction and must be no less than 25 metres from any building, structure, property line, hedge, fence, roadway or overhead wires. • Special event permit, regulations will be set and agreed by the fire department. Collingwood Fire Chief Trent Elyea said the department prefers to have people use chimineas and commercial fire places, rather than just an open-air fire. "As long as it meets the requirements that we set out," Elyea said. He said people are having fires without a permit and said this bylaw will allow them to control it. "People are doing it anyway, this will allow us to regulate it," he said. If you are caught without a permit, you could be required to pay the cost of the fire department if they are called to your home. For more information visit www.collingwood.ca


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!


$2 bag tag fee appears likely

Meaford residents can expect to be paying $2 per bag of garbage beginning in May. Meaford council at a budget meeting held last Thursday evening appeared to be leaning towards supporting the implementation of a $2 per bag fee. As part of a new list of potential budget cuts and new revenues presented at the meeting municipal staff suggested the municipality adopt a garbage bag tag fee of $2 per bag. Staff estimated that if the new fee is implemented beginning in May it will raise approximately $370,000 in new revenue for the rest of 2009 and more than $500,000 over the course of an entire year. The issue will still require debate and formal approval from council, but at Thursday’s meeting several councillors indicated they would support such a new fee. Deputy Mayor Mike Traynor said he preferred a bag tag fee to some of the proposed budget cuts that would eliminate downtown flower planting, gravel maintenance on rural roads and the reduction of core services like the library, sidewalk plowing, dust suppression and fire department rescue services. "Some of this stuff is just demoralizing. Charging $2 a bag – I don’t think that hurts as much as some of these other things," said Traynor. Councillor Harley Greenfield said Meaford has to face the reality in waste disposal. He noted that bag tags are common in other areas. "I think the time has come for bag tags. It’s not a statement I like to make," he said. Councillors Gerald Shortt and Jim McPherson said bag tags are a tax increase with a fancy name. "It’s still a tax increase. It’s still being collected from our ratepayers," said Shortt. McPherson said he was worried residents would resort to compressing their trash more leading to fewer bags, but a higher volume of garbage being thrown out. "This is a tax grab," said McPherson. Council did not make a decision about bag tags at Thursday’s meeting. Council did set a budget target of an overall 5% tax increase (11% on the local municipal portion of the tax bill) for the 2009 budget. At council’s next budget meeting to be held on March 30 municipal staff will present a budget at the 5% target. If staff presents council with a budget that includes bag tags, council will have to debate and approve or turn down that option at the meeting.


40th reunion for GBSS being planned

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.


School Board looks at issues from past 5 years

The Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB) reviewed a list of inquiries from the provincial and federal representatives dating as far back as 2004 according to a recent announcement. The board was also given information related to three presentations by parent delegations made at the March 21 board meeting. The board looked at background information for 21 issues from MPP Bill Murdoch, four issues from MPP Carol Mitchell and six issues from MP Larry Miller, according to the release. Some cases presented had already been discussed by the entire board, others were only discussed at staff level. This preliminary review comes after MP Larry Miller publicly criticized the board for not dealing with issues properly. Later, the chair and trustee for Meaford and The Blue Mountains quit. Jennifer Yenssen was then acclaimed as chair. Miller said a simple review of existing, logged complaints is not enough. "If that’s the way they’re going to do it, then they might as well not even do it," he said. "They need to consult with a much wider range of people." Miller suggested the review be turned into an independent investigation, adding that the board must consult, in confidence, with 20 to 25 parents from each school, at least 10 teachers from each school and each trustee must be provided with the opportunity to speak freely and in confidence. "I don’t want to be cynical about it," said Miller. "I want something to happen." Both MPPs Murdoch and Mitchell wrote a letter to Education Minister Kathleen Wynne requesting the ministries involvement in the board while they dealt with the long list of issues. Later, Chair Jennifer Yenssen and Director of Education Mary Anne Alton also wrote a letter to Wynne requesting support. Yenssen has spoken with Wynne, and, according to the release by the BWDSB, will continue to work through the minister’s office to "confirm the support plan." MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, Bill Murdoch, said the board’s actions were positive. "It doesn’t hurt to go back and review decisions made," he said. "It’s good that they’re doing it and that the ministry is working with them … who knows what will happen. We’ll have to wait and see."


Elderly driver crashes at oulet mall

Three vehicles were damaged at the Cookstown Outlet Mall on Thursday, April 3 when a 77-year-old woman from Alliston lost control of her car. She was backing up into a parking space when she struck a stationary vehicle. She then stepped on the gas and hit two more vehicles, pushing one of them into the building, causing minor damage to the building. The woman was taken to hospital as a precaution and later released. Police are continuing their investigation. Woman assaulted in car South Simcoe Police responded to a call for help on April 3 concerning an assault. A couple started arguing in a car and the male driver pulled over to the side of the road. Police allege the man grabbed the woman by the wrist and hit her twice in the arm. They resumed their journey home. Upon entering their home, the argument started again and police were called. As a result, a 24-year-old Innisfil man was arrested for assault and held for a bail hearing. Burglar caught Police were called to a business on County Rd. 27 north of Cookstown shortly after 10 p.m. on Friday, April 3 when the owner of the business returned and saw a light on inside. The intruder left the premises and fled. The South Simcoe Police Canine Unit was dispatched to the scene and tracked down the suspect. A 41-year-old man from Perth was arrested and charged with break and enter with intent. He was also treated for some minor injuries. Nothing was taken from the business and only minimal damage was caused to gain entry to the building. The man has a May court date in Bradford.


TBM ready for anything

The Blue Mountains announced it has completed the annual emergency management activities for the year including an exercise to develop plans to handle a pandemic influenza outbreak in the town. The exercise, as well as other requirements like community risk profiling and public education were all done in compliance with the standards set by Emergency Management Ontario and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, according to a recent press release from the town. Recently the town mailed out emergency preparedness guides to all residents living in The Blue Mountains, also as part of the management activities. The guides advised residents to prepare for 72 hours of self-sustainability in case of an emergency. This year’s exercise focused on maintaining community business continuity in case of the mock emergency outbreak. Steve Conn, emergency management coordinator for the town said he was happy with the ability of staff to deal with the scenario. "Our staff worked extremely well together, and created a sound plan to ensure business continuity in the town," he said. Conn also promoted the preparedness guides, which are available on the town website, thebluemountains.ca, or at the town offices, adding that individuals and families play a vital role in the town’s ability to respond to a crisis.


Truck’s purring sound definitely not the engine

Mechanics at Don Wright Motors had an unusual service call last week. Service adviser Brandon Roi told The Mirror he got a call on March 5 from a Dodge Ram owner complaining of an oddly feline noise coming from under the hood. “The guy said he thought (a cat) was stuck in the wheel well,” Roi said. “I thought it was kind of crazy…. I started laughing. I wasn’t trying to be rude, but I’d never got that kind of call before.” After getting stuck, the cat travelled from Midland to Barrie before the driver of the truck noticed the noise emanating from between the inner and outer liners of the wheel well. Roi said despite the man’s best efforts, he could not get the cat out, so he decided to bring the truck into the dealership for help rescuing the feline. “He drove all the way to Barrie and back (with the cat inside the truck),” said Roi, adding once he arrived, they began the process of taking apart pieces of the truck. “The cat was freaking out. It was crying and crying … but once (the cat) was out, it was fine.” The cat – a four-month-old female now named Hemi – quickly acclimatized to its new surroundings, Roi noted, getting spoiled by staff until business manager Jackie Dollemont decided to adopt the courageous kitty. Hemi is doing really well in her new home, said Dollemont, who adopted the cat for her daughter after the family lost its longtime family pet. “I thought it would cheer her up,” she said. “(Hemi) is settling in good. She’s very active and curious…. I can see why she got stuck inside the truck. She likes to explore and try to get into small spaces.” [email protected]