“Wrong spot, wrong time” says cruiser crash witness

Police have charged a 21-year-old Alliston man in connection with an OPP cruiser collision Feb. 24. The man is charged with Turn Not in Safety, under the Highway Traffic Act. The collision happened on Church Street South in Alliston at about 5 p.m. A cruiser, responding to an emergency call on Albert Street, was northbound on the road and came up to a line of three cars. The cruiser had its lights and sirens activated, but the cars did not move out of the way, police said. The officer pulled out to pass and as he was approaching the front of the line, the lead car in the group, a Honda Civic, turned left, and into his path. Both cars spun out into the west ditch, with the cruiser slamming into a sign for PPG Canada. The driver of the Civic was taken to hospital with minor injuries. The officer was not hurt. OPP Det. Sgt. Tim Melanson said it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure there is no traffic coming in either direction before making a turn into another lane. Melanson said the charge would have been the same if the Civic had turned in front of a civilian vehicle that was legally passing. "If it was a regular car that had done the same thing, it would have been no different," he said. Everett resident Ken Pratt was driving northbound not too far behind where the accident happened, and saw it unfold. He said he saw the cruisers behind him as early as when he was on Industrial Parkway, and pulled over when they came up to him. "They were going very fast," said Pratt. "(The cruiser) pulled out to go around them, and the next thing I saw was (the cruiser) going into the PPG driveway." Pratt saw a big splash of water, and assumed the cruiser had hit a puddle on the road. When he drove by and saw the cruiser has smashed into the sign, he assumed the car had lost control when it hit the puddle. Pratt said he didn’t see that another car was hit, and didn’t realize until he later read it in the newspaper. Pratt said the cruiser was travelling in a group with two other police cars. He said they all had their emergency lights on, but he doesn’t remember if the sirens were on or not. He said the narrow road made it difficult for vehicles to get all the way onto the shoulder. He said he doesn’t know how fast the cruisers were driving, but said he thought the officers were responding appropriately to an emergency call. "It was an unfortunate thing. You’re in the wrong spot at the wrong time. I think everybody was trying to do their best," he said. Melanson said the 21-year-old also could have been charged with failure to move for an emergency vehicle, but police opted not to pursue additional charges. E-mail reporter Kurtis Elsner at [email protected]


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!


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.


Volunteer award results announced

The 2009 winners of the Order The Blue Mountains awards for 2009 have been announced and the winners will be honoured at a special reception next weekend. Steve Hoffman, a former resident of The Blue Mountains and community enthusiast, was nominated for a volunteer award posthumously by his wife. His contributions to the town were recognized and applauded by the judges. He will be awarded a lifetime achievement award, one not given out by the town before. Bill Abbotts and Rob Potter both achieved the Order of The Blue Mountains for their volunteer efforts in the arts and culture community. Abbotts was nominated for his efforts behind the scenes at countless community events such as Georgian Sound performances and Marsh Street Centre activities. Potter was nominated for his contributions to the Craigleith Depot, the Marsh Street Centre and other community campaigns. Joan Gaudet will be honoured with the order in the category of community service. Gaudet is a volunteer with Beaver Valley Outreach and a friendly neighbour. Sharon Dinsmore, active member of the Beaver Valley Outreach, earned an order award in sports and recreation for her commitment to the BVAA, organizing big events and countless hours she put in to local sports in the past. Ayla Tymczuk earned the first ever order in the youth category. She works with local youth organizations and was nominated for her actions over the past year to make The Blue Mountains more youth friendly and aware. The reception to present the orders will be Sunday, May 3 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Beaver Valley Community Centre in Thornbury. For more information on the event or to RSVP, contact Lisa Kidd at 599-3131 ext. 282.


Assault charges laid against superjail guard

A guard at the Central North Correctional Centre has been charged with assaulting an inmate. Const. Peter Leon of Southern Georgian Bay OPP said he could not elaborate on specifics, including the exact nature of the alleged assault. “It is an ongoing investigation, so we’re really not in a position to disclose those particulars right now,” he said. “(The victim) did sustain an injury that was consistent with the level of assault charges that were laid,” he added, noting the person “is experiencing significant discomfort as a result of the injury.” Detectives from the detachment’s crime unit arrested a corrections officer on March 7 after receiving a complaint from an inmate. A 25-year-old Penetanguishene man has been charged with assault and assault causing bodily harm. The alleged incident occurred Feb. 9 at the facility commonly referred to as the superjail. Stuart McGetrick, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, which has responsibility for the superjail, said he is unaware of any previous cases where assault charges were laid against a guard there. “What I can tell you is, any time we receive a complaint from an inmate, it’s something that we take seriously,” he said. “It’s something that is always thoroughly investigated.” The nature of the complaint determines if it is handled in-house or if police need to be involved, he added. “I can’t talk about this specific case because it’s still under investigation,” McGetrick said. “If it’s a serious complaint, then we will inform the police straight away, but we always conduct our own investigation, as well.” In this case, the decision was made to contact the OPP. The local detachment has a team of detectives whose primary responsibility is investigating incidents at the provincially run jail. Leon, meanwhile, said there is no difference between how police treat an incident behind bars and how they respond to something that occurs in a more public setting. “(Detectives) conducted an investigation, thorough and detailed, of course, as any investigation would be,” he said. “They would go through the exact same procedure they would with any other member of the public.” Leon said he hopes the investigation will be completed by Monday, at which time more information may be released. In the meantime, the accused is scheduled to appear in Midland court on April 16.


Volunteers sought to advise police services board

Penetanguishene residents interested in crime – preventing it, not perpetrating it – are being sought to advise the town’s police services board. The four volunteer members of the newly formed community relations committee will give input on programs, activities or programs designed to provide public education on drug abuse, crime prevention and community safety. Representatives of the French-speaking community, local businesses, seniors, and the school and youth community are needed. The committee is intended to meet every second month. Letters of interest will be accepted until April 24, with appointments to be confirmed May 5. For more information, contact town clerk Carey Tobey at 549-7453 or [email protected].


Building a ‘greener’ greenhouse

A Wyevale business is being infested with bugs in an attempt to go green. Robert and Laura Moon, owners of Wye Nursery, are reducing their greenhouse practice of pesticide spraying, instead choosing to use a biological approach that introduces one insect into the greenhouse that will prey on other insects known for eating or destroying plants. Robert Moon said the alternative to this “green” way of ridding plants of pests includes sprays, chemicals and pesticides. “It’s bad for us and it’s bad for the customer,” he said. “The pesticides are left on the leaf, and (most) people don’t know that.” Added Laura Moon: “With all the recalls of fruits and vegetables, you don’t know if a tomato is from Mexico, what they’re spraying on them, where they’re growing them or how they’re growing them.” The nursery started using the new method last year with its fall mums, noted Robert Moon. He added the bugs – which come as both mature bugs and eggs – live in sacks providing them with enough food for a number of weeks. “The more you use a spray, the more a plant becomes immune to it. They weren’t being effective,” he said. With 90 per cent of the plants sold at the nursery being grown there from seed, using this new process can also be a bit time-consuming, they noted. “We’re still at the early stages, and you definitely have to keep on top of it,” said Laura Moon. “You’ve got to get it managed,” added her husband. “(If) you find a few, you’ve got to get right on top of it because, if you just let it go and they’re everywhere, then these (bugs) aren’t going to work. You have to bring these in early.” The couple said even though the bugs cost about 50 per cent more than chemical sprays, the benefits are priceless. “It’s just a better way of doing things,” Laura Moon said. “For us, doing what we’re doing and moving to the next level, it just seems like the logical thing to do … like it’s the right next step.” [email protected]


Local public servants make sunshine list

Seventeen local public sector employees made the 2009 Sunshine list. The list is published annually by the Ministry of Finance and includes public sector employees who earn more than $100,000 in salary and taxable benefits. The 2009 list is for the 2008 year. In Wasaga Beach, CAO George Vadeboncoeur earned $147,247 and $1,287 in benefits and Jim McIntosh, director of public works made $116,157 and $1,059 in benefits. Clearview Township CAO Sue McKenzie made the list with a salary of $105,275 and benefits of $772. This is McKenzie’s second year on the list. In Collingwood, CAO Gordon Norris earned $129,210 in salary and $1,065 in taxable benefits. Former fire chief Sandy Cunningham earned $115,901 in salary and $890.85 in benefits. Peter Dunbar, Collingwood’s director of leisure services, made $115,562 in salary and $2,676 in benefits while the town’s Donald Green, manager of environmental services, made $106,782 in salary and $416 in benefits. Treasurer Marjory Leonard ($104,784 and $958), director of library services Kerri Robinson ($104,848 and $461) and director of planning Gord Russell ($103, 936 and $955) made the list. Collingwood General & Marine Hospital CEO Linda Davis made $189,220 in salary and $558 in benefits.


Business group honours ‘amazing women’

Business women from Midland, Penetanguishene and area gathered Wednesday to celebrate the best among them. The banquet room at Brooklea Golf and Country Club was packed for the second annual Midland and District Business Women’s Association’s Business Woman of the Year Awards. “There are so many amazing women out there, and it’s just nice to be able to give them the recognition,” president Shirley Cowdrey told The Mirror. With 18 nominees, picking a winner was more difficult than ever, she noted. “Each of them on their own (is) amazing, and to try to pick out of those would have been a hard task. We have amazing women and a great community.” After a day that included a reception and trade show, a four-course luncheon and guest speaker Sherry Lawson, the award for Business Woman of the Year went to Kelly Earle – owner of Top Dollar Bargain Centre at the Village Square Mall in Penetanguishene. “I can’t believe that all these little jobs I’ve done for the different charities I’ve worked for is appreciated,” she said, adding the award came as a pleasant – and emotional – surprise. “My mom and I were crying at the table…. It’s a wonderful award.” Awarded the first-ever Youth Entrepreneur Award was Natalie Walker, pastry chef and owner of Midland’s Sweet & Savoury. “I’m surprised, overwhelmed and (grateful) for the award. I’m going to do my best to keep working for the community and strive for the best,” she said. The Heart and Soul Award went to Carey Moran, morning host at radio station KICX-FM. “I was blown away by the award (and) blown away by the fact that I was nominated with this group of women,” she said. “It’s just a phenomenal group.” Moran has been active with the Canadian Cancer Society for a number of years, and is known in the community for her involvement with Relay For Life, the Kelly Shires Breast Cancer Snow Run, the Pink Ribbon Gala and the Rotary Club. Earle, meanwhile, bought the store 11 years ago at the age of 22, making her the youngest franchise owner in the company’s history. She spends much of her spare time working with the Tiny Township Lions Club, organizing the annual Relay for Life in conjunction with the Canadian Cancer Society, and is president of the Village Square Mall Association – to name just a few of her accomplishments. Earle said her plans for the future include working at the store until she hits 40. After that, she said, the sky is the limit. “I don’t know what I’m going to do, but for sure there will be bigger and better things for me out there.” [email protected]