Howard win streak snapped

Quebec skip Jean-Michel Menard has a habit of coming up big at the Brier, a fact Glenn Howard knows all too well. Wednesday afternoon in Calgary, Menard, the 2006 Brier champion, was the first to topple the mighty, previously unbeaten Howard rink at this week’s national curling championships in Calgary. Menard beat the three-time world champs 8-5 at the Pengrowth Saddledome. "Jean-Michel is one of those skips who knows what it takes to win at the Brier and if you don’t bring your ‘A’ game with you, you are going to lose," said Howard. Coupled with a 9-7 win over the Jamie Koe rink from the Northwest Territories/Yukon on Wednesday morning, the Howard rink sits in second place with an 8-1 record, heading into the final day of round-robin play on Thursday at the Brier. Kevin Martin’s Alberta rink defeated the Jeff Stoughton rink from Manitoba 7-2 on Wednesday evening to move on top of the Brier standings with a perfect 9-0 record. Midland native Russ Howard kept his New Brunswick rink in contention for a possible playoff berth by posting a 7-4 win over Prince Edward Island late Wednesday evening. The win improved Howard’s record to 5-4, leaving him in a four-way tie for fourth place heading into the final day of round-robin play on Thursday. Heading into his game against Menard, Glenn Howard felt he had a score to settle, dating back three years. Dominating the field and seemingly on his way to a Brier championship win in 2006 in Regina, Howard and teammates Richard Hart, Brent Laing and Craig Savill had their hopes dashed by Menard in the final that year. Later, Howard would state that loss to Menard was probably one of the toughest of his lengthy competitive career. In what has been a disturbing pattern in recent Brier contests, Team Ontario found itself trailing 2-0 to Quebec after the first end, but rebounded to tie the game at 3-3 after four ends. Menard then struck for three big points in the fifth end to move ahead 6-3 and led 7-4 after seven ends. Howard managed to narrow the gap to 7-5 after the eighth end, but Menard added one point in the ninth end to seal the win and snap Ontario’s winning streak at eight games. In their earlier win over the day over Koe, team Howard once again trailed by a 5-2 score after four ends of play. But the Coldwater rink rebounded with three points in each of the seventh and ninth ends to pull out a 9-7 win. In other Brier action Wednesday, Russ Howard and his New Brunswick team went down to defeat against the Brad Gushue rink from Newfoundland/Labrador. Howard lost 8-5 in a reunion of the two skips, who combined to win a gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. On Thursday morning Glenn Howard battles the Dacey rink from Nova Scotia, before moving on to the evening showdown with Kevin Martin’s Alberta rink, in a game which will probably decide first place in the standings. But before facing Howard, Martin will also face Dacey in Thursday afternoon action. Russ Howard and his rink will close out round-robin play Thursday with games againt the NWT/Yukon and British Columbia.


Make a deal: Watson

The message from Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson is clear – either Innisfil and Barrie negotiate a boundary deal or the province will do it for them. “He wants us at the table and he wants us to work this out,” Innisfil Mayor Brian Jackson said a few hours after meeting with Watson at Queen’s Park. “He said he’s not going to allow us to let this drag on for another year.” Watson told the Innisfil contingent, which included Conservative MPP Julia Munro, that the province would step in if a settlement can’t be made that gives Barrie more land to develop. Jackson’s meeting with Watson followed a similar meeting the Liberal Cabinet minister had with Barrie. Jackson said he called Barrie Mayor Dave Aspden after his meeting with Watson to set up an initial meeting. “This would be just to lay some ground work,” he said. “We have to see if there is a foundation we can build on.” Talks were aborted last year after Innisfil left the table. A proposed deal brokered by a provincially-appointed facilitator short-changed Innisfil, Jackson said. Innisfil wanted one-acre of its employment zone in Innisfil Heights on the Hwy. 400 corridor serviced by Barrie for every acre it gave the city through boundary adjustments. But the deal would have seen Innisfil give up three acres for every acre of serviced land. There have been no negotiations since. Watson did not give the municipalities a firm deadline, although it was clear he wanted the long-standing issue resolved within the next few months, Jackson said. “He gave us a couple of dates that just weren’t feasible,” Jackson said. “I think he may have been testing us.” Watson did not suggest a provincially-appointed facilitator be used this time, Jackson said. Jackson has suggested Barrie may be stalling the process, hoping for the province to invoke boundary adjustments that would benefit the city. “I guess Barrie must decide if they’ll benefit more from a political solution than a negotiated one,” Jackson said. Coun. Jeff Lehman, Barrie’s chairperson for boundary adjustments, has said the city remains serious about finding a local solution. Watson met with the municipalities after Barrie MPP Aileen Carroll, a Liberal Cabinet minister, asked him to intervene. Carroll complained that the stalemate was stifling Barrie’s ability to develop, especially since the province has designated it as a regional growth centre.


Vandal menaces Victoria Harbour

Residents of Victoria Harbour appear to have their very own Dennis the Menace. Upwards of half-a-dozen locations were barraged last week with what police suspect to be a slingshot. “Southern Georgian Bay OPP officers have spent a considerable amount of time following a trail of destruction that was left behind by a person who was launching ball bearings at windows, lights and parked cars,” Const. Peter Leon stated in a news release. A large window at the Community Centre on Park Street, three overhead lights at the ice rink and two windows at St. Antoine Daniel School were also damaged, as were a backhoe on a McDermit Trail construction site and a number of parked cars on Robin’s Point Road. Leon said quarter-inch ball bearings were found at several of the scenes, and police suspect there may be other incidents that have yet to be reported.


Meaford man dies after car crashes into harbour

A Meaford man is dead after the vehicle he was in jumped a parking curb and went over the edge of the breakwall into the Meaford Harbour. On Sunday morning, March 22, at 10 a.m., someone observed a dark SUV, which seemed to be parking on Bayfield Street near the intersection of Nelson and Bayfield, when the vehicle suddenly accelerated and dove into the harbour water, according to police. Meaford Fire Department, Grey County OPP and Grey County EMS responded to pull 65-year-old Philip Butler out of his car and out of the harbour. He was brought to the Meaford hospital where he was pronounced dead. Constable Steve Starr, Grey County OPP, said the investigation is ongoing, and may take a while, adding that there are three areas the police are studying: the mechanical state of the vehicle, Butler’s medical condition and whether or not the act was deliberate. Starr commended the Meaford Fire Department on their swift and efficient response to the situation. Grey County OPP asks that anyone with information contact the investigating officer, Constable Alina Grelik.


Bringing home the bacon

“Happiness is makin’ bacon.” That’s more than just a slogan at Holly Park Meat Packers near Cookstown. The company, tucked away on the 9th Conc. just west of town, is celebrating a rather significant recognition for one of its products. At a banquet held on Saturday, Feb. 21, Holly Park’s Phoenix End to End bacon captured a silver award at the Ontario Independent Meat Producers (OIMP) annual conference. More than 100 premium meat or poultry products were submitted for a chance to be crowned in one of 12 categories. The top three entries from each category were selected based on the judges’ combined scores. They included ham, country style bacon, cold cuts, deli roasts, fresh sausage and home meal replacement. Food industry professionals and media evaluated the entries. “The Ontario Finest Meat Competition is intended to promote the innovative, high quality products that Ontario’s meat processors have to offer,” said Laurie Nicol, executive director of the OIMP. “We hope this competition educates consumers and retailers on the quality and variety of Ontario meat and poultry products.” The OIMP is a voluntary, non-profit organization representing 180 processors from across the province. The Ontario meat and poultry industry contributes more than $6.5 billion a year to the economy and represents 20 per cent of the food manufacturing industry. Lilly Vacca, Holly Park’s bacon production manager, said, “This year, the competition was a little different. Homegrown Ontario was incorporated into competition. Any product submitted had to be homegrown. We’re really proud about that.” Homegrown Ontario is a labelling system for veal, lamb, and pork that were raised, finished and processed in Ontario. The program was introduced in 2007. Entries in the bacon category were judged on seven attributes: • visual appeal • consumer appeal • uniqueness • appearance • flavour • texture • aroma Winning the silver award “was great,” Vacca says. “It was very exciting and a huge sense of achievement.” For team member Karen Dipoce, “I think it’s fantastic. I’ve been here seven years and it’s terrific to be recognized for your work.” In a typical year, 140,000, 10 lb. boxes of Phoenix bacon are shipped from the plant. And “That’s just side bacon,” Vacca says. “They mostly go to the food services industry, then to wholesalers, then to restaurants.” In business for 30 years, Holly Park started out in a 2,000 square foot abattoir supplying mostly veal. Today, two operations, the one near Cookstown, the other in Caledon, process beef, veal, lamb and bacon. The Cookstown plant recently underwent a 28,000 square foot expansion and employs up to 60 staff. The company also processes halal, kosher, natural and organic products and offers custom processing. Holly Park’s owner and founder, Tony Facciolo, is the OIMP president. “Membership in Ontario Independent Meat Processors has grown recently,” Vacca adds. “We have been registering in the product competition for many years and each year, we have improved our process with help from the comments on that evaluation.”


Seatbelt campaign Saturday

Ontario’s Transportation Ministry is teaming up with the Orillia and District Road Safety Committee for a Saturday event aimed at increasing seat belt use. Georgian College students stationed at four intersections over a two-hour period will count the number of drivers and passengers wearing seatbelts. Banners will encourage motorists to “Buckle Up,” while organizers have set a campaign goal that would see at least 95 per cent of motorists belted in. Police say a seatbelt is the most effective form of protection in a collision, with five lives saved annually in Ontario for every one per cent increase in seatbelt use. Students will be stationed at the intersections of Coldwater Road and Westmount Drive, Fittons Road and West Street, Mississaga and Front streets, and Colborne and Andrew streets.


Provincial tests cancel classes for some students

Local high schools are going to look a little empty tomorrow morning (Thursday). The Simcoe County District School Board is conducting its annual Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test that day. The test is for Grade 10 students and other students that failed previous tests. The three-hour test will be conducted Thursday morning. Only those students scheduled to write the test are to go to school in the morning. Classes for all of the students will be postponed until the afternoon. Bus service will run in the morning as usual, but there will be additional runs at midday for students starting class in the afternoon. Students will be bused home after school as usual. The exam is a standardized test, prescribed by the Ministry of Education, and administered to students across the province. Students and parents can learn more about the test and review sample questions by following the OSSLT links at the website,


Council to get a lesson on the Canadian Forces

Collingwood Mayor Chris Carrier is encouraging the public to attend a special meeting of council on March 23 to learn more about Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson – a former student at Stayner Collegiate Institute – and Chief Warrant Officer Christopher White – a Collingwood native – of the Canadian Armed Forces will be the focus of the meeting, which takes place at the Collingwood Legion at 9 a.m. Thompson recently returned from Afghanistan where he was commander of Canadian and NATO forces in Kandahar Province from May 2008 to February 2009. Both men will be discussing their experiences in Afghanistan. Thompson will speak on NATO combat operations, the challenges of command during a demanding and complex mission marked with attacks on civilians, school children, government officials and religious leaders as well as the Sarpoza Prison break, and his views on what is required to achieve mission success. "We had a request from the military to do a presentation to council," said Carrier. "I’ve discussed it with staff. Why don’t we hold a special meeting of council?" Carrier is encouraging everyone to wear red in support of the soldiers. "It’s an opportunity for us as a community to show our support," he said.


Municipalities team up to protect watershed

Municipal leaders from across the region came together in Midland last week to take part in a ceremony marking the creation of a joint municipal board to steer the Severn Sound Environmental Association (SSEA). Mayors and clerks from nine municipalities – including Midland, Penetanguishene, Tay and Tiny – signed the agreement March 26, which saw them extend their commitment to the SSEA by creating the joint board. SSEA co-ordinator Keith Sherman said the agreement will allow them to take the organization a step further. “(The SSEA) will do many of the same things, (but it) will have a better status in terms of becoming a legal entity,” he said, adding it will still have a close association with the municipalities, something he noted is the strength of the organization. “The partnership agreement that we had before was just an agreement; it was not creating a legal entity. In order to enter into legal agreements with the province, we had to become that,” he said, adding the organization can now own things, enter into agreements and have proper insurance. “It will improve the services we can offer and the access we can have to different funding organizations and agencies.” Midland Coun. Bob Jeffrey is a member of the new board. “Right now, we’re just a bunch of municipalities together that sort of say, ‘We’d like to do this,’” he told The Mirror  prior to the signing. “Once we form this group … we will be able to move forward and be able to do things from a more professional manner than we have in the past. It won’t be so much hit and miss.” Jeffrey said having all the municipalities come together acknowledges the importance of protecting the watershed. “We have to look after the environment and Severn Sound,” he said. “We want to look after what we’ve got for our kids down the road.” Simcoe County Warden Tony Guergis said the agreement gives the association greater credibility and defines the support the municipalities have for the work it is doing. “We share a water system and environmental issues with our neighbours,” he explained. [email protected]