The Woodstock District Chamber of Commerce website has a new look.
A new site, designed by Adam McLaughlin of Fresh Idea Websites, along with the Chamber General Manager Martha Dennis, was unveiled during their Annual General Meeting Wednesday morning.
The site set up in an icon format similar to Windows 8 or tablet will allow the Chamber to update information and keep members informed in real time.
According to Chamber President, Ted Beynen, the website was part of their focus during their Strategic Planning Process. "One of the things we discovered through our Strategic Planning Process is we did a lot of things very well, but we didn't tell the community or the membership that we did it well. For example, advocating for other businesses; one of the things coming in when I became President of the Chamber, I didn't think we were doing a very good job at all and when we went through the process for the Strategic Planning and we started listing out all of the actual things we did advocate for, we've done a fantastic job. We just don't tell anybody. So hopefully we're able to use the website as a medium to improve that".
Keynote speaker for the event, Ontario Chamber of Commerce Chair Ann Adair says the new site services businesses and members well. "I think it's the one-stop-shop for issues that you might have as a new business starting in Woodstock or you might be concerned about existing issues and it's just one place that you can go, easy access and it's organized in a way that makes sense to you as a business".
The new site also has a link for the Chamber's Annual Business of Excellence Awards where the public can place nominations for this year's event.
It's an innovative concept for those who like to grow their own food.
Tonight, Live-Food Nutritionist and herbalist Shantree Kacera comes to Woodstock to talk about creating a more sustainable food system.
Shantree says the concept is about growing perennial food plants in a forest-type setting.
There's not much cost or labour involved, and he says it's a type of project that's catching on amongst groups of people. "It's going to be from homeowners to small scale farmers or larger gardeners; so any where from a small backyard to five acres. And a lot of people are starting to do this more collectively, groups of people are coming together and tending to one piece of land so it's a cooperative".
If you want to learn more about the permaculture concept, head to the Quality Hotel and Suites tonight. Shantree's presentation starts at 7:00 p.m. It's a free event being hosted by the Woodstock Environmental Advisory Committee.
There's renewed hope today a cure, or at least a treatment for cancer is a step closer to reality.
A Canadian cancer researcher cried today as he talked about a new drug he's helped developed. Dr. Tak Mak of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto and Dr. Dennis Slamon of UCLA, led the teams that have worked for 10 years to develop the drug.
They're now hoping to get permission to test it on humans.
Mak says he can't promise this drug will work on people as well as it has on mice, but says they will keep coming up with drugs until they find the one that does work.
They're hopeful this new drug they've developed will eventually prove to be a breakthrough in treating several types of cancer, including breast, ovarian, colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancers.
A Dundas St. property owner is looking to leverage $75,000 worth of city grants and interest free loans to spruce up his property.
Mark Robertson owns 384 Dundas St., (in photo) and is not only looking to do some work on the facade of his building, but is also looking to renovate to add commercial space on the main floor, and 4 new apartment units on the upper floors.
If council approves, it will be the first successful application under the city's new Community Improvement Plan. Last year, the city revamped the program so property owners could "stack" - or bundle multiple city incentives to rejuvenate the downtown.
Mayor Pat Sobeski hopes this project will get other downtown property owners interested in the program. "We hope he's very successful in the project. We're hopeful that other downtown property owners will take a look at this and also start to realize that there are some benefits, that the city's prepared to help leverage some of their dollars to help improve the downtown."
Robertson is putting up $200,000 of his own capital, in leveraging $32,000 in grant money from the city, and $55,000 in interest free loans. Sobeski says, "This is a large project, but a number of smaller projects could also qualify."
The city has $1-million in a fund to go towards the Community Improvement Plan.
Here's how this one breaks down:
Facade Grant: $10,000
Facade Loan: $15,000
Residential Conversion Grant ($5000 per unit): $20,000
Residential Conversion Loan ($10,000 per unit): $40,000
Grant in lieu of Permit Fees: $750
Design Grant: $1500
Pat Sobeski discusses issues coming up at city council this week, including a taker on downtown improvement incentives, the city investing in solar power, and the latest fallout from the ash borer invasion.
A downtown establishment is under a liquor license suspension for the next two weeks.
"To the Lounge" at 514 Dundas St. is unable to sell any alcoholic beverages, as a penalty for previous infractions.
The suspension started Monday morning, and continues until 2AM on July 1st.
The owner of the establishment admitted to selling contraband cigarettes at the establishment, along with making off-license liquor purchases that were sold in the bar between May and October of 2012, that totaled over $14,000.
Rural mailboxes in Thamesford and other areas in the county are under review.
According to Canada Post, notices have gone out to rural residents letting them know their mailboxes are being looked at for the safety of the delivery drivers.
Canada Post Spokesman John Caines says those reviewing the boxes will be looking to make sure the delivery driver can get all four wheels onto the shoulder and will also be looking at the amount of traffic that passes by the box in a 15 minute period. "Once the assessment is done, if there is no issue they'll be fine, we'll let them know. If there is an issue we'll visit them face-to-face, tell them that their mailbox is unsafe. Hopefully we'll have a chance to move that on their property. 90% of all rural mailboxes that have been reviewed have been safe."
Caines says if they can't move the unsafe box somewhere on your property, they have three options; cluster it with a neighbour, add a community mailbox or offer you a lock box at your local post office free of charge.
If your child attends an elementary school in Oxford County, you may need to be buzzed in before you can enter the building come September.
The Thames Valley District School Board has applied to the Ministry of Education for $415,000 in funding to ensure each of their 134 elementary schools are safe.
Thames Valley Superintendent of Safe Schools Barb Sonier says following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last year which killed 26 people, the Premier introduced the Safe Welcome Program which would see all elementary schools locking their front doors starting in September 2013. "What they did do is offer funding to put in place security system that monitors the arrival of guests to the main doors of the school, and allows them to enter the school on the permission of a staff member. So, it is partial funding; they've offered $3,100 per elementary school."
Sonier adds that the board has taken it upon themselves to mandate any student walking to or from a portable to the main building be accompanied by another student.
A memo was going out to schools Monday afternoon and the policy would take effect immediately.
An online petition to restore Via Rail Service in Stratford has received nearly twelve times the response creators hoped for.
President of "Save Via Rail", Chris West was hoping for 100 signatures within the first week but instead is sitting at nearly 12 hundred.
The petition is calling for the restoration of Via Rail schedules throughout Canada and in particular the 5:50 a.m. train from Stratford to Toronto and the 10:10 p.m. return train that was cut last year.
West says his new goal is collect 2000 signatures before sending out the link to several politicians.
An Oxford County man is facing impaired driving and street racing charges in Brant.
Early Saturday morning, an OPP officer clocked a 2007 Chevy pick-up at over 130km/h in an 80 zone.
The officer pulled the vehicle over, and allegedly detected a strong odour of alcohol on the driver's breath. After a roadside screening test, the officer took the man back to the police station for an Intoxilyzer test.
30-year-old Jorden Allin of Norwich is facing charges of stunt driving, and driving with over 80 milligrams of blood alcohol content.
Work on a new fire hall in Plattsville is expected to begin next month.
Mayor Marion Wearn says there has been a need for a new facility for a number of years. "The old fire hall is in a flood plane, and really has had its end use. The new fire hall will be going across from the school, and where the arena is on Walter St."
Wearn says the new facility will cost around $400,000 and have a similar design and layout to the new fire hall that recently opened in Drumbo. Wearn says, "We have been planning for this and budgeting for this, because as an emergency centre, we really need to get it out of the flood plane."
It was a lesson you learned when you were young, when you're done with something, put it back the way you found it.
That's what Norwich Township is asking of Prowind when it comes to their Gunn's Hill Wind Farm.
The Township asked Oxford County Council Wednesday to support their request to Prowind to ensure any and all cement they pour is removed when the project is complete.
Mayor Don Doan says the request is so important since the turbines will be going up on prime agricultural land.
"It's very important that these sites be left cleaned up. We don't want some company just walking away from them and leaving these hundreds of truck loads of cement in the ground and telling us we can just farm overtop of it. That's no good."
Doan says on top of the cement being poured for the turbines, he says roads will also be constructed and he would like to see those fully removed when the project is over as well.
Oxford is pitching in funds to help complete a pair of Source Water Protection Technical Studies in the County.
The money will be used in the the completion of Issue Delineation Studies in the Tillsonburg North Street wellfield and the Woodstock Thornton and Tabor wellfields. These studies are for technical work that is required under the Clean Water Act.
Director of Public Works Rob Walton says "Funding in this, both provided through the conservation authorities will fund most of the cost but we had budgeted for this in our County budget for 2013 and still we will have to kick in about $20,000 to top up the money to finish these studies."
Both wellfields were identified in early studies as having nitrate issues which could exceed the Ontario Drinking Water Standards.
If any new significant threats are identified, the Source Protection Plan policies will provide tools to manage the risk to the wells from activities associated with the release of nitrates to groundwater.
OPP are asking residents to familiarize themselves with the signs of abuse and neglect as part of World Elder Abuse Day.
Police say by learning to identify the warning signs, people can detect and report incidents of abuse and neglect among aging members of our community.
Seniors may have unexplainable physical injuries, changes in personality, be socially withdrawn and have attitude or abnormal behaviour. They may also show signs of poor hygiene, lack of nutrition or necessities and suddenly become unable to meet financial obligations. Financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse as individuals attempt to cash in financially on a population they see as vulnerable.
OPP say elder abuse will not be tolerated and should be reported.
Pioneer Pools has set up in Woodstock thanks to an official plan amendment by both the City and County.
The sales and service franchise applied to have the zoning at 840 Parkinson Road changed from Traditional Industrial to Service Commercial and received the final approval from the County earlier this week.
Owner Zoltan Dobsinai says the location was perfect for his needs.
"It's not inside the commercial zone or the envelopes or the downtown core because we have a large display area, chlorine tanks, catch basins so it doesn't really fit the style of the downtown area so this was close enough to the community but not too far away from everything and it also has the ability to do what we need to do there."
Students at Huron Park Secondary are preparing to donate medical supplies to a third world country.
The school's People Reaching Out Group were presented with a one thousand dollar cheque Friday for their work in the All's Fair Wear-a-thon Digital Scavenger Hunt.
Student Marissa Ukos says the students are planning to donate the money back to the Free the Children organization.
"There's a lot of different options that Free the Children provides for medical enhancement of the lives of others so it will be in one of the Free the Children locations which include places such as Kenya or China or India and you can buy things such as vaccines or mosquito netting for others."
Ukos says the group will be sitting down Monday to discuss which country they would like to make the donation to.
Oxford County is offering qualifying businesses financial incentives for capital upgrades on their water systems.
It's part of the County's "Water Capacity Buy Back" program which looks to maintain reasonable and competitive water and wastewater rates through the deferral or
delay of costly capital infrastructure required for capacity expansion.
Director of Public Works Rob Walton says this program is for industrial and commercial businesses. "Starting in 2014, we'll budget $50,000 a year. Businesses that meet certain criteria will go through staff and have that approved, and the CAO signs off at the end of it, so we don't need County Council approval on those projects. Projects that go over the $50,000 that's budgeted will need to come back to County Council for approval."
The funds will be handed out on a first come, first served basis.
Walton says only one successful project has come before council since 2010 which required a significant financial contribution but the applicant has seen a 38% decrease in their annual water consumption.
He says if they can get those kinds of results in the future, it's a win-win. "It's a program where by them doing things to change their processes and investing money in it, we will co-invest with them (businesses) within the limits of the program to help them implement that to produce the water savings. On our systems, hopefully it will make it longer until we have to do expansions."
A water audit may be required on the application property to ensure water efficiency opportunities exist.
It's one of the most successful cancer fighting fundraisers in the province.
Once again, hundreds are expected to attend the Woodstock Relay for Life at College Ave. Secondary School. In 2012, Woodstock's relay raised over $300,000, the 7th most successful relay in all of Ontario.
The festivities kick off around 5 o'clock with a dunk tank featuring city councillor Jim Northcott. Others taking part are Police Chief Rod Freeman, Police Constable Bill McLeod, Fire Chief Scott Tegler, and Heart FM personalities Adam Nyp and Liz Wismer.
Opening ceremonies are set for 6:45 p.m. There will be live music and other festivities under this year's theme of "Carnival for a Cure".
The event is open to the public.
Those who have registered and raised funds for the event will spend 12-hours walking around the track at College Ave. Secondary. That will be kicked off by the "Survivors Victory Lap" at 7PM.
The popular "Luminary Ceremony" is set for 10PM, when those in attendance light candles in memory of those who have lost their battle with cancer.
A startling number of young people are relying on food banks, and emergency food in Oxford County.
New stats from Oxford's Social Planning Council on the issue of Food Security shows around 30% of those visiting organizations like the Salvation Army and Operation Sharing are under the age of 18.
Social Planning Coordinator Ashley Farrar says it's a major concern. "We know that children who grow up living in poverty, their brain develops differently. Not having access to healthy food, and needing to access emergency food providers, that is really concerning. Their brain is going to develop differently and that is going to last for their lifetime."
Another concerning stat, Farrar says, is in regards to the number of first-time users. "Around 30% of people accessing emergency food providers are new clients, which means each year, it's not the same people accessing the services. I think the increase in the price of food, and with the economy the way it is, we are seeing people access these services who have never had to do so before."
The price of nutritious food over the last few years, has risen 13%, contributing to a rising number of food bank users in the County.
The Social Planning report pulls together stats from all agencies in the County, from Tillsonburg to Tavistock.
Farrar says continuing to track the data will show how Oxford County is progressing in the area of Food Security. She also hopes it will help those agencies understand the issue their grappling with. "I've heard from a couple of agencies that it's the first time that they've seen a compilation of all of the information across the County, and they're finding it very interesting. Hopefully they'll be able to use it as they move forward in program planning."
Two men facing murder charges in the death of a Hamilton father have had their cases put over until August 1st.
Dellen Millard and Mark Smich, both in orange prison jumpsuits, said little during their separate video appearances in a Hamilton court today.
Their lawyers say they hope to receive disclosure from the Crown by Aug. 1.
Millard and Smich both plan to plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Tim Bosma, who disappeared May 6 after taking two men on a test drive of a pickup truck he was trying to sell online. His remains were found about a week later burned beyond recognition at a farm belonging to Millard.
Millard is also charged with forcible confinement and theft of a vehicle in relation to Bosma's death.
Millard's lawyer Deepak Paradkar says there "shouldn't be a rush to judgment'' in his client's case. Paradkar says Millard is being kept in a isolation, which has been tough, and has to "mentally prepare for the long road ahead.''
Concerns over speeding and poor sight lines are the reasons behind a new all way stop coming to Bright.
County Council approved the request from Blandford-Blenheim Wednesday that will see stop signs placed at the intersection of Oxford Road 8 and Oxford Road 22.
Mayor Marion Wearn says residents expressed major concerns for pedestrians crossing the road to go to the Post Office and convenience store. She says concerns have also been raised about the sightline to the west due a horizontal 'S' curve and a vertical curve west of the intersection.
Council also approved a speed reduction transition zone for those entering Bright. It will decrease from 80km/h, down to 60 and 50 as you enter the village.
The province has negotiated labour peace with the union representing public elementary teachers after protests that saw teachers withdraw from extra-curricular activities last fall.
The tentative agreement with the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario guarantees they'll be paid the same as counterparts in the French and Catholic school systems starting in 2014-15.
Education Minister Liz Sandals says public elementary teachers make two per cent less than their colleagues in other unions and that can't be justified in the next round of bargaining.
The tentative deal, which mirrors agreements with public high school teachers, freezes wages for most teachers in the current contract and also eliminates the ability to bank up to six months' worth of sick days to be paid out at retirement.
Oxford County has gained back some of their Complex Continuing Care beds, but not enough to satisfy Tillsonburg and Ingersoll.
Last week we told you during a presentation to Woodstock council, the South West LHIN announced 25 CCC beds were on the chopping block in Oxford County.
At County council Wednesday, the LHIN presented an updated projection of just 15 cuts, 6 beds in Tillsonburg and 9 in Ingersoll.
LHIN CEO Michael Barrett says he can tell the people of Tillsonburg and Ingersoll are passionate about healthcare in their community. "It has raised concern in those municipalities, but we need to ensure that we're working close with those municipalities and the hospitals in those communities to provide the best care possible for those residents."
However, Barrett says the beds that are being lost in Oxford County, will be a gain for an area that currently does not have any Complex Care beds. "What we will be doing is when these beds, if and when they are removed from Ingersoll and Tillsonburg, the resources we would normally fund those beds with, will be shifted up to Grey-Bruce, because Grey-Bruce right now, does not have any Complex Continuing Care beds, and we need to make sure they have those beds available."
Barrett spoke at Ingersoll council earlier this week and faced a hostile group of councillors.
Ingersoll Mayor Ted Comiskey says it's not right that Ingersoll should have to go from 14 beds down to just 5 when Woodstock gets to keep all of their 33 beds. "It does not only affect Ingersoll itself, but people in Zorra and South-West-Oxford that use our hospital. So it isn't just an Ingersoll issue, it's a County issues. Us losing those beds, it's a hit."
The LHIN's final recommendation will be presented June 26.
The news also has councillors is calling for an Oxford resident to sit on the board of the South West Local Health Integration Network.
A 25 year old Ingersoll man is accused of sexually assaulting a 15 year old.
OPP say the assaults on the boy took place over the past year.
Charged with two counts each of sexual assault, sexual interference with a person under 16 years of age and one count of Computer contact with person under 18 years of age for a criminal purpose is 25 year old Dean Zavitz of Ingersoll.
The City may not like it, but the County is going forward with their works yard expansion on County Road 30.
The City appealed the Official Plan Amendment necessary to connect the property to the Woodstock Wastewater System but Director of Public Works Rob Walton says the County has come up with a scaled down project despite the Ontario Municipal Board appeal.
"The two bays are not being added onto the north end of the existing building and we're not putting any wash facilities in for the trucks. The wash facilities are what had the big impact on the sewage flows so that's why we can consider doing a much smaller septic system which would accommodate the use which is just basically the internal renovations of the building."
Walton says the internal renovations include areas to accommodate facilities operations, construction of employee change rooms and lunch room,insulating walls and roof and constructing a file storage area.
The cost estimate for the reduced scope project is $950,000, that's $100,000 less than the cost of the full project.
While the City did file an appeal they have offered up property on Tecumseh street, free of charge to the County if they retire their expansion plans.
County Council decided today to go ahead with a scaled down version of their plans instead of taking the City's offer.
Woodstock Mayor Pat Sobeski says he's having a hard time understanding the logic and rationale of the County.
"The County said well we're going ahead and building three quarters of what we want and if we don't win the OMB hearing , well then we will have to find another location to put the other services we want out there so in essence the County is gambling $900,000 on a facility that they acknowledge will not meeting their future needs."
Walton says should the OMB hearing not favour the County they will simply apply for an upgraded septic system instead of connecting to City's waste water system.
New forensic testing is needed in the Victoria St. apartment explosion.
Woodstock Police today are revealing additional information was discovered in their latest follow-up investigation.
However, they're not revealing what that info is.
What they are saying is that in light of the additional information, there was a case conference in Barrie, involving several agencies.
The OFM and Centre of Forensic Sciences decided new forensic testing needs to be conducted, and once the new results are in, the cause of the explosion will be re-examined.
However, Woodstock Police Chief Rod Freeman isn't sure they're any closer to solving the case. "We really didn't discover any information first of all, that would lead us towards any criminality in this tragedy, and we didn't discover any new information that would really lend itself to explaining the cause of the explosion. That's the difficulty we find ourselves in."
The blast on the morning of March 27th, 2011 killed two elderly Woodstock residents, 73-year-old Margaret Gillett, and 79-year-old Bill Watmough, and injured dozens of others. Over 100 were left homeless as the explosion and subsequent fire destroyed most of the 3-storey apartment building.
Dorken was on vacation in February 2012, driving back to their condo in Ft. Myers at 2AM, from a full day at Disneyland with his family when they spotted a car on fire. At first, Nick thought the blaze was a dumpster fire. "My only inclination to turn around was to actually show my daughter what firefighters do when they roll up on scene to show her my job. My wife convinced me to turn around and wake her up, even though it was very late at night. Sure enough, we found the vehicle on fire with the victim still inside. If it wasn't for my wife (Kim), I would have kept on driving."
Nick approached the scene and noticed the unconscious driver still behind the wheel. He had apparently fallen asleep at the wheel, jumped a berm, and crashed into a light standard in a grove of palm trees in a parking lot.
Dorken says he rushed the scene, regardless of the fact that he wasn't equipped for a rescue. "I was in a muscle shirt, shorts and running shoes, and I had just taken my Mickey ears off. We (firefighters) train on people who are entrapped, and we always have to go the extra mile and use our tools and our gear to get these people out. And that's what I was thinking as I was racing towards this vehicle. He was fairly free of all obstructions and I was able to get him out fairly easily." Moments later, the car was fully engulfed in flames. (Photo on right - taken by Kim Dorken)
Today, Dorken received a Carnegie medal from Doug Chambers, who travels all over North America meeting heroes and issuing these unique medals. "The Carnegie medal is a bronze medal, it's unique. There's only one of them in the world, it's unique to him with a description of his heroic act on the back of it. In addition, everyone of our awardees gets a financial grant of $5000, which is theirs to use as they wish."
Chambers says their medals are only awarded to civilians who risk their life extraordinarily to save another. "We do not take 'extraordinarily degree' lightly. To put that in perspective, 20% of the awardees are awarded posthumously, because they died in the act."
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is calling her predecessor an "unwavering political force'' after Dalton McGuinty announced he's resigning as a member of provincial parliament.
Wynne says as premier, McGuinty steered Ontario through a global recession and three general elections.
McGuinty says the end of the legislative session is "an opportune time'' for him to end his service to the people of his Ottawa riding after nearly 23 years.
He says he's leaving politics with his idealism intact.
In a two-page statement announcing his intention to resign, McGuinty makes no mention of his controversial decisions to cancel gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga to save Liberal seats in the 2011 election.
He's also leaving amid fresh allegations that top Liberal staff in his office wiped out email accounts to try to cover up the costs of cancelling the projects.
An appeal by Woodstock won't stop the expansion of an Oxford County works yard.
County Council is being asked to put the project out to tender, despite an OMB challenge launched by the city.
The city is trying to put a stop to the cross-border wastewater service connection needed for the project. But Oxford County Council will receive a report today, that suggests 95% of the yard expansion can still proceed in spite of the appeal.
Warden Don McKay says the plan has been in the works for 3-years, and he doesn't understand why Woodstock's objection is just now coming forward. "This project has been talked about for 3-years, this year it's in the budget to move ahead. We wanted to hook up to the wastewater so we can expand the shop to include a wash bay for our vehicles, and the city has appealed that. So at this point, we can still proceed with the rest of the renovations there and continue the project."
Woodstock has raised issue with the fact that the expanded works yard will be right next to a future city subdivision.
As of right now, the land is in East-Zorra-Tavistock.
McKay, who is also the Mayor of EZT says, "The concern over the subdivision next door has never been raised in the 3-years that it's been before us as a business plan. So it's a little surprising I guess that a portion of it was appealed, but the reasons for the appeal don't match the actual project (service connection), or why hasn't this been raised sooner?"
A 60-day extension on the current public comment period on the landfill proposal isn't likely to happen.
Oxford People Against the Landfill have asked for an extension to allow for more time to review the Draft Terms of Reference that came out May 23rd.
However, Walker GM Joe Lyng doesn't seem willing to oblige. "At this point, we think the 30-day review period that we've put out is adequate."
Calls for an extension came after there were some issues with electronic copies of the ToR that were produced for members of the Community Liaison Committee, who participated in monthly meetings at Walker's office in Ingersoll. Members complained some pages are upside down, some letters are off the page, and there are blank spots where there should be info.
However, Lyng says those issues were in "Volume 3", the history of consultation, and not the Terms of Reference that people should be focusing on. "People who are very connected to the process, and want to do a very thorough job, and we understand that, but the public review and comment is mostly on the actual Terms of Reference document, which is Volume 1, so that's where we'd like people to focus their attention."
Lyng blamed the upside down pages on a scanning error when copying the documents, and says it didn't affect public copies of the document that are available at local township offices and libraries.
Woodstock's skatepark will be getting a little work done this summer.
As we told you last month, the company that built the park, Pattern Concrete, was back to look at some cracking in the concrete. City Parks Supervisor, Chris Kern says most of the cracks do not pose a safety issue to riders. "There's minor cracking that I had them look at with the Playground Practitioner and we both decided that the cracks were tolerable. Considering the amount of cement that was put in there, there's minor hairline cracks. There is one larger crack that's about 1/4 of an inch that he's going to put filler in."
The biggest adjustment coming to the park is the city is going to move the benches, that are currently at the top of the park (in photo). They will be built into the side of the hill. Kern says that will eliminate a hazard for skaters and bikers, so there's not sudden need to stop right at the top of the hill.
As for when the work is going to be done, Kern says that's up in the air. "We're totally waiting for Pattern Concrete, because of course, 'tis the season to make skateboard parks. I'm hoping they're going to be here as soon as possible and we can get that crack filled, plus some of the rock refilled, and get this bench area knit into the slope of the hill."
The city also thanks D&T Mobile Wash, who have donated their time and equipment to wash any graffiti off the park. That has allowed the city to avoid having an expensive sealer placed on the park to prevent permanent markings from graffiti.
Those who helped provide input on the landfill Terms of Reference, call the document "a Fiasco".
The Community Liaison Committee aren't happy with the draft ToR, saying some pages are upside down, some letters are off the page, and there are blank spots where there should be info.
The document was released on May 23rd, and members of the CLC say it took until June 6th to get a CD copy they could open and read.
Oxford People Against the Landfill has requested a 60-day extension from Walker on the current public comment period.
Spokesperson Steve McSwiggan says even without the circumstances surrounding the document, more time is necessary. "For them to roll out 6000 pages of documentation from the last year, and then ask our community to review it in 30-days is a little ridiculous."
McSwiggan says time is of the essence. "The final terms are on our doorstep now, happening in July and August. It's evermore important that Oxford County really review what they have on the plate right now, and have their comments ready on that document. This is a key moment, a pivotal moment for Oxford County."
There hasn't been a formal response yet from Walker on the 60-day extension request, but Heart FM will be speaking with Walker GM Joe Lyng later today.
We'll have to wait until August to find out if Michael Raffery's murder appeal will move forward.
Wearing a blue prison jumpsuit, Michael Rafferty appeared via video at the Court of Appeal for Ontario in Toronto where his matter was put over until Aug. 12.
The court heard that by Aug. 12, a private lawyer who has been in touch with Rafferty hopes to have enough information for the court to determine if Rafferty will get a court-appointed lawyer or have his application for legal aid approved.
Both scenarios would result in taxpayers footing the bill for Rafferty's appeal.
He's appealing his conviction in the kidnapping and murder of 8-year-old Tori Stafford. Rafferty is appealing on grounds that the judge in his trial failed to properly instruct the jury and that the jury didn't properly understand the required evidence to convict him of first-degree murder.
Ernie Hardeman says he's "disappointed", after Kathleen Wynne and House Leader John Milloy blocked his private members bill from gaining 2nd and 3rd reading.
Hardeman's bill, which has been introduced 5-times, was put up for unanimous consent this morning. But, Wynne and Milloy both said "No".
This, after Wynne spoke at a Fire Chiefs' convention, on May 6th, saying "mandatory carbon monoxide detectors is something we need to make happen."
Hardeman accuses Wynne of playing politics on a life-and-death matter. "Having her on the record and saying just a few weeks ago that this bill should get passed. I thought at the very least, I'd have her support in trying to get it through. Whatever her reasons were, I think it's inappropriate to be playing politics with this, once we've got it this far."
Hardeman also questions why Wynne felt it was necessary to voice her opposition to consent. "There was no reason she needed to say no. When you ask for unanimous consent it only requires one person to say no. I don't know why she wanted to make sure that it was so emphatic that she said no along with the house leader."
Hardeman is still holding out hope for his bill, which is still on the order paper, and will be back for 2nd reading later this year.
Oxford County Warden Don McKay previews issues coming up at County Council this week, including a zoning dispute with Woodstock, planning for turbines in Norwich, and making a safety adjustment in Bright.
Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman's bill to make Carbon Monoxide Detectors mandatory in all homes in the province has faltered once again.
Hardeman this morning sought to have the bill fast tracked into law, but the motion failed to gain unanimous consent in the legislature.
The "No"'s came from Premier Kathleen Wynne, and House Leader John Milloy.
Although the bill failed in its bid for unanimous consent this morning, it is still alive and able to work its way through the legislative process.
The bill has been introduced 5-times, and has passed second reading 3-times, without being passed the 3rd and final reading into law. The bill, called the "Hawkins-Gignac Act" is named after former Oxford OPP officer Laurie Hawkins and her family, who died of Carbon Monoxide poisoning in Woodstock in 2008.
80 people from across the country applied and the City of Woodstock has named their new Art Gallery Director and Curator.
British Columbia native Sheila Perry has accepted the position and has been the Director at a provincial art gallery in St John's Newfoundland since 2009.
Perry says she has a lot of ideas for the Woodstock gallery. "I want to see if we can elevate, become collaborators with other cultural entities in the city but also in the area with other cultural institutions in southern Ontario, and perhaps to see where we can actually go and how high".
Mayor Pat Sobeski is confident Perry will be a great asset as the gallery goes through a new governance model. "She's earned an M.B.A. through her life so she brings that curator part to it and that business management part to it. And as we're setting up the new governance model we think her experience will be very beneficial".
Sobeski says interim curator Patricia Deadman will now go back to work as a full time artist.
Rafferty will appear by video in the Ontario Court of Appeal in Toronto.
The man who was convicted of kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder in the death of Victoria Stafford is appealing the conviction of first degree murder saying the judge did not properly instruct the jury. He also feels the jury did not understand the required evidence to convict him of first-degree murder.
Rafferty was already denied Ontario legal aid for his appeal. However he is now seeking a lawyer under section 684 of the Criminal Code which allows a court or judge to appoint legal aid if they feel the accused does not have sufficient means to obtain assistance.
Solar panels are on the way for the Salford Community Hall.
The Ontario Power Authority has given the green light to the 10 megawatt FITT program.
Mayor David Mayberry says South West Oxford has asked the Salford Community Hall if they would like to partner in this project.
"The total cost is going to be just under $50,000. The hall board has money and they are considering if they want to take some of their investments which they're getting 1 or 2 percent for and the Township is suggesting they can do much better through this energy program."
Mayberry says the solar panels should be installed and operational by August.
As the school year whines down, teens are being encouraged to apply for summer jobs now.
The Woodstock Community Employment Centre says they have already place 189 students with jobs so far this year.
Career Councilor Lisa Bell says the Employment Centre offers a $2 wage subsidy to potential employers.
"It's for students between 15 and 30, they have to be looking for summer work and plan on returning to school in the fall. Basically what we can do is we can give students a marketing letter that tells potential employers that they're eligible for summer job service and the hope is that that will increase their chances of being hired."
Bell says there are several full and part time jobs that come in daily including odd jobs for those students who just want to work a day here and there.
She says the service has already placed more than 189 students with jobs this year.
Woodstock City Council may soon have their own planning staff.
At their April 4 meeting, the City asked staff to prepare a report that comparing the pros, cons and cost of hiring Planning Services for Zoning administration, Site Plan Approval and Committee of Adjustment services to replace the current service delivery model of using County Staff.
The request came as a result of City Council going against a number of County planning recommendations such as the extension of municipal wastewater facilities beyond the urban boundary.
Chief Administrative Officer David Creery told council Thursday night a rough estimate shows the current planning services costing the City around $240,000 a year with the cost to hire their own staff at around $110,000 plus administration costs.
City Council has now requested the Community and Strategic Planning Office to give a more accurate estimate of the cost of planning services under the Planning Advisory and Administrative Service Agreement using an Area Rating methodology.
Cuts are on the way for Complex Continuing Care beds in Oxford County.
Representatives from the South West Local Health Integration Network made the announcement to Woodstock Council Thursday night as part of their Access to Care Project presentation stating Oxford could go from 63 beds to just 38.
Representatives told council 62 percent of CCC beds in Oxford were being used for patient care that did not meet Complex Continuing Care eligibility.
Senior Director of System Design and Integration Kelly Gills says the changes are coming as a way to rebalance services within the LHIN.
"While we're looking at potential changes in bed numbers at certain organizations we're looking at as well, increasing community resources. It's an overall rebalancing so some numbers are going up, some numbers are going down, some greater investment in community care, so there's a number of moving parts to this strategy."
"We actually see some empty beds right now that weren't there before because we are getting people better transitioned to home and supported. Where there are people still waiting for long term care as an example, a portion of the people in those beds are there for that reason, but then we also see other people who are rightfully in those beds because that's the level of care they need."
Gills says one of the options being looked at is closing 16 beds in Tillsonburg and 14 in Ingersoll.
A recommendation will be made to the South West LHIN Board in June for directional decision making.
Local bar owners have been put on notice: Woodstock Police are watching.
The owner of "Double B Ranch" on Dundas St. has been hit with a dozen charges under the liquor license act.
51-year-old William Wilks faces 6 counts each of permitting drunkenness, and serving an intoxicated person.
Woodstock Police Chief Rod Freeman says it should come as no surprise to bar owners that police are watching. "Over the last couple of years, we've made a great effort to educate bar owners that we are out there. We conduct regular routine bar checks with uniformed officers, and we've also now taken steps to use undercover officers, just to watch a little more discreetly what's going on."
Freeman believes the root cause of ongoing issues with drunken behaviour downtown leads back to the over-serving of alcohol. "Public drunkenness, urinating in storefronts, vomiting in cabs, that's all unacceptable to 99.9% of our community. We want to make sure the law abiding community doesn't get infringed upon by these drunken people, who have no regard or respect for the rights of others."
Five new baseball diamonds could be on the way for Woodstock by the start of the 2016 season.
City Council approved a Rec Advisory Committee motion on Thursday night, to move phase one of the Woodall Farm Recreation Complex up by four years, following strong support from the community, and an immediate need for new diamonds.
Rec Advisory Co-Chair Dan Gray says he couldn't be happier that the project was moved into capital budget deliberations for 2014. Gray says they can now focus on all of the paperwork that comes with the project in order to see Phase one complete by May 1, 2016. "We're going to continue doing the studies, we're going to continue designing the complex, so that we have a premiere facility."
There's been calls from Woodstock's baseball community to make the project happen even sooner than 2016, but Gray says the timeline is simply too tight. "Because you have to do the infrastructure underneath of it for phase 2, there's a lot of digging. There's a lot of stuff under the ground, and under the surface that people don't know about. And even 2016, as much as I'm really pushing for it, that's a tight timeline."
The timeline for the project was bumped up by 4-years last night from May 1st, 2020, to May 1st, 2016.
The Ingersoll hospital is kicking off their biggest fundraising campaign in 20 years with a bang.
At a fundraising bbq Thursday night in Ingersoll, Verspeeten Cartage made a $50,000 kick off donation toward the Healthcare Undergoing Optimization or HUGO campaign.
Campaign Chair Dominic Ricciuto says this is a four year fundraising campaign. "HUGO is going to get implemented over time. So we're creating this as a campaign that will run now, until 2016 when HUGO is going to be fully implemented. So we're looking at donations and pledges that people or companies can give over 4-years. We're hoping to raise $1.1-million."
Ricciuto says HUGO is the next level for computer entry for the hospital that will bring a lot of simplified processes to the hospital while improving patient care and safety. Ricciuto says HUGO will enable simplified work flow processes and will reduce the likelihood of medication error through improved medication administration with barcode scanning.
President of Verspeeten Cartage, Ron Verspeeten says it was an easy decision to provide the kick off donation. "Ingersoll is our home base, and home to many of our employees, and we're just happy to give back to a community that's given us so much."
If you would like to donate to the hugo program you can do so by calling Robin Schultz at 519-485-1700 ext. 8213 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Construction is ready to begin on 54 new homes in Woodstock.
Geranium Homes held a launch event today, hilighting their Energy Start rating of their homes set to go up in the Sally Creek subdivision. So far, 5 homes, including 3 model homes have been built.
Geranium Corporation President Boaz Feiner (In photo with other Geranium, Enerquality officials and Woodstock Mayor Pat Sobeski) says the focus is on building quality and efficiency. "We fancy ourselves as a 'behind the wall builder'. We take a lot of pride in that, so we spend a lot of time on our built form. Everything you don't see, which really gives that assurance to you as a purchaser, to know that your home is built properly for years and years to come."
Homes in the subdivision range from $290,000 - $425,000. Geranium has also finished Phase 1 of 3 of a recreation centre for the residents. Phase one features a large banquet hall with a kitchen, bar and lounge/card room. Next phases will include a swimming pool, sauna, fitness area, workshops and craft rooms.
Feiner says they've fielded quite a few inquiries so far. "There has been a lot of interest, which is great, and it's calling from all over southern Ontario, which is very interesting. You try to designate where people would come from, but we're seeing people from out of province to people in Woodstock to people from Burlington and as far as Markham, so you know it's really a large pool of people looking to land in Woodstock and it's really encouraging."
Volunteers across the county are rolling up their sleeves in support of United Way Oxford's "Day of Caring".
85 participants are painting, gardening, or serving lunches in Tillsonburg, Ingersoll and Woodstock.
Team Members from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, along with VIP Home and Yard are throwing their support behind the cause at DASO today.
DASO's Development and Communications Manager, Barb Wright says TMMC have supported their efforts in a number of ways over the years. "This is special, it's so wonderful that we can welcome some of their employees to our facility, our shelter here. It just strengthens the partnership so that's why we're grateful to them".
Team Members from TMMC Woodstock and Cambridge attended today's event. TMMC Quality Control Assistant Manager (Cambridge) Melinda Bell encourages other businesses, organizations and individuals to get involved. "Just get out there and see what is available. It doesn't matter, any kind of volunteering; it's a great feeling just to know that you are having some input to make somebody's life a little bit better".
United Way Oxford have 13 projects in total going on today including the work happening at DASO.
Firestone Textiles had Eastdale students all fired up today.
The Woodstock company donated $2000 towards the public elementary school's drive towards building playground equipment for the students.
Principal Regina Smith says right now all the students have are sandboxes. "Our students don't have any playground equipment to play on, so it would be fantastic. They'd be so excited to have something different to play with. And even though they still want to play in sandboxes, they'd love a great big playground and it would give them something different to do at recess time."
Firestone presented a cheque to the school at an assembly this morning. Seeing the enthusiasm of the students, Firestone GM Bob Galway came away feeling good about their donation. "It's the first time I've been to this school, and it was really uplifting. I'm pleased to say that we've picked a real, real good place to donate this money." (In photo: L-R - Jim Smith, Firestone Accounting Manager, Rachel Martin, Fundraising Committee, Bob Galway, Firestone GM)
Firestone supports several charitable events and organizations on an annual basis, but also keeps money aside for special projects to support in the community, like this one. Alumnus of the school, and Firestone Accounting Manager Jim Smith brought the playground campaign to the company's attention, and hopes other local companies will help the school out. "I'd like to challenge the other businesses in Woodstock to donate what you can. It's a worthwhile cause. It would be nice if everyone came up with enough money."
The school is up over $10,000 now, but has a ways to go to hit their $100,000 goal. The fundraising continues on Saturday. The school is hosting a BBQ and Car Wash in the Zehrs parking lot in Woodstock from 11AM-2PM.
Below: Playground plans for Kindergarten students (left), junior and intermediate students (right).
The Town of Tillsonburg is looking for more exposure through a partnership with Verspeeten Cartage.
The trucking company has agreed to mount signage to their trailers advertising Tillsonburg as a great place to live and visit.
Tillsonburg Mayor John Lessif says they are starting with 12 trailers and hope to eventually expanded to at least 24. "They (Verspeeten) have volunteered the use of their trucks-trailers and we have invested in putting together the graphics and actual signs and having them mounted on to the vehicles at the town's expense. It's another opportunity that we've looked at to market our community".
According to Lessif, the program will cost between $7000 to $10,000.
The tractor-trailers will travel between Windsor and Montreal and into the United States as far south as Kansas City.
The Rotary Clubs of Oxford County honoured local students during a special ceremony Wednesday night.
The 'Rotary Medals' are handed out to students in the county who display "excellent moral characters". Individuals who participate in one or more school activity and who have made some worthy contribution to the life of their school are criteria the Rotary suggest students look for when nominating their fellow classmates.
The selection of Rotary Medalists is made my each school and the nominees have to be in the 12th grade.
Each school with fewer than 50 students in the 4th year selected one student while schools with more than 50 students in the 4th year selected one male and one female.
This year's recipients of the $400 bursaries were:
College Avenue Secondary School
École secondaire Notre-Dame
Glendale High School
Huron Park Secondary School
Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute
St. Mary’s High School
Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School
Woodstock Collegiate Institute
An electronic sign is in the works for the Norwich Community Centre.
Director of Community Development Pat Hovorka told Heart FM they are planning to gut out and refurbish the original steel structure that is there now.
Hovorka says the electronic sign would allow the Township to cycle through more than one message on the sign at one time.
"We have a board there now or sign that we use for blood donor clinics and that sort of stuff, but I want something that's going to be wireless and digital, something that's more esthetically pleasing, a little more professional. It's going to be a really good medium to get messages out to the community."
"If something were to ever happen, god forbid we have another disaster, ie a tornado it's hard to get messages out to people, so it would be a medium for us, because we're on a diesel generator so if we lose power we're still operational. It's like an emergency centre too but we will be able to send messages out to the community if need be."
Hovorka estimates the project will cost around $15,000 and he hopes to have the sign installed by the end of the summer.
If public feedback is any indication, taxpayers want council to step up to the plate for a new recreation complex.
The city received a strong showing of support for the project during a 90-day public comment period that recently wrapped up.
Mayor Pat Sobeski says there were 128 responses, the large majority in favour of the project, and sooner than 2016. "The message is: we think there's a definate need for it, we think there's a need for it today, and we know council has it sort of 5-years out, but if you can push it ahead, we're certainly very supportive of that."
However, Sobeski says there is still a lot of work ahead. "It's not just going out and throwing down grass seed and throwing bases down, there's a lot of infrastructure."
A series of studies on the environmental impact, engineering and planning of the complex are the next steps. Council is being advised to have that discussion later this year, during 2014 budget deliberations.
Council is also set to hear a presentation from the Recreation Advisory Committee about the project on Thursday night.
Here's a list and estimated cost of the studies ahead for the project:
One of the signature pieces of the old Woodstock Hospital came down quickly today.
The last above ground structure to come down, the old chimney stack, was demolished in about 45-minutes this morning.
Hospital VP of Services Perry Lang says the end of the hospital demolition is drawing near. "With that chimney being demolished today, that really only leaves the foundation work. Where they will be digging out the foundation, grinding it up, and placing it back in the hole. So at this point, we're probably only 2 to 3 weeks away from the finish of demolition."
The property will then be put on the market by Canadian Real Estate company, CBRE, who has experience in marketing larger parcels, like the hospital's 8.6-acres.
The land will be sold to a builder to develop future houses. Lang says, "At this point no price has been established on the sale of the land. We're hoping the market will dictate price. The proceeds from the sale of land will go towards offsetting the cost of demolition, with the hopes that we're able to more or less break even on the project."
The former hospital lands have been re-zoned for future residential development.
18-year-old Alex Buehlow from Drumbo is vying to become the youngest male to ever swim across Lake Ontario.
Buehlow's crossing attempt is set for August 12th, setting out from Niagara-on-the-Lake, finishing at Marilyn Bell Park in Toronto.
He's doing the swim in support of "Three to Be" - an organization that helps children with neurological disorders. Alex tells Heart FM why that organization is dear to him. "It's a personal cause, I have autism and so does my sister, so I'm affected by it and my sibling has it too." Alex is attempting to raise $100,000 for the cause. You can find more information on Facebook.
He's hoping to become not only the youngest, but fastest crosser in history. He will have to beat a time of 13-hours and 49-minutes. Alex explains what he's currently doing to train for the event. "Right now I'm climatizing to the cold water, just so I can get used to it, and also doing some long distance swims in the pool."
Buehlow, who swims with the Wilmot Aquatic ACES, will be 18 when he makes his crossing attempt later this summer. Gregg Taylor swam across Lake Ontario in 2003 at 19-years and 213-days.
Last summer, 14-year-old Annaleise Carr of Norfolk County captured national attention becoming the youngest person ever to swim across the lake.
Getting local men to pump-up by wearing high heels has measured up for DASO.
Domestic Abuse Services Oxford pulled in over $8400 with their weekend awareness walk.
It was the first year the "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" took place in downtown Woodstock, for improved visibility.
The top fundraising team was the Rotary Clubs of Oxford with $1440. The five clubs (Woodstock, Woodstock-Oxford, Ingersoll, Tavistock and Tillsonburg), each had a representative in the walk (photo left).
The walk, which promotes ending violence against women also had some high profiled, high heeled walkers. Police Chief Rod Freeman and Fire Chief Scott Tegler (photo right) traded in their black dress shoes for red pumps to support the cause.
With education dollars being stretched further and further, students at Huron Park are helping out.
The school is hosting a board-by-board walk-a-thon Tuesday to raise funds to purchase a new $200,000 hard wood floor for they gymnasium.
Phys-ed Department Head Jeremy Yates says the floor hasn't been upgraded since the late 1960s. "It's parkay tile on top of concrete, so it's quite a hard surface which leads to long term joint problems; it's not as advanced as the hardwood floor that most schools would have today".
The students will be collecting pledges while walking the track all morning as well as participating in carnival type games.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so by calling the school 519-537-2347.
Improvements are on the way for the Norwich Community Centre.
Construction crews will be descending on the parking lot Monday morning for a $300,000 resurfacing project.
Director of Community Development Pat Hovorka says the resurfacing should take about two weeks.
"That means basically excavating all the existing asphalt that is situated in the parking lot now and pulverizing that, bringing everything up to grade, probably with a few additional catch basins that we're going to add to it so we can enhance our drainage capabilities throughout the centre."
Hovorka says patrons coming into the arena will need to use the parking lot at the north end of the building while resurfacing takes place.
The parking lot rehabilitation will be completed by Viewcon Construction out of Woodstock.
He says inside they will be switching over to florescent lighting.
"We're probably going to run that for the next 7 or 8 years before we switch over again to LED. Our first choice is LED lighting but at the moment it's just too cost prohibitive, so we're going to stick with florescent which we're pretty excited about."
Hovorka says the switch over will also qualify the Community Centre to receive an energy payback which he estimates will be available to them within 18 months.
On top of those projects staff will also be doing some exterior painting and addition of outdoor benches, as well as an accessible sidewalk is in the works over the next few weeks.
Beachville residents are celebrating a piece of baseball history.
For the past two weekends, the museum has been celebrating the 175th anniversary of the first recorded baseball game in North America, which took place in Beachville.
Event Coordinator Sue Howe tells Heart FM some of the differences between the game back then and the game now.
"Years ago, they actually had five bases. There equipment was actually just a cedar bat, just a piece of tree and a ball of twine wrapped in leather and they don't have a catchers mat so that's how they're actually playing here. For the last two weekends that's how they're playing it."
There is still time today to take in a vintage baseball game or see a re-enactment musket fire demonstration.
The events kick off at 9 and go until 5 at the Beachville museum.
The slots at Woodstock Raceway may soon be under new management.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has launched the Request for Pre-Qualification which would see a private company take over the day to day operations of six local gaming facilities known as the Southwest Gaming Bundle.
OLG Spokesperson Tony Bitonti says the modernization will help to increase revenue to help fund provincial and municipal projects such as hospitals and infrastructure.
"Gaming companies have to keep the staff that they have for a minimum of 12 months, so that means there is some stability there. When we are looking at the addition of table games, well table games come with jobs. You need card dealers, you need supervisors."
Bitonti says the winning service providers must continue to operate all six gaming centres in their mapping zone though they would have the option to relocate the centre should a more suitable site be determined.
He says the site would still need to be within the mapping zone so in the case of Woodstock, the slots would need to remain either within the City limits or within a select area within Oxford County.
A Woodstock man is waiting on a bail hearing after crashing a stolen vehicle.
Just before 9:30 last night Woodstock Police were called when a van was taken from a Wellington Street home.
While police were investigating they got another call saying a collision had occurred involving the stolen van in a construction zone on County Road 4, and the driver abandoned the van after hitting a concrete barrier.
The man was eventually found hiding in the tall grass in the area of the GM plant and was arrested.
Woodstock Police want to speak to a man who appeared to be following a little girl as she walked to school.
It happened Friday morning when a crossing guard noticed a suspicious vehicle driving very slowly on Mill Street near Albert in Woodstock.
Police say the vehicle appeared to be following the young girl, though the driver didn't appear to try and speak with the girl, it wasn't until the girl got near the school that the vehicle drove away.
Police are looking for a white man, 25-30 years old, unshaven, wearing a dark short sleeve shirt and driving a black Nissan, 2 door sports car.
As always, Tavistock is the centre of the Crokinole world this weekend.
The World Crokinole Championships get underway this morning for the 15th year.
Registration is up this year with 280 participants in 8 different categories, including singles, doubles and juniors.
One of the organizers, John Schultz, says players in the competitive division are something to behold.
"Top of the world, to the best of our knowledge, the best ones are here. If they're not here, well we wonder why they're not here yet. I just watched some of them play and I said, my gash, they're good."
Spectators are welcome at the Tavistock Arena.
Tavistock has been the longtime host city of the event, as it was the home of Eckhardt Wettlaufer, the maker of the earliest known Crokinole board.
The new 12 million dollar Upper Thames Watershed Conservation Centre is officially open.
Oxford County was the second largest contributor to the building which was built entirely of taxpayer money from member municipalities.
Ingersoll councillor and Upper Thames Board members Cathy Mott says the new building was much needed.
"(The old building) was a health hazard, water leaked everywhere, carpet was torn up, people were stacked three or four to an office that was built for one person, it was difficult to walk through."
Blandford Blenheim Mayor Marion Wearn says even though the building is located in London, it is an incredible gain for Oxford County.
"We are part of this watershed and this new facility is encorporating so much in the way of allowing public input and public use and I think it's a great work environment certainly for the people who are doing this conservation work for us."
Upper Thames General Manager Ian Wilcox says they do a lot of work with Oxford member groups such as trail associations and sub-watershed groups.
"One of the challenges we've had with those groups is maybe hosting a one day event, whether it's a meeting of the group itself or a workshop, having a facility to host that. This building was designed not just for staff but for communities to use."
Oxford contributed just under $2 million for the building which is hoping to gain a platinum designation from North America's premier green building rating system.
The Conservation Authority estimates energy savings alone will more than pay for the capital costs of the project over the next 50 years.
Smokers in Ingersoll are being challenged to butt out.
Today is world "No Tobacco" Day, and the Ingersoll Nurse Led Practitioners Clinic is talking about the immediate benefits of quitting smoking.
Smoking Cessation Expert, Shannon Hutson. "After 12-hours your blood oxygen level has returned to normal, as well as your carbon monoxide levels. And after 24-hours the anxiety that you will have will already have piqued in intensity, and will start to return to normal after 2-weeks.
Hutson says after 48-hours, damaged nerve endings will start to repair, and smokers will start to get back their sense of smell and taste.
You can learn more in this week's Oxford Review, as well as participate in a ballot contest for a $25 gift card from the Ingersoll Pharmasave.
Above all incentives, Hutson says most smokers simply need to have a reason to quit. "Everybody's reasons are different, so thinking of a really good reason is a good start. Some people quit because they have grandkids and they don't want to smoke around them. Some people quit because they want to save money. Some people quit for health reasons. You just need to pick a reason, and that will be your goal."
Woodstock's Quality Inn has been awarded the 2013 Platinum Hospitality Award from Canada's largest hotel franchiser, Choice Hotels Canada.
The award is handed out to just three percent of the chain's 307 locations and is based on surveys and third-party reviews, including brand identity and condition.
Hotel General Manager, Ifhan Hudda says this award was a culmination of many years of hard work from his staff.
"Definitely the stringent policies and standards, making sure they're always followed and most of all making sure the guest is always attended to. We want to anticipate their needs and we will keep doing that. In order to do and make sure that keeps happening, that is how we can make sure we keep winning these awards every year."
Director of Franchise Operations, Brendan Gibney says it's getting very hard for hotels to win the prestigious Platinum Hospitality Award.
"It's all about cleanliness and condition of the hotel, it's all about guest satisfaction at the front desk. So they just need to keep doing what they're doing and they do what they do really well, so it's a matter of being consistent and in hotels that's the really difficult part."
"Every year it's harder to win because our system gets better every year. So these guys, who have won I think award four times in the past five years, to see a perennial winner is really almost unheard of."
The Quality Hotel & Suites is just one of ten properties in Canada to receive this honour.
About Three Weeks Ago by Ashley DeGroote & Adam J. Nyp
The province is changing its rules when it comes to green energy projects.
Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli announced today, the government wants to give municipalities more of a say over where new wind and solar farms can be located. He says developers of large scale green energy projects will have to work with municipalities before seeking approval from the Ontario Power Authority.
However, the move might be too little, too late for Norwich Township. Norwich has declared itself an "unwilling host" for wind turbines. But 10 turbines are slated to be constructed along Gunn's Hill Road next year. They're being constructed by ProWind Canada, and already have OPA approval.
Township Councillor Susan Hampson isn't sure today's announcement will change those plans. "Until we sort of get the fine print, and get it deciphered, what it actually means...then we'll know better whether it will have anything to do with delaying or getting some more input for this project out here."
But Hampson says the change of rules is a victory for those who have been lobbying for more of a voice when it comes to where green energy projects go in the province, including the East Oxford Alliance. "We have been lobbying and working for that, not just in Norwich, there's a whole area of municipalities in Ontario that have formed a group and they've been doing some really great work."
About Three Weeks Ago by The Canadian Press
What will become Canada's largest private sector union now has a name.
The new group, which brings together the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada and the Canadian Auto Workers, will be called "Unifor".
Its logo will be a red U on a white shield.
Union brass made the announcement in Toronto, bringing the merger one step closer to completion.
The CEP and CAW voted last year to join forces, a move they hope will boost the national labour movement.
The new union would represent more than 300,000 workers across roughly 20 sectors of the economy.
Most of the membership would be concentrated in manufacturing, communications and transportation. But the new union would also represent some public sector employees working in health, education and transit roles.
If you were ever curious about what it's like inside the old Harvey Woods building, after sitting vacant for 2-decades, you're about to get your chance.
On June 8th, Homestead Christian Care is opening up the building to the public for an open house.
Workers have been busy cleaning up the interior, and Homestead Director of Projects and Development, Graham Cubitt says this week volunteers, including help and supplies from Home Depot in Woodstock have started to build a model unit (in top photo). "For a lot of people, they like to see something physical in order to imaging the space becoming housing. It's going to be quite a transformation. So by building a model suite we'll be able to actually show what it's going to look like in the end."
One of those volunteers putting up the framing on the model unit Wednesday, was Woodstock resident Henry Kleinenberg. "As it turns out, there's lots of work to do here in Woodstock, so we volunteered for Homestead homes. We did a new kitchen up in the old building last year (Blossom Park), and Graham was kind enough to invite us again for this time."
Heart FM got an inside look at the rest of the renos, which are very extensive. Former Woodstock Mayor Michael Harding, who is now spearheading the fundraising campaign on the project, says single bedroom affordable housing units are a scarcity, and badly needed in Woodstock. "Many people who are disabled, and that's who's going to be in this building, are playing 50-70% of their income just to put a roof over their heads. They're having to choose between food and rent. This would be the first time such a large facility is available to this target audience. It's going to be very needed, and it's going to be filled very quickly."
In fact, Homestead has already been fielding calls and inquiries from those interested in the units.
Construction on 40-units is able to proceed outside of an Ontario Municipal Board appeal on the zone change for the property. The remaining 15 units in phase 1 and 26 units from phase 2 will be subject to the OMB appeal from neighbours.
OPP are widening their investigation in the case of 27 year-old Dellen Millard.
According to the Manitoulin Expositor, OPP were contacted by the owner of Discovery Yacht Charters in Little Current who said Millard had rented a sailboat from his company in 2011.
Chris Blodgett said Millard rented one of his boats for 10 days and during his cruise, ran into mechanical issues. Blodgett went out to help and says he found blood on the boat but Millard had an explanation for blood on the vessel, which Blodgett felt was acceptable. Until he heard the news on the case of Tim Bosma.
Millard is facing first-degree murder charges in the death of Bosma.
Supposedly Millard left the port with a woman, returned to drop her off and headed back out with another woman.
Blodgett says when he went to assist Millard with the mechanical issues, he did not see the woman on the boat but noticed the blood. Blodgett says he did not see Millard when he docked the boat after his cruise so the woman may have returned with him then.
OPP are saying very little about this part of their investigation but have supposedly conducted forensic testing on the boat Millard used.
A proposed crematorium in Woodstock is headed for the Ontario Municipal Board.
Back in April, City council voted 4-3 to deny a zone change application for the Bysham Community Business Park proposal though they had previously supported the sale of the half acre of land to Good for $32,500.
President of Ontario Cremation Services, Carl Good believes the denial of his application had nothing to do with zoning and says council left him no choice but to file an appeal with the Ontario Municipal Board.
"If you just read the paperwork as to why it was denied, even in council chambers or even at the council meeting the day of all of the questions were about the environment and questions about who I was going to be doing business with where's my business coming from. What about those questions have anything to do with a zoning amendment?"
Council denied the application stating it did not fit the industrial community though Good says other businesses in the area cause more industrial harm than anything he would be doing.
He says he's confident the OMB will find his proposal does fit into an industrial setting and will not have a negative impact on other businesses.
Good says his application has been filed though he is not sure at this point when the matter will come before the OMB.
Construction remains on schedule for Execulink to open its new Woodstock headquarters late this summer.
The new HQ will combine Execulink's current offices in Burgessville, London and Kitchener into one 20,000 square foot building on Ridgeway Road, overlooking Highway 401.
CEO Ian Stevens says work on the new facility is coming together. "You drive by the sight, you see they're putting brick on the outside, and the mechanical and electrical contractors are busy inside the building, getting ready for our September opening."
Aside from building a new head office, a separate state of the art data centre is also being built. The data centre will store business data in a controlled location.
Up to 110 employees will be relocated to the new building, and Stevens says there are a number of current openings. "As you know this (move of head office) can be very disruptive to people to move from one city to another. So we have some people who are choosing to take their careers somewhere else. So we're just continuing to recruit for our team...there will be continuing job postings while we sort ourselves out."
This includes technical support, customer service, and sales staff.
A warning to local gardeners, giant hogweed is back.
The poisonous plant can burn skin and cause blindness in not only people but some animals such as cows.
It is described as very tall, spiny and white with large leaves that can grow up to two feet across.
County of Oxford Weed Inspector Carol Tattersall says you need to wear gloves, long sleeves and even eye protection when removing the weed.
"Probably the best method would be spraying it from a distance. Once the plant is dead, you can remove the material. Seeds can last in the ground for up to ten years so it's going to be applications over several years to destroy the seed bank."
Tattersall says while we don't have a lot of giant hogweed, she says it does prefer damp, moist areas along streams and riverbanks.
If you think you have found Giant Hogweed on your property and need help identifying it, please call the County of Oxford at 519-539-9800, ext. 3132.
Toronto Homicide detectives are active today at the scene of Dellen Millard's farm in Waterloo.
That's where police found the remains of 32-year-old Tim Bosma two weeks ago. Millard was subsequently charged with 1st degree murder.
But forensic investigators have returned to the farm today, and have been digging the ground, and searching a white van on the property.
Toronto Police have been working jointly with Hamilton Police since the Bosma case broke. There's a connection to Dellen Millard and missing Toronto woman Laura Babcock. She disappeared in June 2012, and her phone records show the two exchanged eight phone calls in the days leading up to her disappearance.
However, police on scene today are not providing details on what they're searching for.
Safe Communities Woodstock is now under new leadership.
Current co-chairs, Police Chief Rod Freeman and Fire Chief Scott Tegler are handing over the reins as of June 1st.
Kelly Farrell, First Aid Coordinator at the Canadian Red Cross will be the new Chair for the local injury prevent organization.
Farrell believes her current position with Canadian Red Cross and knowledge will assist her with the new position. "I come from a long background of injury prevention. I'm the First Aid Coordinator at the Canadian Red Cross, before that I was a First Aid Instructor which the majority of our course is about preventing injuries. So, that in conjunction with all of the stuff I have learned through Safe Communities and being part of the Injury Prevention group as well I think putting all that together gives me a really solid, sound opportunity to be able to present the ideas that Safe Communities stands for".
The Safe Communities Woodstock consists of a group of 17 community members which was brought together by the teamwork of Chief Freeman and Chief Tegler.
Tegler says they view the Safe Communities as a good tool for the city on many levels. "We've looked at this as a good thing for our community to promote the community for anybody that wants to come here looking at to relocate, to come and live. I think it was a priority for us to make sure it got through, established and now with the changing of the guard, let Kelly take over and have her new ideas".
Both Freeman and Tegler will continue to sit on the committee and work with the group to ensure Woodstock is a safe place to live, learn, work and play.
Freeman feels the new designation will help clear some earlier confusion with Safe Communities and crime free communities. "I think there was just a bit of a misrepresentation every time I would get up in full uniform and represent the project, people immediately thought crime and crime reduction. Certainly that's a bit part of my career and our efforts here at the Woodstock Police Service, but the Woodstock Safe Communities project is directed more specifically at injury reduction".
You could feel the excitement at the Woodstock Community Health Centre a week ago, when the Health Minister announced a capital expansion.
However, it may up to 2-years before that expansion becomes a reality.
As Executive Director Cate Melito explains, they have just entered step 1 of a 5 step process towards their needed expansion. "We will gradually move through stages 2 through 5. It's reasonable to expect this will take some time. It could be a matter of 1 to 2-years before we get from where we are today to making those lease-hold improvements."
The expansion includes interior renovations, and a 2-storey expansion onto the south end of the former Post Office building, owned by local developer Arnold Spina.
The expansion will allow for more youth and senior programs, along the theme of health promotion, as well as new exam rooms for primary health care. Melito says, "Part of the capital process is we need to submit business plans for each program that we're wanting to offer. That has to be reviewed and ratified by the Ministry before they confirm."
Melito says those programs are currently limited for space. But the capital expansion will give them 10,000-11,000 square feet, more than double their current 7000 square feet.
There was no mention of the dollar-figure on the forthcoming provincial investment, and for good reason. The project has yet to go out to tender, and Melito says the province wants to get the most competitive bids possible.
The next step has been taken towards a mega-landfill being opened up in Beachville.
Walker Environmental, as scheduled, released its draft Terms of Reference late last week.
It's a 31 page document, outlining the various questions and concerns raised by the public as it relates to the impact the landfill would have. Walker's "technical experts" will attempt to answer those concerns.
The draft is now open for a 30-day public comment period.
Walker GM Joe Lyng says he hopes the public will read the document and make comments over the next 30-days. "Hopefully we've written it in a way that the average person can go through and understand what we're getting at. There is a fair amount of planning and environmental language in there, but I think we've tried the best we could to use plain language so the average person can pick up and read it."
The draft Terms of Reference is available for anyone to pick up and read at the following locations:
-Municipal offices in Zorra, Southwest Oxford, Ingersoll and the County of Oxford
-Ingersoll and Thamesford Libraries
-The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food office at 401 Lakeview Drive in Woodstock
-Ministry of the Environment London Regional/District Office
-Walker Environmental Group office at 160 Carnegie Street in Ingersoll
Steve McSwiggan with Oxford People Against the Landfill says they have a committee looking at the draft terms, but says they'll likely hold off on comments until the final terms are released. "People are going to get more bang for their buck, as far as comments go at the final term, because that's when you should be going to the Ministry. They're the voice that has to listen to the public comment. That's when you're going to be heard by both parties, the Ministry and the proponent."
McSwiggan, who also sits on the Community Liaison Committee that provided input to Walker, says he and others on that committee are "disappointed" that more input from the CLC wasn't included in the draft Terms of Reference.
Below: a timeline from Walker on the next steps for their landfill proposal.
A locally started tourism attraction is expanding provincially.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation has provided a $115,000 grant to see the expansion of the Barn Quilt Trails.
Tillsonburg Mayor John Lessif says the barn quilt trails were the brain child of a group of local volunteers who came to the Sand Plains Community Development Fund asking for assistance.
Lessif tells Heart FM where the Barn Quilts are locally. "In Oxford, I think all of the current barn quilts are located in the south end of Oxford but I know there are plans underway to expand that through the north part of Oxford so I know we'll be covered right through our county"
The tours have become a popular destination for history buffs according to Lessif. "There's a history behind every barn quilt and there's a story to be told and at each site that they are located on there's a short story on the history behind the barn quilt and location".
The Barn Quilt trails are made up of large plywood paintings of quilt designs which tell the stories of place, culture and community history.
The original idea was funded with just five thousand dollars and spans Brant, Norfolk, Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford Counties.
The 17th Annual Dairy Capital Walk/Run took over Southside park yesterday as runners and walkers raised funds in support of the Woodstock Hospital Foundation.
Participants took on the 10K, 5K and 2K as well as the Lil' Hoofers for the youngsters.
According to organizers, it was their biggest year with over 800 participants raising roughly $45,000 in support of the WGH Foundation.
The top fundraising team was Vuteq brining in $1840 and the individual top fundraiser was Vera Stewart who raised $730.
$11,563 was brought in through pledges alone.
Vuteq gathered a team of 168 walkers and runners, with Toyota Boshoku teaming up with 88 participants.
Event organizers Kathy DeWeerd and Karen Langdon extended their thanks to the many volunteers and sponsors who made the day possible.
The funds will be used to purchase a Direct Mobile Radiography machine, a portable x-ray machine for the Diagnostic Imaging Unit. The new machinery will offer imagining technology at the bedside when moving a patient is difficult or unsafe.
A new multi-million dollar church has opened on Devonshire Avenue.
The Holy Trinity Catholic Parish opened Sunday to thousands of worshipers with standing room only in a facility that holds over one thousand.
Chair of the Parish Council Michael Carnegie says the new facility was very necessary once St Rita's, St Mary's and Sacred Heart were closed. "The reality is, we have fewer ordained ministers available all across the province, so we had to go down from two to one parish and pastor in the city of Woodstock and area. And so what we have done is we have gone from four masses per week to now on the weekends three masses. And the increase size allow us to serve our over two-thousand families of this congregation".
Carnegie says the name Holy Trinity was chosen because it is a symbol of three becoming one, since three congregations came together under one roof.
The 14th annual Special Olympic torch run took over Woodstock Saturday.
Runners left the Woodstock Police Headquarters and made their way with a police escort down to Boston Pizza.
Coach Gary Farrington says this event is very important to the participants.
"If it wasn't for this a lot of them would have nothing else to do throughout the season. It's very important for them to get that physical activity and they make new friends and they get to travel around and stuff like that, companionship so it's a big dividend all around for them."
Local athlete Ryan Matez says he has been participating for ten years in curling, basketball and softball.
"It's an opportunity for me to give back to Special Olympics."
Matez says the run is something he looks forward to all year long.
Last year the torch run raised three thousand dollars for the Woodstock Special Olympic sports programs. Farrington was hoping to raise a similar amount this year.
Children as young as 2 are looking to make a difference in our community.
It's part of the annual Dairy Capital Run which features many races including the little Hoofer's for kids aged 2-6 years.
Program and Gift Coordinator for the Woodstock General Hospital, Kathy Deweerd says money raised will go toward a Direct Mobile Radiography machine for the Diagnostic Imaging Unit which is a portable xray which offers imaging technology at the bedside when moving a patient is difficult or unsafe.
"The DI department are really excited that this is what our focus is and it will be an excellent compliment to the DI services we offer right now."
Deweerd says they have added some cash and prizes this year.
"Every participant will get a medal once you cross the finish line which I think is wonderful and the first place will get a cash prize so it's great. I mean even if you're a beginner runner, you're still going to get a medal."
Prior to race day, organizers had already seen a 35 percent increase in registration with more than 200 new runners.
The events kick off at 8:30 at Southside Park with anyone wishing to still register asked to be at the park by 7:30.
That is the purpose of the first annual Time To Change Minds walkathon taking place at College Avenue Secondary School (CASS) Sunday afternoon.
According to Canadian Mental Health Association Oxford Branch Executive Director, Mike McMahon, the walk was created by Tyler Maskell's parents, sister and extended family.
"The Time To Change Minds Walk was an initiative made immediately after the passing of Tyler Maskell. Tyler died from suicide and mental illness on January 8th and the family had decided really even before Tyler's passing that they were going to try and find a way to help other families experiencing the same, in their words 'torture' of mental illness that their family went through during the time of Tyler's serious illness".
Tyler was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his late teens; he was 20 year-old when he died earlier this year.
As McMahon points out, Tyler is one of many youth that suffer with mental illness.
"Whether it's in Oxford County or in the province or in Canada, youth experience mental illness at a rate of 1-in-5. So there's no determination on how serious the illness will be for one young person out of 5, but for teachers that are in the classroom and for parents that are caring for children, 1-in-5 is a staggering reality in our community".
The funds raised at the event will benefit local programs and services the Maskells have used at the CMHA Oxford, Woodstock Hospital (First Episode Psychosis Program) and St Joseph's Health Care (Family Education Program).
But Tyler's family wants this event to focus mostly on raising awareness and helping people understand mental illness, as well as reaching out to those seeking help.
Oxford People Against the Landfill are hosting Trashapalooza!
It's a recycling and fundraising event being hosted by the group battling the Walker Landfill proposal.
The event is an opportunity to bring household goods you no longer use, but maybe someone else will pick it up and give it a second life.
Karen Paton-Evans says they're also looking for these donations.
"Collecting scrap metal so we will be able to send those to a recycler and get cash for them to help fund OPAL's ongoing expenses for a hydrogeologist and an air quality expert as we try to figure out how we're going to continue fighting Walker's landfill proposal."
There will also be speakers and musical performances at the event.
It runs from 9 till 6 at the Foldens Hall and Shop at the corner of Sweaburg Road and Foldens Line.
The jobs of 70 local Physiotherapists, and 3000 across the province are on the chopping block.
Layoff notices have gone out across the sector, after the provincial government announced a few weeks ago, sweeping changes in long term care and retirement homes.
OHIP is delisting physio for long term care by 60%, and a 100% cut at retirement homes, as the government phases out the fee for service model.
Area Manager for PT Health, Sara Sweeney tells Heart FM seniors will be impacted by the change. "As of August 1st the money will flow through the nursing homes at a 60% reduction. So right now, we're seeing the residents 3 times a week. After, physiotherapists might only see them once every two weeks. And for retirement homes, they're going to have to access outside of their home."
Physio Assistant with PT Health, Kelly Moore is concerned about seniors receiving less care under the new system. "Some of them don't get to walk without our help. The other staff just aren't trained for that. So, if we wouldn't do it, it wouldn't be done."
Sweeney and Moore were a group of over a dozen Physiotherapists (photo) who showed up at MPP Ernie Hardeman's office today to voice their concerns over the change. PT Health workers staged similar rallies across the province today.
However, the provincial government says they're boosting the physio budget from $146 million to $156 million a year, and are increasing services under the new model. They say the number of residents receiving physio, exercise, and falls prevention classes will double.
Woodstock Special Olympians will be out in full force this weekend.
Their 14th annual torch run goes Saturday morning, starting at 11:15 a.m.
The route will travel east on Dundas from Woodstock Police Headquarters, then turning south on Wilson St. Those walking the route will join the convoy from the Heart FM parking lot on Norwich Ave., continuing south and finishing for a pizza party at Boston Pizza.
Special Olympics Coach Gary Farrington says its a day the athletes look forward to. "They've been gathering pledges for the last few weeks, and the runners have been training and the walkers are all pumped up and ready to go."
They'll have a police escort on their torch run, and police are also involved in the raising of pledges.
Farrington says the funds raised supports local programs. "All the money that the athletes raise stays here in Woodstock to help our sports programs, which includes softball, soccer, basketball, 5 and 10-pin bowling, skating, swimming, power lifting and curling."
Money raised by police goes to the provincial organization supporting Special Olympics, but the money comes back to help local athletes with travel and lodging when they compete at a provincial or national event.
You can drop off donations to support their sports programs at any point of the event.
Special Olympics is also seeking volunteers to help run their sports programs. If you're interested, call 519-539-5805.
Oxford County's latest Tourism and Dining Guides are hot off the press.
The County produces around 50,000 of the tourism guides each year, and Tourism
Specialist Cathy Bingham says they go far and wide to draw people to Oxford. "Well this year we used the theme a '101 Things To Do In
Oxford County'. We've discovered already that when you see the guide on racks in visitor information centres, it is kind of a teaser phrase that grabs someone attention".
Bingham say even though the tourism guide is provincial, a separate Oxford County Dining Guide is a little more local. "Predominately within a 50 mile radius of Oxford County. We think that people that are looking for a dining experience or who are looking to check out some of the local producers, they'll be driving shorter distances than people that are making vacations around other events and festivals that are happening".
That's what the Township of Norwich is looking at when it comes to new rules for burning permits.
Fire Chief Bob Parsons presented the proposal to council earlier this month, and tells Heart FM, "Council continues to want to make the burn permits available at no cost to the permit holder. So we also want to make the system efficient so there's not much cost issuing a permit as well."
Parsons doesn't believe volunteer firefighters need to inspect burning areas, as he says the conditions of the permit are clearly laid out. "Smoke, which seems to be the greater issue for bothering neighbours or causing a traffic hazard. The new permit process, the smoke is to stay on the property, away from neighbouring properties, away from the roadways, and of course the fire has to be a certain distance from combustible buildings."
He says if there are complaints, there will be an inspection, and fines will be laid if there are infractions.
The new system, if approved, would save the township an estimated $7000-$8000 a year.
The township is also making the permit applications as widely available as possible, including at the township office, you can request one by fax, or download the form off the township's website.
There are separate permits for rural residents, who are burning brush and materials, and one for those who are having campfires in the township's settlements.
A consultant has been selected for Phase 1 of the Ingersoll Wastewater Treatment Upgrades.
County Council decided Wednesday night to go with R.V. Anderson Associates Limited at a cost of just under $1.4 million.
Director of Public Works Rob Walton says for the past couple of years the County has been doing a class environmental assessment on the upgrades which was adopted in October of 2012. "We've now gone through the consultant selection process to do the upgrade design for phase one which has a total cost of 17-million dollars proposed to start in 2014".
The two phases for the planned upgrade to Ingersoll’s wastewater treatment plant consist of: an upgrade to the existing 1974 plant; and the eventual decommissioning of the 1947 plant.
The project will take approximately 20 years to complete and will be funded through Ingersoll wastewater rates and development charges.
Oxford County now has a formal Agricultural Hall of Fame Award display at County Administration building.
The wall was unveiled Wednesday night with past and present inductees on hand.
President of the Oxford County Federation of Agriculture Walter Kropf says the wall is important to give something back to those who give so much to the community. "It just shows how much effort goes in to so many activities; just like whether it was the Rotary or the Lion's Club, without dedicated people nothing happens. And just the backbone of the community is often agriculture".
2013 Oxford County Agricultural Hall of Fame Award recipient John de Bruyn says he feels very honoured with the appointment and says this kind of thing is very important. "I think once and awhile a positive story, just showing what simple people in a small community can do to have an affect on their community is a great way to advertise Oxford County and just to advertise agriculture and advertise small communities I think".
The new Award replaces the Federation’s Community Service Award, first awarded in 2001 for service to the agricultural community.
Past recipients of the Community Service Award will be retroactively inducted into the Hall of Fame.
An expansion is in the plans for the Woodstock Community Health Centre.
Health Minister Deb Matthews came to Woodstock today to announce plans for capital funding that will allow for more space and more services at the Woodstock CHC.
However, there was no dollar figure attached to today's announcement.
What Matthews says will be provided, is greater access to health care. "We want everybody to get the care they need, as close to home as possible, in the most appropriate setting. So because community health centres offer care from a number of different providers, you can provide that care that keeps people healthy, that keeps people at home, that keeps people out of hospitals."
The CHC provides a number of services under one roof from primary health care to mental health, addictions services and dietary programs.
The announcement will also pave the way for more youth and wellness programs.
And from the perspective of Dr. Joel Hamilton, who is Physician at the Woodstock CHC, it will allow them to serve more patients. "With the capital announcement today, we'll be able to further expand our space, up to 12 exam rooms, which will mean a lot more access to primary care for patients."
A second man has been arrested in the death of Tim Bosma.
The 32 year old was killed May 6 after taking two men on a test drive of a pickup truck he posted for sale online.
Hamilton Police Superintendent Dan Kinsella, "Today the Hamilton Police Service arrested Mark Smich, 25 years, of Oakville, Ontario." He will be held in custody and charged tomorrow with first degree murder.
27 year old Dellen Millard is also facing charges of first-degree murder, forcible confinement and theft of a vehicle in this case.
Kinsella would only say Smich and Millard were known to each other and that Smich was known to police.
Kinsella says police have also identified the second vehicle involved in the case as a dark blue Yukon belonging to Millard which police are searching for more evidence.
The issue of domestic abuse will be front and centre next week in Woodstock.
The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is set to take place on June 1st, and preceding that event will be a speech from Michael Kaufman.
He's the author of six books on gender issues, and has been speaking out against gender based violence around the world. Barb Wright with Domestic Abuse Services Oxford says, "He's a co-founder of the white ribbon campaign, and he's known around the world for his work in engaging men and boys to work with women at ending gender based violence."
He's coming to the Quality Hotel & Suites in Woodstock on May 29th, and Wright says he's been brought in by the five Rotary clubs in Oxford County. "Because it's a Rotary event, they've done some wonderful work to put this together and we think it's going to be a terrific event, both inspirational and very enjoyable."
Tickets can be purchased by contacting Barb Wright at 539-7488 Ext. 236.
Officers in air helped OPP catch a motorcyclist travelling 57 kilometres over the speed limit on highway 401.
That's part of the numbers released after a busy long weekend on the road for Oxford OPP.
Among the other highlights listed, 57 speeders were stopped, 22 RIDE programs were done with 4 highways Traffic Act and 1 Liquor Licence Act charge laid and there were 7 collisions on all area roadways with just two of those resulting in injuries.
The lawyer for the man accused in the killing of a Hamilton, Ont., father found dead after taking two men on a test drive says his client is being unfairly maligned by ``speculation'' surrounding the case.
Deepak Paradkar says media reports based on apparent police leaks are turning public opinion against his client, Dellen Millard, and could threaten his right to a fair trial.
Millard, 27, is charged with first-degree murder, forcible confinement and theft of a vehicle in the death of Tim Bosma.
Bosma, 32, disappeared May 6 after leaving his home to take two men on a test drive in a pickup truck that he had posted for sale online. Police have said his charred remains were found at Millard's farm.
Toronto police have confirmed that since Millard's arrest, they have reopened their investigations into his father's death, which had been considered a suicide, and the disappearance of a Toronto woman with whom he reportedly was linked.
CBC has reported unknown remains were found on Millard's farm and cited sources as saying police were working to determine if they are human or animal. Hamilton police would not confirm or deny the reports.
About One Month Ago by Ashley DeGroote and the Canadian Press
Ontario's budget has won support from the New Democrats, averting a spring election.
N-D-P Leader Andrea Horwath announced today she'll help ensure passage of the minority government's budget.
Local MPP Ernie Hardeman says he is disappointed for Ontario families who cannot afford to have the Liberals in power.
"I think they really can't afford this type of government to treat the money like it was Monopoly money and just keep printing it and passing it out where ever they have to or where they think they need to to stay in power."
"First we see them wasting $600 million on gas plants, now we see them wasting well beyond a billion dollars to stay in power so I guess it really does show the Liberals will do whatever it takes to stay in power and obviously the NDP are willing to sell it."
Andrea Horwath says the Liberals addressed a long list of demands in the May 2 budget and agreed to one of the NDP's accountability measures afterwards.
After five years of growth, the Oxford County Drug Task Force says they are now concentrating their efforts to rework their strategic plan.
Clinical Administrator Shelly Redman says their biggest accomplishment so far was the creation of the Oxford Addiction Strategy in November.
Redman says they used to have just one Addiction Services councillor who the county, so they came up with a way to improve services without spending any more money. "We just amalgimated services amongst Addiction Services of Thames Valley , Woodstock and Area Community Health Centre, Ingersoll NP Led Clinic with support of CMAH Oxford and we've been able to increase the services and have roving walking intakes throughout the community every month".
Redman says there are now two walking roving intakes a month in Ingersoll.
She says there used to be a four month wait once you had your intake before you could get your counselling, where as now you walk out of the intake with a meeting for the next week.
Woodstock residents are getting a better picture of where crime is taking place in their community.
Woodstock Police have launched CrimePlot, a local crime mapping tool on their website.
Information Technology Manager Paul White says the application allows citizens to visualize criminal activity and police calls in our community.
"It provides the public with information on a subset of occurrence types that are important for the public to see. Assaults, break and enters that are happening within their community within the last 90 days. It plots it out on the map, with a margin of error to protect the individuals that are involved."
Woodstock Police say you will not find incidents of sudden death, suicides, mental health issues, domestic violence or child abuse on the site.
White says residents aren't able to zoom in on the map too far in order to help anonymize the visualizations and while it may appear an incident happened right over top of your home, it may have happened 200 plus feet away.
Midland Police created the application and brought it live at no charge to Woodstock Police.
The site is also not up to the minute, with incidents updated at least one day after they happened.
To view CrimePlot, simply go to the Woodstock Police website and click on the CrimePlot, Crime Mapping icon.
It appears the police aren't on board with the taxi industry's request for a formal human waste cleanup fee.
Local taxi companies asked Woodstock City Council to consider the creation of a bylaw that would see a $120 charge be imposed on those who vomited or released other bodily fluids while in the cab.
Thursday night councillors were told police believe this is a civil matter between the cab company and the passenger.
Police said generally speaking, you need intent & evidence to
prosecute an offender for almost any offence and, if someone is drinking to the
point of throwing up, they would question their ability to form intent.
They said council should not collect fees for the companies but said companies can seek compensation through small claims court.
About One Month Ago by Ashley DeGroote and the OPP
Scammers are now impersonating bank personnel.
The latest scam to hit the streets involves a telephone call from someone claiming to be from your bank, saying your account was tampered with by a bank employee.
Once they have your attention, they ask you to go to the bank, make a cash withdrawal and then walk down the street where you will be met by a bank investigator who you are to turn the money over to in order to help them track down who is tampering with your account.
OPP say you will likely never see the money again as you did voluntarily hand over the funds.
OPP say if you have received a telephone call like this,contact police right away.
Luckily there are a few simple precautions that individuals can take to ensure they don't fall prey to this type of fraud.
- It is important to remember that neither your bank nor a police investigator will ever request that you assist in an undercover investigation or ask you to withdraw money from your account. If you receive such a suspicious call, hang up and call police.
- Never give out personal bank information over the phone unless you have called your bank and they ask you questions to verify your identity.
- If you do need to withdraw a large sum of money for a legitimate purpose, request a bank draft or a money order as this ensures only the intended recipient is able to access the money. Criminals will not accept these forms of payment because it creates a paper trail that can be used by real investigators to track the fraudsters.
- Check your bank statement frequently and report any irregularities to your bank as soon as you notice them.
Woodstock Police are on the lookout for a reddish/purple Hummer that may be involved in a suspicious person case.
Police say a 22 year old woman was walking north of Cedar Street just before 5 Friday night when a vehicle pulled up next to her asking for directions.
Officers say the woman became uncomfortable as the driver continued to talk to her, eventually asking if she wanted to get into his vehicle.
It wasn't until a nearby resident began walking toward them that the driver left.
Police would like to speak with the driver described as a white man, about 27-30 year old, tanned with a thin face, wearing a grey baseball cap and large sunglasses driving a reddish/purple Hummer with dark tinted windows and a tire carrier mounted to the back and the H3 emblem engraved on the carrier.
Anyone with information is asked to call Woodstock Police 519-537-2323.
The Oxford County Injury Prevention Team now has a new tool to get their message across.
A 20 thousand dollar community event trailer has been purchased through donations and sponsorship to help them communicate injury prevention messages and increase their visibility with the county.
Public Health Nurse Lorna Boratto says the trailer has safety messages prominently displayed on the outside and a driving simulator inside.
"So they can drive and we'll be asking people, okay, text a message now and what impact does that have on your driving or reaching for a cup of coffee or fiddling with the radio dials, that sort of thing. Just as sort of a hands on demonstration and reminder what can happen if you drive distracted."
"We can decrease our risk for injury and we know that 90-95 percent of incidents that cause injury are preventale. So what are the teachings, what can we do to decrease that risk."
The trailer will be taken out to bike rodeos, the farm show and other safety events in the county.
OCIPT is a partnership of representatives from Woodstock Police, Oxford OPP, Woodstock Fire, Red Cross, Ministry of Transportation, Oxford County Public Health and Emergency Services, MADD and Community Volunteers.
Woodstock Police are making it easier to reconnect with your stolen bicycle.
Police have set up a bike registration on their website, but it's for residents of Woodstock only.
Constable Steve McEwen says registration is easy.
"We need their name, the make, serial number, model of the bicycle and it asks for all of the information, go in there, fill it out and we'll have their bike in our data base."
"Someone will have a bike go missing and they don't even report it to us. This just makes it easier for them to do that and we'll find bikes and we can't even track an owner because we don't know. Hopefully this will help with that."
"It will help us to basically reunite owners with their bikes. We get lots and lots of found bikes, lost bikes, stolen bikes and this is just another way that people can keep track of their bicycles. There are expensive bicycles out there."
McEwen says when registered bikes are found, police will be able to pull up your information and give you a call to come get your bike back.
City Council has decided to officially file an appeal with the OMB over a $1-million expansion of the works facility on County Road 30 proposed by Oxford County.
City Council says the plan does not maintain the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan and does not represent good planning and would set a dangerous president in the future.
While the decision to file the appeal with unanimous, council are offering to transfer ownership of land Tecumseh Street to the County of Oxford at no cost as long as they retire the Road Patrol Yard on the 11 Line.