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Archive for: 2月, 2021


“C’mon Everybody”, “It’s Now or Never” for you to “Let Yourself Go” down to Cookstown’s Old Town Hall for South Simcoe Theatre’s “All Shook Up”. This rollicking American jukebox musical features many songs made famous by Elvis Presley, including classic hits such as “That’s All Right”, “Jailhouse Rock”, “Love Me Tender”, “Blue Suede Shoes”, Don’t Be Cruel, and “Heartbreak Hotel”. Set in the mid-50s, it tells the story of one girl’s dream and a mysterious, guitar-playing stranger who helps a small town discover the magic, romance and power of rock‘n’roll. More than half of our talented ensemble of performers hails from Barrie: Stephen Dobby (Curtains), Rob Townsend (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Jenny Senior (Hats!), George Gibson (Peter Pan-to) and Nathan Heydon (Curtains) have all trod the SST boards before; newbie Devon Humphries is from Barrie as well.   Rounding out the cast, are some more newcomers: Christine Farah (Alliston), Rebecca Wright (Bradford), Peg Eberhard (Orillia), and Beth Cromwell who is from Angus. Off stage, everything is very well in hand. Director Debbie Collins (Beeton) and musical director Terry Therien (Orillia) who so ably guided the ensemble cast in Hats! last year, are back lending their expert talents and guidance to the mix, as are this season’s hard-working producer Kathy Simpson and equally hard-working stage manager Colleen Mazor, respectively from Innisfil and Bradford. For those wishing to grab a bite before or after the show, several fine restaurants in the area are offering a special extra to anyone who makes a reservation and brings their show ticket or stub for that day’s performance. Those participating in Cookstown are the Wagon Wheel (705-458-0000), The Iron Horse Bar & Grill (705-458-2500) and The Cookstown Pub Co. (705-291-2000); in Lefroy, it’s Harbour House Grill (705-456-3663). For more information about the theatre visit


PENETANGUISHENE – A Friendship Tulip Garden blooming celebration was held Wednesday at the Penetanguishene cenotaph. Approximately 700 tulips were planted in October to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands in the Second World War, and they are now in full bloom.

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It could cost half a million dollars to replace or prune city trees damaged in Barrie’s Easter weekend ice storm. Dave Friary – the city’s roads, parks and fleet director – said Wednesday that crews continue to pick up from the storm which left thousands in Barrie without electricity, along with branches and trees down from the weight of the ice throughout the city. “There’s tons of damage. There’s quite a bit that came down or were damaged,” he said. “We’ve got everything off the road, got everything off houses and cars – we did the dangerous and unsafe ones, the hangers that we were worried about.” Barrie has 35,000 boulevard trees alone, and Friary said 1,700 of them were damaged in the storm. “If there’s a tree on somebody’s boulevard, we’re absolutely going to replace it,” he said. “There’s a bunch of them (trees) that were completely destroyed, there are some that need major pruning, and then there’s another bunch that need some minor pruning work.” This week city crews have also started going into back yards, because many parks and city open spaces with trees on them back onto private property. “We’ve had quite a few of those fall into back yards and break fences, go through people’s pools,” Friary said. “Right now, we just want to make sure people don’t have the inconvenience of a tree in their backyard, city trees falling on their property.” Total cleanup is still a few weeks away, he said, but seasonal parks staff have started work. They’re going into parks now. When college and university students start work at the end of April, they could also help if the cleanup job’s not done. Barrie has 117 parks, and about 2,200 acres of open space, that will need attention. “Typically we just drop a tree in a naturalized area – as long as it’s not over a trail – and it naturally decomposes and provides habitat for wildlife,” Friary said. But the ice storm was also hard on a nasty invasive species. The emerald ash borer is a non-native, highly destructive, wood-boring beetle that feeds under the bark of ash trees. It was confirmed in Simcoe County in 2013. “The only sort of silver lining to any of this is that a bunch of the trees that were damaged were ash trees, so they were scheduled to come down anyway,” Friary said. “So we have some of that stuff already built into the budget.” He also said the benefits of Barrie’s pruning program were evident after the storm. “What we noticed in the last storm … the areas that we pruned within the last couple of years, had far less damage,” Friary said. “They don’t have the big, heavy limbs hanging over.” The city continues to get calls from people wanting it to pick up private trees, but there’s another solution. The city has lifted its landfill fees for tree trimmings and brush from the ice storm, a temporary exemption until April 23 for Barrie residents. Tree trimmings and brush need to be separated from all garbage and not be mixed with any other waste, and received at Barrie Landfill during its normal operating hours. There is no limit on the amount. Proof of Barrie residency is required. The tree trimmings and brush have to be from a city property, and from the storm – which took place overnight March 24-25, and into the Easter weekend. Leaf and yard waste is not collected in Barrie during March, and regular collection doesn’t include branches larger than four inches in diameter. But this collection has resumed in April and Mayor Jeff Lehman says residents should take advantage of it. "Small branches can be bundled up and put at the curb," he said. "They will be picked up." Residential fees for leaf and yard waste at the landfill are normally no charge for the first 100 kilograms, then $60 per tonne. This will resume April 26. Curbside leaf and yard waste that’s collected is brought to a designated area at Barrie Landfill for composting. The materials are put into windrows, then turned and monitored daily. The compost is eventually screened and tested to ensure it meets Ministry of the Environment standards, then sold to Barrie residents. The city’s landfill  is located at 272 Ferndale Dr. N. and open Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. @BrutonBob


Collingwood Councillor Kevin Lloyd, left, Mayor Sandra Cooper, Mark Carins of EDEV and Trimart president Lloyd Martin, listens as planner Shelly Wells lists the attributes of The Annex during the recent brokers launch for the 18-unit development bordering Sixth Street and Maple which incorporates the old Victoria Annex school. When it’s complete,  the project will support 18-units.


New Tecumseth Mayor Rick Milne got an early start to Pitch-In Week at Spring Creek Park in Alliston. For the campaign, taking place April 10 to 23, the town supplies residents and groups with garbage bags and gloves to clean up schoolyards, neighbourhoods, parks and playgrounds. To make arrangements for a cleanup day, call the town at 705-435-4030, 905-936-4203 ext. 1421 or email .


PENETANGUISHENE – The Ontario government has issued several orders in relation to last week’s stabbing at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, but questions still remain about the attack that resulted in three staff members being sent to hospital. Janet Deline, issues co-ordinator with the Ministry of Labour, confirmed Waypoint has been instructed to establish measures to ensure “control and audit” of tools and to “protect workers from the hazard posed by uncontrolled tools and other items being used as weapons.” The orders are in relation to last week’s incident, in which a patient allegedly used two screwdrivers from the hospital’s vocational services unit to stab two staff members and injure two others. Deline added the ministry has also issued a “stop work” order for activities in the vocational services area until the orders are implemented. READ MORE: • • • In a written statement, Waypoint CEO Carol Lambie said, “The hospital will take the necessary actions to respond to all orders received.” “We are continuously evaluating our safety measures and processes to prevent unfortunate incidents like these,” she added. “I can assure you that we are reviewing our processes and policies and will update them as required.” But Waypoint has so far failed to offer clarification on the stabbing or what procedures were in place to prevent such an incident. Citing patient privacy, officials would only confirm that a “serious incident” had taken place, but would not offer any other specifics. “We are not minimizing the seriousness of this incident, and this and all health and safety issues are a priority,” Lambie said. “Our focus is on supporting our patients and staff, the ongoing investigation and taking necessary action to address safety issues.” Pete Sheehan, president of Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 329, said ministry investigators were back at the facility Wednesday. He said he anticipates additional orders being issued due to long-standing security concerns at Waypoint. “We need to go back to being more security-minded,” he said. “We can do a stellar job of both treatment and safety all in the same breath.”


East Oro Public School is a family affair for Sandy Shelswell. The local woman attended the rural school as a Grade 8 student in its opening year – 1965. Later, Shelswell would send four daughters there – she and her husband purposely buying a house in the area to ensure they lived within the school district. “Now I have two grandsons there,” she says with obvious pride. Little surprise, then, that Shelswell would volunteer to organize a celebration of the school’s 50th anniversary. The April 2 event will bring together current and former staff and students for a day of reminiscing and an evening of dancing. Shelswell anticipates a strong turnout. “It is a country school and there are a lot of generations that have gone through it,” she adds. East Oro P.S. was born when students from six two-room schools in the area were amalgamated in a new building in the fall of 1965. Located along the 11th Concession, between Highway 11 and the 15/16 Side Road, it was a dramatic step up from the modest facilities of the past. “It was pretty scary, because we’d grown up knowing the kids that we were with in the two-room school, and now you’re going to be going to school with a whole bunch of other kids,” Shelswell said. Each grade would have its own classroom, a sharp contrast to the four-grades-per room that was previously the norm. Built at a cost of $160,000 – plus $6,000 in furnishings – the school featured modern washrooms, a principal’s office, library, staff rooms, storage and utility spaces. “There was no gym, it hadn’t been built on yet,” she said of the building in its initial incarnation. “And there was just a sea of mud.” Children accustomed to reaching school on foot now boarded buses, another new experience for the first crop of students.   “That was kind of different,” Shelswell says. “It was getting used to riding the bus.” A gymnasium would be added on in 1978, along with a stage and change rooms, followed in 2002 by another addition at the rear of the school. “Our hearts are here,” said custodian Cyndee Crooks. “This is our school, our community.” Adds secretary Leona Winteringham: “It has been a big part of our lives.” The upcoming celebration includes an open house at the school from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with memorabilia and photos, along with a brief formal program. Attendees are then invited to kick up their heels at a dance, taking place at ODAS Park from 8 p.m. to 1 p.m. Admission to the dance is $15. Proceeds from sales of 50th anniversary bracelets and a silent auction will support the purchase of an outdoor message board. “Just to let the community know more what’s going on,” Shelswell said. The school is located at 744 Line 11 N.


MIDLAND – Two years ago, Joey Foster would have laughed at the notion of splitting his time between Romania and the Yukon. But those far-flung locales are exactly where the 19-year-old Penetanguishene Secondary School graduate spent part of the first three months of 2016. Now, the elite Nordic skier is enjoying some brief relaxation time before preparing for next season. “I’m looking forward to training hard this summer,” he said. Foster and many of the top young skiers in Canada gathered in Whitehorse, Yukon, from March 19-26 for the junior men’s championships. “The conditions were nice and warm and the skiing was good,” said the Midland resident. “Whitehorse is an amazing place to ski.” But Foster acknowledged he didn’t have much fuel left in the tank. “It had been a pretty long season,” he said. “I was pretty tired by the time I arrived there, but that’s OK. Everyone else is tired and you just have to learn to deal with it.” Racing for Team Hardwood, Foster competed in three individual distance races (10 kilometres, 15K skate and 30K classic) and one sprint event. READ MORE: “I would say the one race I was the happiest about, because it was a breakthrough for me, would be the sprint,” he said. “The junior men and the senior men do the same qualifying event, and I actually ended up in third place overall.” He finished one second behind Olympic veteran Alex Harvey, and 0.04 seconds behind Lenny Valjas (a Hardwood teammate and World Cup competitor). “It’s awesome that I was that close, but I’m actually hungry to show I can do that at an international level, as well,” said Foster. In the junior sprint, Foster dominated and won gold. He also claimed the title as the top junior skier in Canada at his age level (born in 1996). In February, Foster competed at the world junior championships in Romania. “They actually didn’t have a lot of snow in Romania, so they had to truck snow into the site,” said Foster, whose best result was a 33rd in the 15K skate. “It wasn’t the result I was looking for, but competing in Romania was an awesome experience.” In early May, Foster will head to Alberta for race training and mountain running. After that will come an intensive off-season conditioning program in advance of the 2016-17 competitive season.

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Everyone who purchases a ticket to the Orillia Museum of Art and History’s ‘100 *100’ fund-raiser on April 15 will take home an original work of art created for the event. Ticket stubs will be randomly drawn and matched to the artwork. Contributing artists include Charles Pachter, Jim Ireland and Roger Kerslake. Previews of the artwork began April 13. The event includes a cash bar, DJ and snack foods/desserts. Proceeds go to support the museum’s operations and programming. Tickets can be purchased by phone, in person or online. Pictured are executive director Ninette Gyorody and registrar Hope McGilly.


MIDLAND – It all started with his wife. “She’s the one who insisted that I get up and start performing,” said David Francey. “I was quite happy just to write, but I’m glad she made me do it.” Although he didn’t start performing until he was in his 40s, Francey fell into music naturally as a child: “It’s been a lifelong thing that I’ve enjoyed.” Local fans will get to enjoy his music themselves April 24 at the Midland Cultural Centre. Before music was his full-time career, Francey worked in construction. He always wrote songs, but never saw himself as a performer or considered it as a career path. “They served their purpose and helped me sort out the world, but it was mostly the writing of them that I was really enjoying,” he explained. Jumping from construction to the stage was intimidating, but Francey said he got over it quickly. His goal was to make a living and to still be around in 10 years. “I didn’t want to put out a record and then disappear,” he said. “If I was going to make this work, I want to be consistent and I want to make a job of it…. It’s not a great living, but it’s a great way to live.” The three-time Juno Award winner said he loves being on the road, and having a great group of people behind him makes being away from home easy. “It’s pretty astonishing to get to travel around the country with the few people you like the best.” Mark Westberg (guitarist), Chris Coole (banjoist) and Darren McMullen (multi instrumentalist) make up his band the Handsome Soldiers. Francey described them as “great men and great friends.” As for his music, he said it belongs in the folk category because it chronicles the times – a feature he said adds a timeless quality to the genre. “I think that’s something that gets missing in some people’s work,” he said. “As long as you’re writing about what happens now, chances are people are going to be interested a few years down the road.” Lyrical quality is something else Francey really looks for in music. He cited Bruce Cockburn, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young as favourite musicians whose work “would all stand on the lyrics alone.” When it comes to writing his own music, Francey said he lets the song come to him. “Other people, they’ll get up in the morning and write three pages of stuff,” he said. “I just let things percolate for a while, and I think that’s where the best writing comes from.” For more information, or tickets to his Midland show, go to .