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Archive for: 8月, 2021

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The Provincial Ministry of Finance has released the “Sunshine List” – the list of public sector employees who have earned over $100,000, in salaries and taxable benefits, in 2015. The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury had 20 names on the list – with Town Chief Administrative Officer Geoff McKnight topping the list. He earned a salary of $181,875.86, plus taxable benefits of $8,766.46. Three other Town Department heads received over $150,000 – Treasurer Ian Goodfellow ($162,956.69 in salary, plus $1,402.73 in taxable benefits), Director of Corporate Services Rebecca Murphy ($160,451.67 salary, plus $1,308.06 in benefits), and Director of Development, Arup Mukherjee ($154,236.44 plus $1,298.08). Close behind were Fire Chief Kevin Gallant ($149,760.76 plus $2,398.56 in benefits), and Director of HR, Kelly Losak ($148,186.78 plus $1,277.96) The remainder earned between $101,795.41 (Michael Disano, Manager of Economic Development), and $125,001.29 (Manager of Capital Projects Khurram Tunio). The Town of Innisfil had 24 employees on the Sunshine List. Highest paid was CAO Jason Reynar ($190,094.73 plus $5,296.89 in taxable benefits). Andrew Campbell, Deputy CAO and Town Engineer, earned $182,716.06 plus $4,980 in benefits – and former CAO John Skorobohacz earned $175,655.28 plus $5,405.97 for his new role as Strategic Advisor, leading the Town through the process of creating InnServices, a municipal corporation set up to handle Innisfil’s Water and Wastewater services and infrastructure. Lockie Davis, Innisfil’s Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, earned $148,912.40, with $977.85 in taxable benefits; Fire Chief Jon Pegg received $142,282.13 plus $928.37, and Chief Librarian Susan Downs, $141,935.85, plus $926.70 in benefits. Others on the list ranged from $100,364.39 (firefighter Ryan Houlieff), to Chief Building Official Dan Rodgers, at $130,937.33 plus $831.48. Bradford West Gwillimbury and Innisfil share the amalgamated South Simcoe Police Service – which had 70 names on the Sunshine list. Top paid: Sgt. John Chalmers, who was paid $179,540.45 (including overtime) plus $882.86 in taxable benefits; Chief Rick Beazley- $176,762.88 plus $16,372.26 in taxable benefits, Sgt. James Buchanan ($163,106.26 plus $928.31), Sgt. Sheryl Sutton ($157,062.77 plus $882.86), Sgt. Brad Reynolds ($148,470.70 plus $882.86), Staff Sgt. Steve Wilson ($147,682.72 plus $3,719.83), Sgt. Lewis Da Silva ($147,747.91 plus $926.15); Sgt. Craig Johnson ($146,189.76 plus $1,049.39), Staff Sgt. Andy VanDyke ($139,945 plus $5,511.83) and Sgt. Sean Willan ($136,024.66 plus $840.32). Inspector Tom McDonald, now retired, earned a total of $154,702.12 in salary and benefits; Deputy Chief Andrew Fletcher who joined the staff in June, 2015, wasn’t on the list – but will be in 2016. In all, 115,431 employees on the public payroll made the ‘Sunshine List.’ The biggest group? The government of Ontario, which had 13,465 employees earning $100,000 or more.

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CLEARVIEW TWP. – Seeing a crowd gather around the new Dutch-Canadian tulip garden at Fountain Park in Stayner was meaningful for Janny Kriens. "I was raised during World War Two in the Netherlands and when that happened things were very, very tough. I always remember the last day when the war was over and the Canadian boys were the ones who liberated us," she said with a tear in her eye. "Even now it’s still very emotional. Every year I goes to things like this. It means a lot," she said. The Wasaga Beach resident moved to Canada 60 years ago. In 1945, The Netherland Royal family gave 100,000 tulip bulbs to Canada as a way of saying thank you for helping to liberate the national from the Nazis and for the shelter provided to the royal family in Canada. Now, 70 years later, communities all across Canada have planted Dutch-Canadian Tulip Gardens to keep the spirit alive. The 139 gardens are symbolically linked to a 70th anniversary garden planted in Ottawa. Bulbs were donated by Vesey’s bulbs and 700 bulbs were planted by the Stayner Horticultural Society volunteers last fall at Fountain Park, downtown on the south side of Hwy. 26. Past president Judy Hutton said the red and white bulbs bloomed just in time for Friday’s opening ceremony, as only two days prior hardly any of the white bulbs had opened. "Today they are just perfect. We couldn’t have asked for a better day," she said. Beyond red and white representing the colours of the Canada flag, Hutton said red represents blood and white represents peace of the war. Grade 9 student Olivia Walker read her poem Today we Remember at the opening ceremony, that won her Royal Canadian Legion award. "It’s a huge historical event and it’s a huge honour for Stayner to have something like this within our community. It was huge honour back in World War Two when the Dutch government sent the bulbs to Canada for their gratitude for what we accomplished," she said. Walker will also be going to Vimy, France next April with other high school students for the 100th anniversary of the First World War battle, where Canadians fought for and won control of land under German occupation. SCI principal Janice Ellerby said students planted 700 tulip bulbs at the school last fall in a new garden near the entrance. "This is part two of our tulip celebration here in Stayner." Students from SCI as well as Clearview Meadows and Byng elementary schools did a community clean up around Stayner Friday before the ceremony as a goodwill gesture. Art students also painted many pairs of wooden shoes displayed around the fountain for the garden opening. Mayor Chris Vanderkruys’s family also emigrated from Holland and he still has family there. Wearing wooden clogs, Vanderkruys came to the ceremony with a huge bowl of home-baked Oliebollen or Dutch doughnuts. He told the crowd he was proud of the community in its work to put in the tulip gardens. Simcoe Grey MPP Jim Wilson thanked the members of the armed forces and the Royal Canadian Legion for their work in the defence of the country and the liberty we now enjoy. "This new Dutch Canadian Friendship Garden is a great symbol of the strong relationship and the history between Canada and the Netherlands," he said. Many Dutch families immigrated to Canada after the end of the Second World War and have made many contributions to Canadian society, he added. giselewintonsarvis@yahoo.com

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Toronto Blue Jay legend Lloyd Moseby will be the guest of honour and a Wine and Dine hosted by Smith Brothers Baseball Central. The April 16 event includes a buffet-style meal and silent auction, with proceeds to the Jays Care Foundation and the Central Ontario Reds Developmental youth baseball teams. Related: Moseby, drafted second overall by the Jays in 1978, and an American League all-star in 1986, is expected to share stories of his baseball career, which includes 169 home runs and 737 RBIs. During the day, Moseby will be instructing a hitting and fielding clinic for children ages nine through 12  at the indoor baseball and sports training facility, from 10 a.m. until noon Moseby will be holding a second clinic at Smith Brothers Baseball Central on April 17 from 9 until 11 a.m. for children 13 through 17. The Wine and Dine event will be held at Smith Brothers Baseball Central at 9 Greengage Road in New Lowell starting at 6:30 p.m. You can buy single tickets for $70 (+HST) or in pairs for $130 (+HST). A table for eight people is $470(+HST). Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are also available. To purchase tickets, register for the clinic or for sponsorship and advertising opportunities, contact Smith Brothers Baseball Central at 705-424-0427. The Central Ontario Reds are fall and winter developmental teams for boys aged 10-14 in Simcoe County and surrounding areas. This program has been developed as a result of the desire amongst baseball players in Ontario to play at a higher level. The Central Ontario Reds 14U & 13U teams travel to Florida for Spring Training during March Break where they take on some local Florida teams and show the skills they have developed throughout their winter training. The 14U, 13U and 12U teams will be travelling to Toledo, Ohio in April to compete after which the players will return to their OBA teams for summer ball where they will be able to utilize all their newly developed skills. The Jays Care Foundation supports many programs to ensure kids have the opportunity to play, get the best start in life and be active in the game of baseball.  They do this by offering a wide range of programs including: The Field of Dreams, Grand Slam Grants, Rookie Leagues, Home Run Scholars and Jays Care Community Clubhouse. For more information on the Jays Care Foundation .

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After being overcharged by more than $1,000 on a single hydro bill, Barrie business owner Nima McElhinney wants the Ontario government to investigate local power utilities. The owner of Barrie Manor said she had no idea she was being overcharged until an audit found PowerStream owed her $1,151 from her last bill. READ MORE: The retirement home is just one of tens of thousands of hydro customers across the province with billing issues. The process of getting them refunds is moving slower than former Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin would like, especially after his 2015 Hydro One investigation that revealed huge billing errors for 100,000 homes. “How are we supposed to survive? I’m drowning in debt,” McElhinney said. “It would be one thing if we weren’t paying the bills. Why should we, after paying the bill on time, have to police this? We’re not talking 50 cents or $50. We’re talking $1,151.” She said she has been a customer of PowerStream and Hydro One and has been overcharged by both. “They were constantly charging me inconsistent numbers. Are they supposed to do that? They only get caught because someone else is looking,” she said. Just one-tenth of one per cent of Powerstream customers have filed billing error complaints, according to John Olthuis, the company’s manager of customer communications. “We’re not aware of hundreds of customers being overcharged. You can count the number of times there’s an issue,” he said, noting the statistic comes from recent focus groups.   Olthuis said customers can be overcharged, for example, if a home is turned into a duplex and the units’ meters get mixed up. Before smart meters were introduced, apartment residents who switched units were also sometimes still connected to their last one for hydro, even for years, he said. A computer generates PowerStream’s customers’ bills, which are examined by an employee before being sent out, he said, adding bills with sudden increases are flagged for inspection. “We do take … billing very seriously. There’s nothing worse than sending out a bill with a huge error. Not that that doesn’t happen,” he said. From 2004 to 2015, electricity prices jumped from 4.7 cents a kilowatt hour to 17.5 cents a kwh at peak times, and hydro bills are expected to rise this year. Marin found Ontarians paid $37 billion above market prices for electricity between 2006 and 2014. “Errors have been uncovered in a variety of cases, with multi-unit residences such as condominiums, apartments and even retirement homes typically facing the highest overcharges,” Marin said. “Though many are in the thousands, I’m aware of refunds of up to $1 million being collected for multi-unit dwellings.” Retirement homes in Ottawa, Hamilton, Orangeville and Welland received refunds in the tens of thousands of dollars and a Toronto hotel was refunded $276,000. Non-profits have also been overcharged, including the Ontario Homes for Special Needs Association in Newmarket, a 28-bed facility, by $6,000. Marin said what shocks him most about the billing problems is seeing “shoestring organizations” trying to take care of vulnerable populations overcharged the most. “They don’t run big, sophisticated organizations,” he said. “The greasy pig of hydro is getting fat off these customers.” In Marin’s report, he said customers were treated “abominably” and Hydro One deceived the electricity regulator and the ombudsman’s office about “the extent and nature of its billing and customer service disaster.” He wrote Hydro One tried to cover up the problems and spent $88.3 million trying to fix them. In response, Hydro One apologized to its customers, agreed to Marin’s report recommendations and said it had already fixed many of the issues. The investigation results sparked a class-action lawsuit last year. McElhinney, who took over ownership of Barrie Manor in December, said this is the same type of investigation she wants the province to undertake for other utilities. If she was overcharged more than $1,000 on her latest bill, she wonders if she was billed more than she should have been for the other months. “I don’t know what they’re going to do for December, January and February. How many bills that I paid did go unnoticed and overcharged?” she said. “What can you do? I have a million challenges on my plate. I don’t have time to go after PowerStream (or) police these things.” It is going to take a long time for Hydro One customers to get refunds — nearly one year post-investigation, progress is “pretty slow,” Marin said. Part of the problem is hydro bills can often be difficult to understand, so people do not know if they are being overcharged, he said. “Have you seen a hydro bill lately? Good luck trying to find mistakes. It’s David vs. Goliath — the classic story,” he said. “I get hydro bills. I just pay them and hold my nose.” He said hydro customers should be vigilant and scrutinize their bills: “You never know, you might be owed lots of money.” Morin’s investigation has opened opportunities for business In response to Marin’s investigation, Jeremy Poteck founded energy audit company Poteck Power Corporation. So far, it has recovered $4.3 million in refunds for Hydro One customers, the majority of which average more than $10,000. Poteck said he has completed audits of 25 of the roughly 75 utilities across the province and found mistakes by 18 of them. “The unfortunate reality is that many Ontario businesses don’t realize that their bills contain errors and end up overpaying as a result,” he said. “The simple truth is it’s complicated information. You need to know the difference between a kilowatt and a kilowatt hour.” Poteck said he has found the most problems in Barrie, Simcoe County and Richmond Hill and has assisted 10 customers in PowerStream’s jurisdiction. He is also reaching out to Ontario’s public housing corporations that manage properties for low-income earners. “They typically pay hydro for everyone in the building. It’s money that’s going to help the poorest Ontarians.” – With files from Torstar News Service

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INNISFIL – The ‘mystery’ of goat heads in trees has been solved. “Turns out the fella who put them there purchased them from a slaughterhouse and hung them up to dry,” said Const. Richard Williamson of South Simcoe police. “He wanted to use them as decoration. “There’s a company in Peterborough that will do it for you, but he decided to save money and hung them up so the birds and insects would strip them. They were in the trees so that animals wouldn’t drag them away. “He didn’t call us when he heard the story because he thought he’d get in trouble. No offence, no charge. He’s going to remove them.” The goat heads that have been placed in trees not far from an Innisfil cemetery. An Innisfil resident — who asked that her name not be used — contacted the Barrie Examiner last week about the heads, which she found while walking through a wooded area.

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PICKERING — Louise Thompson is 25 weeks pregnant and like many other expecting mothers in Durham, she’s been proudly showing friends and family 3D images of her baby-to-be. Or at least she thought it was her baby. When she noticed a 3D image of a baby looking identical to hers on Facebook Tuesday night, she was in disbelief. “It’s very surreal,” said the Oshawa resident. “I was very upset last night. I cried when I initially saw the post.” Ms. Thompson is one of a growing number of expecting mothers who believe they’ve been wronged by in Pickering. “It’s sickening,” said Whitby resident Amber Bowden, who is 21 weeks pregnant. “This is so stressful and I’m so sad that this is happening.” It all started when members of a Facebook group for mothers expecting a baby in September 2016, started posting their 3D prenatal images. Two mothers realized they had the exact same photo, both from BabyView. It blew up from there. One of the expecting mothers, Jenn Cusimano, created a Facebook group, Babyview 3D Scam, and it continues to grow, with nearly 630 members by noon on Wednesday. At least 15 expecting mothers have come forward, saying they have at least one image or several images that are identical to others they have now seen from other moms-to-be. Ms. Bowden, who is one of them, had a still birth in the past. “If this were to happen to me (again), this would be the only picture I could fall back on,” she said. Some mothers commenting on the Facebook page are outraged, afraid the photos they received from the company are not in fact their babies. Others are mothers who have used the service in the past, wondering if the images taken of their baby years ago, are now being passed off to expecting mothers. News Advertiser calls to BabyView went unanswered, but the business posted to its Facebook Wednesday morning: “Babyview would like to apologize to our valued customers for the recent situation that occurred. Due to a technical issue with the printing services provided (which has been resolved), several of our clients have become concerned regarding their babies images. Babyview is more then happy to adjust the situation and offer a re-scan of the services which were provided or a refund of 50% of the value of the package they purchased during their visit. Please call the clinic or email us and we would be more then happy to fix the situation. Again, we are sorry for the inconvenience.” Ms. Thompson will not take BabyView up on having the scan done again. “I don’t want them touching me,” she said. “I don’t want an ultrasound. I want them shut down. I want them out of business.” She had actually used the service two years ago with her first daughter. “It was a great experience the first time,” she said. “Apparently it was different owners at the time.” She said this time, the image pulled up on the machine when she got the scan done, was quite difficult to see. But the photos she was sent home with, were clear. “God only knows who’s baby that is,” Ms. Thompson said of her photo. She also purchased a teddy bear, which produces the baby’s heartbeat when it’s squeezed. Ms. Thompson noticed the heartbeat was not very audible when it was being recorded, yet it’s loud and clear when she squeezes the teddy. Now she wonders if that is really her baby’s heartbeat. “The last time we went, we had talked about it afterwards,” she said. “Even my grandmother said how shady it felt. It just didn’t feel right.” Ms. Thompson went twice this time around, and said it cost her about $200 altogether. Ms. Bowden also used BabyView during an earlier pregnancy, when she said it was run by a different owner, and had a great experience. She said she received a discount and paid just under $125 this time, but was disappointed. “This is my fifth baby and I knew something was odd,” she said. She said she was told at BabyView she was having a boy, but when she went to Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, she learned she’s carrying a girl. When she called BabyView, and asked how they got it wrong, she said they offered her a free scan. Then, when she went back, sure enough, she was told she’s carrying a girl. “I didn’t get any money back,” she said of her first visit. “Nothing.” Ms. Bowden has brought the matter to the police and “absolutely” plans to pursue legal action. This lady needs to be punished,” she said. “Playing with all these moms’, fathers’ and sisters’ and brothers’ emotions, it’s awful.” Durham Police Sgt. Bill Calder said police cannot give information until charges are laid. “We’re aware of it, we’re looking into it,” he said. One mom was told this Teddy Bear contained her baby’s heartbeat but now she is not sure.

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An old farmhouse was destroyed by fire Wednesday in Ramara Township, resulting in about $150,000 in damages. Fire Chief Dave McCarthy said no one was home at the time of the blaze, which happened at 4900 Sideroad 5. "It was completely engulfed in flames by the time we got there," McCarthy said. "All we were able to do was fight the fire from outside. It was quite stubborn and the roads were slippery from the snow, so we had to take our time." The fire was reported by a neighbour at about 5:30 p.m. The neighbour went up to the house and knocked on the door, but nobody answered, McCarthy said. Police later contacted the landlord, who was able to reach the tenant to ensure his safety. Crews brought the fire under control a couple of hours after arriving, but the roof had collapsed. To make sure the fire was completely out, an excavator was brought it to knock down the rest of the house. The cause of the fire remains undetermined, but McCarthy said it did not seem suspicious in nature and that the fire department’s investigation is complete. mshahid@postmedia.com twitter.com/chromartblog 

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The Barrie Colts were victorious after hosting the Mississauga Steelheads in Tuesday night’s Game 7. After a scoreless first period, Mississauga got onto the board first, but Barrie soon tied it up. Centre Justin Scott earned a hat trick and Barrie was able to pull ahead 4-1. Right-winger Kevin Labanc scored an empty netter with minutes left in the game to bring Barrie ahead with a 5-1 score. They hung onto the lead and now Barrie plays North Bay Battalion in the semifinals. The first game of that series is Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Barrie Molson Centre.

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Who do you call when a creek gets sick? Well, a river doctor, of course. In this case, the doctor is Paul Villard, a senior geomorphologist with GEO Morphix Ltd. Villard has been tasked with bringing a healthy flow back to Lover’s Creek in Centennial Park in a bid to entice more fish back to its waters. Villard will oversee a project that will see a recreational pond in the Line 7/Sideroad 10 area returned to a more natural habit by bypassing a man-made dam built in the 1960s. “There is no way for fish to get past that dam,” Villard told council last month. “The water is heated in the pond, which creates thermal impacts to the river downstream.” After the work is done, the pond will become a valley with wetland cells with a “babbling brook”, Villard said. The project, which will take about two years to complete, and will cost about $280,000. About $138,000 will be provided by the federal government through the Lake Simcoe /South-eastern Georgian Bay Clean-Up Fund. Partners in the project include Nottawasaga Futures, South Simcoe Streams Network, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA), the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), Dufferin Simcoe Land Stewardship Network, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Town of Innisfil. “The bypass channel would be constructed in the dry. Once the channel is vegetated, the new channel would be turned on,” Villard said in a report. As such, the dam will be maintained to provide open water habitat to both aquatic and migratory bird species.” Community volunteers will be involved in rehabilitation activities by adding native plant cuttings and planting trees along the newly created stream channel. There will be no disruptions to the off-leash dog park in Centennial Park, council heard.

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Brian Shelley usually waits to get a buzz every night before he goes to bed. That buzz comes from his Fitbit Flex bracelet, which informs him he’s done 10,000 steps. “It’s totally motivated me to walk to and from work here and there or if I drive to work, to go for a walk during the day,” Shelley said. “It’s helped keep me accountable and I’m really into using it now.” He has worn the rubber bracelet every day for about a  year and said if he’s short on steps, he will get up during commercial breaks while catching a Blue Jays game on TV, for example. “In between every inning, I go for a walk around the house to get my steps in.” Once he reaches the 10,000 steps, his bracelet vibrates to let him know he has achieved his daily goal. Shelley has also joined friends on an app available for his phone in friendly competition. Keeping track of daily movement is becoming a popular addition to fitness programs as technology makes it as simple as tapping a sleek wristband. Dialling up an app on your cellphone gives you instant updates on everything from steps taken in a day, to food intake, to hours spent asleep, all of which helps keep your fitness goal right in your face. The question: Is it really necessary to monitor every step in a day? The answer: Why not, if it prompts fitness awareness. Nothing is more telltale than how your clothes fit. If you notice a bit of tightness when you pull on your jeans or summer shorts that were such a comfy fit when last worn a few months ago, no app needs to confirm what you already suspect: you’ve gained weight. So, upon recognizing you are in that boat, there is something about readily accessible data that keeps people updated on their progress. Perhaps it is the novelty. Maybe the simplicity provided by a quick glance. For some, it is the positive reinforcement that keeps them pushing toward that goal. That certainly describes Donna Brewer, who started a personal fitness drive last fall. “I didn’t see the need at first,” said Brewer, who wears a Fitbit Charge HR (Heart/Rate) to monitor a vigorous daily walking/stepping routine. “But now I do. When I get into intense mode and see my heart rate go up, I know I’m burning calories.” The grandmother of five replaces drives with walks whenever she can. When Brewer does drive to the mall or for shopping, she parks farther away so she can walk extra steps. She watches her favourite TV shows while her device counts steps on the treadmill. Brewer routinely counts more than 20,000 steps — defined as step-like movements such as walking, running, stair-climbing and movement during chores — on a daily basis. She walked 97 kilometres one recent week. She started at around 30 kilometres per week when her personal fitness and health campaign started last fall. “I’ve replaced sitting around with moving,” she said. “I can’t help think there is nothing but good in it. I’m beating my records and getting quite caught up in it. I’ve probably quadrupled my personal bests since then.” She is closing in on 30,000 steps per day. Experts are on both sides of the wall regarding the latest scorekeeper found on the fitness landscape. Some will argue the use of technology and related apps is merely dumbing down the individual. Others contend that a readily accessible account of results serves to challenge people to get better and fitter. If you are a fan of the app, know this: it is difficult to escape its presence whether worn on your wrist or around your neck. And that’s a good thing for motivational purposes, some experts feel. “It’s definitely getting huge,” said Chris Torresano, a fitness trainer at Individual Performance Training Centre in Aurora and a graduate of the kinesiology department at the University of Waterloo. “One of the biggest gifts at Christmas is activity trackers. People want toys and this is a toy to help you become healthy. It’s good. They promote healthy lifestyle. “Technologically, it is so easy and advanced everybody is doing it. You can join groups on social media where you challenge other people to see who is taking the most steps in a day. It makes motivation so easy that when you are short all you need is a quick walk to make up the steps.” But it’s easy to become a slave to technology. For instance, Torresano notes that a forgotten cellphone can turn a day on its head. He said people are the same with their monitoring devices. “Some people will show up at the gym without their tracker and are wondering what to do,” he said. “They can’t work out without it because they won’t get their count.” Of course, just because activity isn’t recorded doesn’t mean it doesn’t count. Technology is everywhere in our daily lives. It is really just a matter of embracing levels and taking those first steps toward a more active lifestyle, said Torresano. But it’s also easy to be overwhelmed by rapid changes in the industry. It’s not unlike buying any piece of technology only to find a week later it’s already two generations old. “In some cases, it’s more about comparing brands and options,” said Torresano. “It’s like going to buy a laptop and comparing between Apple and other brands.” Reliance on technology with all the answers literally at arm’s length can be viewed as a mind-numbing exercise. In fact, paralysis by analysis is a less-than-endearing term used in the industry to suggest an over-reliance on gadgetry might create a negative impact. “When I was first encouraged to get more active, I tried an app on my SmartPhone but it was too awkward,” recalled Brewer, who estimates she is mobile for three hours each day. “I had to carry it somehow, but it was cumbersome. I like the fact it is on my wrist and I don’t have to think about it. Having statistics on the dashboard, or phone, encourages me to beat myself.” Connecting with other people through social media has also helped Brewer maintain focus. “We can see each others’ totals but I’m not in competition with them,” she said. “It’s just a competition between me and myself. It’s pretty easy to attain when you start to walk.” Matt Lyall, a Sport Chek manager, said Fitbit’s popularity is related to its ability to motivate. “I think it is a bit because of the novelty, but it does what it says it will,” said Lyall. “It will tell you to get moving when you are inactive. If you are looking to get back into working out, it will prompt you.” Depending on your budget and level of commitment, cost is relative, said Lyall. It’s possible to outfit yourself in a wrist piece for $120 or so and it’s not difficult to spend into the hundreds of dollars for top-of-the-line models made by companies such as Garmin or Apple. Some question the accuracy of devices in tracking data such as steps and calorie loss. Still, anything promoting activity can’t be all bad — especially if it  means fitting into those faded blue jeans once again.

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