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TAY TOWNSHIP – St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church will present the award-winning “ABC Music & Me” on Saturdays starting this weekend. The Victoria Harbour church will host the Kindermusik International enrichment program from 10-10:30 a.m. Geared toward two- to four-year-olds, the free program is described as a half-hour, multi-sensory workout. For more information, call Diane Collett at 705-538-0885.

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An Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing Friday could affect downtown Barrie’s future. The board will hear an appeal of a Nov. 25 city committee of adjustment decision allowing Unique Ink Custom Tattooing to relocate to Dunlop Street West. The relocation is at odds with Barrie’s Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw, which requires a minimum 100-metre distance between tattoo parlours, body piercing parlours, pawn shops or payday loan establishments in the downtown. The committee allowed Unique Ink’s application to locate at 11-15 Dunlop St. W., right beside a payday loan company. “What the committee of adjustment did, by allowing them this minor variance of 100%, they have really made this bylaw sort of defunct,” said Jack Garner, who launched the OMB appeal. “I love this downtown and this bylaw wasn’t just passed in two seconds on the whim of someone. This was worked out and thought out … and it’s a good bylaw,” he said. “It’s a bylaw to encourage a good mix downtown.” Barrie’s committee of adjustment decided, however, that the variance was not significant. “This application falls within the intent and purpose of the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw and is minor in nature and is in keeping with the character of the surrounding neighbourhood,” said the committee in its decision, which is signed by chairman Barrie Vickers. Andrew Batten, who owns Unique Ink along with Jay McKay, says the OMB decision will make or break the business, which remains at 3 Clapperton St. Although the lease there was extended until the end of April, they’re signed up for five years at 11-15 Dunlop St. W. and paying rent there. “We’re definitely out of here the end of April, so if it (the OMB hearing) doesn’t go in our favour, we’re out of business,” Batten said, noting that could change if the Clapperton Street store isn’t rented to someone else. “But if it’s already rented out, there’s nothing we can do. Then we’re screwed.” Batten has said he didn’t know about the zoning bylaw’s distance separation when he began the process of relocating, learning only when applying for a business licence. Unique Ink wants to move from an 800-square-foot store to one of 1,200 sq. ft., one that’s wheelchair accessible and has proper fire exits. Both 3 Clapperton St. and 11-15 Dunlop St. W. are beside payday loan businesses. Unique Ink is allowed on Clapperton because it was there before the 2011 bylaw. It therefore requires a variance to the bylaw to relocate to Dunlop West. Batten said there are approximately 3,000 signatures on petitions – online and paper – supporting Unique Ink’s position. But Garner said this isn’t a matter of public opinion. “Their (Unique Ink’s) request for a business licence is contrary to the bylaw of the City of Barrie,” he said. “No one can say this bylaw was sort of sprung upon people, because it wasn’t. It took from 2010 until 2011 to go through the proper channels, including a public meeting. No one can fault the City of Barrie for not going through the proper process.” The Barrie Downtown Neighbourhood Association (BDNA) had originally wanted a bylaw to prohibit tattoo parlours, body piercing parlours, pawn shops and payday loan establishments there, but city council passed a 100-m. separation bylaw in 2011 instead. BDNA chairwoman Caroline Smith has argued the committee of adjustment decision is a policy change that cannot be authorized through a minor variance, and expressed concern it could set a precedent. Unique Ink’s application is supported by Downtown Barrie BIA managing director Craig Stevens, who has said it will not negatively affect the area. Coun. Rose Romita, who represents downtown Barrie, also supports the application. Garner said he’s unsure if Friday’s hearing will result in a decision the same day. “I don’t really know. It’s really a simple fight, a simple matter, I think,” he said. “Either the chair agrees with what I say or he or she doesn’t, and therefore I would think that a decision can be made right there and then.” But the OMB often reserves decision and releases it well after the hearing date. The OMB hearing is scheduled for Friday, April 1, 2016, at 10 a.m. in the Sir Robert Barrie Room at Barrie City Hall. It is open to the public. bbruton@postmedia.com @BrutonBob

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The 2016 Orillia Lady Kings Girls’ Field Lacrosse house league season officially got underway May 9, with a full compliment of 16 teams in action at Rotary Place. In the Under 9 Division, West Street Storage narrowly defeated Mayes Martin Limited 2-1. Sarah Pilger and Autumn Prior scored goals for West Street Storage, while Hailey Devine was the sole goal scorer for Mayes Martin. Kutting Edge Promotions escaped with a 3-2 win over Mark Goode-Mortgage Man. Emersyn McLaughlin, Anna Fagan and Sloane Trainor were goal scorers for the Kutting Edge, while Kailyn McDonald and Alice Brain scored goals for Mark Goode-Mortgage Man. In Under 11 Division action, Remax Chays Realty-April Kummer registered a narrow 5-4 win over Mariposa Landscaping. Caitlin McLaughlin scored a pair of goals to pace her team to the win, while Alicia Murphy, Hailey Irwin and Elle Waite rounded out the scoring. Emma Marwick scored two and singles from Anica Plue and Isabella DiSabatino accounted for the Mariposa Landscaping scoring.   In other action, TJS Custom Sheet Metal posted a 2-0 win over Freeman’s Autosource. Melanie Smith scored both goals in leading TJS to the win. In the Under 13 Division, TD Canada Trust edged R&F Construction 2-1 score. Emma Wedgewood and Makayla Clarke scored for TD Canada Trust, while Rebekah Kee notched the lone goal for R&F Construction. Peak Engineering and Construction Limited picked up a two goal, three-assist effort Kieran Goldthorpe, while Jaylon Thompson, Darby Farrell, Hannah MacDonald and McKenna Karn added singles in a 6-2 win over Linton Robinson Haulage Limited. Anna Glass and Amy Hagman scored in a losing cause, while Amelia Obee added two assists. Remax Orillia Roy Micks teamed up with Rush Hydraulic Pneumatic Inc. in Under 15 Division action, taking to the field against a combined Orillia Power and Infinite Designs Scrapbook Studio & More squad. Orillia Power received a two-goal effort from Emma Paek, while Kennedy Lynch and Kallista Jacobs added singles. Sophia Armstrong and Kaya Maracle each scored for Rush Hydraulic Pneumatic. Kassidy Morris powered Remax Orillia Realty-Roy Micks with two goals while Hayley Pratt added a single marker. Shannon Dickie was the sole goal scorer for Infinite Designs Scrapbook Studio & More. League action continues May 16 at the outdoor fields at Rotary Place.

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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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Belle Curran- Eliott, 7, participates in the Special Olympics Ontairo’s PAHL (Physical Active Healthy Living) Sports Festival at St. Monica’s Catholic School in Barrie, Tuesday. The event involved 55 special needs youngsters – from junior kindergarten to Grade 6 – representing nine schools from across the county. The students participated in a variety of fun activities.

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Residents can stay one step ahead of Mother Nature this summer by having tornado warnings sent directly to their smart phones. The warnings, which are distributed through a partnership between the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management and Environment Canada, can be sent by email and/or text message. To sign up for the service, . Environment Canada also provides storm alerts on Twitter for communities across Ontario. To find your local account, .

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A Barrie police special constable who was “curious” and went into the booking station to view a video which showed a female in the cells using the toilet, has been fired, Postmedia Network has learned. Reliable sources say Ralph Hillyard, a Barrie police special constable for 16 years, was fired and escorted to the door last Thursday – just hours after a judge slammed both the officer and the Barrie Police Professional Standards branch for taking no action. “I find the impugned conduct in the matter was an unauthorized exercise of power. The fact that it was unauthorized, however, was not a concern to supervisory staff,” Justice William Gorewich said in his ruling released to the media on Friday. At least seven times in his 17-page ruling the judge notes the video Hillyard watched was “raw footage” and “ not pixelated.” Gorewich noted the sport of viewing cell videos was commonplace for the sake of “gossip mongering” and curiosity – a conduct he found “egregious.” Hillyard had testified he often watched cell inmate videos and that it was “commonplace.” The woman in the cell, who has asked for anonymity, was a Barrie police special constable who was arrested for drunk driving moments after leaving a party with her co-workers on Christmas Eve 2014. But the judge tossed her impaired charge because it was an abuse of authority on the part of “the state,” as well as an abuse of privacy and integrity. She brought her concerns to lawyer Leo Kinahan. "I was shocked," Kinahan said in a recent interview. "I was honestly stunned. I find it very troubling that this was taking place as an accepted practice by the Barrie Police for no other reason than gossip and pleasure." He said he watched the video that showed his client "calm and polite" as she sat in her cell. "My client was quite possibly at the lowest part of her life, in the custody of her employer, and she is captured in a private, vulnerable moment on the toilet for somebody’s entertainment and pleasure. "My client was relieved of her duties after she was charged, and now she has to endure this humiliation. Yet, it was treated with such disregard by the Barrie Police Service … It’s bizarre … This seems to be OK with them," he added. Kinahan brought an application under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms – sections that guarantee an arrested person’s right to be treated fairly with a reasonable expectation of privacy – before Gorewich. “Her privacy rights were thoughtlessly ignored,” said Gorewich, who questioned why Hillyard had not been suspended or reprimanded. The woman says she is “ horribly humiliated” knowing that Hillyard watched her using the toilet in the cells at a low time in her life. After her arrest, she was immediately suspended without pay and later fired from the job she had held since 2004. Now, she says she wants her job back. “I loved my job and I was good at it,” she told Postmedia in an interview on Monday. “I never took a sick day in all the time I was employed there. … I want my job back.” Since her suspension, she had to moved from a house to a basement apartment and has been struggling to make ends meet by waiting tables in a bar while taking corrections courses in hopes of finding another job. “I feel I was fired and discriminated against for reasons I don’t understand. And I was not given the decency or chance to be found innocent until proven guilty by the very officers who are supposed to uphold that law in Canada," she added. Barrie police officials have refused to comment despite several requests for an interview. BARRIE POLICE STATEMENT RELEASED APRIL 4:  The members of the Barrie Police Service recognize our responsibilities for safe guarding the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. On January 18, 2016 the Barrie Police Service was notified by the Crown Attorney’s office that Special Constable Hillyard may have accessed restricted video recording of a female while in custody.  Video recordings of the cell block area are to ensure the safety and security of persons in custody and members of the service. A Professional Standards investigation was immediately commenced. As a result of their investigation it was determined that Special Constable Hillyard’s actions breached Barrie Police Service procedures by accessing and viewing restricted pixilated video recordings of persons in custody. Investigation also revealed that existing security system prevented Special Constable Hillyard from accessing restricted raw or un-pixilated recordings. The Barrie Police Service has implemented enhanced security and approval measures for all video recordings of persons in custody. As of March 31, 2016 Special Constable Hillyard was terminated from the Barrie Police Service. The Barrie Police Service remains committed to serve, protect and enhance our community by providing professional and accountable police service. What Justice William Gorewich said: "I ask whether the public would ever contemplate that this type of behaviour happens within police ranks? … I find that the public would be shocked and would lose confidence in the justice system." "I find it concerning that the issues of privacy and personal integrity of the detainee never occurred to him (Ralph Hillyard), and further, that his actions and actions of others, as he testified to, were tolerated by supervisory staff." "There is no plausible reason for his actions, other than the notion of curiosity he testified to, and his involvement in a matter of gossip that in my view has no place in the dealing with detainees." "The gossip surrounding the applicant in the workplace, in addition to the notion of curiosity, in my view is unprofessional and amounts to egregious police conduct." "Accessing of videos of detainees was commonplace and was practised numerous times, not only by him but as well by many of his colleagues, with the knowledge of the supervisors who did nothing."

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Orillia’s Royal Canadian Legion will hold a special service on Sunday (May 15) to unveil a newly-updated memorial. The granite memorial now features the names of 88 fallen WWII veterans from the Orillia area. Previously, the memorial contained only the names of WWI soldiers who died in service. The event begins with a parade from the parking lot at Matchedash and Mississaga streets at 1:40 p.m., followed by a 2 p.m. service at Veterans’ Memorial Park outside the Legion. All are welcome to attend.

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NORTH SIMCOE – Members of the community are invited to join Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton for a spaghetti dinner to support Gateway Centre for Learning. Scheduled for April 8 at Brian Orser Hall in Penetanguishene, the event will acknowledge Gateway’s contributions to north Simcoe. Gateway offers free, confidential tutoring for people who want to learn to read, write, improve their math skills or use a computer. The dinner will offer seatings at 5 and 6:30 p.m. There will also be a silent auction. Tickets cost $15. For more information, call Gateway at 705-527-1522 or Stanton’s office at 705-527-7654.

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The word bittersweet might not be the way to describe it. More like raw pain mixed with a tiny flash of comfort. It was in the midst of a murder trial this month when a Barrie jury stepped out and the judge gave permission for Kristin Brooks, 20, to give her dad a hug in the prisoner’s box. This, the man the man accused of murdering her mother. “I understand you want to give your dad a hug. You may do that now,” said Justice Guy DiTomaso in a stern voice. Quietly, police unlock the handcuffs on Mitchell Brooks, 53, charged with the first-degree murder of his wife Deena Brooks, 50, who was shot in the chest in the foyer of their New Lowell home May 24, 2013. His sporty, baby-faced daughter takes a cautious step, then rushes to him and the two embrace, weeping, not even attempting to hold back tears in the confines of a courtroom. “Oh dad, I love you so much,” she said, her face red and contorted, shuddering in his arms. “Oh God! I love you so much.” Dad holds his little girl tight. It was the first time she’d held her dad since that last hug three years earlier when he dropped her off at the dance. They’d had the best father-daughter day. They went for sushi. He took her to get her prom dress, then a manicure and pedicure. A few hours later, she would text her mom for a ride home from the prom. “On my way,” her mother texted back. Kristen stood at the front doors, waiting. But her mom lay dead in the foyer of their home with a bullet hole in her chest. Brooks claims he was in the depths of depression and meant to shoot himself when his wife grabbed to get the gun away from him and the trigger somehow went off. The Crown claims Brooks was enraged and shot his wife because she was leaving him. But his daughter doesn’t believe it. She knew her dad was depressed about his marriage. “He was crying all the time. I would go to rub his back to try to comfort him,” she told the jury in a timid voice earlier this month. Outside of court, the youngest of two daughters, insisted her father is innocent. “It was an accident, I whole-heartedly believe that,” she said. “He would never hurt anybody but himself. He’s a great dad.” The jury is now deliberating.

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