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Students in the Simcoe County District School Board have turned International Day of Pink into a week-long event. From April 11 to15,  bullying prevention events will take place throughout the county.    ??Paint the Town Pink  ? More than 120 teams of SCDSB students have been matched with stores in Alcona, Alliston, Barrie (downtown and in the Holly area), Collingwood, Creemore and Midland. These stores have donated their main windows to be decorated pink. Students will design and install a window display that combines the branding of the store with bullying prevention and equity-themed pink displays. Students will assemble their displays by April 8, for viewing during the week.   ??International Day of Pink   ?Each year, the second Wednesday in April is marked as the International Day of Pink. This year’s event takes place on April 13. In addition to the events listed here, many schools hold bullying prevention assemblies, pink shirt days and other activities.    Barrie, April 13 Barrie’s official International Day of Pink celebration will take place at City Hall at 4:30 p.m. Representatives from the SCDSB and Barrie Pride will be at the flag raising along with other local dignitaries.   ?? Collingwood, April 13   On the morning of April 13, students will unite to turn Collingwood pink and participate in Olympic-themed challenges at the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena. Local dignitaries including MP Jim Wilson and Mayor Sandra Cooper will participate in the opening ceremony, which begins outside the library at 10 a.m., with a torch run to the arena to follow.   In Barrie and Collingwood, students will be joined by MacKenzie Oliver, founder of the I Love Me Club, to take a bullying prevention pledge.   ?? Art Exhibit   ? Grade 10-12 visual and media arts students from Innisdale Secondary School will display artwork at the SCDSB Education Centre in Midhurst. The exhibit will run during the last two weeks of April.  ?? Thanks to Hillcrest Elementarily School for helping us get our pink on! #paintthetownpink #downtownbarrie pic.twitter.com/vweYlu1UD7 — Lazy Tulip Cafe (@LazyTulipCafe) April 8, 2016

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A woman has been arrested in connection with a theft and assault at a Barrie pharmacy last month. The 34-year-old Dundalk woman was found Monday by Chatsworth OPP, after receiving numerous tips. On March 28, a Barrie pharmacy employee was punched several times in the face trying to stop a shoplifter. City police were called to the Rexall on Essa Road shortly after 5 p.m. and told that a woman had selected items in the store and concealed them in a bag she was carrying. Security alarms went off when she left the pharmacy and a store employee stopped a woman outside. The employee was assaulted and a woman fled on foot, police said, and was last seen running west on Coughlin Road. About $500 in stolen merchandise was left behind. The pharmacy worker received minor injuries. The arrested woman will remain in the custody of OPP, as she was wanted on several outstanding charges there. She also faces theft and assault charges in Barrie.

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The threats faced by landowners by all levels of government was at the centre of an at-times heated meeting in Orillia Saturday morning. The newly-formed Simcoe County chapter of the Ontario Landowners Association (OLA) met at the Highwayman Inn to discuss if the government was stealing the property rights of landowners. The meeting was designed to be an information session for people in the area, as the local chapter is in its infancy. One of the guest speakers was OLA president Tom Black. He said the group’s primary function is the educate. “(We) educate people on their rights, because you’re not getting your rights told to you by the officer at your door,” he said. “People don’t even know enough to ask them ‘what in the law are you charging me under?’” All levels of government – and the non-elected bodies that have regulatory powers, such as conservation authorities – find themselves in the cross-hairs of the OLA. During Black’s address to the approximately 50 in attendance Saturday morning, he gave multiple examples of different cases he has been involved in, including disagreements regarding setbacks from waterways and the rights of farmers to adopt from the Ontario Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The rallying call of the OLA isn’t as simple as saying anyone can do what they want to their private property. Black said most instances are fair game, as long as you’re doing well by your neighbours and treating the environment responsibly. “When you have rights, you have responsibilities,” he said. “You can’t pee in somebody else’s soup.” Black lamented how citizens delegated their neighbourly responsibility to local government. He used noise bylaws as an examples of governments doing the job neighbours don’t want to. Neighbours, he said, would rather delegate the conflict than talk it out with their fellow residents. However, as Saturday’s meeting showed, neighbourly relations between certain non-government organizations are as strained as those between the house that keeps throwing the raging parties and the rest of the street. Patrick Connor, executive director of the Ontario Trails Council (OTC), attended the meeting Saturday, and spoke at length from the floor about the disagreements between his organization and the OLA about Bill 100. The OLA is steadfastly against Bill 100 as it is currently written, primarily due to language in Section 12. Where a landowner may have an agreement with a local snowmobile club to use a trail through his/her property, the OLA feels the bill will allow other organizations, such as a municipality or conservation unfettered access to the trail as well. Snowmobiles in the winter may give way to dirt bikes or horses in the summer, without consent from a landowner. The back-and-forth between Connor and Black at times devolved into a shouting match, with some members of the OLA telling Connor to “shut up.” After Connor left, several OLA members followed him out to further discuss the differences between the organizations. It was the second OLA meeting Connor has attended recently. The group doesn’t seem to view the OTC as a willing partner in the fight. “They’re agreeing to this bill,” Black insisted. “They’re agreeing that if we register that property, that right-of-way… then (the government) can register it as an easement.” Such easements, often done in the past on an informal, handshake basis, will not become registered unless the landowners want them to, Connor said. However, that’s the very kind of threat the OLA views as a government takeover of private land. While the OTC doesn’t see that as a possibility, it is still concerned with the language of the bill it otherwise supports, and wants the OLA’s help in making the necessary changes. “What (they’re) concerned about is possible, but it’s not probable,” Connor said. “We want to make sure that doesn’t occur…. We’re trying to initiate a process with them to undo the fear.” As much as it would like to see changes to the bill, the OTC doesn’t want to see it fail. The act helps improve landowner risk, Connor said. As well, other ways to convey your land will remain, he added, despite not being explicitly stated in the bill. pbales@postmedia.com @patrickbales

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For Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer Barbara Dumas, watching her Little Sister become confident and brave made her proud of the difference she had made in another person’s life. “They say you always have it in your heart for some reason,” said Dumas. “I never had a daughter of my own, and I came to Orillia and the stars just seemed to align and I decided, ‘This is my time to make a difference in a child’s life.’” She and her match have been growing together as a team doing various activities including bowling at the annual Bowl for Kids Sake fundraiser. “This is our third year as a team,” said Dumas “We put together a team with her grandfather, brother, herself, my husband and myself.” Last year, the team raised $200. This year, the goal is $300. “I will take her around my neighbourhood with me. She’s getting braver, too,” Dumas said. “She gets the idea now that people are receptive to you; they don’t mind you asking, and it’s OK if they say no.” Representatives of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orillia and District were at Boston Pizza, a major sponsor of Bowl for Kids Sake, to kick off the fundraiser. The first of four days will see participants from the business and financial sector come together April 13 at 6 p.m. and April 14 at 7 p.m. at Orillia Bowl, said Suzanne Ure, events co-ordinator with the local Big Brothers Big Sisters. “Sunday, the 17th, we have the community day, which will include a lot of our Big Brothers and Big Sisters and their Little Brothers and Little Sisters,” she added. A final bowling event will be held at the Coldwater Bowling Centre April 19, to expand beyond Orillia and give a chance to those who aren’t able to make it to the three events in the city. “We want to get as many teams as possible,” said James Maxwell, executive director of the local branch. “It is our 50th year for the agency, so the event is one side of it, but the bigger thing we’re doing at all of our events is just the awareness of the 50 years and the impact. Our community deserves to hear about the impact and how it’s changing individual lives.” On average, added Maxwell, Bowl for Kids Sake raises $25,000 a year — money that is used to provide services to more than 300 kids in the area. For more information, visit bbbsorillia.ca. mshahid@postmedia.com twitter.com/chromartblog

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A Barrie man arrested for panhandling near Highway 400 Tuesday also faces a charge for missing a court date last month. Just after 4 p.m., city police spotted a man panhandling at Mapleview Drive West, on the 400’s northbound ramp. Police say he was holding a sign, asking for money, and approaching vehicles stopped at the traffic lights. Officers determined the man was wanted on an arrest warrant for failing to attend court in March. He faces a charge of theft at Freshco from February. A 37-year-old man was taken to Barrie police station and was scheduled for bail court Wednesday morning. Soliciting a person in a vehicle on a roadway is a provincial offence, under the Safe Streets Act, and the fine is $65. 

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A tender for gravel roads re-surfacing came in slightly over budget. Meaford council at its regular meeting on April approved the granular road resurfacing project tender from E.C. King Contracting at a total price of $210,846.72. The project was just over $10,000 more than budgeted. At the same time, council approved a staff recommendation to move $10,846.72 from the Roads and Bridges Reserve to fund the difference in the tender price and the amount budgeted. Members of council asked if just over $200,000 for gravel roads resurfacing was enough considering the needs and number of roads in the municipality. Director Financial Services and Infrastructure Management Darcy Chapman said no municipality comes close to meeting gravel roads needs. Chapman said the recommended standard is for roads to get three inches of gravel every three years. He said that standard isn’t being met and Meaford tries to have its gravel roads get three inches of gravel every five years.

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A waterfront park will become home to a playground honouring the life of a local youth. The city is moving forward on a plan by a U.S.-based foundation to establish a playground at Couchichiching Beach Park in memory of Jacob Noble, who died in March of 2015, just shy of his 16th birthday. A second playground will commemorate Adam Davenport, who died of cancer in 1997 at age 17. “Both of the playground developments will be open to the public, and at the same time honour the memory of two children who lived in the city of Orillia,” said John Bryant, manager of park planning and development. Footing the bill for the dual projects is the “Where Angels Play Foundation,” a charitable organization founded by a retired New Jersey fire captain. The foundation constructed 26 playgrounds in memory of 20 children and six staff who were gunned down at Newtown, Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The local projects were proposed in recognition of Canadian fire fighters who volunteered time to assist with the playground builds, among them Orillia’s Mark Goode, a volunteer fire fighter at the time. “I think this is a great idea,” Coun. Rob Kloostra said of the plan. The charitable foundation is raising approximately $120,000 for playground equipment. Approximately 30 volunteers will assist with its installation. A previously approved $110,000 capital budget for a replacement playground feature at the beach will allow the city to expand on the project, staff said. The existing play apparatus at the beach was installed in 1994 and has little value, as components removed from the structure over the past decade were not replaced, staff added. The foundation will supply and install the equipment, while the city will oversee the design, site preparation, landscaping, and walkway connections. Playground elements will differ from those offered at a major playground in the centre of the park, staff added. Officials are aiming to have the installation at Couchiching Beach Park completed this year, with the playground honouring Adam Davenport to follow in 2018/2019. Staff will explore the recreation facility at 255 West St. S. as a potential location for the second installation.

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Sean McCann was in a big-name band, performing in front of thousands of people. READ MORE: But he never felt more alone. “When I felt that isolation I reached for my best friend in the whole world and that’s my guitar,” he said. McCann is best known as one of the founding members of Great Big Sea, a band he left in 2013. On April 15, he will be taking the stage at the Gayety Theatre at 7:30 p.m. About five years ago, McCann changed his life. “Five years ago, I decided to quit drinking and to face my own past, which included sexual abuse as a teenager and started me on a path of drinking,” McCann said. “It was only after I stopped drinking that I was able to face that and move forward. I have my kids and my family and I’m alive, and honestly I don’t think that would be the case if I didn’t do what I did.” McCann said he dealt with the issues the best way he knew how, with music. He wrote two albums, Help Your Self and You Know I love you. “I was able to get through all this and make some sense of it by writing songs and singing them,” he said. “For me, that is my therapy. I’ve learned that music can save your life. My past is not a prison for me anymore because of that guitar. “I also learned anger, which was a big part of my problem, is the enemy. I’ve found myself, via music, coming out the other side a much more positive person and if I can share that with people, more power to me and to them.” McCann didn’t shop the albums to a record label, instead putting them out on Facebook and Twitter. “It’s a personal record, I didn’t expect the huge response there was,” he said. “My little personal journey resonated with thousands of people.” As he travels around, he meets people who had similar issues. “It made me realize, I’m not alone,” McCann said. He’s excited to perform in Collingwood and says he never performs with a set list, but takes requests. “I’ll be drawing on 25 years of my personal and musical history,” he said. “My goal is to allow for every emotion in the room and encourage everybody to sing along. “I enjoy doing these small theatres where I can come in and be very intimate and interactive with the audience.” While being part of a band was exciting, McCann prefers small towns and small venues. “The power of one, a guitar and the truth, can be just as big or bigger, than being in a hockey rink with 10,000,” he said. McCann said it’s tough being a musician these days but he enjoys going on the road. “I think the future of music is in small towns,” he said. “Everyone who is determined, like I am, to stay and continue playing, you do whatever it takes. You get out on the road and you work.” Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. For more information on tickets visit www.theatrecollingwood.ca For more information on McCann visit, www.seanmccannsings.com

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Lakehead University presented its annual ‘Media Arts Showcase’ during an event on Tuesday evening at the Orillia Museum of Art and History. The showcase featured video, sound, photography, and interactive sculptures, among other eye-catching and thought-provoking works by students in the school’s media studies program. Participants included Shannon Hawke, Christina Petsinis and Sarah Southward.

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Starting this month, Baby Box Canada is delivering its first free boxes of goodies to more than 50,000 expectant parents in Ontario. Toronto-based founders Romi and Edward Walker were inspired by the Finnish government’s 75-year-old tradition of sending boxes with baby care items to new parents, and will spend the summer months beta-testing their baby boxes in Ontario, with plans to expand the project across Canada. How did the idea of Baby Box begin? Edward: Before we had our son, he’s almost two, we were trying to figure out the kinds of things that we needed to prepare for our first child. We ended up going to different stores and trying to figure it out, and then Romi’s mother actually sent us a box of all kinds of things that she thought we would need. After we had Alex, our baby, we were thinking to ourselves, “Why isn’t a thing like this available?” Romi: It started from a passion of ours, and we saw that there are actually programs in Finland and it’s common around the world, and we wanted to have it here for people. We feel like it’s a great thing for a person to receive when they have a baby. How did your mother-in-law react to being part of your inspiration? Edward: She flew into town just to visit our son Alex, and it happened to be right when we were launching the first campaign — end of January, beginning of February — and she watched it happen. She was just in tears, it was incredible. How do you choose the brands you partner with? Romi: We want to have quality products and things that people will actually be happy to receive. Edward: That’s why we talk with brands like Fisher-Price, Kids II, and Aleva Naturals. Romi: We also wanted to give room for the smaller boutique brands, like luv child and Stork and Dove, to have more Canadian (brands). Edward: It’s not just about getting their product in the box. We want to share (their brand) with the public because it can be very hard to try and find different products. A big thing that we work on is helping to drive the industry forward and showing parents products and also getting feedback from those parents so we can say to brands which products are needed and how they can make their products better. For parents just getting on board now, how long is the waiting list? Edward: It depends … the program is geared around getting a box to parents two to three months before their expected due date. What message do you have for new parents who are trusting your call on what to buy for their baby? Romi: I feel like when you see a product, you know that you would want to try it on your baby. I would recommend for everyone to use their own judgment first. Then when it comes to the box, we selected products that we believe in and that we would use at home. Edward: We have a requirement that the products be retail available, in one form or another, whether through an online retailer or a major chain store, like Walmart, Toys “R” Us, and the like … We make sure the products in the box are safe. Ultimately, a big part of it is the product that goes in the box and which brand it is, but another part of it is the type of product. We try to focus on products we think are genuinely helpful for parents. What guarantee of privacy do parents have when signing up on your website? Edward: We meet all of the guidelines the Canadian government has developed for protecting data … All of our data that is stored meets all of the highest levels of security for data protection and our website is super secure. The list itself isn’t seen by anybody. With new parents being very protective of their children, what message do you have for parents to trust you on your call on what to buy for their baby, or what to consider for their children? Romi: When it comes to the box, we selected products that we believe in, that we would use at home. We made sure that we were going to use them. We tasted the food that’s in the box. We tried the creams in the box. We tried everything. We wanted to make sure that we believe in everything that goes in the box. Edward: We had our lawyers look at all the products to make sure everything (was) compliant and it was up to standards. Can you take me through some of those products (that are helpful to parents)? Romi: There is Medela. We have the hydrogel pads for women who started breastfeeding and have sore nipples. I find them pretty helpful. So it’s something good to have at home. And we do also give some nice creams. Are you going to be throwing in coupons as well? Edward: Not in the initial box. After that we are rolling out a shopping guide which will have coupons for all the products in the box and potentially a lot more. And also another great part of the shop Torstar News Services

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