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COLLINGWOOD –  An area resident was recently defrauded on more than $150,000 reports the local O.P.P. one of two sophisticated frauds that have duped local residents. Officers were contacted recently after an area resident was defrauded of over $150,000. The victim had been in contact with a male via an online dating site, who advised that he was a diamond salesman. The male advised he required funds to purchase diamonds and then import them into Canada generating a profit on the purchase. The victim sent funds overseas for the purchases and later realized, when speaking to friends, that this was a fraud. Officers were also contacted for another fraud where an area resident received a letter with a cheque for $18,000 advising that she had won $600,000 in a contest. In order to receive the remainder of the prize, she would have to send $10,000 cash to an address in British Columbia. The money was sent however the victim soon realized it was a scam and thankfully was able to have Canada Post intercept the envelope a few days later. This serves as a reminder to never send money, or give personal credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust. A request to send money to a foreign country or to someone you have never personally met should be a red flag. As well, you cannot win money or a prize in a lottery unless you have entered it yourself, or someone else has entered it on your behalf. You cannot be chosen as a random winner if you don’t have an entry. Most importantly if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you or someone you know suspect they’ve been a victim of a scam such the above mentioned incidents, contact your local police service. You can also file a complaint through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or online at https://www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm

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Georgian students who need help with their taxes can get it at the Georgian Tax Clinic. The clinic is staffed entirely by Accounting students who volunteer their time and expertise. More than 20 student volunteers are operating the clinic until April 8 in Room E218 at the Barrie Campus. “This is a great opportunity for students to gain valuable, real-life experience with clients,” says Lianne Smith-Stow, Professor and Accounting program co-ordinator. “They get to practice the soft and hard skills they acquire in the Accounting program, while at the same time provide an important service to their peers.” Students who take advantage of the service can ask questions in a comfortable environment, become more knowledgeable about their individual tax situation and of course, save money – returns are prepared and filed for free. Last year, more than 250 Georgian students accessed the service. The Georgian Tax Clinic is a partnership between Georgian College and the Canada Revenue Agency under the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program.

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MIDLAND – The inaugural Mayors’ Mac & Cheese Fundraising Dinner took place Tuesday at The Library Restaurant in Midland. Proceeds from the event went to We Are the Villagers. READ MORE:

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The Wasaga Film Festival and the Town of Collingwood are hosting the first Public View and Vote Regional South Georgian Bay Youth Film and Video Makers Category for young filmmakers from across the South Georgian Bay Area. The event takes place at the Collingwood Simcoe Street Theatre, 65 Simcoe Street, Collingwood, April 8. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is $5 at the door. READ MORE: The Regional SGB Public View & Vote Youth category event will feature local film producers sharing their experiences as part of the screening of the youth film and video makers entered in the Wasaga Film Festival competition. Winners of the competition will be selected based on an evaluation of appointed film judges by the film festival that will make up 65 per cent of the overall score. Public View and Vote scores from the attending public will represent the remaining 35 per cent of the overall score. “We are absolutely tickled that the Town of Collingwood has joined forces with us to sponsor the youth film public view and vote event right in Collingwood,” said Gary Cerantola, chairperson of Wasaga Film Festival. Awards will be presented at the Red Carpet Gala Awards, Saturday, April 30, at the Wasaga Beach RecPlex. Doors open at 6 p.m. and admission is $25 per person. The Friends of the Festival tickets are $50 each; a Friends of the Festival ticket is a pass allowing two people entry to every Public View & Vote scheduled during the month of April, as well as an individual means to support the growth of the film festival. Tickets are available at the Wasaga Beach Chamber of Commerce, 550 River Road West, Wasaga Beach. First place winner of the Regional SGB Youth Film and Video Makers category will receive a post-sound package from Mountain Goat Film Company valued at $500. This sound package can be used towards the sound design, edit and 5.1 surround sound mix of any short film up to five minutes in length, along with $300 in cash. The second place winner will be awarded $200, and the third place winner will be presented $100. For more information, .

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For 15 years, a group of volunteers has been meeting monthly to help those dealing with prostate cancer. The Orillia Prostate Cancer Awareness Group meets the fourth Wednesday of every month, save July and August, at Branch 34 of the Royal Canadian Legion. Colin Wackett and Doreen Anderson have been there since it started. "We try to make it a social as much (as) an information meeting," Wackett explained. "It sort of takes away those stressors (people) may feel." The group was the brainchild of Dr. Roland Sing, Derek Lawrence and Irvin Fine. The three felt there needed to be a situation where people who were suffering from prostate cancer could talk to those who have either been beaten the disease or were suffering themselves. Family members and spouses are encouraged to attend the meetings, too. The first meeting took place April 26, 2001, at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, with about 20 participants. The 15th-anniversary meeting later this month will have about 80. "If 10 people show up, it would be a success, because they’re seeking information," Wackett said. As important as the support of the members in the group is the fact the guests of honour at each meeting are often able to provide hope when there appears to be nothing but despair. "It’s evolved to the point where we’re noted for the quality of speakers we’ll have, for the members to listen to, to consult with," Wackett said. "We get a door open by having the doctors come here." Each meeting features a leading doctor or researcher focusing on prostate cancer treatment. Over the years, the members have seen treatment evolve rapidly, with speakers such as Dr. Tony Finelli, who developed laparoscopic surgery, and Dr. Gerard Morton, an expert in brachytherapy. "After the meeting, the specialist who talks has a lineup of people who want a personal consultation," Wackett said. "And they stay to talk to them. And a lot of them manage to get the advanced treatment that is not offered up here, just by talking to the doctor." That tradition will continue April 19, when Dr. Andrew Loblaw will talk about new trials have begun regarding the reduction of radiation treatments from 39 to five. Patients will go once a week for five weeks, instead of every day for nearly six weeks. Sometimes, group members hears from people just like them, who are battling cancer. One of the most popular meetings was when former City TV anchor Mark Daley spoke to the group before his untimely death in 2010. Both Wackett and Anderson have been impacted by prostate cancer in their own ways. Anderson’s husband, David, was diagnosed with the disease shortly after his retirement in 1990, living nearly 20 years with it before dying unexpectedly following complications after a fall. The cancer wasn’t the direct cause of his death, but it had weakened him to the point he could not battle back after breaking his hip. Wackett has been diagnosed with prostate cancer three times: once in 1999, before the group was formed, and twice since. The way he handled his diagnosis changed after he had the support group in place. "It was a big difference because everyone would ask, ‘How’s it going? Do you need anything? Can I drive you? Do you need any help?’" Wackett recalled. "When I had the surgery the first time, (there was) nobody to contact." The disease is incurable — for now. The same research the group hears about every month has helped to slow the progress of the disease, allowing people to carry on with their lives for as long as possible. pbales@postmedia.com twitter.com/patrickbales 

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The Circle Theatre played host to the ’s drama performances today. Several youth performers took the stage to wow the audience with poetry, monologues, and storytelling. While showing off their skills, the young actors and actresses were adjudicated by industry professional Len Silvini. Upon completion of each category, Silvini presented certificates to each participant and provided them with professional feedback on their performances. Read more: This year’s performers were Rebekkah Martin, Marie Conceicao, Sean Bagha and Brie Taylor. The SSAC Music Festival continues April 18, with piano performances being held at the Knox Presbyterian Church from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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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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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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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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Wasaga Beach could be looking at chopping down more than 5,400 ash trees over the next five years in an effort to control the damage caused by the emerald ash borer. The bug, a wood-boring beetle native to eastern Asia, has killed millions of ash trees in North America since 2002. The insect’s larvae destroy the layer under an ash tree’s bark that transports nutrients and water throughout the tree. The pest can typically kill a mature tree in one to three years. Related: Landon Black, with the firm Skelton, Brumwell & Associates, which has undertaken developing a management plan for Wasaga Beach on how to deal with the pest, outlined several options for the municipality in a presentation to the April 7 meeting of council’s coordinated committee, That includes treating trees that could be considered “high-value” from a cultural or socio-economic perspective. Black recommended the town take a “proactive management” approach, which would likely result in the removal of about 99 per cent of the town’s ash trees. Phase one of the five-year plan would involve treating trees with an insecticide designed specifically to kill the emerald ash borer in the first year, with remaining trees removed over the next four years. The plan would affect trees that are in public right-of-ways, or be in a position of endangering public safety. Black said the plan would not include ash trees in woodlots. The cost to remove the trees over five years would be $1.4 million. Parks and facilities manager Gerry Reinders said the trees that will be saved have been identified, and there is money is this year’s budget to being treatment. The insecticide, TreeAzin, is derived from a plant native to the Indian subcontinent. “It’s a huge cost,” Reinders told Simcoe.com. “The reason we’re putting out the strategy is to try and spread the costs out over a period of time. “It’s not a huge amount (of trees), but there are a number that could be healthy enough and are at the right size that they could be treated,” he said. Reinder said the cost to treat a tree works out to $5 a centimetre. “A normal tree would cost about $200 to $300,” he said. Reinders will be coming back to committee at a later date with recommendations on how to proceed with the strategy. During the meeting, Mayor Brian Smith asked Black if the borer could jump to another species once ash trees were no longer available. Black said it was possible as the borer can be found in a variety of trees in Asia; however, he said, there was only once instance in North America of the bug being found in another tree species. “So far in North America, ash is the predominant food source, but there is a real possibility that it could hop on to other species,” he said.

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