BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
Hiryu Bushido Kai (HBK) Martial Arts and Wellness Centre, a traditional martial arts dojo in Port Perry, will be celebrating its 25th anniversary on April 26.
Instructors Hanshi Fred Walker and Shihan Brian Norrish have been teaching the residents of Port Perry their own traditional, value-based, and rigourous blend of martial arts since 1989 - at their 15258 Simcoe St. dojo.
"April 19 will mark our official 25 years since we opened, and we will be holding a gala and celebration on April 26," said Hanshi Walker. "The party will feature dinner, demonstrations, and a student grading – we would like to invite all of our past and current students to contact us and come catch up!"
Their own history dates back to a combined experience of over 85 years. Hanshi Walker holds an eighth degree black belt in Karate, a black belt in Judo, and is a certified Reiki Master - while Shihan Norrish holds a fifth degree black belt in Karate.
"We started as a group of Senseis, the Japanese title for instructor," said Shihan Norrish. "We have since earned the titles of Hanshi, the instructor of masters, and Shihan, the master instructor. Our passions are strong in this ancient art, and we love teaching residents of all ages, in Port Perry and beyond."
From humble beginnings and a desire to train youth in the martial arts, Hanshi Walker and Shihan Norrish have raised many of their own students to black belt and Sensei level.
They now hold a troop of eight currently active instructors. The numerous Sensei allow HBK to collectively pool their experience and teach a diverse range of classes.
"We many types of hand-to-hand combat, the meditative art of tai chi, and the use of long staff and sai, " said Shihan Norrish. "Hanshi even teaches a group of Iaido students on the use of the Japanese katana, or samurai sword."
HBK Martial Arts focuses on the traditional tenants of respect, honour, discipline, selfcontrol and defence. The instructors believe that the mind must be trained alongside the body, and are heavily entrenched in the values of eastern martial arts.
The institution's creed is posted on the walls of their dojo, as a constant reminder to students.
The creed reads "I will build a strong body, mind and spirit. I will honour and respect myself, my parents and all others. I will develop self-discipline and self-control. I will keep my promises and complete all tasks. I will use karate only to defend myself or others, and make the world a better place."
Hanshi Walker, Shihan Norrish, and the other numerous Sensei primarily instruct students in Shotokan Karate, an internationally recognized and regulated form of Karate which adheres to a strict curriculum and grading system.
"We also encourage students to learn the use of Judo throws and focusing methods," said Hanshi Walker. "We ensure that our students have a wellrounded base of skills to draw from, so that they can continue their martial arts career."
Hanshi Walker has had diverse and distinguished life, and has worn many hats. He was the founder of the Durham Deaf Centre, an RCMP officer, and a Christian Minister at one point or another. Martial arts have always been a passion and hobby of his, until he decided to commit more time to teaching and opened the doors of HBK.
"I wanted to teach what I had learned to others and help improve their lives," said Hanshi Walker. "I can see the benefits in the children who join our club – many of them come with behavioral problems, attention disorders, confidence issues, or problems with bullies, and we get to see them learn focus and discipline."
Hanshi Walker believes that learning the traditional form of a martial art teaches so much more than just combat - as opposed to more competition-based style such as the popular Mixed Martial Arts. He also believes that once a student progresses beyond the first initial stages and ranks, an important change takes place.
"If you trained in a dojo twice per week for 1,000 years and only took instructions from a sensei, you wouldn't advance very far," said Shihan Norrish. "The bigger part of training is when you begin to teach yourself and develop self-discipline - eventually a student may become a sensei who trains other students and continues the process full-circle. It's not a sport, but a lifestyle."
Further information can be found on-line at www.HBKMartialArts.com, by phoning (905) 985-0205, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
SCUGOG: Another candidate has stepped forward to run in the upcoming municipal election.
Scugog Island resident Don Kett became the first candidate in the race to become Ward 3 Councillor for Scugog Township after filing nomination papers with the municipality last week.
As well, the first-ever candidate for the position of Regional Chair, Whitby denturist Michael Deegan recently filed nomination papers for the top spot on Regional Council.
Candidates for the municipal election may file nomination papers at any time the township Clerk's office is open (Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.) leading up to Nomination Day on Friday, Sept. 12. On Nomination Day, forms may be filed from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A full list of registered candidates can be found at the township's web site, www.scugog.ca.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: Uxbridge councillors got their first look at plans for the new Animal Shelter for Uxbridge-Scugog recently during a presentation from Executive members Ginger Jackson and Art Matthews at their meeting on the evening of Monday, March 24.
With the floor plans for the almost 5,000 square foot building now submitted to the municipality, the New Animal Shelter Committee is now handing over the project to Uxbridge and Scugog Townships as it project moves closer to completion, which is expected in 2015 or 2016.
"We're requesting that the townships take over responsibility going forward to make the most of their expertise," said Mr. Matthews.
Mr. Matthews added that the committee had a very successful year in 2013, with several notable fundraising events.
"We had a very productive year in 2013 and were able to take some giant steps forward with our Gala, Walkathon and golf tournament," Mr. Matthews said. "And, we were the beneficiary of these marvelous communities and since the project began have had more than 200 volunteers donate time to the project."
Replying to a question about the potential cost of the facility posed by Ward 5 Councillor Gord Highet, Mr. Matthews replied that it would be, "anywhere from $1.2 million to $1.4 million, all in, as the contractor put it."
Mr. Matthews added that volunteer work on the construction of the new facility could result in a great deal of savings.
With over $600,000 already committed to the project, the New Animal Shelter committee is showing no signs of slowing down their fundraising efforts in 2014.
The group is planning for another "In the Ruff " golf tournament this summer, along with a Gala on November 15 and a Walkathon on Sept. 27.
"The walkathon is going to be even bigger this year," pledged event organizer, Regional Councillor Jack Ballinger."
As well, Uxbridge's Bonner Boys recently announced an exciting partnership with the new animal shelter.
"The Bonner Boys have partnered with the new animal shelter for their annual Car Draw (at Uxbridge Arena on Saturday, June 14) and we're blessed to be working with that great group of men," commented Mr. Matthews.
As well, Mrs. Jackson highlighted the contributions of local youths towards the project, with several donations coming in from schools and local youngsters who sought to receive animal shelter donations instead of birthday presents.
"I can't believe the programs through the schools," said Mrs. Jackson. "We're getting so much support from the schools and kids are really stepping up to the plate."
Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor congratulated the committee on all of the success to date, and stated that the project should serve the community well into the future.
"I want to say thank you to the committee for their great work," added Mayor O'Connor. "We have to remember that what we're building will last for the next 50 years and not just today."
The group is expected to report on their progress to Scugog council on Monday, April 14.
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The matter is far from being rolled up, but a group has notified the township of their plans to become a licensed producer of medical marijuana through Health Canada.
The matter was discussed by council at their meeting on the evening of Monday, March 24, after receiving a report from township planning consultant Liz Howson.
Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor was quick to point out that a decision on the matter ultimately lies with the federal government, and simply because a proponent has made an application, it is by no means a guarantee that they will be granted a licence by Health Canada.
"This is federally regulated, and we have next to no say," commented Mayor O'Connor. "This is not a done deal by any stretch of the imagination, and I think that out of 100 applications, they might pick one."
The proponent of the group is Kandavel Palanivel, a registered pharmacist who currently owns and operates a number of GTA pharmacies.
If approved by Health Canada, the operation is looking to set up shop at a 115 acre farm on Durham Rd. 30, and would be using an 8,000 square foot barn currently on the property, that would be renovated to allow for the growing of cannabis plants.
Under Health Canada regulations, the property would have a number of security and surveillance measures in place, approved by Health Canada, which would include a perimeter fence, an alarm with motion detection and video camera monitoring with staff on site at all times for additional protection. The facility will also restrict visitors and segregate growing and storage areas as required by regulations laid out by the federal government.
Councillors held off on granting a letter of support to the group, choosing to wait until after a meeting with area residents at Zephyr Hall at 7 p.m., on Wednesday, April 2.
However, council did approve Ms. Howson's recommendation that the municipality request that the proponent contribute to the township's costs of the review of the proposal to date.
Also, council directed staff to develop a fee schedule for the review of similar proposals in the future, as township staff added that with marijuana being an emerging industry, more applications may be forthcoming.
"My understanding is that there has been other interest in a medical marijuana operation, so there may be more coming down the pipe," added Ms. Howson.
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: The recent renovation of the Blackstock Recreation Centre saw an update at Scugog council chambers on Monday, March 17, and was awarded additional funding of up-to $52,000 for the removal of lead paint and asbestos, and the installation of a new kitchen ventilation hood – said to open the community hall up to new revenue opportunities.
Craig Belfry, Township of Scugog Manager of Recreation and Culture, presented a positive report on the improvement of 3440 Church St. building, but added that additional funds of up-to $52,000 will be needed to cover additional costs.
“The project has been rolling along very well, we’re on track to complete renovations around mid-April,” said Mr. Belfry. “We have also uncovered some nice architectural features underneath the original brick work, and we will have more room for storage and activities inside the hall – we’re all very excited.”
On the other hand, Mr. Belfry propositioned Scugog councillors for additional budget allocations toward the continued improvement of the often-used complex – stating that a maximum of $29,000 is needed from the Township’s Community Enhancement Fund should be re-directed toward the improvement of the historic Church St. edifice, built in 1913 by the federal government as a military armoury.
“We ran into some asbestos in the stage-area walls, and the paint has been found to contain lead, which requires the service of special clean-up crews,” said Mr. Belfry. “We have had to re-frame some doors and replace the aged urinals as well. In order to complete the project properly, we require re-allocation of the CEF funds, which are set aside for purposes such as this.”
The second item on the list of requirements, a commercial-strength kitchen ventilation hood and matching fire suppression system, will cost roughly $23,000 – but will negate the prior fire safety issues which disallowed cooking of any oil-laden foods.
“We would like to have the same kind of commercial equipment as the Nestleton and Scugog complexes, so that caterers and residents can cook food and not just boil water indoors,” said Mr. Belfry.
The funding for the commercial hood system, which was recently discovered in a long un-touched Blackstock Recreation Centre Reserve Fund, was set aside by previous municipal governments for improvements to the building.
“I think we should count ourselves lucky to have only found these issues in such an old building,” said Councillor Howard Danson. “I am quite happy with the recommendations, and am entirely in favour.”
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: A new business was brewing at council’s meeting on Monday, March 17, as councillors heard a presentation from the Second Wedge Brewing Company.
The microbrewery was a top-five finalist in the recent Win This Space competition, and although they didn’t win the grand prize, owners Joanne Richter and Rob Garrard are moving forward with their plans to open their business in downtown Uxbridge by late 2014 or early 2015.
“The name Second Wedge comes from the Oak Ridges Moraine, and Uxbridge’s position in the four wedges of the Moraine,” Mrs. Richter explained to council.
Once operational, the microbrewery will churn out 2000 litres of beer per batch, and their downtown location will be home to the company’s brewing, cellaring and packaging operations as well as a retail store and tasting room.
The Second Wedge’s owners hope to use their downtown location to draw residents and visitors alike to downtown Uxbridge.
“We have trails all around us, and we’d like to draw people into town and think there are huge opportunities to promote Uxbridge tourism,” said Mrs. Richter. “We’ll be making our home in downtown Uxbridge so we can be a walkable neighbourhood brewery. A beautiful, comfortable space to gather, learn and taste something new.”
Mrs. Richer added that the former IGA/Sears building at the corner of Brock and Toronto St. is their ideal location, and they have been in contact with the property owner about securing a lease in the hope of being able to open up shop within the next year.
Councillors were enthusiastic about the idea of an exciting new business opening in the downtown core.
“It’s an excellent idea, and I look forward to you opening and doing business here in Uxbridge,” said Ward 1 Councillor Bev Northeast.
Local residents can follow along with the Second Wedge Brewing Company as they share news and stories about the ups and downs of starting a brewery through their web site, www.thesecondwedge.ca, which is expected to be operational later this month.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: One Goodwood resident is dead following a fire on the evening of Sunday, March 16.
According to Uxbridge Fire Prevention Officer Capt. Ken Maynard, Uxbridge Fire crews were called to a fire at 3180 Conc. 3, between Regional Rd. 21 and Secord Rd. at around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday night.
“Since it’s in the mutual aid agreement area, Stouffville’s fire department was already on the scene of the fully involved house fi re when we arrived,” Capt. Maynard told The Standard.
According to Capt. Maynard, although it wasn’t known when fire crews arrived on the scene due to the size of the fire, it was later discovered that a single occupant was in the home at the time of blaze, who died as a result of the fire.
At around midnight, investigators from the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office arrived on the scene to begin their investigation into the fatal fire.
No cause for the fire has been determined, and investigators from the Fire Marshal’s offi ce remained on the scene throughout the day on Monday, returning to the scene on Tuesday to they continue their investigation.
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: In response to the strong and repeated deputations of John Lucyk, Martha Casson, Valerie Cranmer, and many other concerned Scugog residents, councillors decided to remove the definition of ‘communal dwelling’ from its new zoning by-law, at the third council meeting on March 17.
The issue of communal dwellings, raised by the recent push for affordable housing by seniors who wish to have shared-ownership of a home, saw a long and arduous debate since December of last year. The concept, which was raised by Scugog Township’s own Seniors Advisory Committee, was originally embraced by the council at-large, but ran into many bureaucratic roadblocks.
“This process has been upsetting to all involved, but like any new venture, we needed to carefully examine and debate every aspect – right down to the wording on the pages,” said Scugog Township Mayor Chuck Mercier. “I understand now why we only revamp our zoning by-laws every thirty years or so, but I would like to congratulate Mr. Don Gordon [Scugog Township Director of Community Services] and the citizens who made deputations, on the work they have done.”
Ms. Martha Casson, one of the spear-head supporters of the new housing concept, said “I am pleased that there has been a realization of the right for people to live in whatever ownership configuration they wish, this is a major step forward in ensuring that the Municipality does not discourage seniors from continuing to manage their options as they evolve.”
Despite council’s revision of the zoning bylaw, several problems still remained to be addressed, including the Township’s wish to avoid the possibility of student dormitories or rooming houses being erected in the future.
Mr. Gordon assured councillors that the newly revised zoning definitions include measures to protect the historic streets of Scugog from such an occurrence.
Mr. John Lucyk, owner and operator of Lucyk Renovations in Port Perry and the builder of the original shared-ownership home, was not entirely pleased with the length of time and difficulty undertaken during the process.
“My application for a building permit was denied in December of 2013, based on an assumed use – assumptions are not reasonable grounds for denial,” said Mr. Lucyk. “Now I am told that the permit will be allowed, under a new definition of ‘dwelling, single-detached’ – yet I still remain today without a permit in my hands. How dare you [councillors] try to control how our elders choose to live the final years of their lives.”
Mr. Lucyk went on to explain that his prospective residents and buyers have withdrawn from sharedownership, due to the stress and confusion of the matter, and that he will face a personal financial loss. Councillors John Hancock and Howard Danson responded to Mr. Lucyk’s deputation by explaining that the task has been long and difficult, despite the best of intentions.
The last of many bylaw issues raised during the meeting was the definition of retirement homes, which were considered vague by resident Louise Bardswich during her deputation.
“It comes down to the issue of the provision of services, which remains unclear in the pages of the zoning by-law,” said Ms. Bardswich. “I don’t think a by-law should have residents referencing staff reports, we need to use the official definition set out in the Retirement Home Act, in order to make sure that homes built years from now, with many rooms and a large lot, are not wrongfully labeled as retirement homes.”
Scugog Township councillors carried a motion to change the definition of retirement homes to the more specific ‘a premises licensed under the Retirement Homes Act of 2010.’ Namely, the definition states that a retirement home is “a residential complex that is occupied primarily by seniors, occupied or intended to be occupied by at least the prescribed number of persons who are not related to the operator of the home, and where the operator of the home makes at least two care services available, directly or indirectly, to the residents.”
Councillor Howard Danson stated that he was “not sure who is more relieved by this resolution, the delegates or the Township. This has been a 9-month long task, and I am glad we could reach an agreement.”
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Were you one of the many Uxbridge residents who saw a little extra kindness on Monday, March 10, or perhaps you saw a gang of teenagers march by with bouquets in-hand?
The Uxbridge Youth Centre (UYC) launched their Post-it-note Kindness Mission on Monday, March 10, and a group of local youth hit the streets, armed with flowers, markers, and a positive message.
“We decided to kick off March Break by spreading some love around,” said Stephanie Mulhall, Program Facilitator for the UYC. “We hit the streets to commit random acts of kindness and positive graffiti with our inspirational post-it notes and flowers. Our mission is to see people smile and brighten their day – plus it’s a huge confidence boost to the kids.”
The mission turned out to be highly-successful, despite the chill in the air, as many compliments were given and bundles of flowers were given out in heart-warming displays throughout downtown Uxbridge.
“It was really awkward the first time,” said one participant. “But it makes me happy to see them happy, and they want to pay-it-forward.”
The UYC, located downtown at 34 Brock St. West, offers a drop-in refuge for youth and teenagers of all kinds. Their artistic and positive programming facilitates a safe, friendly place to hang-out, meet new friends, get involved, or just relax. The Kindness Mission was just the first of many events being held over March Break.
Additional special events include the fourth annual The Brook Never Sleeps eco-workshop and hike on Wednesday, March 12 at 9:15 a.m., followed by the Click-A-Pic Scavenger Hunt, where youth will use cell-phone cameras to find a list of objects, on Thursday, March 13 at 1 p.m. and a ceramics painting workshop, hosted by local artist Cynthia Cupples, on Friday, March 14 at 1 p.m.
“The UYC’s mission is to be a positive place for the youth of Uxbridge and surrounding area,” said Stephanie. “Whether they need help with something, need to talk, love creating art, or just want to come find something to do – we do what we can.”
Stephanie explained that, as most teenagers do, the youth of Uxbridge struggle with common teenage issues and concerns. She believes that sharing and spending time with like-minded youth, creating something positive, and having fun can help immensely and create a sort of support network.
In addition to drop-in hours and special March Break events, the UYC is also home to a variety of skill-building and positive workshops for youth. These workshops encompass many topics such as wellness, health, job skills, music and the arts, suicide prevention and environmentalism. “There’s always something going on here,” said Stephanie. “We encourage kids to come take part and have some fun.”
Registration and information for coming events and workshops can be found on-line at www.UxbridgeYouthCentre.com, by e-mailing email@example.com, or by phoning (905) 862-3456.
Social media is a great way for youth to get involved with the UYC. Connect by visiting their Facebook page at Facebook.com/uxbridgeyouthcentre, following on Twitter at @uxyouthcentre, and checking out photos on Instagram at @uxbridgeyouthcentre.
Get a closer look at the Kindness Mission with The Standard’s video-of-the-week here.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
SCUGOG: After a quiet ten weeks to start the nomination period for this October’s municipal election, several candidates came forward with nomination papers last week, declaring their intentions to run for a seat on Scugog Council.
Ward 2 Councillor John Hancock was the first candidate to declare, with four other local residents tossing their hats into the ring last week.
Local business owner Tom Rowett is the first candidate to declare for the race for the Mayor’s chair after filing nomination paperwork last week.
A life-long resident of Scugog Township, Mr. Rowett is co-owner of 1st Financial Centre, and last year, purchased Homestead Furniture & Appliances alongside his wife Christine.
In a press release on his web site, www.tomrowett.ca, Mr. Rowett commented on the high taxes currently imposed on Scugog residents, and offered a platform to cut red tape in order to enable more growth within the municipality.
“Right now local businesses are being driven away by high taxes. My team and I will retain them in our community, while enabling them to grow. By cutting red tape and thinking outside the box, our approach will result in quality jobs being created for our residents,” said Mr. Rowett. “If we remain complacent, many residents, businesses, our children and grandchildren will not be able to afford to live here. We would have paid all these taxes for someone else to enjoy; or even worse - vacancy!”
As well, Blackstock’s Mark Reid has emerged as the first challenger for the position of Regional Councillor.
Janna Guido will be looking to challenge John Hancock for Ward 2 Councillor, and Jennifer Back is the first candidate in the running for Ward 5 Councillor.
Nominations for the 2014 municipal election will be accepted until Friday, Sept. 12.
A full list of all registered candidates can be found on-line at www.scugog.ca.