BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
Mya, a black Labrador Retriever, sits perfectly still for several minutes, eyeing her quarry. Once a short command is whispered, she pounces on the duck with a ferocity built-in through generations of breeding. These hard-working, loyal, and all-together friendly hunting dogs look no different from the average family pet - but their training turns them into awe-inspiring hunting machines.
Shawn Arney, Mya's owner, is a life-long hunter who began by following in his father's foot steps. Inspired by his early experiences with a well-trained retriever, he began Oak Ridge Retrievers almost 20 years ago, with his first pure breds, Alex and Sweet Pea.
Between shifts of working as an on-the-move DRPS Officer stationed in Oshawa, Shawn now keeps a full regiment of over 12 dogs on his acre of property on Highway 7A at any one time, and specializes in trainings pups and helping hunters turnaround under performing pooches.
"It all began when I was fifteen and living on a farm in Caesarea. My brother and I would do chores for our dad - Instead of being paid in loonies, we would get a few rounds of .22 rifle ammo to go play with," said Shawn.
"The whole family was very tight growing up, and our dad taught us how to hunt ducks on Lake Scugog, near Seven Mile Island."
Shawn went to explain that some of his favourite memories are of the weekends spent on a tiny spit of land on Lake Scugog with his brother, camping, enjoying nature, and hunting.
"There's a lot of camaraderie involved, and despite what most people would think, us hunters respect nature more than most," Shawn. "Yes, I do shoot animals, but only after spending hours hiking, waiting, and taking in the world around me. I've never felt at home indoors, I would live outside if I could!"
Retrievers are important to hunters like Shawn because being a sportsman involves a great respect for the environment and the animals in it. "A proper sportsman with a properly trained dog will never leave a bird on the ground, the dog will seek out a kill 500 yards away, even in eight-foot high bulrushes – even if we shoot them, we take them home with us."
Since Shawn will tell you that the best tool a hunter has is a smart and obedient dog, he decided to try his hand at breeding and training man's best friend himself. Today he boasts a record of eight Grand Hunting Retrievers (the top prize in the sport), seventeen Hunting Retriever Champions, and a multitude of dogs who placed in other competitions or simply perform a necessary task for their owners.
"I started with my first hunting dog, a chocolate lab named Alex, the first with his colouring to make Grand Hunter Retriever Champion in Canada," said Shawn. "Most people only bother with dogs who come from a long line of champions and winners, chocolates are usually never even considered. Even though he didn't have much in his blood, Alex was my dog and I saw potential - with a lot of hard work, he began my whole project."
Upon seeing the success of Alex, brought about by Shawn's consistent and intensive training, many of Shawn's hunting buddies began asking if he would train their dogs. Shawn explained that it all "just sort of snowballed from there."
Once he acquired a black female lab named Sweet Pea, who came from a strong bloodline and still is the first-place producer of champion pups in the Hunting Retriever Club, his brand of canines continued to grow.
"My secret has always been consistency and just being friendly to the dog," said Shawn. "Even my seven week-old pups learn commands, because I let them know that I'm in charge, and they grow eager to please. I always make sure to use short and simple commands, dogs don't speak English very well, but they'll figure it out."
At one particular United Kennel Club competition, Shawn was prepped to show his dog's skill. He marked his target and called the dogs name, but the familiar leap into action never came.
"People started commenting that I must have a bad dog or that maybe he was scared," said Shawn. "Turns out, the he was a she! I called the wrong name and the dog, still in competition mode, didn't even budge. That's how you prove the discipline and training work."
Whether it's a long hunting trip, or an average training day, Shawn likes to spend as much time with his family and his puppies as possible. He remarks that, at the core of being a dog trainer, one needs to simply love animals and respect nature.
"Treat these animals right and they'll take care of you too," said Shawn, smiling. "I've never been in this business for the money, the dogs and I just click - they're always excited when I put my camo on."
Shawn can be contacted at 905-449-9860, or email@example.com.
SHIRLEY LOVE The Standard
There was a large turnout at the meeting on April 1 to hear Jon Todd's most interesting and very informative talk on honey bees. Our next meeting on May 6th is our Spring Flower Show with Speaker Gary Westlake speaking on "Garden Art for Cheapskates." If you are entering in the show please have your entries labeled and placed between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. at the latest.
May 17th is the Club's annual plant, bake and yard sale. Donation of plants, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Proceeds from this sale are used towards plantings around the area. A large project the Club is currently undertaking is the Museum gardens.
A bus trip is being planned on July 10, to the Prince Edward County area where we will visit gardens, tour the quaint town of Bloomfield and a visit to The Lavender Fields in Hillier. We had twenty-five people sign up for this trip at the April meeting, so from all accords this trip will fill up in no time. More information and cost will be announced at the May meeting, or you can call Shirley to book your seat for the trip.
Please join us at the Nestleton Hall on Tuesday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m., all will be most welcome. For more information on any of the above topics, please call Shirley at 905-986-5330 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew has announced her plan to run for re-election this fall.
"With a great deal of excitement I plan to continue nearly 26 years of community service," said Regional Councillor Drew in a press release. "I'm looking forward to the next four as some of the most important of my career. There are a number of issues to be addressed in the next term that the Regional Councillor will have to make a priority."
Among her priorities for the next term, Regional Councillor listed completion and expansion of sewage service, road and bridge improvement being put in the forefront, and the township taking full advantage of and making a stand for infrastructure grants allowed from the higher governments.
"Environmentally friendly residential and industrial growth is required in Scugog to keep our tax base at a healthy level," said Regional Councillor Drew. "Any council member will have to devote a large portion of the work we do for you looking at every possible way to be as fiscally responsible. There are many things I want to leave our children and grandchildren - sky-high taxes are not one of them."
An issue of special importance to Regional Councillor Drew is the subject of Scugog's shores and water. She has shown concern for working beside Mayor Chuck Mercier on the improvement of the Old Mill site, and she is the Chair of the Healthy Lake Scugog Steering Committee, which aims to find solutions to Lake Scugog's weed and health issues.
"Site development will make our waterfront a tourist destination, but has to be completed with the public's input and advice," said Regional Councillor Drew. "It's important to remember that tourist dollars are vital, but that when they go home, we still have to live here."
Regional Councillor Drew stated in a press release that she wishes to find ways to tighten the township's belt, much in the way that Scugog's residents have had to in the economic climate of today.
"We have tried during the past time, and we will continue to try harder."
UXBRIDGE: It was a busy week for candidates in the upcoming municipal election last week, as four additional candidates filed nomination papers with the township's clerks department.
Pam Beach and Sally Brady each filed papers seeking election in Ward 1, which has been represented by Bev Northeast since 1991. Councillor Northeast has yet to declare wether she will again seek re-election in the October 27 election.
As well, Joy Whalen became the first candidate to register for the Ward 5 seat, which has been held by Gord Highet since 2006. Councillor Highet has yet to declare his intentions for the municipal election.
Additionally, Kathy LeFort is seeking to retain her seat at the Durham Catholic District School Board as the trustee Scugog, Uxbridge and Brock. The office of Regional Councillor and Ward 4 Councillor remain the only positions on Uxbridge council without any candidates as of The Standard's press time.
Former Mayor Bob Shepherd was the first to announce his candidacy, and is seeking to return to council's top job after being defeated by Gerri Lynn O'Connor in 2010. Ward 2 Councillor Pat Molloy is the lone incumbent councillor to formally declare his intentions to seek re-election.
Nominations for all elected positions close on Friday, Sept. 12, at 2 p.m.
A full list on candidates, as well as other information related to the 2014 municipal election can
be found on the township's web site at www.town.uxbridge.on.ca/2014_elections.
DARRYL KNIGHT, BENJAMIN PRIEBE
& JOE LEBOUTHILLIER The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: North Durham was well represented on the recently released 2013 public sector salary disclosure list, the annual listing of public sector employees who earned more than $100,000.
A total of nine Township of Scugog employees cracked the recently released 'sunshine list' this year, for a total cost of over $1 Million.
Each member of Scugog's senior staff, plus the Township's four full-time firefighters, pocketed more than $100,000 last year.
Topping the salary soirée is Scugog CAO Beverly Hendry, with a yearly pay cheque of $148,658 - $7,382 more than her 2012 take-home.
New to the 2014 edition are Trena DeBruijn, director of finance ($102,353) and a handful of Scugog Township Fire Department employees.
Gord Gettins, chief fire prevention officer, earned $125,427, Fire Captain Todd Soomre earned $120,249, and Fire Chief Richard Miller brought home $102,241.
Clint Walker and Joe Goris, two of the Township's full-time firefighters, made the list this year - earning $105,613 and $11,143 respectively.
"The four firefighters [Goris, Walker, Soomre and Gettins] are on the list for 2013 due to a one-time arbitrated retroactive settlement, dating back to 2009," said Captain Soomre - explaining that the elevated salaries are a special phenomenon due to a 2013 settlement, which granted a 27 per cent pay increase over the past four years.
Repeats from last year include Ian Roger, director of works and parks, and Donald Gordon, director of community services - earning $122,653, and $102,314 respectively.
This year's sunshine list salaries add up to $1,029,648 - roughly a 188 per cent increase from last year's $357,549.
The top earner from Uxbridge Township was CAO Ingrid Svelnis, who took home a salary of $139,148 in 2013.
Joining Ms. Svelnis from Uxbridge was Treasurer Al Schultz, who earned $122,212. As well, Public Works Director Ben Kester and Fire Chief Scott Richardson each earned $107,168 in 2013.
Township clerk Debbie Leroux rounded out Uxbridge's 'Sunshine Listers' with $106,066 last year.
Further to the north, Brock Township had three staff members crack six figures in salary last year, led by CAO and Municipal Clerk Tom Gettinby at $137,253. Brock's Treasurer, Laura Barta ($115,243) and Director of Public Works Nicholas Colucci also appeared on the 2013 list.
Within the Durham District School Board (DDSB), there are a number of local employees who cracked the newest list.
The number one money-maker is Caysi Stark, principal of Port Perry High School, with a $125,967 salary. That is just under a $3,000 increase from her 2012 salary.
Port Perry HS vice principals Jon Lepage ($102,483) and Dean Geiger ($111,014) also made the list.
Uxbridge SS Prinicipal Steve David also made the list, making $120,283 in 2013. Mr. avid was joined by USS Vice Principals Steve Harland ($103,303) and Concetta White ($111,014).
Created in 1996 by the provincial government, the Public Salary Disclosure Act requires that any organization receiving funding from the province to disclose the name, position, salary and total taxable benefits of any employee that earns six figures or more in a given year.
The full 2013 list can be viewed on-line at www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/publications/salarydisclosure.
JOE LEBOUTHILLIER The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: At Scugog council's meeting on April 14, the Durham Region Roundtable on Climate Change (DRRCC) expressed their concerns about extreme weather.
Manager of Sustainability, Brian Kelly, and a fellow DRRCC member Todd Hall, presented to councillors the research they received from SENES, a specialized consulting firm based in Richmond Hill.
Their presentation to council noted that over the next 40 years, weather will become extreme and the people of North Durham need to be "prepared, protected and safeguarded" along with the surrounding infrastructure.
"There will be less snow and more rain in the future winter seasons," Kelly said. The DRRCC's presentation also showed a rainstorm in August 2040 to 2049 will produce 79 per cent more than received in August 2000 to 2009.
Extreme wind in the immediate areas will decrease by almost 20 kilometres per hour. As well, temperatures will get warmer in the winter months by about four degrees.
Between 2000 and 2009, average days per year with the humidex being above 40 degrees sat at three days. In the SENES report, it shows that number will grow to 24 days by 2040.
A projected 20 to 40 millimetres of more rain will fall in August and about 15 centimetres less snow will fall during the winter months. This is potentially dangerous for residents near lakes, as it will increase the chances of flooding.
Along with those stats, between 2040 and 2049 there will be around 1,100 more days of the year where the temperature will be above freezing. As for days below that and require heating, there will be almost 500 days less.
Local residents who use air conditioners in the weather above 24 degrees saw 12 days per year between 2000 and 2009. However, come 2040 there will be about 90 days per year that will require AC.
In 40 years-time, North Durham is expected to receive 217 per cent more rainfall and 75 per cent less snowfall in the month of February alone.
"The hardest issue that we have is that these stats are a long-way off," said Scugog Mayor Chuck Mercier. "It's hard to see it as immediate."
The councillors are unsure of what to do with no climate change price tags readily available.
"If we look at completing a plan early and paying attention to these numbers, we can potentially save money by extending the life of infrastructure by building it appropriately," said Hall. That being said, Kelly says they will not know exact costs until the municipality can provide them with volunteers.
"We need to really plan our next step," said Ward 5 Councillor Howard Danson. "I'm not sure if we have the money to plan for an event that may happen in the future, it seems like a luxury to pay for maybes."
The DRRCC wants a decision made before the municipal election this fall.
Councillors asked for more information, and the DRRCC gladly agreed to go out and talk to more experts on climate change.
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The accused in the February slaying of Uxbridge's Richard Morrison made a court appearance this week, ahead of the case moving to a judicial pre-trial next month.
On Monday, April 14, 26-year-old Uxbridge resident Cole Henderson made an appearance over video in an Oshawa court.
During the appearance, the lawyer for Mr. Henderson said he had recently received a DVD, which contains 1,600 pages of information relating to the case.
Mr. Henderson will appear in person on Friday, May 16. On Friday, March 7, Mr. Henderson was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Richard Morrison, who was found dead in his home on Galloway Cres. in the Quaker Village neighbourhood of Uxbridge in the early morning hours of Feb. 28 with what police have described as "obvious signs of trauma."
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: The organization behind the New Animal Shelter for Uxbridge-Scugog (NASUS) is looking ahead, with exciting developments and multiple fundraising efforts planned for the coming months. Executives Ginger Jackson and Art Matthews provided councillors with an update at Scugog Council Chambers on Monday, April 14.
With new concept drawings, a floor plan by architect Peter Archer, and over $640,000 ear-marked for the NUSAS over the next two years, the group has raised a large portion of their estimated $1 Million to $1.4 Million price tag.
"We've had tremendous support from both municipalities and the local public," said Ginger Jackson, an Executive Member of the project. "Alongside our annual Walkathon on September 27, we're running the In the Ruff golf tournament again, and we have received an amazing partnership from the Bonner Boys."
The Uxbridge-based charity group, Bonner Boys, recently announced their joining in the effort for a new animal shelter in North Durham. Proceeds from their annual Car Draw event, held at the Uxbridge Arena on Saturday, June 14, will benefit the new building. "The Bonner Boys have said that they will be on-board until shovels hit the dirt," said Mrs. Jackson.
According to Mr. Matthews, the next stages for the NUSAS involve engineered designs for a new HVAC system, which will ensure quarantined animals are isolated and infections will not spread - a common issue with the current building. The NUSAS crew has asked both Scugog and Uxbridge to provide staff expertise and knowledge to future planning.
"We are also in the process of kicking off a major donor campaign, for people who have philanthropy in their heart and money in their pockets," said Mr. Matthews. "We need support from organizations and charity programs, such as an on-line crowd funding resource. More details will be available soon."
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: Dr. Rachel Busato and Dr. Rachel Stadnyk work with animals for a living. They consider their jobs to be part surgery, part dentistry, part EMT, and onehundred per cent messy.
Far from the cute and cuddly cats and dogs which many people picture veterinarians working with, these women specialize in all things bovine, equine, and otherwise. Their clientele even includes camels, yaks, alpaca, and elephants.
For the owners and farmers of these animals, the large animal Doctors' on-call response and medical knowledge makes a life-and-death difference to their livelihood.
"We don't mind the mud and the smells because we get to do good work," said Dr. Stadnyk, a Manitoulin Island native who grew up next to a dairy farm and has always had a strong interest in animal health care. "It's challenging work because the animals can't talk and tell you what hurts - but I'm happy to help them whenever I can."
Both graduates of the University of Guelph and the Ontario Veterinary College, they are partners at Port Perry Veterinary Services, located at 1816 Scugog St. in Port Perry - and business is busy.
"You wouldn't survive very long in this field if it was 'just a job.'" said Dr. Busato. "The conditions aren't great and the hours are long, but it really feels great to help a sick animal and a worried farmer feel better."
Originally from Stouffville, Dr. Busato currently lives on a farm in Epsom, with her husband Dan and two daughters - along with a Noah's Ark of animals - 26 sheep, three horses, three cats.
She admits that she becomes a bit of a basket case when treating her own animals, and will often call her co-workers for advice.
"We are always on-call, even on weekends and in the middle of the night," said Dr. Busato. "The back of our trucks are full of medicines and tools, sort of like an animal ambulance service."
Dr. Busato added that she would like to have flashing lights mounted on her truck, and that the number-one item in her bag is a large supply of rubber gloves.
"We are prepared for anything because we don't have typical days," said Dr. Stadnyk. "You learn something new and see something unexpected more than I would like to admit."
The most interesting piece of equipment they carry around is part garage jack and part winch, called a 'calf-jack,' it is used to extract newborn calfs during birth.
The icky and sometimes gruesome medical problems that occur with livestock and horses are daily occurrences for the vets. Their typical week usually involves a couple cases of cholic, a condition where an animal's stomach becomes twisted and must be operated on in order to set it right.
Dr. Busato has made a lot of tough decisions during her career, which can be depressing at times. She then smiled and went on to say that many cases can bring a smile to her face as well.
"When I first started, I treated a horse who ran was scared and ran headfirst into a plate-glass window," said Dr. Busato. "It was pretty messy to look at, but I spent three hours picking glass from her face and cleaning her - she's still around six years later and is having lots of babies, it makes me proud."
Dr. Busato added that she would like to adopt the horse onto her own farm for retirement when it gets older.
"My job is completely different from working with small animals, and a lot of people don't know what to expect," said Dr. Satdnyk. "There are some days when I come home covered in mud and bruises, and I've been kicked by unhappy patients an awful lot - but we form strong relationships with our animals and clients."
At the end of the day, Doctors Stadnyk and Busato sat they get to lend a helping hand and comfort the creatures they love, who are unable to do it for themselves.
"It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it," said Dr. Busato. "I'm glad it's us."
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The Chief of a First Nations community in northern Ontario visited Uxbridge this past week to offer his thanks for the contributions of the Uxbridge community to the Hope Through Hockey program.
In December, a group of past and present Uxbridge SS Tigers hockey players travelled to Weagamow in northern Ontario for a week of hockey clinics with residents. This past week, Chief Swanson Kenequanash visited Uxbridge along with his family to further foster friendship between the two communities.
Upon arriving in Uxbridge on Thursday, April 3, the Chief and his family were taken on tours of Uxbridge Arena and Uxbridge Secondary School. As well, Chief Kenequanash spoke at the Uxbridge Baptist Church on Sunday, before appearing before council at their meeting on the morning of Monday, April 7.
"A relationship takes time and trust to grow, and they have a lot to teach us," said Uxbridge SS Tigers coach Don Simmonds, who played a key role in organizing both trips.
Appearing before council, Chief Kenequanash spoke of the damage done in his community recently due to substance abuse.
"We've been through quite a bit. In that past five years we're lost quite a few members of our community through suicide and through drug overdoses and some we never even know how. In 2012 alone, we lost 23 people, and only three were natural deaths," said Chief Kenequanash.
As well, Chief Kenequanash also noted some of the other struggles of residents in northern Ontario's First Nations communities.
"It's tough to live in a remote community, because you know almost everyone, and when something happens we all feel it," said Chief Kenequanash. "We had problems before, but the last five years were the hardest. We're living the third world conditions, but we will survive, we've been there a long time." But, through his sadness, Chief Kenequanash offered hope that Weagamow and Uxbridge can continue to work together.
"We'd like to thank Uxbridge for all you have done. The door's open in Weagamow for our two communities to come together as one. We have plans of how it's going to work, and it's very exciting."
Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor was emotional in offering her support to the residents of Weagamow on behalf of the residents of Uxbridge.
"You brought tears to my eyes as you spoke, and we know pain as well," said Mayor O'Connor. "It's a bit of a miracle when two communities can come together, and for that we're very appreciative. We're with you, and we'll do everything we can to help you. I'm thrilled that we're going to have this friendship, and our door will always be open to you."