DAN CEARNS The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: For a number of years, the Ross Memorial Hospital Auxiliary has been running a volunteer program for teens.
The VolunTeen program runs 52 weeks per year and allows teens, between the ages of 14 and 19, to get their community service hours volunteering in a hospital environment, while also learning how the hospital operates.
The teens volunteer in the OBS maternity ward, continuing care, the surgical unit, the emergency department, and at the information desk. In the past, the teens have also helped out in café and in the gift shop.
Some of their possible duties include; making sure patients have ice water in their rooms; helping in continuing care, to bring patients to the activity room for dinner; helping them butter and cut their bread; helping with the cleanup after dinner, as well as, helping patients put on their shirt savers; and helping at the information desk.
However, VolunTeen program coordinator, Patricia Zahorec explained there is one role she finds to be the most important.
“The most important thing is friendly visiting. Patients that are in the hospital for a given length of time, their [families are] usually pretty diligent about coming to see them. But the longer you are in the hospital, people have lives outside the hospital and they might not get in as often as the patient would like,” she said. “So here you have this teen coming in after school and is able to spend three hours with the patients, talking with them. Everybody likes to talk about themselves, so you can sit and talk with someone, find out what their interests are.”
Ms. Zahorec added, there are numerous benefits or rewards for the students that take part in this program.
"Number one, they're helping their community. They're getting the hospital experience, they're learning a little bit about how a hospital runs. It's also good for them in learning to communicate,” she said.
As well, for students who are interested in enrolling in a post-secondary health sciences program, the VolunTeen program offers the opportunity to apply for a bursary. The Anne Harrison bursary goes out, annually, to up to four teens in their last year of high school, who have volunteered at least 100 hours at the hospital, and are enrolled in a post-secondary health sciences program.
Ms. Zahorec said she keeps records about the students on file, and commonly writes reference letters for them. She added she commonly sees between 40 and 50 teens in a month.
"I haven't gotten to the point yet where I have had to turn anybody away, so that's good. We usually have some openings,” she said.
Volunteer Connor Chase shared about the role he enjoys most, being able to visit with the patients.
"I just love to hear stories, that is my favourite part,” he said.
Volunteer Sara McKenzie said this program helps people learn how to handle many different situations.
"You get to deal with a lot of situations that you wouldn't normally deal with on a day to day basis, and it is good to be in this environment to do so,” she commented.
Ms. Zahorec has been coordinating the program for over seven years. She said she finds a lot of reward in the enjoyment the volunteers get out of the program.
For more information on the program and how to apply, visit
Derek & Sherry Williams are lucky to be able to tell their story, but also unlucky as they need to re-build a home and a life, after Hurricane Matthew hit hard in Mullins, SC on Oct. 8th. Getting a direct hit with high winds and torrential rains brought floodwaters down the lakes and rivers as hadn’t been seen since the 1920’s. Flood stage in the area is 9’, the waters rose to an unprecedented 17’ above normal. Many other homes and belongings were washed down river, and those homes that remained intact were damaged by weeks of standing, muddy waters.
The Williams’ were forced to evacuate, with only room for a suitcase, some paperwork and their passports. They navigated the swift-running water upstream, eventually bringing them to higher ground, with phone guidance from the Coast Guard’s helicopters above.
It took two weeks for the floodwaters to subside enough to make the difficult trip back to their home, to survey the damages. They discovered the water had risen almost 4’ into the main floor. All fitments on the main floor and their garage were a total loss, along with significant property damage surrounding their home. They lost all their furniture, fixtures, appliances, flooring, cabinets, heat and well pumps, as well as their cars, truck, company car, two motorcycles, lawn tractor and yard equipment, not to mention precious family photos and heirlooms. Mold took hold of home furnishings, but their log home has natural wood and deters growth on walls -- small mercies.
FEMA insurance inspectors deemed their home and foundation to be sound, giving them the go-ahead to rebuild their home from its now bare-bones floor joists and wall studs. However, both FEMA and homeowner's insurance will only cover a portion of the value, of what they have lost in their home’s fitments, vehicles and equipment, and no contents insurance coverage is available in areas prone to floods.
Derek is brother to Melanie Wright and Rhoda Demings, and son of Ray & Sheena Williams, all of the Blackstock & Nestleton communities. Friends have rallied to help them rebuild, by starting a GoFundMe online donation page, at https://www.gofundme.com/dereks-hurricanematthew- fund-2um5jj3c.
A community fundraiser is being held on Friday, Dec. 2nd, at 7 p.m. in the Nestleton Hall, with games, a silent auction, a cash bar, prizes and more. Tickets are $15 ($20 at the door), and are available at Wright’s Feeds ‘N Needs by calling 905-986-4201, Claudette Archer at 905-259-8706, or Wilma Wotten at 905-986-4602. Donations of auction items or cash contributions may also be dropped off with the above-mentioned planners.
Please join our community, at the Nestleton Hall on Dec. 2nd, to support this family and their challenges ahead, rebuilding a home and a life together.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: A new restaurant has recently opened in Port Perry.
The Foundry Kitchen and Bar was officially opened to the public on Thursday, Nov. 10th.
Owner and Chef, Steven Lovisa said it has always been his dream to own a restaurant, and when the opportunity arose, he seized it.
“The location had a lot of promise and great potential, and I thought the time was right in my life and I had to jump on it and my partner encouraged me to do so,” he said.
Mr. Lovisa also credits his business partner and girlfriend Meaghan O’Hara with being instrumental in helping his vision become a reality.
“She's been an incredible amount of help,” he said. “I had the vision for the place, but she's worked in the industry for a long time and has a great deal of experience in things that I never really considered, as far as the front of house and service aspects, stuff I wasn't as familiar with. I couldn't do it without her.”
Mr. Lovisa has been a chef for 14 years. Originally from Northwestern Ontario, he came from Prince Edward Island eight years ago and spent some time in Oshawa before moving to Port Perry. He immediately fell in love with the area.
“Walking downtown is really nice. I really like all the boutique shops. I'm a boater, so it's great to be on the lake. After spending six years here, it's the longest I've spent in a community in my whole life, so it feels like home,” he told The Standard.
Mr. Lovisa also wanted to give people an idea of what to expect when they come through the door.
"I like to think of it as a bit of an upscale casual location. I want people to feel comfortable, like they can 'come as you are' type of thing. Bistro style cuisine, fresh foods, small menu that we will rotate regularly, a focus on local products as much as possible, sustainable products and ethically harvested proteins and seafoods. It's just a matter of using the finest ingredients I can find, and presenting them relatively simple so that they speak for themselves.”
He also stressed the importance of creating a positive customer experience.
“I've always thought that aside from food and liquor in restaurants, we always sell experiences, and I just want to provide people with memorable experiences,” Mr. Lovisa said.
The Foundry is located at 56 Water St.
KAWARTHA LAKES: Earlier this week Kawartha Lakes Council approved the 2017 Capital Budget, and the Operating and Capital budgets for Water and Wastewater. After discussions about the many capital projects required over the next year, and Council’s commitment to long-term financial sustainability, and tax payer affordability, Council voted in budgets that will make maintaining the City’s infrastructure a priority.
“Our decisions on these budgets show we are serious about continuing to close the infrastructure gap, stabilize debt and invest in growth and development. This is what we set out to do two years ago and that trend continues,” commented Mayor Andy Letham.
Capital Budget Highlights
The total Capital Budget is $37,947,901, which includes an additional $2.5 million over last year.
A total of $18.5 million is spent annually on the Roads and Bridges capital program. The 2017 budget invests heavily in roads and buildings, including a 40% increase to the gravel resurfacing program.
Other budget highlights include reinvesting in services and assets that are valued by the community. Two examples include $100,000 to improve the condition of boat launches, and enhancements to a parking lot, serving Lindsay’s downtown core of small businesses.
A new addition to the budget included a refurbishment of the Coboconk Fire Station to accommodate the Paramedic Service and complete necessary upgrades to the building at a cost of $445,000. This decision is in keeping with the City’s intention to consolidate assets and provide service ‘hubs’, while providing a future cost avoidance of approximately $1 million, that would be required to build a new facility for the Fire and Paramedic Services.
Council unanimously supported investing $8 million in a new City office space to house Human Services, and 24 new Affordable Housing units. This project takes advantage of provincial grants, will reduce reliance on third-party leasing for office space, and it is cost neutral to the taxpayer. It also increases the number of affordable housing units, while increasing the City’s capital assets, in an energy-efficient multi-purpose building.
Operating and Capital Water and Wastewater Budget Highlights
The assistance of new grants resulted in a lower than expected average increase of 2.84% for water and wastewater users. The average increase was 4.8% in 2016.
New provincial and federal grants of $1.4 million (Clean Water and Wastewater Fund) and $5.7 million (Small Communities Fund) to support required upgrades to the water and wastewater systems contributed to the good news of lower rates in this budget.
Government funding has been committed over the next 3-4 years. This will help to stabilize our user rates, and ensure the sustainability of our vast infrastructure.
Of the $1.9 million Infrastructure Levy raised, $870,000 will be transferred to the Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Reserves. These reserves are for future needs and unforeseen costs, that may arise for the City’s extensive infrastructure, which includes 21 water systems and 6 sewage treatment plants.
Mary-Anne Dempster, Director of Corporate Services explains, “Staff worked diligently to find cost saving measures across the board for these budgets. We were pleased to bring forward to Council lean budgets, that include new grant funding and an investment back into our infrastructure reserves.”
Council will deliberate the 2017 Operating Budget on December 6th, at 9 a.m. in Council Chambers, and on December 8th at 9 a.m., if required. All are welcome to attend. All documents are available online at the City’s website under City Hall/Departments/Budget and Financial Planning or by following this link:
DAN CEARNS The Standard
UXBRIDGE: 16 year-old Uxbridge Secondary School student Gwyneth Foster will be one of the contestants competing for the title of Canada’s Smartest Person, on an upcoming episode of the CBC television series.
Ms. Foster will be competing in the third episode of the season, airing this Sunday, Nov. 27th. She will face off with a lawyer from Calgary, a speech and debate coach from Vancouver, a millennial consultant from Toronto, a professional rugby player from Calgary, and a math tutor and entrepreneur from Toronto. The winner of the episode will move on to the finale, set for Sunday, Dec. 18th.
The series sees candidates from across the country take part in challenges representing six categories of intelligence: musical, social, physical, logical, linguistic and visual.
Ms. Foster said when she first applied to the show, she did not expect to be chosen as a contestant.
“I was watching TV with my sister and I saw a casting call, and she jokingly said I should apply, and it went from there,” she recalled.
Gwyneth is the only high school student competing in this year’s edition of the show.
“I was terrified when I met all of the other [contestants]. They were all adults with real jobs, and I am not,” she said.
She also spoke about how she prepared for the competition.
“I watched a lot of the episodes beforehand to get a feel for the questions, and I practiced using the app as well ”.
Ms. Foster said her dream is to one day work for NASA, specifically in the engineering or robotics fields, and that she has always been interested in math and science.
As well as her academic interests, Ms. Foster has competed as a member of her high school’s cross country and mountain biking teams, and is also a member of the school’s rowing team.
“I love the personal challenge and the accomplishments, seeing yourself get better from one race to the next,” she said enthusiastically.
In addition, the local high school student has been teaching cooking classes at Zehrs since she was 12 years of age.
The episode will air on CBC on Nov. 27 at 8 p.m.
SCUGOG: The Township of Scugog is going to review the number of committees they currently have as well as how many councillors should sit on those committees.
The review will be done as the first phase of an already planned core services review. At a meeting on Monday, Nov. 14th, CAO Paul Allore recommended to councillors that the Township’s 16 committees be reduced, and all the committees have a maximum of one council representative.
“16 committees, in my opinion, and that of the senior staff, is very difficult to manage for a small municipality like Scugog, and what I have been thinking about as we go forward, is some continuity on these committees that overlap,” Mr. Allore said.
In regards to the recommendation to limit councillor representatives on committees, Mr. Allore explained in his report, advisory committees are “intended to be a vehicle for consultation with the public, and to obtain honest, community-based feedback from residents.” The report goes on to state when Councilors play too large of a role on a committee, it can “ serve to intimidate and discourage opposing views within the community.”
Mr. Allore also found there have been times Councillors, not appointed to a certain committee, have taken part in the discussion during those committee’s meetings. His report stated this “has led some committee volunteers to comment that in certain cases, committee agendas and decisions are being driven primarily by members of Council” rather than the citizens on the committee.
According to the report, out of the 16 Township committees, seven have two councillors sitting on the committee, three of them have three council representatives and six committees have just one councillor.
However, Ward 3 Councillor Don Kett voiced his opposition to having just one councillor on each committee, quoting a section of the Municipal Act which states committees can be a mix of councillors and residents.
“It doesn’t say councillor, it says councillors,” he said.
Councillor Kett also said some committees are having trouble getting quorum, stating, a decision to limit committee appointments now would be “foolish.”
But Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew told Councillors “the system is broken” and said Council needs to do something about it.
Council approved a motion moved by Councillor Drew to have the committees and their composition reviewed, as phase 1 of the core services review, and that a report be brought back to Council by April 30th.
JOE CROSS The Standard
SCUGOG: Thirty two year old Blackstock resident, Danielle Berry took first prize in her division, at the Welsh Pleasure Under Saddle event, at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, on Friday November 11th.
The competition had participants from all over North America, and parts of Europe. Filled with many types of horse breeds, as well as several events, the Winter Fair included The Royal Six Horse Hitch Championship, and the The Canadian Hunter Derby National Championship, to name a couple.
Riding for over 20 years, Danielle told The Standard that there is a lot of prep work that goes on behind the scenes in order to make it all happen. “Without my helpers it would be impossible” chimes Berry as she is quick to credit her sister Faith, and good friend Meghan for helping with everything that needed to be done. From cleaning the saddle and bridle and getting Jake's socks whitened, to any additional support needed to make it all a success.
Danielle stated, advice she would give to someone following in her footsteps, it is important to keep learning. We all "learn different ways," she said; there were many coaches she worked with, all with different styles, but it's important “to learn what you can from each of them.”
Ms. Berry also explained some of the ways she was able to succeed in this event.
Riding since she was eight years old, Danielle expressed tremendous satisfaction in the process of "breaking in" a horse, and what this involves. Starting with a two year old gelding, meaning a castrated horse; and moving on to a four year old champion, her winning horse Jake; she was able to take first prize, after two years of intense, yet patient work with the animal.
It helped that Danielle had a lot of support from her friends and family, they encouraged her by being present during Friday's event. Danielle was later described by her proud father as someone who is both "friendly and outgoing."
No doubt the "fans in the stands", combined with Danielle and Jake's ability, is what made this duo winners.
UXBRIDGE: Uxbridge Council has approved the Township going into two joint ventures with Veridian Connections and Solera Sustainable Energies, for solar projects on the arena and the new fire hall, taking a 25 per cent stake in each.
At a meeting on Monday, Nov. 21st, Councillors were shown a report by treasurer Donna Condon, outlining the two options for a solar energy project on the arena: owning the project, or going into a joint venture.
“It’s a better deal for us to own it, but we’re taking more liability, more risk,” Ward 3 Councillor Dave Barton said.
He also said the risks of owning the system are worth the reward.
“Overall, we are taking more risk, but we might be up another $180,000 if we own it,” adding that full ownership also offers the Township more flexibility.
According to the report, the cost of the project, if the Township owned it, would be about $500,000.
Ward 2 Councillor Pat Molloy said his biggest concern with full ownership is the constantly changing green technology sector.
“We’re talking about a half a million dollar investment in technology that may be no good in five years,” he said.
In a joint venture, Veridian would be responsible for the operation and the upkeep of the panels.
In October, Council decided to have Solera apply to the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program on their behalf for the fire hall project, but had not chosen whether to own that project or do a joint venture. Councillor Molloy told The Standard the fire hall was added into the motion to help finish that process.
Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor told Councillors she recently received a letter from residents, who live near the arena, opposing having solar panels put on the site. The letter lists “the visual degradation” and the “resulting destruction of property value” as reasons for the opposition.
However, Councillors decided to approve the Township entering into the two joint ventures. The municipalities investment in the fire hall is estimated to be about $13,000. According to the report, Uxbridge’s investment in the arena project is $22,758. In addition to the possible return on their equity investment, the Township will also receive roof lease payments for the projects.
Veridian and Solera will now submit FIT project applications to the Independent Electricity System Operator.
Councillor Molloy said the Township could hear back, regarding the results of the applications, in March or April.
SCUGOG: There has been a number of concerns from the local community about the recent Rouge Valley/Lakeridge Health integration, and how it will affect the Port Perry and Bowmanville hospitals.
On Saturday, Nov. 5th, over 600 people attended rallies, held at MPP Granville Anderson’s office, as well as in Ajax at the hospital.
Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) Executive Director, Natalie Mehra, said in a release to supporters and members, this merger could create “losses of services” for the local Durham hospitals, and the cost of the merger will “come out of money for actual health care services.”
However, MPP Granville Anderson assured, in a press release, that “there has been a considerable amount of misinformation circulating” regarding the merger.
He said in the release, he was “caught off guard” by the concerns from the OHC, and reportedly asked the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Eric Hoskins, if this integration will lead to a “reduction of health services in both Bowmanville and Port Perry hospitals”.
Minister Hoskins said, the Bowmanville hospital is not closing and they “will not experience any reduction in services or cuts.” He also added the integration will “expand services across Scarborough and Durham.”
Tom McHugh, Executive Vice President and Interim Chief Transformation Officer, wanted to assure residents that this integration will not mean any loss of services at the Port Perry hospital.
“With the addition of Ajax-Pickering, we will be planning the healthcare services for all of Durham. We will be a bigger, more integrated health system. For residents of Port Perry, that means more access to services close to home.”
He also added, people can expect the same level of quality care at the local hospital.
As well, Mr. McHugh said the potential benefits for the Port Perry community will “take time to realize”, but added this will lead to “seamless care” for all of Durham.
Mr. McHugh pointed to recent investments in the hospital by Lakeridge Health, such as the recent renovations, as proof the “hospital is here to stay.”
SCUGOG: 9-year-old former Caesarea resident Avaree Newey and her family made a donation of $164.55 to Sick Kids Hospital on Monday, Nov. 7th.
The funds were raised during the family’s moving sale. Avaree, with support from her parents and brother Liam, decided to sell the family’s old toys, to support the liver disease research program at the hospital.
“We had a lot of toys that were old and babyish. We always had them stuffed in our garage, so we just said ‘let’s put this in a yard sale and make a little toy sale,’” Avaree shared.
A Sick kid herself, Avaree said it means a lot to her that she was able to benefit Sick Kids.
“Those are my helpers, they did everything for me. They are pretty much family,” she stated.
When she was born, Avaree was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, a rare liver disease that occurs in infants. In April of 2015, she underwent a liver transplant.
Avaree’s mother Jane said her daughter had been wanting to hold a fundraiser for the hospital for some time.
“Avaree is always trying to come up with ideas for fundraisers for Sick Kids, probably since she was five years old. She always has an idea, different things to do, and this seemed like one we could finally do for her,” she said.
Her mother also said the sale was a big success in the community.
“Some of the neighbours just came out and donated, they didn’t take any toys,” she said.
Jane describes her daughter as a very outgoing young lady.
“Avaree has never really been a shy kid. She has been able to talk to strangers and tell them about herself, and she always mentions that she is a Sick Kid. But I think [the sale] helped her to actually realize she could do something good, that she could help someone else benefit too,” she said reflectively.
Avaree wanted to thank those that made a donation at the fundraiser.
“They’re really awesome to be donating, and I just want to say thank you to them for supporting Sick Kids and myself,” she said gratefully.