DAN CEARNS The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Local veteran, George Robson, was presented with the Norwegian Participation Medal, at a ceremony on Monday, December 18th. The ceremony was held at the Uxbridge Legion.
The medal was presented to Mr. Robson by Dr. Marianne Koritzinsky, the honourary Consul General of Norway.
Uxbridge Secondary School partnered with the Uxbridge Legion, to put on the medal presentation. The event was held during the legion’s “Veterans Afternoon”.
“As many of you know, at Uxbridge Secondary School we have a longstanding tradition of remembrance,” Tish MacDonald from Uxbridge Secondary School said. “So today, we are thankful for our partnership with the legion and with the Norwegian Consulate, in honouring Mr. George Robson, and letting he, and the other veterans here in attendance, know that we will remember them.”
Mr. Robson enlisted with the Norwegian Merchant Navy in May, 1944 and served until December, 1944. He spent that entire time serving on the MS Margarette Bakke. After his service with the Navy, Mr. Robson joined the army with the Second Battalion, and volunteered to become a paratrooper. After the war in Europe ended, Mr. Robson was posted for training to Canadian Forces Base Borden. He remained in the service with the Regimental Police until he was honourably discharged in 1946.
“This type of service and sacrifice undeniably deserves recognition, as it is the very definition of altruistic, and in our current society that seems to be increasingly self-centred and self focused, I think we are all in need of a reminder about the value of service,” Emma Runnalls, an Uxbridge Secondary School student, said. “Today, this presentation recognizes just that, George’s willingness to put service above self and knowingly risk everything to do so.”
MP Jennifer O'Connell complimented how the community recognizes veterans’ service.
“What’s so special about Uxbridge really, and the way you treat the veterans here in the community, is something I have not seen before. It’s incredibly special that not only are we honouring George here, but to know that you have a Veterans Afternoon, I think is really something that is really unique,” she said.
Uxbridge Ward 3 Councillor Dave Barton complimented Tish MacDonald and Uxbridge Secondary School on their efforts to honour local veterans.
“You guys do such a great job honouring the veterans and we are so proud of you at the Town council,” he said.
At the end of the ceremony, Mr. Robson was grateful for the recognition.
“I would just like to thank the Norwegian military forces for the medal and the Consul General for delivering, which was very nice. I’m not sure now that I didn’t win the war pretty well on my own,” he said, leading to a lot of laughter from the crowd.
Sam Odrowski The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Councillor Jack Ballinger made a motion at a recent council meeting, to take $2,500 out of the golf fund and give $500 to each of the five Syrian families in Uxbridge as a Christmas present.
The golf fund holds the money raised from the annual Uxbridge Mayor’s Charity Golf Tournament at Wooden Sticks, so the dollars used on these families won’t affect taxpayers.
This year approximately $15,000 was raised to help various individuals, organizations, and charities in need of support.
When Jack was thinking of those who could use help this holiday season, he said the Syrian’s families came to mind.
“I thought it would be a wonderful thing if we could give a Christmas present to each of the families, to help them along their way,” he said. “It’s the time of giving, so I just thought I’d bring it up to council and refer it to the golf fund.”
When the Syrian families came to Uxbridge last September, Jack said his daughter came to him and wanted to get involved. Jack and his wife were sharing his daughter’s three-bedroom apartment when she told her Dad that they could move out and use the extra rooms to help sponsor a Syrian family.
“I remember looking at my daughter and saying why did you do this and she said Dad, it’s the right thing to do,” Jack shared.
He has been living with a Syrian family since their arrival late last year.
“They are just wonderful people and they are working hard so they can stay in Uxbridge,” Jack said.
He continued, “If you give them anything they always return it. They are always sending food upstairs to us, with these special dishes that they make.”
The father of the Syrian family previously worked as a surgical nurse in Syria, and is now employed as a truck driver, working hard to make ends meet. The mother is employed as well, working as a seamstress.
Jack describes the family’s response to Uxbridge as very “positive,” adding that others should witness it for themselves.
“They really appreciate what the community has done,” he said. “You can’t get one up on them because they’ll do anything for you.”
The families are all working on learning English and hope to find a permanent home in Uxbridge.
“They want to move forward, and if they keep working the way they have been, they will be great Canadians.” added Jack.
He would like to wish all the families a Merry Christmas and hopes all works out for them in the future.
Jack said, “I’m just so happy that this family has a chance.”
DAN CEARNS The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: According to the Durham Region Police Fraud Unit, victims who used Western Union to pay fraudsters on a variety of scams could be entitled to compensation, thanks to a recent settlement between Western Union and U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
In a recent press release, the DRPS has said they have received “numerous inquiries from victims of fraud, who have received letters advising them of” the settlement and the fraud unit has confirmed “this is a legitimate settlement and an opportunity for local fraud victims to get compensation.”
Despite it being a settlement in the United States, Canadian citizens are also eligible to apply.
The letters come from the claims administrator, Gilardi & Co., and the form includes a claim ID and a PIN number to use when filing a claim online at www.FTC.gov/WU.
According to the FTC, in the settlement, Western Union agreed to pay $586 million, to “resolve charges brought by the FTC and the U.S. Department of Justice.”
An FTC statement said Western Union “admitted to aiding and abetting wire fraud.”
Victims have until February 12th, 2018, to file a claim according to an FTC press release.
The DRPS encourages people to report scam attempts, to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, either by phone at 1-888-495-8501 or online at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.
For more information on the settlement, visit https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2017/11/ftc-alerts-consumers-if-scammers-had-you-pay-them-western-union
“Without your health, you have nothing.” A woman said to me. I’m sure we’ve all heard that phrase. I’m in a position to help people improve their quality of life. Maybe I could write something that would encourage you to take a deeper look. While we all know health is important, do we really know why? Health is a gift we can give ourselves and benefit those you love.
Gifts don’t just come in fancy packages. The care you give to yourself is just as important as those gifts under the tree. Christmas is a time to spend with family and friends. Take a look around. The most precious gift you can give to others is to give to yourself. That is what health is all about. Taking care of yourself affords more memories and more laughter with those you love. If it means making one small change to be around just a bit more, isn’t it worth the effort?
All my favourite memories from Christmas aren’t about the gifts I got. In fact, I remember more of the time we spent together. Quality time is more important. Memories and laughter cannot be wrapped up in fancy paper. There’s a reason why I say health is a gift that keeps on giving. It’s a choice that has a distinct effect on how you see yourself and those around you. When you choose to get well, everyone will benefit from it.
My wish for this holiday season is to take care of the ones you love, which includes yourself. You take special care when wrapping gifts. They have to look beautiful sitting under the tree. If you look at yourself as a special gift, take just as much care looking after what’s inside.
Tina Y. Garber
Special to the Standard
Without speaking, the two of us sat and watched the world around us. The warm September breeze made her silver locks tickle her face, it brought a smile to my mother's lips ... 'whooo' she said. We watched the tiny birds nestle into the mulch and leaves which had started to pile up among the flower beds. I held Mother's hands, her fingers deformed by rheumatism, the skin shiny and puffed. At one time those fingers made dinner, held a strong cup of tea, and manipulated garden tools every spring and summer! I will remember this, like a snapshot of a photograph, views of the next moment, and the hours between us. I stared at the cracks in the sidewalk, as ants scurried past, we said nothing.
A foolish thought entered my mind, that Jesus would come and place his hand on her shoulder, and her pain would disappear: that she would finally find her freedom. Perhaps, that is not so foolish and I prayed it's not too far off. When you let God work through you, you are changed for the good, even if the other is not.
I didn't want to let go of her hand, I said, 'I love you, and I am Blessed to be your daughter Tina.' A tear ran down my cheek as she studied my face, this was the first time I noticed the grey rim around her pupils. She stared blankly at me, but I knew she understood, because her hand gripped mine tighter. I wanted to lean my head on her shoulder, and sob like never before. I couldn't say another word, I couldn't speak, as I knew I would sob without ceasing. At that moment I really needed my mother, she was in there, somewhere inside the wrinkled body that sat beside me.
We sat quietly together and let the breeze caress our faces, as the sun warmed our cheeks. It was such a peaceful labour day Monday. We observed the birds, and I wondered if she understood the world around her? Mother knew the world did not revolve around her and it was important, she would say, not to blame others.
We watched an elderly man wearing a cap, digging in the dirt, and watched a dark haired woman push a wheel chair by us. Families arrived, parked their cars, and got out, joining their loved ones inside.
My thoughts started to spin in a different direction now. Was this just a warehouse for the aged? I watched an elderly lady maneuvering around Mother's wheelchair.
Life is not getting from A to Z, it's not the beginning or the destination that counts, it's the ride in-between. If you take the time to feel it, experience it and understand it.
I watched her with a weight of gratitude growing heavy in my chest. I continued to hold her arm, as she attempted to gather her words. I did not understand what she had said, but we both laughed and she had that familiar twinkle in her eye, like that of a mischievous child. She stared at me with confusion, then turned her head, it nodded slightly as she closed her eyes. Keeping her eyes open took more strength than she had, and exhausted, she sank into slumber. I prayed she had plenty of workers who love her, who would console her and listen to her untold stories. They affectionately call Mother, 'Maisie'.
I wonder if Mother is waiting to die? I know she's had enough. At times, she will give me an angry look, like it's my fault. Her hand started to shake, and her body jerked, as she opened her eyes once again. The sun no longer warmed our faces, it was hidden by the clouds.
Visitors came and left, looking at their cell phones, saying hello as we sit together.
Mother smiled, but her eyes were sad. We usually escape into the tiny secret garden around back, at Mother's nursing home. Mother has donated a tree, and it stands proudly, just like her. It will be a reminder that she once shone brightly. The secret garden now has a heavy chain link and a padlock barring us from visiting there. Life is like that. Sometimes, we feel blocked at every turn.
We heard the bamboo wood chimes, making such a peaceful sound, a happy sound, which makes my heart sing. We continued to watch the bees go from flower to flower, as the gentle breeze rocked the purple flowers from side to side. She fell asleep again. I did not have the heart to wake her. I stood and straightened my clothing and took her inside.
The space was closing in around me. I blew her a soft kiss from the large bay window, which now separated us. She looked so peaceful, relaxed as her head gently nodded to the side. She gave me a huge smile, which is strange, I blew her another kiss.
I opened the car window and turned up the radio to drowned my fear, the feelings I keep hidden deep within. I saw a spider scurrying over the dash, searching for somewhere to hide. I wonder if this is a silent sign? My father's nick name was Spiderweb!
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Lakeridge Health expects to re-open the Port Perry Hospital in September of 2018, just after Labour Day.
The announcement was made on Friday, Dec. 15th. Lakeridge Health expects the construction and restoration of the building to be complete in July, and then open the doors to patients in early September.
Vice President Christine Nuernberger said when the restoration is complete in July, the focus will then turn to the remaining prep work to prepare for the reopening, which is expected to take about eight weeks.
“There’s a considerable amount of work that needs to be done to make sure we are ready and operational.”
This includes preparing the building, doing a terminal clean, sterilizing all clinical areas, re-stocking hospital inventory and testing and re-certifying all medical equipment.
The hospital has been closed since late August, when a fire broke out on the roof of the facility, heavily damaging the building’s electrical and mechanical systems.
Restoration work on the hospital includes the construction and installation of a new boiler room, HVAC system and power plant, according to the press release from Lakeridge Health.
“While we work to reopen Port Perry Hospital as soon as possible, this also gives us the opportunity to do some additional upgrades during the temporary closure, which will enhance the patient experience and make the hospital a more modern health care facility,” Lakeridge Health President and CEO Matthew Anderson said, in a press release.
Ms. Nuernberger stressed, they have been “very mindful to make sure none of those things impact” their opening date.
Valentine Lovekin, Lakeridge Health Board Chair, thanked the Port Perry physicians and clinical staff.
“Port Perry physicians and clinical staff, who are caring for patients at other hospital sites, have consistently demonstrated Lakeridge Health values, during the temporary closure: compassion, innovation, courage and trust. Thank you to the staff and community partners for their ongoing commitment to provide safe, quality care during this time,” she said in a press release.
Regarding whether there is anything planned for the official re-opening, Ms. Nuernberger told the community to “stay tuned.”
“There is definitely a community wide celebration that is due,” she said.
To follow the progress of the Port Perry hospital restoration, go on-line, to www.lakeridgehealth.on.ca.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: The Township of Scugog has decided, Mayor Tom Rowett will move forward with a review of Ward 3 Councillor Don Kett’s expense records.
At a meeting on Monday, December 18th, during a discussion on the minutes of the General Purpose and Administration Committee meeting that was held on Monday, December 4th, Mayor Rowett made a motion to change the decision made at that meeting.
At the time, the Mayor had vacated his seat as chair of the meeting.
Following a deputation from former councillor Howard Danson, council members originally approved a resolution to direct Township staff to “obtain the advice of Regional legal counsel and Township auditors, with regards to Council, Staff, Committees and Boards and credit card expense claims, and the approval procedure for paying such expenses, and report back in February, 2018.”
However, the Mayor’s motion stated, the “Township’s Finance Department compile all of Councillor Kett’s expense records, from the beginning of [his] term of council, and provide to the Mayor” so he can review them with Councillor Kett, to “determine what expenses, if any, should be paid back to the Township.” The motion also stated, the Mayor report back to council by February, of 2018.
“The [original] motion stated that the scope and cost etc. would come back in February. There have been preliminary quotes that are in excess of $75,000 to do the audit that has been requested,” Mayor Rowett explained. “I certainly didn’t anticipate this kind of cost, so I wanted to focus the attention on what the request was from the delegation and to deal with it in a less cost prohibitive manner.”
Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew supported the Mayor’s motion.
“Although it sounds like the right thing to do, it really doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend $75,000 or more, or around that, when there doesn’t seem to be any red flags [raised by the finance department regarding Township staff expense claims]. That’s why I’ve seconded the motion,” she said.
Ward 5 Councillor, Jennifer Back questioned why the part relating to all Township staff, committees and boards was omitted in the Mayor’s motion, and asked that the finance department come up with a detailed list of all expenses submitted.
“I think it would be in the taxpayers’ best interest to see where their tax dollars are going,” she said.
CAO, Paul Allore said councillors should expect to see more information when the budget process resumes.
“I think that, through the budget process, council will see the line items. The line items are broken down pretty good. They are not finite to this trip or that, but staff expenditures and mileage are quantified during the budget,” he said.
Ward 4 Councillor, Wilma Wotten said Mayor Rowett’s motion had “to do with what the ask was of a resident” and added Councillor Back’s larger review idea did not have to be tied to the Mayor’s motion.
Mayor Rowett agreed that his motion “doesn’t mean, no further action would be taken.”
Clerk J.P. Newman said, if the Township wished to proceed with a separate review of all council and Township staff members’ expenses, a councillor could make a notice of motion for the first meeting in January.
Mayor Rowett’s motion was later approved by council.
KAWARTHA LAKES: The 2018 operating budget for the City of Kawartha Lakes has officially been approved. This will set the base for the next decade, as next year’s budget is the first one adopted under the new 10 year financial plan.
According to the City, ‘it marks a turning point in the way the municipality plans for the future, and takes into account many factors that will impact sustainability, including the long term costs to maintain aging city assets. The priority is to preserve the long term financial health of the municipality, while providing predictability and affordability for residents.’
In 2017, an increase of 3.25 per cent in tax was required so that the City could properly operate with $107,766,256 million in 2018.
“There were many pressures on the budget this year, including additional winter control costs, investment in enhanced road maintenance and rising WSIB premiums. I’m pleased to report, a reduction of $440,000 in funding, requested from the Kawartha Lakes Haliburton Housing Corporation, assisted in lessening the pressures,” stated Ron Taylor, Chief Administrative Officer.
Over the next ten years, the City says it will eliminate $30 million in infrastructure debt, stabilize taxes and replenish capital reserves. In fact, during 2018 alone, Kawartha Lakes City Council decided to put $2 million into reserves, including capital needs, emergencies and to ‘leverage any opportunities that arise over the year, such as new government grants.’
“Council is following the course that we’ve charted under the 10 year financial plan. This is very exciting because we’ve done exactly what we set out to do. We’ve researched, strategized, and come up with a smart plan. And we’re sticking to the plan. This means residents can rest assured that the City will see tangible improvements to what they value most: good roads, community safety, arenas, parks, libraries, a healthy environment and access to over 200 different services; all while paying reasonable taxes. It’s a tall order, but we’re on track,” said Mayor Andy Letham.
Final budget documents will be available on the City’s website, on January 12th, 2018, at www.kawarthalakes.ca/budget.
SAM ODROWSKI The Standard
The Township of Uxbridge is finishing up their 2018 budget, with it expected to be approved by the end of January.
The total expenditures from the 2018 draft operating budget are $15.85-million and the capital budget is $19-million, adding up to a total of $35-million.
A large portion of the capital budget is attributed to the Brock Street Culvert Project, the New Animal Shelter for Scugog-Uxbridge, and a new fire truck for the Uxbridge Fire Department.
Council has gone through all the operating and capital budget items necessary to run the town and will be reviewing which items on the list of additional services will receive funding, at a budget meeting on January 9th.
The list of additional services is not included on the proposed budget and consists of projects that council, department heads, and organizations, want funded by taxpayers.
As the township prepares the budget, councillors meet with department heads to discuss how much it will cost, to do what their department did last year, this year. Then all the extra items or services requested by department heads are added to the list of additional services list.
By doing all the necessary budget items first and the additional services after, the Township can see how these requested items and services will affect the taxpayer.
Councillor Pat Molloy said, “It gives council a better opportunity to make an intelligent decision, because they then know the impact on the residence.”
This year council was able to cut around $160,000 from all the departments and according to Councillor Molloy, the tax increase is proposed to match the cost of living.
He said, “We are doing pretty good so far, we are on track with cost of living, which is around 2 per cent.”
He went on to tell the Standard a zero per cent tax increase is impossible, especially with the town’s future planning.
“We know what it cost to run the township, there is not going to be years of zero per cent increases, quite frankly, in this world you can’t do that,” said Councillor Molloy, Uxbridge’s treasurer, Donna Condon, said, “We have to plan for the future and we can’t drain all the funds one year to come in at a really low tax rate, that’s not responsible at all.”
To prevent spikes in the budget, council puts money away each year to prepare for large expenses.
“We had a fire truck delivered this year but it doesn’t impact our taxes, because we knew it was coming and we have been putting money aside,” Councillor Molloy said.
He continued, “A lot of our long-term planning is working really well, and that’s why the tax increase is down around the cost of living now.”
Through planning for future expenses, the Township of Uxbridge has been able to keep the budget consistent.
Councillor Molloy said, “We’re residence right, we don’t want to pay more for taxes either.”
The Auxiliary to Lakeridge Health Port Perry has had an amazing fundraising year, even with the temporary closure of services at Port Perry Hospital, its volunteers are busier than ever.
While the hospital’s gift shop is temporarily closed, the intrepid team behind Camille’s Corner is active, hosting pop-up shops at various community locations and planning for the hospital’s reopening expected in the Spring or Summer of 2018.
The auxiliary’s executive continues to regularly meet at Emmanuel Community Church and planning is actively underway for the return of the Polar Plunge on February 3, 2018. Each year, the Polar Plunge raises thousands of dollars for much-needed equipment at Port Perry Hospital thanks to the many teams who dare to take part. If you’re interested in taking a dip for a good cause into the chilly waters of Lake Scugog, contact Ruth at 905-985-6232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Things are particularly busy this time of year at the auxiliary’s community thrift shop, Camille’s Closet. The holiday season has landed at north Durham’s go-to place for gently-used clothing, small household items and décor. Right now, you’ll find a wide selection of Christmas and holiday decorations and gift ideas with many select items marked 50% off. Don’t miss out on the chance to visit our Perry Street location which is open Monday to Saturday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. All proceeds support Port Perry Hospital.
Other fundraisers are being planned, including a spring fashion show in May. Stay tuned for more exciting news from the Auxiliary to Lakeridge Health Port Perry. Our dedication to Port Perry Hospital remains strong as we continue to do all we can to support patients, staff and physicians.