BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: Port Perry’s leg of the Canadian Cancer Society Relay For Life has been cancelled this year, after organizers saw a decline in participation.
According to Ms. Kendra Chopcian, Manager of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Durham Region Office, the decision was difficult, but necessary.
“Our planning committee and local organizers looked over the numbers, and unfortunately had to make the call to focus our efforts elsewhere,” said Ms. Chopcian. “We are contacting everyone who registered to see if they want to transfer to a different relay, or keep their pledges until next year.”
The alternate event will be the Campbellford Relay For Life, which takes place at the Campbellford Fairgrounds on Sept. 5.
“We are thankful for the support of the Agricultural Committee and Scugog Township, who supported the organization and allowed us to use the Port Perry Fairgrounds,” added Ms. Chopcian. “We hope that next year we can bring it back - but we need to review the numbers.”
For further information, please visit the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay For Life website at www.convio.cancer.ca/site/PageServer?pagename=RFL_CAN_NATL_homepage.
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
UXBRIDGE: There's something brewing in Uxbridge, with the launch of The Barn Owl Tea Co. by a local husband and wife duo.
Ethan and Sara Zon, fresh from their official launch at the Highlands of Durham Games, embarked on their largely web-based endeavour to provide customers with affordable, fine, loose-leaf teas.
The Zons, along with their 16-month-old daughter, have a longstanding love of fine teas, and decided to turn their hobby into a business venture, making their taste available to all, minus the white gloves and fancy atitude.
"My wife's family are all tea-drinkers," said Ethan. "In their house, tea is the crux of every meal and every conversation - it goes nicely with my background in wine-tasting, we both know how to appreciate an excellent cup of tea."
While they hope to grow into a storefront in the future, the Zon family is offering their wares on-line at www.BarnOwlTea.com, and is hoping to become known in the local community, as they live on Church St. in Uxbridge.
The site features more than 24 unique varieties of tea, hand picked and tasted by Ethan and Sara.
"We literally drank hundreds of cups of tea and spent weeks finding the right suppliers, with the quality we wanted for our customers," said Ethan.
Hoping to dispel the mysterious perception of loose leaf tea, the couple has made easy to understand tasting and brewing notes for each and every tea.
"We've got strong black teas for breakfast, delicate green and white teas for serving cold, flavourful teas for bartending or cooking - there's no limit to how people can use our tea," said Ethan.
Visit www.BarnOwlTea.com and use coupon code BOTGO10, for a ten-per cent discount until August 31.
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: Oyez, Oyez, Oyez! M’lords, M’ladys, Port Perry’s waterfront and downtown will be home to the 30th annual Ontario Provincial Town Crier Champsionships on Saturday, August 9 and Sunday, August 10.
Held in conjunction with the Scugog Farmers’ Market and the Brits on the Lake car show, residents and visitors are invited out for a full day of fun and revelry amidst ringing of bells and delightful cries of an age-old tradition.
Featuring 17 Town Criers from across Ontario, and North Durham’s own back-to-back-to-back champion Bill McKee, two full days of competition will be a sight to see and hear.
“This year, I decided on three themes to compliment Scugog,” said Mr. McKee. “We’ll each be writing a cry about farmers’ markets, microbreweries like our Old Flame Brewery, and something to do with British culture for our car show.”
To kick off the events, there will be a small parade into Palmer Park at 10 a.m. on August 9, with the competition concluding inside the tasting room of Old Flame Brewery at 2 p.m. On Sunday, August 10, the third and final cry will take place in front of the Port Perry Post Office on Queen St., at 11 a.m. - with an award ceremony afterwards.
“I’m very fortunate to represent both Scugog and Uxbridge Townships,” said Mr. McKee. “We have a very close-knit community in North Durham, and I’m proud to showcase it to fellow Town Criers from across the province.”
Often sighted wearing his signature tri-cone hat and swinging a large brass bell, reigning champ Mr. McKee will deliver the first benchmark cry at the competition, which all other Criers will be measured against - but he wasn’t always top dog of Ontario’s Town Criers, as Mr. McKee has played many roles in life.Until retiring in 2010, Mr. McKee was a 31-year veteran Constable in the Toronto Police Service, but sought a less stressful career after decades of service.
Indeed, Mr. McKee owes, or blames, his career as a Town Crier to his brother David McKee - a veteran of the competition circuit and current crier for the City of Brantford.
“I watched him cry for years and years, and I had a strong voice from doing some work with the Canadian Opera Company. He got me interested, and I say how much fun he had,” explained Mr. McKee. “One day, at the Uxbridge Art in the Park festival, I started doing cries and announcing the names of all of the businesses and artists there - it just kind of stuck.”
Mr. McKee bested his brother in his first competition in Plimpton - David didn’t let Bill win for another two years - but now that they both have some chops, they retain a healthy competitive spirit.
Uxbridge Township took on Mr. McKee as their official Town Crier in 1999, and Scugog Township followed suit in 2002 - utilizing his special services in Township events year-round.
“People often ask me what makes a good Town Crier. The truth is, it’s all based on the clarity and quality of one’s voice, and the words they choose to use to represent themselves,” said Mr. McKee. “The fancy clothes and friendly personality help as well - anyone can hold a scroll and yell, but it’s the passion that makes people smile.”
In competition, each Town Crier is also judged on their deportment while entering and exiting the stage, and whether or not they fit within the required 100 to 125 words. The cry must be fanciful and enjoyable, but not overly complicated - short, sweet, and to the point.
“Crying is a lot of fun, and you can’t let it stress you out. When I pen the cry, I just try to have fun with it and the words flow naturally,” said Mr. McKee “The best part is the children, they always run up to me to get their picture taken with ‘the pirate,’ I just laugh and tell them that I don’t dress like a pirate, pirates dress like Town Criers!”
The term ‘Oyez’ which begins many of Mr. McKee’s cries can trace its roots to French word ‘Ecoutez’ or ‘Listen.’ The Town Crier was often emplyed by local government or royalty, to issue edicts and notices. Announcements of tax hikes in Europe stemmed the phrase ‘don’t shoot the messenger,’ as it was a federal offence to harm a Town Crier, an agent of the Crown.
“Oyez is not so much asking if people can hear me, it comes from an older practice when many people weren’t able to read the newspaper - the Town Crier would instruct everyone within ear shot to stop and listen to the annoucnement,” said Mr. McKee.
“It takes a lot of Fisherman’s Friend to be a Town Crier - if you think you’re going to get sick, you don’t! All of the Town Criers across the world are a little bit nuts, just like me,” said Mr. McKee, whose favourite closing passage is a loud cry of ‘God Save the Queen, and God bless single malt!’
The Ontario Guild of Town Criers and Mr. McKee would like to recognize the support of a few choice local supporters, including the Baagwating Community Association, Township of Scugog, Ontario Guild of Town Criers, Vos’ Your Independented Grocer for their reception room, Old Flame Brewery, Parkwood Lodge No. 695, Meta 4 Gallery, Scugog Historical Society, Port Perry BIA, Scugog Chamber of Commerce and, Ocala Winery.
Mr. McKee would like to invite men, women and children of all ages to enjoy a day out in Port Perry on Saturday, August 9 and Sunday, August 10 - and hopes that they have as much fun as he does. Ear plugs recommended, but not required.
ALEX ROSS The Standard Co-op Student
I am a Port Perry High School student that is co-oping at The Standard. This is my first time participating in a co-operative education program and, so far it has been an excellent experience. The staff has been very friendly and they all treat me as one of their own. I feel as though I am a functioning part of The Standard Newspaper team and that I fit in this environment comfortably.
My choice to take a placement at a newspaper for my co-operative education program was driven by a desire to review films and other sources of digital and video media and wanting to pursue entertainment journalism as a career. I hope to attend the journalism course at Durham College next fall, and I hope it will be as interesting as this co-op program has been so far.
I chose The Standard for my placement because I thought that it would give me a better chance to get my name into the paper because it is a larger paper with a more specialized location and it is independently owned. By the end of my placement I hope to have achieved a vast array of experience in different fields of the newspaper, from typesetting to reporting to editing.
My first week was almost all typesetting, putting physical or electronic letters into the newspaper formatted template, but as boring as that may sound, I oddly found it very interesting. Reading about all the upcoming events before they’re put into the paper was weird, it was like seeing the paper being built and I’ve never experienced anything remotely close to this.
These past few weeks have been outstanding, I have gone out onto the town to take pictures for articles and stock photos, I have been writing articles, and I’m just generally enjoying the placement. Being able to go out and take photos is an amazing experience, although I am on my own, I am able to express myself.
For future students that are looking to get into the journalism field and are looking into a co-operative education program, I strongly recommend that you look into The Standard Newspaper for your placement, it is a very well knit office and a very comfortable environment to begin your entry into journalism.
The editor, Blake Wolfe, is a very relaxed guy and he had me perform tasks that a full-time employee might do within the first two weeks and I thank him for that. Being thrust into the field so early gave me a good understanding of the type of work I would be doing in the future and it let me decide if I wanted to continue with my co-op placement before it was too far into the program to leave. I started my co-op program on Monday, September 16, and it has been a good start to the school year, I sincerely hope the rest of the semester stays this good.
BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard With the current lease of the Port Perry Marina from December 20, 2012 up for expiry at the end of the month, Scugog Council raised the question this week of whether to extend the lease to next year or not.
At the Scugog Township Council meeting on October 7, Mayor Chuck Mercier and councillors approved the extension of the lease on the Port Perry Marina until October 31, 2014. The signing of this ‘steady-as-she-goes’ contract means that the township will maintain its income from the marina, and be in a better position to begin improvements next year.
"I have noted that the Waterfront Steering Committee discussed this matter, their consensus was that the recommendation was in order," said Director of Community Services Don Gordon. "Some of the timelines associated with the waterfront project show that there is a lot of work to be done and we recommend that the Marina lease be approved so that the work can be guaranteed to be accomplished."
The extended lease will carry the same terms and conditions including adjustment, meaning that at the end of October, the current rental payments of $1,045.15 per month will increase to $1,957.80 per month until March 31, 2014. In April of 2014, the Port Perry Marina rent will be adjusted in accordance with the Consumer Price Index, a measurement used to track inflation.
The continuation of this lease and its predicted increases means a steady income for the township, to the measure of approximately $19,633 in 2014.
A township staff report stated that it is highly unlikely at this point in the year that construction on phase two of the waterfront project will even begin by Oct. 31, 2014, due to the immense amount of research, documenting and paperwork that must be completed before a bid for a construction company is put out.
Scugog Township has decided to play it safe and ensure that they have plenty of time to work out the finer details before beginning construction.
BLAKE WOLFE The Standard
SCUGOG: Fair season in North Durham continues this week, as the Port Perry Fall Fair returns for a long weekend celebration of all things agriculture.
This year’s fair takes place from Saturday, Aug. 31 to Monday, Sept. 2, at the Port Perry Fairgrounds, located at Old Simcoe Rd. and Reach St.
Favourite features returning to this year’s fair are events such as the tractor pull, demolition derby, rodeo bull riding and a classic car show, all taking place over the course of the weekend in addition to the many agricultural displays and shows.
New this year is the Port Perry Fair Idol competition, in which aspiring pop stars ages 12 to 25 will take to the stage to perform in front of a live audience. The contest takes place at 3 p.m. on Aug. 31, with auditions from 10 a.m. to12 p.m.
On Sunday night (Sept. 1) at 9 p.m., country music performer Dallas Smith will perform at the entertainment shelter, preceded by up-and-coming local singer Riki Knox at 8 p.m.
Admission to the fair is $10 per day for adults (age 14 and older), $4 per day for children (ages five to 13) and free for pre-schoolers (age four and under). Weekend passes are also available at $18 for adults and $7 for children. Parking is $3 per day.
Advance midway passes are still available at Vos’ Independent Grocer, located at 1893 Scugog St. in Port Perry, until 12 p.m. on Aug. 31. Advance passes are $25 each.
For more information, visit www.portperryfair.com.
Fair season continues next weekend with the Uxbridge Fall Fair (Sept. 6 - 8) followed by the Sunderland Fall Fair (Sept. 10 and 11). See Pages 14 and 15 of today’s Standard for a full schedule of events.
BLAKE WOLFE The Standard
PORT PERRY: Port Perry's Palmer Park splash pad is undergoing yet another round of repairs before opening to the public this summer.
Earlier this month, Public Works crews returned to the park for yet more repairs. According to Public Works director Ian Roger, crews discovered more cracked pipes around the pad's two palm tree features while performing routine spring maintenance in recent weeks. New concrete was scheduled to be poured this week, following repairs to the pipes, he said.
Mr. Roger said the township is planning to re-open the pad in time for Canada Day celebrations in Palmer Park, adding that it could open earlier depending on construction schedules and weather.
The problem with the pipes cracking, said Mr. Roger, is likely due to frost settling in over the winter months in the ground underneath and surrounding the pad.
In 2012, work was performed to remedy cracked water pipes inside the three arches at the centre of the pad, requiring crews to dig below the concrete surface. In 2011, more than $35,000 was poured into the pad for the installation of a catch basin in the Palmer Park parking lot, as well as a concrete tank for water storage. In 2010, the pad was shut down for the application of a non-slip surface coating that was not included in the original plan.
A staff report to the former Scugog Council in December 2009 from former Parks head John Sellars stated that the splash pad and playground component of the Port Perry waterfront project incurred additional costs of $70,000, bringing its then-total to approximately $276,125, exceeding the approved budget of $256,500.