By the time this column runs this week, we will find Earth Day 2019 has come and gone and we are part way through the Township of Scugog’s Pitch-In week, a time where residents come together to clean up local neighbourhoods.
While it is nice, every year, to see people taking an interest around this time, cleaning up their town and learning more about green technologies, I think people should treat every week of the year like they do around this time of year.
This is not to say, Earth Day and Pitch-In week aren’t both important, but it is instead to say the ideas these events are based around should be on people’s minds all the time.
As residents, business owners, and employees, we all share and use the land we live on and work in, so, ideally, we all should have a vested interest in making sure it stays beautiful all the time. Including performing the kinds of acts, usually done by volunteers around this time of year, all year long, such as: picking up garbage when we see it on our trails, and in ditches, and parks; or alerting a volunteer group or municipality of a garbage issue, so they can discourage people from littering and then decide yourself not to litter; and learning as much as you can about how you can implement practices in your everyday life that are good for the environment.
On the topic of the beauty of the natural environment around you, I think it is also important to appreciate it. In a previous column which I wrote in 2017, I mentioned what's called nature deficit disorder, which is the theory that people are spending less time outside, leading to a whole host of behavioural issues and a lack of appreciation of nature. I encourage people to get outside as much as they can, to enjoy the natural environment in their area, and to foster an appreciation of nature for themselves. I believe the more people experience nature, the more likely they will be encouraged to keep it clean, and try to save the natural environment.
Over the years, federal and provincial politicians, environmental groups, and local residents have mentioned climate change as an important issue and a concern. It is obviously on a lot of people’s minds all the time, so education about green practices, and how to save wildlife and native plants should run all throughout the year, really.
Overall, my message to everyone reading this edition of the column is, as human beings we all share the same planet, so making sure your community and your world is a clean and sustainable place should always be top of mind, apart of us, no matter what time of year it is.
These past few weeks have shown me a couple of examples of youth and young adults in this community taking an interest in their community’s future, and trying to make their voice heard.
Those who have read my column in the past know, I support and encourage youth to be involved in shaping the future of their community, their province, and country.
My first example is 20 year-old Cearra Howey, a Port Perry resident and Standard employee, who was recently elected the Chairperson of Scugog’s Accessibility Advisory Committee. Cearra was recently recognized, at a Scugog council meeting, by Ward 3 Councillor Angus Ross, as one of the youngest committee chairs Scugog has had. In the year’s time I’ve gotten to know Cearra, through working with her at The Standard, I’ve noticed how ambitious, intelligent and talented she is, and I wish her good success in the role of chairperson.
With no youth advisory committee in this term of council, I’m happy to see an example of a young person in this community taking part in the municipal process, and in a committee leadership role.
The next example comes from the school walkout protests, which occurred at elementary and secondary schools across the province of Ontario, on Thursday, April 4th.
That day, I photographed the walkout at Port Perry High School and I was a little surprised by the large number of students that were lined up in front of the school, several of them carrying signs. The walkouts were to protest the cuts to education programs and other changes to Ontario’s education system made by the provincial Conservative government. No matter what political party you support, whether you support the current Conservative provincial government or are critical of it, I think people should be proud to know youth, especially youth in a small community like Port Perry, are taking an interest in what the different governments are doing, and are actively making their opinions known.
I’m encouraged to see youth and young adults taking an interest in guiding the future of the municipal and provincial levels of government. With Earth Day coming up in less than a couple weeks, hopefully we will see a lot of youth involved in making the community a cleaner and better place.
The 2018/2019 NHL season has been an impressive one for Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly, and with the regular season winding down, I think Rielly is the team’s most valuable player this season.
Lets examine things to understand why I think Rielly is the team’s MVP, when Toronto has superstars like Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and goaltender Frederik Andersen. I think we should start with what he brings to the locker room. Rielly is the third longest serving active Maple Leaf, behind only Nazem Kadri and Jake Gardiner for time spent with the team. He brings experience to this young roster, but also leadership, as he is the only one of those three long time Leafs to wear an ‘A’ on his jersey this season, as an alternate captain. The Leafs have two other alternate captains, they are Tavares and Patrick Marleau. Toronto media have been speculating all season long about who should be Toronto’s next captain, and Rielly’s name has come up on more than one occasion.
He also leads the team in total time on ice as of press time, and his average time on ice is over 23 minutes per game, which tops the team stat list as well. Obviously, this shows the coach trusts Rielly to play in any situation in a game.
With a team that sometimes struggles with defence, Rielly is one of the most responsible players, as he is second on the team in the plus/minus stat, sitting at a plus 28, and has only taken 12 minutes in penalties.
Offensively, Rielly also recently became the third defenceman in Maple Leafs history to record 20 goals in one season. The other two were Al Iafrate and Ian Turnbull. As of press time, Rielly is tied for third on the team in points with 68, and is fourth on the team in goals. Looking at the stats across the league, Rielly is the third highest point producing defenceman in the NHL, behind only Brent Burns of San Jose and Mark Giordano of Calgary.
I don’t think the Leafs would be having the success they’ve had this season without Rielly, and that is why I think he is the team’s MVP.
Last week, on Friday, March 8th, the world celebrated International Women’s Day.
Personally, I have been blessed to have had the influence of strong, kind and successful women all around me my entire life, and I feel I owe a lot of the success I’ve had over the years to them. Obviously, I won’t be able to recognize all of them in the confines of this column, but I will write about some of them.
Let’s start with the person who gave birth to this reporter, my mother Lorie. Scugog residents may have met my mother over the years. For many years, she has been working tirelessly as a nurse at Medical Associates of Port Perry.
Because of how hard my mother works at her job, she was one of the people who has taught me the importance of hard work, and how far hard work will take you in life. She has also supported and encouraged both my sister and I to pursue our dream careers, and over the years has sacrificed her time and money to help us get there.
Some of the things I can thank my mom for in helping me achieve my journalism dream include: picking me up late at college because I had a late game or event to cover; taking the time to drive me to an event off campus; or driving me and a couple of my journalism student friends to a location to do some extra video work for an assignment; helping me with financing for college, so I could take the courses and eventually graduate; and just listening to me talk when I had a hard or frustrating day.
I already mentioned her in the above paragraph, so I guess I should write something about my sister Katrina. Over the years, my sister has been someone I’ve been able to hang out with, talk to and laugh with, and play games with. People who’ve read my column before may remember I’ve written in the past about how my sister is enrolled in Queen’s University. She has the ambitious dream of becoming a doctor one day, and I wish her success in that endeavour.
I should also mention the several female friends I’ve made from elementary school until college. In this paragraph, I don’t want to mention any names, as I don’t want to leave anyone out, but I will say I have a lot of ambitious, talented and supportive female friends, and I appreciate how they’ve been there to encourage and support me over the years. They’ve made me laugh when I’ve felt down, they’ve provided a listening ear when I’ve needed to rant about a frustrating moment, they’ve inspired me with their ambitions and supported mine, and they’ve helped me de-stress after long workdays by inviting me to fun events. I am thankful to know and have so many great female friends.
Let me finish this list by mentioning that The Standard Newspaper’s team includes several talented women. I won’t mention all of them, as you have likely read their names somewhere in this newspaper, but I will mention the business is largely run by a woman named Colleen Green. She’s worked hard to keep this newspaper running and on track, so you, the reader, can continue to read about local news, events, sports and features.
I’m grateful to have so many amazing females in my life. I encourage people to take time to thank the women in your lives who’ve helped guide or influence you.
As has been reported by the Toronto media, a member of Toronto council recently brought up an idea of looking at imposing term limits on municipal councillors in that city. I don’t think term limits are a good idea for the municipal level, in Toronto or in the communities The Standard covers.
First off, presently, there is nothing stopping a member of council from simply not running in a future election, if they feel there needs to be turnover on council, and I feel that should remain to be their choice. If someone is qualified enough and is trusted by their community enough to be re-elected then it would make sense, they should be allowed to serve the community they reside in for as long as they feel they can or would like to.
On that note, let’s talk about what term limits would mean to voters in the municipality. It would be a way of governmental procedure telling voters who they can and can’t vote for. A candidate the residents trust might not be able to get on the ballot if they’ve already served the maximum term imposed. Locally, this could also lead to a lot less competition on the ballot as candidates might be turned off by the fact they can only work for the municipality for so long. I think, if the residents want to see and have a choice of various talented individuals, then governments should not be picky about who gets on the ballot come election time. Trust the voters to make a change if they feel it is necessary.
For those worried the current system doesn’t allow for enough turnover on council, you merely have to look at the last municipal election in Scugog. Janna Guido in Ward 2, was the one incumbent who retained her seat, while four newcomers were elected to council, showing change is always possible in an election.
So far in Canada there aren’t term limits at the provincial or federal levels. I don’t know why it would make sense to try it at the municipal level.
Lastly, sometimes it takes a while for certain projects to be accomplished, even through multiple terms of council, at the municipal level. As the old saying goes, the wheels of government turn slowly. One only has to look at ongoing projects in Uxbridge and Scugog, such as the Brock Street Culvert, Lake Scugog Enhancement Project, the New Animal Shelter for Uxbridge-Scugog, and the Second Access Road for Scugog Island to see the proof of that. Now, on that note, let me just state, some projects simply just take longer than others to complete. Certain councillors, if they work hard enough and earn the trust of voters, should be allowed to see these projects through to completion.
It looks like, from what I’ve read thus far, this term limit proposal is not going to happen anytime soon, and that’s a good thing as I think it just doesn’t make sense right now to impose term limits at the municipal level.
The PJHL regular season in the Orr Division is now complete, and the playoffs are set to begin this week.
As avid readers of this column might remember, last year I tried my hand at predicting the outcome of the two first round Orr Division playoff matches. Both of those predictions ended up being correct, so I thought I’d do something similar again this year.
Now, the reason I say similar is because the playoffs are a little different this time around. Last year, two teams received byes to the second round and there were two first round best of seven series. But, this time around, the top five teams have advanced to the playoffs, with the 4th and 5th placed teams, Clarington Eagles and the Port Perry MoJacks, playing a best of three series to decide who will face the first place team, Uxbridge Bruins, in the division semi finals. The other division semi final matchup is already set, between the second place North Kawartha Knights and the third place Lakefield Chiefs. I will make predictions for both of those series.
Since it is the first series to occur, let me start my predictions with the Port Perry-Clarington series. Just like last year, I am choosing the MoJacks to advance. Yes, I am the reporter that has been covering Port Perry’s team specifically, but I do have evidence to back up my prediction.
For one thing, if this series goes to the full three games, it will be played mainly on the road for Port Perry (two games in Clarington, one in Port Perry) and the MoJacks record is slightly better on the road than it is at home. They have nine wins on the road, as opposed to seven wins on home ice.
As well, the MoJacks are also the higher scoring of the two teams. Port Perry finished the season with 160 goals scored while Clarington was second lowest in the division in that category with 141 goals for.
Now on to the semi final matchup that’s already set. I think this will be a hard fought series going the distance, and I’m picking the North Kawartha Knights to win it.
North Kawartha has had a fantastic season, and have improved immensely from where they were last year.
Last season, North Kawartha finished with 18 wins and 39 points for fifth place in the division. However, this season they finished with 30 wins and 64 points for second place in the division. In comparison, the Chiefs have regressed a bit from their 2017-18 Schmalz cup winning season, going from 34 wins and 72 points for first place to 30 wins and 64 points for third place.
The Knights will also be motivated to avenge a loss to these Chiefs, a series sweep, in the second round of last season’s playoffs.
In addition, North Kawartha was the second highest scoring team in the division, finishing the season with 202 goals scored, while Lakefield was third with 184 goals scored.
NHL fans received a bit of a surprise at the league’s all star skills competition this past weekend, as Kendall Coyne Schofield became the first woman to compete in that event.
For those who didn’t have a chance to watch the skills competition, or haven’t read any sports media of late. Ms. Schofield took part in the fastest skater competition, in place of Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon. It was a neat thing to see, and got me thinking about how this was a perfect opportunity to both showcase one of the more talented female hockey players and to put the spotlight on women’s hockey as a whole.
As much as it was great to see a female hockey player make history, and be put in the spotlight at an NHL event, I think there needs to be more done to grow the game of women’s hockey. The best way to start, in my mind, would be to merge the two women’s leagues, the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) and the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL). This would bring the most talented women’s hockey players together to compete in one league, similar to how the NHL operates as a North American league. But, most of all, this would allow the NHL to throw their support behind the one league. As it stands now, the NHL can’t really support either, as they don’t want to show favouritism toward one league or the other. With the support of one of North America’s most influential and successful sports leagues behind them, the merged league could potentially benefit from a better marketed game and could create a new business model that could make them one of the most successful female sports leagues.
I think the NHL should continue to allow women to take part in the all star weekend every year moving forward, as a way to showcase how many talented female hockey players there are in Canada and the United States.
Now, on the topic of women in sports, I think it is inevitable in the near future there will be women involved, at the NHL level, as coaches and general managers. Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas made headlines, in August, when the team announced they had hired Hayley Wickenheiser, one of the most successful players in the history of women’s hockey, as their assistant director of player development. This is a good start.
It is also worth noting the Leafs employ Barb Underhill as a skating development consultant. In a different sports league, the NBA, there are already female assistant coaches employed. I think with viewpoints changing in pro sports, soon you will see women holding some of the coveted coaching and front office jobs on NHL teams.
I think it was great to see Kendall Coyne Schofield get her shot to showcase one of her skills in front of an NHL crowd, and I am optimistic about the future of women in hockey.
With the NHL’s annual all star game coming up later this month, I just wanted to give some of my thoughts on it.
First off, let me talk about the snubbing of Leaf players Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly. For those who don’t know, Auston Matthews and John Tavares have been named all stars this year, while Marner and Rielly are deserving players left off the all star rosters. As of press time, Marner leads the Leafs with 58 points. He has 41 assists and is third on the team in goals at 17. Defenceman Morgan Rielly is third on the team in points with 46, and is the second highest scoring defender in the league.
While these two are deserving, I think this actually might be the best thing for them. Instead of having to compete in this annual event, they can rest up and get prepared for the last portion of the regular season and the playoffs. I don’t think I need to remind Leaf fans that Toronto has been ousted in the first round of the playoffs the last couple seasons, so more rest this far into the season may be beneficial to two of the Leafs’ top contributors. Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals was voted into the all star game, but has decided to pull out for that exact reason, to get ready for the tougher stretch of games.
But, Leafs nation, isn’t it great the Leafs are so good now that there is controversy over a couple of their better players not going to an all star game? I think it really speaks to the depth the Leafs have built.
Now, about the All Star game itself, I know fans have been conflicted about it's format over the years. Some have liked it and found it fun to see these superstars taking part in this, while others have found it to be a bit boring.
Personally, I agree with the latter, so I am going to propose an idea to make this special event fun again. I think, for future all star games, the league should do what they used to do back in the early days of this event and have current Stanley Cup champions face a team of NHL all stars from around the league.
Yes, this was done before, but you can’t beat the classics. I think it would be interesting to see the defending cup champions, looking to hold onto the dignity that comes with it, playing against a team of the league’s true elite. I would be interested to see who would be victorious.
It could solve the NHL's problem of making the all star game competitive and appealing again to both fans and players.
Another new year, 2019, is upon us. Road safety has been a concern of residents across North Durham and the Kawartha Lakes for years, so for this year’s opening column I will write about the driving acts I hope to see less of this year.
Let me start with tailgating. I’m sure every driver has faced this at least once in their life. They are driving, following the speed limit, and they look in the mirror to see a vehicle very close to the back of their vehicle. This act is dangerous as it doesn’t allow the driver behind very much reaction time if the driver in front needs to put on the brakes. In my opinion at least, this act does not achieve the other driver’s goal of making me want to drive faster. My message to drivers in this case is be courteous and allow sufficient space between your vehicle and someone else’s.
Now, let’s move to a passing mistake. Another annoying driving act is the people that pass a car without looking at what is coming in the other lane. I probably don’t need to tell you what makes this dangerous, but just in case, this can create an accident as it could either cause the two cars to collide or the car in the opposite lane to veer off the road. To those who are in too much of a hurry to care about the safety of themselves or other drivers, I say, “is it really worth risking your’s or someone else’s life to pass a vehicle you see as driving slow?” At the very least, be patient, look and pass when it is safe to do so.
Of course, probably one of the most dangerous things you can do is drive while you are impaired. I will echo something I said in a column a year ago, it still baffles me that people think it is okay to drink alcohol and drive, especially with the vast array of information out there about how alcohol impairs people’s motor skills, and the fatal accidents drinking and driving has caused over the years. And to those wondering it has still been happening in Durham as the Durham Police’s weekly Festive Ride results have shown numerous Drinking and Driving charges laid. If you drink alcohol at a party, please have a friend drive you home or take a taxi home.
People, let’s all make an effort to make the roads safer in 2019.
After reading a report, on the Scugog December 10th council agenda, about the Scugog budget survey results, it is pretty apparent to me that a lot of residents want an indoor pool built in the Township.
However, I think an indoor pool should not be a top priority for this new council, just yet.
For starters, this new council will soon be working on their first budget of the term, and have some priorities that should be higher on the list. Addressing roads should take up a large chunk of that budget.
Again, looking at the survey results, one thing that did come up a lot in the results was the concern about the current declining road conditions across the Township. This is nothing new, as there was plenty of talk among council members and residents the last few years about the Township’s roads and infrastructure deficit. This is something that should be largely addressed in the budget, and should be a much higher priority than a new pool.
Speaking of roads, maybe the township should move forward with the process to create a second access road to Scugog Island. This second access idea was brought up on the election campaign several times, and has been talked about and debated for over 10 years at least. The last couple accidents reported last month on Island Rd., that closed the road for a period time for the police investigation, should show why this second access project needs to move forward.
As, new Mayor, Bobbie Drew mentioned in her address at the inaugural meeting, the new council also wants to move forward with a plan for the waterfront lands. And, as was identified last term, there is a need to move forward with a plan for a new arena in Blackstock.
An indoor pool project would also likely come at a significant cost to the Township, and thus, if council moves forward immediately, it would add to a larger tax increase than the new council likely wants to start their term with.
It was also recommended, in March in a Township staff report, that an indoor pool be seen in the Township’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan as a “longer-term development plan”, which makes sense, as it gives council time to think about things, like how they want to fund the project.
In the interim, there are still indoor pools in Uxbridge and Oshawa, which residents can go to.
I’m not saying I think the Township should not move forward in the future with an indoor pool, but instead, I am saying that for the time being, this council should treat the idea of an indoor pool as a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘need to have’.
Is a reporter for The Standard Newspaper, so if you see him, feel free to say hello. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @dancearnsy