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December, 2001

December Edition

Regular readers of this column will be familiar with my amazement at the number of impaired drivers careening through these here parts. Well guess what - it got WORSE over the holiday season. Numbers being what they are it might be easier to just say that several people in Muskoka were not drunk and behind the wheel in December.

December is an odd month. No good for boating and pretty tough sledding. So what's a guy to do with his spare time? Break into cottages, I guess. Said breaker-inners aren't after anything in particular. Just browsing, it seems. But anything of value that's reasonably portable usually ends up missing. So leave nothing of note when you lock up in the fall or get a security system. Your choice.

Best Three Reasons to take in Bala's Ninth Annual Trek to Bethlehem - a re-creation of a walk through everybody's fav rav biblical village: it's a hell of a lot cheaper than actually jetting off to the Middle East; you only have to wear Gortex, not Kevlar; Bala's shuttle buses have never exploded.

Talks are on to start a needle exchange program in our area - as soon as the powers that be conduct some sort of needs accessment. If they're looking for public input they can put me down for four of the swing-under LP/78 types and one cartridge style for my SL-Q2.

If you live or cottage near the Kearney or Perry municipal landfills we have good news: they're now closed! If you live near the new Rain Lake Road Landfill we have bad news: squadrons of seagulls are headed your way. Pray you're downwind.

What is it Marvin Martian used to say? "Delays... delays..." The completion of Gravenhurst's snowmobile bridge over Hwy. 11 has been delayed once again. It's now due to be finished by March 31st. Who's snowmobiling in April, you ask? No one. Just so you know...

Deerhurst Resort featured a nativity scene song and dance performance in December. Very festive, yes sir. I can see it now: Mary sings 'Toucha Toucha Toucha Touch Me' from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Joseph counters with 'Maria' from West Side Story, and the Christ-child sits up and belts out 'It's a Puzzlement' from The King and I. On the more traditional side, CBC Radio's Russ Germain gave a reading of Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' at the Gravenhurst Opera House with carols courtesy of various local choirs. Who said bigger is better?

The era of mega-mergers is not over! The former Scout Districts of Muskoka Lakes, Huntsville and East Georgian Bay have amalgamated into one Super-Troupe that will be a force to be reckoned with cookie- and apple-wise.

Bala's Cranberry Festival did quite well this year despite weather that might have torpedoed lesser events. The good news: that meant a pot of over $24,000 to be split up among 23 local charitable organizations. The bad news: sadly, The Ian MacKenzie Relief Foundation is not one of those organizations. Yet.

Northern Ontario high school students scored above average in a recent government study. Unfortunately that study was on drug use. In related news, The Bracebridge OPP dropped by Bracebridge Muskoka Lakes Secondary School with their Dog & Pony show - minus the ponies for some reason. A few students ended up wishing that the dogs hadn't been able to make it either. Still, you have to wonder if three minor drug charges make laying siege to an entire school worthwhile.

Those of you who fear the night take note: daylight break and enters are on the rise in Muskoka! Feel better? I knew you would.

The Ontario Federation of Snowmobilers is asking its members to take a voluntary Safe Rider pledge. Hopefully the pledge will read something like, "I promise not to be a total dope on my sled. I acknowledge that it's a snowmobile, not a hovercraft and needs at least 3 inches of ice beneath it. And I promise not to take corners at 100 kph... while on the wrong side of the trail... in dense fog... anymore."

The rocket scientists at the Bracebridge Business Improvement Association are considering changes to the downtown core that include the option of making Manitoba Street a double reverse dog-leg pedestrian mall with angled parking. Recognize the theme? I call it Mid-Eighties Urban Planter Syndrome. We here at Guardian Publications feel that we could improve business downtown sans backhoes - just keep the stores open past 5 p.m.! At the moment you can't shop downtown if you have a job.

The RCMP always get their man but with the OPP they're a little more casual about the whole thing. They recently bragged about bagging someone after 10 years on the lam and I have to admit I was impressed - until I read that the 'fugitive' was living and working in town the whole time. Turns out they stopped her at a RIDE checkpoint and their computer just happened to mention that letting her proceed would make them look really dumb.

The Town of Gravenhurst recently bagged almost $5 million from the Government of Ontario to help transform their waterfront into a crested-sportswear tourist trap. Ya gotta love Northern Development.

In what must have been a publicity stunt for the opening of George Clooney's new heist film Bandits, someone robbed the TD Bank in Bala. Without a mask. Maybe he figured a dinky little bank like that wouldn't have a security camera. Bad news for him - it does. He's now a guest of the Crown awaiting trial.

Bracebridge is going to be blooming this Spring. Officially. The Town has decided to take part in Ontario's Communities in Bloom program. Anyone wishing to help out with this blooming program can call Barry Young at 645-8293.

Generator Film and Video Productions are going to be shooting 13 episodes of a new cooking show in Huntsville. Or at Blue Mountain - it depends on which municipal government kicks in $10,000 first. That may sound like blackmail but I'm sure it's a common business practice somewhere. Vegas, maybe...

Muskoka Transport/ Hammond Transportation now has a new lux-o-bus with the Segwun tattooed on the side. Looking beyond it's inherent tackiness, I think it's supposed to promote tourism.

Regular readers of the 'Zamina might recall a column written by one Richard Corcelli. Well look for it no more - 2002 will be Corcelli-less as he's been unceremoniously dumped by the powers that be. Apparently he wrote a column that bit the hand that published him and after that the Sword of Justice was swift. In an editorial titled "Goodbye Mr. Corcelli", someone named E.B. bid Corcelli a hasty goodbye citing that by his own admission Corcelli had a readership numbering 'somewhere in the high teens'. It doesn't pay to have a self-depricating sense of humour around here.

So much for 2001. Not so much Kubrick-ian as Kervorkian. Maybe 2002 will have more in store...

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