Ian MacKenzie's
SO MUSKOKA - what you've missed
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October, 2001

October Edition

First let me go on record as saying that this month's papers were awash with reports of single vehicle accidents, drunk drivers and domestic dust-ups of the most Ozarkian kind. Such is life when you don't live on one of the big lakes.

Bracebridge is extending its sewer service past McCrank Drive to the Meadow Heights area. This is good news if you're a developer who owns 200 acres of land across from Meadow Heights and have been waiting for the sewers to arrive to make all your dreams come true. This is bad news if you're Joe Schmuck living between downtown and there - you're now going to have to cough up $5000 for the new sewer service, whether you want it or not. Oh yeah - your old septic bed will also have to be formally decommissioned. That'll be extra. Ka-CHING!

The Township Of Muskoka Lakes has just bagged $105,801 in FedNor manna - they're going to improve a museum in Port Carling but I forget which one. Maybe they're starting the Port Carling Vuarnet Museum! Cool, eh?

How healthy is the economy? Depends on who you talk to. Some say it's sputtering. Some say it's slowing. But if you talk to anyone at the Muskoka Home Builders Association it's cruising along just fine - and will be until the N.H.L. starts laying people off. Then they're screwed...

Port Carling is getting steamed - in a good way. The Muskoka Navigation Company wants to base a steamship there on a rotating basis to offer cruises of the higher Muskoka Lakes. The Segwun and the Wenonah II will still be based in Gravenhurst but leaving one of them tied up in Port Carling will shave 2 hours off a cruise of the upper lakes.

You can remove the wheels of your boat trailer. You can remove the tongue jack of your boat trailer. But if someone likes your boat trailer - you'd better anchor it to the Shield with Kryptonite chains or it's gone!

Warning to the fall colours crowd: admiring the leaves can be dangerous to your health. Just ask the motorist from Orillia who took a little too long an admiring glance at the fall splendour and crashed his car into a hydro pole.

Thanksgiving in Bracebridge means only one thing - the big tent sale at Rich Hill Candles! Not only are there great deals on scratch 'n dent candles (hey why not - you're going to burn them, right?) but you don't have to go inside the store and have 6000 obnoxious candle scents assault your olfactory nerves like an ice pick in the brain.

Three Mile Lake. Late night canoe sortie. Two guys. One life jacket. Guess which guy was eventually rescued after the canoe rolled over? They found the other guy three weeks later. Lakes tend to eventually give up their secrets.

Someone broke into the Muskoka Lakes Golf and Country Club and stole several baskets of Pinnacle range balls. You have to admire B&E guys with modest ambitions.

Drenth's Independent Grocer is relocating to a 60,000 mega-monstrosity beside Monck Public School . One thing that won't be making the move is Ted Drenth himself. He and his wife are retiring.

The Falun Gong Walkers trekked through Gravenhurst and Bracebridge mid-month drumming up support for their cult... oops, exercise club. The Gong Show's aim is to inform Canadians that Gong-ites are being prosecuted in China for their principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. Where's that dictionary when you need it....

Let it not be said that Bracebridge is not an equal access burg - our arena is getting an elevator. And its only going to cost two hundred thousand clams! Now if only there was a REASON to go upstairs.

"Smart Growth" is the Ontario building industry's latest strategy. This is to replace their "Patently Stupid Urban Sprawl" campaign of the late 90's. I feel better already.

Port Carling's conundrum: to leave snow on the sidewalk for skidoos to get through town OR plow it all, increase pedestrian access but cheese off the sledders. Decisions, decisions.... One question though - what pedestrians?

Don't Flatter Yourself, Part I: the Muskoka Airport Implementation Committee wants to see increased security at Muskoka Airport in the wake of Sept. 11. Oh, please...

Don't Flatter Yourself, Part II: Huntsville had its very own anthrax scare. Not to be outdone, Gravenhurst had a scare, too. Finally, Dr. Jim Pfaff of the Muskoka Parry Sound Health Unit stepped forward and tried to calm the crowd with his assurance that Muskoka is probably pretty low on the list of bioterrorism targets. Ya think?

Ever hear that jingle on The MOOSE, "Come to Marty's, come to Marty's, on the sunny side of the street...". What you might have thought was a throw-away little ditty has now been fiercely fought over in court. Jed Hiltz, of Port Sydney, claimed that he wrote it and never got paid for it. Marty claimed he co-wrote it with Jed and that Jed was, in fact, rewarded for his efforts. A judge has now ruled in Jed's favour to the tune (pardon the pun) of $2550.00 plus costs. I hear Rogers & Hammerstein had similar tiffs.

Ever read that "History of Bracebridge" sign in Memorial Park? Well if you haven't, drop on by the park - it's a lot easier to read now that someone has ripped it down and left it on the ground. If that isn't a reflection on the future of Bracebridge, what is? When our future outstanding citizens aren't destroying signs, peeling trees or defacing the bandshell they turn their attentions to the Boer War Memorial Fountain - that's why they're going to erect a wrought iron fence around it to keep the doofuses at bay. We here at Guardian Publications believe coils of barbed wire and a machine gun nest would be more appropriate.

"How was school, Honey?" "It was a bear, mom". And that kid ain't kidding. Students at Macauley Public School were treated to a rare sight - a black bear sleeping in a tree right beside their portable classroom. He left after recess. "The bells.... the bells..."

Huntsville's downtown merchants want the OPP to help rid them of renegade skateboarders. Maybe someone could lead them out of town playing a flute. Okay, a Stratocaster.

ClubLink Mega-Corp Inc. has donated 87 hectares of land inside the newly formed Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Reserve to the Muskoka Heritage Foundation. I guess resorts for the Amish aren't in big demand...

A Gravenhurst man with an extremely short fuse is looking at being a guest of the Crown for a while after beating up... a car! First he sucker-punched it in the rear quarter panel, then he punched out the passenger window before finally jumping on the hood and kicking out the front windshield. Apparently he was angry at someone inside the car. I guess that's why so many Gravenhurst residents drive amoured personnel carriers.

Those of you thinking that lumber disputes are a west coast thing think again - there's quite a debate about exporting raw logs from Muskoka, too. The only difference is that our raw logs were cut down about 100 years ago. Muskoka's coolest long-term savings plan lies in salvaging century-old, old-growth logs from the bottom of various lakes. The question is: do you allow those logs to be exported to the US raw or do we stipulate that they're milled locally?

The Bracebridge Public Works Department is considering a second access route to Fraserburg Road. As it stands it sometimes seems like the world's longest dead end road - last year a low spot was washed out by rains, trapping many residents like rats in a can.

Rule #1 of dealing with some of our Ozarkian outstanding citizens (outstanding by the police car, usually): let them sort things out their own way. Just ask a Huntsville man who thought walking by a domestic dispute in a downtown park didn't seem right but when he asked Jethro to stop slapping Ellie-Mae he got head-butted for his trouble. To add insult to injury Ellie-Mae was on hand in court to testify that Jethro never hit her and that it was Mr. Good Samaritan who hit Jethro first. Luckily the judge didn't buy her story - Jethro had been before him before for assaulting... Ellie Mae! Does Jerry Springer offer a finder's fee?

Registration is on for the seniors' winter walking season at A&P. The cost is $10 and you get a nifty pin that identifies you as a walker and not a loiterer who should be given the bums' rush.

A Rousseau resident found out the hard way that not all garage sale bargains are a good deal - the ice cream scoop she bought at one exploded! Go figure! The OPP are investigating how an aluminum ice cream scoop (not a lot of moving parts involved) can actually be an explosive device. Airlines have been alerted. All passengers will now be searched during security checks for ice cream scoops and maybe even soup ladles, too. [NOTE: We here at Guardian Publications love garage sales as much as the next guy but we never buy ice cream scoops with C.I.L. stamped on the side].

READ ON (November Edition)

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