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July, 2002

July Edition

July in Bracebridge - man o' man there were some fine bitches in town! The Muskoka Kennel Club dog show at the fairgrounds apparently attracted dogs from as far away as Indiana. But you have to wonder why - the Best of Show prize was a hundred bucks. Canadian. That wouldn't cover the Milk Bones.

What does Canada Day mean to you? If you're the local OPP detachment it means writing 45 tickets to renegade outlaw speeders. If you're the OPP Marine Unit it means 80 charges under the Marine Shipping Act. And if you're the local Chamber of Commerce it means 'no vacancies' as far as the eye can see. It's all a case of perspective.

It wouldn't be Canada Day without a muckety-muck photo-op and MPP Norm Miller, MP Andy Mitchell and Mayor Scott Northmore were only too happy to flash their pearly-whites for the camera and cut the cake. Several people cut the cheese but did not manage to make the paper for their efforts.

Speaking of cheesed, The Ontario Association of Police Chiefs want the MNR to reassume responsibility for nuisance bears. Seems regular-issue handcuffs never fit the hairy bastards and they tend to drool all over the back seats of the cruisers on long rides.

Speaking of bears (I'm the king of the segue this month), a Toronto woman camping in Algonquin Park was attacked by an adult black bear. Rangers immediately headed off to the campsite in question and shot the suspect bear. Too bad she hadn't been gouged by a lawyer...

Elvis has left the building: yet another Beaver Creek 'guest' decided to take a stroll early in July. He was later found in Prince Albert Saskatchewan spending a little quality time camping with his wife. Why anyone would leave Muskoka to go camping is beyond me but hey - maybe that's why he was a guest of the Crown... he's INSANE! As an aside, ya gotta wonder why convicted murderers are practicing their short game at Beaver Creek Golf and Country.

Bracebridge's July non-event - Paddlefest In The Bay! Shoppers bent over and spread 'em to the tune of $7 for the opportunity to look at canoes! The day I pay for the opportunity to shop is the day Nike starts paying my nephew to wear their hats. And if you had a van full of kids... sorry - the beach is closed today.

Speaking of Bracebridge bay, the Silver Bridge has dodged a bullet - town councillors have decided against spending $27,000 on a year-round lighted display featuring Santas, a canoeist, skaters and maple leaves. Their problem was the cost. I thank them dearly. My problem was the tackiness.

The OPP have launched a "Wake Up!" campaign to alert drivers to the dangers of driving while over tired. The OPP recommend pulling over every two hours for a 'Stop-Revive-Survive' break. When they launch a "Smarten Up!" campaign I'll show up with donuts for the whole detachment.

The Antique and Classic Boat Show at Sagamo Park featured "The Ditchburn" this year. I'll attend when the featured boat is something I'm familiar with - like 'The Springbok".

First the Bad News: a motorcyclist was hurt in a single-vehicle accident on Muskoka Road 169 just outside of Gravenhurst. Now the Good News: the guy was 81! I just feel a little better about the world knowing there are 81-year-old bikers out there.

Thank you Officer Aladdin - the Bracebridge OPP have uncovered a cache of stolen merchandise in a Colony Road residence worth in excess of $40,000. And in an interesting twist on the B&E game, the guy was from Toronto and most of the stuff belonged to locals! Talk about man bites dog...

The engineering studies are in and angled parking is out for downtown Bracebridge. Surprisingly there's too much traffic to allow for it. Not after 5 p.m., guys.

Jaspen Park beach in Bala was closed for a few days due to E. Coli levels. You know what they say, "Swim with the kids... it's warmer!"

The South Muskoka Hospital Foundation raised $1.3 million last year to put towards their redevelopment fund. Who says the cash from those charity car washes doesn't add up!

The Ferndale Resort property on Lake Rousseau might be revived - if the folks at Mattamy Homes have their way with it. It's been idle for years - ever since Clublink found out that they couldn't build a golf course there - but now Mattamy wants to turn it into a corporate retreat. Are they hiring?

The Gravenhurst Fire Department was kept pretty busy mid-month - they spent the better part of a day racing around town trying to find the source of all the smoke. Trouble was - the fire was in northern Quebec. Oops.

Home Depot has agreed to use dark sky lights at their new Bracebridge store. It's all part of their kinder, gentler ten thousand pound gorilla approach.

What do you get if you drive a four-metre high car transporter under a bridge with a 3.5 metre clearance? One less car on top, that's what. Ya gotta feel sorry for a car that never even made it to the showroom floor. It had so much potential... that car coulda been a contender... The driver was charged with driving an over-height vehicle. "Too beaucoup, Joe.... too beaucoup!"

Three rocket scientists from Gravenhurst are lucky to be alive after their ATVs were turned into Mechano sets by a CN freight train. Apparently they were riding down the tracks (?) and couldn't hear the train because of the noise of their own machines (?!). After that it gets Chaplin-esque: train rounds bend, startled drivers try to get off tracks, ATVs get stuck, startled riders dive out of the frame, ATVs exit stage left welded to the front of a freight train. Two doofuses face various charges under the Railway Safety Act, the Off Roads Vehicle Act, and the Too Dumb To Be Out Alone Act. The third party fled into the woods and is still being sought. Local OPP were looking for a guy in a helmet wearing soiled trousers.

Who's the only guy to get kicked around by the local press more than Riverfest organizer Greg Leavers? Why that's District Chair Gord Adams. First they were on him for buying a car outside of Bracebridge. Now it's the fact that he attended a charity auction with free tickets from cell-phone mega-weasels Telus Corporation. But fear not, our Chair says that it would take a lot more than $1000 to buy HIS favour. So we've established his integrity... now we're just working on price.

The folks behind the Royal Muskoka mega-development get this month's Smooth Operator Award: they're proposing a 120 acre community involvement project that would include a college and university campus with extensive recreation facilities, a secondary school, and corporate and business development facilities. All of this will, of course, be up for funding from various levels of government. And after this kind of media love-in, you can do pretty much anything you want with the rest of the property - trust me.

Bracebridge is getting a new sign on the highway. Not to be out-done by Gravenhurst's plans, Bracebridge is now erecting a "45th Parallel" sign on Hwy. 11. Sounds like an ad for Santa's Village to me but what do I know.

A Lake Joseph man has been denied his application to build a 170-foot dock. And no, it's not because dragon boat crews constantly show up at his place for lunch - the water's really shallow in his bay. What's the key to real estate? Location location location.

It was with great fanfare that Port Carling placed 8 pine log benches around town. The only problem was that the next morning there were only 6. And either someone stole the back legs off of the rest of them or they're a bizarre new 'sinking backwards' design. They look like Port Carling's answer to a roach motel: Seniors sit down... but they don't get up. Okay, CAN'T get up.

The Muskoka Arts & Crafts Summer Show was its usual crafty self. My only beef with the event - a minuscule food area that featured 30-minute lines. Note to vendors: hungry shoppers cut out early.

Local MPP Norm Miller says he's going to lobby on behalf of South Muskoka Memorial Hospital to get them a CT scanner. This was news to the hospital but I'm sure they wouldn't turn one down if it showed up on their doorstep.

The newest food & beverage establishment in Port Carling will be called "The Port Carling Lobster Club". How's THAT for an upscale name? I feel monied just typing it. You didn't think Port Carling was going to open a Fried Bologna Club, did you? But the question remains: what does it take to join a lobster club? Do you have to be a lobster, look like a lobster, do a decent lobster impersonation or is it enough to just enjoy eating them? And will the club be restricted or can crab fanciers join, too?

A local developer wants to build four-plexes (them's houses, not mini-theatres) on Beaumont Drive. The only problem: the units are too small for local bylaws. So how do they plan to get around that little problem? The developer's consultant wants them termed 'motel' units! I guess they're expecting a high turnover rate.

Someone stole a Leon's truck from the Bracebridge store. Somewhere out there a Scottish family is moving...

Bracebridge town council has moved to protect 'significant trees'. Those fortunate trees will be saved from the axe - as long as they aren't in the way of a new Home Depot, a district road widening, or where someone wants to build a tennis court.

Someone broke into the Muskoka Store and made off with fifteen large worth of wakeboards. For that kind of money you think you'd need a Leon's truck to make off with the haul (see above) but apparently $15K will only get you 18 or so. That's minivan territory.

If you were headed down to the District Offices I'd advise you to put the trip off - the building is infested with fleas. According to reports in the 'Zamina the fleas came in on a staff member or one of the members of the public. I can't decide which prospect is more unsettling.

The best news I heard all month: the Norwood Theatre now has Dolby Surround Sound and new screens.

Speaking of movies, a Bracebridge man just got a lesson in distinguishing his own life from Hollywood - he was fined $500 for leaving his four-year-old Home Alone. At night. It was funny in the movie.

A London man was in court in Bracebridge recently charged with harassing Shania Twain's sister. Apparently he was constantly approaching said sister with packages for her to pass along to Her Babe-ness. Included in the packages as tokens of his love: lottery tickets (Shania needs money like she needs a football helmet) and pictures of nude women. I guess he misunderstood the song "I Feel Like A Woman".

It was Midnight Madness mid month in Bracebridge but it was kinda hard to tell. Note to late-night retailers: auxiliary lighting can turn blind fumbling into shopping.

If you build it... they will come. Neighbours near Bracebridge's skateboard park are cheesed at all the noise they have to put up with: the grinding of skateboard wheels on wooden ramps, the constant boom box accompaniment, and the Snap, Crackle and Pop of forearms, tibias and skulls meeting pavement - suddenly.

Riverfest turned out to be a major let-down crowd-wise and that means a lot of people owed cash aren't going to see any. Somewhere off in the distance a small-town press baron is smiling...

If you see some shady-looking characters skulking around town don't be surprised - the area has been over-run with bounty-hunters ever since the local SUN and National Post newspaper box operator put $200 on the head of whoever is stealing his boxes.

Bracebridge played host to some pilgrims traveling to the World Youth Day celebrations in Toronto. At least they CLAIMED to be pilgrims. But check it out: no big hat, no buckle shoes, not even a musket. Pilgrims my ass...

Headline of the month: Jack slips, man dies. All I can picture is a tremendously fat guy named Jack sitting on the ground with a small trickle of red liquid coming from under his butt. Sadly it was nothing so humourous.

Runner up headline of the month : Wood needed for needy families. I hear Viagra is good for that...

Speaking of major wood, The Antique Timber Company of Ajax is going to be raising logs from Perry Lake this October. Who says we don't have old growth forests?

Having fun at your summer job? Not half as much fun as one District of Muskoka summer student - he managed to total a 2002 Dodge Ram pickup worth $27, 000 in a single vehicle accident on a boringly straight stretch of road. Oops.

Vacation trivia fact: apparently a one-day joyride on the PWC of your choice produces more exhaust pipe pollutants than a car traveling 160,000 km. Not MY car traveling 160,000 kms - I add a litre of oil a week!

If you go out in the woods today, you'd better not go alone - the teddy bears picnic is drawing pretty big crowds this year.

In Florida they're everywhere, but here in Muskoka we take our old guys with metal detectors seriously. Bracebridge Town Council just gave one oldster an official letters allowing him to 'prospect' without harassment. You dig?

This just in from the Provincial Ministry of Obvious Statistics: Muskoka has a high-income seasonal population and a below average lower income year-round population. Whodda thought? Their amazing revelation last year: old people die.

Speaking of which, first the bad news: Bracebridge's oldest resident (106 years old!) has passed away. Now the good news: Bracebridge's second oldest resident just got his place in the sun. May it last a good long time.

See you at the Lobster Club - I'll be the guy in the plastic bib carrying a mallet.


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