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June, 2002

June Edition

Local Event Makes Good: Gravenhurst's Dockside Festival (aka Shop the Dock) has made the list of Ontario's Top 50 Tourist Skag-fests. It'll be held August 16 - 18 at Sagamo Park, Gravenhurst. Bring your wallet. Prepare to be treated as a cash pinata.

If you happen to see an emergency vehicle around town with a hideous misshapen monstrosity in it fear not - it's Muskoka Ambulance's mascot 'BandAide Beaver'. Sometimes there's a fine line between 'cute' and 'coyote ugly'. Consider it crossed.

Ever rent a hall for a special event - like a stag? Ever cancel the hall because something went wrong schedule-wise? Ever had your deposit cheerfully refunded after said cancellation? Not likely, right? But if you're the Royal Canadian Legion and you've just canceled your reservation with the Centennial Centre - you expect your money back. And get this - THEY GOT IT BACK! Well, half of it anyway. Don't try that at home, kids.

Really Dumb Defense of the Month: "Honest, Your Honour - we didn't know we were illegally camping on Mohawk Wahta land!" However exhibit #1 may result in credibility problems - said scamper camper had several stolen articles in his backpack INCLUDING a sign that read "Mohawk Wahta Reserve/ No Camping Allowed!" Oops... Next defense: "We're both illiterate, your Honour!"

The organizer of Bracebridge's Riverfest took another one in the yarbles recently when a front page story in the Weak Ender blasted a Bracebridge counselor for writing him a letter of reference despite the fact that he apparently took ten months to fully settle his account with the Town. There's nowhere to hide when the press don't like you. In the Weak Ender's defense the promoter HAS let some people down - a local gal who shook her money-makers for the crowd and got first prize in the Miss Riverfest 2001 Bikini Contest had her $500 prize cheque bounce like two fat boys wrestling under a blanket. Another young entrepreneur's dreams are shattered...

Those of you who drop by the Farmer's Market might think Memorial Park's a pretty lazy, quiet place. But not so at 2 a.m. - local residents who are sick of watching "wasted youth" get blasted, deal drugs and punch each other out in the wee hours are close to taking matters into their own hands and going Charles Bronson on the hipster doofuses hordes. This could get interesting. Stay tuned as the charges pile up.

Speaking of charges piling up, do yourself a favour and don't go punching out a guy in Crappy Tire because you have a 'pretty good idea' he's the guy who broke into your house. If you can't prove he's done what you think he's done you're the one who ends up getting charged with assault. Now he can break into your house again - while you're in jail!

You may not realize it but Bracebridge is a mecca of Dixieland jazz. The BMLSS junior and senior bands both scored big at a recent Dixieland jazz-off. Must be our proximity to Bala...

This month's geography quiz: where the hell is Kearney? It makes the papers every once in a while but I have no idea where it's at. Except that it must be out there somewhat. Case in point: a Kearney counselor recently opposed local efforts to promote residential composting on the grounds that, "You start composting, then you run into critter problems." While the counselor's last name was not actually Clampett, a backwoods heritage is evident.

Is it just me or does this smell 'off': one third of the salary of municipal counselors is officially classified as an 'expense' so that it is exempt from personal income tax. Is that a sweet deal, or what?

And speaking of municipal counselors, the tables our selfless public servants will be using at the new District office being constructed on Pine Street are rumoured to be granite topped and very nice looking. But hey, for forty large they'd better be, right? The granite was a compromise - apparently the original tender was for the tables to be covered in leather made from the foreskins of albino Panda bears but unfortunately they turned out to be a little pricey.

Shades of The Teddy Bear's Picnic: If you go out in the woods today, you'd better take lots of gas.... An ATV rider on a trail near Bala left his gas-starved machine to go get some juice and when he returned said vehicle was A.W.O.L.

And be careful in those woods around Bala - their lone doctor is retiring soon and his replacement, a physician who studied in Egypt, has not been able to get into the Ontario government's six-month long Foreign Doctor Certification Program.

Hold on to your portfolios boys and girls - Santa's being bought out by a hostile takeover! The evil villains in this story - Trillium Leisure Very Big Corporation, which owns and/or operates The Inn At The Falls, The Trillium Resort & Spa, Pinelands Resort and Honest Ira's All-Night Bike Supply. Look for our new Santa to be cross-merchandizing from the corporate line-up now. "So little girl... I'll bet your Mommy would love a nice spa visit for Christmas!"

Attention all rock hounds - if you're looking for fossils in Muskoka don't forget to stop in at Casino Rama. This month they unearthed Dan Fogelberg, Meat Loaf, and everyone's fav rav spent blonde in sweaty lingerie - Taylor Dayne! If they dig deep enough they might hit Patsy Galant.

Muskoka's going to get a TD Friends of the Environment Chapter. I think I'd rather have a Hell's Angels chapter. Does this mean hiking trails with service charges?

The Ministry of Natural Resources is warning people that this year is supposed to be a banner year for forest tent caterpillars. The Muskoka Realty Board is predicting an infestation of condos especially in the Bracebridge falls area.

'Zamina Headline of the Month: "Venturelli most valuable Potsdam Bear". So is Venturelli a jock or a collectible plush toy?

Canadian PGA Tour golf-oid Mike Weir has chosen Taboo: the Course at Muskoka Sands as his 'exclusive home course'. There was no mention of why he made this decision but I would imagine that fist-fulls of cash could have entered into it. As a token of thanks they named the clubhouse after him. Maybe they'll even have a Deluxe Weir Burger (with cheese, of course)!

This may be the land of the B&Bs but eggs aren't the only things being poached around here - a renegade logger had to cough up $2700 for poaching 32 hardwood trees on Crown land.

A ex-forest ranger who coincidentally enough is the vice-president of the Polish-Canadian hunting club (!?) has been fined $4500 and barred from hunting for a year after he shot a moose out of season. His excuse - he thought it was a bear. Let's see: moose are tall and skinny with long legs and are brown; bears are short, fat, and black. Well, they're both hairy at least. Ironically in the 'Zamina the week before, local M.P.P. Norm Miller wrote a column entitled "Hunters Have Lots to Offer". Apparently 'lots to offer' refers to misdirected .3030 bullets whizzing by your head if you happen to be mistaken for a deer, a moose, or a really whumpin' tall raccoon.

Representatives from Muskoka Transport were at the local high school recently trying to lure young grads into the trucking industry. Possible pitch lines could have included: "Just you, the open road and nobody to hassle ya!"; "You've heard the expression 'one in every port', right?"; and "You'll out-earn a law school grad for the first five years".

They've started work on Bracebridge's Home Depot. Remember that forest at the corner of Taylor Road & Hwy 11? Vimy Ridge, baby! But fear not - in a matter of weeks it'll be neat and tidy asphalt as far as the eye can see.

Muskoka comes of age - Houston, we have a homicide! Nothing new though since it happened two years ago. It just took this long for charges to be laid. Remember that gal from Hamilton who drown in the Muskoka River in 2000? She may have had help from her spouse. May have...

District Council in Bracebridge has cleared the way for large retail development by removing the requirements for market studies before building permits can be issued. Somewhere off in the distance I hear a Costco.

Speaking of building permits, The Township of Muskoka Lakes' has said nyet to the idea of people building sun decks over their boat slips. Seems those on Council don't want sundecks popping up all over the place ruining the scenery. But if you'd like to get some heavy equipment in there and blast several thousand tons of Canadian Shield off the face of the planet so that your $4.2 million salute to Cape Cod has a clear view of the sunset - no problemo, Boss!

Leave it to the Ads Vance to serve up a heapin' helping of press release journalism - in mid-month they ran a gushy 'news' item that was basically the press release of a modeling/talent agency coming to town for another round of the tried-&-true "dupe the locals into buying expensive head-shots" routine.

There's been a banner at the bottom of the front page of the Weak Ender for months but I never read it until recently. As it turns out, it's a promotion from Swiss Chalet - each week they award one local self-less humanitarian - a quarter chicken dinner! So is that a la carte or do you get fries and a roll?

First the bad news: another local teenager has been charged with D.W.I. after running his car into a post on Muskoka Beach Road. Now the good news: that's one less '86 Reliant on the road!!! I think we're all a little safer.

June's Crimebusters: After a Lake Joe island cottage was extensively burglarized Bracebridge O.P.P. announced that they had a pretty good lead - the perp probably had a boat! Years of crime scene analysis went into that deduction.

The Ministry of Transportation is considering widening Hwy 11 to six lanes. Other possibilities to alleviate the traffic nightmare to cottage country include linking Hwy 400 at Coldwater to Hwy 11, widening the 400 to ten lanes from the 401 to Barrie, extending the 427 to meet with the 400 at Barrie, and tendering out a private sector bid to build a six lane tunnel from Major Mac to Gravenhurst. Improved public transit is still considered to be 'far fetched'.

June 20th. Check your calendar - does it say National Sport-Ute Roll-Over Day? It should. Bracebridge OPP responded to two separate roll-over incidents that day: one a Land Rover on Hwy 11 and one a Honda CRV on Hwy 169 outside of Gravenhurst. Unfortunately neither vehicle was running Firestone Wilderness tires so we'll have to blame the mishaps on something else - MOOG ball joints, maybe.

When it comes to hard news coverage you can't beat 'Zamina cub reporter Christina Jager. In fact, the Grand Pooba of the Canadian Federation of University Women (Muskoka Chapter) wrote a letter to the 'Zamina's editor (and it got published - go figure!) praising Christina's coverage of their little shindig using words such as "unobtrusive". Save that one for the portfolio, kid!

The boathouse height limitations brought in by the Township of Muskoka Lakes have been scrapped as they were seen as 'too restrictive'. There's nothing worse than restrictive restrictions.

There's a new residential development going in near Port Sydney - in an abandoned gravel pit! Possible names being kicked around by realtors include 'Gravel-by-the-Lakes', 'Aggregate Mews', and 'Caterpillar Estates'.

What's it take to get your picture in the paper around here? Try wolfing down a macadamia nut cookie at the Great Canadian Bagel - especially if you're allergic to macadamia nuts. When asked why she'd eat a cookie obviously sporting nuts, our resident Cookie Monster responded, "It looked so good!" Oh, well then...

The Greater Georgian Bay Reptile Foundation just bagged $30,000 in federal cash to study the five-lined skink. Meanwhile my efforts to observe the Five-Toed Skank have been stymied now that Wakestock has taken their bikini contest to Wasaga Beach.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em - the Nicotine Nazis don't strap on the jack boots until January 2003.

High school is over for the year and what does that mean? How about a night of drunken debauchery where over 200 BMLSS students vandalize a community centre, set bonfires on the lawn, and pelt responding OPP officers with beer bottles. It's really too bad - when you're full-bore, world-class stupid at 18, where do you go from there?

And finally, thank God for July! The N.H.L. playoffs are over. World Cup Soccer has wrapped up. And that means any car with a flag poking out of it is either part of a funeral or bearing The Pope. Wait a minute... those are almost the same thing, aren't they? Still...


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