Ian MacKenzie's
SO MUSKOKA - what you've missed
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February, 2003

February 2003 Edition

Houston we have a winner! An overly-refreshed Gravenhurst woman not only blew over the legal limit at a roadside checkpoint - she blew FOUR TIMES over the legal limit. She was charged with impaired driving and careless storage of a dangerous substance - at that concentration human blood is actually combustible.

Is there a municipal election coming up? Why else would Bracebridge mayor Scott Northmore suddenly be publicly pushing for a CT scanner for South Muskoka Memorial Hospital? I wrote the previous sentence during the first week of the month. During the last week of February the mayor announced he would be running again. Sometimes I scare myself - and not just when I go to shave.

Bracebridge town council has rejected a bid to have the speed limit on the Muskoka River raised from 10 kph to 15. After all, a lower speed means less wake, right?

The Bracebridge Festival of the Falls organizing committee went into a recent town council meeting asking for $9000 to get this year's festival off the ground. They left being asked to come up with hard numbers that indicate their festival should exist at all. That's gotta hurt.

The Trillium Lakelands District School Board's high school teachers have voted for strike action to speed up their current contract negotiations. At issue - their meager pay and scant vacation time, maybe.

Teachers aren't the only public employees cheesed these days. Elderly patients at South Muskoka Memorial Hospital had to be assured that the red arm bands 45 OPSEU workers were wearing were in fact a silent labour protest and not a sign that they had scarlet fever.

Bracebridge has a town crier. But they don't come free. He recently asked for $4000 to cover the costs of his travel and wardrobe. Now we have 8 criers.

Need any more evidence that parts of Muskoka are a tad Ozarkian? A 20-year-old Huntsville 'yute just got 60 days as a guest of the Crown for boffing a 13-year-old. All that story needs is a kid with a banjo and some canoe trippers.

But there are some bright lights out there. Bright enough to know that bright lights aren't so great. Bracebridge council has taken steps to bring the municipality in line with dark sky lighting guidelines. Well done!

Three Hamilton men were treated for minor burns at South Muskoka Memorial Hospital after a flash fire in their ice fishing hut. Sportsmen take note: 5-alarm chili, confined spaces and propane stoves don't mix!

Lying to police for fun and profit. Contestant Number 1: "My shredded forearm, Officer? Why.... I was attacked by two men and received these wounds in the ensuing struggle!" That or he punched out a bus shelter in a drunken rage over the loss of a girlfriend. Contestant Number 2: "Someone stole my car, Officer. And the rascal seems to have run it into a tree on Taylor Road! This bump on my forehead has nothing to do with it..." Contestant Number 3: "The car idling in my driveway? I wasn't driving that, Officer. I couldn't have, you see - I lost my license for a year for DWI, remember?" Contestant Number 4: "Sure there's a new chainsaw in the back of my truck and yes, I work at Home Hardware. But my uncle gave me that - he just never used it so it's in really good shape. Seems uncle filed off the serial number, too. What a nut!" The winner? They're ALL winners! All got to make contributions to the local coffers and one lucky stiff got to be a guest of the Crown for a while.

Muskoka is wrestling with the conundrum of the new millennium - everyone wants a cell phone but nobody wants a transmission tower in their area. Residents of Watt Township are fighting a proposed tower in their area, citing health and aesthetic concerns. Yet they'd kill for a McDonald's. Go figure.

Speaking of revolting masses, an estimated 35 people marched in downtown Huntsville to protest the impending war in Iraq. Sadly, no one from the Bush administration was in town that day so the plans to carpet bomb Baghdad will proceed unchanged.

The Bracebridge Tennis Club is experiencing problems achieving an erection - town council is giving them a hard time about putting up the tennis bubble they acquired last year.

Ontario Health Minister Tony Clement was dragged through South Muskoka Memorial Hospital recently and shown the cubicle where the new CT scanner would go.... if he'd be good enough to cough up the money for one, that is. While the Minister did state that he was in favour of improved health care, family values, baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet he stressed the need for studies, economic reviews, and maybe a Royal Commission or two to decide the matter. No sooner did the minister's limo get outside town when the announcement came that a new CT scanner WOULD be coming... to Huntsville. And to think he could eat our canapes knowing that...

A Bracebridge town councillor wants all Ontario municipalities to band together and institute a bag tax for supermarket grocery bags. The reason: " [This] planet's going to Hell in a handcart!". Apparently the bag tax greatly reduced the amount of garbage headed to landfills on his home planet.

If you live or cottage near Bass Lake you'd better get used to the sight of pastel polyester - you're getting a golf course whether you like it or not. Many residents had protested the development on environmental grounds but with council smelling taxable frontages the plans were deemed A-OK. The developer defended the project, saying that if local cottagers golfed instead of power boated the course could actually be GOOD for the environment. In much the same way as paving wetlands is good as it cuts down on mosquitoes, I guess.

If you're bothered by those pesky trees on Ecclestone Drive across from the bike shop take heart - Grevette Motors is going to have them all cut down! Seems the 600 feet of GM finery they currently display is somewhat inadequate and with all those trees gone, we'll be able to bask in the glow of 20 more Envoy grills! Sales are sure to skyrocket.

Bracebridge's one and only peeler joint - The Albion - asked for an exemption to the new municipal non-smoking bylaw on the grounds that it caters to an adult clientele who can make their own decisions about exposure to second hand smoke. Nice try, folks. That reasoning hasn't had any legal weight in half a century.

Speaking of "The 'Bin", a member of their management team sent a letter to the editor of the 'Zamina complaining about the aforementioned smoking ban that made constant reference to the entertainment in their establishment - entertainment that includes 'sexual explicit jesters'. The mind reels...

If you drove through Gravenhurst recently and thought the Wenonah II was listing a little to starboard you were right - a frozen valve caused the engine room to flood. Damage is estimated at $150,000. Souvenier frozen valves will be available from the gift shop dockside as soon as a Chinese sweatshop can crank them out.

Bracebridge's Communities In Bloom team may be looking for a new leader - the old chair is calling it quits after the town placed third-worst of 29 participating communities. For all their efforts, the Bracebridge team managed to beat out a chemical waste dump and some place that had been strip mined.

Bracebridge's soon-to-be-open Home Depot store held a job fair recently and was inundated with 1500 applicants for less than 200 positions. A representative of the company said that they were very impressed with the caliber of applicants here in Muskoka. So impressed that two weeks later they were STILL accepting applications. Eek...

Bracebridge Generation is continuing with its plans to increase electrical generation at High Falls by adding another turbine. The company has tried to appease fears that they'll dry up the falls by pledging to always maintain adequate water flow at peak tourist times. As long as you're a tourist... you'll be happy with the deal.

A Gravenhurst man practicing take offs and landings at Muskoka airport obviously needs more practice - his Cessna 150 was found wheels to the sky 10 yards short of the runway. He was fine. The plane wasn't.

It's been a cold, cold winter in Muskoka this year and for area liquor stores that meant one thing - increased stock shrinkage. Two Toronto men were charged with theft under $5000 after stealing over 60 bottles of liquor by concealing them under their extra-puffy ski jackets. They were fined, given community service, and...gasp... barred from LCBO outlets! Amnesty International is investigating whether that constitutes cruel and unusual punishment or not.

Three cottages burned to the ground within weeks on Sucker Lake. If you think that was a coincidence the lake was named in your honour.

Bracebridge can hold its head high - a picture taken at the Bracebridge Fall Fair has won a top prize in a national photo competition related to agricultural fairs! The photo of a cow with a baseball hat sitting on its forehead won for 'humourous event'. The other entries must have been police forensic shots - the cow looked mortified.

Fouler Construction is planning on building a new resort on Lake Rouseau. Possible names being considered are 'Big Bucks on Rouseau', 'Got Rocks on the Rocks' and 'The Muskoka Mahogany Cranberry Cedar-Slate Club House'.

READ ON (March 2003 Edition)

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