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SO MUSKOKA - what you've missed
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March, 2003

March 2003 Edition

A Gravenhurst woman found out the hard way that deals that seem 'too good to be true' usually are. Our price-conscious consumer forked over $1200 to a shadowy character for ridiculously cheap cigarettes and liquor. Ms. Gullible, who was apparently born yesterday, gave Shadowy Man the cash, then watched as he drove away to 'get the merchandise'. I wonder how many hours it took her to realize she'd been had?

Want Ads To Avoid: "Four people needed immediately for agricultural work in Gravenhurst". Said folks from the Stouffville area were recently sentenced to 9 months house arrest after they were arrested last summer harvesting at an outdoor grow operation. The OPP credit their Dope-Sniffing Eye-In-The-Sky helicopter with the arrest. That helicopter spends a lot of time hovering around my house, too but I think it has more to do with my sunbathing sister-in-laws than it does with anything botanical.

Speaking of avoiding things, try not to threaten to kill your ex-wife when you think she's blown your child support payments on a new van. That's not HER van, Sparky - it belongs to her new boyfriend! And while punching Romeo in the mouth is small potatoes legally-speaking, threatening to kill people can get you hard time.

Spring is looming in Muskoka and that brings a tear to many an eye - stealing from winter logging operations is a booming business around here. Chainsaws, generators, walkie-talkies and anything else that isn't chained to the Shield disappear with alarming regularity. And if they aren't stealing the equipment they're after the logs!

Wouldn't it be great if the cops didn't have to spend all that time chasing criminals. Wouldn't it be great to live in a world where the crooks just turned themselves in? Well wish no more - Muskoka is that kind of place!
Case #1: a vehicle crossed the median of Hwy #11 and nearly slammed into an on-coming OPP cruiser. Guess who got charged with DWI?
Case #2: one of Hamilton's thicker individuals showed up at the Bracebridge OPP detachment to report being in town (a condition of his parole). The only problem was that he was stoned and lugging around $14,000 worth of dope and pharmaceuticals in his car! He'll be guest of the Crown for a while. At his trial he conceded that he was, "...more than half-stupid". He said it, not me.
Case #3: A Bracebridge rocket scientist showed up for his DWI court case - drunk! The prosecution rests, your honour - he drove here like that!
Case #4: Some call Timmies a donut shop. To others it's like an African watering hole where predators can wait for game. Your ever-vigilant reporter was enjoying a medium black recently when several plainclothes policemen came in (the only people who wear leather jackets like that are cops or the Russian mafia). After buying their coffees and crullers, they stopped by the table next to mine to arrest a kid who apparently hadn't shown up for a court appearance. Errant 'yute went along quietly and was cuffed outside. Errant 'yute's friends took it all in stride and were left arguing over who would get his muffin. And this is what happens at the relatively upscale Timmies - you don't wanna know what goes down at Country Style.

Rarely go to downtown Bracebridge? Don't feel guilty - soon our town counselors won't have to, either. There's a proposal afoot to have the Town buy the old Ontario Hydro yard on Taylor Road and build a new town hall there. Why? Probably because parking will be easier and there won't be any pesky meters, either.

An employee at Town & Country Automotive in Port Carling has been charged after a forensic audit revealed that over $60,000 was missing. No wonder she didn't mind making $6.50 an hour!

A corrections officer has been charged with keeping child porn on his computer at work. 'Porn' I could see - he was working at Beaver Creek. But child porn... that's a satire no-fly zone. Unless his last name is Jackson.

Seven equestrians had a close encounter of the Fouler kind when they were nearly run over by one of the company's snowplows on Hwy 141. It seemed like a serious story of reckless endangerment until I got to the name of one of the horses involved: Mr. Noodles. I knew Mr. Noodles came in Beef and Chicken but Horse? Who knew...

The hot topic in Muskoka this year? Is any issue bigger than West Nile virus? Do we spray for mosquitoes to minimize the risk of infection? Should we try to poison mosquito larva to head the virus off at the pass? Should tourists be advised to wear contamination suits when they go outside? Or do we all just gamble that the risk is minimal? Can I squeeze more questions in here? And even if I can, will it be funny? No one knows. Outcomes TBA.

First the up side - the Bracebridge Arena has a new elevator to make the second floor wheelchair assessable. Now the down side - arena management is cheesed that too many people are using it. Maintenance costs increase with use, eh? Management has assigned a couple of local hockey 'yutes to monitor the elevator's use - anyone not needing a wheelchair when they get into it will certainly need one by the time they leave.

This just in: April 20 to May 20 will be "Enhancement Month" in Huntsville. But before you start dreaming of all those bursting sweaters, relax - it's a community cleanup project. Local merchants will be discounting cleaning products and paint, and nurseries will be giving away shrubs in an effort to encourage people to spruce the joint up.

If you see a lot of people in Muskoka Lakes Township wearing aluminum foil do-rags on their heads here's why - they've blocked all further cell-phone tower construction due to health concerns. Them radio wave thingys'll fry yer mind, son!

Gravenhurst's raging debate these days centers around what to name the five new meeting rooms at the Muskoka/ Parry Sound Health Unit building. There have been proposals to name them after river, lakes and long-sunk steam vessels but all of them left the Parry Sound contingency feeling left out.
My vote: Canadian, Blue, Ex, 50, and Cinci.

The MNR's Environmental Assessment expires in May this year and the Ministry has proposed a change to the current nine-year renewal system - they'd like administration rights to all Crown land in perpetuity! Now there's a swell idea! What could go wrong?

Lock up your daughters and bring in the garden gnomes - there's going to be a Lions Club convention in town in late April.

A special congratulation has to go out to a Bracebridge 'yute - while dozens and dozens of people routinely fail roadside sobriety tests around here, underage DWIers are harder to find. Mr. Moderation was barely 18! Maybe his bike had a flat.

What's worse than having your family cottage torched by vandals? How about having your family home torched - by your own kids! One Huntsville family had a surprise visit from the local fire department recently after their kids set a fire in one of the bedrooms, then left to rent a video! The kids claimed they thought their campfire had been extinguished. I wonder what they rented... Backdraft or Firestarter?

Getting a new ATV at your cottage can be really fun - unless you're inclined to head out on it and tear up one of the greens at a nearby golf course. Then things start to get expensive.

A Wasaga Beach resident is now a guest of the Crown after being pulled over for speeding and being caught with a cooler of weed in his car. Why the big hurry? His girlfriend had called to tell him that their rottweiler pup had gotten loose outside. I'll never call rotts good-for-nothing again.

Voters in Oakley Ward (that's OAKLEY, not OKIE) may go to the polls this year to decide whether they want to remain a dry county or not.

It was a long and snowy winter this year and while anyone catering to snowmobilers is counting out the cash the snow removal community is exhausted. Plow operators are feeling nocturnal; there are walls of snow along driveways that make them look like bobsled runs; and the municipal snow removal budget is so far into the red it looks like the Gravenhurst Opera House's operating budget!

In an unusual moment of clarity one Bracebridge counselor has suggested that featuring Santa Claus on the soon-to-be-redesigned town sign might not be such a great idea. That may seem like a simple idea to you but questioning the link between Bracebridge and Santa's Village is blasphemy in these parts.

Notice to super-sized boat owners and the barge community: the large locks in Port Carling will be closed from Oct 14 to Nov 17th. The Muskoka Lakes Blah Blah Blah Company will be using them to dry dock the Segwun for a hull inspection. The company has used the locks for this in the past and kindly flipped the Township $500 for the inconvenience. But the locks are owned by the District now so say hello to paying your way - that'll be $3500 for the rental, thank you very much.

Last month they were on the ropes - this month the Bracebridge Festival of the Falls is awash with cash! Ontario's Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Mildly Attended Events coughed up over nine grand to ensure the Festival gets more advertising. If you're a resident at Fenbrook Correctional Resort and planning your own private outing take note: the alarms on the windows have been fixed.

Ads-vance headline of the month: "Drifter calls jail home for nine months". Said 'drifter' ransacked several cottages in a quest for food, cash and a place to smear his feces. But it brings a journalistic question to mind - when does a hobo or a tramp cross that line and become a drifter or a vagabond?

Usually when you get a speeding ticket you figure your turn to get nailed won't come up again for a while, right? Guess again. Sometimes the cops follow you. Case in point: a Kearney 'yute got two tickets in 11 minutes recently - one for 125 kph in a 90kph zone, the next for 165 kph in a 100 kph zone. After that he either crawled or the cop got the munchies.

A Gravenhurst 'yute who wanted to trade his pellet rifle for another kid's Gameboy picked a bad place to do it - in a post-Columbine world the powers-that-be frown on kids showing up at school with long arms. The Gameboy is capable of a lot more damage, if you ask me.

Petty crime reached and all-new low recently when three Gravenhurst 'yutes were apprehended while trying to relieve a pay phone of its contents with a hammer. Anyone willing to exert that much effort for a $5.75 payoff has a huge future with the federal bureaucracy.

Speaking of petty, how's this for minor league: a drive-by assault with an ice-scraper! A student walking down Cedar Lane made the mistake of being in the wrong place during Stupid Time when someone leaned out a car window and clocked him with a windshield ice scraper. Two 'yutes have since been charged with assault with a weapon. Which means I can now be charged with carrying a concealed weapon - I have one of those things under the front seat of my truck.

When our hope for the future aren't whack-a-moling pedestrians with automotive accessories they're over at the arena relieving hockey players of pocket change left in the locker room. Over $400 in cash walked away during a recent game. Sorry, no credit cards or jewelry were accepted.

This month's most pathetic news - they're building another golf course in Muskoka. Sure people come here for the lakes, rocks and trees but for some reason it makes perfect sense to bulldoze all that and build golf courses for the polyester crowd. But get this - now they want to build one on Browning Island in the middle of Lake Muskoka. Which leads one to wonder - are they going to have cart rentals or canoe rentals?

Stats Can has just released their latest figures and Bracebridge has come out on the top of the Muskoka heap average income-wise with a whopping $38,800! Pretty good if you're looking at the figures for Gravenhurst but pretty rough when you figure the Ontario average is $47,300. Golf caddies only get paid so much, eh?

The Bracebridge Business Improvement Agency has a plan to draw more tourists to the area - they're proposing to build... make that REbuild... the Bracebridge train station and fill it with Norman Rockwell-esque railroad-age memorabilia. Why trains? Maybe because the BIA special events coordinator is the president of the Muskoka Model Railway Club! Thank God he isn't the president of the Muskoka Star Trek Fan Club - we'd look pretty stupid with a quarter-scale replica of The U.S.S. Enterprise propped up by the highway. As it is we'll have to convince non-model railroaders that trains are interesting and that's a tough sell - just ask CN.

Bracebridge is getting tough on pigeons. But the plan to sterilize their eggs and Mickey Finn the aerial rats was shot down (sorry) by local bunny huggers and Green Party-wannabees. Their answer: it's now illegal to feed wild pigeons. Those in-the-know figure the birds will get hungry and leave town in a quest for food. I got news for them - it ain't gonna work. We quit feeding my sister's boyfriend years ago and he's still hanging around!

READ ON (April 2003 Edition)

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