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May 9, 2000

This Week In Muskoka - Late-April edition

You know your local newspaper has its finger on the pulse of the community when the front page banner headline on the Bracebridge Weekender proclaims, "Bear paid visit!" In this instance it was the bear who paid the visit and not the bear who WAS visited (I thought it was ambiguous but maybe I'm alone on that). The Bracebridge Examiner also reported there have been a rash of 'nuisance bear incidents' this year (not the media frenzy it might seem to be - both papers are run by the same people). They hang around in parks, leave garbage strewn around, play their music too loudly, drink until all hours of the night and get into brawls.... wait a minute - that's the local teen scene. Sorry. Seems the bears make a hell of a mess, too. But it's harder to track down the bears' parents to try to pressure them to rein in their delinquent offspring so guess who tends to end up on the wrong end of a 9mm? Note to local O.P.P. purchasing agent: Buy more extra-large handcuffs!

Who said that Gravenhurst was behind the times? Certainly not me. In an effort to bag the "coming of age" trophy for the area, Gravenhurst's Beechgrove Public School not only had their very own 'gun incident' but demonstrated their progressive nature in that female minors were charged. You go, girl!

Another news flash from the Weekender: "Retirees will change face of Muskoka". Sadly it's true - yesterday's bikini babes are tomorrow's blue-rinse driving nightmares. The new Miss Muskoka blends into rock outcroppings like a chameleon.

And just to prove that those long nights at the newspaper can get reeeaaallly boring - check this headline from the Weekender: "Deer Dodge Canola Wagon". For those of you not in auto-thesaurus mode, that means a tanker truck ended up in the median trying to avoid a deer on the road. Somebody hit a moose on Hwy 11 near the Muskoka Airport, too. And no... you don't get to keep the meat.

This week's winner in the category of headlines that aren't as sleazy as they sound: "YIG wants to move, expand". Apparently YIG turns out to be Drenth's grocery store (Your Independent Grocer, don't ya know). They want to build a new store... no wait ... a SUPERstore next to Monck public school behind the Swiss Chalet.

Sharing the front page of the Examiner was the flash bulletin "Dura Employee Dies in Crash". I'm not sure if that was there as a news story or a classified Position Available.

Those of you who have enjoyed the Baycliff Park in Milford Bay will be pleased to know that thanks to the philanthropy of a cottager it is now over twice as big as it used to be! Mr. Lloyd Ross of Texas donated 73 acres of land to the cause. This together with a 9.8 acre parcel donated by the Fowler Construction Company will make the 47 acre Baycliff Park sizably bigger.

Meanwhile someone at BLMSS took the expression "carrying a torch for the teacher" a little too literally when he held a lighter up to the hair of an educational assistant. Apparently no one told him that human hair is only slightly less combustible than long-forgotten Christmas trees. The assistant was singed - not stirred - and Sparky got 10 days off to learn not to play with matches.

And it took a news story about Bracebridge town council's refusal to pass a ban on 'explicit live acts' for me to learn that Bracebridge's Albion Hotel has strippers! You know you're getting old when you can't tell the difference between a dive and a raunchy dive.

If you're heading to Muskoka this summer here's a tip: leave the Sta-Puft mallows at home. With Wakestock not until July, the only people using the word 'extreme' these days are MNR officials talking about the fire danger level. There was a total fire ban in the Muskoka region during the last week of April. If it's this dry in April, my lawn will be flash paper by July.

Those of you who are Port Carling prone will be in for a lot of surprises this year. Kay-Oss burgers (the name described the operation perfectly) is no longer in business. Surprise surprise. But their demise unfortunately means there is no longer any food and beverage provider for the captive audience using the locks. Ouch! In its place is Cottage Country Casuals doing what Muskoka does best these days - providing crested sportswear. We are becoming an area alive in embroidered legend only. A clapboard monstrosity has arisen on the site of what used to be Murdon Marine. It's a restaurant/bar thingy called The Mahogany Something-or-other. The name says classic Muskoka boating. The building says Saskatoon IDA drugstore. The Retailer-Of-The-Year award in that town goes to the as-yet sign-less marina on 118W with the new post & beam showroom. Very classy.

Everyone who passes through Bracebridge should be advised that the speed limit on Hwy 118W just outside town on the way to Port Carling is now 60 kph - not 80 like it used to be. What looks like an open stretch of rural highway is actually a barrel full of water. And you're a fish. Thanks for dropping by. Y'all come back now, hear?

The last weekend of April was Bracebridge's Festival of the Falls so it only stands to reason that for the third year in a row I was called out of town on business. I have no idea what went on. I'd been looking forward to the Festival and a tour of the town Clock Tower but not for the reason you overly-armed American readers may think - the tours were going to feature a demonstration of how that clock is wound every day. I never realized it had to be wound. THAT I wanted to see. Maybe next year. If it's still getting wound...

READ ON (Early May Edition)

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