- In like a Lion... out like a Loon
Right off the top let's remind readers that it goes without saying that
the news this month was chocked full of accounts of our citizenry driving
while under the influence. Most of those caught were also found to be
driving with suspended licenses to boot. Guess why they lost them? You
got it - the previous drinking and driving incident. So keep in mind as
you cruise around Muskoka that an uncomfortably high percentage of the
cars you have to share the road with are piloted by inebriated felons.
Keep your eyes on the road, drive defensively, and you might make it
through your next visit without sheet metal damage.
Beau Welling of Toronto got a crash course, pardon the pun, in Rule #1 of
Driving While Impaired - stick to roads you know. The 26-year-old went
through two stop signs as he blazed up MacDonald Street in Bracebridge
going over 100 km/h. The only problem here is that MacDonald Street dead
ends at a cliff twenty yards after that second stop sign. Flight Officer
Welling sailed his pickup 105 feet through the air before ending up in
pretty bad shape at the bottom of a 35 foot deep ravine. He got off with
injuries served and 120 hours of community service (hopefully not Meals on
Houston we have PIZZA! Buffalo ain't the only place that's Talkin' Proud
these days - Bracebridge has Canada's first Pizza Pizza drive-thru! It's
in the parking lot of the A&P plaza. Yes, in the parking lot. Where
people used to park their cars. I don't know what the logic of that kind
of move is but it's very popular with retail developers these days. Maybe
the Japanese are ready to import cars that hover and I just don't know
about it yet.
Santa came late to Muskoka when Ontario Associate Minister of Health Helen
Johns showed up mid-month and pulled $267,001 out of a hat for South
Muskoka Memorial Hospital to upgrade its old equipment. Then she threw in
some cash for our ambulance service, too. Thank God for by-elections!
The Port Carling Shoreline Novices received a hero's welcome in late March
after winning the Red Lobster Cup for their division. That's just WAY
too easy to blow holes in... Congrats, guys!
What do you do if you're on probation, prohibited from owning a firearm
and have lost your driver's license? Well if you're Kenneth Ward you grab
a shotgun, hop in the car, drive to the house of an acquaintance and
threaten to 'blow his head off' over money supposedly owed. He'll have
three hots and a cot courtesy of the federal government for the next three
years to think about if that made any sense or not.
What do you call a resident of The Riverview apartments in Bracebridge
standing on his balcony having a smoke? A thrill seeker, that's what.
The third-floor balcony of one unit fell off recently. And I'm not
talking about the railing here - the whole balcony fell off! Note to
kids: skip indoors.
This just in - allmost haf of Muskoka's Graid 10 studants faled there new
provincil litracy testes. Ouch! Local principals defended their students
saying many didn't take the test seriously enough to try to do well on it.
Maybe next time we should make it clear that those who fail the test get
no money for smokes for a month.
March's Don't Pay a Cent Event: one local carpenter not only gets paid to
install kitchen cupboards in houses and cottages - he also ends up with
the furniture! But the spooky thing is - he doesn't steal it. He claims
he bought the furniture in question from a guy who'd placed an ad in the
Trading Post newspaper. It just HAPPENED to have been stolen from a
cottage where he recently worked! What are the odds? And while you're
calculating those, what are the odds the judge bought his story?
A gal who was described as "feisty" and "stressed" received a $500 fine
and two years probation recently for slappin' around a pizza guy who
didn't hand over her slice fast enough. She claimed it was because she
was tired, cranky and hungry. Maybe. But it was also assault conviction
#3 for Miss Congeniality. Not even two-year-olds are tired, cranky and
hungry THAT often...
Deer season may be over but it's hard to shake that huntin' bug. So
Huntsville resident John Broadbent decided his .303 would go to good use
settling a dispute over some logging equipment. Ken Earl ended up being
airlifted to St. Mike's in Toronto with a shattered femur and Broadbent is
cooling his heels in the slammer charged with bagging loggers out of
Local Ontario PC candidate Norm Miller slapped the competition around like
red-headed step-children and walked away with almost 50% of the popular
vote in the March 22 by-election. Liberal candidate Evelyn Brown kept a
stiff upper lip proclaiming, "We put Mike Harris on notice, and that's a
victory!" That of course sounds a lot better than, "I guess people
thought Dalton and I weren't up to the job..." NDP candidate and
self-appointed social activist Joanne Bury took after her surname - again
- and was BURY-ed by almost everyone on the ballot including The Green
Party candidate. Ouch! At least she beat the two independents (which
wasn't too tough seeing as one of them was arrested earlier in the week
for disrupting an all-candidates meeting. You don't want to know about
Speaking of elections, the Green Party candidate's wife wrote in to the
Weekender complaining about the disappearance of some of her husband's
campaign signs. Was it petty vandalism? Someone out to score some cheap
2X2s? No no no.... according to Ms. Thomas it was, "second-rate, Third
World, military dictatorship kind of behaviour..." And people wonder why
the Greens frequently suffer from a bit of a credibility problem.
Those electors who were told by Elections Ontario to vote at the Port
Carling Community Center arrived to find their polling station had been
demolished several months ago to make way for a new library! Oops...
They voted at the Legion instead. The new library is nice - the kind of
expensive-looking faux-post & beam affair that you'd expect to find in a
place jam-packed with expensive-looking faux-Muskoka cottages.
Speaking of voting, there's talk that the Township of Georgian Bay may
vote to separate from The District of Muskoka. Apparently our language
and cultural differences are insurmountable.
Like shopping at the Muskoka Store? So does Richard (don't call me Dick)
Busch. But sometimes he finds the store's hours are a bit restrictive.
So in mid-March he went in through the side window at 3 a.m. and drove off
with $7000 worth of wet suits. He was caught soon afterward with a van
full of hot neoprene and it looks like Rich'll be missing Wakestock this
year. Probably next year, too.
You've got to hand it to the folks at The Examiner - they have a way with
headlines. Case in point: Local Family Attends Disorder Conference. I
thought it was going to be about local social activists taking civil
disobedience courses prior to something like a world trade conference.
Wrong. They were attending a course on a medical disorder known as ACC
(and no, the Air Canada Center is NOT a recognized medical disorder.
Kirt Watford went home from the local ice fishing derby a happy man after
he won $425 for landing the largest fish of the day - a 10.5 lb. lake
trout. Peter Tingey almost covered his beer expenses by winning $275 for
a 8.5 lb. northern pike.
Remember that gal who drowned under mysterious circumstances last summer
in the Muskoka River? The death is now being treated as a homicide. A
little late to start looking for clues, don't ya think?
Notice to the lost and soiled - Bracebridge's coin laundry industry has
been globalized, consolidated and vertically integrated. You'd be well
advised to head to the lone Wellington Street location now - it's where
Bracebridge Yamaha used to be.
A 34-year-old Utterson woman was found to be driving down Hwy 11 in a hot
car recently and for once around here that didn't mean that she'd stolen
it - it was on fire! She hastily pulled over to the shoulder and watched
her '88 Mercury Sable burn to the frame. The one upside to all this -
that's one less '88 Sable anyone has to worry about.
Recognizing this area's total lack of opportunities to golf, the Township
of Muskoka Lakes has okayed a zoning change to allow a driving range to
open on Hwy. 169 between Bala and the cranberry marsh. When that run-off
hits the water table, look for Bala's chief export to be cranberries the
size of... well... golf balls.
Speaking of Bala, their annual Cranberry Festival has now been rated one
of the top festivals in Ontario and more specifically the #4 draw for
October. But that was before anyone knew that next year's cranberry
festival visitors would be able to shag a bucket or two of balls after
dragging their kids through the swamp, er... marsh. Ten bucks says the
Cranberry Festival is #1 this year!
If you caught the RCMP Musical Ride in Bala last year you'll know where
the new Bala Sports Park is going to be. If you didn't catch the Ride,
it's the vacant lot beside the self-storage units. Picturesque, no.
The Port Carling Golf and Country Club has applied for a minor variance to
allow them to erect a 8' X 12' sign advertising the sale of Muskoka's
answer to land-borne zebra mussels - townhouse units! Why should the
Township allow them to erect a sign FOUR TIMES larger than is normally
allowed? Because it's "pleasing to the eye...", that's why! May I go on
record right now as saying that I would rather see a big, beautiful sign
that's pleasing to the eye than say, stupid old trees and the Canadian
Shield. Any day.
Gravenhurst is looking for sponsors for its annual Music on the Barge
concert series. However federal laws prohibit sponsors from industries
whose products aren't necessarily good for you ( ie the tobacco, brewing
or distilling industries). Which leaves organizers wondering, "Who makes
Word is out that Gravenhurst has a major drug problem on its hands these
days. Should we round up these dope fiends and throw them all in jail?
Hell no - they're already there! Apparently Fenbrook Medium Security
ain't so secure.
This month's funniest headline award goes to The Weekender for "Bigamist
busted for furnace theft". There's a mental picture for you. Seems one
of Huntsville's Mensa hopefuls went to Cuba for a little R&R and brought
back more than cigars - he scored himself a Cuban bride! That's what I
call a souvenir! So much for the bigamist part. Then there was the part
where he stole a furnace from his employer and installed it on the side.
His only slip-up was that he did too good a job - the homeowner called the
shop to compliment them on their excellent installation guy. Oops...
And if Townships of Muskoka Lakes Mayor Susan Pryke is properly informed,
the Glen Orchard landfill is not leaching toxic substances into the
surrounding lakes. It's only leaching toxic substances onto the property.
If you aren't sure where the Glen Orchard landfill site is, take Hwy. 118
to Hwy. 169 and look for road kill with too many heads.
Bracebridge may have a decent share of juvenile delinquents but at least
we can take some consolation in the fact that they're computer literate.
Someone broke into a Bell Canada truck last week. Did they steal tools
and stuff? No... they stole high speed modems. Police figure they'll
never find the culprits because they'll be spending the next 18 months
huddled in front of a monitor in mom's basement hi-speed downloading shots
of Britney Spears shakin' her money-makers. Hope they've got Shockwave.
And a big Bracebridge welcome to Ron and Loren Koval - the two Toronto
entrepreneurs (where 'entrepreneur' translates into 'embezzling weasel')
who walked off with $90 million that was supposed to be invested in their
medical center. The Kovals plead guilty and received seven years each.
Short-stretch white collar crime types usually end up at the Beaver Creek
Bed & Breakfast. Kids take note: if you robbed the Mike's Mart and made
off with $250 you'd pull 10 years in a federal penitentiary - easy. But
if you screw investors out of $90 million you get seven years tops and
even then only if you're dumb enough to not be able to buy your safety in
a nice banana republic somewhere. The moral of this story? Go big or go
home. You're welcome.
As a preview for next month look for the whole issue of 'watershed
boundaries' to be the next big thing. Someone somewhere came up with the
idea that for management purposes the official Muskoka boundaries should
encompass our entire watershed. Everybody thought it was brilliant so
they asked the Province to appoint a commissioner to study it. Then
everybody slept on the idea and woke up to realize we stand to lose more
turf than we gain if it goes through. Now no one knows what to do about
the fact that the genie's out of the bottle and the Province has been
brought in to do something that on second thought nobody wants done. Stay
tuned for more ill-advised ideas.
ON (April 2001 Edition)
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