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April 20, 2000

This Week In Muskoka - Mid-April edition

First I have to come clean about something I got wrong in the last installment: my proclamation that Spring had arrived was a tad premature. Sure the calendar says it's Spring. But the skies say flurries and the thermometer says bring in the brass monkeys. It snowed at least once a day last week - not enough to amount to anything but enough to leave a lot of drivers in the ditch. What is it with late-season snowfalls? Do people forget how to drive that quickly??

First the good news - the long deceased but apparently tres nostalgic Muskoka Dry soft drink brand is coming back! Now the bad news - the brand and classic logo are being revived by the same people that bring you Muskoka Steam Beer. Based on their track record it'll be great pop... that costs half again as much as everything else. Welcome to the cash grab side of Muskoka...

You may recall that last week I mentioned there had been a "gun incident" at the inappropriately named Monck Public School. Some little dope had showed up with his dad's rifle to school to show off. Now in a fit of 90's outrage there is concern among the parents that trauma counselors weren't brought in to comfort the student body afterwards. I think they even mentioned a need for closure. As your New-Age guru I suggest a group hug followed by a vigorous herbal enema. Very calming...

A proposal for a new medical clinic in downtown Bracebridge was scuttled last week when council decided that the 12 parking spots the clinic owned weren't enough - there needed to be 25. This in a town with more parking than reasons to park. Please remember that next time you're in need of medical attention. There may not be an available doctor in thirty miles, but damn - we got parkin' galore!

Forest fire season opened April 1st. And no - that doesn't mean you can hunt them. Residents are asked to keep in mind that fire permits are no longer being issued. Daytime burning is no longer allowed. All leaves, books and suspect occult practitioners must be burned between the hours of 6 & 8 pm only. That way the volunteer firefighters will be home from their day jobs.

The new Muskoka Lakes library main branch in Port Carling is raising eyebrows - the 7,800-square-foot, two-storey building is going to cost about $1,112,000. But the big question is, "Do we get fries, landscaping, and a parking lot with that?" What is it with parking up here?

Speaking of Port Carling, lock fees are going to jump 20% this year. One-way passage will be $4, not $2.50. Season's passes are up from $30 to $40.

Hwy 11 is getting up graded to freeway standards through Muskoka. That means the twelve intersections in the Muskoka area will be rationalized to five and they'll all have full overpasses. No more level crossings. No more left-hand exits off the highway. That's twelve fewer opportunities for people to drive like morons. The rest of the time you're on your own.

Home Depot was given a lot of support at a recent public meeting. It looks like they'll be opening up at the corner of Taylor Road and Hwy 11 sometime late this year/ early next year. While I'm the last guy to welcome corporate weasel big box power centers to Muskoka, I have to admit that the prospect of buying building supplies after 5 p.m. almost makes me giddy.

Life is cheap in sunny Muskoka. Case in point: a local man was arrested and given probation this week for making death threats against his in-laws. His beef? A lukewarm bath. Don't mess with tub time in this neck of the woods.

And finally, no one can agree on its official name - the entrance to Bracebridge off Hwy. 11 is known as Ecclestone Drive, District Road 118, Muskoka Road 4 and Wellington Street depending on who you talk to. But the jury is pretty unanimous on one thing - it's butt ugly. Now for reasons only Martha Stewart can come up with the local Heritage Foundation has decided to spruce it up. Talk about having your work cut out for you - they're going to need David Copperfield for this one. I smell planters and paving stones!

READ ON (Late April Edition)

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