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November, 2000

This Week In Muskoka - November Edition

Think Bracebridge is a nice quiet place to live? Former resident Betsy Donald doesn't think so - she's suing the Town for two hundred grand after having a search warrant executed on her home. Was she building mail bombs in her basement? Operating a common bawdy house? Running a meth lab? No... they were searching her residence under The Planning Act. If you thought only the police could kick your door down, guess again - apparently the Town can drop in any time if they suspect you are not using your property in compliance with Town bylaws. Doesn't that make ya feel all cozy...

You know you're in 'northern OntarioTM' when someone breaks into the local community center and strips the furnace for parts. Someone out there has a hot oil burner. Literally.

A BMW stolen from Toronto was recently recovered parked in beautiful downtown Bracebridge - minus it's insignia and gear shift knob, of course. Police are looking for a home-boy wannabee who watches too many videos.

The Weekender recently ran an article entitled "Christmas Book ideas at the LCBO". There's a tied sale for you - "A quart of rum and a good pirate read, please!" At first I thought it was a thinly veiled ad for the LCBO but I dropped by the other day and there are actually some great holiday books there. I picked up "Santa Loves A Six-Pack", "The Gift of the D.W.I.", and "The Puppets Christmas Cougar". Heart-warming... all of them.

Speaking of thinly veiled ads, the Weekender also ran the late-breaking bulletin that Swiss Chalet is now offering seasonal cranberry sauce and a bonus chocolate bar with every quarter chicken dinner. As a news story! An informed public makes for a strong democracy...

Crimestoppers of Simcoe-Dufferin-Muskoka is looking for volunteer board members. Applicants must be observant and have no qualms about sending their friends and family up the river based on anonymous rumours and innuendo. Just for the record, in October Crime Stoppers received 203 anonymous calls. So how many arrests came out of that? 175? 100? No... 4! Which means that all that other information was either wrong or still in the pipe. The Stasi had fewer files...

A Glen Orchard Public School Student was recently found guilty of assault with a weapon (it wasn't deadly) after he went postal over the lack of vacant computer terminals and held a knife to the throat of another student. The student still refused to surrender the terminal. Is that because the student had nerves of steel and a dogged determination to finish his assignment? Hell no... it's because the knife was a butter knife. What do you say when you threaten someone with a butter knife? "Spread 'em!", I guess.

And I thought Beaver Creek was minimum security - at Fenbrook Institution they give inmates the keys! The library employee that thought lending out the keys to several buildings was a good idea no longer works there.

Found: One brown Jeep Cherokee at the Baysville Pavilion. On fire. Claimant must identify remains inside. Well done.

Not missing the irony of the preceding story, the first week in November was Fire Prevention Week. This year's theme was The Great Escape! - planning your evacuation. The touring seminar did very well at the local schools but the folks at Beaver Creek weren't so impressed.

Speaking of fire prevention, our case of the combusting dumpsters from last month may be solved. Police have arrested and charged two Bracebridge 15-year-olds with setting grass fires.

Note to Stockwell Day: Next time you goose step into town make sure you leave time for interviews with the local papers. It's the third law of electoral dynamics: Politicians who snub the local reporters get bad press. Everybody knows that! And you want to be PM?

Take your kids to work day went smoothly in Muskoka. Well, there wasn't a death toll anyway and from now on that'll be considered the measure of success.

You may recall that last month I mentioned that Bracebridge was the Impaired Driving Capital of Ontario. That remains true. But it seems we are now also vying for the title Spousal Abuse Capital of Ontario as well. Can we sink any lower? Yes we can! Someone stole the Legion Poppy Box out of one of the local businesses. Thunk! Bottom.

Bracebridge has erected a statue to Rene M. Caisse, R. N. An early pioneer in natural medicine, Ms Caisse is responsible for the widespread chugging of Essiac - an native Canadian herbal tea that is hyped as a cure for all that ails thee (unofficially, of course). Essiac is Caisse spelled backwards. Hey, no one said medical pioneers couldn't be vain. I'm just glad her name wasn't Rene Nemes.

Huntsville OPP is proud to announce that they have put and end to what they believe was a two-man Ontario crime wave after they pulled over a car on Hwy 60 with a trunk full of coins and some pry bars. As many as six different pop machines in Bracebridge had been relieved of their coinage. The two Quebec natives plead the 12th Amendment (the one where down & out substance abusing dopes who've recently been dumped by their girlfriends have carte blanche to cause whatever mayhem they can) and were sentenced to time served and told to not come 'round these parts no more.

Baysville is just a provincial grant away from getting water and sewer facilities! After that, the sky's the limit. Maybe... shall we dream... hydro?

Port Carling is going to be fixing up their town docks - pretty much a necessity when your name is PORT anything.

The Gravenhurst town council is only another dozen or so meetings away from knowing where to put their memorial wall. It used to be outside the Opera House but they had to move it for relandscaping. Now no one can agree on where its new home should be.

The municipal election results are in and while I'm not enough of a political junkie to comment on all of the races, I know that there were few surprises in Bracebridge. Incumbent Bracebridge Mayor Scott Northmore beat challenger Tom Kelly like a red-headed step-child and for ward councillors we ended up with Edith Nichols, Barb McMurray, Jerry Fox, Al Taylor and Barry Young - the latter two being acclaimed. For District Council we now have Heather Coupland, Bill Glennie and Scott Young - the latter being the hipster cub reporter for the Examiner and therefore the recipient of press money can't buy.

For Gravenhurst: John Klinck, mayor; Sandy Scriber, Jim Hie, Jim Brown, Bob Colhoun and Bryan Pilger, ward councillors; Terry Pilger, and John Brownlee, district councillors.

For Muskoka Lakes:: Susan Pyke, mayor; Jane Machek, Ruth Nishikawa, Nancy Thompson, Don Goltz, Karen Ellis and David Nairn, ward councillors; Adele Farifield, Jack Dymond, and Stewart Martin, district councillors.

For Hunstville: Hugh Mackenzie, mayor; Leslie Caswell, Brian Thompson, Bill Beatty, Det Schumacher, and George Young, ward councillors; Sven Miglin, Fran Coleman, district councillors.

Speaking of municipal elections and press coverage, two of the candidates in the recent election ended up in the paper - one for spousal abuse and another for failing to remain at the scene of an accident. Neither was elected, surprisingly enough.

You may recall that last moth I mentioned that YIG was going to build a new super store behind Swiss Chalet. Well hold the presses on that one - the owner of the Timmy's Plaza across Wellington Street has appealed the ruling on the development on the grounds that it would create traffic. Traffic that wouldn't want to visit his plaza, I guess.

Speaking of developments, the Home Depot bid has been amended - they now say that if we let them build one here they won't paint it Chevy Tranny Orange. Apparently it'll be a nice Muskoka-y cedar colour! They'd change their corporate colours for little 'ol us?!?! Amazing...

Huntsville has a new arena. Now all they have to do is name it. It's either going to be called The Hunstville Centennial Centre (every town on the map up here has a Centennial Centre) OR the Jack Bionda Arena. If you haven't heard of lacrosse legend Jack Bionda you're obviously not from Hunstville.

And they thought Florida was close! There's a recount going on of ballots for Ward A councillor in the Townships of Muskoka Lakes after Ruth Nishikawa edged out Bill Purkis by THREE votes. Luckily we vote with pencils so a recount is just a case of RE COUNTING.

Speaking of election fallout, Bracebridge council was rocked by the legal and moral questions of what to do with John Kelly's swivel chair now that he's not on council anymore. Considering the fuss The Examiner made over its original purchase, it's only fair that they keep up with the story. Now they've got their knickers in a knot because Heather Coupland scooped it for herself. And she moved it to the other side of the council chamber, too! In Bracebridge this amounts to political intrigue.

When is a circus not a circus? Some of those attending the show at the Centennial Centre last weekend felt that a dozen itinerate Mexican gypsies with a giraffe costume doesn't quite cut it. Then again, did they think that the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey squeezed a three ring extravaganza into a 30'X20' auditorium? Hey - they could end up being the next Cirque du Soleil and you'll be bragging to people that you saw them before they were big.

Feel lucky? The Bala United Church is organizing a trip to Bethlehem for the Palestinian Car Bomb Festival this winter. Not to miss out on a sales opportunity, MacNaughtan's Hardware will be featuring padded bomb disposal suits for the low low price of $5699.99 + GST PST (these are the same one's used by the Canadian Armed Forces and will withstand up to 1 kilo of C4 at a distance of 20 feet). MacNaughtan's: Keeping you whole in the Holy land.

In a trial that feels like it started some time last June, Lennie Poirier's lawyer Ken Anthony now claims that witnesses who say they saw his client stab a man to death at Beaver Creek institution last Christmas Day are unreliable. Of course they're unreliable, Ken - they're in JAIL.

Those of you waiting in anticipation for the 2001 installment of the Bracebridge Winter Carnival would be best advanced to exhale - it seems to be off for this year. Festival organizers admit that money this year is harder to come by than event participants of late.

Those of you who picked up newspapers around town in late November may not realize this but contrary to popular belief there were other things happening around town other than a staging of the musical Grease at the Riverside. Bigfoot could walk down Manitoba Street and receive less coverage.

There have been a slew of break-ins in the area lately but there are bound to be a few less after the recent incarceration of a local wizard who was charged with break and enter and the theft of everything from electronics, tools, clothing and frozen food. Two years in the slammer for a hot Swanson entree.

Crimestoppers is asking for assistance in apprehending an individual who broke into an Utterson home and stole some items. Turning in Mr. Hot Fish Sticks (see above) would be pretty easy. But turning in a guy who made off with 8 rifles and ammunition is another matter entirely.

It goes without saying that this being Ontario, the federal election ended with the local Liberal candidate coming out on top. In our case it'll be Andy Mitchell barking like a seal in parliament on our behalf.

A tip of the old curling iron to ex-Bracebridge gal Tara Sales who recently grinned her way to the title "Miss Toronto Universe". Tara, who now lives in Milton pursuing a career in sales, said she was surprised to win given that she's such an accomplished singer and the pagent turned out to not have a talent competition. Luckily for her the judges apparently were interested in being in sales, as well.

Any of you planning a heart attack, car accident or power-tool mishap take note: the new Emergency Department at South Muskoka Memorial Hospital is nearing completion with a slated opening date of January 15.

READ ON (December Edition)

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