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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

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Bracebridge Once Again Recognized as HIGH FIVE Community.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (151 reads)



Bracebridge has once again secured its spot as a HIGH FIVE accredited community after being awarded accreditation once again by Parks and Recreation Ontario (PRO).
HIGH FIVE accreditation represents a standard of excellence in providing top notch sport and recreation programs for you in the community. Bracebridge first received accreditation as a HIGH FIVE community in 2005. 
The town received the award during the 20 annual PRO awards. 
Alongside Bracebridge was the Town’s Youth Programmer, Diane Wiber, who was awarded the PRO Member Contribution Award for her work as the Town’s Youth Programmer and the work she has done in organizing youth engagement workshops in Ontario. 




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Cara McLeod Named Gravenhurst Pan Am Torch Bearer.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (153 reads)


Gravenhurst has announced its community torchbearer for the Pan Am Games coming to Toronto this summer. 
Cara McLeod has been named as the torchbearer for the community which will see the torch come through town on Tuesday, June 9. 
“I love Gravenhurst and I am honoured to be a torchbearer and excited to take part in the torch lighting ceremony,” McLeod said.  
McLeod is a physical education teacher at Gravenhurst Public School. 
Mayor Paisley Donaldson said that McLeod was an exceptional choice to represent Gravenhurst in the games torch relay.



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Tony Clement Says Failing To Extend Iraq Mission Would Have Had Dire Consequences
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (2015 reads)


Tony Clement says the fight against ISIS needs to continue and failing to do so will endanger Canada and its citizens.
The Parry Sound-Muskoka MP pledged his support yesterday for extending Canada’s military mission in Iraq to Syria. 
“[Their mission] extends to disrupting our way of life here in Canada,” Clement said. “It is clear that this is not just a local mission in the Middle East. It is clear that part of their ideology extends to projecting their force, projecting their terror and projecting their violence on our peaceable shores as well.” 
Aside from supporting the motion, Clement also gave his thoughts on the consequences of not extending the mission.
“What if we did not respond?” Clement added. “Clearly what will happen is that we will not be part of a group of people, a group of nations, that is seeking to end the genocidal violence that is occurring overseas…  it also probably means more attacks here. If we fail to degrade the terrorists' ability to project their violence, it means that the national security of our nation, Canada, is compromised. Why do I say that? I say that because they have made it clear that if they have the means, they will continue to attack us at home. That is their goal.” 
The house voted to approve the motion in a vote of 142-129




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TABOO Will Open For Summer Season
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (926 reads)


Taboo Resort in Gravenhurst has announced it will re-open for business in May. The resort on Lake Muskoka closed last year after a fire in October. Officials with the resort officials said that the resort will open on May 15th and run through the season with reduced amenities while the resort is being redeveloped. It plans to close again after the summer season to continue with construction.



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Huntsville Animal Shelter Will Not Re-Open.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (17508 reads)


The verdict is in; Huntsville’s animal shelter will not be re-opening. 
A decision was made at a polarizing meeting held by the Huntsville Animal Shelter’s board last night at the Active Living Centre in Huntsville. 
Instead of re-opening the animal shelter, which closed its doors due to lack of funding in 2012, the board instead recommended that the shelter be turned into what it’s calling the “Huntsville Animal Wellness Fund.”
Under the newly adopted program, money in the shelters name would be used to offset costs associated with veterinary bills and spaying and neutering animals. The board would receive applications from people who could not afford these operations outright and based on a case by case basis would contribute to the costs of the billing. 
The board cited a lack of financial sustainability and pricey renovation costs as the reasons behind the change. The shelter did receive a sizeable donation from a former resident’s will that provided them with $340,000 towards the care of animals. However, the required renovations to the shelter building, which included new drywall, fixing dog-runs and more, were in excess of $360,000 while operational costs yearly are around $200,000. 
Despite seeking funding from the Town of Huntsville, the province and even international organizations, the board said that there were simply too many groups looking for money and no one willing to make sustainable donations. 
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” shelter chair Elaine Symington said. “To finally have the numbers determine the future, it came down to ‘are we even remotely close? Can we fundraise?’ Nothing we were receiving implicated that we could raise the necessary funding.”
Symington also said that the board felt it was unethical to use money bequeathed to the shelter for the care of animals to renovate when there was a very real possibility that the shelter would have to close again and the money donated would be wasted. 
The decision was polarizing, so much so that one young woman in the audience, 13-year-old Madison Fisher interrupted the voting process to express her distaste with the idea. 
“I’m trying to raise money to save the Huntsville animal shelter. We should get up and say we’re against this closing,” Fisher said with many in the crowd applauding her passion.
Still others were upset with the short notice of the meeting and the lack of clarity in the voting process which saw only animal shelter members eligible to vote, but was not strictly policed. 
“They should’ve had it better published in the paper, with what was going to be discussed,” one woman in attendance said. “There are still a lot of unanswered questions and there was a lack of control over the voting.” 
Not everyone rejected the change, with many in attendance feeling that the recommendation was the only feasible way of moving forward. 
“I think this is a great idea,” said Blair Henshaw. “There’s such a limited amount of money, so it’s about how can we help the community and I think this is a great beginning.”
The board did not rule out expanding the program in the future if funding became available. 




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Trek For Tourette Raises $4000
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (140 reads)


Over $4000 was raised on t he weekend at the 7th annual Trek for Tourette which was held in Gravenhurst.  The event which had 65 participants was part of a number of events that day and supports  a charity that raises awareness and provides support and research to those affected with the disorder.



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North Simcoe Muskoka CCAC Agrees to 1.4 Per Cent Wage Increase
Monday, March 30, 2015 (539 reads)


The North Simcoe Muskoka Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) has finalized an agreement with the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) for a 1.4 per cent wage increase effective as of April 1.
The decision comes after the nine affected CCAC’s alongside union ONA agreed to engage in interest arbitration, through which a third party would make the final decision on the issues. This agreement ended their strike last month. 
CEO of the North Simcoe Muskoka CCAC, Megan Allen-Lamb said, “These new collective agreements with ONA settle the outstanding issue of wages, and we thank the arbitrator for his efforts in this process.”  
Allen-Lamb also added, “We respect the decision of the arbitrator, however, we are disappointed that the arbitrator ignored the freely negotiated settlements achieved in our sector in the current round of bargaining with CUPE, OPSEU and ONA members…” 




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Tuesday Deadline For Ice Fishing Huts.
Monday, March 30, 2015 (464 reads)


Ice fishing enthusiasts have one more day to enjoy the sport before taking down their ice huts. The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has declared Tuesday, March 31 at midnight as the deadline to have ice huts off of the lake. But just because you have to take down the huts doesn’t mean you can’t still ice fish. The MNR allows ice fishing huts to be used during the day, so long as ice conditions are safe and they are removed each evening.



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Withey Says Feedback Model at MAHC Info Session was a "Divide and Conquer" Tactic.
Monday, March 30, 2015 (5831 reads)


When it comes to hospitals in Muskoka, the community has spoken. So says Tim Withey, who feels that last week’s information sessions did little to engage the community. 
“We could’ve saved [Muskoka-Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC)] some money. You may have heard about theses rallies and the petition,” Withey said. “There’s your answer… The community has spoken and it has to be two acute care hospitals, period.”
Withey was also concerned with what he believed was a lack of opportunity for feedback at the information sessions. Withey called the MAHC’s feedback model of separating the crowd into individual groups a “divide and conquer” tactic.
“That was disturbing to me,” Withey said. “I certainly heard from a number of people on both nights that asked me where the opportunity to provide feedback was then and there; where the microphone was to address the administration and the board during the presentation… There needs to be a collective voice and that was dismantled.”
The MAHC is expected to announce their decision on which of the three possible options they will choose in May. 




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Mayor Aitchison Comments on Sunshine List
Monday, March 30, 2015 (15210 reads)


Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison weighed in on the release of last week’s sunshine list, which saw Huntsville near the top of the list of spenders with eight town staffers making the list for a total of $911,048.
“Huntsville has a high number in part because of changes in council and changes to the administration,” Aitchison said. “I’m aware of the issues people have with this list,” he said, adding that the town was taking measures to not increase the list any further. “Instead of hiring a new CAO we eliminated the position of director of corporate services and appointed them as our CAO. Our mission is not to grow that list any higher if we can help it.”
Former Mayor Hugh Mackenzie also shared his thoughts on the issue in a post to his blog Listen Up! 
“It is great to know that Huntsville plays a leading role in Muskoka in a number of ways,” Mackenzie said. “It would be nice, however, if one of those ways was not earning top prize on the Sunshine list at Town Hall.”


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Gravenhurst Approves Budget With 5.3% Increase
Monday, March 30, 2015 (412 reads)


After thorough deliberations, implementation of recommended amendments, Gravenhurst Town Council has adopted the 2015 Budget.

The 2015 Budget reflects an estimated 5.3 per cent increase to the tax bill for residential property. For a median single family urban home assessed at $217,250 this would be an increase of approximately $135 annually on their 2015 tax bill. The 2015 property tax bill for a rural home assessed at the same value would increase by approximately $102.

The 2015 Budget has been designed to address the 2014 operating deficit while providing adequate resources to provide a wide range of services to the community. These include spending 50,000 to provide a community hub for visitors to the Gravenhurst Public Library.

Other projects include undertaking a comprehensive Community Strategic Plan, including a program to monitor progress of identified strategic initiatives, invest in IT initiatives to improve business processes and enhance customer service.

Recreation, Arts & Culture

• Celebrate the return of a full summer theatre season at the Opera House featuring 100 performances.

• Introduce Tim Bits Soccer Program in response to community requests

• Facilitate over 100 events to draw 50,000 – 100,000 visitors to Gravenhurst


Economic Development & Communications

• Implement the Investment Attraction Marketing Plan developed in 2014

• Continue to implement the Downtown Revitalization Strategic Action Plan

• Develop a long-term plan to create enhanced tourism product/experiences for the “shoulder” season

• Collaborate with District to advance the strategic vision of the Muskoka Airport

Development Services

• Commence a multi-year Official Plan review engaging the community and stakeholders

• Develop and age-friendly transportation strategy to provide direction for community growth from a transportation perspective and foster a more active community.

• Create a simple Development Standards handbook to assist residents and the development community in navigating the Town land use approvals processes.

Fire & Emergency Services

• Bring forward a Fire Master Plan for the Town.

• Enhance recruiting and retention programs for part-time (volunteer) firefighters.

• Complete the Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) replacement initiative

• Develop focused fire public education initiatives reflecting recent community fire experience, emerging provincial initiatives and threats to community safety.

Infrastructure Services

• Complete the reconstruction of Peninsula Road

• Replace Barkway Rd. culvert. Maintain 14 bridges and large diameter culverts

• Rehabilitate Pineridge Stormwater Management Pond

• Maintain 730 lane kilometers of Town and District roads

• Ongoing maintenance of 32 municipal facilities as well as sports fields, fine turf areas, landings and wharfs

• Develop a Winter Operations Control Plan for the Town

• Develop a long term loose top capital improvement program for gravel road resurfacing

• Replace the Opera House HVAC system



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Huntsville Votes to Spend $26,000 on Hunters Bay Trail Drawings
Monday, March 30, 2015 (4520 reads)


Last week, the Huntsville General Committee voted to spend $26,000 out of reserves to fund engineered drawings for the expansion of Hunters Bay Trail.  The committee was asked to commit additional amounts of $85,000 each year in the  2016 and 2017 town budgets.

Councilors expressed their concern that matching funding had not been approved yet, and staff had expressed their concern to get the work done, or risk losing Pan Am money granted to the town to be spent this year.

In all the project would cost over half a million dollars.

Mayor Scott Aitchison told council that there was also money possibly available for active transportation from the District.  However Council wouldn't spend more than the $26,000 feeling that until matching funding was available, they did not want to commit to the whole spend.









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Huntsville's Sunshine List is Bigger Than Bracebridge & Gravenhurst Combined
Friday, March 27, 2015 (34599 reads)


Sunshine Lists, the lists released each year of public sector employees who make more than $100,000, have been released and Huntsville's list is far sunnier than the rest of Muskoka.

Huntsville's sunshine list clocked in at a whopping $911,048,  considerably more than Gravenhurst and Bracebridge, combined. Bracebridge totaled of $590,562. Still lower was Gravenhurst with only $249,485.

By far the municipal spender was the District of Muskoka who spent a total of over $2 million on its 18 sunshine list members.

Ontario had 111,438 public workers on the sunshine list for 2014 with 12,500 of them belonging to Ontario Power Generation and Hydro One and its subsidiaries. This is up by 1,000 people from 2013 sunshine list.  In 2013 Ontario's Auditor General had warned that the high number of large salaries contributed to higher than average electricity bills.

Below is the full Muskoka sunshine list.

District Municipality of Muskoka

AUSTIN

KEVIN

Director of Transportation & Engineering Services

$120,104.10

$570.80

District Municipality of Muskoka

BACHE

GEOFF

Director of Environmental Services

$135,468.15

$642.32

District Municipality of Muskoka

BISSONETTE

LAURIE

Director of Finance

$107,946.37

$511.17

District Municipality of Muskoka

BROUSE

JUDI

Director of Watershed Programs

$111,154.80

$527.84

District Municipality of Muskoka

BURTON

TERRI

Director of Emergency Services

$111,154.80

$527.84

District Municipality of Muskoka

CLEMENS

HERMAN

Director of Water and Sewer Operations

$120,104.10

$570.80

District Municipality of Muskoka

CLOW

JAMIE

District Solicitor

$154,606.95

$732.58

District Municipality of Muskoka

DENSTEDT

CHANTELLE

Director of Information Technology Services

$104,708.25

$496.06

District Municipality of Muskoka

DONALD

SHARON

Director of Budgets & Financial Planning

$120,104.10

$570.80

District Municipality of Muskoka

DUBEN

MICHAEL

Chief Administrative Officer

$194,428.35

$10,521.77

District Municipality of Muskoka

HAMMOND

DERRICK

Director of Continuous Improvement Unit

$111,154.80

$527.84

District Municipality of Muskoka

HASTINGS

SAMANTHA

Commissioner of Planning & Economic Development

$144,742.50

$686.64

District Municipality of Muskoka

HUDSWELL

MARYAN

Assistant District Solicitor

$111,154.80

$527.84

District Municipality of Muskoka

KAYE

CHARMAINE

Director of Care

$111,119.13

$295.80

District Municipality of Muskoka

LANDRY

ELIZABETH

Director of Human Resources

$117,225.75

$558.86

District Municipality of Muskoka

MOORE

HEATHER

Director of Programs

$111,154.80

$527.84

District Municipality of Muskoka

RANNIE

KATHERINE

Administrator

$110,651.31

$295.80

District Municipality of Muskoka

STEVENS

JULIE

Commissioner of Finance and Corporate Services

$146,808.00

$696.16

District Municipality of Muskoka

WHITE

ANTHONY

Commissioner of Engineering and Public Works

$163,059.47

$770.13

District Municipality of Muskoka

WILLIAMS

RICHARD

Commissioner of Community Services

$162,316.04

[Summary].00

 

Town of Bracebridge

KELLEY

CHERYL

Director of Planning and Development

$110,039.90

$648.53

Town of Bracebridge

MCDONALD

LORI JANE

Director of Corporate Services/Clerk

$104,848.64

$595.89

Town of Bracebridge

O'REGAN

CYNTHIA

Director of Recreation

$109,135.65

$644.66

Town of Bracebridge

SCHMID

WALTER

Director of Public Works

$125,717.46

$748.37

Town of Bracebridge

SISSON

JOHN R.

Chief Administrative Officer

$140,787.46

$835.37

Town of Gravenhurst

LUCAS

SCOTT

Director of Development Services

$106,137.44

$505.34

Town of Gravenhurst

WATSON

KENNETH

Director of Corporate Services/Treasurer

$143,348.13

$565.55

Town of Huntsville

CORRY

DENISE

Chief Administrative Officer/Clerk

$124,528.43

$252.72

Town of Huntsville

DUCE

DEBORAH

Chief Librarian and Chief Executive Officer

$112,782.52

$252.72

Town of Huntsville

FINCH

JULIA

Manager of Finance/Treasurer

$104,159.84

$252.72

Town of Huntsville

GOOCH

MICHAEL

Executive Director of Development Services

$116,177.86

$10,743.51

Town of Huntsville

HERNEN

STEPHEN

Fire Chief/Director of Protective Services

$119,377.46

$585.63

Town of Huntsville

LAMBE

KARINA

Executive Director of Community Services & Economic Development

$111,045.67

$252.72

Town of Huntsville

MARSHALL

CHRIS

Director of Planning and Sustainability

$112,557.87

$252.72

Town of Huntsville

SMITH

LISA

Executive Director of Human Resources and Corporate Information

$110,423.89

$252.72

Township of Lake of Bays

GEFUCIA

TOM

Treasurer

$107,007.95

$416.88

Township of Lake of Bays

PERCIVAL

MICHELLE

Chief Administrative Officer

$109,953.16

$420.48

Township of Muskoka Lakes

KRYNICKI

JASON

Director of Public Works

$116,490.36

$765.16

Township of Muskoka Lakes

MORTIMER

CHERYL

Clerk / Deputy Treasurer

$107,820.05

$677.24

Township of Muskoka Lakes

PINK

DAVID

Director of Planning

$105,848.50

$696.47

Township of Georgian Bay

KENNARD

LAURIE

Chief Administrative Officer

$130,134.96

$545.03

Township of Georgian Bay

LEES

JEFF

Director of Financial Services/Treasurer

$112,183.84

$486.13



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Funding Available for Accessibility Projects
Friday, March 27, 2015 (27075 reads)


Tony Clement, MP for Parry Sound-Muskoka, is encouraging local organizations to submit their projects for consideration under the newly launched Enabling Accessibility Fund, Call for Proposals.

Organizations are encouraged to apply for funding for projects that will help improve accessibility in community facilities. The deadline for submissions is April 27, 2015.

Clement said it is important to note that municipalities are also eligible to apply in support of access for children with disabilities since a large number of recreational facilities are under their management.  As such, all municipalities, irrespective of size, have been included as eligible recipients under this priority only and are strongly encouraged to apply.

MP Clement added that several local projects have been approved through the fund in recent years, including the Town of Kearney, beach change facilities in Nobel, accessibility improvements at the Township of Lake of Bays, washroom upgrades in Bracebridge & Parry Sound, a wheelchair accessible waterpark at a camp for the deaf in Rosseau to name a few.

Application information is available on Employment and Social Development Canada’s website at http://www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/disability/eaf/



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Couple Win Custom 2015 Mustang As Part of Prostate Cancer Benefit.
Friday, March 27, 2015 (5295 reads)


GEORGIAN COLLEGE AWARD

Farook Mansoor and his wife Afsana are self-proclaimed car people. The Scarborough couple own a Ford Mustang and a Ford Explorer and now thanks to a charity raffle they'll be adding another Ford Mustang to that collection.

 

Mansoor and his wife are the winners of the Rock the Road Raffle. Rock the Road raises money for prostate cancer through a raffle for a car. This years car, a sunshine-yellow custom 2015 Ford Mustang, was donated by Trillium Automobile Dealers Association. This year's raffle raised $220,000 for prostate cancer research.  

 

Rock the Road is an initiative by Prostate Cancer Canada and over 13,000 raffle tickets were sold with 100 per cent of the profits going directly to cancer research. Prostate Cancer Canada says that their work helps 1 in 8 Canadian men who will suffer from prostate cancer at some point in their life.

 

Mansoor and Afsana stumbled upon the car by chance,

 

"We were at the auto show and we went looking for a car. We walked by the Mustang and Afsana really liked it," Mansoor said. "The person at the booth told us that it wasn't for sale but that it was part of a charity. So we bought a ticket just to support the charity and basically forgot about it."

 

Around a week later, the couple received word that they had won the car that had captured their eye at the auto show.


"I picked up the phone and there were actually two messages," Afsana said. "One confirming that the first message about winning wasn't a joke."

 

 

The couple said they were ecstatic about winning.


"I was freaking out," said Afsana. "Like a mad woman."

 

 

The Keys to the family's brand new vehicle were handed over to them at a celebration at Bickley Ford in Huntsville earlier today.

 




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Ministry Gives $1.5 Million to MAHC to Balance Budget.
Friday, March 27, 2015 (8866 reads)


Muskoka-Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) CEO Natalie Bubela says that the MAHC is projecting a balanced budget this year, thanks to a one-time funding opportunity from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

The MAHC will be provided with $1.5 million in funding as part of a one-time funding agreement. The $1.5 million will be used to help balance the budget for the MAHC's current fiscal year, which ends on March 31. The funding will come through the North Simcoe-Muskoka Local Health Integration Network (NSM LHIN). 

“Since October the leadership team at MAHC has been working very closely with the NSM LHIN and Ministry staff around the additional financial support,” Bubela said. “MAHC has achieved great things amidst operational funding challenges and with this approval of one-time hospital funding for the current fiscal year, we are projecting a balanced budget.”
The MAHC has been dealing with a $2.4 million deficit in revenues which would have resulted in a deficit for the 2014 year. Thanks to the funding that will now be avoided. 
Charles Forret, the chair of the MAHC Board spoke on the funding in a press release from the MAHC saying, 
““News of this one-time $1.5 million in operating funding is greatly appreciated,” says Charles Forret, MAHC’s Board Chair. “By working together, a critical deficit position has been averted. On behalf of the organization, I would like to thank the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as well as the NSM LHIN for their support throughout this process. I would also like to recognize all of the MAHC staff, physicians and volunteers for their steadfast commitment to our patients throughout this journey. It is through everyone’s efforts that we are able to proudly serve our communities and deliver best patient outcomes with high standards and compassion.”




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Bracebridge Introduces New Signage
Friday, March 27, 2015 (2790 reads)


Entrances to several commercial business parks in Bracebride are being graced with new gateway signage designed to identify the various business that are located in each park. Eventually all business areas will have the same unified gateway signage at their entrances.

As part of a community assessment completed in 2011, Bracebridge identified a number of opportunities that could be implemented to make the community more visitor-friendly. In 2013 and 2014, the Town of Bracebridge made a strategic decision to clean up the overabundance of signage in the community. Two programs have been developed, including a comprehensive tourism wayfinding signage system and a business park sign program. Combine, these two programs have made it possible to give a cohesive and clean look to signage in Bracebridge and has allowed the Town and the District of Muskoka to remove hundreds of old signs that were unnecessary or were in poor condition.

“Signage clutter is something that creeps in over time.” stated Mayor Graydon Smith. “We started looking around town and realized that there were signs everywhere and nothing was working well. The tourism signs did a lot to clean up the navigability of the town. And now the business park signage program is helping to reduce the sign clutter at the entrances to our commercial areas.” added Smith.



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Election Candidates File Expense Reports on Time
Friday, March 27, 2015 (1344 reads)


All Huntsville municipal election candidates have filed their reports on election expenses by yesterday, a day before today's deadline.

Candidates whether successful or not are required to report how much they spent and who donated to their campaign.  However the reports could be scrutinized by a committee to look for irregularities.

As per the Municipal Elections Act, Council has established a joint Compliance Audit Committee. 

The Muskoka Compliance Audit Committee is comprised of representatives from all municipalities in the region.

The Committee was  established to allow voters who believe on reasonable grounds that a candidate has contravened a provision of the Municipal Elections Act,  relating to campaign finances, to apply for a compliance audit of the candidate's election campaign finances.



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Miller Questions Government Over Ornge Air Ambulance Service Levels
Friday, March 27, 2015 (3989 reads)


During question period yesterday, Parry Sound – Muskoka MPP Norm Miller directly questioned the Minister of Health on the level of service delivered by Ornge Air Ambulance in Parry Sound District and throughout Northern Ontario.

Miller said “It would be irresponsible to allow the current situation, specifically regarding declined calls to the Parry Sound District helipads to continue.” He made the remarks in reference to the fact that Ornge has declined a number of night emergency calls in the region, despite the conditions being suitable. The uncertainty in service has reached the point where first responders cannot count on an Ornge Air Ambulance landing at a local helipad when the call goes out.

“Acknowledging the challenges that weather and pilot unfamiliarity can pose, I feel that it is incumbent upon Ornge to figure out what needs to be done in order to resume reliable service to local helipads,” added Miller, “whether that be physical improvements to the helipads, improved pilot training, or other possible changes”.

“In an emergency situation, time is of the essence. The uncertainty caused by the current situation is unacceptable and we cannot wait for a tragedy to move on this.”

“I am pleased that the Minister of Health has been apprised of the situation and I will continue to work to ensure that reliable air ambulance service to Parry Sound District and across the North” concluded Miller.



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Pierre Mikhail Named Huntsville's Pan Am Torch Bearer.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 (20769 reads)


The Pan Am Games torch relay will be coming to Huntsville this summer and Pierre Mikhail has been named as the community torch bearer. 
Mikhail will be one of 3,000 torch bearers from over 130 Ontario communities. Mikhail was chosen as the torch bearer because of his commitment to sport and his work as a high school cross country coach, 
“Mikhail is incredibly passionate about his sport and he spends and enormous amount of time every day working to share his passion with others,” a Huntsville resident said. 
The torch relay will be coming to Huntsville’s River Mill Park on June 3 and the Town of Huntsville is looking for volunteers to assist with the community celebration.




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Ontario to Introduce Low-Income Hydro Plan.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 (15240 reads)



Ontarians can expect to pay a bit more on their monthly hydro bills, despite the Ontario Liberal government’s plans to scrap the Debt Retirement Charge from all of its residential consumers.
Ontario will be getting rid of the Debt Retirement Charge on Jan. 1 of 2016, but will be introducing the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP). The OESP is designed to help offset hydro prices for low income households by providing monthly credits of anywhere between $20 and $50 depending on the size and income of the household.
The OESP would offset costs by charging around an addition 90 cents to ratepayers who are not eligible for the assistance. 




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Almaguin, Youth Sorely Missing From MAHC Presentation Says Matt Richter
Thursday, March 26, 2015 (3076 reads)


Matt Richter said that last night’s MAHC seminar was missing two things: East Parry Sound/Almaguin and young people.
Richter, who has run as the candidate for the Green Party of Ontario in the last three provincial elections, said that he was concerned that the people just north of Muskoka were being left out of the equation. 
“Burk’s Falls used to have a hospital that was part of Muskoka-Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) and they seem to be lost in these conversations about how we’re going forward,” Richter said. “When we talk about relocating I hope that the residents of Almaguin are being considered in that.” 
Also of concern to Richter was the lack of youth representation at the meeting. 
“It’s a great turnout, which is fantastic, but I would be encouraged to see more of the under 35 crowd here.”
“I do hope that the under 35 crowd are approached about their concerns because this is impacting them,” he said. “…They say that the big shift will happen 15 to 20 years from now, that’s where we’re really going to see the implications of decisions made today.”



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Woman Arrested For Possession of Morphine
Thursday, March 26, 2015 (10921 reads)


The Almaguin Highlands OPP have arrested a woman after they conducted a traffic in South River on Sunday March 22nd.  During the stop, police discovered the driver had a suspended licence.  Police report that the driver, Sarah Carnevale, 31, of Lount Township was in possession of a controlled substance, morphine and was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance.

The accused was released from police custody and is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice on April 23, 2015 in Sundridge, Ontario.



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Thieves Steal Lots of Stuff From Perry Twp Residence
Thursday, March 26, 2015 (4084 reads)


On Friday March 13, at approximately 11:30p.m., the Almaguin Highlands OPP investigated a break enter and theft to a Perry Township residence on Highway 518 West.

Police report that sometime between March 9, and March 13, thieves entered the residence and stole various tools, food, pots and pans, bedding, snowmobile coats and helmets and two DVD's.  The approximate value of the stolen items is $2,500.



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Full House at Huntsville's Future of Healthcare Meeting *UPDATED*
Thursday, March 26, 2015 (41258 reads)


It was a full house last night for the last of three information sessions hosted by Muskoka-Algonquin Healthcare.

Held in Huntsville’s Active Living Centre, the information session was part of a series of sessions held by the MAHC to provide an update on the future of Muskoka’s healthcare. 

Presentations from MAHC CEO Natalie Bubela and her staff outlined the need for changes to the existing model stating that the “status quo is not an option.” The MAHC also said that, as a result of the pushback from the community, they have removed the acute/ambulatory service model from their deliberations. Instead, the MAHC’s steering committee will be going forward with three model choices: a single site hospital, a multi-site hospital with single siting of certain services and a model that would see the two acute care facilities remain much as they have. 

Between physicians, concerned citizens and politicians, the turnout was the largest of the three seminars.
Huntsville phyisician Dr. John Rea, who spoke at last weekend’s rally, was on hand to give his thoughts on the presentation.
“I have a lot of respect for our board of directors and the work that they’re doing,” Rea said, stressing that the MAHC board is in a precarious position and is doing their best under the circumstances. However, Rea did say that he thought there were some important topics not touched on by the presentation.
 “I think the main thing is that there are some core services that weren’t talked about tonight. If you have a life or limb threatening problem, you want to know that you can get somewhere in a reasonable time to have it dealt with... We need the core services to be available and I don’t see a model here that covers that other than potentially the one site model.”
Fellow physician, Dr. Sheena Branigan was also on hand for the presentation.
“I think our board and administration are doing their best under the burden of the Ministry’s funding guidelines,” Branigan said. “We need to keep reminding the province about the access issues in Muskoka.” 
Branigan noted that Muskoka is unique in that Huntsville also serves the areas of East Parry Sound and the Almaguin Highlands. 
“From a funding point of view and a LHIN (local health integration network) point of view, [East Parry Sound and Almaguin] are actually a different LHIN. But it makes no geographical sense for those people to be driving to North Bay when they could be coming south,” Branigan said. “The Ministry needs to deal with this funding glitch. It’s all well and good to look at Muskoka, but we need to actually look at East Parry Sound and Almaguin, otherwise we are cutting off a lot of people from access to emergency care.”
Tim Withey, who helped to organize last weekend’s Save Our Services rally, said he hoped that the MAHC realized that of the three options, only one was acceptable. 
“I think they certainly said tonight that they’re listening. Hopefully with the rally and petitions and motions passed by municipal councils they know that the first choice, the two acute hospitals, is the only choice. The other two options will have a detrimental effect on our community.”

 

By Jesse Cole

 




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Application Form For Huntsville's Empty Council Seat Now Online
Thursday, March 26, 2015 (720 reads)


The application form for the position of Stisted, Stephenson & Port Sydney Ward Councilor is available online at www.huntsville.ca today inviting "eligible voters" who may be interested to submit their application to fill the seat left vacant by Chris Zanetti.

According to the town, anyone who resides in the town is eligible to apply no matter what ward they reside in, provided that they fulfill eligibility requirements.

The form asks applicants to explain why they would like to serve, relate any previous experience they may have, and have signatures of three people who agree to nominate you.

All applicants will be required to attend a special council meeting on April 16th and make a presentation to council and answer questions from council.

Council will vote on the applicants at the end of the session until they come to a consensus by a majority of votes.

Applications must be submitted to town hall by April 10th at 2pm.





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Bracebridge Approves Municipal Budget and Business Plan
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 (295 reads)


The Town of Bracebridge has approved its 2015 Municipal Budget and Business plan at a meeting held on March 24. The new plan will see a 2.1 per cent property tax increase for residential property owners. 
“I am pleased with the adoption of the 2015 Budget and Business Plan, as it continues to address the capital requirements of our community while remaining fiscally responsible to our residents,” Mayor Graydon Smith said.
The approved plan outlines funding for a number of items including $2.1 million allocated to work on the Town’s roads and sidewalks and $55,000 as part of a 7-year pledge to the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation. The plan also includes the acquisition of a plot of land that will house Bracebridge’s new Fire Station.




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Burk's Falls Serves as Reminder of Consequences to Hospital Services Loss
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 (8821 reads)


Leave things the way they are. That’s the message Cathy Still wants to send to Muskoka-Algonquin Healthcare.  The 30 year EMS worker and Burk’s Falls Reeve said that the proposed changes to Muskoka’s healthcare would have a serious impact on the vitality of the Town of Huntsville. It’s something Still knows all too well, having dealt with a similar situation in Burk’s Falls.

Burk’s Falls was home to a three-building hospital, but in 2009 that hospital lost its urgent care services and now serves primarily as a lab and x-ray facility.

“It was a big blow,” Still said. “We still have Huntsville 30 minutes away, but it’s not the same.”

Still said that losing those services has taken a serious toll on Burk’s Falls livelihood.

“People have left the region, especially elderly people,” Still said. “People who are looking at relocating to Burk’s Falls, the first thing they ask is about the healthcare services available.”

“All of these things come into play. You burden us with no services and then people won’t come and establish a business here because there’s no people here,” Stills added. “Our population has decreased, our downtown is going nowhere and no one will open a business.”

As a paramedic, Still also knows how important surgery is when dealing with a trauma situation.

“We have a golden hour, but in a trauma situation we really don’t,” she said. “Very few people come back from a trauma situation and the only thing that really helps stabilize them is surgery.”

Still regularly attends calls throughout the region, sometimes as far as Algonquin Park, adding more wait time could be a matter of life and death.

“If we have to pick someone up from the East Parry Sound region or Algonquin Park are we going to go to Bracebridge? Probably not,” she said. “We’ll probably go to West Parry Sound or North Bay... That’s a long way to go trying to keep someone alive.”

 

 







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MAHC To Hold Final Hospital Meeting Tonight in Huntsville
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 (2352 reads)


A couple of hundred people were on hand in Bracebridge last night to hear from the MAHC on their plans for the future of Healthcare in the region.  Officials presented 3 options including costing, advantages and disadvantages of each of the options. 

Natalie Bubela, CEO of the MAHC told residents that the organization had been listening and had removed the Acute/Ambulatory option off the table and replaced it with a model called Centres of Focus which would pull surgery services to one location and medicine services to another.  According to the plan, Emergency services would remain at both locations.  Other options include two full service hospitals, and one new centrally located hospital.

The MAHC say a final decision on what model will be chosen will come in May.

Tonight, the final meeting on the plans will be presented in Huntsville at the Active Living Centre at 7pm..



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Huntsville to Host Muskoka Youth Entrepreneur Summit Thursday
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 (342 reads)


The Muskoka Small Business Centre, Muskoka Community Network, and Muskoka Futures, along with 100 youth who will be gathering in Huntsville for the Youth Entrepreneurship Summit on Thursday.

Youth from area high schools will get a hands-on look at being a young entrepreneur and will hear from Keynote speaker Graeme Murray from Canada’s Gold Medal Sledge Hockey Team.

For more information, please contact the Muskoka Small Business Centre, 705-646-9021.



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Fire Dept Urges Residents Not to Use Candles on Earth Hour
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 (2996 reads)


To prevent property loss and fire-related injuries, the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Department is strongly recommending that people use flashlights, battery-operated lanterns or flameless candles for light, instead of candles, during Earth Hour on Saturday, March 28th.

Fire Chief Stephen Hernen said that “Preventing fires while participating in this worthy initiative is important,.  If people do choose to light candles for Earth Hour, they should test all of the smoke alarms in their homes ahead of time to ensure they are working. With an increase in candle use, there is an increased risk of fire”.

The Fire Dept provides these tips to help you have a safe Earth Hour:

• Use sturdy candleholders that won’t tip or burn. Those with glass shades or chimneys are best.

• Keep lit candles a safe distance away from anything that can burn.

• Keep candles, matches and lighters out of the reach of children.

• Always stay in the room where candles are being used. Never leave candles unattended. Blow all candles out before leaving a room.

• Keep candles out of all bedrooms.

It’s the law in Ontario to have working smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas of the home. Smoke alarms can provide an early warning of fire and a home escape plan will help ensure everyone knows what to do in a fire.



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District Asks For Financial Help With Airport Repairs
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 (528 reads)


The District of Muskoka will be asking the federal and provincial governments for some financial help for repairs to the regions Muskoka Airport.

Council voted to send a request to the federal and provincial governments requesting funding for the District’s Muskoka Airport Runway Rehabilitation project.

While federal funding for airport infrastructure does exist, Muskoka Airport does not qualify under the funding policy as it does not provide scheduled service. Due to the $6.5 million price tag associated with the airport repairs, District council opted to request funding of up to $6.5 million from the various government ministries including the Ministry of Transportation.

Initially the District intended only to reach out the Federal government, but Mayor Graydon Smith drafted an amendment to include the provincial government as well saying,

“If we’re asking, we may as well ask all of them,” he said.

The request also asks that the appropriate Ministries change their funding policy to include airports that do not include scheduled service.



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Clement Supports Fight Against ISIL
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 (2232 reads)


Parry Sound - Muskoka MP Tony Clement said he is in full support of the Government’s intent to extend and expand Canada’s military contribution to the global fight against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The motion to extend the mission, outlined by Prime Minister Stephen Harper this morning, will be debated and voted on in the House of Commons. The mission, known as Operation IMPACT, is part of the United States-led international Coalition against ISIL, and is composed of over 60 countries.

Clement said that ``ISIL has made clear that it targets, by name, Canada and Canadians. These terrorists hate our society and the Canadian traditions of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. As the Prime Minister said, we cannot protect Canada or our communities by simply choosing to ignore this threat,:Parry Sound - Muskoka MP Tony Clement said he is in full support of the Government’s intent to extend and expand Canada’s military contribution to the global fight against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The motion to extend the mission, outlined by Prime Minister Stephen Harper this morning, will be debated and voted on in the House of Commons. The mission, known as Operation IMPACT, is part of the United States-led international Coalition against ISIL, and is composed of over 60 countries.

Clement said that "ISIL has made clear that it targets, by name, Canada and Canadians. These terrorists hate our society and the Canadian traditions of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. As the Prime Minister said, we cannot protect Canada or our communities by simply choosing to ignore this threat," he said. "I would also like to offer my profound gratitude and unequivocal support to all members of the Canadian Armed Forces engaged in Operation IMPACT." he said. "I would also like to offer my profound gratitude and unequivocal support to all members of the Canadian Armed Forces engaged in Operation IMPACT."



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New Noise Bylaw Targets Those Who Break the Peace
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 (27840 reads)


The Town of Huntsville approved a new noise bylaw at Monday's General Committee that gave the town new powers to deal with noise complaints outside of the previous bylaw.  Staff say that the town received several complaints over the summer months in 2014 that the town did not have any prohibitions for.   The complaints were mostly automotive in nature including squealing tires on private property and noises made by remote control replica toys, power tools and other devices that make noise on an unreasonable duration of time or intensity of noise.

The thrust of the changes is meant to deal with noise under human control, of such a nature as to interfere with the peace, comfort and convenience of any person and includes a variety of offenses including persistent barking, yelling & shouting, loud playing of musical instruments, setting off fireworks, the operation of construction equipment, or operation of a motorized conveyance during restricted times.  Fines start at $125 per infraction.

The bylaw has to be ratified at the next council meeting.



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MAHC Holds Public Information Sessions
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 (16476 reads)


The second in a series of meetings by the Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare will take place tonight  at the Bracebridge Sportsplex.  The meetings are a follow-up to information sessions held last year when the organization presented several options for the delivery of healthcare services in the region with included a single hospital site or single site services in the region resulting in one hospital becoming an acute care site and the other an ambulatory services site.

Protests in the region on Saturday brought out hundreds of people demanding that acute care hospital services remain at both hospital sites.

The meeting takes place tonight at 7pm at the Bracebridge Sportsplex followed by another meeting tomorrow in Huntsville at the Active Living Centre, also at 7pm.



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District Adds Voice in Opposition to Service Changes at MAHC
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 (1537 reads)


The District of Muskoka is the latest group to add their name to the list opposing service changes to Muskoka hospitals.

District council voted unanimously last night to support a resolution brought before council by Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith and seconded by Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison.

The resolution pledges support for continued comprehensive healthcare at two sites in Muskoka and has been supported by Huntsville, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and other area municipalities.

Council also voted to send a copy of resolution to Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare.







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Airport to Begin Work on Pricey Repairs
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 (1336 reads)


Muskoka Airport’s runway will be receiving some much need TLC next month after Muskoka District council voted to award a contract for repairs to Fowlers Construction.

The topic, which has been a recurring issue at District council for the last decade, arose again the District’s Planning and Economic Development committee received a report stating that the airport’s runway was in need of immediate repairs to its storm water management system.

Council was presented with a number of options on how to proceed with the repairs including a plan to start construction in the early spring and complete the work within 40 days and an option to break the work into two periods, one in the spring and one in the fall.

Council came to a decision after prolonged debate about the issue that resulted in several amendments being drafted and struck down.

One of the key issues raised during the debate was the costs associated with dividing the project into two parts which would cost taxpayers an estimated $400,000 more. However, Airport Manager Mark Sterling relayed that a number of businesses that operate from the airport rely on the spring and summer months for their livelihood and shutting down the area for that length of time has the potential to bankrupt some of those businesses. The District could also be held responsible for the loss of income of those businesses.

Ultimately council voted to support and adopt a recommendation by staff to shut begin work in the spring with a break during the summer and to finish the repairs and repaving of the runway in the early fall.



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Huntsville Council Opens Councilor Position to 'Any Eligible Voters" Interested.
Monday, March 23, 2015 (23632 reads)


Huntsville council voted today to open the floor to any eligible voter who wishes to apply for the vacant seat left by Chris Zanetti. 
Zanetti left his position as Stisted, Stephenson and Port Sydney ward councilor earlier this year citing personal reasons for his departure. 
Council recently voted not to hold a by-election and to instead appoint someone to the position. 
As part of today’s decision, council said that any eligible voter can apply for the position. Each applicant will make a presentation to council at a special council meeting to be held on April 16. 
Council will vote on which of the applicants to select as Zanetti’s replacement, with the applicants with the least votes being eliminated until council can come to a majority agreement on one applicant. 
The deadline for applying for the position is April 10.
Current councilors have been asked not to speak with potential applicants in order to remain objective in their decision making.




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MPP Christine Elliott Pledges Her Support for Muskoka Healthcare.
Monday, March 23, 2015 (3902 reads)


MPP Christine Elliott was on hand last weekend to speak as part of Huntsville’s Save Our Services rally on Saturday. 
Elliott is the Progressive Conservative MPP for Whitby-Oshawa and serves as the health critic for Ontario. Elliott is also currently running for the leadership of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives, a race many pundits expect she will win.
Elliott was invited to Huntsville to speak about healthcare in the region and her stance on healthcare funding. 
“It is truly an honour to be here with you today and it’s wonderful to see so many coming out to show how passionate you are about local healthcare services,” Elliott said. “I’ve been the healthcare critic for the PC Party for the last five years and I’ve seen the gradual erosion of services,” Elliott added. 
Elliott said that she’s prepared to do “whatever advocacy is necessary” to ensure that healthcare in the region remains properly funded. 
“I’ve had the opportunity to study and review how healthcare services are being delivered across the province and I know that in rural areas your local hospitals are so important,” Elliott said. 




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Huntsville Councilors Ponder Committing $190,000 to Complete Hunters Bay Trail
Monday, March 23, 2015 (16617 reads)


The completion of the Hunters Bay Trail along Hwy 11 and under the narrows bridge will be discussed today at The General Committee and councilors will be discussing the expenditure of $26,000 to complete an environmental assessment and voting on whether or not to spend over $85,000 in both 2016 and 2017 to fund construction of the remainder of the trail system.

The General Committee meeting starts at 10am in Huntsville Council Chambers.



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Huntsville Starts Process to Fill Vacant Seat
Monday, March 23, 2015 (772 reads)


Huntsville's General Committee will be meeting today and will discuss the process to replace councilor Chris Zanetti.    A report is expected today outlining the process following last weeks council meeting, in which councilors voted to appoint someone to the vacant seat rather than hold a bye election which according to staff would have cost up to $57,000.

Council is expected to approve a committee comprised of residents who will act as the selection committee.



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MAHC Holds Consultations With Residents Starting Tonight
Monday, March 23, 2015 (1943 reads)


The MAHC will be holding three community information sessions, one in each major town, starting tonight. The sessions are aimed at providing the Muskoka community with an update as to the progress of the MAHC's Hospital Care for Our Future Generations plan.

The first session is scheduled tonight, at the Gravenhurst Royal Canadian Legion, the second will be held on Tuesday, March 24 at the Bracebridge Sportsplex and the final sessions will take place at the Active Living Centre in Huntsville on Wednesday, March 25. All sessions begin at 7 p.m.



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Withey Urges Protesters to "Keep The Momentum Going" at Rallies
Monday, March 23, 2015 (2200 reads)


Two towns, two rallies, one message: save our services. That was the point of last weekend’s rallies in Huntsville and Bracebridge.

Over 500 people showed up between the two rallies, all to show their support for continued comprehensive healthcare in Muskoka and Almaguin. The rallies were held to address concerns by the community that vital services such as surgery could be lost in favour of single siting by the MAHC to cut costs.

Starting at 11 a.m. at in Bracebridge, the Hands Up for our Hospitals rally in bracebridge kicked off the Saturday, March 20 events. Held inside the Bracebridge Sportsplex, nearly 300 people showed up, complete with placards and bed-pan’s fashioned into impromptu drums.

Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith opened the first rally giving a passionate speech about the importance of healthcare in Muskoka,

“Healthcare in Muskoka means a lot of things to a lot of people, for me it means the care of my family... It’s about preserving families and rallying around and creating communities through our healthcare institutions... We’re here today to support and show our love for our hospitals and send a very clear message to the Ministry of Health and the LHIN and our local board that we need a strategy that allows for multi-site delivery of comprehensive services.”

Huntsville’s rally started at 2 p.m. and despite cold weather, hundreds of people showed up from as far north as Kearney and as far south as Gravenhurst.

On couple travelled from Kearney to attend the rally saying they were there because without Huntsville Hospital, they wouldn’t be here today.

“Four years ago I had emergency surgery and within five minutes of getting [to the hospital] I was on a stretcher in an operating room,” Cathy Kohajda said. “If that would’ve happened in Bracebridge, I wouldn’t be here to tell you this story.”

Kohajda also said that from Kearney to Bracebridge is a 45 minute drive and that is simply too long of a wait for those in need. 

Both rallies had speakers municipal leaders from Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Huntsville speak as well as Muskoka-Parry Sound MPP Norm Miller. Huntsville saw Nominee for the Progressive Conservative leadership, Christine Elliott, speak. Elliott serves as the healthcare critic for the Ontario Conservatives and pledged her support to continued care in the region.

Perhaps the most telling speech was given by Burks Falls Reeve Cathy Stills, who spoke about the impact losing hospital services can have on a community.

“We had a beautiful hospital and then in 2009 – poof – it was gone. You can’t survive with one surgical unit; people won’t come to visit without a hospital. Things are going to deteriorate and believe me they will, just look what happened to Burks Falls,” Stills said.

Stills, who is also a 30 year veteran EMS worker, said that moving services to Bracebridge would not only cost money, but lives.

“I have been dragging people up and down Highway 11 from east Parry Sound and Bracebridge to surgery in Huntsville and I can’t tell you how many people those services have saved over the last 30 years. If we have to drag these people back and forth down to Bracebridge, it’s going to cost money and it’s going to cost lives.”

In response to the concerns, the MAHC is hosting a series of three information sessions in Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Huntsville to receive input from citizens. Tim Withey, one of the key organizers of the rallies, urged everyone to keep the momentum going and attend the information sessions to further drive the message home.

The first of the three sessions is at 7 p.m. tonight at the Gravenhurst Royal Canadian Legion.



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Hospital Rallies Will Be Followed By Community Information Sessions
Friday, March 20, 2015 (2055 reads)


Saturday's hospital rallies in both Huntsville and Bracebridge will be followed by a series on information sessions hosted by Muskoka-Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) next week.

MAHC will be three community information sessions, one in each major town, next week. The sessions are aimed at providing the Muskoka community with an update as to the progress of the MAHC's Hopsital Care for Our Future Generations plan.

The first session is scheduled for Monday, March 23 at the Gravenhurst Royal Canadian Legion, the second will be held on Tuesday, March 24 at the Bracebridge Sportsplex and the final sessions will take place at the Active Living Centre in Huntsville on Wednesday, March 25. All sessions begin at 7 p.m.



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Spring Forecast Cooler Than Normal
Friday, March 20, 2015 (2029 reads)


Spring officially arrives today at 6:45 p.m,  but, is Old Man Winter willing to loosen his icy grip? Well, according to Environment Canada's Dave Phillips it’s probably best not to put away those snow brushes and shovels just yet.

Phillips said “We’ve never had a spring without snow,” and the region still has to get rid of the coldness of winter — There is still lots of snow and  ice, and the ground is frozen, he said.

“And then when there’s any heat leftover, well, that will warm the air and soften the ground, and things will be nice. We’re really not at that stage yet,” he said.

Phillips said the rest of March and most of April will be cooler than normal.  “Our models are showing the last 10 days of March, April —going to be a little cooler than normal,” he said.

He said that “Spring doesn’t look like it’s going to be one of those ones that is a balmy one. It’s going to be more winter-like.”

However, he said that things look to be heating up at the end of April and the beginning of May.



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Hospital Funding Rallies to be Held on Saturday
Friday, March 20, 2015 (4656 reads)


Mayor Scott Aitchison reminded councilors of the Save our Services Rally for healthcare funding which will be held on Saturday at 2pm in front of Huntsville Town Hall.  The rally is one of two being held to bring attention on the funding problems the MAHC has keeping two acute care hospitals running with their funding shortfall.  The other rally will be held in Bracebridge at 11am in front of the Bracebridge Sportsplex.

Aitchison said that he has been invited to speak at the Bracebridge rally and he has invited Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith to speak at the Huntsville Rally.  Several other dignitaries have been invited as well Aitchison told councilors.

He said that he hoped that the general public would come out and show their support.  Earlier this week, Mayor Graydon Smith told HBR that it was important for residents to get involved saying that "this is the first time we have asked them" to get involved and there is a good reason for it.

Bracebridge's rally takes place at 11am and is followed by the rally in Huntsville at 2pm.



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Huntsville Declines Noise Exemption for Watercross Event
Friday, March 20, 2015 (12835 reads)


Organizers of Ontario Watercross  Racing were before council yesterday for the second time asking for a noise exemption to run snowmobile races on Penn Lake on the weekend of June 21st.

Kelly Hall and Jason Bidan told councilors that the event however loud will bring spectators to town to witness the event and hoped that council would hear their request over residents who were complaining about having the event in their backyard.

Bidan promised that environmental concerns were not a factor as their methods and equipment were less harmful to area lakes than most boats.   He also promised that the races would stop by 5pm daily.

Councilors, while supportive of the event told the organizers that the location was not ideal and declined the noise exemption.



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Council Chooses to Appoint Replacement for Zanetti
Friday, March 20, 2015 (4182 reads)


Yesterday Huntsville Council voted to replace the seat left vacant by the departure of Stisted, Stephenson & Port Sydney councilor Chris Zanetti by way of appointment rather than running a by election.



One by one councilors lined up against the expense, lamenting that the cost was over half of the cost of the last general election to elect just one councilor.



Mayor Aitchison told councilors that it "pains me to think that we won't have a bye election," and warning councilors "that you can never go wrong when you go to the people."



A bye election would cost a minimum of $47,000 according to staff who said it could quite likely cost as much as $57,195.  Appointing someone would have a minimal cost - nearly zero according to staff.



Huntsville has a history of appointing people to council, having done it 1988, 1990 and 1999.



When it came down to decide, all councilors except Jonathan Wiebe voted to appoint a replacement.



A report will come back to council on how to go about appointing a new councilor.  The town expects the appointment will be made by a yet to be formed committee comprised of residents.



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Ontario Raises Minimum Wage to $11.25
Thursday, March 19, 2015 (21168 reads)



Ontarians are getting a raise! Ontario is raising the general minimum wage in the province to $11.25, up from $11, effective Oct. 1
The rise makes Ontario the province with the highest minimum wage, save the Northwest Territories, who will be raising their minimum wage to $12.50 in June. 
The rise in wage comes after a change to the Employment Standards Act that ties in minimum wage increases to the Consumer Price Index for Ontario. 
Wage rates for alcohol servers, homeworkers and students will also increase.
This is the ninth time Ontario has increased its minimum wage since 2003 
 


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Clement Announces Funding for Parry Sound Coast Guard Base
Thursday, March 19, 2015 (7757 reads)


Muskoka-Parry Sound MP Tony Clement was in Parry Sound today to announcement a government investment in the Coast Guard.
Clement made the announcement, on behalf of Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea, that the government of Canada will be funding work that will upgrade the Parry Sound Coast Guard Base’s storage tanks. Storage tanks are used for re-fueling purposes for both the CCGS Rilsey and CCGS Cove Isle which are home ported in Parry Sound. 
The upgrades are expected to create job opportunities for local businesses. 
“Providing the hardworking men and women of the Canadian Coast Guard with updated facilities is essential to their work. Our Government knows the important role infrastructure plays in ensuring safe and secure waters, and how its improvement creates jobs in rural and coastal communities,” said Shea.  




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Landlord Fined $2,000 for Faulty Smoke Alarms.
Thursday, March 19, 2015 (7235 reads)


A Huntsville landlord was fined $2,000 for not having working smoke alarms in his building.
The landlord pled guilty to two counts of Fire Code violations in a Bracebridge court. The landlord was fined $1,000 for each of the two counts which included failing to install a smoke alarm on the lower level and failing to maintain a smoke alarm in operating condition. 
The landlord was charged after the Huntsville Fire Department conducted an inspection of the building in November of 2014. 
“Landlords must have working smoke alarms installed at their properties to protect their tenants,” Fire Chief Stephen Hernen said. “Tenants must not tamper with alarms and have a responsibility to notify the landlord if the alarm becomes inoperative.” 
Under the Ontario Fire Code, all landlords are required to test their smoke alarms each year and after any changes in tenancy. 



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Terence Haight Program Donates $11,600 to Local Businesses
Thursday, March 19, 2015 (412 reads)


One mans generosity has made three Gravenhurst businesses a little richer this week.
The Terence Haight Finanacial Assistance Program announced on Tuesday the three recipients of the programs second year of operations. 
Ryde Community Co-op was awared $1,500, the Severn Bridge Community Hall was awarded $6,900 and Free Stuff for Daily Needs was gifted $3,200 for a total amount of $11,600.
The program comes from money bequeathed to Gravenhurst by the late Terence Haight, who left the town over $1 million upon his passing. 
 “We continue to be grateful for the enormous financial gift the Town received upon the passing of Mr. Haight,” said Mayor Paisley Donaldson. “We intend to use his gift by continually supporting the well-being of our community. Our hope is that Mr. Haight’s generous spirit will live on through these deserving recipients and the work they do in our community,” added the Mayor.




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Bracebridge Mayor Emphasizes Need For Residents Involvement in Hospital Rallies
Thursday, March 19, 2015 (801 reads)


This weekend, both Huntsville and Bracebridge will be holding rallies to draw attention to the funding crisis at the MAHC and their plans to single site services that has alarmed residents who are afraid that the cuts will lead to closure of an ER department and would ultimately lead to the closure of a Hospital.

Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith will host a rally on Saturday at 11am in front of the Bracebridge Sportsplex.  He told HBR that it is very important for residents to get involved saying that "this is the first time we have asked them" to rally and there is a reason for it.

The Bracebridge rally will be followed by a rally in Huntsville at 2pm in front of town hall and will feature music and speeches from Smith, Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison, MPP Norm Miller and Tim Withey who has been spearheading the opposition to the cuts.  MP Tony Clement will also be on hand to lend  his support.



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Huntsville Council Decides Tonight on How to Replace Zanetti
Thursday, March 19, 2015 (968 reads)


Huntsville Council will be meeting tonight and decide on the way they will replace former Councilor Chris Zanetti who resigned shortly after being elected.

A report coming to council will give them the option to appoint someone to the position, or to run a by election that is reported to cost over $57,000.

The meeting starts tonight at 7pm.



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Huntsville Advises Cann Lake Rink is Closed
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 (481 reads)


The Town of Huntsville is advising that the Cann Lake Outdoor Rink is now closed for the season. The town is asking that for your own safety and the safety of others please respect the signage posted at the pond entrance identifying the closure of the outdoor rink.

Residents interested in skating during March Break are encouraged to contact the Canada Summit Centre Customer Service Desk at 705-789-6421 for daily public indoor skating at the Canada Summit Centre.



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Huntsville By-Election Could Cost Over $50,000
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 (11679 reads)


Huntsville Town Council will be deciding on how to fill the seat left vacant by former Stisted, Stephenson & Port Sydney Ward Councilor Chris Zanetti at their monthly council meeting tomorrow at 7pm.   Council will be given the option of appointing a person who is eligible to hold office and consents to accept the office.  The appointment would need to be confirmed by a motion of council.  Beside the two councilors that were elected in the ward, three other candidates ran for election with Karen Insley coming in third overall.   If council were to appoint a replacement for Zanetti, they are not obligated to choose from the field of unsuccessful candidates.  It's unclear whether any of the candidates would accept the appointment.

The other option would be to hold a by-election and if council chooses to do so, they must pass a by law by April 24th to establish a nomination deadline and voting date would 45 days following the deadline.

The total estimated cost of running a by-election is $57,195.



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Port Cunnington Lodge to Mark 125 Years
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 (580 reads)


It’s been 125 years since the Port Cunnington Lodge and Resort set up operations in Muskoka. Innkeeper and descendent of the original owner Kim Loader is planning to mark the anniversary with something special.

Located in Lake of Bay’s, a date for the anniversary celebrations has yet to be set, but it will be sometime during the 2015 summer season.

Loader said that "It is amazing to think that Port Cunnington Lodge has been welcoming guests since 1890. To be a successful Muskoka lodge for 125 years is a remarkable achievement. Naturally, in order to keep up with the times and customers' expectations, Port Cunnington has changed over the years. If the original owners could see the lodge as it is today, I think they would be very pleased with the transformation.”



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Lake of Bays Twp Comes in With 5% Budget Increase
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 (1664 reads)


Citing the need to purchase more gravel for road maintenance and the need to build a more robust reserve to fund future capital projects, the Lake of Bays Council approved an increase in the tax levy of 5% at the council meeting held yesterday in Dwight.

The rate is the highest percentage increase in the region with Huntsville coming in at just over 3.5%, and Bracebridge just over 2%



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$2700 Raised for MMA Tryout
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 (1418 reads)


Kyle “The Monster” Nelson is around $2,000 closer to reaching his goal of trying out for The Ultimate Fighter after a fundraising event last weekend.

Around 80 people turned out for a fundraiser at Moose Delaney's in Huntsville to help support Nelson in his quest. The fundraiser raised around $1,500 through a silent auction and $400 to $500 donated from Moose Delaney's .

Nelson is trying to reach a goal of $5,000 to travel to Las Vegas  where he will tryout for the Mixed Martial Arts show The Ultimate Fighter. So far, Nelson has raised $2,700 towards his goal.

“I have enough to get down there and back, I would just have to really budget my food and travel and I wouldn’t be able to do as much training as I’d like,” Nelson said.



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Smoke Alarms Save Family From Fire
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 (5112 reads)


Fire crews responded to a reported Kitchen Fire on Brunel Rd last night at around 11:30 pm. A mother and her 3 children were all in bed and alerted of the fire by the smoke alarm.

Fire crews quickly extinguished the fire which was contained to the kitchen, but unfortunately the rest of the apt suffered heavy smoke damage. It appears the fire was started by an appliance on the counter and damage is estimated at around $75,000. The Fire Department credits working smoke alarms for saving the family.

1 firefighter was sent to hospital after a slip on the ice.



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Lake of Bays Approves Gun By-Law
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 (10760 reads)


Lake of Bays council has approved a controversial by-law that would regulate the discharge of firearms in the township. 
Council voted to approve the by-law during a meeting on March 17, despite a delegation from the Ontario Hunters and Anglers Association opposing the by-law. 
Mayor Bob Young noted that he received a letter from the Ministry of Natural Resources that stated the Ministry believed the existing provincial laws that regulate firearms were sufficient. The letter comes after Mayor Young received advice from the OPP who claimed that they felt they needed local by-laws in order to follow up on complaints.
The newly adopted by-law bans firearms discharges in certain areas such as town centers, some gravel pits and outlines fines as large as $500 for breaching the by-law




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Power Outages Affect Huntsville & Burks Falls Areas
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 (3282 reads)


Hydro One is responding to 2 power outages, one in Huntsville affecting approx 500 customers, and one in the Burks Falls area affecting 1000 customers.

Hydro One says that power should be restored by 11.45am.



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MNR Urge Motorists to Watch for Wildlife
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 (2057 reads)


The MNR are warning motorists to be on the lookout for wildlife on your travels.  They are advising of increased activity on roadways and urge motorists to scan the road ahead from side to side and if you spot animals to slow down and honk your horn to let the animal know of your presence.

Moose, Elk and Deer are particularly active this time of year and most often active at dusk and dawn. The MNR advise you not to swerve, but break firmly and stay in control.



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Load Restrictions in Effect on Area Roads
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 (449 reads)


During the spring thaw period, typically early March to mid-May, some roads cannot withstand heavy vehicle loads. Every year, municipalities monitor the thaw progression and both Huntsville and Gravenhurst have issued load restrictions.  Bracebridge enacted load restrictions last week.

To ensure the protection of certain roads, a weight restriction of 5 tonnes per axel on roads owned by the municipality has been enacted.



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Firearms Bylaw Before Lake of Bays Council
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 (425 reads)


Lake of Bays Council will be meeting today for their regularly scheduled meeting and may be passing a new firearms bylaw.  The latest version of the bylaw comes after changes were made following a meeting last year when hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts decended on council to voice their concern about the changes.

Council addressed some concerns in this version, removing any regulation that involved bow hunting, altering minimum property size requirements and set backs, and  identifying exclusion zones around  community centres.

The meeting starts at 9am.



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Iron Skillet to Close Doors.
Monday, March 16, 2015 (9399 reads)



The “biggest little town” of Kearney is losing one of Muskoka’s culinary gems as the Iron Skillet prepares to close its doors for good. 
Announced via the Iron Skillets Facebook page, the catering company and restaurant announced their decisions saying, 
“It’s been a great 4+ years and we want to thank everyone for their support over these years.” 
The Iron Skillet will be selling off their assets this coming Friday, March 20. Items for sale include kitchen wares, refrigeration units, meat slicers and more. 



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Council Votes to Widen Highway, Despite Passionate Opposition.
Monday, March 16, 2015 (10468 reads)


Muskoka Lakes Township councilor Phil Harding took a stand, literally, at a Committee of the Whole meeting last week. 
Harding left his seat at the meeting to voice his opposition to a recommendation from the Bala Falls working committee that would widen a portion of Highway 169 to alleviate concerns over road closures due to construction associated with the Bala Falls hydro-electric plant. 
“I’m standing right now because I am taking a stand on this project,” Harding said. “I took an oath to protect and represent the tax payers of Muskoka; to be truthful and honest and to the best of my abilities, enhance Muskoka.” 
“Never did I make an oath to represent outside developers,” Harding added. 
Harding’s speech made reference to a number of developments in Muskoka Lakes Township including the Red Leaves resort on Lake Rosseau, saying that these were difficult to decisions to make, but ultimately benefitted Muskoka, something he insists Swift River’s development will not. 
“Swift River is an outside developer with an outside interest; taking our resources and beauty, damaging our fragile economy, putting in jeopardy our environment and risking property damage by manipulating lake levels during and after construction, with no penalty should this happen.”
Harding said that handing over land to facilitate the project was not their job and that if widening the road was necessary to the project, the Province could expropriate the land. 
Harding also said that closure of some of the roadways during the construction period would only have a minute effect on the town. 
“To weigh the options, we can widen the roadway, going against public opinion, all to make easier for Swift River Energy to build a plant that, according to public statements, every councilor around this table is opposed to. Or we could endure a short period of time with lane closures and protect the assets we’ve been entrusted as councilors.”
Ultimately Harding’s pleas went unheard as councilors voted in favour of widening the highway with a final vote of five to three.




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Hospital Rallies to be Held This Weekend
Monday, March 16, 2015 (5500 reads)


 

The Save Our Services Rally will be held in Huntsville on March 21 at 2:00pm in front of Town Hall.  Residents from Huntsville and surrounding areas are encouraged to attend the Save Our Services Rally on March 21 to show their support for and the importance of health care in the community.
The Huntsville hospital services 20,000 residents within its borders, 20,000 seasonal residents and also acts as the closest Emergency Response facility for northern communities as well as international tourist destinations such as Algonquin Park, East Parry Sound and Muskoka cottage country. Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison said that "A fully functional acute care hospital is a must in Huntsville and in Bracebridge. We face unique pressures on our health care system in Muskoka. If surgery were to be closed at either the Huntsville site or the Bracebridge site it would mean the end of emergency care in that community."
The Rally comes after growing concern that Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare plans to single-site surgery services in order to balance their budget based on a new provincial funding formula. The effects of removing surgery from the Huntsville Hospital would have a profound effect on the future of the community.

In Bracebridge, the rally will be held in front of the Bracebridge Sportsplex starting at 11am.


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Free Business Smarts Program for Artists
Monday, March 16, 2015 (891 reads)


A Free five-part series of learning meet-ups, called Biz SmARTS - Business Development Skills for Northern Ontario Artists will be presented starting March 25th over five consecutive weeks.

The series will be delivered in partnership with business centres and economic development corporations in Northern and Northwestern Ontario. In Muskoka, the series is hosted by Muskoka Futures and the Town of Gravenhurst and Townships of Muskoka Lakes and Georgian Bay.

Renato Romanin, director of economic development for the Town of Gravenhurst said “We recognize that the arts community is woven into the fabric of Muskoka. At the same time we also recognize how challenging it can be for an artist to manage their business,” he said.

Artist and business-person Monica Schut provides practical advice to northern artists on growing a business to ensure its future success. In “Plan for Success”, Monica helps participants reflect on the importance of planning; the features of self-employment in the arts, and how to get a good start.

The series has been created with the support of the Ontario Arts Council.

For more information, contact Renato Romanin at 705-687-2230



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HBR Partners With BBC
Monday, March 16, 2015 (782 reads)


Hunters Bay Radio has partnered with the BBC to provide world news updates 6 times day Monday to Friday and twice a day on the weekends.

BBC World News is recognized as one of the world's best news organizations and together with HBR's local and regional coverage means more newscasts of the news you need to know, as it happens.

Check our website at www.huntersbayradio.com for our newscast times on our broadcast schedule.



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Unplowed Road Delay Fire Fighters Response
Monday, March 16, 2015 (13961 reads)


By the time fire crews from Baysville reached a cottage reported on fire there was nothing left but ashes. Saturday night Lake Of Bays fire department received a call of a structure fire on the South side on Menominee Lake in Lake Of Bays township. Crews responded to the location to find a private road that had not been plowed, so the crews had to walk in to find the  fire.  While walking in the private road crews found that a tree had fallen over hydro lines leaving live wires blocking their access. It took crews over an hour to finally reach the cottage and by that time there was nothing left but ashes. 

No one was at the cottage at the time of the fire and it is believed that downed power lines were a contributing factor in the cause of the fire.

Fire Chief Hernen wants to remind everyone that if you don’t maintain access to your property emergency crews simple reach you to provide the timely assistance you may need.



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Protest Against Bill C-51 to be Held in Bracebridge this Weekend.
Friday, March 13, 2015 (9615 reads)


Canadians from all parts of the country will be voicing their distaste with the Conservative government’s proposed anti-terror legislation tomorrow at what is being labeled a national day of action against Bill C-51.
Started by Leadnow, an advocacy organization created during the 2011 election, the campaign to stop what they’re labeled a “secret police bill” has attracted communities as far and wide as Yellowknife, Whitehorse and St. John’s. 
Not one to ignore issues of national important, Muskoka will be getting in on the protest action with an event scheduled for March 14 in front of the Bracebridge courthouse. 
Critics of the proposed bill say that it lacks proper oversight and accountability for the increased power and reach it would give the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and could open the door to violations the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.




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Beer & Wine Coming to Grocery Stores?
Friday, March 13, 2015 (62500 reads)


You could soon be able to buy beer and wines, at your local grocery store.  The province is reportedly planning to allow the sale of beer and wine in hundreds of large grocery stores across Ontario.

The government, through the LCBO, has been controlling the sale of beer and wine since the end of prohibition. The Beer Store has operated the only outlet that could sell beer in the province outside of small brewery shops.

However, according to reports the government is set to end the monopoly on beer and wine sales in the upcoming provincial budget.

The Star reports the government is going to let large grocery stores sell craft and major beer brands as a convenience.



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Watershed Council Offering "Know Your H2O" Next Week
Friday, March 13, 2015 (445 reads)


Water is important to the economy, lifestyle and identity of Muskoka. And March 16-22 is Canada Water Week and Muskoka Watershed Council has organized a special celebration in Muskoka at the Huntsville Place Mall.

Canada Water Week is held annually in the third week of March to coincide with World Water Day on March 22. This year’s theme is “Know Your H2O” and offers a pathway for Muskokans to get answers to all their water-related inquiries such as:

-       How healthy are our waterways?

-       What kind of aquatic species live here?

-       What are the major causes of stress to water quality?

-       What can I do to minimize my impact on water quality?

-       How is the health of our water evaluated?

-       Who is doing what to manage and protect our waterways?

Whether you’re a waterfront resident or not, there are many ways to protect the health of Muskoka’s water. MWC’s Watershed Report Card and new “Living in Cottage Country: What You Need To Know” handbook provide information about the current health of our waterways and describe ways to live with minimal impact to water quality.

You can learn more about these resources and the work being done to ensure our recreational water resources remain some of the best and most pristine in the world. Visit the Huntsville Place Mall or www.www.muskokawatershed.org for more information.



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Muskoka Small Business Centre Offers Summit for Young Entrepreneurs
Friday, March 13, 2015 (1392 reads)


And in our Good News Story of the Day:

For the first time in Muskoka, young people interested in entrepreneurship will gather under one roof to explore their ideas and learn about the possibilities of running their own business.  Muskoka Small Business Centre, in partnership with Muskoka Futures, Muskoka Community Network, and the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment, and Infrastructure will be hosting a Youth Entrepreneurship Summit on Thursday March 26 from 9am to 2pm at the Active Living Centre in Huntsville.

The aim of the summit is to make young people in Muskoka aware of entrepreneurship as a career option, to help them learn about the supports that are available to them, and to give them a chance to meet and talk to other young people who have started successful businesses.  There will be a fun and experiential component as well, including a “selfie” contest, and a “tradeshow display” contest, whereby teams of 4-5 youth will create visual displays to represent a business.  Prizes will include iPods, headphones, and gift cards.

The featured keynote speaker is Graeme Murray, recently retired from Canada’s national sledge hockey team, which won bronze in the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, and gold in the 2006 Paralympics in Torino.  Graham will share his inspiring story about what it takes to overcome barriers and fulfill your dreams.

The Youth Entrepreneurship Summit is a free event open to aspiring young entrepreneurs in Muskoka. Registration is required as seating is limited, and can be done by contacting Muskoka Small Business Centre at 705-646-9021 or info@muskokasmallbusiness.ca



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Bracebridge Initiates Load Restrictions
Friday, March 13, 2015 (863 reads)


The Town of Bracebridge has instituted load restrictions on most munipical roads as they due each spring.  This is done in order to protect the road base from damage caused by wheel loads of heavy vehicles and to increase the life-cycle of municipal roadways.

The reduced loads on municipal roadways within the municipality takes effect on March 17, 2015 and continues  until May 31, 2.

There are a number of roads that are exempt, see below:

 ROAD NAME

FROM

TO

BALL’S DRIVE

Muskoka Road No. 118 West

West Mall Road

CEDAR LANE

Muskoka Road No. 42

(Taylor Road)

Muskoka Road No. 14

(Fraserburg Road)

FINCH ROAD

Muskoka Road No. 14

(Fraserburg Road)

Its southerly end

KEITH ROAD

Muskoka Road No. 118 West

(Ecclestone Drive)

Its southerly end

KIRK LINE

Rosewarne Drive

Highway No. 11

KIRK LINE WEST

Highway No. 11

100 metres westerly

LAGOON LANE

Muskoka Road No. 118 West

(Ecclestone Drive)

Its westerly end

ROSEWARNE DRIVE

Taylor Road

Kirk Line

TAYLOR ROAD

Highway No. 11

Rosewarne Drive

WEST MALL ROAD

Muskoka Road No. 118 West

Ball’s Drive

WINHARA ROAD

Muskoka Road No. 118 West

(Ecclestone Drive)

Its southerly end



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MNR Warns Water Content in Snowpack 50% Higher Than Normal
Friday, March 13, 2015 (3079 reads)


The MNR has updated the Watershed Condition Statement warning that the winter of 2015 has been particularly cold with significant snow accumulation and snow pack in the area averages a depth of 60 centimetres with an average water equivalent 150 millimetres which is approximately 50% higher than normal for this time of year.

With warmer temperatures in the forecast the onset of spring will bring melting snow, rain and breakup of ice along rivers, streams, ponds and lakes.  The Ministry is warning that we can expect higher and faster flowing water in most watercourses. Slippery and unstable banks and extremely cold water temperatures can lead to very hazardous conditions around any body of water.



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Fire Causes Extensive Damage to Muskoka Lakes Works Garage & Equipment
Friday, March 13, 2015 (2665 reads)


A Township truck is being cited as the possible cause of a multimillion dollar fire at the Muskoka Lakes Twp Works Yard on Wednesday.   The fire caused extensive damage to the Glen Orchard facility. 

Fire Chief Richard Hayes says the building sustained significant fire damage long with some apparatus within. Significantly damaged was a smaller plow truck, which appears to be the origin of the fire.

Additionally, an adjacent dump truck and loader sustained heat and smoke damage. There was nobody present at the time of the incident and no injuries occurred.  The Fire Marshal’s Office was called in to investigate as this fire is considered a ‘Large Loss’ fire.  Preliminary estimates of loss are 2 to 3 million dollars.



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GreenBug Energy Withdraws Port Sydney Hydro Proposal, Will Not Go Ahead with Application.
Thursday, March 12, 2015 (29101 reads)


GreenBug Energy Inc, who were before Huntsville’s Planning Committee yesterday, have withdrawn their proposal for a hydro-electric facility at the Port Sydney Rapids and notified the Town of Huntsville that they will not be going ahead with their application to the Independent Electricity System Operator.
Deputy Mayor Karin Terziano said that GreenBug Energy Inc. sited too much opposition to the project and too little support from council in their reasons for withdrawing from the project. 




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MNR Issues Flood Advisory
Thursday, March 12, 2015 (6722 reads)


The MNR has issued an advisory for the region warning that above freezing temperatures this week have started melting the existing snowpack and will continue through the weekend. The MNR says that there is potential for a weather system to move into Southwestern Ontario on Friday night. The system is forecast to continue eastward on Saturday before gradually moving out of the Province on Sunday. Portions of Southern Ontario are forecast to receive up to 20mm of rain over the weekend.

Potential rain and melting snow will lead to higher, faster flowing water and potentially quicker ice break-up in watercourses. There could be increased risk of localized flooding in low-lying areas.



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Bracebridge & Huntsville Host Rallies to Save Hospital Services
Thursday, March 12, 2015 (26360 reads)


On Saturday March 21st, both Huntsville and Bracebridge will be holding rallies in support of  continued delivery of acute care services in MAHC hospital sites.

Mayor Graydon Smith announced that a “Hands Up for Our Hospitals” community rally will be held at 11:00 a.m. at the Bracebridge Sportsplex, followed by a rally in Huntsville at 2pm, in front of Huntsville Town Hall. 

Tim Withey who is spearheading the Huntsville rally says that petitions are coming in fast  and together with the rallies, should send a clear message to Queen's Park about the MAHC funding formula which he says is flawed.



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Bracebridge Accepting Nominations for Community Awards
Thursday, March 12, 2015 (263 reads)


The Town of Bracebridge Community Recognition Advisory Committee is accepting nominations for the 2015 Community Awards Program, recognizing residents in a variety of categories for community and sports awards.

Each year Bracebridge Town Council, through the Bracebridge Community Recognition Advisory Committee, recognizes and celebrates residents for their volunteer contributions and outstanding achievements at their annual Awards Ceremony. This year’s Awards Ceremony will be held Tuesday, June 2 at the Rene M. Caisse Theatre.

Councillor Steven Clement, Chair of the Community Recognition Advisory Committee, is inviting community members and organizations to submit nominations;   He said “There are many outstanding people within Bracebridge that have made significant contributions or achievements in community or sport organizations.”

Nomination packages are available at the Town of Bracebridge Municipal Office, Bracebridge Sportsplex or online at www.bracebridge.ca. Nominations are due March 27th.



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Schumacher Urges Council Not to Make Any Decisions on Hydro Project Until Zanetti is Replaced
Thursday, March 12, 2015 (1880 reads)


Port Sydney Councilor Det Schumacher urged the councilors yesterday not to make any decisions in regard to a proposed hydro electric project until another councilor has been elected or appointed.

Schumacher said that it was imperative that the area be represented by both councilors before any decision be made.

The proponent of the project was asked by council to have an open meeting with the residents of the Port Sydney area before the next planning  committee in June so that residents could see the proposal and offer feedback to council.

A decision on how to replace the council seat vacated by Chris Zanetti is expected at the next council meeting.



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District Offers Ready For Kindergarten Open Houses
Thursday, March 12, 2015 (1001 reads)


The District of Muskoka holding a series of “Ready for Kindergarten” open houses to help prepare youngsters entering school.

The open house sessions will provide hearing and vision tests as well as screening for developmental milestones like speech and language. In addition to these services, there will be chances for parents to learn about packing healthy lunches and other community services that are available.

Kids will get to play, try new activities and experience their first bus ride.

The event runs from 4 to 7 p.m. on April 9 at St. Mary Catholic School in Huntsville, April 22 at the Muskoka Beechgrove Public School in Gravenhurst and on Tuesday May 5 at the Monck Public School in Bracebridge.



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