13 February 2016 • Online Edition • phone/fax: (519) 293-1095 • www.banner.on.ca • editor@banner.on.ca • $2.00 ($1.90 + GST)






































































































Breaking_News2

Irish, Dogs head to head

Carson Kennes of the Bulldogs (left) and Nathan Marcil of the Lucan Irish faceoff in the second period in Game 1 of their first round playoff series in Jr C action.

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Two charged with fraud

SARNIA/STRATHROY/PARKHILL - Sarnia’s police service says its criminal investigations branch has arrested and charged a Parkhill woman, Strathroy man and two women with residences in Lambton County for allegedly purchasing pre-paid gift cards with stolen and ‘compromised’ credit cards. Police say that 22 gift cards with a combined value of more than $16,000 were picked up during November of last year in view of video surveillance at the city’s Lambton Mall. Management of the mall immediately suspended all on-line gift card purchases. Investigators learned that the illicit credit cards belonged to residents of Canada, the United States, Spain and the Persian Gulf State of Qatar. How the credit cards were accessed was not revealed.

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$1-Million winning ticket

KOMOKA - Congratulations to Maria Toth of Huntsville and Daniel Bangarth of Komoka for winning $1,000,000 with ENCORE (16 January 2016 LOTTO 6/49 draw). The pair matched seven of seven winning numbers on their ENCORE selection. “Daniel is my nephew. We’ve been playing LOTTO 6/49 together since the game started,” explained Maria, while at the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto to claim their winnings. “I put the ticket in my purse and forgot about it for two weeks. When I finally checked it, I was shocked!” “She called me and asked me if I could take a day off work. At first I was worried but when she shared the good news, I was flabbergasted!” laughed Daniel.

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Middlesex Community Living shifting gears at The Mercantile

STRATHROY - Philosophies of care for and accommodation of adults with developmental disabilities in the community are constantly evolving, moving steadily towards integration and full societal participation. That participation includes accommodations for employment that recognize the full value and contribution of all employees to their workplace and their community. Here in Strathroy-Caradoc, the Mercantile Restaurant has been providing a workplace for about 20 staff members at a time for more than 20 years, training people to work in the hospitality industry through the operation of a full-service restaurant. It is, however, considered a sheltered workshop, a business idea that the Ontario Ministry of Community & Social Services has decided has seen better days. The province announced that all sheltered workshops would be closed to admissions effective immediately, and that local agencies would begin the process of closing workshops and realigning services for participants to be more in keeping with the vision of a fully integrated community.

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Russian military buildup starting to really worry NATO

We don’t hear much of this sort of thing any more - Cold War, Russian military buildup, submarine threat...but wait, we are now hearing precisely this. Russia’s military buildup has been fuelled by her until recently soaring income from oil and natural gas exports. It has provided lots of money to allow Premier Vladimir Putin to start repairing the years of neglect that the once mighty Soviet military suffered through after the collapse of the Soviet Union (USSR) and the end of the Cold War, and the 2008/09 world financial crisis. Up until 1990, the USSR and its Warsaw Pact allies (Eastern European nations ruled by Communist governments controlled by the USSR) bristled with weaponry. At sea, fleets of battlecruisers, long-range missile subs, nuclear attack submarines, destroyers, frigates, and hundreds of deadly smaller craft posed a serious threat at sea to Canada and our NATO allies. In the skies, thousands of top-quality fighter and bomber aircraft, helicopters, and the world’s largest transport planes loomed ominously. And on the ground, millions of soldiers armed to the teeth, ready to repel an attack they expected, but threatening to attack us at the same time. And then there were 20,000-odd intercontinental missiles tipped with multiple nuclear warheads, targeting our cities. Today a much smaller number of missiles - around 5,000 - target most major cities in all NATO countries. Chinese missiles also target us. American, British and French missiles target them. While the underlying philosophy of mutually-assured destruction (MAD) remains, the real threat as seen in Ukraine comes from conventional forces, and it is these that the Russians have been spending lavishly on. Whereas the Chinese quality is questionable in terms of weaponry, the Russian tanks, submarines, jet fighters and weaponry are as good as our own. While sheer numbers have dropped in the Russian arsenal, they retained the best stuff and are now replacing it. Unenthusiastic drafted soldiers were replaced with keen volunteers. Smaller military forces but they are now more effective. There have been numerous reports of much increased Russian submarine activity all around the waters of NATO countries, and NATO navies have had to shift subs back into the Atlantic to counter this. The Russian subs are supposedly found alongside underwater fibre-optic cables, listening in on all sorts of high-speed communications, some of it top secret stuff. In the Arctic, Russia has also beefed up its military and Canadian signal experts at our northern base of Alert remain active tracking what they are up to. Up in the Arctic Russian bombers are - as in the Cold War - chased off by Canadian interceptors. On the ground in Eastern Europe Russian forces have been built up along the borders with NATO members Poland and Romania. Last year NATO decided to create a 50,000-man quick reaction corps to counter this threat, and Canada is part of that. At NATO’s upcoming meeting of defence ministers all will be pressured to boost defence spending to at least the 2% of GDP called for of all members. Canada has never been above 1%, and is a perennial heel dragger on defence. This spring’s 2016 Canadian federal budget should target infrastructure spending into the defence portion of the budget, buy more equipment and hiring more sailors, soldiers and airmen. Such investments in our security are good for our economy, job creation, global security and they take more than a few years to find, buy, train, and deploy. Starting now is a wise move to counter Russia, who we have problems with already. And then there is China.

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Council considers economic development report

NORTH MIDDLESEX - Hiring a full-time economic development officer (EDO) is the highest, immediate priority for a municipality seeking to boost commercial activity and population growth. The pitch for an EDO was repeated several times by consultant Lyndon Ashton as he introduced the first draft of an economic development strategy to a 3 February session of North Middlesex Council. “You’re looking at $75,000 to hire this person,” said Ashton of MDB Insight, the firm contracted to study the township’s current assets and suggest its future directions.

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Mosquito battle will be extended southeast to Nairn

NORTH MIDDLESEX - Council has approved a 2016 anti-mosquito programme that will include the Nairn area for the first time. The decision on 3 February authorizes the aerial (helicopter) application of larvicide granules onto low-lying wet areas within a three kilometre radius of the hamlet in addition to the traditional treatment areas around Ailsa Craig and Parkhill. An estimated $43,267.70 package includes a second aerial attack on the prolific breeding area immediately downstream from Parkhill Dam. A staff report presented to council by Public Works Manager Brad Davies notes that North Middlesex spent $43,078.98 on the 2015 programme. $38,345.31 of that was paid to Pestalto Environmental Health Services Inc., the firm contracted annually to supply larvicide, schedule and pay for Zimmer Air Services’ helicopter and conduct regular monitoring before and after treatments. The balance was spent last year on contracted services to clear blockages that impeded drainage.

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New Catholic school discussed, draft 2016 Twp. budget OK’d

LUCAN BIDDULPH - The 1 February meeting of Council saw several issues discussed. At an early special meeting it was put forward to accept the 2016 Twp. Budget after some minor adjustments were made to it. This unanimously passed and now waits input from the school boards before anything can go forward. There was some brief discussion about the digital sign that is proposed for in front of the library/municipal offices. They are still looking at tenders for the sign. Council is very concerned that the sign be reliable and requires a minimal amount of maintenance. $40,000 has been budgeted for this sign, and it is expected that this will be more than enough to cover the cost of the sign and installation. It must be noted that $15,000 of that is coming from government grants. They will continue to look into this and hope to have an update for the next council meeting on 15 February. There was an update on St. Patrick’s School. Plans are under way with the Catholic School board to replace the aging St Patrick’s with a new school in the near future. Although there is no set time line for this work it is in the preliminary stages of planning.

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Draft budget stays course

LUCAN BIDDULPH - Council is well ahead of the game when it comes to the 2016 Twp. Bbudget. A series of meetings has already produced a draft budget for the year. Final deliberation must wait on budget reports from the school boards. 2015 saw good growth for the municipality and this was reflected in the actual monies from building permits being above what was budgeted for. The budgeted amount for building permits has stayed the same as last year, but if building starts continue to grow, this number could exceed the budgeted amount for 2016. Council expenses, as well as administrative costs, were down slightly from what was budgeted for in 2015. The 2016 budget is slightly greater than last year’s, to allow for inflation. Winter Control last year came in under what was budgeted despite the winter we had. The winter maintenance budget is greater this year compared to last winter, but with the winter conditions so far this could end up coming in well under budget.

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Hanging up the ol’ skates

Lucan Biddulph Twp. council congratulates Norm Goldie on 28 years of service to Parks & Recreation Department. Many people who use the Lucan Arena will recognize Norm as the ‘go to’ man at the arena. Recreation Manager Jayson Boyer spoke very highly of Norm’s service and how much help he provided as Boyer came on board as the new manager.

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Junior Farmers rock and roll at SDCI on the weekend

STRATHROY - What happens when you put more than 170 members of the Junior Farmers Association of Ontario (JFAO) into the gym at SDCI? Shenanigans, farm style! Members from 16 different JFAO chapters across the province converged in Strathroy for the Annual Winter Games this weekend, and by all accounts the event was a huge success. “We’ve been planning it for about a year,” said local area President Katelyn O’Neil. “We chose SDCI as the venue because it has so many gyms and all the spaces we needed, like a cafeteria and change rooms. Planning an event like this is pretty complicated – we had to get waivers for the battle balls and we had to make sure there was going to be enough food and that all the events would be coordinated,” she explained.

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Councillors discuss Kensington Village & hear reports

STRATHROY-CARADOC - The Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc held a regular council meeting on Monday, 1 February 2016. The meeting opened with the acceptance as written of minutes from the regular council meeting held on 11 January 2016. A number of delegations and petitions followed, including a presentation by Matthew Stephenson, Director of Building & Waste Services concerning the drainage works at Kensington Village Subdivision in Strathroy. Council passed a resolution that Spriet Associates be authorized to prepare and complete the necessary report. The Roads Management Study 2015 was presented by Ken Lotenberg of the BM Ross Corporation and received for information and file by council. Community Development Manager Andrew Meyer was on hand to deliver the 2015 Year in Review summarizing various departmental and municipal projects and achievements. The Mayor expressed congratulations and gratitude to staff and council for their work and accomplishments. Please See additional stories for details.

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Joanne’s motion passed

MIDDLESEX - The future of SCOR (South Central Ontario Region) in Middlesex was laid in the hands of county councillors on January 26th. Stretching over 3 council meetings, it was finally decided the future of involvement with SCOR. SCOR was created in 2010 to provide planning for regional issues involving funding and economic items in different levels of government. SCOR’s main branch of economic activity is the FoodHub; which was the main item of concern for Coun. Joanne Vanderheyden.

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Insurance savings discussed

MIDDLESEX CENTRE - It was a short meeting for Middlesex Centre Council on 3 February, however holding important information regarding insurance premiums and the Code of Conduct for Middlesex Centre. Tony Commisso of Cowan Insurance gave council great news about insurance premiums for Middlesex Centre. Commisso noted that the municipality held $5,000 in savings for the year, a first in eight years. There were a few reasons as to why the insurance savings were larger this year. The municipality purchased higher liability insurance to $50,000 which caused claims to decrease. Going further into claims, the loss ratio was a very high 90% last year and decreased to 20% this past year. Commisso noted that staff, which has been practicing rigorous risk management initiatives in their work, also assisted the decrease in loss ratio.

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Police Files

Break & enter

NORTH MIDDLESEX – On 3 February 2016, at approximately 8:52pm, the Middlesex County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) received a report of a break, enter, and theft incident. Sometime between 27 January 2016 and 3 February 2016, culprit(s) attended a residential property in the 100 block of Main Street. Once on the property, they trespassed, and forced open a garage door, gaining access to the interior of the structure. Miscellaneous equipment and numerous air tools were stolen. The Middlesex County OPP Crime Unit continues to investigate this incident. Safeguard your valuables by making your mark. Property that is marked or etched with an identifying number is considered “damaged goods” in the eyes of a criminal. In support of the OPP SafeGuard Ontario Property Security Programme, Operation Identification is a property marking initiative designed to help discourage the theft of valuables by facilitating the identification of recovered stolen property. The idea is to simply engrave your valuables with an identifying number in a highly visible spot. Please visit Operation Identification at www.opp.ca for further information.

Break & enter while resident was at home

NEWBURY – On 2 February 2016, at approximately 5:42am, the Middlesex County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to a break, enter, and theft incident. Between approximately 4-5am. on 1 February, 2016, culprits attended a residential property on Durham Street. Once on the property, they trespassed, and entered the residence. An adult male was in the residence at the time, and interrupted the thieves. He was subsequently tied up, but did not sustain injuries.The culprits fled the scene with Canadian cash and personal electronics. The Middlesex County OPP Crime Unit, with assistance from the OPP Forensic Identification Services (FIS), continues to investigate this incident.

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Full-time fire chief position not yet addressed by council

MIDDLESEX CENTRE - The municipal Fire Department here in the township is a busy operation, with five fire stations, some 15 vehicles, and over 100 volunteer firefighters. With resposibility for an area as large as the City of London - as well as on accident prone Hwy. 402 - the department needs solid, reliable leadership at various levels, starting at the top. Each station has its district chief, and deputies, but it is at the top that the co-ordination of the planning, budgets, training, real-time fire employment, and welfare issues of the volunteers and so on, occurs. The township had run with a part-time fire chief since Delaware, Lobo and London Townships amalgamated in 1998, but in 2004 council opted for their first full-time fire chief, with John Elston filling the post from from May 2004 to November 2009. He had been the county’s fire prevention officer. After Elston left, Arva District Fire Chief Wayne Shipley took over as part-time Fire Chief from November 2009.

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Jr B Rockets still struggling to play 60 good minutes

STRATHROY - While the scoreboard tells a disappointing story, watching the Strathroy Rockets remains an exciting sports experience. This young team gets better and better with every showing and in spite of the losses, there is much to be celebrated and recognized as positive strides in the right direction. They travelled down to Chatham to face off against the Maroons, who are currently holding third place in the division with a 27-15 win/loss record and 56 points. The Rockets fell in overtime 5-4 on a goal by Maroon Devin Panzeca 4:10 into the second OT period. The Rockets played a solid game, with Max Ewart opening scoring with the first period’s only goal on a powerplay at the 7 minute mark. Dante Copps and Matt Laberge earned points for the assists. Chatham answered with a powerplay goal of their own in the first two minutes of the second period and then got the go-ahead goal three minutes later. Rocket’s Dillon Saunders capitalized on another power play opportunity about 7 minutes in with assists from Copps and TJ Harris.

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Mt Brydges Bulldogs lose first out of seven playoff game against Lucan Irish

MT. BRYDGES/LUCAN - “I feel we’re currently underachieving at this game, as I know we’ve played better,” stated Bulldogs General Manager Jon Swatuk. The first of seven games in the first round playoffs against the Lucan Irish on 5 February didn’t go well for the Mt. Brydges Bulldogs with an overtime loss of 4-3; however, more opportunities will be presented to them in the next three weeks of play. Scoring in the first period began with Jack Underhill of the Bulldogs 6 minutes into the period. The lead was short-lived when Noah Campbell of the Irish scored during a power play with 5 minutes left in the period. Campbell’s scoring and power play continued into second period, with a goal 2 minutes into the period for the Irish. Both teams equally owned the play, until 2 minutes left when Nathan Marcil of the Irish scored their third goal of the evening. The Bulldogs were determined to try to win this first game, and resulted in Alex Cox scoring the second goal for the team with 30 seconds left in the period.

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Shamrock league playdowns

MIDDLESEX - Shamrock League (the OMHA’s competitive teams) are now in their playdowns for this season. In ATOM CC action ILderton Jets take on Tavistock Titans on Saturday. PEEWEE play sees Mt. Brydges Cougars take on Wallaceburg Lakers on 8 Feb. and 9 Feb. Lucan Irish take on Southwest Bullets 9 Feb. and 11 Feb. Ilderton Jets take on Tavistock Titans on 11 Feb. BANTAM action see Strathroy playing Dorchester 9 & 11 Feb. and Ilderton playing Dunnville 13 & 14 Feb., and Mt. Brydges playing Petrolia 9 Feb. MIDGET games have Ilderton up against the Twin Centre Stars 9 & 11 Feb., and Strathroy facing Dorchester 9 & 11 Feb.

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Twp. hall up for sale?

WEST WILLIAMS - West Williams Community Centre and its related Ken Vernon Recreation Park at the north end of Kerwood Road have been declared surplus to the needs of the Municipality of North Middlesex, a first step towards possible listing of the property on the real estate market. A central public school that evolved into a township municipal office and then a community centre and soccer fields may eventually serve a new role for another owner. North Middlesex Council on Wednesday, 20 January passed a motion to declare surplus to the municipality’s needs the property at 32217 Kerwood Road. That is the 13 acre site of West Williams Community Centre and Ken Vernon Recreation Park. The motion was made by West Williams’ own Ward Five Coun. Adrian Cornelissen and seconded by Ward One (Parkhill) Coun. Doreen McLinchey. With the preamble “after careful consideration”, the resolution declares Concession 16, Part Lot 9 as surplus and directs staff to proceed with one appraisal “to determine the fair market value of the property, prepared by a professional appraiser” and authorizes expenditure of about $6,000 to pay for the appraisal.

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Coldstream won’t put out Adelaide fires just yet

MIDDLESEX CENTRE/ADELAIDE METCALFE - Coldstream Fire not expanding to edge of Adelaide-Metcalfe anytime soon. Middlesex Centre Twp. council received a staff report at the 27 January, which began a “fiery” discussion. CAO Michelle Smibert presented council with a proposal for an automatic aid agreement for the Coldstream Fire Station and a smaller section of the Township of Adelaide-Metcalfe. This agreement noted that since the closer proximity of the Coldstream Fire Station to Adelaide Metcalfe, that car accidents and car fires on the roads of Wood Rd., Wardell Dr., Crathie Dr., Hansford Rd., and Newell Rd. would make sense to be automatically serviced by Middlesex Centre Fire Services (Coldstream).

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Pot shops in two years?

MIDDLESEX - It is one of the leading points of discussion amongst Canadians when they talk about the new Liberal Government in Ottawa: Legalizing marijuana. During the election in which a majority Liberal government was elected, Canadians heard all about decriminalizing marijuana, a recommendation of Canada’s Chiefs of Police Association. They are frustrated at the time, energy and resources they need to put into the war on drugs, and see the easing up on enforcement of laws surrounding the starter drugs as a convenient way to back off a bit on the war on drugs and save their budgets. Decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana possessed by Canadians for personal use - 15% of Canadians use it on a regular basis - means less police time tied up in crimes that in the end result in minor sentences and yet criminal records for those convicted.

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LaLoche school shooting symptom of many problems

The school shooting in LaLoche, Saskatchewan two weeks ago is symptomatic of so much that is wrong in the lives of Canada’s Aboriginal people. A 16-year-old who had nothing better to do, no meaning gin life, apparently no goals, and with ideas of a school shooting that are straight from our advanced modern Canadian society. Many problems: TV and Internet access gives these aboriginal kids a desire for life off of the reserves they must live on. If I were born there I’d likely want to leave, too. The majority do not complete high school, even fewer gain college diplomas, and fewer still any university educations with which to go on to greater things in Canadian society. Half of natives live off-reserve. And who could blame them? The reality on the reserves is one of a scrappy life with little interesting to offer. It is not very healthy, happy or prosperous. In the old days natives would have lived off the land in every respect and traded with their neighbours. Now the land is small and poor and offers little by way of resources to support their fast-growing populations. Many young people - including those with social or personal issues - are having many children, and forming non-functioning family units. Often kids are raised by grandparents who step in and grab hold of the rudder as the young parents die young from substance abuse and unhealthy living. Sad situation. Life on the reserves is boring for many, dull, without hope of much of a better future in terms of health, happiness, and prosperity. Bored individuals turn to escapism through online and video games shooter games as do some kids off-reserve, too. Worse, native kids have ready access to firearms and know how to use them. A long way back we did a bad thing, stealing their lands and getting them to sign on to treaties to prevent starvation in exchange for a pittance, now $400 per month per registered band member. Indian bands have lots of money thrown at them from the federal government for programmes but band councils in many reserves don’t handle the money responsibly...councillors on a reserve of 100 people paying themselves $200,000 or more annually each is not good use of money. Poor water and sewer infrastructure needs fixing. How about fix that with those federal dollars promised by Justin, and don’t put the water intake downstream from the sewage outlet as has happened on some reserves, causing health problems. Hope of economic development on wilderness reserves up north or out west or on southern Canadian scrappy bits of land is very limited. Anything that creates jobs we take away: Casinos, tobacco production, and smuggling, leaving low tax sales of gas and smokes to white people as their only real choice. What’s next, marijuana farms to fill the shelves of soon to be legal pot stores? Maybe they ought to be located on the reserves? There was a time when alcohol was noted as a destructive force in our society but especially their’s (and not just in Canada, but in the Pacific islands, Africa, and Asia)...so pot farms and on-reserve stores would likely have be negative effect on the aboriginal populations. Maybe the best thing would be to encourage them to return to the land as some of their elders have called for...cut off modern life (Internet, cell phones, TV, video games, drugs, alcohol, sitting around being bored) and replace it with hunting, fishing and gathering again, and some farming. This means learning real life skills, team work, skills to learn about the animals to be hunted, to track them, kill and use them properly, develop the lost fitness this lifestyle requires. Let’s face it, few native kids will end up racing a Porsche around the streets of Monaco as in video games, or shooting zombies or killing gangsters. Government shouldn’t give them bright lights and big city if they can’t deliver those things.

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Twp. pencils in how 2016 community grants will go

NORTH MIDDLESEX - Wind energy vibrancy funding became substantially less ‘energetic’ than applicants had hoped for when council adopted a committee’s grant allocation recommendations at a special meeting on 27 January. After assessing 10 community organizations’ bids to tap into the first round of NextEra Energy Bornish wind farm’s vibrancy fund, North Middlesex Clerk Jackie Tiedeman reported that she, Mayor Don Shipway and Acting Treasurer Deb Jonah had whittled the list of qualifying applicants to seven from ten and that several of the seven would not be receiving all that they requested or that their grants are conditional on potential developments. North Middlesex Historical Society’s application for $5,000 is put on hold pending its winning of approval of an Ontario Trillium grant for an elevator, air quality and shelving improvements. The society asked for assistance in making applications for such grants.

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Lucan-Biddulph Twp. enters into agreement with Fire Marque

LUCAN BIDDULPH - At the 18 January Township council meeting there was a proposal put forward that the township enter into an agreement with Fire Marque. Fire Marque is a privately-owned, Canadian company, which is licensed in all provinces and territories across the country. This company specializes in Indemnification Technology and acts as an agent for the township in recovering money from insurance companies for fire-fighting related expenses. Property owners already pay a premium for fire insurance and for Fire Departments to respond to emergencies on their property taxes. If the municipality does not apply to recover these monies from the insurance company then insurance company keeps the money. Fire Marque acts as an agent for the municipality in collecting this money. Now the monies must be spent in only three areas, namely, public education, personal training, and capitol purchases, such as fire-fighting equipment. It is estimated that recoveries of these monies could bring in around $6,000 a year to the municipality. On 10 December some members of council, and representatives from the local Fire Boards met with Chris Carrier, a representative from Fire Marque, and listened to the company’s presentation. Carrier reviewed the recovery process, and noted that they will not proceed with recovery if this recovery would negatively impact the ratepayer.

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Lucan takes up the Healthy Kids Community Challenge

LUCAN - Middlesex County - and Lucan in particular - is one of 45 communities that have been chosen to participate in the Healthy Kids Community Challenge. The programme is only in its third week, and it is clearly proving to be a success. The Healthy Kids Community Challenge is part of Ontario’s Healthy Kids Strategy. This is a cross-government initiative which promotes children’s health. It promotes a healthy start to children in life, by focusing on healthy eating habits and active lifestyles. It encourages children to run and play. The programme is partnering with various community partners, like health groups, education and recreation groups, and local businesses, which all work together to implement community-based programmes.

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Local skating club sends a star to the international arena

MT. BRYDGES - The Mount Brydges Skating Club has played a key role in the development of competitive synchronized skating in this province since they founded their first team in 2008. This year the Magic Blades have 6 teams on the ice, including Beginner I and II teams, an Elementary and Juvenile team as well as a Pre-Novice and the Blades N’Synch Adult II team. The Elementary, Juvenile and Pre-Novice teams travelled to Stratford in December for the 2015 Bill Phillips Memorial Skating Competition and registered some fantastic results. The Pre-Novice squad secured first place overall, while the Elementary team came in second place. The Juvenile team landed a 7th place finish in a very challenging field, and Coach Chrissy Kernaghan was well pleased with the team’s performances. The Pre-Novice team went on to finish in second place at the 2016 Winterfest, the SkateCanada Central Ontario World Junior Championship Qualifier Event held earlier this month in the Mississauga. The Juvenile team placed 8th in a field of 13, a strong showing for the young Magic Blades teams. The biggest news so far this season though is the continuing success and hard work of Blades alumni Shayna McFadden.

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401/402 bridge closures

MIDDLESEX - It was a quick meeting for Middlesex County Council on 26 January, but not lacking in substance. Council began with a delegation from Ian Ross and Matthew Jackson of Union Gas Limited. Ross and Jackson gave an informative presentation of Union Gas’ presence in Middlesex County, along with giving a brief update on the Dawn Operations Hub located near Dresden in Lambton County. After a lengthy discussion, a deferred notice of motion from Coun. Joanne Vanderheyden was carried by council. Vanderheyden requested at the 22 December 2015 meeting to reconsider Middlesex’s relationship with SCOR at a council meeting at the new year, given the startup of SCOR’s FoodHub programme. This notice of motion was brought back to council on 12 January 2016 which council decided to defer for further information. Finally at the 27 Januarymeeting, council decided to keep a relationship with SCOR for 2016 in order to get the FoodHub more independently sustainable.

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Mutual Aid deal debated

MIDDLESEX CENTRE - Middlesex Centre’s 27 January Council meeting started off with the approval of the consent agenda: The December 2015 Building Permit Report, the 2015 Planning and Development Services –Year End Summary, and the appointment of Mike Herbert as Fire Prevention Officer for Middlesex Centre. Council then had discussions regarding approving two municipal drain works in the municipality. In the Court of Revision, it was noted that the Weyler Drain notices sent out received no appeals back to Middlesex Centre. The Weyler Drain is near Delaware, and is set to be extended along with being reconstructed at the petition of landowners in the drainage area.

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Township’s Finance Committee has been working hard

STRATHROY-CARADOC - The Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc has entered the budget preparation cycle for the 2016 fiscal year with a meeting of the Finance Committee held on Monday, 25 January 2016. As a result of efforts made over the last three years to categorize and more finely account for spending and better forecasting, the work to create a budget and the need for long and involved meetings has been significantly reduced. Better planning and forecasting has provided staff and council with a more comprehensive and effective understanding of both operational and capital priorities and pressures, effectively eliminating those newsworthy surprises and heated debates of years past.

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Two new full-timers in this year’s budget, taxes up 1.71%

STRATHROY-CARADOC - At the Finance Committee meeting held on 25 January 2016, Director Bill Dakin walked members through upcoming expenses and budget projections for the operating component of the 2016 Draft Consolidated Preliminary Budget. He noted that the cost of living increased in Ontario by 1.3%, and that the Municipality was feeling the pinch of reductions to both Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund and a decrease in supplemental property tax payments. Taxation in the current 2016 Draft Consolidated Preliminary Operating Budget reflects changes wrought by the adoption of fee schedules at the 11 January 2016 Finance Committee meeting. An overall municipal taxation increase of 1.71% will increase tax revenue for the Municipality of about $249,100. Of that, 0.83% comes in the form of increased operational costs and 0.88% comes from a reduction in funding and anticipated cost increases for things like insurance and group benefits. Costs for operations will rise about $115,903 over 2015. The effect of the OMPF reduction is $68,100 and an increase in the levy due to the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority for a total increase of 0.88% or $133,197.

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Police Files

Theft of bobcat

STRATHROY - Strathroy Caradoc Police is investigating the theft of a Kubota SVL-90-2 skid steer from a construction site at 25 Colbourne Street Strathroy. Investigation revealed the theft to have occurred between 16-18 January. Value of the theft is approximately $75,000.

Man charged with possessing stolen goods

STRATHROY - On Thursday 21 January 2016 members of the Strathroy-Caradoc Police Service arrested a 34-year-old man from Strathroy on an outstanding arrest warrant from London Police Service. This arrest led to a search warrant for the suspect’s vehicle which resulted in the recovery of stolen identification. The owners of this property were from London and Strathroy. As a result, the suspect was charged with two counts of possession of property obtained by crime and is awaiting a bail hearing. Police are continuing their investigation and other charges are pending. Anyone with information on these crimes or any other crime is asked to contact the Strathroy-Caradoc Police at (519)245-1250. Should you wish to remain anonymous you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) where you may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.

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Strathroy author begins County Library book tour in Komoka

KOMOKA/STRATHROY - “My goal is to bust the myth that life is hard,” stated local Strathroy author, Gail Barker. Many residents in Middlesex County can understand the feeling of being “burnt out” or tired, given their busy lives this time of year; but a local Strathroy resident is looking to help other live a fulfilling life without making sacrifices. Gail was at the Komoka Library on 28 January to talk about her new book, What Matters Now: Lessons on Living with Ease; a book with the goal to debunk that life has to have burdens. The book is written for a “general” audience with language that applies to all types of readers - teenagers to seniors alike can reap benefits from this book. Launched in October 2015, Gail has been busy promoting her message to leaders and ordinary folk. “If the book was large, then it would defeat the purpose of my mission to simplify your life and not be unnecessarily burdened,” said Gail.

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Jr B Rockets suffering from turnovers in mid-zone

STRATHROY - The Rockets had a pretty rough weekend, closing out a three-game losing streak Sunday night at home with a 4-3 loss to the Sarnia Legionnaires. The team was in St. Mary’s on Friday night, where they were shut out 4-0 against the Lincolns. Both teams racked up significant penalty minutes, while shots on goal were pretty even, the Lincs mounting 23 against Davis in goal, while the Rockets sent 25 towards St. Marys net minder Emanuel Vella. The team brought it home Saturday night when they faced off against the London Nationals. The Nationals are currently in second place in the GOHJHL Western Conference, running 16 points behind the league leading Leamington Flyers. The Rockets blasted off in the first period, going up by two goals thanks to Codey McRoberts (assisted by Matthew Stevens and Turner Balasin) and an unassisted ringer by Max Ewert with about two and half minutes let to play in the first. Dillon Saunders put the Rockets up by 3 in the first 4 minutes of the second period and then the wheels just fell off the bus. London hammered net minder Dane Gubbles beating him four times and closing out the period up one.

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