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Youth earn $5,000 for Haliburton Heat Bank

Joseph Quigley

Two Haliburton Highlands Secondary School (HHSS) students earned $5,000 for Heat Bank Haliburton County through the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) Canada June 4.  

Bence Suranyi and Stefan Salaris beat out their Grade 10 civics classmates with their presentation on the Heat Bank.

The school-wide competition is part of the YPI program, which runs similar charitable contests in schools around the world.  

Suranyi said their presentation highlighted the success stories of the charity.

“The Haliburton Heat Bank is a less-known charity than the other ones that were competing,” Suranyi said. “I think that helped shed light on the Heat Bank.”  

“The stories that (Heat Bank co-ordinator) Tina (Jackson) gave were probably really moving because sometimes they were really tragic,” Salaris added. 

 The YPI initiative has run at HHSS for 12 years. The program goes into the curriculum as a graded project for the school’s civics class. The project requires students to engage with charities in their community and share what they have learned in a presentation. The top-five projects compete in front of the school, with the winning group earning $5,000 for their charity.

The group has donated more than $50,000 to local charities since it started running in Haliburton.  Teacher Paul Longo, who co-ordinates YPI at HHSS, said the program remains successful. 

“It gets Grade 10 students out in the community, visiting charities, asking questions, learning about what we do in this community that’s so important as far as volunteer work,” Longo said. 

Jackson said the charity, which provides firewood and heat to vulnerable people, has participated in projects for YPI before. But this is the first time the charity has won.  

“I am just so proud of the work that both of these youth did, in pouring everything into the presentation that won us the money,” Jackson said. “This is one of the largest donations we’ll likely receive this year.“

They were absolutely passionate. They believed in what we were doing,” she added.  

Salaris said to succeed in the competition, it is vital to choose a charity you care about.  “Pick a charity you believe in, like and would stand for,” he said.

AH mayor skeptical about full producer responsibility

Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt expressed some of her concerns about the transition of the Blue Box Program to Full Producer Responsibility during a May 21 meeting.

She made her comments after operations manager Adam Thorn presented a report he’d done in conjunction with environmental coordinator Melissa Murray.

Murray said The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) has asked that councils pass a resolution outlining their township’s preferred date to transition if provided the opportunity to self-determine. She said transition timing could be between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2025.

While the province has not yet determined what mechanism will be used to choose when municipalities transition, Murray said AMO believes it is in the best interest of councils to make their preferred transition date known.

She noted a date did not mean a commitment or that it was final. She said AMO was looking for resolutions to be passed by June 30, 2020. Council went on to pass a lengthy resolution with a date of Jan. 1, 2023.

However, Moffatt said while the transition had been discussed at a number of conferences, “the question that still cannot be answered, is there’s no logistical confirmation as to how producers are going to get their stuff back.”

For example, she asked what happens if someone lives in Guelph, goes to Best Buy there to purchase a Samsung television, and brings it to their cottage on Kawagama Lake. They then have a box to dispose of.

“How is Samsung going to get their stuff back from small rural communities all over the province of Ontario?” she asked. “They can’t quite identify that.’ “If we agree to become a collection service, does that mean we are becoming the depot and we have to figure out with Samsung how to get their stuff back to them? “None of those details have been provided by anybody so it is a process under discussion.”

Nevertheless, Moffatt said she was willing to support the recommendation, “knowing we can change our minds.” She said she recognized it was some attempt to move forward as long as it is not a trap.

Coun. Lisa Barry said from a session she attended at ROMA, it’s more of a fact-gathering exerice now rather than putting anything in stone.

Coun. Jennifer Dailloux agreed, saying, “as long as what we’re offering now does not tie us into any particular role, I see no harm in giving a strong indication of when this transition would be convenient for us.”

Murray said in her report, “it is expected that a transition to Full Producer Responsibility for the Blue Box Program will help to ensure the economic viability of waste diversion programs for the future. An economically-viable program will allow for continued development of robust environmental and sustainability plans and initiatives in the Township.”

Wheely big news for Molly’s

Being named the top bicycle-friendly café in the region has pumped up the tires of the owners of Molly’s Bistro Bakery as they deal with the economic downtown that’s ridden in with COVID-19.

Explore Ontario By Bike! wrote up Molly’s as a favourite among the two-wheel set.

Molly McInerny, who owns the Minden restaurant along with Guy Dumas, said it was a bit of good news during the pandemic.

“It was nice to be chosen as the best in this region,” McInerny said on May 22. She said she sent a write-up to the bicycling publication, detailing their experience with bicycle clubs coming to their establishment.

She said she often jokes with cyclists when they come, saying she is going to call the Ontario Provincial Police to say, “I think there’s a bike gang.”

She added, “I do offer them a ride home every time they come. I never understand why they’re riding a bike.”

She said they get a lot of cyclists who ride in, have a food or beverage break, and then head back out on the road. She added the riders reflect all age groups.

“A lot of them come in and park their bikes. Some sit at the picnic tables out front to get the sun. Some come in to get the shade.”

McInerny said the Haliburton Highlands does offer good cycling, ranging from challenging to relaxing, and there is some beautiful scenery along the way.

She said even with the coronavirus, bicycling is a good social distancing sport and people can still drop by for takeout.

The distinction is a boost during a difficult time, she said, and the publicity “will help once people aren’t afraid to go out.”

She said their takeaway business “has not been stellar” and is probably down 80 per cent. However, she said their pre-cooked freezer meals and desserts remain popular and have been keeping them going.

“I’m hoping by the 29th (of May) Dougie (Premier Doug Ford) might be hungry.”

She hopes the Province of Ontario will allow restaurants to reopen to sit-down customers. The Province, though, has extended closures to June 9.

For now, McInerny said, “there just isn’t the business. The long weekend featured some of the slowest days since this started, since public health officials and politicians told people to bring food with them and stay where they are. And, yet, we have had no new cases of COVID-19 in Haliburton County. If people behave, we should be allowed to reopen. This is our livelihood. I want to make sure it continues.

“We would make sure our customers are safe. Before the shutdown, every other table was closed off. If people come together in a group, they are likely a family unit. The only people at risk are my staff, not my customers.”

Golf returns to the Highlands

About 9:30 on a weekday morning, a face-masked Wendy Miller strolls into the Haliburton Highlands Golf Course clubhouse to pay her green fees.

In addition to the cloth mask, things look decidedly different.

There’s a big sign at the entranceway, telling golfers which direction to walk in. The chairs and tables are gone. There is hand sanitizer and wipes everywhere. The golf course has undergone a number of modifications since Premier Doug Ford announced they could reopen as part of the provincial government’s first phase of economic recovery.

“The golf course was ready to go because we were allowed to do that part during COVID-19,” owner Randall Wood said in an interview. “The concerns were about how, logistically, the clubhouse was going to work. So, we scrambled to get all of the sanitizing equipment.” He said, “literally, I have sanitation within two or three steps of every location so we’re covered that way. Now, it’s a case of following people around and being on top of it.”

He limits the number of people in the clubhouse at any time. One person comes to pay for green fees or make other purchases before someone else enters. He’s removed the tables and chairs on the patio, too. He makes the coffee, rather than self-serve. People can access the cold drink cooler and snacks but he wipes them down directly afterwards.

Outside, Wood said the golf carts have never been so clean. There are signs around the course reminding people of the new rules. The benches, garbage cans and ball washers have been removed. There are plastic covers in the cups on the greens so people don’t have to put their hands into them to fetch their balls. Most scoop them out with their clubs. No one is touching the flags.

“I think the important part is golfers need to understand the rules have changed and they need to help us a little bit as well,” Wood said. For example, one thing he is asking is that people call ahead, and not just drop in, so he can manage numbers better.

“My biggest worry is we were included in phase one but if golf courses mess this up, Ford can pull the strings at any time and say, ‘you know, this isn’t working, you’re closing down and might not open until malls and restaurants’.”

He’s even designed a COVID-19 binder for staff, including symptoms to look for in golfers. For the most part, golfers have been following the rules, Wood said.

Miller said she played her first round May 21 as part of a ladies’ golf day.

“It worked out really well. All the ladies were very respectful. We’re not letting the ball go into the cup and we’re not touching the flag. I felt very comfortable as far as the COVID problem. And it was wonderful to see all my friends.”

Wood said it is going well, considering.

“I’ve been pleased so far by the turnout. Most of the golfers are respecting those rules. I’m sure they’re trying to keep themselves safe as well.”

AH to have digital payment at three landfills

COVID-19 has dragged Algonquin Highlands out of “The Stone Age,” as council voted May 21 to implement a Square Terminal digital payment system at three of its waste disposal sites.

Operations manager Adam Thorn told councillors via a Zoom meeting that, “definitely through this COVID pandemic, we’ve really noticed some shortfalls in accepting cash at our sites and not having digital payments set up.”

He submitted a joint report he’d written with environmental coordinator Melissa Murray. Thorn said he and Murray had researched and felt Square Terminal is the best system for what they would like to see put in place.

“Digital payment helps us track sales,” Thorn said, and, “also helps with reporting, and will decrease staff time for changing those receipts from paper to electronic.”

The report went on to outline a number of advantages to the township of implementing a digital payment system for processing and reporting of tipping fees at waste disposal sites. Now, people can only pay by cash or cheque. A small number of contractors have charge accounts and receive monthly invoices, which are paid by cheque or in-person at the township office.

The report said the new system is more efficient, can be contactless, offers an expanded service to residents, could result in more sales, could lead to more on-line sales, such as for cottage kits, save printing and receipt book costs, allow for instant receipting, and is easy to use.

The report acknowledged transaction fees but said these be offset by things such as reduced staff time for data entry and reporting.

One-time costs are estimated at $3,100 with annual costs of $1,940. The money would come from provincial government modernization funding. Thorn said the idea is to trial the system at the Maple Lake landfill. He said once they get it up and running, and get the bugs out, they will then expand to Dorset and Oxtongue Lake sites.

“This is a terrific idea,” Mayor Carol Moffatt said. “We are somewhat in The Stone Age regarding our ability to make online transactions.”

She said she had raised, during the Emergency Operations Centres meeting, about fanning out from this to include other things, such as an online shopping cart for other township services, such as building permits.

“I think it’s a really good step to modernization and exactly what the modernization money provided by the province is for,” she said.

Coun. Lisa Barry asked about the Dorset Tower. CAO Angie Bird said it has a point of sale machine, though not Square.

Deputy Mayor Liz Danielsen asked about using the same system across the towship.

“I think it’s a great initiative and I was also wondering about the wisdom of having, if we’re going to expand this kind of system beyond the landfills, for them all to be the same system.”

Thorn replied, “we could definitely look at other options if it’s something other department heads would like to morph into what works best for them.”

The ‘kid from Carnarvon’ has left the ball

Jan Scott-Wood says her cousin, Ronald Sinclair Russell, was out in the bush foraging a couple of weeks ago and told her he felt “absolutely great.”

“I live on Twelve Mile, and he walked through the woods looking for wild leeks. He had his knife in his pocket to collect them. And he came up and had a cup of tea with us. We just sat and had a real nice visit, because I’d been away all winter in Florida. He said ‘I feel really good’,” Scott-Wood said on May 26 as she and cousin, Wendy Connelly, helped to clean out Russell’s apartment.

The two said Russell got an infection, which contributed to his passing May 23.

Following a chat outside the Wedgewood Marina, the two emerge from the flat overlooking Twelve Mile Lake with images of a young Russell, looking dashing in a black and white photograph, and an older Russell, posing at one of the Brazilian balls he decorated.

“He was a very attractive young man,” says Scott-Wood.

“And he had a great sense of humour,” chimes in Connelly.

Tributes have been flooding in this week for Russell, a character-filled individual who touched the lives of many in Haliburton County.

Russell grew up on the family farm in Carnarvon, which he would go on to buy from his parents and name “The Springs.” He had two brothers, Neil and Colin, and a sister, Barbara.

The cousins said since his father was named Sinclair, he was just Ron or Ronnie in his younger days. “When he became a designer, he liked the posh sounding name,” Scott-Wood says with a chuckle.

Connelly grew up nearby and recalled how Ron played with his cousins, brothers and other boys in Carnarvon and went on to Haliburton Highlands Secondary School. Scott-Wood lived in Toronto so didn’t see him as much. They recalled how he moved to Toronto to finish high school and then embarked on a high-flying, around-the-world career, before coming home to Carnarvon and Minden.

They said he worked with many top designers in Toronto, New York, California and all over Europe, rubbing elbows with celebrities. He decorated many storefronts and helped to plan large events such as the Brazilian ball and the Griffin awards in Toronto. Several years ago, he decorated the vice president’s office at the White House. More recently, he decorated the streets of Minden at Christmas and Thanksgiving. He was an organizer of the Festival of Trees as well as Pride Week in Minden.

Scott-Wood comments on the sewing machine and bolts of material in the flat and his “beautiful sewing.”

Because he travelled so much, the cousins said they really became re-acquainted with him in his later years.

“He was such an easy guy to talk to,” says Scott-Wood, saying they knew “the flamboyant guy that loved tartans … and he loved heritage and his memory was amazing.”

Connelly laments, “we should have written it all down, because he knew all of our history and everything and he would tell you, ‘so and so’s related to so and so’ and ‘they’re related to you and …,” she trails off with a laugh.

Scott-Wood adds, “his wit and charm will be missed by all of his family and friends far and wide.”

Friend Mary McCrae nominated Russell for a municipal award in 2017. She said, “having worked with Sinclair during our career years and more recently on Minden volunteer projects, I can attest first hand to his ability, dedication and professionalism. There was no one quite like him. Sinclair has made an amazing contribution to our community, helping to make it an exciting shopping and event destination for locals and visitors. Anyone who has worked with him would agree.”

The Stanhope Museum said local history had lost another champion.

“Related to almost everyone via the Russell/Nesbitt families, he had a story about almost everyone, and rattled off names and dates like they were yesterday,” they said on their Facebook page.

David Rankin of Minden Pride honoured Russell, who was Pride’s co-founder and past chair, in a Facebook post.

“Almost every message of condolence that we have received has described Sinc as ‘a character’,” Rankin said. “And that he was. While we will mourn, his is a life that should be celebrated. He was a smalltown boy from Haliburton who ventured into the City of Toronto at a young age, and then ventured further into the world making his mark before returning home. Big personality, big-bellied, colourful in language and attire.”

Rankin remembered ‘Sinc’ for his side-splittingly funny story-telling, and said many would remember trips into town with Russell, after picking him up on Twelve Mile Lake.

“Sinc was part of the group that took the very politically correct, positive and forward moving action of establishing Minden Pride. He will be missed; his absence will be felt; the world was a more interesting place because he was here. We hope that somewhere over the rainbow you find that land that you heard of … safe travels.”

Harp on the Water: chapter 2 – The Fireball

Spruce County Coroner, Boyce Williams, was a small, bird-like man with an enlarged sense of confidence. He followed Detective Harry Harp and Constable Terry Becker behind the Calvert place where the ground dropped sharply down to the water. Becker stopped and pointed at a length of birch firewood, its bark smeared with a dark red substance. After kneeling down and sniffing, Williams wriggled his nose then pronounced the substance to be, indeed, blood.

“How long to get it tested?” Harp asked, gazing down the slope. He could hear the sound of outboard engines and laughter in the distance. The lake was waking up.

“Three days to a week.” Williams thrust out his chin. “But in 37 years on the job, I have never been wrong.” He marched back to the cottage. “Now, to see if the bloody log and the deceased fit together.” Harp knew they would. He had been wrong before, but he felt sure about this.

“Looks like we’ve got ourselves a murder weapon. Good work, Terry,” Harp said then started down the slope with Becker trailing behind him. After a few steps, the detective peered past a clump of scrawny maples.

“Looks like a path–.” He noticed some broken branches, like someone had grabbed at them. “Grace said she walked around the lake …”

“Think she did this?” Becker asked. “Her–or the killer.”

“You’re ruling her out?”

“No–everyone’s a suspect.”

Harp felt his face suddenly redden. Just then, Frank Gill appeared, ghost-like, from behind a tree.

“That’s the shore path,” he said like he’d been listening in on their conversation. “Goes right around the lake but it’s not used on account of the shore’s private. Cottagers don’t like people walking on their property.”

Harp said, “Does the path cross your property?”

Gill nodded. “Right past my front window.”

“Did you see anyone using it last night? Did you see Grace?”

“Like I said,” The old man folded his arms across his chest. “It’s not used anymore.”

Harp frowned. “You got a spare boat we can borrow?”

Twenty minutes later, Becker rowed and Harp sat in the stern of a beat-up tin boat. On his left, Harp watched the Calvert cottage pass behind a veil of foliage.

“What do you think of Grace Calvert?” Harp said over the splash of oars.

Becker shrugged. “She seems bushed. Like she’s been in that cabin playing ‘pioneer’ too long. Enough to make anyone crazy.”

Just then, the coroner appeared through the trees, waving. He yelled, “I had a gander at your victim. Time of murder’s between 10:00 and midnight. And remember …”

Harp shouted, “You’re never wrong?” The little man nodded sagely then disappeared behind the trees. Harp and Becker tied up at the cottage in the bay. A neat garden banked the property and in the middle of it, a woman in yellow pants and a long-sleeved shirt was bent over, blond curls hiding her face. Her gloved hands attacked a spiky weed, fiercely pulling at its root.

Harp introduced himself. After recovering from her surprise at seeing two strangers on her property, the woman said her name was Heather Mackenzie-Wilson and led them into the cottage. The Mackenzie-Wilsons’ living room was the size of the entire Calvert home. A flat screen TV hung over a fireplace and next to it, a set of shelves held players, consoles, cords and stacks of DVDs and in front of the TV, a U-shaped sectional wrapped around a glass coffee table. The table was bare except for a spray bottle of hand sanitizer and a row of remotes.

“Bob? We have guests,” Heather said to a man walking into the room holding two beach towels.

“Huh?” Then he noticed Harp and Becker. “Who are you?”

“They’re detectives,” she said crossing to the kitchen and washing her hands.

“Detectives?” He peered at them. “You guys want to sit down?” His black hair was shoveled straight back off his forehead mobster-style and he was wearing orange swim trunks under a tanned and oiled belly. On the floor, two 6-year-olds played with toy cars. Bob Mackenzie-Wilson glanced at Harp’s suit jacket.

“You must be hot,” he said, smirking. “Say, you want coffee? A drink?”

“No thanks,” Harp said pulling at his damp collar. Heather sat down near Bob.

“I can handle this,” he snapped. “You’re supposed to be taking the boys swimming, anyway, not messing around in that garden.” He pushed the towels at her. “Go put on your bikini.”

“I don’t feel like swimming.”

“And I don’t feel like seeing you in pants! Go change. This is a cottage, for Christ’s sake. Show some skin.”

Harp said quickly, “Actually, I’d like to speak to both of you.” Becker opened his notebook. All eyes turned to Harp.

He said, “We’re investigating Ida Calvert’s murder.”

Bob’s head fell back against his seat. “Are you frickin’ serious?”

“Oh my god–.” Heather’s trembling hands covered her mouth.

The boys looked up, eyes wide.

“Scram, you two. The deck. NOW–,” Bob pointed at a glass door. Reluctantly, the pair left the room.

Harp rubbed his temples and sighed.

“Where were you both last night?”

“Right here,” Bob Mackenzie-Wilson barked. “We had dinner then everyone came over for fireworks like they always do.”

Becker said, “And what time was that?”

The man shrugged. “Finished dinner about when–?”

“Eight-thirty,” Heather said quietly.

“Yeah. That’s right. The kids watched a movie, the wife cleaned up and I got the fireworks ready. We always start the show bang on eleven.”

Harp frowned. “That seems late. Aren’t people sleeping?”

Bob’s face stretched into a toothy grin. “Nobody’s sleeping because everyone is right here enjoying the show.”

Becker looked up from his notebook.

“Except the Calverts.”

“Look–those two broads wouldn’t come to an afternoon tea party if they were invited. They don’t like anyone on the lake and quite frankly, nobody likes them.”

Heather said, “But you love their spot on the point, don’t you, Bob? You always say how much you love–.”

Bob’s face turned purple. “Jesus Heather– everyone loves that goddamn point–.”

He drove his hands through his hair then muttered, “Sorry fellas.” Heather picked at her nails. Popping the button on his collar, Harp flapped it for air.

“Heather, tell me how long have you had your cottage?”

She glanced at Bob, then at the floor, then back to Harp.

“We bought here three years ago–with the help of my mother and, I mean, this is all we could afford even with her gift. It’s not perfect, not like the point–.”

Bob Mackenzie-Wilson cut in.

“Her old woman wouldn’t give us the cash unless we hyphenated our names. Can you believe it? Said it would remind me that the wife and I are in an ‘equal partnership’. Now I gotta wear this surname like a goddamn cross.” He grinned at the men. Harp ignored him and turned to Heather.

“When did the fireworks end?”

“Midnight on the dot. Right after ‘The Fireball.’ Bob always sets it off last because it’s the loudest. He says that one day, it’ll scare Ida to death. Isn’t that right, Bob?”

Editor’s note: This is the second installment of a series entitled Harp on the Water. It’s written by Hope Thompson, who lives in Algonquin Highlands.

Dysart pursuing funding for new septage facility

Dysart et al will pursue funding to build a new septage treatment facility, to replace land application as its way to deal with septage. File photo.

Dysart et al is pursuing funding for a new septage treatment facility at its Haliburton landfill site.

Clearford ASI vice president of engineering John Levie presented to council May 26 about the completion of phase four of the municipal class environmental assessment process. The wastewater management company recommended a new facility with a dewatering system to deal with municipal septage, with an estimated capital cost of $2 million to $2.5 million and an annual operating cost of approximately $130,000.

Mayor Andrea Roberts said the assessment process went well and the landfill was an ideal location compared to explored alternatives.

“We’ve been at this for Dysart for a long time now,” Roberts said. “Using the location of the Haliburton Landfill off Industrial Park Road, that’s where large trucks are meant to be.”

Dysart et al has undergone a class environmental assessment process since 2017 to explore alternatives to land application for septage, due to difficulty acquiring sites and provincial government changes. The municipality has now completed its Environmental Study Report and can proceed with searching for grant funding.

In his report, Levie said he found constructing a new treatment facility to be better than alternatives such as continuing use of spreading fields, hauling to outside municipalities, or retrofitting the Haliburton Wastewater Treatment Plant. Levie said a new plant would address municipal septage issues and provide a “reliable, long-term solution.”

Roberts noted there would be some revenue with charges on pumpers to help offset the operating costs.

Coun. John Smith said the federal government could be making money available in the coming months.

“I’d like to see us pursue the next stage of this in terms of the feasibility study and opportunities to secure a grant,” Smith said. “This could be a project that’s sort of ready to go and would provide a service we badly need.”

There is no definite timeline to build the facility yet and the environmental assessment must still be accepted by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.

Council unanimously passed a resolution to direct staff to pursue funding opportunities to construct the new facility.

COVID-19 Business Updates

Below are updates from the local business community about changes to opening hours and operations. It includes restaurants that are open and offering takeout.

Businesses can provide updates to this list by emailing admin@thehighlander.ca.

NEW May 29, 2020

Maple Avenue Tap & Grill Open for take-out Wednesday and Thursday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Call 705-457-1100.

Soyers Lake Plumbing Open 705-306-9480 soyerslakeplumbing@gmail.com

The Minden Experience Open weekends. 705-306-9936

Re/Max Professionals North Open for business in Haliburton County. All precautions being met through strict Covid-19 guidelines. 705-457-1011.

Into the Blue Bakery Open at Eagle Lake Country Market. Thurs, Sat, Sun 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. Friday 12 p.m. – 9 p.m. 705-854-2662 intothebluebakery.square.site

Abbey Gardens Open Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

The Cookhouse Restaurant – Haliburton Forest Open for takeout and some groceries. Follow @haliburton_cookhouse on Instagram for daily specials. Order by calling 705-754-1729. Menu at haliburtonforest.com/amenities

Haliburton Forest Open for gas and propane Friday, Saturday and Sunday 8 a m. – 5 p.m. Trails open for day use hiking, biking, running. Buy pass at haliburtonforest.com.

Master’s Book Store Open for browsing with careful Covid-19 precautions. Continuing with curbside pickup. 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. 705-457-2223, mastersbook@bellnet.ca, mastersbookstore.ca.

South Algonquin Dinner Open for take-out daily from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Call 705-448-1168.

Walkers Heating & Cooling Systems Open 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. for phone and email inquiries. No walk-in appointments. walkershvac.com. For emergency service, call 705-457-2375. Full services and annual maintenance appointments to resume on May 19th.

Russell Red Records Open for curbside pickup and free Haliburton delivery Thursday – Sunday. russellredrecords.ca.

Hilary’s Trim’n Floor Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., curb-side pickup and delivery available 705-448-3394.

Minden 50s Diner Open for takeout Weds – Sat 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Call ahead to order. 705-286-2626.

Louie’s Car Care & Detail Centre Open. 705-455-3691.

Lakeview Motel Open for “essential travellers”.  Call to see if you qualify 705-457-1027.  lakeviewhaliburton.ca

Rebel Elixir Coffee Roastery Local fresh coffee. oliver@web.net to order and arrange curbside pick-up.

Canadian Tire Open.

Buckley Electric Open. buckleyelectric.com

Kegel Heating & Cooling Fully operational and following all new health and safety regulations. 705-341-9170. kegelheatingandcooling.ca.

Castle Antiques and Cafe Open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. for curb-side pick-up. 705-457-1155.

Emmerson Castle Building Centre Open Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Country Bakery Open Friday – Sunday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Minden Electric Open 705-286-2946. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Baked and Battered Open for takeout. bakedandbattered.com. 705-457-BAKE.

W. Everitt’s Enterprises Limited Open by appointment only Monday – Friday 9 a.m – 4 p.m. Call 705-754-9074. Norley Pit Open by appointment only Monday – Friday 9 a.m – 4 p.m. Call 705-854-1648.

Total Site Services Open 705-457-9558. totalsiteservices.ca.

Casey’s Water Well & Geothermal, Inc. Open. 705-457-9558. caseyswaterwell.ca.

Rodco Enterprise Open. 705-457-1224. rodcoen.com

Minden Haliburton Hearing Service Open by appointment only. 705-286-6001.

Highlands Storage Open for storage needs. Limited onsite office hours. Call 705-489-3925, or email info@highlands-storage.com or highlands-storage.com.

The Hot Shop Open for bike repairs. Call 705-446-9522.

Subway Minden and Haliburton. Open for take-out 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Mill Pond Restaurant Open for take-out from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Check menu on Facebook or Instagram.

Haliburton Highlands Food and Beverage Showcase at Wintergreen on Father’s Day has been cancelled. Please send donations in support of fresh-water wells in India to Diane Dawson (cheques made out to H.A.V.E.).

The Pepper Mill Steak & Pasta House Open for take-out Wed – Sun 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Call 705-489-1939. Menu at thepeppermill.ca.

Stoughton Electric Available for plumbing, electrical and septic work and emergencies. 705-447-2211 jason@stoughtonseptic.ca

McFadden’s Meat Market Open

Soloway’s Outlet Delivers to homes with Purolator. 705-448-1007. streetmeattoronto.com

Glecoff’s Family Store Open Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Curb-side pick-up, delivery, or in-store with social distancing. 705-457-2715.

Wintergreen Maple Syrup and Pancake Barn Maple syrup and preserves available by appointment. 705-286-3202. wintergreenmapleproducts.com.

Highland Timber Mart Open Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday closed. Gooderham 705-457-2012, Harcourt 705-448-2268.

Garbutt Disposal Still accepting construction waste. 705-286-1843.

Minden Animal Hospital Open Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Call 705-286-2919 to pre-book your appointment.

Cordell Carpet In-store traffic by appointment only. Open for curb side pick-up with 24 hour notice. Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 705-457-2022. cordellcarpet@bellnet.ca

Paws at Killara Station Open for doggy day care and care with conditions. Call 705-854-0055 or email info@killarastation.com.

Fresh at Killara Station Pre-order your eggs and chicks. Call 705-854-0055 and pay online or honesty box.

Contact North | Contact Nord Services available by phone, e-mail, text, Zoom and Facebook. Contact Robin 1-855-699-6330 or muskokahaliburton@contactnorth.ca.

John Fountain Electronics Open by appointment only. Call 705-286-2536.

Neighbours Helping Neighbours Volunteer group picks up groceries or takeout food, provides a friendly call or email, or helps with urgent chores. Email Bonnieroe08@gmail.com or call 705-286-2414.

Hyland Taxi Reduced hours. Sunday -Thursday 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday – Saturday 7 a.m. – 12 a.m. If transportation is needed outside hours, arrangements must be made the day before by calling 705-457-1777.

County Automotive Open for repair only. Drop off only. Call 705-457-1411 or email countyautomotive@hotmail.com.

Generator Solutions Temporarily closed to public but staff still available at monica@generatorsolutions.ca or telephone 705-286-1003 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday.

Bernstein’s General Store Not open to walk-ins. Call Marty at 705-457-1777 or email bernsteinsgeneralstore@gmail.com to order for curbside pick-up. FedEx drop offs available by appointment only 705-457-1777. FedEx pickups – you will be called to arrange curbside pickup

Lockside Trading Company Free virtual interior design and online shopping at lockside.com. Open daily 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 1-888-0484 or by appointment, or email shop@lockside.com, 24/7.

Sunny Rock Bed and Breakfast closed until July 1. Taking reservations into the summer and beyond. 705-286-4922, sunnyrockbb.ca.

Sew What Free washable fabric facemasks for anyone who needs them. Call or text 705-457-8764.

Edilicious Teamed up with Nourished to offer a falafel meal deal on Saturdays. Delivery available. Contact Nourished at 705-775-0525 to order.

Step of Grace Conditioning Studio Open with on-line training. Call 705-457-6749 or 416-707-1966.

SIRCH Free frozen take-out meals Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 2 Victoria Street, Haliburton.

McKee Security Open for business with enhanced protective tools for employees and public. Call 705-457-2156.

Northern HVAC. Open for business and fully operational within the HVAC spectrum with new regulations for public safety. northernhvacco.ca. 705-489-2001.

Transat Travel Working remotely and can access calls and emails.  pcc22ha@transat.com or 705-457-3290.

Royal Lepage Trillium Team Working from home and checking phone messages and emails regularly. trilliumteam.ca.

Haliburton Dance Academy Livestream classes. info@haliburtondanceacademy.com.

Minden Wine Store Closed.

Minden Subaru Open by appointment only. Service: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Sales: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 705-286-6126.

County Sign & Display Closed to walk-in traffic but continuing to produce and supply signage. countysign@interhop.net. 705-286-6650.

Haliburton Legion Closed. Contact office Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 705-457-2571.

Up River Trading Co. Open from 8:30 a.m.

Tails and Trails Offer doggy daycare and pet sitting. Open with regular hours. Call (705) 935-8245 to find out what measures they are taking to avoid human contact.

Highlands Medical Supplies In-store personal shopping no longer available. Available to take your orders by phone or email. Pre-paid orders can be delivered or via “Pick-Up Box”. Call 705-457-9355 (Mon – Fri 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.), info@highlandsmedicalsupplies.com. Weekend/after hours: 705-455-2705 (urgent only.)

Hawk River Construction Open for business but closed to public. Payment, statements and invoices through email or mail.

The Pregnancy Care & Family Support Centre Closed to face-to-face client interactions. Staffed regular hours (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Friday 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.) and available by phone or text (705-457-4673) or email (hope@haliburtonpregnancycentre.ca). If anyone (including non-clients) needs diapers, formula or baby clothing, contact them and arrangements will be made for pick-up.

Stone 21 located at Pinestone No longer offering takeout.

West G Pizza & Grill Open for take-out and delivery after 4 p.m. Call 705-754-9141.

Abbey Gardens Food Hub Open for retail shopping and take-out food only. Pre-orders welcome by calling 705-754-4769 or abbeygardens.ca/shop-online/

AM/PM Outdoor Gourmet Special takeout menu. Open 6 days a week. Call 613-876-4639 or email amanda@ampmoutdoorgourmet.com. ampmoutdoorgourmet.square.site.

John E. Francis Fuels Office closed but operating business as usual by phone or email. Invoices will be mailed or emailed, not delivered by drivers.

McKeck’s Open for take-out and online ordering. Mon-Sat from 12-7 p.m. Menu at mckecks.ca/menu. Call 705-457-3443.

Hudson Henderson Insurance Brokers Open for appointments not walk-ins from Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Pet Valu Haliburton store operating with reduced hours Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p,m, and Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

WRD Cottage Rental Agency Open as usual but working remotely. Call 705-457-9434 or email to fran@ontariocottagerental.com.

Molly’s Bistro Bakery Open 7 a.m. – 3 p.m., Wednesday – Sunday. Takeout or frozen carry-home cuisine. Call ahead for order. 705-268-6988.

Fleming CREW Employment Centre Providing service via phone and email. Office at 49 Maple Ave closed to public. Call 705-457-2020 or email flemingcrew@flemingcollege.ca.

Courtney @ Bruce’s Barbershop Closed until further notice.

Pine Grove Point 4445 Elephant Lake Road, Harcourt. Open Sun – Thurs 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Fri – Sat 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Variety Store open for essential needs and the Pizza & Snack Shack open for take-out orders.

Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre Closed. Posting images from current exhibition on Facebook.com/railsend.

Riverview Furniture Open with extra safety precautions. Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. 705-286-3167. riverview-furniture.com

Lacey’s Hair Design Closed. All appointments will be postponed. To rebook call 705-457-9888. or click the Phorest link on Instagram page.

Nourished Offers healthy, delicious, fresh and frozen food options. Wed – Sat 11:30 a.m. -3 p.m. for takeout/delivery. 705-306-0526.

The Beer Store Minden and Haliburton locations will be closing at 7 on Fridays.

Century 21 Granite Realty Group Available only through appointment. Call 705-457-2128 or email info@century21granite.com.

Stamp Carpet & Duct Cleaning Open. 705-457-4715. 705-306-0704.

Hike Haliburton Festival cancelled

Hikers at the 2019 Hike Haliburton Festival. The 2020 edition was cancelled due to COVID-19. File photo.

Haliburton County council voted May 27 to cancel the 2020 Hike Haliburton Festival due to the pandemic.

Councillors expressed concern with spending more money planning the September event given the public health restrictions that may still be in place.

The event has a $46,500 budget, with only $7,107 spent so far. Council also voted to put the remaining budget into a reserve for future Hike Haliburton events.

“I’m not in favour of spending any more money for something that really just won’t be what our event should be,” deputy warden Andrea Roberts said.

Director of tourism Amanda Virtanen presented council with three other options besides cancelling. They included trying to proceed with a full-scale festival, running a smaller-scale version, and “packaged” version with local businesses, providing visitors with the option to get a hike as part of their stay.

But Virtanen also highlighted challenges. With the need to finish most planning in June, it is difficult to know what the restrictions would be and whether the event might have to get cancelled closer to the date. The average hike has 20 participants and Virtanen said those sizes might not be possible. She also noted it is difficult to know the availability of all spaces needed, and restrictions around administering first-aid could create greater liability.

Virtanen also said businesses would likely not be in a position to provide sponsorship this year, leaving the County with more of the cost. The sponsorship target was $25,000 for 2020.

She added cancelling the festival would be an economic blow to businesses. A total of 2,790 people participated in 2019.

“Cancelling the festival will have an impact but we do need to keep in mind that it’s likely they may not be able to stay in those accommodations or spend in the way they were able to in prior years,” Virtanen said.

Coun. Brent Devolin said he might favour trying for a smaller-scale event, depending on stakeholder feedback.

“If there’s some light at the end of the tunnel, I’m more supportive,” Devolin said, adding the smaller version might still have to get cancelled closer to the date. “I would rather have circumstances dictate that to us.”

Coun. Cec Ryall said informal hikes could still go on, promoted by the County. Virtanen noted the event’s social media feed posts year-round and could continue to promote hiking

“We really don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that is so way up in the air at this point,” Ryall said.

“We can possibly make next year’s bigger and better,” Coun. Dave Burton said.

Pandemic can’t stop accountability

Some windfalls come with being a politician in a crisis.

It is certainly not enviable to have to deal with difficult decisions during a pandemic. But, as long as leaders do the logical thing, of listening to health experts, they can at least enjoy a surge in poll numbers, a public disinterested in partisan bickering, and media preoccupied with writing about the crisis.

Canadians generally have faith in government and are willing to give them a lot of leeway amidst COVID-19. However, as we progress through this, we must be mindful and willing to hold our officials to account.

Both provincial and federal leaders have seen their approval ratings soar. According to the Toronto Star, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was at a 65 per cent approval rating at the start of May, up from 31 per cent last October. Premier Doug Ford has had an even bigger swing, going from a 20 per cent approval rating in July to 76 per cent in May.

Though not all of that is pandemic-related, their handling of the situation has earned them marks. Though such polling does not exist for our municipal leaders, they have at least had headaches stalled by the crisis. Issues such as a controversial shoreline bylaw or the budgetary woes of the Minden arena cannot stand out as prominently when people are just trying to figure out how to get by. The biggest controversy in two months locally has been the return of seasonal residents, but most of the ire was not towards governments, but individuals sniping at each other and a generalized “other.”

Activism is harder, too. For instance, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation effectively caved in their attempts to stop class size increases or mandatory online credits. They acknowledged that, but recognized the need for some stability given the pandemic. It is hard to pick a fight with the government when no one has much energy to spare.

Media, including The Highlander, has also been preoccupied. Though there is plenty of questioning of government, our plates are filled with pandemic coverage taking priority over anything else.

But as the country begins to open, we must be ready and welcoming of efforts to hold people in power accountable.

Our leaders are still making vital decisions that will impact us. More and more, local council agendas are shifting from crisis management to regular business. All those issues that got sidelined before the pandemic are still there and will have to be dealt with. That also goes for our venerated health care sector, rightfully applauded for weathering this storm.

That should continue, but some attention will need to be paid to how this pandemic was handled, and what flaws it exposed in our health care system. Long-term care needs scrutiny especially after the failure of Highland Wood’s roof last year.

If we do our jobs well, you will see more of that accountability in our pages this summer than in recent weeks. We may risk coming off as unkind in a difficult time, but we cannot hold back forever.

COVID-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon. It will not be easy, but our media and public must get back to government scrutiny. It is good we have faith in our governments, but even in a long-term crisis, it cannot be boundless.