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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.

Couple fitting pieces together for new business

Brigette Gall and Michael Bainbridge opened their new puzzle shop and factory in Haliburton Nov. 30. Photo by Joseph Quigley.

Brigette Gall and Michael Bainbridge said getting trapped at home by a 2018 cold snap inspired the unique business they are starting in Haliburton County.

Locked in with a group of friends, a large jigsaw puzzle became the centre of attention. The two had searched for another business model for Bainbridge, a professional mineral photographer.

The idea struck to turn his photos into puzzles, which led to their new business “The Occurrence.” After months working from their home and online, they soft-launched a new jigsaw puzzle shop and factory Nov. 30.

“There is increasingly a need for people to disconnect and have a real, physical, tactile experience,” Gall said. “It’s reminiscent of all those rain or snow days at the cottage or hanging out with the family.”

The two kickstarted the business on Industrial Park Road in Haliburton with the help of the Haliburton County Development Corporation, which helped secure more than $40,000 in matching grants through the Rural Innovation Initiative Eastern Ontario and Business Expansion and Innovation Program.

Their property features a factory-floor with all the tools needed to print puzzles in the back and a space to sell them at the front.

The two decided to print for themselves upon discovering how few places do. They said they could not find any printers based in Ontario and few in Canada. Most large printers who could work in bulk would not do the limited runs they were interested in.

“You got an artist, ‘I want to do a limited edition number, my artwork in a puzzle.” You have to order in large quantities to make it financially worthwhile,” Gall said. “Printing in house, we can do small batches and high-quality puzzles.”

One of the pieces they use is mural art owned by the County. It is a depiction of a map of the County, featured at the land registry office.

The two presented to County council Nov. 27 and got permission to use the image, with a portion of sales going toward the Arts Council Haliburton Highlands artists in the school program.

“This is great stuff and it will help promote the area,” Coun. Brent Devolin said. “Let it happen.”

Bainbridge said their new business has gotten a positive reception so far.

“I don’t think there’s been a single sense of anyone who has said ‘that’s a stupid idea, you’re crazy,’” Bainbridge said. “Almost invariably people say, ‘that’s really cool.’”

The two are not completely up and running yet, anticipating regular store hours to start in January.

“Really enthusiastic about the opportunity to do this and it couldn’t happen without the help of HCDC,” Gall said. “That’s what’s so great about this area, is people really are supportive of each other in a small community.”

Support growing for green burial society

Green Burial Society of Canada board member Mark Richardson presented at Haliburton United Church Nov. 28. Photo by Joseph Quigley.

The Haliburton Highlands Green Burial Society (HHGBS) formally launched Nov. 28 with 27 people now committed to bringing the environmentally-friendly practice to local cemeteries.

More than 30 people attended the society’s inaugural meeting at the Haliburton United Church to discuss the idea that involves burying the dead using green practices in specialized graveyards or plots. Society founder Terry Moore and Green Burial Society of Canada board member Mark Richardson answered questions and discussed implementation.

Moore said he is pleased about the positive response. He credited it to the efforts of community organizations to raise a sense of environmental stewardship in Haliburton over the past decade.

“People are ready to have a conversation about this and I think people are now prepared to listen,” Moore said.

Environment Haliburton! has developed the idea over the past few months with a working group. Moore brought the concept forward after his family’s struggles with burying his son, Kyle Moore, in an ecofriendly way during the winter. He presented to local councils earlier this year and they spoke supportively.

But Moore identified barriers at the municipal level, such as their worries about cost and winter burials. There are now plans for a workshop in January with an external operator showing municipal staff and policymakers how a green burial could happen in the winter.

“Demonstrate how it’s done in order to address some of the practical considerations that some of the townships have,” Moore said.

Compared to cremation, green burials are more expensive, Richardson said. But he added they are still greener, given the carbon dioxide released into the air when burning bodies.

But the appetite for burials has plummeted. The Cremation Association of North America said the cremation rate in Canada was 72 per cent in 2018.

Moore said convincing lawmakers will take more public awareness.

“There is an interest in this and it’s not just a niche group of people who are in the tree hugger community,” Moore said. “The more conversations we have, I think it helps to build a different cultural norm.”

Sharon Ireland attended and said it was a strong presentation.

“This is an absolutely great alternative to conventional burials,” Ireland said. “We have an awful lot of environmental consciousness in the community towards our wild spaces.”

Moore said green burials can happen if the community shows support.

“I’m very optimistic that we’ll be able to remove the remaining barriers,” he said.

Highlands East ponders ward structure change

Highlands East municipal office. File photo.

Highlands East council considered whether it would upend its ward system to make the deputy mayor an elected position.

Council discussed an organizational review Nov. 26 made by consultant Savino Human Resources Partners. The report recommended changes including more staff team meetings, the closure of fire halls and making the deputy mayor elected instead of appointed by council.

But chief administrative officer Shannon Hunter said that would not be simple, as that would create an undesirable six-person council under the current ward structure.

Council discussed changing the structure or letting councillors be elected at-large. Deputy Mayor Cec Ryall said he had no issues with making his position elected.

“Would not bother me at all,” Ryall said. “There are advantages and disadvantages of having the ward system … I would not believe in having our council members at large.”

Coun. Suzanne Partridge said she supports an elected deputy mayor and wants the wards to be more equitable.

“We need to realign our boundaries,” Partridge said. “I don’t think we should be voting for all council at large.”

But Coun. Cam McKenzie said though he is okay with the position getting elected, he does not want to see his ward, as the smallest, get removed.

“I can see where this is going. Ward 1, which I represent, is going to disappear,” McKenzie said. “I know we have limited numbers, but it’s kind of a unique place.”

Mayor Dave Burton said he would prefer wards be done away with.

“We still are not amalgamating. We are still territorial with each of the wards,” Burton said. “We are here to represent all the people in Highlands East, not just our wards.”

Council also discussed the consultant’s recommendation to close one or two fire halls. McKenzie said it caused a “firestorm” of concern but Hunter emphasized that the municipality does not need to follow the review’s recommendations.

They also touched on customer service. The review said the municipality should invest in more online and remote options, as well as educate residents about municipal rules.

Hunter said there was some disagreement in the interviews that informed the report. Staff said customer service is excellent while council said improvement is needed.

McKenzie said he hears from people that they get left in “limbo” waiting for replies from staff and there needs to be more done to get back to people quickly.

“Answering a complaint, may not be able to do anything about it, but at least they know we got the message and we’re dealing with it,” McKenzie said.

Council voted to accept the report as information.

Farewell to ‘man of the people’

William 'Bill' Davis

Community and family are remembering former County warden and Dysart reeve William “Bill” Davis.

He passed away Nov. 30 in Hyland Crest. His visitation and celebration of life and reception will be held this Tuesday and Wednesday.

Murray Fearrey, himself a long-time former County warden and Dysart reeve, will deliver Wednesday’s eulogy.

He told The Highlander he “had the distinct pleasure” of spending many hours with Bill in their nearly 29 years on Dysart and County council, including when Bill served as warden.

Fearrey said he always found Bill’s interests to be consistent over that period.

“He loved Haliburton and Haliburton County and was dedicated to doing everything he could to make life better for its residents.

“Bill was an excellent communicator, he knew nearly everyone, and if he didn’t know you, he would after he met you the first time.”

Fearrey said Bill was not afraid of controversy. “In fact, I think he reveled sometimes with the challenge, always with the intent of caring for people. His strength was advocating for the underdog, an admirable trait.”

Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt said she was sorry to learn of Bill’s passing.

“Bill’s entire life was entrenched in community service and I was honoured to watch and learn from him in my early days at the County table,” she said.

She added that Bill had a long and dedicated history of community involvement and decision-making.

She said Bill “knew everyone, seemed to have ‘been there’ for everything we ever discussed, had a joke for almost any occasion and was just a really nice guy. There aren’t many left like Bill.”

Former Minden Times publisher and editor Jack Brezina said he will always remember Bill as a man of the people.

“Often, I would see him at the coffee shop, moving from table to table, greeting everyone and listening to their comments and suggestions. He didn’t always agree with what they had to say, but he always made a point of letting people have their say.”

Bill was also a paramedic for Dysart et al and dispatcher for the Ministry of Health.

The 78-year-old leaves behind his wife, Freda, three children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

There’ll be a reception at the Haliburton Community Funeral Home Dec. 10 from 2-6 p.m. The Celebration of Life is Dec. 11 at 11 a.m. followed by a reception in the community room.

Housing impacts drug problem

A mat placed at the centre of a discussion about Haliburton County substance abuse Nov. 28.

Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee of Haliburton County co-chair Andrew Hodson said he sees problems with what is available to vulnerable people.

The committee hosted a public discussion at the Lakeside Baptist Church Nov. 28 about substance abuse and how it can be addressed in Haliburton.

As people described their personal experiences and struggles getting help, Hodson said he understands that difficulty.

“When they do reach out and don’t get it, it’s just an absolute travesty,” Hodson, a worker with Four County Crisis, said. “We don’t have a homelessness shelter up here. We can do all the stuff in addictions but people don’t have a place to live.

“I’m incredibly worried about our county.”

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Traumatic grief specialist Yvette Perreault facilitated the event. She described the severity of deaths in the opioid crisis, with more than 12,000 since 2016 according to the Government of Canada.

“Society’s response is still hostile,” Perreault said. “It’s a crazy amount of numbers but you wouldn’t necessarily know that, because people aren’t necessarily up in arms about it.”

The Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland Drug Strategy said there were 145 confirmed opioidrelated emergency department visits in 2018, but the tri-county data could not be broken down further.

Minden’s Dr. Nell Thomas attended and said local data on overdoses has issues, as emergency departments may not log them if a patient reports a different issue. But she said based on her caseloads, she has “a lot of people who are suffering” from a variety of addictions.

She added although there are prescriptions to address opioid abuse, options are lacking for stimulant-type drugs such as cocaine. She said there are not many options, although efforts are being made to find solutions.

“We’re working to find safe alternatives for people,” Thomas said.

But people showed solidarity throughout the discussion and talked about ways to improve the situation.

“We’re in this together,” Perreault said. “There’s a vulnerability here but these conversations matter about how we’re going to take care of each other.”

“It has to be flipping over of our culture,” attendee Jean Schlicklin Tyler said. “It has to be a wake-up call.”

Hodson also identified waiting lists and transportation as issues. But he re-affirmed that housing is a bedrock needed to address substance abuse.

“It’s just fundamental in people’s basic support system,” Hodson said. “Offer them a home with dignity, somewhere they feel safe. I just don’t think any of the other stuff, the higher levels of needs can be addressed (without that).”

Speaker: ‘May the horse be with you’

Sharon Campbell Rayment was the guest speaker at the first annual Inspiring Women's Luncheon.

People left the Inspiring Women’s Luncheon Nov. 28 with some strategies to gain inner balance and mental strength to get them through setbacks and distractions.

Sharon Campbell Rayment was the guest speaker at the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce event at the Haliburton Legion last Thursday.

She shared the story of how a fall from her beloved horse, Malachi, led to an acquired brain injury that rendered her one of only 60 people in the world to have Foreign Accent Syndrome. She now speaks with a Scottish brogue.

At one point, she was diagnosed as being “completely disabled.”

She said that after the accident about 10 years ago, she struggled to speak and stuttered. She was no longer a busy, thriving entrepreneur, wife and mother. Instead, she was anxious, overwhelmed, depressed, frustrated, and pining for her old life.

She said she erupted one day, from tiredness and anger, while working in the barn. She then went out to the horses and Malachi came right up to her.

“He put his chin on my shoulder, slowly and gently lifted it over my head to the other side. He pressed his neck to my ear and I could hear his heart beat. And it was strong. And it was true. And I swear I heard … ‘I know you’re lonely. I know you’re angry. And I know you’re frustrated but I’m right here. I’m as close to you as that heartbeat, as that breath, and in that moment I knew that if I had not fallen I would have missed the very rhythm of life,” Campbell Rayment told a hushed audience.

“And what is the rhythm of life? To me it’s being present. Present to where you are. Present to whom you’re with and what you’re doing.”

She said that prior to her accident, she filled her life with busyness, spending a lot of time physically in one place, but always thinking about another.

She has worked ever since on rewiring her brain and designed something called the NeuroMindSHIFT process.

“After three years of struggle and research, I have confirmed that we can change our brains to help the mind overcome the anxiety and common traps that distract, disrupt, and lock us into ineffectiveness” her website says.

She walked the audience through a guided mediation, got them to get up and move to deal with their anxious “fight or flight” response, to yawn to release tension and taught them to use a pressure point in their hand.

“Because we all experience stress, don’t we?” She said the only time there is no stress is “when the undertaker undertakes to take you under.” The woman, who continues to work with horses, ended her talk by wishing the audience, “may the horse be with you.”

Successful town hall to be repeated

Pat Kennedy and Andrea Roberts.

With 50 people attending their firstever town hall meeting this past Saturday in Haliburton, Dysart et al Mayor Andrea Roberts and Deputy Mayor Pat Kennedy said they hope to have another in the spring – and twoa-year going forward in their terms of office.

The public packed the 2-4 p.m. session Nov. 28, asking about a range of issues including: landfills; the County’s shared services review; the need for electric vehicle recharging stations; heavy traffic on the County Road 21 corridor just outside of the village; road deterioration at snowmobile crossings; the future of Head Lake Park; housing; the prospect of municipal water and roads in general.

Businessman Jerry Walker asked about the possibility of a single-tier government for the County.

Roberts said County staff and councillors were keeping an open mind, and by hiring a professional consultant, would make decisions based on facts, not emotion.

With landfills, Roberts said challenges, such as landfills reaching end of life, and decisions about where waste will go in future, are Countywide. She said they need the help of the province. She noted Coun. Walt McKechnie has for years lobbied for incinerating of garbage. Dysart et al has requested the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) look into researching the idea on behalf of all townships across the province. Kennedy added that they are big items and with 6,500 Dysart residents, “we can’t afford what needs to be done.”

One resident said with electric vehicles becoming more prevalent due to concerns about climate change, Dysart could make itself a tourism destination by putting in car charging stations. Kennedy said it’s definitely “on the radar” and would be discussed, including around the Head Lake Park master plan. Roberts added the units are not cheap and would have to be operated at cost recovery.

As for traffic along County Rd. 21, Roberts said Dysart et al, and the County, are looking into ways to calm the traffic, including a future pedestrian crosswalk.

Kennedy added that townships are now looking into the possibility of development charges, which would give municipalities more money from developers to do work. The two councillors said they’d also like to look at traffic in the downtown and Roberts said she would bring concerns to the next meeting mayors have with the OPP.

As for the park, Roberts reiterated they are working on a master plan as the park “is like a 40-year-old house in need of renovations”. She said they are already holding talks with stakeholders.

With housing, Kennedy said he thought it was prudent to identify properties owned by the township and approach developers “to find out what they can do to get things rolling.” He noted that Dysart had 296 properties of various sizes. Roberts said the County had committed to 750 units over the next 10 years. She said its achievable “if we all work together.”

Both Roberts and Kennedy said they were happy with the outcome of the town hall.

“This has been great,” Kennedy said. Roberts added they were hoping to have a positive conversation and felt that was achieved.

“We’re here to get ideas from you, and let you know what we’re working on.”

Securing day care a good move

This week’s news – that the County has purchased the Haliburton Wee Care daycare for $770,000 – brings the local daycare story full circle.

The purchase comes about a year after Minden, and the County, got a real scare in June 2018 when The Children’s Learning Centre gave parents just one week’s notice that they were shutting their doors.

Some 52 families received a letter saying the only licensed daycare in the town was closing. They cited ongoing concerns over funding, coupled with a growing administrative burden.

It was one of the hardest weeks for not only those families, but municipal staff and councillors, who scrambled to find a solution.

Peterborough-based company, Compass Early Learning and Care, stepped in with a new agreement to continue daycare at the Ontario Early Years Centre (OEYC) in Minden without service disruption. The deal allowed them to use the existing child care space on Prentice Street effective the very day the former centre was slated to close.

In August of this past year, there was another development on the daycare front. The OEYC board transferred ownership of the daycare facility to the County of Haliburton for $2.

At the time, Minden Hills Mayor Brent Devolin said the municipal control should prevent a similar situation from happening again.

It gave parents some sense of security after going through that tumultuous week of scrambling to find alternative day care, when there was really none to be found.

While the purchase did not change the day-to-day operations of the facility, since Compass Early Learning and Care manages the daycare under the oversight of the City of Kawartha Lakes, the asset itself came into possession locally. It can be argued that it guarantees in perpetuity that it can’t go away.

Since then, the facility has gotten 23 new childcare spaces, and up to $750,000 in capital funding from the province.

Now, the County is doing the same thing for Dysart et al. In buying the only licensed daycare there, the hope is to protect the future of that facility as well.

County Council agreed Nov. 27 to have bylaws presented for the purchase of the County Road 21 property in Dysart et al. The municipality is buying it from the Hodgson family, who started and managed the non-profit Wee Care but want to retire. The daycare currently leases the property from the Hodgsons and will continue to under County ownership.

“This ensures that both day cares in the County remain in public ownership and stable ownership,” CAO Mike Rutter said.

Again, it won’t change the day-to-day operations. However, it is an indication of greater municipal support and involvement, indeed bringing some assurance to Haliburton families.

The daycare’s managers are hoping the municipality can help secure provincial funding so the facility can expand and take on more children.

Parents across the county can now breathe a sigh of relief, and the moves demonstrate forward-thinking on behalf of the County.

Having secure day care further sends a message that Haliburton County is a good place to work, live and play for potential newcomers, including the medical professionals we so desperately need.

Community grieves for one of its own

Justin Daniels was remembered for his love of family and carpentry during a Celebration of Life and Reception at the Haliburton Legion.

Family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances are grieving the loss of the 37-year-old tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident Nov. 20 in Algonquin Highlands.

A GoFundMe page started by his mother, Valerie, a former owner of the Oakview Lodge and Marina, has garnered more than $30,000 for Daniels’ wife Michelle and children, Peyton, Cameryn, and Addison.

Images of Daniels played on a projector on the wall, accompanied by county and western music. A table gave some insight into the type of man he was. It featured pictures of him and his family, work boots and other tools of his carpentry trade, a guitar, and a photo of him on a dirt bike.

Irene Gerber, the wife of Justin’s boss, John, was the emcee. She said people had gathered in sadness and love.

“Today, our souls honour his soul,” she said.

She added that when a tragedy such as Justin’s death occurs, “the first reaction is disbelief and an outpouring of emotion.” However, “something amazing takes its place,” in describing how people had rallied around the family, including starting a MealTrain to provide daily meals to the family.

John said Justin had worked for him for about five years, and “I very quickly came to realize that he was highly dependable, a leader, and a skilled craftsmen.” He said the young man’s positive attitude and upbeat nature made the job site a fun place to be.

He added that Justin, “garnered respect through his high standards and work ethic” and stood out amongst his peers.

He said their team had built many homes and cottages over the years and Justin often befriended clients and would tailor the workmanship to their needs, particularly the female clients. “They would share their vision and idea and Justin would make them all come true.”

He further described him as a “sincere, honest, hardworking family man. Providing for his family was in the core of who he was. His presence will be deeply missed by his coworkers and myself. His absence will be large but his shadow will watch over us on all future projects and we will strive to pursue the excellence he pursued every day as a legacy to him.”

Justin’s uncle Ian spoke to Daniels’ love of family.

He told the story of how after his first date with Michelle, he declared that he was going to marry her and he did, and the two went on to have three beautiful children together. He recalled that on the night before he died, Daniels’ was teaching Peyton the guitar.

“Speaking for everyone: We love you and we miss you,” Ian said.

Biggest cast ever for Nutcracker’s 16th staging

Dancers rehearse with Julie Barban at Heritage Ballet in Haliburton this past Saturday.

In many ways, Haliburton County and Heritage Ballet’s The Nutcracker are synonymous with the Christmas season.

The iconic ballet comes to the stage of the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion for the 16th time this weekend.

Heritage Ballet’s Julie Barban said it is the biggest cast ever – with 82 children – and about 10 adults, performing Friday and Saturday.

“We’re up 10 kids,” Barban said during rehearsal last Saturday. “We now have 82 kids. We had 72 last year. So, that’s kind of new.”

She added that Ania Smolen will play The Sugar Plum Fairy this year. She’ll also play The Peacock.

“She was also The Peacock last year and she wanted to do it again,” Barban said.

She added that with all of the new, young dancers, she has added a few extra things, which she always does.

Asked how she can keep the momentum going year after year, Barban said, “it has become a tradition and sometimes I wonder, oh my gosh, it would be nice to take a break but I don’t know. I still love it just as much as the kids do. I don’t see it ending for a while.”

She said the other endearing thing for her about The Nutcracker is the music.

“I never seem to tire of the music. That’s not totally true. After the Nutcracker, I don’t want to listen to it for a while, but then as soon as I hear it, I have the dances in my head.”

She said Dani Smolen is again busy working on costumes. She said she’s been redoing all of The Snowflake costumes.

“I haven’t even seen them, so it’s going to be a surprise to me. And then there’s a new Spanish. We did get a new Chinese costume this year because the other one was showing its age.” She added there are new poinsettias and flowers as well.

They all began work on the ballet in late September, so with this weekend’s performances finally upon them, Barban said, “I’m feeling excited.” She is also looking forward to a nice long break afterwards.

Charlotte Moynes, 13, has four characters to play, including the Raven Queen, Snowflake Three and a Big Soldier. This is her seventh Nutcracker.

“It’s kind of nerve wracking because it’s very stressful to get everything done for the fast changes,” she said of the upcoming shows. She added that “in the big dances, it’s harder, because with Snowflake Three, there’s so many kids.”

Despite the challenges, she is really looking forward to it.

“I think it’s kind of cool. Professional dancers are doing it and then Julie puts together choreography for our own ages and she makes everyone feel included and like they have their own personal role.”

Shows are Friday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7 at 2 and 7 p.m. See: onstagedirect.com or contact Barban directly: julie.barban@gmail.com 705-457-1990