Have Your Say!
Is four years too long for the term for Council?
Last Week's Question:
Do election signs influence who you are going to vote for?
In a presentation to Council on Tuesday, Chris West said that the “Save VIA” campaign is now in the next stage which is “the action phase to get results”. West said that the campaign has come a long way from the cold evening in Stratford on January 22nd, 2013 , when a handful of people showed up in bitter cold weather. “Since that cold night we now have 5,400 supporters”, West told Council. Accompanied by a number of VIA supporters in the audience, West proposed a resolution for Council to pass and asked for 7 requests from Council. The resolution proposed was “Recognizing that the renaissance of VIA rail must be led by the governments of the day, St. Marys council will work aggressively with other municipalities, the Ontario provincial government and the federal government to enhance rail service for all Ontarians”. West said that with Council’s help, restoring and enhancing VIA service would be an issue in the next Federal election. The seven requests made to Council were: 1. Full time representation at the St. Marys VIA station to provide transportation services for anyone travelling from or within St. Marys and area. 2. Meetings with all parties that have elected representation provincially and federally to fulfill the resolution. 3. Letters to all MP’s and Ontario MLA’s outlining the resolution with specific requests. 4. Letters to all Ontario mayors and other municipal leaders requesting support of resolution. 5. Full funding of a Transport Action Ontario study to complete a concept plan for affordable and proven improved passenger rail service in SW Ontario (“Network Southwest”) for submission to government. 6. Full page ads in the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Beacon Herald, Journal Argus and St. Marys Independent. 7. Provide representation on a Passenger Rail Liaison Committee for SW Ontario to be established, involving all stakeholders including VIA Rail, Metrolinx, the freight railroads, reps from three levels of government, rail labour and citizens.
The presentation was well received by Council and will be discussed further.
The Perth County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is currently investigating three garden shed entries in St. Marys, where unknown suspect(s) removed gas cans from unlocked sheds. The thefts’ locations were from residential properties on Meadowridge Dr., Ethel Crt, and Jones St. East.
Investigation revealed that the sheds were entered in the late evening hours between Tuesday, Oct. 14 and Saturday, Oct. 18. No other items except gas cans were removed from the sheds.
The Perth County OPP requests the assistance of the public in a number of ways:
- Homeowners should ensure their sheds are secured and that their gas containers are in locked locations.
- Residents should call the police immediately if suspicious persons are observed or suspicious activities are taking place in their neighbourhood. Keep an eye out on your neighbour’s property, especially the days leading up to Halloween as more people may be walking around town.
- If you have been the victim of a shed entry, or items have been stolen from around your home, the OPP wants to hear from you. You can utilize the on-line reporting system or call in to report the incident.
- Anyone with information about these shed break-ins and theft of gas cans is requested to contact the Perth County OPP at 1-888-310-1122. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), and you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000.
Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario’s Stratford ReStore in partnership with the Town of St. Marys and in support of the St. Marys Youth Centre will be performing an E-Waste Collection Drive on Saturday, October 25, 2014. The purpose of the effort is to assist the St. Marys Youth Centre with fundraising and also to heighten awareness and emphasize the importance of proper disposal and streaming of electronic devices – keeping these useful items out of landfill and in proper recycling streams. This effort is supported by funds from the Stratford-Perth Community Foundation.
The St. Marys Youth Centre provides the youth of St. Marys and area with a safe place to socialize, under supervision, and to encourage their development – toward a positive lifestyle – socially, intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The Town of St Marys puts a high priority on building a complete and healthy community, and this e-waste initiative reinforces that goal by encouraging people to recycle items from the most rapidly growing segment of the municipal solid waste stream.
The Stratford Perth Community Foundation who funded this initiative is part of a world-wide network of foundations whose objective is to help build stronger and more vibrant communities.
When secondary students graduate high school and begin the next chapter of their lives, they should have a working knowledge of how to prepare a nutritious meal for themselves. That’s the belief of the Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA), which, as part of their food literacy initiative, has come up with a petition for the provincial government to make a food and nutrition course a compulsory part of the province’s curriculum.
Currently, to graduate with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, high school students in the province need to acquire, among other conditions, 15 compulsory credits, 12 optional credits, as well as three “additional” credits chosen from three different groups of courses including languages, arts, sciences and cooperative education. Under this format, food and nutrition courses – grouped among a long list of “social science and humanities” classes – can count towards one of the three “additional” credits, or any of the 12 optional credits, but are not mandatory.
According to Mary Carver, OHEA spokesperson, since more and more optional courses came into high schools beginning back in the 1970’s, enrolment in food and nutrition courses has lagged behind that of “sexier choices.”
“They could do things other than learn to cook and sew,” she said. “Computers were introduced and deemed to be more important or interesting. For whatever reason, there seemed to be a break away from home economics in the 1970s.”
As a result, “kids today don’t know how to cook,” she said. “We had a student here in Ottawa recently, age 20, who was taught in an adult class how to crack an egg. He’d never done that in his life.”
Last September the ministry of education introduced 21 new family studies courses into the curriculum, including seven food and nutrition courses. They differ in the amount of focus they provide to theory, research and hands-on cooking, and Carver said “quite a few of them are just excellent.” However, as they fall under the umbrella of Social Science and Humanities, and are grouped along with other Family Studies courses, it required students to do a little digging just to find them.
This semester at DCVI, two Food and Nutrition classes are in session, Grade 10 Food and Nutrition and Grade 12 Nutrition and Health. Two others will be offered next semester. Teaching the classes is Kathryn Marie, who has taught at DCVI for over 10 years.
She said the courses she’s teaching right now provide students good hands-on, technical experience in cooking, and she would be in favour of Food and Nutrition becoming a mandatory class. “Food and Nutrition teaches them how to be independent, eat healthy and make healthy choices when they’re shopping and cooking,” Marie said. “They can learn about the nutrients and what they do in their bodies. Anyone who is going to cook for themselves or anyone else can benefit from these courses.”
If a Food and Nutrition course did become mandatory, Carver said she feels it could help reverse the trend of young people and families relying on high-sodium and sugar fast food, and eating multiple meals outside the home everyday.
“Obesity rates have increased,” she said. “31 percent of children in Canada are considered to be obese or overweight at the moment. It’s a huge blow to our health care system and a cost to Ontario for that. It’s something that’s being addressed and discussed around the world. The culprit seems to be a lot of processed food in our diet. We’re not eating real food as often as we think we are.”
If students get practice in the kitchen at school, it might also do away with the perception young people have that they “don’t have time” to make their own food. “Every student needs to learn how to feed themselves properly and economically,” she said. “If you have a well-stocked fridge or pantry you can put a meal on the table fairly quickly. Perhaps even faster than you could stopping at a fast food place and picking something up there.”
The OHEA hopes to submit its petition to the government by the end of October. To sign the petition, go to their website at OHEA.on.ca.
Approx. 140 people showed up for the public meeting about Green Arc, but though many questions were answered some felt that not all were answered. The procedure was that all questions were to be in written form but near the end of the meeting some were shouting out questions which they felt had not been answered to their satisfaction.
The meeting started with a statement from CEO Mike DiCenzo who said that the company is “committed to St. Marys as an employer and environmental leader”. He said that the company is owned by four individuals and that they have received no government money or grants. DiCenzo said that they are working with the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and “as a company, we’re performing our due diligence, and working through a process that’s required of all industry in order to operate in Ontario”. He did indicate that he hoped to have the over–300 jobs after three years of production. As for recent criticism he said “It’s unfortunate that candidates for local council have chosen to challenge Green” adding “more recently, I’ve been subjected to comments that are both slanderous and libellous”.
Questions were asked about gas emissions, tire storage, noise and pollution and Rob Wrigley the District manager of the MOE out of London handled those questions. He said that the MOE do regular checks for all those hazards but people can call his office anytime if they have a concern. He said that this applies to all companies in St. Marys. He also said that Green Arc will not be allowed to have outside storage of tires and that they will be asked to pay upfront a deposit for disposal of tires if the venture did not succeed, to insure that the total cost of cleaning up would be covered.