Students in the public school board don't appear to be happy with changes in the study program; Burlington trustee to head up the communications committee.

News 100 blueBy Walter Byj

November 13th, 2015


The Halton District School Board Student Trustee don’t seem to be buying into the flipped classrooms practice.

A flipped classroom has the student doing the reading part of the assignment at home which is then followed by questions in the classroom. Some students found that more work at home was overwhelming and that the program was not effective.

Both trustee Amos (Oakville) and Collard (Burlington) requested that any notes that were received by the student trustees be passed on to the other trustees so that they could better understand how effective/ineffective flipped classes are.

The HDSB Recognition Program was presented to the board by a trio of trustees, T. Ehl Harrison (Oakville), L. Reynolds (Burlington and J. Gray (Halton Hills).

This program was created so as to implement a procedure that would allow trustees, through a nominating process, to recognize those individuals that have contributed either formally or informally to the overall educational process in Halton.

The trustees were very enthused with this new program and are looking forward as to who will be the first recipient of this award. It is a noteworthy effort to recognize those that play a significant role in the education of our students, and it is hoped that the standards for such an award will be high.

The policy is now up on the HDSB website for public input.

The provincial Education Quality and Accountability Office issued the results of the grade 9 Academic and Applied Mathematics results for Halton
The Gazette published an overview of the results which are now posted on the school boards web site.

Board Superintendent David Boag along with Nicole Jarvis (Instructional Program Leader for Mathematics) and Phil Davison (Instructional Program Leader for Literacy) lead a more detailed PowerPoint review of the EQAO report for both math and literacy. The Gazette will cover this report in detail at a future date.

Grebnec with Byj

Burlington school board trustee Andrea Grebenc in an interview with Gazette education reporter Walter Byj

Trustee Grebenc (Burlington) will now serve as the chairman of the communications/marketing committee. With a strong background in communications, it is hoped that one of her priorities will to revamp the current HDSB website into a more friendly and accessible format.

Director Miller then briefly mentioned that the public information presentations of the Program Viability Committee have concluded and that information sessions with the following specific groups are next on the agenda.

Parent Involvement Committee (PIC)
 Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)
 Principals/Vice Principals
 Student Senate

The PVC will then prepare a parent questionnaire and develop a focus group process for December-January public consultations.


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Today - Wednesday November 11th 2015 - we remembered.

By Pepper Parr
November 11, 2015

The crowds are larger – they have been growing each year for the past three years. Is it because there are no WW I veterans left and we are losing those who survived WW II each month?

Remembrance - crowdDuring the service we sang, we prayed we listened to the Last Post and we heard the Reveille and our heads lifted to the sky as we watched the Lancaster bombers do a fly past.

Remembrance Standing guardIs it because the world is a much more dangerous place and we are becoming very aware of how precious the democracy and freedom we have is?

Remembrance McMahon + Gould

MPP Eleanor McMahon and MP Karina Gould

Those who gather at the cenotaph each year bring their own thoughts, memories and dreams that were dashed with them. We go with the words “Lest we forget” on our lips – might we ask – was it all necessary? The It was John Lennon who got it right when he sang:– “All we are saying is give Peace a chance”

Remembrance reviewing stand

Reviewing stand veteran

A friend passed me a comment a number of years ago which went like this:

War will become obsolete when it is socially unacceptable.

It really is up to us.

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Do you know what an invasive species is? Huge fines now in place if you let one in.

News 100 greenBy Vince Fiorito

November 9, 2015


Alien invaders surround us. They can be found along roadsides. They are common in lakes and rivers. Eventually they will completely over run all natural areas and green spaces.

The alien invaders aren’t people. They are plants, insects, fish, birds, animals and all the non-native species which never existed in a place until they were deliberately or accidentally introduced by people. While some of these alien species are benign, far too many have become invasive and destructive.

Invasive species are a global menace with significant, far-reaching environmental and socio-economic consequences including loss of agricultural productivity and damage to renewable natural resource industries (forestry). Invasive species have caused entire ecosystems to become dysfunctional.

This little creature is costing us a fortune - and we are not at all certain we are going to win the battle to stop the infestation.

Emerald Ash Bore – This little creature is costing us a fortune – and we are not at all certain we are going to win the battle to stop the infestation.

zebra muscles

The Zebra Mussel completely changes a fresh water ecosystem.

Hundreds of alien species are currently present in Ontario. Some of the more well know alien invaders include the Zebra Mussel (completely changes a fresh water ecosystem), Emerald Ash Borer (kills native Ash trees) Dutch Elm Disease (nearly wiped out the American Elm) Sea Lampreys (decimated the Great Lakes Trout fishery) and Starlings (crowd out native bird species and cause millions of dollars in agriculture losses each year).


Lovely to look at – as invasive as all get out – Purple loosestrife

Scientists are fighting back against invasive species, with some successes. Purple Loosestrife (destroyed wetlands) is now controlled by an introduced beetle at the cost of millions of dollars in research. Their decision to release the loosestrife eating beetle was gutsy, considering that a similar effort in Australia to eradicate the invasive Cane Beetle by introducing the Cane Toad was an ecological disaster. While the Cane Toad did eat the Cane beetle, it also ate everything else it could swallow.

Since the Cane Toad had no natural predators in Australia it soon became one of Australia’s most dominant species. The Cane Toad has caused many of Australia’s native insects to become so rare, they no longer contribute in a significant way to the local ecology, with ripple effects on many of Australia’s native plants and animals which have since become rare and threatened with extinction.

The least expensive solutions to the invasive species problems are to prevent problems in the first place and reacting quickly, aggressively and decisively to the first sign of a new invasive species problem.

On November 3rd, 2015, Ontario became the first jurisdiction in Canada to enact a tough law which will reduce the invasive species threat. As per the new Ontario Invasive Species Act, no person shall,

bring a member of a prohibited invasive species into Ontario or cause it to be brought into Ontario;
deposit or release a member of a prohibited invasive species or cause it to be deposited or released;
 possess or transport a member of a prohibited invasive species;
propagate a member of a prohibited invasive species;
buy, sell, lease or trade or offer to buy, sell, lease or trade a member of a prohibited invasive species.
bring a member of a restricted invasive species into a provincial park or conservation reserve or cause it to be brought into a provincial park or conservationreserve;
deposit or release a member of a restricted invasive species in Ontario or cause it to be deposited or released in Ontario.

First time offenses can result in a $250,000 fine and/or a year of imprisonment. A second offense could cost $500,000. If that sounds excessive, consider that first time corporate offenders could face a $1,000,000 fine with subsequent offenses resulting in fines as great as $2,000,000.

Even though this law’s punitive sanctions don’t fully offset the damages which can result from invasions species, they should sufficient to deter deliberately destructive behavior.


Snow-On-The-Mountain (aka Goutweed) is a robust ground cover that will eventually become Ontario’s most dominant forest plant.

Ontario’s new Invasive Species law will affect many local nurseries and gardeners. Several common ornamental plants which have been sold in local nurseries for decades are known invasive species problems. Snow-On-The-Mountain (aka Goutweed) is a robust ground cover that will eventually become Ontario’s most dominant forest plant. Goutweed will displace most of Ontario’s native forest species, including Trilliums which are our provincial flower. Goutweed is a likely early candidate for the invasive species list.

Another problematic invasive ornamental plant is Mountain Fleece (aka Japanese Knotweed). The roots of this tenacious alien species can destroy driveways and cause structural to buidings. Once established, Japanese Knotweed is nearly impossible to permanently eradicate. Eventually this plant will replace most native plant species growing along Ontario’s shorelines.

Both Goutweed and Japanese Knotweed have escaped cultivation locally. They are commonly found throughout Burlington’s green spaces along with invasive Himalayan Balsam, Garlic Mustard, Phragmites and Buckthorn.

These invasive species are not just serious ecological problems here in Ontario; they are also serious global ecological problems which affect natural areas near London England, Sapporo Japan, Christchurch New Zealand, Pretoria South Africa and every other ecosystem on the earth which shares similar climate and conditions as Burlington. Deliberately cultivating this species in the UK is illegal and can result in substantial fines.

knotweed Japanese

Japanese knotweed – seen all over the place in Burlington. Fiorito believes that once established, Japanese Knotweed is nearly impossible to permanently eradicate.

The mere presence of Japanese Knotweed in a neighborhood lowers everyone’s property values. British Real Estate law now requires home sellers declare the presence of Japanese Knotweed on their property. If this plant is subsequently discovered on that property, then the buyer can sue the seller for eradication costs.

In Burlington, Japanese Knotweed is available at many local nurseries. Many local gardeners have unwittingly created problems that will be expensive to fix, when Japanese Knotweed is inevitably put on the invasive species list.

The easiest way that gardeners can avoid creating invasive species problem around their homes is to choose plant species which are native to the local ecosystem. Each spring the Royal Botanical Gardens holds an annual native plant sale. Most nurseries now have a native plant section. Several local nurseries and landscape designers have become native plant specialists. This new invasive species law will help forward looking local businesses grow and prosper.

We can no longer ignore the destructive consequences of invasive alien species anymore. Failure to consider the ecological consequences of introducing an invasive alien species will become expensive in the not so distant future. This new law will help change attitudes leading Ontarians to becoming better stewards of the natural systems which rejuvenate our soils and clean our air and water. Ontario’s new invasive species law represents real change and will help protect Ontario from the growing international invasive species threat.


Vince smiling - head cockedVince Fiorito is the steward of Sheldon Creek; a designation given him by Conservation Halton.  He was recently a candidate for the Green Party and is an extremely knowledgeable person when it comes to what we are doing to our environment.  Don’t get him going.

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This is embarrassing - three major errors in a plaque put up behind the war memorial.

News 100 blueBy Ed Keenleyside

November 9, 2015


The city recently installed attractive and informative identification plaques on many of our public art displays. A brief explanation is provided so that the public will know who the artist was or how and why the piece of art came to be.

There is a plaque beside the Spiral Stella outside the Performing Arts Centre and another tucked in behind the clock on Brant Street outside city hall.

Keenleyside - plaque wording

Ed Keenleyside points to three significant errors in the plaque the city put up explaining the background of the war memorial just north of city hall.

The City is to be congratulated for this effort… but when there are errors on any of those plaques, it is embarrassing.

The errors on the plaque beside the Cenotaph Memorial is embarrassing. Within the handful of sentences describing this important monument, are the following mistakes:

1. There are 38 World War I casualties listed on the memorial, not 39.

2. The 38 fatalities listed are soldiers from the Great War (or World War I ), not from the Second World War.

3. There are 44 local service people listed from the Second World War, not 43.

In addition to the embarrassing errors on the plaque, I wonder why the Korean War Veterans are recognized at the base of the Cenotaph but the Afghanistan War Veterans are not recognized.

Keenleyside with partial monument

Ed Keenleyside can’t understand why the plaque that explains the history of the war memorial he is standing beside has so many errors on it.

I am currently researching the names of the 82 casualties etched on the Cenotaph with plans to publish an informative book, which will put faces and personalities to those who died so many years ago.

I have information on all but one name and that person, J. W. Williamson, is among the 44 World War II fatalities. If anyone can identify this person I would be most grateful. Please contact me at if you can help.

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Cogeco's The Issue panel discusses Burlington's difficulty putting a code of conduct ion place for its members of Council

Event 100By Staff

November 6, 2015


Additional background information has been added to this piece after it was first published.

Cogeco Cable Community TV does a regular program live from their studio on Syscon Road where Mark Carr hosts The Issue and brings in guests to talk about specific issues.


Pepper Parr, publisher of the Burlington Gazette

The Issue invited the publisher of the Gazette, Pepper Parr to take part in a panel discussion about the problems the city of Burlington is having getting a Code of Conduct for its Council members in place.

Che Marvel NDP

Che Marville, NDP candidate in Oakville during the last federal election.

Che Marville, the New Democratic candidate for Oakville during the last election and CEO of Marville Media plus the founder of multiple social enterprises including the Children’s Media Museum. Rachel Halliwell, a Cogeco volunteer last year and now a student studying sports broadcasting completed the panel.

Mark Carr, moderator, was once a city of Burlington council member – at a time when a motion from then Council member Mike Wallace to reduce the size of Council from the then 17 members to the current seven.

Then Mayor Walter Mulkewich preferred a nine member Council and put forward a motion to that effect – it was defeated and the motion for a seven member council passed by a vote of 9 for and 8 against. Which is why we currently have a seven member  city council.

Mulkewich points out in his response to the first version of this story that the Region of Halton had at the time reduced its size by four Councillors from 25 to 21 by taking away two from Burlington and two from Halton Hills which meant Burlington had to reduce its Regional Councillors by two and this became the trigger for the Council size issue in Burlington.

There is a longer story to this, to the saga of the debate at both the Region and City, and the reasons I voted as I did at that time. Now that Milton has dramatically grown as has Oakville, and therefore the Regional representation issue needs to be revisited – how will the Region deal with representation in this term or will it – and will there be ramifications for Burlington?

Is Burlington’s seven member Council more effective?  Debatable and Carr made his views known.

Carr, who is well versed on public issues, gets into the debate and discussion as much as he can – few softball questions from him.

Che Marville can also get quite scrappy

One of the best comments was made by 18 year-old Halliwell who suggested city council take part in events that called for them to work as a team “seems to me” she said “that they need some team building opportunities.”

Halliwell voted in her first election this year


The Issue moderator Mark Carr –  Live on Cogeco Cable television

The program was broadcast live Tuesday, and will be re-broadcast on the following dates on Channel 23 and HD 700

Fri, Nov 6, 2015 @ 2:00pm
Sat, Nov 7, 2015 @ 10:00am
Sun, Nov 8, 2015 @ 1:00pm
Sun, Nov 8, 2015 @ 9:30pm
Tue, Nov 10, 2015 @ 2:00pm

It got lively.

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Giving back gets a number attached to it: 1 million lbs of food collected by young Burlington hockey players and donated to families in need.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 2nd, 2015


On Tuesday, November 3rd and Wednesday, November 4th, more than 2,000 young hockey athletes and students will come together at Nelson High School to turn over all of the food they have collected from the Burlington community for The 10th Annual Gift of Giving Back Food Drive — the largest food drive of its kind in Canada.

It is an amazing event and one that to a large degree defines the city.

Gift of Giving back logo - 10thCelebrating its 10th Anniversary, the annual Fall community food drive supports, educates and empowers thousands of young male and female hockey athletes and high school students to compassionately give back to their community.

Baracudas - Burlington - girlsThese are young men and women who are being taught to give back to the community they have grown up in and been educated. The community that is one of the safest in the country and offers opportunity for personal growth to our youth at every socio economic level.

These are young people that play hard and enjoy the life they live – some may not appreciate how fortunate enough they are – but the leadership that created The Gift of Giving Back Food Drive deserves credit for making it happen. They of course won’t hear of any credit going to them – they will tell you that it is the kids that make it happen.

Eagles - BurlingtonNelson LordsThe Burlington Eagles; The Burlington Girls Hockey Club (Barracudas); Burlington Cougars; and Nelson Lords.

The food collected by more than 85 male and female youth hockey teams from: The Burlington Eagles; The Burlington Girls Hockey Club (Barracudas); Burlington Cougars; and Nelson Lords.

Cougars - BurlingtonSince its inception, more than 1 million lbs of food has been donated to families in need. That is the accumulative donation of $2.5 million. Last year, The Gift of Giving Back collected more than 278,000 lbs of food and this year, hopes to exceed that amount and collect more than 305,000 lbs.

How does it happen – see for yourself – Click here.

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Who paid for the pizza? Public money did - your money. Do we have labour peace in the educational system?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

October 31st, 2015


Something doesn’t smell right.

An astounded public has discovered that the provincial government has been giving grants to some teacher unions, over $2 million this year. The province is apparently forking out the money to facilitate province-wide negotiations. But no one will miss the irony of their government claiming these pay-outs are being made to improve efficiency.

Negotiatons table

They were province wide negotiations – and someone had to pick up the tab – the government did it with your money.

A successfully negotiated labour contract concludes when both parties are convinced the other one got the better deal – a win-win, but feeling like a lose-lose. But when the employer (provincial government) is giving the employees’ bargaining agents money, the outcome is a little more lopsided – a double win for the union and another lose for the tax payer.

At a minimum, this has to be a conflict of interest, for both sides, but particularly from the employees’ perspective. Can one really trust that their union is working for them if it is taking money from the guys across the table? At least two unions have refused the money for that very reason.

Sands and Wynne

Do you think they will figure it out – one of these two woman asked the other?

Since this first broke, the government appears to be caught off guard, shifting its stance by the minute. First they claimed this was normal practice and that no detailed accounting for the money was necessary. Now, it appears that this year’s money hasn’t been doled out and will only be paid on proof of receipts.

But the elephant in the room is why the relatively affluent unions can’t pay their own way. And to add another complication, the latest word is that these payouts may not be made in the future. So why were they needed before, or at all?

Already, some skeptics are questioning whether this is payback for the last election, in which the unions, presumably helped the Liberals win by authoring anti-Hudak advertising. That scenario should be unthinkable – what we might see somewhere else – but not in civilized Ontario. So the sooner the Premier can effectively deal with this issue, the better.

Sands Liz

Ontario Minister of Education; big spender.

Stuff happens, after all. Some well-meaning bureaucrat got the union folks to agree to province-wide negotiations, providing they were compensated for their extra travel costs, hotels, taxis, pizza… And then this minion convinced a busy minister to sign on to the deal – and presto – another crisis is born.

What kind of professional trade union would accept money from the other side? We know Toronto is an expensive city, but are the teachers’ unions so hard up that they can’t afford to travel to the big smoke? These are the unions, with thousands of members sharing in one of the most successful pension plans anywhere, right.

With the election of the Trudeau Liberal government in Ottawa, Premier Wynne is perfectly positioned to help deliver some key programs, from improving our pensions to building critical transportation infrastructure in the GTA. The last thing the government needs is a distraction from that business.

It is early in the Wynne electoral term and this relatively small issue may blow over, given our historically short political memories. But then voters have a habit of eventually changing political parties, even in Alberta. One need only to recall how public perceptions about strong unions and well-compensated teachers played into the hands of Mike Harris, and the chaos that ensued after his election two decades ago.

Rivers-direct-into-camera1-173x300Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking. Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran as a Liberal against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province.

Background links:

Unions Accountability       Labour Peace      Union Threats      Ontario Teachers Pensions

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Public school board posts policy documents on its web site - not that easy to find - Gazette provides instructions.

News 100 redBy Walter Byj

October 29, 2015


In an effort to be as transparent as possible with their decision making, the Halton District School Board posts their policies, procedures and by-laws on their website so that they are visible to the public.

HDSB sign with flagWhen there are updates or changes to the policies, the board will post the revised policies for a minimum of 25 days period for public comment on any upcoming changes.

In many cases, the number of comments has been to a minimum. Is this an indication of policies that are so well thought out that additional changes are not necessary or is the website not user friendly thus inhibiting public input?

There are currently three policies and procedures under review on the website awaiting public input. Following these steps will lead you to the site. The three policies are: Director’s Performance Review, Policy Development and Review and Trustees Code Conduct

To find the reports:

Go to
Click on the link Boardroom and Trustees
Under Resources, click on Policies and Procedures under Review.


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It will be the Mother of all photo ops - can the Mayor get to them all?

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 29, 2015


This was clearly the Mother of all photo ops.

As part of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge Burlington Community Launch – Chalk It Up event Thursday, October 29, 2015 the beavers in the Parks and Recreation department have designed a challenge designed to create and adapt healthy behaviours for children aged zero to 12 years through healthy eating and physical activity.

Beard - hoola hoope - run jump play

Tax dollars at work – all part of a program that is designed to get the under 12 set out to run, jump and play

The first theme of the challenge is “Run. Jump. Play. Every Day.” This theme encourages physical activity through active play, sports, active transportation and structured activities. Chalk It Up events will be taking place at YMCA after school programs and at city recreation centres from Thursday, Oct. 29 until Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015.

The Burlington YMCA After School Care program is participating in the Chalk It Up event as are four school sites after school on Thursday, Oct. 29:

Central Public School, 638 Brant St.
Sir Ernest MacMillan Public School, 1350 Headon Rd.
St. Mark Elementary School, 2145 Upper Middle Rd.
Tom Thomson Public School,2171 Prospect St.

Not to be outdone city facilities are also participating in the Community Launch, including:

Goldring + Tina 4 run jump play

Mayor Rick Goldring gets an approving glance form a four year old during the kick off of the Run Jump Play initiative the province has put $1.1 million into.

Aldershot Pool, 50 Fairwood Pl. W.
Angela Coughlan Pool, 2425 Upper Middle Rd.
Brant Hills Community Centre, 2255 Brant St.
Centennial Pool, 5151 New St.
Haber Recreation Centre, 3040 Tim Dobbie Dr.
The Burlington Music Centre, 2311 New St.
Student Theatre, 2131 Prospect St.
Tansley Woods Community Centre, 1996 Itabashi Way

What the Gazette really wants to know is – will the Mayor find a way to be at ever one of the locations?

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School board announces evening session for parents who want to improve the grades in mathematics their children are getting.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 28, 2015


School board announces evening session for parents who want to improve the grades in mathematics their children are getting.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to many people.

The Halton District school board will be hosting evening sessions in November to help parents/guardians support their child’s Math learning
Sessions to be held in Burlington, Milton and Oakville

In a report released earlier in the day setting out how various high schools in the Burlington did on a provincial ranking.

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) released results showing Halton District School Board students performing well in Grade 9 Academic and Applied Mathematics.

Grade 9 math 2014-15 a

The data tells the story. The why is another question.

For Grade 9 Math there are different assessments for students in the academic and applied courses. On the Grade 9 Academic Math assessment, 90% of students achieved the provincial standard, a decrease of one-percentage point over the previous year’s result. In total there were 3,256 students enrolled in Academic Math in 2014-2015.

M.M. Robinson and Lester B. Pearson high school ranked below 80% in the academic stream.  The results in the Applied stream are dismal – can students with scores at these levels complete an income tax return?

Are there problems at the elementary level that make it difficult for high school students to get strong mathematics scores?

Later in the day the Halton District School Board announced it will host three evening sessions in November to help parents/guardians understand how children develop understanding and fluency in Mathematics.

Parents/guardians are invited to attend sessions in November where they will learn how to support their child(ren) with Mathematics learning.

The session for Burlington will take place on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at M.M. Robinson High School (Studio Theatre) – 2425 Upper Middle Rd., Burlington and run from 7-8 p.m.

“Research shows students whose parents/guardians show an interest in, and enthusiasm for, Mathematics will be more likely to develop that enthusiasm themselves and persevere to learn and succeed in Math,” said Tricia Dyson, Superintendent of Education.

The Board continues to provide learning opportunities for parents as a key component in our elementary Math strategy. This strategy is designed to improve student achievement through progressive approaches such as the use of computer-learning technology and Mental math strategies.

HDSB sign with flag

Halton District School Board takes a proactive response to low mathematics scores in some schools.

The Board’s three-year plan, started in 2013-14, focuses on leadership and understanding of effective Math instruction through the minimum of 300 minutes of Mathematics Kindergarten-Grade 8 students receive per week. Key parts of the plan involve a broad focus on improving student Math achievement through increased emphasis on professional development for administrators and teachers, and improving students’ conceptual understanding of, and confidence in, Mathematics.

The goal of the strategy is to see an increase in confidence of students and teachers in their ability to go deeper into learning Mathematics while involving parents/guardians in their child’s Math progress through events like Math nights.

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Interested in a career in policing? New police recruiting video asks: Have you got what it takes?

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 28, 2015


The Halton Regional Police Recruiting Bureau has launched their new Constable Recruitment video; it is expected to attract a lot of interest in those who see policing as a career goal.

The uniform officers are the face of policing in the Halton Region. The Police service wants to attract well-rounded men and women with passion, integrity and desire to make a difference in people’s lives.

The Service is committed to recruiting, training and developing the talents of those who can serve the public and maintain the high level of public safety.
There are two version of the video. The long version portrays several day to day duties from positions and units across the Service.

There is a short version.

Those interested in learning more about the hiring process can locate information and a link to the online application at .

Applicants can also email or call 905-825-4747, ext. 5112.

Have you got what it takes?

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Grade 9 math test scores for Burlington public high schools release: Robinson and Pearson don't rank all that well. Why?

News 100 redBy Staff

October 28, 2015


Today the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) released results showing Halton District School Board students performing well in Grade 9 Academic and Applied Mathematics.

Grade 9 math 2014-15 a

There is clearly some work to be done on the mathematics programs at some of the public school. M.M. Robinson students are not that much worse than students at the other high schools. Hopefully the board administration will be doing some accountability work. Parents might want to ask some leading questions as well.

For Grade 9 Math there are different assessments for students in the academic and applied courses. On the Grade 9 Academic Math assessment, 90% of students achieved the provincial standard, a decrease of one-percentage point over the previous year’s result. In total there were 3,256 students enrolled in Academic Math in 2014-2015.

For the 600 students in Applied Math, 54% attained the provincial standard in 2014-2015, a two-percentage point decrease from the previous year.

Labour action by Ontario teacher federations affected the administration of the Grade 3 and 6 assessments and the Grade 9 Math assessment last spring. Since not all schools participated in these assessments, EQAO will not provide a provincial-level result this year.

“We are pleased to see results released from the Education Quality and Accountability Office show our students continue to perform well in Academic and Applied Math,” said Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board.

“We are completing the third year of a Math strategy designed to increase the confidence of students and teachers in their ability to go deeper into learning Mathematics. We have also hosted Math nights for parents and guardians of students to help them better understand Math instruction. The Halton District School Board will closely examine these latest EQAO results to ensure our students achieve success in Mathematics.”

Indeed the administration should ask some very direct questions to the heads of the math departments in several of the Burlington high schools.

It is interesting to note that Lester B. Pearson and M.M. Robinson are relatively close to each other.


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Heavy rainfall expected tomorrow: City asks residents to take steps to help reduce the risk of flooding

notices100x100By Staff

October 27, 2015


Neither the city or the regional governments wants to get caught over poor flood potential warnings.

This time everyone appears to be in town so we know where our leaders are – and they are telling us that the remnants of the hurricane that slammed into the west side of Mexico has worked its way north and that the city could see up to 50 cm of rainfall in a short period of time

The message to the citizens is that Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Halton Region, including Burlington, for significant rainfall beginning early tomorrow morning and continuing throughout the day.

Flood Fairview plaza

The city wants to be sure rainwater like this doesn’t collect anywhere is the city.

“The city began preparing for this weather event yesterday, checking inlet and outlet structures and catch basins to ensure they are clear,” said Cathy Robertson, director of road and parks maintenance at the City of Burlington.

“We are also encouraging residents to take steps around their homes to help reduce the risk of flooding,” Robertson said. “We are asking residents to check catch basins on their streets to make sure leaves are not blocking the flow of storm water into the sewers.”

If you are scheduled to receive leaf pick next week from the city’s leaf collection program, please wait until after the storm before raking your leaves to the curb for collection as gusty winds tomorrow will result in blowing leaves.

Pia bailing

There are residents throughout the city who do not want this kind of experience again.

Tips to protect your property from flooding during a heavy rainfall:

Ensure your eavestroughs and downspouts are clear of debris, draining properly, away from the foundation walls of your home.
• Use an extension for your downspouts and ensure they are directed away from the foundation walls.
• Look around your property for any obstructions that could prevent water from draining away from your home.
• Ensure window wells are free from debris to ensure proper drainage.
• Clear debris away from catch basins (sewer grates) on the road to help the flow of storm water into the storm sewer.

Conservation Halton advises that the Environment Canada Weather Office is forecasting a low pressure system associated with the remnants of Hurricane Patricia will be moving into the Great Lakes region this evening. The system is expected to bring significant rainfall along with strong and gusty winds over the next couple of days. Rain will be heavy at times. Latest indications suggest 25 to 40 mm of rain in most areas with locally higher amounts of 40 to 50 mm possible, especially near Lakes Erie and Ontario. There is also the possibility of convective cells within the storm which could add an additional 10 to 20 mm in isolated locations.

The forecasted rainfall will result in higher than normal water levels and flows in all our streams and creeks, resulting in dangerous flow conditions. While no flooding is anticipated, watercourses will be flowing higher than normal causing local streams and creeks to become dangerous, especially in the vicinity of culverts and bridges.

All good news – hopefully we have learned some lessons.

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Identity theft is all over the place on the internet- Stay vigilant.

Crime 100By Staff

October 27th, 2015


They are out in force this week – the fraud artists are just flooding the internet with what at first glance looks like a message from your banker – always look at the email address the message came from – and even then – give the bank a call – they always want to hear from you about any effort to scam your money from you.

Identity theft - many faces

The scam artists want to learn as much as they can about you – so they can become you and drain every dollar you have out of your account. Pay attention to the email you get.

One of our people got two requests to check on their account – first one went like this:

It came from: CIBC Online <>- that is not a CIBC email address

Because we have received multiple failed authentication attempts, your online access has been temporarily locked.
To restore your access, click: Sign On to CIBC Online and proceed with the verification process.

The second one came from:

Customer Contact Centre! <>
And used the first name of the person it was sent to: Good afternoon (name)

Your Bank of Montreal account has just been used to connect Internet Explorer on Windows 10/26/2015 12:27:39 Uganda

Could not this browser if you have used this device or with your account.
This can happen when you first connect to another computer, phone or browser when you use the browser incognito or private browsing or deleting cookies or when accessing your account else.

If this was you, please sign in from your regularly used device.

If you haven’t recently signed in from an unrecognized device and believe someone may have accessed your account, please visit this link to change your password and update your account recovery information.

Thanks for taking these additional steps to keep your account safe.

The grammatical errors were a dead giveaway with this one.

ID theft screen

The identity thieves are very good at what they do.

They are out there – looking for someone who may not pay close attention. It is your money –make sure someone doesn’t steal it from you.

Stay vigilant.

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Public hears the what the HDSB thinks could be done to manage the trend to increased interest in French immersion.

News 100 blueBy Walter Byj

October 27th, 2015


It has been a trying five weeks for Director of Education Stuart Miller.

As if managing the ongoing teacher dispute was not enough to give him sleepless nights, he now is the lead figure in presenting to the public the impact of the French Immersion program on Halton schools.

Stuart Miller

Director of Eduction Stuart Miller – less than three months into his job is leading the public discussion on the handling of a trend toward higher enrollment in French immersion classes.

Monday night’s Burlington presentation at Nelson High School was the first of four presentations over the next two weeks. With a number of Halton Superintendents present along with all of the Burlington trustees (Collard, Reynolds, Pappin and Grebenc) and one Oakville trustee (J. Oliver) Miller took to the stage promptly at 7:00 pm.

Prior to the slide show presentation Miller stressed that this was an information session and that he was not looking for answers or solutions tonight.

“We want to share our information with the public”, he said “so that you can later provide input on facts that you have before you.” Speaking with a booming voice and the confidence of one who knows the topic well, he presented what could be a very complicated scenario with a straight “here are the facts “method.

Assisted for part of the presentation by Dom Renzella (Manager of Planning) the presentation covered how the huge uptake in French Immersion was negatively affecting English classroom sizes and potentially the quality of education the board could deliver.
His mandate and that of the board is to offer the highest quality of education to both the English and French students; the current trend was affecting the English program negatively.

He noted that getting qualified French teachers was another huge issue facing the board. He explained the current situation would be bleaker in upcoming years and that now was the time to act.

The initial step was to form a committee (the Program Viability Committee) that enlisted the aid of staff, principals and trustees that studied the collective information before them and then whittled down 14 recommendations to the current four.

Be it resolved that the Halton District School Board present the following options for the delivery of French Immersion to the public in the Fall of 2015 for the purpose of receiving feedback, considerations and comments. Feedback will be brought to the Board for consideration in the delivery of French Immersion programming:

1. Option 1: Grade 1 (early) French immersion remains a 50% French 50% English delivery model, but entry to FI will be capped. The method of capping would be determined at a later date.

2. Option 2: Grade 1 (early) French Immersion remains at 50% French and 50% English, however all FI programs will be delivered in single track FI schools. French Immersion will be phased out of dual track schools and no new dual track schools will be considered. The location of the single track schools will be determined at a later date.

3. Option 3: French Immersion will commence at a later entry point (mid entry); Grade 4. This will result in the delivery model of FI moving from a 50% model to at least a 80% French Immersion model. In addition the delivery of FI will occur in dual track schools only.

4. Option 4: French Immersion will commence at a later entry point (mid entry); Grade 4. This will result in the delivery model of FI moving from a 50% model to at least a 80% French Immersion model. In addition the delivery of FI will occur in single track FI schools on

HDSB sign with flagIn presenting the four current recommendations Miller was emphatic in saying they were not etched in stone but are merely a starting point on which the public can tweak or reject outright and offer something completely different.

Miller wants public input would get to the board between November, 2015 to March 2016 and that a decision could be reached by June 2016. Implementation would not occur until September 2017.

Completing the presentation in a very quick forty-five minutes, a lot quicker than the planned hour and half, Miller offered to take some questions from the half packed theatre stressing that now was not the time for solutions.

He was asked if more drill down data would be available. Yes he replied.

What is the retention rate of FI students? 5% of students leave the program annually.

What is the definition of viability? The ideal classroom size is 20 students and many of our English classrooms have less than 10 students he said.

Will the original 14 scenarios be released? Yes he replied.

Why do parents enrol their children in FI? No definitive answer from Miller. Is the Halton busing policy too liberal and is it increasing the uptake in FI? Too difficult to measure Miller replied as buses carry a variety of students.
In conclusion, Miller said that each of his presentations are being taped and will be available on the HDSB site

It was a solid first presentation for Miller and no doubt he will feel more at ease with upcoming presentations. But will the solution be easy?

Although the audience did come for the information presented, some came in with a filter as to how to interpret the facts. Those who feel that French is essential will no doubt be building a case for why the FI program must not change dramatically from its current form.

Others, from past experience, felt that English programming would take a back seat to French and that the final result is pre-determined.

That is quite a divergence of opinion and it will take all the skill of Director Miller along with the HDSB trustees to execute a plan that will probably not gain many friends but will find an equitable solution.

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Community garden applications to be available on November 2nd - closing date is November 22nd. Lottery draw will decide who gets a space.

News 100 greenBy Staff

October 26, 2015


Shucks – they aren’t advertising the seed catalog offerings yet are they?

The city however is ready to accept applications to secure a garden plot in 2016 at one of the city’s three community gardens starting November 2 through to the 22nd, 2015.

Rob Peachey

Rob Peachey says he is excited.

Rob Peachey, the city’s manager of parks and open spaces, who doesn’t get excited very often said today that the city is entering the “fifth growing season with the community gardens program,” and he is “excited”.

Peachey overseas the Windows on the Lake program for the city. It isn’t a part of his job that brings smiles to his face.

The city is accepting the applications a bit earlier than in past years, to give gardeners more time over the winter months to plan and prepare their gardens for the spring.”

Bennett M in church garden

This lady knows what a difference a community garden can make. Michelle Bennett was one of the people who taught city hall ho yo go after provincial money and get community gardens in place. she started with one – there are now three.

Located at Amherst Park, Central Park and Francis Road Bikeway, the community gardens are open for planting from May 1 to Oct. 23, 2016. There are a total of 80 plots available, plus six raised, accessible plots suitable for persons with disabilities. Applicants may indicate a preferred garden location and plot style on the application.

The cost to rent a plot for the season is $50. Water, soil and compost are supplied and all plots have full sun. Plots will be allocated by lottery at the close of the application period, and all applicants will be notified of their lottery result by early December 2015.

Community garden application forms will be available online beginning November 2 at community centres, the Seniors’ Centre, or City Hall, 426 Brant St., at the Service Burlington counter. Completed applications must be received by the city no later than Nov. 22, 2015.

For more information about Burlington community gardens, visit

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Legion wants parents to know about the programs they offer - they fear teachers won't do that job this year.

opinionandcommentBy Pepper Parr (43164-H)

October 25, 2015


There are these things we call unintended consequences or we say “I didn’t see that coming.”

The Legion sent us a note yesterday asking if we would publish a letter on their behalf.

Let’s let them make their point before commenting on it:

As noted in recent news, Ontario’s public elementary school teachers are preparing to ramp up their work-to-rule campaign and could begin rotating, one-day strikes this month.

Legion - war memorial

Heroic – most of those who fought volunteered.

The Royal Canadian Legion Zone B6 incorporating Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Waterdown, Dundas and part of Ancaster is concerned that this may impact student’s awareness of our annual Remembrance Poster and Literary Contests. It is through school contact that the appropriate information is circulated for teachers to implement this worthy program. The Royal Canadian Legion encourages the continuation of the tradition of honouring and remembering our military heritage through this annual contest.

These contests are popular with our students and we have had contestants go on from competing at the Branch level to compete at the Zone, District, Provincial and National (Dominion) levels. Contestants are challenged to exercise their initiative and create posters, essays and poems that honour the theme of REMEMBRANCE.

Legion - chest with medals

War time experience is life time experience – the price these men and women paid is far greater than you can even imagine.

We want to ensure parents and students that the contests are scheduled as usual. If children do not receive information from their school, we ask that you please visit for a registration form, rules and regulations. (Click here to get to the web site) All entries can be submitted to the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your local branch.

We look forward to another successful year with our Remembrance contests.

Jackie Ralston, Youth and Education Chair, Royal Canadian Legion, Zone B6

The whole purpose of the educational system is to teach and educate our youth for the work they will do in their future and pass on some of our core values and to enrich the lives of the young people who will lead at some point.

The teachers, I am sure, have genuine concerns but I’m not quite sure what those concerns are. As publishes we get flooded with material from the provincial government – we loved the one about the province passing on millions to the teachers’ association to cover their costs while they negotiated with the province. Receipts weren’t needed eh!

We have yet to see as much as a word from the various teachers’ associations on just what it is they are unhappy about. As publishers we know how hard most teaches work – they deserve to be fairly paid. The public also deserves to hear the teacher’s side of the story.

The Legion has given us theirs.

What is that number after my name – those who served will know.

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Violence against women to get special attention during November: a cultural change is needed and it is the men in the community who have to change their behaviour.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 23, 2015


November is Woman Abuse Awareness Month

Violence against woman is not a women’s issue – it is a men’s issue – they have to change their behaviour and find other ways to resolve their differences with the women in their life. It is really that simple.

Regional Chair Gary Carr and Halton Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner and community leaders will join members of Halton Violence Prevention Council to mark the beginning of Woman Abuse Awareness Month.

Our language gas to change – “slapping someone around” is not acceptable language.

The Halton Violence Prevention Council will be hanging “Act Against Violence” banners throughout the Region for the month of November.

Violence agaainst womenThe Council’s mission is to end violence against women and their children in our community. It is a coordinating committee working to improve services for women and children experiencing abuse, in order to achieve a healthy, safe and inclusive community.

HVPC members consist of more than 20 agencies in the Halton community, including representatives from legal and police services; counselling and sexual assault agencies; women’s shelters; child protection; addictions, housing and mental health sectors; health-based services and survivor-informed agencies.

The Council has been busy with many initiatives this year, including developing and facilitating training aimed at strengthening service provider responses to victims of violence who are also experiencing co-occurring issues, such as addiction and/or active mental health; supporting collaborative practices between the Violence Against Women sector and our Children’s Aid Society; and fostering survivor-informed initiatives, including our Speakers’ Bureau.

The launch this year will feature a member of our Speakers’ Bureau, who’s keynote address, “Life in the Shadows”, will focus on her experience of being stalked by her ex-partner.

In addition to these newer initiatives, the council continues to be engaged in the Neighbours. Friends and Families Campaign – a provincial strategy to raise awareness of the signs of woman abuse, so people who are close to an at-risk woman or a man who uses abusive behaviours can provide information, support and resources.

Hurt+Family1The Council will use the launch to invite community members, businesses and organizations to engage in the “Purple Thursdays” campaign – a movement to draw attention to the issue of woman abuse and gendered violence throughout the month of November by wearing purple every Thursday as a way to start conversations, raise awareness and support.

Are you currently involved in an abusive relationship? You and your family can get help! Call the 24-hour crisis line of Halton Women’s Place (south 905-332-7892, north 905-878-8555) or the Assaulted Women’s Helpline (toll free: 1-866-863-0511).

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Region announces flu shot clinic dates for Burlington

element_healthservicesBy Staff

October 22, 2015


The Halton Region Health Department has started the influenza (flu) immunization clinics for the 2015-2016 flu season with community influenza clinics for all residents aged six months and older beginning this week. Flu immunizations are also available at many pharmacies (for those aged five years and older), as well as in doctors’ offices, walk-in clinics and at some workplaces.

Getting the flu vaccine every year is the most important way to protect against the flu. It also helps to prevent the spread of the virus to those who are vulnerable to complications of the flu. The flu immunization is recommended for all those six months of age and older.

Most healthy people recover from the flu within a few days; however, influenza infection can lead to pneumonia and hospitalization, and can even be fatal, especially in the elderly, those under five years of age and those with certain chronic health conditions.

Caucasian woman washing her hands

Washing your hands frequently when you are not well prevents the communication of viruses.

In addition to getting vaccinated, you can take everyday precautions against influenza by washing your hands with soap frequently, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (when soap and water is not available) and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

If you are sick, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading your illness to others and see your doctor if your illness worsens or doesn’t begin to improve after a few days.

Clinic dates for Burlington are:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 Burlington Seniors’ Centre 2285 New Street 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Monday, October 26, 2015 L.B. Pearson High School 1433 Headon Road 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 3, 2015 Robert Bateman High School 5151 New Street 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
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Public school board gets through an agenda that suited the baseball fans - published the policy that will set out review criteria for the new Director of Education.

News 100 yellowBy Walter Byj and Pepper Parr

October 21, 2015



The October 21 st Halton District School Board meeting was quick indeed. It started after the Blue Jays came ended and finished just before the Mets/Cubs came started. There were a number of housecleaning items that were passed unanimously.

The Community Partnership Policy had been posted on the Board’s website for the required 25 days and had just two comments from the public. Upon questioning from trustee Harrison (Oakville), Director Miller stated that the policy is usually reviewed every four years but will now be updated on a yearly basis.

Joey Edwardh + Stuart Miller

Joey Edwardh runs Community |development Halton, the organization working the community side of the Jump Play Run Healthy Community initiative funded by the province. Direction of Education for the Public school board watches a group of students with Ms Edwardh

In a similar vein, the Trustees Expense Policy also resided on the website for the required 25 days and (with no comments posted from the public) was also passed unanimously. Perhaps this would be an ideal place to recap the remuneration that is available for the trustees.

Each trustee receives honoraria of $15,327.73 annually. There is a $4000 bump for the vice-chair to $19,309.23 while the chair receives $23,290.73. In addition, they have use of one of a number of different computer devices along with reimbursement of $59.85 for high speed internet service. They also have the use of either a monthly Blackberry or I phone plan that includes voice plan, data plan and long distance. The monthly reimbursement is $75.71 for the Blackberry plan and $107.35 for the I phone plan. All reimbursements are tax included. In addition, each trustee will have access to a $5,000 travel, personal professional development and office supplies amount.

With the hiring of a new Director of Education, Stuart Miller, the Director’s Performance Review Policy is now under review. This policy was last reviewed 5 years ago. The policy will be posted on the board website for the mandatory 25 days with the board to review any public comments in December. As of this writing, the policy has not yet been posted.

The board appears to rely quite heavily on the web site to convey information – and at the same time readily admits that the web site does not function all that well. Director of Education Stuart Miller tends to give people copies of information they need rather than send them to the web site

If the web site doesn’t work internally for the board there is little likelihood that it will work very well for the public.

Miller admits that the board is going to need every penny of the $100,000 allocated for the upgrade – probably a total re-build. And he adds that it will take six to nine months to get the job done.

Which suggests the flow of information is going to be limited – might be helpful if the board looked fore some kind of a work around to cover the major bases while the re-build gets done

Andrea Grebenc (Burlington) chair of the transportation committee noted that the board had applications totally more than 2400 for courtesy seats for the various bus routes. A courtesy seat is defined as a request for a seat on a school bus where the student who is not entitled to transportation based on distance they live from the school.

One would hope that the administrators would clamp down on this one – the board is involved in the Jump Play Run – Healthy Community initiative being funded by the province. Trustee Grebenc is all fired up on walking or biking to school – her vision should be shared with those parents who want their kid on the bus.

As the meeting neared conclusion, Director Miller reminded everyone of the upcoming public meetings of the Program Viability Committee that start on Monday October 26th at Nelson High School.

The Public School Board meetings to discuss English and French Immersion elementary programming begin next week. The increasing interest in French Immersion and the impact on the core English program has the board administration considering how these changes are going to impact the delivery of program. The board’s ability to recruit a sufficient number of qualified and fluent elementary French teachers is also part of the mix.

Parents/guardians are invited to attend to learn about the key issues, as well as the process and timelines to gather public input. Halton District School Board staff will present information concerning English and French Immersion program enrollment, as well as the preliminary recommendations of the Program Viability Committee.

All meetings will begin at 7 p.m.:
BURLINGTON Monday, October 26 Nelson High School (4181 New St.)

Director Miller told the Gazette that he doesn’t intend to do a lot of talking about the program initiative and the thinking that has taken place. “We want to know what people think and hope they will take the document away with then and get back to us with their thoughts”.

Miller points out that the uptake for French Immersion classes has created some difficult management problems. “It is very difficult to find really qualified French teachers” he said. And he added “ we have some English classes with as little as eight students in them” which is very inefficient from a teaching model aspect and not all that good for the socializing of students that takes place in a school setting.

The working up of the report and its recommendations was a file that Miller handled before he was appointed Director of Education so he has a really solid understanding of how large an issue the school board faces

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