Corrente returns to the Herd mound - thinks he can probably still gas up his fastball to the low-80s if he has to.

sportsgold 100x100By Ken Pagan

June 15th, 2017



Rich Corrente has had two Tommy John surgeries on his left elbow, so how hard can he throw now that he’s recovered and back on the mound?

Doesn’t matter.

Corrente, 25, who is back in baseball after sitting out the 2016 season, is proving that less is more during a strong early showing for the Burlington Herd (3-8).

52 pitcher

Rich Corrente

The three-year IBL veteran threw a career-high 115 pitches in a complete-game 4-1 win over the Brantford Red Sox on Saturday, his most impressive outing yet that leaves him second in the IBL with a 1.12 ERA. In 24 innings this season, he has given up just three earned runs with a 0.75 WHIP (11 hits and seven walks).

The numbers are quite a contrast from when he last picked up a baseball during the 2015 IBL season (7.33 ERA over 54 innings with the Burlington Bandits) and in 2014 (5.76 ERA in 39 innings).

“I don’t even know,” Corrente said when asked to explain his early success. “I took last year off and rested my arm. Every time I get my chance to go in, I’m just doing my thing. This is my third year in the league and I always tell guys, ‘you have to know how to throw to guys in the IBL.’ You’re not going to throw hard enough to throw a fastball by anyone, so you have to trust your offspeed stuff and go with that.”

The six-foot-two southpaw, a Chatham native now living in Burlington, had his first Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in 2010 while attending Erie Community College. He had the procedure again in 2013 while pitching at St. Catharine College in Kentucky.

He has emerged post-Tommy John with more of a three-quarter delivery, which not only limits elbow soreness, but probably adds some movement to his pitches.

He thinks he can probably still gas up his fastball to the low-80s if he had to. But he doesn’t have to. And good luck if you go up against him looking for a fastball.

“Honestly, I don’t even care how hard I throw,” said Corrente. “In my mind, it’s not how hard you throw, it’s how consistent you are. You have to throw strikes and you’re not going to blow a fastball by anybody. If it’s down the middle, they’re crushing it.”

The year away from baseball in 2016 wasn’t so much about letting his arm rest as much as it was about enjoying his personal time, but he’s refreshed and glad to be back on the mound with the Herd.

“I just wanted to enjoy my summer,” he said of sitting out last season. “You don’t get much of a summer when you’re playing ball.

“I’m having fun. I’m glad to be back. I feel like I bring some experience and we have a young team.”

Corrente will return to the mound this weekend with the Herd preparing for three games in three days. Burlington visits Hamilton to face the Cardinals (2-7) on Friday night before hosting the London Majors (10-0) on Saturday at Nelson Park at 1:05 p.m. The Herd then travel to Toronto on Sunday afternoon for a date at Christie Pits with the Toronto Maple Leafs (6-7).

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One person identified - wrong man - two suspect captured on video> Do you know either of them?

Crime 100By Staff

June 14th, 2017



The Halton Regional Police reported that on May 2/3rd, several unlocked vehicles were entered in the Seneca Avenue area of Burlington.

At one residence, the suspects stole credit and debit cards out of a vehicle which were later used fraudulently in the City of Hamilton. Police are seeking the public’s assistance locating the first male and identifying the second suspect. A warrant exists for the first suspect who was identified as, Richard SHIELDS (57) of Hamilton.

A second suspect has yet to be identified. The same two suspects are responsible for further car entries in Burlington on May 18th.

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of or can identify the suspects is asked to contact D/Cst Dave Macedo or Det Ellie Bale of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau – Residential Property Crime Team @ 905-825-4747 ext 2312 or 2316. Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at, or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

Then there was an ooops from the Regional police – Shields was not there man – they released the following:

After further investigation and with public assistance, police have determined SHIELDS is not one of the persons involved and as such is not a suspect in these occurrences and a warrant for his arrest no longer exists.

Suspect 1 - not Shields

Suspect 1

Suspect 2 - not shields

Suspect 2

Police are seeking the assistance of the public to help identify the two suspects captured on video.

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Finally - a parking lot on Walkers Line at Side road # 2 for the Bruce Trail walkers.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

June 14th, 2017



Every once in a while a local governing authority does something that is just plain welcome.

Mt nemo parking signThousands of people have driven up into escarpment country to enjoy a walk along a part of the Bruce Trail or spend some time on Mt Nemo – but there isn’t any place to park other than the side of the road.

So they park on the side of the road and the parking police drive by and issue parking tickets. That has changed there is now a parking lot.

Mt Nemo parking lot BEST

The lot will accommodate about 25 cars.

It is located at the corner of Walkers Line and #2 Side road and is part of Mt Nemo Conservation Area.

The lot will accommodate approximately 25 cars. There will be parking fees.

These fees will be consistent with the rest of the parks at $6.75/adult and $5/child.

The road realignment and parking lot construction is to be completed by the end of July.

The parking lot is currently open on weekends. Fees will not be required until later this year or early 2018.

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The tax people don't communicate like this - and only the gullible respond to stuff like this.

IDTHEFT 100X100By Staff

June 14th, 2017



There are enough clues in this Identity Theft scam to see it for just what it is – a way for the sender to determine that you are gullible and begin gathering information about you.

Vigilant, vigilant, vigilant – check what lands in your mail box. Sort o like crossing a street – look both ways and then begin crossing.

Count the number of errors, clues and red flags in this one:

Tax refund scam

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Eleven Arabian stallions getting some rest at a farm in the Escarpment

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

June 14, 2017



They were very attractive – close to beautiful and graceful – not words that are normally used to describe males – but they certainly applied to the eleven Arabian stallions that were running around a field on a magnificent farm in the Escarpment.

Megan feeding C

Megan Morris is drawing the horses towards her with a bucket o grain in her hands. Two of the horses were more interested in what the photographer was doing.

The horses were part of a herd of 65 horses that are part of the Cavalia Odysseo that will be performing in Mississauga under a massive tent for a 12 day run.

Megan feeding A

Once the horses knew there was grain for them they clustered around to shove their noses into the bucket.

This was a rest and recreation occasion for the animals that get fed eight times a day – five meals of hay and three of grain.

The animals were very curious when we walked into the field to take some pictures – we wanted to see how they handled things when they were being fed grain so Megan Morris, one of the grooms fetched a bucket of oats – the horses gathered around her very very quickly.

These are exceptionally well trained animals that have careers that are as short as a year and can last as long as six years – then it is full time retirement for them.

Megan feed B

Megan is in the middle of the herd on a site that is about as majestic as it gets in the Escarpment,

They live for up to twenty years – when there performance days are over they are adopted by people, often their trainers.

Laure Warda, the communication lead, explained the adoption procedure – the rules are pretty rigid
While they are performing these horses work with their riders and their trainers to complete very exacting routines.

Stallion - young - colour leaves

The brown spots disappear as the horse ages.

They will leave the fields in the Escarpment on Thursday and get trucked into Mississauga where they will perform under a huge tent.

The riders and the horses have a relationship that is based on the needs, preferences and emotions of the animals. A performance will last no longer than 15 minutes – but that 15 minutes is the result of hundreds of hours of training.

The shows begin June 21st and run through to July 16th. Tickets can be ordered online

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Mayor is concerned with what might get built on the Waterfront hotel site - citizen rips into that concern - wants to see a WOW project on the waterfront.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 14th, 2017



The planners have been working on what to do and figuring out what can be done with the Waterfront Hotel site at the foot of Brant Street.

The owner of the property wants to get more density and the city is listening to what the public thinks and feels.

There has been the one public session in May with another scheduled for early July.

Standing room only

It was a Standing Room only for those who attended the first public meting on what might be done with the site the Waterfront hotel sits on now.

More than 200 people participated in two workshops in May to share their thoughts and ideas about what should be located on this property as the property owner considers redeveloping the site.

In his report to the citizens of the city the Mayor recently said: “As I have shared previously, I am very concerned about the impact any redevelopment in this area could have on our waterfront. I believe open space in any redevelopment option needs to be considered to ensure Burlington residents continue to enjoy access to the waterfront.

There will be more opportunities to share your feedback about the waterfront site as we move into the summer.

graphic with bldg heights

Those numbers are the height of the buildings – can you see where this is going?

In one of the illustrations used in May event the issue is made bluntly clear – it is about height – who has it – where it is and where it isn’t.  No rocket science to figure out what is coming our way.

What kind of height are we talking about?  Nothing specific at this point but the city’s Urban Design Guidelines give a hint.

Three illustrations – a map showing which part of the cit we are talking about and then a series of illustrations showing what the planners call the “building envelope” for specific sites.

Block 23 - located

This illustration identifieds where the specific block o property is located and what the Urban Guidelines will permit. No reference to height – that gets negotiated.







Urban design guidelines - block by block

We know what is being built on the left hand side of each of these four illustrations – the Bridgewater project – it is what can be done on the right hand side. Look very closely at figures 81,82 and 83

With 2018 an election year for city council the Mayor just might be looking at this redevelopment situation as the kind of campaign issue he can focus on as he looks for a third mandate – assuming he actually wants to go through the current term again.

Other than saying he is concerned – the Mayor hasn’t been very specific.

There are others who are very specific with their views. One downtown resident had these comments about the May event.

It was a typical public information/workshop meeting.

It is the way that the City “placates” the public.

1. Present as little concrete info’ as possible
2. Ask for input from the public
3. The public feels better because they’ve had their opportunity to vent and participate (this is a very real need for the public….everyone needs the opportunity to express an opinion)

It is a political process at best. Maybe a few good ideas come out of it…….

I find Marianne’s continued efforts to push her personal agenda annoying. She claims to be a “listener” but first she tells people what to think and say.

The presenters created a little confusion and didn’t set it up well. I didn’t think she was “smooth”. I thought she was confusing and used too many “buzz” words from the planning world.

And Rick’s previous public comments about green space/parkland didn’t make sense in the context of a private land owner.

It’s first steps towards an application and the politicians will feel good because they’ve gone through the process.

The public will feel somewhat empowered by the process. At the end of the day, not sure it helps create a quality exalted project or in fact the end product is simply the lowest common denominator. I’d love to see an iconic, beautiful, piece of architecture on that site with graceful lines and lovely public spaces. Something we could all say WOW – look what our city has done.

Bridgewater from the north looking south

The space between the condominium on the left and the hotel on the right is not as large as this rendering suggests. The space to the left of the high rise condominium as in the imagination of the artist.

A beautiful point tower of 30 storeys was designed originally for the Bridgewater site. It took up less than half the site and was stunning. It had all sorts of “air” around it. Funny, 30 storeys doesn’t seem so high now. But twenty years ago, no one could conceive of it. The compromise became what we see today being built – 3 block buildings (with a tower in one of them) virtually covering the whole site (except for a piazza on the lake side, not visible from the street), 8 storeys + 22 storeys creating a “wall” on Lakeshore Road, with a little “peek a boo” between the two buildings. Mark my words….it’s going to be ugly from the Lakeshore Road side.

We need to be more “forward” thinking. What will our city look like in twenty years?

This was more than a rant from a disgruntled resident – this one is in the thick of development in the city – our Mayor needs to hear from these people – but in Burlington we are far too polite to say what we think and feel.
Wait until the public sees just how little of the lake that will be visible when the Bridgewater site is completed. It will be “we was robbed” and of course far too late.

On July 5, residents have a chance to take part in a design day where participants will be divided into small working groups to explore options for things like buildings, land use, public access and open space.

Two sessions will be held at the Waterfront Hotel in the Blue Water Ballroom. The first session starts at 1 p.m. and the second session will be held at 6 p.m.


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Sales were up, prices were up and days on market were way down. Looking a little closer, the expected was happening and it was all superficially and completely unsustainable..

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 13th, 2017



The sisters released their most recent update on where things are going in the world of real estate – a market that is in a state of flux to say the least.

The Rocca Sisters & Associates, who work under the banner of Royal LePage, have created a brand that is supported by significant local promotion.

the sisters

Cathy and Tanya Rocca.

In their end of May report, they say the impact of the new rules announced by the Wynne government had not yet been felt in Burlington, overall.

Sales were up, prices were up and days on market were way down. Looking a little closer, the expected was happening.

The older parts of Burlington where homes lack the more modern amenities started to show some softening.

When inventory levels start to increase in areas such as Millcroft, Orchard and more significantly in Oakville, these older homes – side-splits, bungalows and raised ranches start to look less attractive. Similarly but for different reasons, Tyandaga saw a significant decrease in sale price for the month of May, due to a few uncharacteristically low sale prices for some link and semi-detached homes, but also due to the area being much farther west, adding to commute times.

When buyers have choices in Oakville, and north east Burlington, they tend to avoid anything west of Walker’s Line if they work east of Burlington. We expect the market in Burlington to continue to settle and with any luck, achieve more balance, where buyers have choices, time to think about a purchase and include conditions to ensure that they are able to successfully complete a transaction.

Clearly some communities will see softening but only from a superficial high that was completely unsustainable.

Rocca sales numbers May 2017


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Sound of Music sets up a shuttle bus service from the Burlington GO station.

News 100 redBy Staff

June 12, 2017



If you are using the GO train service to get to the Sound of Music Festival there is a shuttle service the organizers have arranged from the Burlington GO Station (access from the North side off Queensway Drive) to the Downtown John Street Transit Terminal.

That red light was a sign - Sound of Music didn't get the $37,000 they felt they needed as fall back money if the weather turned on them and events had to be cancelled. Note that the pier in this 2011 picture isn't visible because there was nothing to see. The city plans on offocially opening the pier during the Sound of Music festival this summer. SOM should charge the city a fee for horming in on theior event.

The crowds will descend on Lakeshore Road and steam into Spencer Smith Park – Thursday is the official beginning of the annual music blowout!

The fare of $3 per person for the round trip Shuttle ride helps to keep this convenient program sustainable. Children under 5 years are free.

Shuttles operate on a continuous loop as follows:

Thursday, June 15: 6 p.m. to Midnight
Friday, June 16: 6 p.m. to Midnight
Saturday, June 17: Noon to Midnight
Sunday, June 18: Noon to 8 p.m.

Extended service is also available on Routes 3 North and South (to Burlington GO Station) and eastbound Route 10 buses at 11 and 11:30 p.m. on Friday, June 16 and Saturday, June 17, 2017.

For more information on travelling to the festival please refer to Burlington’s Sound of Music website.

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An event that told of changing times - reaffirming an Oath of Allegiance was not a huge occasion for Burlington in 2017

News 100 redBy Staff

June 12th, 2017



It was billed as an opportunity for Canadians to re-affirm their oath of allegiance to the Crown while new Canadians were being made citizens.

reaffirmation event - crowd

It wasn’t a huge crowd – the numbers were a refection of changing times.

We had no idea what the turnout would be like.

Hundreds – thousands? It was closer to the latter.

reaffirmation - new citizens

Burlington’s newest citizens – youngest was 11 the oldest 97


The Oath

Within the group of people who were given certificates of citizenship the youngest recipient was 11 years old and the, most senior was 97.

There was a time in this city when most of the population would have attended an opportunity to reaffirm their oath to King and Country – time have changed.

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McMahon celebrates first full year as a Cabinet Minister - has she delivered for her constituents?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 12, 2017



Last week Burlington MPP Eleanor held her now annual Tea for the city’s seniors. The day happened to also be close to her first anniversary as a Member of the Wynne Cabinet and a member of the Treasury Board.

We wanted to hear what McMahon had to say about the move from being a back bencher to becoming a member of Cabinet and then appointed to Treasury Board – which is the group that looks at where the money is going to come from and how it is going to be spent.

McMahon with Bill Reid Sr of the year 2016

McMahon with Bill Reid Sr of the year 2016

McMahon explained that as a member of Treasury Board she is in a position where she is at times on one side the Treasury Board table asking questions and on other occasions on the opposite side answering questions. She has to explain and justify the plans her Ministry has and get them past the Treasury Board – and that isn’t always easy.

McMahon is the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Sports for the province. At the federal level each of those three is a separate department.

She has a Deputy Minister that reports to her and three Assistant Deputy Ministers that report to her deputy – the job is as close as one is going to get to heading up three ministries. And these aren’t little ministries. McMahon will tell you that culture contributes as much to the provincial gross domestic product as construction – which was a bit of a surprise to this reporter.

AGB presentation McMahon

The Art Gallery of Burlington for funding for a van that lets them take art out into the community.

Culture is a big deal that pulls the Minister into the soon to begin renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – content and intellectual property are now big drivers of an economy. And keeping an economy healthy is the biggest part of the job for every Cabinet member.

McMahon will let you know every chance she gets that Ontario is going to have a balanced budget. While relatively new to provincial politics – her 2014 election win was her first venture as a politician. She was personally recruited by Premier Kathleen Wynne; the fluently bilingual Minister has worked in the private sector with Petro Canada, the Ontario Medical Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the United Way.

It was her United Way experience and contacts that made it possible for her to pick up the phone and convince them to let the 2014 flood relief program to use their web site platform to begin collecting donations.

When McMahon first stepped into the provincial legislature we asked her: “What’s it like?” How did you feel when you first walked in the Legislature and took your seat”?

“There are 13 million people in Ontario” explained McMahon. “And just 107 in the Legislature – that fact just overwhelmed me. I am one of those 107 and the 13 million expect me to make good decisions for them.”

While it seems like a long time ago – the 2014 flood was a baptism by fire for McMahon. She had to convince the province to get on board with a matching dollar program and that was not a simple task. The province initially said no – which had McMahon working the telephones to get that decision changed.

The city raised $905,000 which the province matched on a 2 for 1 basis creating a fund of $2,715,000 that was  distributed to people whose homes had been flooded.

McMahon with seniors

Seniors get top billing with McMahon.

It isn’t all drudgery and work – McMahon stood up in the legislature recently and said the province needed to have some fun – the rubber duck was coming to Ontario.

A lot of her colleagues on the opposition side of the legislature hammered her for spending tax dollars foolishly – McMahon explained that the rubber duck was going to visit communities that asked to be destinations. “They got it” said McMahon who added that thousands of people will show up to do selfies with the 161 foot tall rubber duck.

The Ontario 150 Tour in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary features a summer of entertainment in waterfront cities and towns. It launches on Canada Day weekend in Toronto and then travels to Owen Sound, Sault Ste. Marie, Midland, Amherstburg and finishes in Brockville on August 13th.

McMahon couldn’t say if the duck was coming to Burlington – each destination works out its own arrangement with the festival organizers.

What a draw that duck would be as it slid by the Pier and moved on into Hamilton harbour.

That wasn’t something the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport was going to get into. She is now in early election mode – pounding the pavement with the provincial Liberal organization getting the word out on the job she has been doing.

McMahon office worker on the left

McMahon moved her office out of a dreary high rise and into a new building with much better exposure.

As she works the election trail there will be some explaining to do – the sale of part of Hydro One has a lot of people upset – they don’t think Crown Jewels should be sold.

The huge sums of money being put into infrastructure are a plus and the eventual electrification of the GO train service along with 15 minute service are welcome.

A government heading into its 15th year of leading the province raises some eyebrows. McMahon sees it all a little differently – she saw her win in 2014 as putting a Liberal in the Legislature to represent Burlington for the first time in 70 years.

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Burlington Herd let the Barrie Baycats stay at the top of the league while they remain in the bottom half.

sportsred 100x100By Staff

June 12, 2017



Well – everyone knew it wasn’t going to last forever – and they were up against the top team in the league – Barrie Baycats with a 10-0 record.

52 pitcher

Rich Corrente

Carlos Villoria earned the Burlington Herd’s RBI.

Justin Gideon and Eddie Chessell had two hits apiece atop the lineup. Gideon also scored a run.

Brad Smith (0-1) took the loss, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits in 2.2 innings before leaving the game with an injury. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out three.

Barrie improved to 10-0, and Burlington dropped to 3-8.

London Majors 10-0
Barrie Baycats 10-0
Kitchener Panthers 9-2
Toronto Maple Leafs 6-5
Burlington Herd 3-8
Brantford Red Sox 2-9
Hamilton Cardinals 1-7
Guelph Royals 1-11

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Arson suspected in three playground fires at Burlington parks - playground structures badly damaged.

News 100 redBy Staff

June 11th, 2017



At 4:00am this morning the Halton Regional Police Service and Burlington Fire Department responded to a fire in Lansdown Park at 3448 Hannibal Road in Burlington.

Fire pumpet - boots at doorThe first responders found the playground structure fully engulfed in flames. The fire was quickly brought under control and extinguished. The playground structure sustained significant damage.

Investigators are think this fire might be related to two similar incidents that have occurred within the last week in Burlington.

On Saturday June 10th 2017 at 3:00 am, a fire was reported at the playground outside St Anne Elementary School at 4675 Doug Wright Drive. That fire, too, resulted in significant damage to the children’s playground structure.

Prior to that, on Saturday June 3rd there was a fire at Emerson Park – 2390 Sutton Drive in Burlington. A smouldering fire causing heavy smoke inside a children’s play tube that was extinguished before more extensive damage could be caused.

These fires are being treated as arson.

Anyone with information pertaining to these fires is asked to contact the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825 4747 ext. 2316, or Crime Stoppers (See Something, Hear Something, Say Something) at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or through the web at or by texting “Tip201″with your message to 274637 (crimes).

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Five thousand bicycle riders raise $20,000 + for cancer research.

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

June 11th, 2017



On the morning of Saturday, June 10, the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer announces a record-breaking 5,042 riders raise $20,533,000 for Princess Margaret Cancer Centre as the 10th annual Ride commenced in Ontario.

Ride to conquer

The starting point for 5042 riders.

In 10 years, the Ontario Ride has raised over $175 million to support Personalized Cancer Medicine, research, treatment advances, education and new standards of care at The Princess Margaret, across Ontario, and around the world. Nationally, the Ride to Conquer Cancer has raised over $359 million to-date and is Canada’s largest peer-to-peer fundraising event

Enbridge Day 1

Day 1

Enbridge Day 2

Day 2

Thousands of Riders rode their way yesterday to Camp at McMaster University in Hamilton, and today, Sunday, many will embark to the finish line in Niagara Falls. In total, Riders will travel over 200-kilometres this weekend on one of three routes.

The event is organized by Cause Force, an industry leader in producing active lifestyle events for non-profit organizations across the globe. In this case the organization is the Princess Margaret Hospital and its cancer treatment program.

Enbridge gets to put its name on the event as, presumably, the lead financial supporter.

The Ride to Conquer Cancer® is an incredible two-day, 200-kilometre cycling journey through the beautiful countryside that raises crucial fundraising dollars for top cancer institutions around the globe and supports their missions to conquer cancer.

The Ride offers participants a fully supported event, catering to all needs from registration to the finish line, and creates an unforgettable event experience for Riders, Crew Members, volunteers, sponsors, donors and supporters. The Canadian Ride to Conquer Cancer series is the largest peer-to-peer fundraising event in Canada.

$175 million over ten years – someone is doing something right.

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Chat and Chew event didn't have all that much buzz about it -

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 11, 2017



It was billed as her annual BBQ – which she called a Chat and Chew – held at the Lions Park in the downtown core where most of her strength exists.

Held on a Friday evening – seemed like a good time. The weather was as good as it gets.

blonde boy

Figuring it out.

It was a large site and there was plenty for the kids to do including a pony ride.

There were information booths galore.

There was free food courtesy of Turtle Jacks.

There were pieces from what we call the Gazebo willows available for those who wanted a keepsake.

There was a fire truck and a police car.

But there was no buzz – no sense that anyone was having fun.

It was certainly a political event – that’s what these things are and held where her political strength exists but ward 2 city Councillor the Marianne Meed Ward’s event seemed to be missing something.

People larger view

There were information booths galore – just didn’t seem to be a lot of people walking around.

The Gazette didn’t make use of the event to engage the Councillor in conversation – we were there to observe.
Was there any political fallout from the school closure decision the Halton Board of Education made to close two high schools earlier in the week?

MMW standing

Ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward at her Chat and Chew community event.

Meed Ward will get credit for ensuring that the high school in her ward didn’t get the chop; she is also getting some blowback for what some described as a conflict of interest in serving on the Program Accommodation Review Committee (PARC ) that was involved in whittling a 40+ school closing recommendation down to five – one of which was Central high school.

When the Director of Education submitted his original school closing recommendation his top choice of the 19 options he and his staff came up with had the closing of Lester B. Pearson and Central high school at the top of the list.

Terry Ruff former HS principal BCHS

Terry Ruff former Central high school principal speaks to the first meeting of parents telling them how he two previous attempts to close the school failed.

That announcement mobilized the Central parents who left no stone unturned in their drive to get their school off that list.

Once the Director’s recommendations were public the PARC was formed and Central high school chose Meed Ward to represent them. There were howls of protest about a conflict of interst. Meed Ward had a son at the school and she was asked to take on the task.

She brought formidable political skills to the work she did.

The Gazette attended every meeting of the PARC and found Meed Ward to be much less effective at the PARC than she was at city Council meetings.

There were  times at city council when Meed Ward was close to brazen, which we see as a plus. She was focused and direct and asked more questions than any other three members of city council.

The rest of council often roll their eyeballs when she asked for yet another recorded vote.

We didn’t see the same kind of energy during the PARC meetings.

Meed WArd at PARC

Marianne Meed Ward at one of the seven PARC meetings.

The Director of Education, Stuart Miller  did change his recommendation from closing Central high school and Pearson high school to closing Bateman high school and Pearson.

Many howled at that change and argued that it was influence from Meed Ward, a member of city council and the Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon that swayed Miller.

Stuart Miller changed his mind when he saw all the evidence that was collected and put forward by the Central high school parents. Meed Ward didn’t have any undue influence – she was part of a team with formidable skills that they put to excellent use.

They were creating teams and assigning tasks days after the school closing announcement was made. The held a silent auction fund raiser and pulled in $14,000 which allowed them to print up signs that were on almost every lawn in the ward.

They demonstrated and they did their homework. They figured out that it was going to cost $400,000 every year for the foreseeable future to transport the Central high school students to either Aldershot high school or Nelson high school.

$400,000 a year – every year was a stunning number – that was only going to go higher as transportation costs rose.

Map #1 - all schools

The distance Central high school students would have to travel if Central was closed and they were transferred to either Nelson or Aldershot high schools is 6.4 km; the distance between Bateman and Nelson high schools is 1.9 km.

The disruption to student extra-curricular life for the students would be immense.

If Central high school was closed their students would have had a 6.4 km trip to either Aldershot high school or Nelson high school.  If either Bateman or Nelson were closed those students would have a 1.9 km trip – many would be able to walk to school.

The map and the rationale Central parents provided was one of the most compelling arguments for not closing that high school.  The Burlington Downtown Business association put forward a strong argument for keeping the high school open as well.

Most of the points the Central parents made seemed rather obvious when they were looked at closely and on wonders why the Board of Education staff didn’t see what the Central parents discovered.

The Central parents challenged almost every decision the Board staff had made; they missed nothing,

The decision to close Bateman instead of central was made.   Central is really in very rough shape physically – mostly as the result of neglect, is going to need a lot of money to be brought up to an acceptable standard. It has an acceptable bit of charm and a lot of history going for it but when compared to what Hayden has got – Central pales in comparison. It is what the Central parents are prepared to accept or have accepted in the past.

Meed Ward with Mayor Goldring: she is more comfortable with herself as a speaker.

Meed Ward with Mayor Goldring: she is more comfortable with herself as a speaker and she wants his job

Where they live

There just didn’t seem to be a lot of people.

Meed Ward has an almost tribal relationship with her constituents – they don’t all think she walks on water but they see her as the  member of council that works hard for them and has a vision for the city that other members of council don’t have – including the Mayor who Meed Ward has always wanted to replace.

When she was running for the city council seat in 2009 she wanted the job of Mayor when Can Jackson had it.

For reasons that are not all that clear she chose not to run against Goldring in 2014.

There was a point at which there was little doubt that she was going to run against him in 2018; there now appears to be some doubt.

Were she to remain a city Councillor she would win the ward hands down in 2018 – is the rest of the city ready for her as Mayor?

There are hundreds of them in ward 5 that will campaign actively against her – with a little help from the sitting council member Jack Dennison who is giving every indication that he will run again in his ward, Meed Ward may not be able to pull off a majority of the vote in that ward.

Is the dis-satisfaction from some over the role she played on the PARC going to hurt her longer term political aspirations?

They well might.

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Herd has taken three in a row - impressive

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

June 11th, 2017



Now that they know just what they are supposed to do on the baseball diamond the Burlington Herd is clearly on a roll.

The won their Saturday afternoon turnout against the Brantford Red Sox 4-1 to sweep the home-and-home with the Red Sox.  Third game in a row that the team has won

Herd T-shirtCanice Ejoh, Cooper Lamb and Grant Okawa all picked up a hit and drove in a run. John Whaley and Justin Gideon each singled, doubled and scored. The host Herd broke a 1-1 tie with a three-run sixth.

That was enough offence for Burlington hurler Rich Corrente, who tossed a five-hit complete game. Corrente (1-1) struck out four and walked two and has a 1.12 earned-run average in four games (three starts).

Tyler Soucie (1-1) took the loss for Brantford, giving up three runs, three hits and three walks in two-thirds of an inning. He relieved Justin DAmato, who went the first five and allowed a run on five hits with three strikeouts.

Burlington improved to 3-7, and Brantford dropped to 2-8.

The Herd is feeling a lot better about their game these days.  They are up against Barrie Baycats on Sunday who have yet to lose a game.

Future games:
Sunday, June 11
Burlington at Barrie, 7 p.m.

London Majors 9-0
Barrie Baycats 9-0
Kitchener Panthers 8-2
Toronto Maple Leafs 5-5
Burlington Herd 3-7
Brantford Red Sox 2-8
Hamilton Cardinals 1-6
Guelph Royals 1-10

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Pearson alumni challenges statements made by trustee who voted for closure of the high school.

opinionandcommentBy Staff

June 10th, 2017



Parents with an interest in what has happened to the two high schools that are going to be closed by the Halton District school Board are beginning to voice their concerns.

LBP George Ward + Rory Nisen

Rory Nisan, on the left, a Lester B. Pearson alumni who credits the small enrollment school with much of his career success.

Rory Nisan, a Lester B. Pearson alumni, takes issue with the explanation Burlington Ward 3 and 6 trustee Andrea Grebenc released yesterday.

“She is adamant about 1000 being the necessary number of students” said Nisan. “This is the crux of her argument for closing our school. However, are mega schools optimal, especially when they are way over designed capacity?

“Absolutely not. They are a far worse scenario than having all three schools at 800-plus students, which is easily achievable (we provided her with the data and a clear plan for this).

“Simply giving back the students that were taken away when Hayden opened would fix the problem. Her vote guarantees that MM and Hayden will be well over capacity for many years if not indefinitely.

“She knew this when she made her decision.”

Nissan adds that Grebenc says there “seemed to be more course conflicts than students”. These are empty words. They don’t take into account that the student experience would have been greatly enhanced with 800 students, a number that is easily achieved by bringing Hayden’s capacity down to appropriate levels.

“She also knew this when she made her decision.”

“She notes” said Nisan that “all of the extracurriculars in which she participated as evidence of how much she loved Pearson. However, with MM and Hayden becoming two mega schools with over 1400 pupils each in 2021, students of those schools will have far fewer opportunities than she did.

“She knew this also.”

Lester Pearson at Upper Middle and Headon

Lester Pearson parents demonstrating at Upper Middle and Headon

Nisan, using the material Grebenc provided said that “Again, 1000 students is the minimum, she says. But she voted in favour a dual campus solution for Bateman even though that school only has 747 students (2017).

“Why didn’t she support (or even show any consideration of) a dual campus for MM and Pearson? Why is she more innovative in thinking about Bateman than a school that so many of her constituents have a stake in?

“She knew this was a possibility, in addition to giving Pearson some of Hayden’s students, when she made her decision.”

The 1000 student target that Grebenc appears to see as close to optimum “is not supported by any data that came forth through the entire process. Pearson was never meant to have 1000 students. Several other schools in Burlington will continue to have significantly less than 1000 students after this process is complete. She never mentioned closing any of them” said Nisan.

“She knew this too.”

“She notes that there were 1000 students when she was there because she went through her yearbook and “counted every face”. She fails to mention that there was OAC (grade 13) when she was a student.

“I went through my yearbook (1998)” said Grebenc in her statement. “Pearson was a bustling school that year. The porto-pac was packed. Our sports teams were solid, and I don’t remember ever having a course conflict.”


The high school will have emptied parents cast ballots in the October 2018 municipal election.

Guess how many grade 9-12 students there were? asks Nisan:  686.  Another 151 OAC grads rounded out the student body.

“She had these numbers at her fingertips when she made her decision.”

Trustee Grebenc’s short intervention used the word “I” 34 times.

Trustee Grebenc’s statement, filled with rhetoric and hyperbole, and devoid of any data or arguments that passes even superficial scrutiny, was a failure” said Nisan.

“Our students will have to pay the price.”

Related article:

Why Grebenc voted against keeping Lester B. Pearson high school open

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Rivers on a volunteer teaching gig in Ukraine - less than a day's drive from armed conflict hot spots.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

June 10th, 2017


Rivers and his wife are on a volunteer teaching course in Ukraine. As part of this trip he will be visiting a Canadian Armed Forces Base and reporting on part of Canada’s role in that part of the world.

He will return at the end of June and give Gazette readers his take on all the changes that are taking place in this country at both the federal and provincial levels. 

It’s why treating your children to French Immersion will not make them bi-lingual. They need to sleep with the other language, as a former Canadian bi-lingual commissioner once mused. You need to be able to live it, to experience it. So that is what I’m doing over here in Ukraine – helping Ukrainian children to live extemporaneously in our culture. And I’m not alone. There are over 600 volunteer teachers from 140 countries, including a former Russian, all participating in an initiative called GoCamps.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, Ukraine declared its independence, along with all the other Soviet republics. But 70 years of communism had created a culture of passive dependency such that the new nation was reluctant to embrace the changes needed for it to become a fully independent state. That would require abandoning the Russian symbols of authority, its language and religion in particular.

From the Tzars to today’s Vlad Putin, Russia’s leaders have tried to eliminate the traditional language and culture in the lands they occupied. And Ukraine was no stranger to that policy. Ukrainian is a slavic language similar to Russian in that it is based on the almost cryptic Cyrillic alphabet, where the B is a V and the N is a P and the P is an R and the number 3 is a letter. It is very confusing and difficult for we English speakers, and I’m sure the opposite is true.


Public art in the city of Cherkassy where Rivers is teaching Engish

I’m teaching in the industrial city of Cherkasy, some 120 kms south of Kyiv on the expansive Dnieper River. Of the 300,000 people living here it is difficult to find anyone on the street who can speak more than a few words of English, which was likely learned from a TV show or western pop song. Most street signs and restaurant menus, though presumably once in Russian, are almost exclusively in Ukrainian script now, making getting around the city a challenge. Even getting a taxi is difficult since I’ve yet to find a dispatcher who understands either English or my feeble Ukrainian.

Despite that, I am impressed with the high level of English usage among the students at the school I’ve been attending, and their desire to better understand the language and culture that I bring with me. Ukraine’s goal is to eventually replace Russian with English as a second language. I have noticed, in the year since I was last here, how the government has removed Russian language timetables in railway stations – a step in that direction.

There is a segment of the population which would be just as happy to keep Russian but they are becoming a smaller proportion every year and with every new survey taken. It has taken Ukrainians a quarter century to finally decide that they would be better off with memberships in the EU and NATO, something that has held them back from joining previously. It is the youth, the new generation, who more than any others are now making that claim. And for those in doubt about the critical need to improve national security they only need consider what happened to Crimea.

Protection of the Russian language became the official raison d’être for the annexation of Crimea and the invasion of Dunbas, in south-eastern Ukraine. Yet despite an active war, ongoing in the east of the country, which has killed over 10,000 people, it was hard to sense animosity towards Moscow. In part that may be due to the long fraternal and historical association between the nations. It might also reflect embarrassment at having failed to defend themselves from the people they once believed were supposed to be their friends, even family.

Cherkassy - russian ships

Ukraine is a politically sensitive part of the world. Russian navy ships moored in the bay of the Crimean city of Sevastopol, Ukraine. Assault teams in speedboats and helicopters have captured a Ukrainian ship in Crimea and moved it to Russian military port

Distance between Cherkassyand Sevastapol.

Sevastopol is not that far away from where Rivers is teaching English to Ukrainians.

There are five million ex-pat Ukrainians living in Russia and for those who can still recall living in the USSR, the border is an inconvenience. Despite the murderous aggression of Mr. Putin’s crowd, Ukraine still buys some goods from Russia, like uranium for its Soviet built nuclear power plants. And given the degree of Russian espionage and attempted sabotage in Ukraine it is bizarre that ordinary Russians still have visa-free access.

I met a young woman from Cherkasy who was completing her master’s degree at an oil and gas technical college in Moscow. For her the future was about working and living there, given the dim economic opportunities she sees in her home town at the moment. She was having to take the train back to Moscow since the airlines have mostly stopped flights there on account of the war.

For her it’s like that war is with somebody else as she continues business as usual in Russia, a nation where half the people consider Ukraine enemy number one and who are responsible for the death of thousands of Ukrainians. It is hard to fathom how her desire for a good education has overtaken what I’d consider her patriotism. It is odd that there seems to be no concern by her family or friends over her personal security in a Russia that regularly imprisons Ukrainian nationals for crimes called extremism, as it did recently with the chief librarian of the Ukraine Library in Moscow.

I met a family displaced by the conflict in Donetsk and forced to move personal and presumably business interests to the nation’s capital in Kyiv, leaving home and property behind. I would have expected outright anger and outrage, but none of that was apparent in our discussions. And even when the discussion came up there was a puzzling reluctance to blame the Russians.

Cherkassy - political demonstrations

Political demonstrations are a lot more robust in Ukraine than anything we see in Canada

Ukraine’s history as a nation predates much of Europe, and by centuries Russia, its ungrateful birth child. Its fertile productive valleys and plains have made it the object of conquest. Once a powerful monarchy Ukraine’s invasions, first by the Mongols, then by various other nations, including Austria, Germany, Turkey, Poland and Russia. And given its endowment, agriculture is still the life blood of the nation, generating the greatest export revenue.

Unlike Russia which is geographically more Asian, Ukraine has always been a European nation. And Ukrainians are slowly, too slowly for many now, coming to a consensus that their future, national security and pathway to prosperity, like that of neighbouring Poland, lies in the EU. And for that, in addition to retaining their own rich language and culture, they need to communicate and share the languages of with their new western partners and English above all.

…….to be continued.

rivers-on-guitarRay 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 in 1995.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.     Tweet @rayzrivers


Background links:

GoCamps –   Russia and Ukraine –   Russian Speakers –   Ukrainian Language




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Grebenc on Bateman: why she went along with the vote to close the high school.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 10th, 2017



Burlington Ward 3 and 6 Halton District school Board trustee Andrea Grebenc released a statement on her Facebook page setting out why she voted the way she chose to vote at the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday when trustees decided to approve the recommendation to close two of Burlington’s seven high schools.

Miller in a huddle with Grebenc

Andrea Grebenc in conversation with Director of Education Stuart Miller

“It has been a tough few months” she said “and I know many of you are upset with the outcome of the Program Accommodation Review (PAR). I wanted to let you know that I explored a number of options myself and I was willing to go down the road with respect to a dual campus/one school concept and getting community partners to help fill space in the school.

“I could see the Bateman campus as a truly vibrant community hub. I believe in community hubs and schools should be an integral part of them. I think in this day and age, few people even know their neighbours, therefore providing gathering spaces to provide a true sense of community is important.

“The special education students at Bateman would have had the opportunity to integrate even more with a broader community setting. The north has three community centres. South East Burlington has one community room along with scattered amenities (pools, ice rinks, stadium and park). I believe community hubs should be cradle-to-grave types of places with programming for pre-natal and pre-school, through school ages, youth, adult and seniors programming.

“I took information provided to me from your community and spoke directly with administrators at two dual campus schools in the west. Both schools had similarities and differences to the Nelson/Bateman situation. The administrators were frank about the experience. It wasn’t a perfect solution, it took extra work, but both schools were successful.

“Unfortunately, my colleagues could not see this happening. Community partners were not forthcoming which was the linchpin to make this work. They would take up the On the Ground capacity to make financial sense. I was hoping the city would have stepped up during the final weeks with some possibilities as they are a natural partner and have partnered with us in the past(Hayden/Haber/Alton Library and Kilbride/Public library and community room).

Bateman - crowd scene

Bateman high school parents demonstrate to save their high school – it wasn’t enough to change six minds.

“When Trustee Collard’s substitute motion about exploring dual campuses failed, I had to support a closure. As I mentioned during statements later in the meeting with regards to Pearson, my research informed me that schools need 1000 students to provide students decent course choices and extracurricular experiences. Without putting Nelson into the same lower enrollment state, Bateman needed to close.

“I care about the students in special education placements residing at Bateman. I promise to hold the Director accountable in his statements that situation at Nelson will be better for those students than what they have now at Bateman and that special care is take with each student transition. It is my duty to make it so and my commitment to the community.”

Bateman high school is scheduled to close in September of 2020.


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Burlington Herd gets out of the InterCounty baseball league basement - wins two in a row.

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

June 10th, 2017



Now that they have won a baseball game in the InterCounty Baseball League, the Burlington Herd appears to like that idea and went on yesterday to defeat the Brantford Red Sox 4-2

Trailing 2-1, the Herd took the lead with two runs in the seventh inning and added an insurance run in the ninth. Carlos Villoria had two hits and an RBI for Burlington, which improved to 2-7 – the same record as Brantford.
Canice Ejoh and Nolan Pettipiece each singled and drove in a run. Justin Gideon went 3-for-5 with a run, and Eddie Chessell singled, doubled and scored.

Herd player sliding home Ph by Crystal Young

Herd player sliding home. Photo by Crystal Young

Ryan Beckett (1-1) threw four innings of relief for the win, giving up a run on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Starter Brandon Hiller lasted five innings and allowed one run on one hit with two walks and two strikeouts.

Chris Dennis homered for the third time this season and drove in both Brantford runs. Benjamin Bostick singled and scored.

Matt Betts (0-2) took the loss, giving up two runs on five hits in an inning. He took over for Graham Tebbit, who went six innings and gave up a run on three hits with a walk and three strikeouts.

A Herd that is not in the basement is nice to see.

Future games:

Saturday, June 10
Brantford at Burlington, 1:05 p.m.

Sunday, June 11
Burlington at Barrie, 7 p.m.

London Majors 9-0
Barrie Baycats 8-0
Kitchener Panthers 7-2
Toronto Maple Leafs 5-5
Brantford Red Sox 2-7
Burlington Herd 2-7
Hamilton Cardinals 1-5
Guelph Royals 1-9

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Temporary Lane Restrictions on New Street between Guelph Line and Cumberland Avenue - June 13 to 16, 2017

notices100x100By Staff

June 10th, 2017



Temporary lane restrictions will be in effect on New Street between Guelph Line and Cumberland Ave June 13 to June 16 due to paving work.

Markings identifying portions of the street intended for cyclists.

Markings identifying portions of the street intended for cyclists. This is not New Street – but it is what is expected to appear on New Street once the paving is completed.

And that paving work means road markings will follow setting out bike lanes which will rev up the comments on pilot bike lanes on New Street.  The roll out of that project has been in the works for well over a year.

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