The announcement that schools will not re-open was no surprise - 3.5 months before the children return to school in September

graphic coping redBy Ashley Worobec

May 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

Ashley Worobec writes regularly on how she and her family are coping.  Ashley Worobec is a sports-based chiropractor living a life of fitness, health, and parenthood in Burlington.

Well, we got the official announcement about the cancellation of the remainder of the school year. While we knew it was coming and it was a foregone conclusion that this announcement would be made, it’s still somewhat shocking to hear it and to see it written in black and white. With so many other closures still ongoing, it’s the obvious choice, and I’m thankful that some of the uncertainty surrounding schooling has now been eliminated.

family

Jersey Day in the Worobec household during the pandemic

In all honesty though, I’m glad they kept delaying the school start date- had I been told back in mid-March that schools were closed for the remainder of the school year, I would’ve had a hard time coping. My strategy has always been one day or one week at a time; I’ve been able to cope much better by focusing on the here and now rather than worrying about the what-ifs of the future. On March 13th, when the first school closures were announced, I would’ve been into panic mode if I’d known that would last into September.

The kid’s school has done a good job of keeping up a sense of community throughout this time, and we’ve participated in all of their spirit days, including the most recent Jersey Day.

This official education announcement won’t change much in regards to what we’re doing with our children though. We will continue to do the assigned tasks/projects that their teachers are giving on the e-learning platform, and at the end of June we’ll wrap up. My kids are in Grade 5 and Grade 2, so at the end of the year we’ll likely have some sort of celebration at home- we usually buy some sort of Summer outdoor toy to kick off Summer break, and I’m anticipating this year will be no different- in the past we’ve done road hockey pucks, sprinklers, and sidewalk chalk, but this year I’ve got my eye on a pogo stick. Any outdoor time is time well spent in my opinion.

My husband is a high school teacher, and his routine won’t change much for the remainder of the year either, although he’s anticipating less of a buy-in from his Grade 12 students now that the year has officially been shut down. Time will tell. He’s in the midst of organizing a virtual Athletic Banquet for his Phys Ed department so that the athletic awards can still be presented, albeit in a different format this year.

This year has been a challenge, no doubt, and it’s far from over. We still haven’t been given a timeline on when my clinic will be allowed to open, so we’re in a holding pattern at this stage. Once I go back to work, that’ll change our family dynamic, as I won’t be around as much, but my husband and kids are looking at another 3.5 months at home.

morning run

The morning run – its Mom who does the heavy lifting

I’ve attached a picture of our morning run, and we do this nearly every day- once I’m back at work, that morning run won’t happen as often, but it’s been something I’ve really treasured, so we will do it on the days that time allows. It’s not about the physical fitness- it’s about the time together, the time outside, the fresh air, and our mental health. Between the morning run, our daily hikes or walks, and backyard workouts, we’ve been coping with a lot of movement and physical fitness.

dog and cat

Determining the territory.

Our pets have brought us great joy during this time as well; our Golden Retriever is 2 years old, and at the very start of this pandemic, on April 2nd, we adopted a cat from a local cat rescue. Rosie has been a great addition to our family, and a wonderful source of distraction too.

I’ve heard that this pandemic has resulted in lots of pet adoptions, and I can see why!

We will get through this, and we will look back on this time and say “remember when.” For now, I am thankful for sunshine and warmer temperatures and the health of my family. One day at a time……

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Dog owners get a break - they have been feelings like a harassed community. End of Friday is there freedom at last day

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The dogs won.

City hall is working furiously to open leash-free dog areas and most City park parking lots by end of day on Friday, May 22, 2020.

dogs-off-leash-opening

Dogs have been waiting for months to be able to do this legally. City expects their owners to adhere to the six foot rule.

Toronto made the move – Burlington is feeling the pressure from the dog owner community – the plea from the city is to encourage everyone to follow public health directions and Provincial orders to physically distance themselves a minimum of six feet to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The bylaw officers have had a very difficult time getting people to keep their dogs on short leashes and to not congregate – they clearly don’t understand dog owners and dog owners clearly don’t take all that well to bylaw.

There was one day last week when a reported seven tickets – with a potential $750 fine – were given out in a single day.

Runners two dogs we know what this is about

Not hard to figure why the guy in red is out for a walk.

All City-owned leash-free dog areas, parking lots and tennis courts are scheduled to be opened by end of day Friday, May 23 with the exceptions of:

1. The west parking lot at Spencer Smith Park (ongoing construction)
2. LaSalle Park Marina parking lot (ongoing construction)
3. Lowville Park parking lot (continued crowd management)

Residents are encouraged to leave their cars at home when visiting a park. Walk, bike or roll to your neighbourhood park.
City Multi-use Sports Fields

social distance - rural

Congregating is lovely – just adhere to the six foot rule. Our failure to do that gives the virus opportunities to spread itself every where.

The Province announced today that multi-use sports fields (such as baseball diamonds and soccer fields) can be opened. Families can now enjoy our publicly accessible sports fields (areas not locked and enclosed with fencing) with members of their own household for casual play. Only family members from the same household are able to be within six feet of each other. The City of Burlington will provide further information regarding our sports fields by Friday, May 23.

In the meantime, organized group sports are still not permitted due to Provincial emergency orders. Requirements need to be in place by provincial sport organizations before permitted field use can be re-introduced. The City will work in collaboration with local sport organizations and as the specifics are provided, an implementation plan will be finalized.

Provincial emergency orders remain in effect that limit the number of people in a gathering to five. If sports fields are used for casual purposes they are to be used at resident’s own risk; the City has not maintained or inspected sports fields during the pandemic.

IInfections by date cropped

The number of infections in the Region are increasing regularly – that is because the virus is amongst us in the community and being passed from person to person. Don’t be the person that picks it up from someone else – maintain that six foot distance.

 

By Provincial order, park amenities, including all washrooms and playground equipment remain closed.

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Premier Ford threatens to hammer the 'greedy landlords'

News 100 redBy Staff

May 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Wow – the Premier laid it on the line.

He was addressing what he called “greedy landlords” and said they needed to begin to cooperate with their tenants and find a compromise.

If they don’t he said, he was going to come down on them very hard. He was going to hammer them

He wasn’t smiling when he was speaking.

Premier with deputy May 19th

Premier threatening to hammer the “greedy landlords.”

Will it make a difference to the small business operators that are renting from large property owners?

While the Premier was speaking in a media Q&A that was running live Deputy Premier Christine Elliott was smiling in the background. We thought we could hear her saying: Go get em Dougie.

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Schools closed for the balance of the school year; summer day camps, both indoor and outdoor, may be permitted in July and August - no overnight camps

News 100 redBy Staff

May 19, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The decision the province made to keep the schools closed for the balance of the school year  involved consulting with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, health experts on the COVID-19 Command Table, and medical experts at The Hospital for Sick Children.

Group of students MMR

This is what the province doesn’t want to see – students congregating the way students do – the virus would jump from person to person in situations like this.

The government is planning for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year, the gradual reopening of child care, and the opening of summer day camps subject to the continuing progress in trends of key public health indicators.

Today’s announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

All students who were on track to graduate from secondary school before the initial school closure order was made in March will be able to graduate, and all students will receive report cards.

MMW with students

Classroom scenes like this return in September – if the COVID infection rates are kept low.

Later this summer, the government will announce a plan to strengthen learning and safety protocols to enable students and staff to return to in-class instruction for the 2020-21 school year. That plan will be bolstered by an enhanced province-wide virtual learning program that will allow all students to learn, regardless of the challenges that may transpire in the coming months.

Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed for the safety and protection of children, families and staff through Stage 1 of the Framework for Reopening the Province. Emergency child care will continue to operate and provide support for health care and other frontline workers. A gradual reopening of child care is expected to begin when the province is ready to transition to Stage 2 based on public health criteria, which will include robust safety protocols for the safety of Ontario’s youngest learners and their staff.

Funny hats and smiling faces - all part of the summer day camp experience.

Funny hats and smiling faces – all part of the summer day camp experience.

Assuming trends in key public health indicators continue to improve, summer day camps, both indoor and outdoor, may be permitted in July and August of this year with strict health and safety guidelines to be developed in partnership with local public health, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and municipalities.

Overnight camps will not be permitted to operate in the summer of 2020.

The province also unveiled an expanded seven-point summer learning plan to ensure Ontario students have every opportunity to continue their learning through the summer months. Summer learning programs are being expanded to reach the most students in Ontario history, to ensure they remain on track to start the 2020-21 school year with the confidence and knowledge required to succeed.

 

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Closure of bars and restaurants except for takeout in force until May 29th

News 100 redBy Staff

May 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

The hard news is in the first couple of paragraphs.

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all emergency orders currently in force until May 29, 2020.

Brant street getting ready

Those chairs are going to have to stay empty for a little while longer.

That includes the closure of bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery only, restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women’s shelters. The government is also allowing drive-in religious gatherings.

Today, the province officially enters the first stage of its Framework for Reopening the Province. As part of this initial stage, the government is permitting the reopening of some outdoor recreational amenities, including outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, off-leash dog areas, and outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in parks and recreational areas, effective as of Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

Outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, fitness equipment, public swimming pools, splash pads and similar outdoor water facilities will remain closed until later stages of the province’s reopening plan.

driving range May 16

Six feet – swinging those clubs can work up quite a sweat.

“Although we are entering the first stage of our framework to reopen the economy, it’s critical that we continue to do so in a safe and responsible manner,” said Premier Ford. “The people of Ontario have been doing a fantastic job to help flatten the curve and stop the spread of this terrible virus. With warmer weather beginning, individuals and families will now be able to enjoy many outdoor amenities, but everyone must continue to maintain physical distancing from those outside of their household.”

To ensure that individuals and families have safe access to outdoor spaces, it is critical they take everyday steps to reduce exposure to the virus, such as maintaining physical distancing by staying two metres apart from anyone outside of their household, washing hands regularly, and staying home if feeling unwell.

Extending the dates supports the government’s plan to cautiously and safely reopen businesses, services and amenities in a way that will enable the province to continue to protect the health and safety of Ontarians.

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The Care Mongers got Together and would like you to Grow a Row for the Food Bank

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

May 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington together logoThey called themselves Burlington Care mongers – and their presence on social media just took off.

They had people making masks; people running errands for people who had to self-isolate.

They were exceptionally well organized and effective.

Then they decided that the word “care monger” could use a little refinement and changed their name to Burlington Together. They are still exceptionally effective.

Beteh Martin Caremonger

Former Chief Care monger”, Beth Martin Snook with her children

Grow plants Jan

If you do it right – this is what you can produce.

The former Chief Care monger”, Beth Martin Snook popped us a note announcing the “Grow a Row” project through the Burlington Together Facebook group
They are encouraging people to grow an extra row of food in their gardens and donate that extra harvest to the Burlington Food Bank.

Beth is prepared to help anyone who needs it with seeds or gardening advice, and will also set up a seed swap if there is interest.

“I’m the contact for the project – you can reach me at – bethmarty@gmail.com or through Facebook at Beth Martin Snook or through the group at Burlington Together.

The link is a direct connection to the group.

growing a row Jan

Burlington Together would like you to Grow Row for the Food Bank

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Cith hall puts out a statement: summer program cancelled - you'll get your refund in four to six weeks,

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City hall has provided more information on the decision to close city hall that was heard at a Standing Committee; that committee recommendation will go to Council on Monday of next week.

“Following the Provincial and public health directives, the City of Burlington is cancelling all City-run summer programs. This includes activities such as summer camps, recreation programs, festivals and events, swimming and skating drop-ins that were originally offered in the Live & Play Guide.

“Organizations and residents are asked to please be patient during this time as we expect it will take 4-6 weeks for staff process these cancellations. Residents who paid for these programs using a credit card will be refunded to that same credit card if possible. All other payment methods will receive a credit to their Recreation accounts. Following the processing of cancellations, cheque refunds will be issued based on specific email requests. Please email liveandplay@burlington.ca for cheque refund requests, and be sure to include your full mailing address.

“As restrictions from the Province and Public Health are lifted, the City will implement a redesigned or modified program where possible.

“Any programs available will be advertised. To be notified of any new programs, visit and subscribe to burlington.ca/play.

Facility Rentals

No snow? There are always swimming pools. Check out the available programs and register for a spot.

Not this summer.

“All facility rentals up to and including Sept. 7, 2020, including arenas, pools, community centres, schools, sport fields and picnics are cancelled. Renters who paid by credit card will be refunded to that same credit card if possible. Others will receive a credit on account. A confirmation will be emailed once the rental cancellation has been processed.

“Requests for future booking dates are not being accepted until further notice.

“For questions about facility rentals or rental refund requests please email rentals@burlington.ca.

“For more information and FAQ’s on summer closures, cancellations and refunds visit burlington.ca/coronavirus.

“The City is monitoring the situation closely and will work with local organizations to determine any modified programs as we are able to.

“Any opportunity to re-open facilities or resume programming following health directives including physical distancing or reduced group sizes will be posted to the City’s website and social media.

baseball players

Probably not this summer either

Parks
While City of Burlington parks were never closed for walk-through traffic, residents can now enjoy a few more activities in their local City of Burlington parks and green spaces with members of their own household including:

• Playing catch, kicking a soccer ball and flying a kite
• Sitting on a blanket, grass or lawn chair
• Exercising and stretching on a yoga mat, but not in a class
• Letting young children run and burn off some energy

“We are asking everyone to remember they have a role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The Mayor explains: “I know this news will be disappointing to our community; however, we need to continue to stay apart for now to protect ourselves and each other. Public health and safety need to continue to come first. I know our City staff are working on alternative programming that can be done virtually, so watch for that news.”

He is no longer "acting"; it's now the real deal as Chris Glenn gets appointed the Director of Parks and Recreation for the city.

Chris Glenn – Director of Parks and Recreation.

Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation Services tells his side of the story:   “Summer programming is our busiest time with some wait lists forming as early as January. Please be patient as we process credits and refunds. These can take time but be assured that everyone who needs a credit or refund will get one. One of our adaptations to the COVID-19 physical distancing is our virtual programming. I encourage everyone to access our free virtual programming which can be found at burlington.ca/activeathome. There are golf tips, cooking lessons, crafts and more.”

Four to six weeks to process a refund for a cancelled programming is a real stretch.

 

 

 

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A trip to the supermarket is 'not a social occasion'. Be efficient - in and out.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Part way through the long weekend our Member of Parliament, Karina Gould reminds on how we need to conduct ourselves now that the province has cautiously opened up some of the retail world.

In her message to us about the Queen Victoria holiday Gould adds that when we go shopping we are there to purchase food items – “this isn’t a social occasion”, she said.

Grocery shopping graphic Gould.Wow! Has COVID done this too us – when we gather at a market or a supermarket we bump into our friends and get caught up on the news and the gossip. – keeping that required safe distance of course.

The Victorian Era was known for its difficulty with touching and close relationships – at least in public.

Seems the Good Queen’s approach to the way she saw society working are  coming back.

Whatever happened to all that freedom we earned in the sixties?

Queen Victoria

This was not a woman to trifle with once she had matured and realized thee size of the Empire she ruled.

The Victorian period saw the British Empire grow to become the first global industrial power, producing much of the world’s coal, iron, steel and textiles.

The subject of Victorian sexuality, which continued to be a continuing topic of debate and fascination well into the 20’s – that was the 1920’s.

According to their own testimonies, many people born in the Victorian age were both factually uninformed and emotionally frigid about sexual matters. Historically, it appeared that the licentious behaviour and attitudes of the Regency period had been replaced by a new order of puritan control and repression.

That changed – but there are still strains of it out there. None of this of course was mentioned in the MP’s column.

She wishes us all well and urges us to make the best of the long weekend and be grateful for everything the Front Line workers are doing for us.

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One Burlington steps aside while COVID19 works it way through the world.

eventsorange 100x100By Staff

May 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

One Burlington, that annual event that strives to attract as many people as possible to participate and to learn about the diverse cultures and faith practices of our neighbors in a safe, joyful and relaxed environment announced the decision to cancel the August 2020 event.

One Burlington logoA key value at One Burlington is to encourage participation by everyone. We could not imagine a way to present our Festival and restrict attendance as it clashed with our mandate. Hence the decision to cancel this event for this year.

The One Burlington Festival did get funding from the Burlington Arts Council and have been advised that they can use those funds for marketing purposes.

Canceling the August 3, 2020 Festival event for this year is backed by every intention to put on the One Burlington Festival Day in Central Park in the summer of 2021.

One Burlington is planning to hold a special fall Outreach event and add an online component as well. They are hoping to hold this event indoors and restrict attendance to conform to the numbers recommended by the Province of Ontario health authorities.

One Burlington Canada-Burlington1-2017

Murals that invite anyone to pick up a paint brush and take part are part of One Burlington events.

They hope to either broadcast the proceedings online/or record it for repeat viewing on YouTube. The theme has not yet been chosen but it will involve speakers and professional performers; the Programming Committee will be working on that –  their first outreach event (in support and collaboration of the Black History Month was a huge success.

In addition, One Burlington is using the time afforded to it by the cancellation of the August 2020 event to renovate our presence on social media. We are taking money intended for marketing and promotion of the 2020 Festival and we will spend it on a comprehensive marketing/communications strategy.

By the end of 2020, they hope to be reaching the citizens of Burlington regularly through multiple social media platforms spreading the message of love, unity and building a united community in many different ways.

“We all recognize that the state of the world has made the need to render meaningful service to humanity even more urgent. I have no doubt that you as ambassadors of love, will with high resolve and intense endeavour use every interaction to spread hope, kindness and inclusivity”, said Shadi Salehian, Board Chair, One Burlington.

More on what One Burlington is all about – CLICK here.

 

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St Matthews takes a holiday break - closed holiday Monday - re-opens on Wednesday.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

May 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Hopefully we will get nicer weather on Monday.

People will be able to get out and about – however they won’t be able to drop off any Food donations that are collected by St. Matthews Anglican church every Monday and Wednesday.

St Matthews Not open Monday 18thThey are taking a break but do hope that you will visit them on Wednesday.

St. Matthews partners with the Burlington Food Bank and the Compassion Society/

Pick up a free 100% cotton face mask while you are there.

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The evidence always tells the story; it can be enhanced by anecdotal information.

News 100 redBy Joe Gaetan

May 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Joe Gaetan is a regular Gazette reader who more often than not gets it right. He can be, has been, a trenchant critic. He is Italian.

“First, I would like to say that this will be the last issue of my reporting on the Covid19 pandemic. Secondly, I recently read an article entitled, “Seniors with Covid19 show unusual symptoms Doctors Say”. The premise of the article is that some seniors experience unusual symptoms, please read it and share as you see fit, https://khn.org/news/seniors-with-covid-19-show-unusual-symptoms-doctors-say/

“ When I first started doing this I did so because I wanted to see how Canada was doing compared to Italy. As time marched on I became interested in what was occurring in South Korea (for obvious reasons) and the USA (because they are our neighbor). And now it is time to move on and I am getting sick and tired of hearing phrases such as “during these difficult times” blah blah.

“This chart shows the average number of new cases per day for the months of March, and April and for May to the 15th. The U.S.A. is currently running at an average of 25,951 new cases per day while S Korea is seeing about 17 new cases per day. Canada is now seeing 1,419 new cases per day on average while Italy is at 1,228. We have a way to go.

Canada - Italy numbers 1

Cases per day, by month, comparing Canada and Italy.

“This series of charts and my favorite are the % Daily Change in Cases that tell us if we are winning or losing the battle against Covid19. Canada is within striking distance, but we need to be below 1%.

Canada daily changes 2

Canada’s curve – needs to be brought down to less than 1%

“S Korea is the benchmark for this. As you can see S.K was running at a rate of 1.85% back in March. The rest is history and their average % daily change rate for May is .16% down from an average of.32% for April. Canada per the above chart is at an average daily % change rate of 1.65%, so I suspect we may be 45 to 50 days away from where SK is today % wise but with way more cases.

 

Penny Hersh, a strong face mask advocate, said in a comment: “My concern has been that once things started opening up that residents would not do what they should to protect themselves and others.

“Yesterday, there was a huge lineup for ice cream at La Creme de la Creme on John Street. The lineup outside of the shop snaked all around the street and around the corner. No physical distancing was taking place and no one was wearing a facial mask.

“Friday evening, about 5 or 6 cars of residents( about 15 people) came together in the parking lot across from Emma’s and stood in the parking lot some drinking and all socializing once again no physical distancing or masks.”

The message is getting out to family’s – it doesn’t seem to be getting out to the younger people who seem to think they are immune to the virus.  The data does say that this cohort is infected less than other cohorts – but they are being infected.  No one has come up with a way to get this message across.

Youth on Beachway - balls

They are sometimes oblivious to the obvious.

South Korea daily changes

South Korea’s curve – this is where we need to get to.

Joseph GaetanJoseph A. Gaetan has a BGS degree in applied studies, earned through studies at The University of Waterloo and Athabasca University. He also earned a Province of Ontario Engineering Technology Certificate through Fanshawe College, and for 8 years worked at earning a trade becoming a Journeyman Machinist. He also studied French at the Centre Linguistique du Collège de Jonquière and Italian at Mohawk College. In addition, he has taken online courses through the EDx platform taking courses from Harvard, The University of Queensland, Wellesley and Delft Wageningen, he is currently working at learning 6 languages through Duolingo. His work career includes being a Machinist, a CNC programmer, a business owner, a consultant and the Director of Organizational Development for a Fortune 100 company. All of this thanks to life-long learning.

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What's Open - What's not -and why: Golf, City Parks, Marina, Conservation Parks

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

May 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The city opened up – a little today.

golfer swinging

There were golfers at some of the courses on Guelph Line.

The plant merchants were very busy. There were golfers on some of the courses and line up as the driving ranges.

Weather was nice.

3 carts on a slope

Most of the golfers we say were buzzing about in electric carts – 1 person per cart. No one was lugging a golf bag.

The city, for some reason wasn’t as prepared for the opening that everyone knew was coming. Parks and recreation announced on Friday that they have cancelled all of the summer Parks and Recreation program and were starting from scratch to figure out what they might be able to open as the rules from the province are clearer.

The LaSalle Park Marina could be open but won’t be – construction of the new water break is still taking place.

driving range May 16

Golfers at a driving range – wasn’t operated by the city.

The City’s Tyandaga Golf Course is preparing for opening Saturday, May 23, 2020 with COVID-19 safety precautions in place to help keep both golfers and staff safe by minimizing the spread of the virus.

Players wishing to book a tee time can do so online as of Saturday, May 16, 2020 at tyandagagolf.com. Booking by phone can be done starting Tuesday, May 19 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. by calling 905-336-0005.

New Rules and Operations

• Tyandaga will be open daily, 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Online tyandagagolf.com and phone booking for tee times only; no walk-in green fees
• Only credit card or debit cards will be accepted for payments (no cash)
• Food and beverage services will be limited to window take-out service only. Dining area is closed.
• No group events or tournaments at this time
• Clubhouse will be closed except for washrooms and pro-shop area. Only one person allowed in pro-shop and washroom at a time
• One person per power cart
• Lessons, practice greens, practice chipping area and rental clubs will not be available at this time
• Sand bunker rakes have been removed. Any shots in the bunker are a free drop
• All high-contact surfaces are regularly sanitized such as the payment terminals, all service-related surfaces, power carts and bathrooms
• All machinery will be sanitized daily to ensure public and staff safety

City hall had this to say about opening their parks:

Re-opening of the City parks and facilities is something everyone is looking forward to, but we must continue to do it slowly and carefully with the right precautions.

The City of Burlington remains committed to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 to protect its residents and employees.
While City of Burlington parks were never closed for walk-through traffic, residents can now enjoy a few more casual activities in their local City of Burlington parks and green spaces with members of their own household or groups of five of less, including:

• Playing catch, kicking a soccer ball and flying a kite (not on a soccer field or baseball diamond)
• Sitting on a blanket, grass or lawn chair
• Exercising and stretching on a yoga mat, but not in a class
• Letting young children run and burn off some energy
Facilities, amenities and spaces that continue to be closed in City parks include:
• playgrounds and play structures such as swings, slides, climbers
sports fields such as soccer fields, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, tennis courts, running tracks
• outdoor exercise equipment
• skateboard parks
• off-leash dog areas
• benches, picnic tables and shelters
• beaches
• marinas and boat launch ramps
• park parking lots and washrooms
• recreation centre grounds and parking lots

Respect the caution tape and keep off playgrounds, sports fields, skateboard areas, tennis and basketball courts. The City has signage and barricades in the entrances of parking lots to block vehicles from parking.

Parking lots remain closed to encourage people to stay in the neighborhood and to help prevent overcrowding at some of our larger parks.

This will be reviewed as we consider additional phased opening of park uses.

Organized sporting activities and training, such as football, softball, ball hockey, soccer, ultimate frisbee and basketball – even if they are not being played on a court or sports field – are still not allowed in City parks. Similar activities that do not allow for proper physical distancing, like running a sports or fitness class in City parks, are not allowed until further notice.

Provincial emergency orders that remain in force include:

• Prohibiting events and gatherings of more than five people
• Closure of public places and establishments
• Closure of outdoor recreational amenities

I didn’t see the words “have fun” anywhere in the city’s words.  They sound like a crabby grandmother.

Sport Facilities

The Province announced some sport organizations are able to resume activities. The City of Burlington will work with our joint venture partners to ensure there are plans in place based on provincial guidelines and their sport governing body’s requirements. The City is also working to ensure these organizations can use the facilities while complying with provincial guidelines and protecting the health of athletes and city staff.

Conservation Halton Parks.

Turtle clan longhouse at Crawford Lake.

Turtle clan longhouse at Crawford Lake.

Few people realize that there are provincially operated parks as well as parks operated by the Halton Conservation Authority. THEY will be opening five of their seven parks for hiking and biking, using a simple reservation system, starting May 22.

Crawford Lake, Hilton Falls, Rattlesnake Point, Mount Nemo and Kelso Summit (biking only) will be open to members and to the public, for paid access, from 9am-9pm. Other parks and facilities will be added in the coming weeks.

What do I need to do to access the parks now?

The new system that we have mentioned above will allow to us predict and monitor the number of people in the parks through an online reservation platform. From this point forward, parks visitors and members will be required to make a reservation prior to their visit. (The pilot has shown us that this process should take no more than 1 minute.) Here is how it works: After you have made your online reservation, and arrived at the park, you will drive up to the gate and stop. Your license plate will be scanned and the gate will open. If there is any issue with your license plate, a gate attendant will scan the barcode on your ticket. (The pilot has shown us that this process should take no more than 10-15 seconds.)

When can we start making reservations?

Reservations will be open on Wednesday, May 20 or Thursday, May 21. You can visit our website or follow us on social media to be notified when the reservation system is made public.

Why do we need to reserve our park visit in advance?

Being able to predict and monitor the number of people in the parks means that we can create the conditions needed for physical distancing, but this system will offer a number of other benefits, even once things are back to normal. For you, as a visitor, this system will show you which parks are busy and which are not, right down to the minute, before you leave your house. We know it can be frustrating to get ready for a hike, drive out to a park and then be faced with a lineup, so we hope that this system will prevent that. For us, this system will allow us to improve the experience of visiting our parks and reduce the impact that visitors have on our parks for a more efficient, enjoyable and sustainable approach to park management. We want you to enjoy nature when you come to our parks, not wait in line ups.
Why not open the parks all at once?

Trust us when we say that we would if we could. Each of the parks is a little bit different, which means that the improvements to infrastructure and operations are a little bit different for each park. We are working incredibly hard to open as many of the parks as possible, as soon as possible, but this process does take time, so we appreciate your patience, and we promise it will be worth the wait.

How many spots will there be?

With these 5 parks open, we estimate there are about 15,000 timeslots per week available for visitors to reserve, to safely accommodate about 75,000 visitors across the parks, each week. We feel this should be enough to meet the needs of our members, and the public, however we welcome suggestions through a post-visit survey on how we can continue to adjust our model.
Can I get a refund on my membership?

Halton escarpment - long view up slope

One of the views from the top of Mt Nemo

Conservation Halton Parks memberships will be extended for the duration of the park closures but memberships are (and have always been) non-refundable. Considering that memberships provide access to the parks for an entire year, that the parks were closed for just a few weeks, that memberships pay for themselves in just a few visits and that we are extending memberships for the duration of the park closures, we are confident that you will still be able to find value in them. Memberships will resume on May 22.

When will the extension be added to my membership?

With parks open on May 22, memberships will be back in effect, and the full duration of the park closures will be added to your membership, automatically. There is nothing you need to do to receive this extension.

What about camping and picnicking?

With facilities still closed, we are not currently able to offer camping. Picnicking in the parks is permitted, as long as physical distancing is practiced, visit time limits are respected and no trash is left behind. Also, picnic tables will not be accessible, so you will need to bring your own blanket. We also expect all visitors to follow Provincial Orders and Guidelines related to group sizes when gathering for any activities and staying within their household groups. As the Province updates these guidelines, we will offer more activities and options at our parks.
What about the Bruce Trail that goes through Conservation Halton Parks?

The Bruce Trail Conservancy has recently started to open some sections of the trail. As of May 22, if a part of the Bruce Trail passes through one our parks, which is open, that part of the trail will be accessible. If a part of the trail passes through one of our parks, which is still closed, that part of the trail will not be accessible.

Over all rules for everyone and everything
It has been said 100 times – and it will be said again:

Physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most important steps everyone needs to take. The COVID-19 virus doesn’t move on its own; it needs people to move it. Remember to:

• Keep two metres away from others – about the length of a hockey stick
• Move to the right on pathways to make room for others to pass safely
• Carry out your garbage whenever possible

Do that and we can flatten that virus infection curve – we are still seeing new infections daily at the 300+ level

Residents who see groups of more than five people gathering or individuals using outdoor recreational facilities that remain closed can call the Halton Regional Police Service COVID hotline to file a report at 905-825-4722.

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Fascinating graphic presentation on the paths to virus took to get to Canada

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Covid19 virus has had a devastating impact on the health of people around the word; it has brought the economy of the world to its knees and has spurred scientist from around the world into different ways of tracking the virus, determining how it moves while others spend millions of hours in labs trying to create a vaccine that will inoculate us from its spread.

virus cbc presentation

The graphics that explain the way the virus works are very good.

There are others who have found new innovate ways to tell what has happen and teach something about how this virus works.
CBC recently produced a short piece on the trail the virus too.

You scroll through the presentation and trace the paths the virus took as it mutated several times.  Fascinating.

CLICK and take a look.

 

 

 

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This weekend is a challenge - can we individually keep that two metre distance and prevent the transfer of the COVID virus from person to person

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

During a day long council session, working as a Standing Committee, Mayor Meed Ward made the comment that “if we continued doing what we normally do as a city until the end of June we will be looking at being $10 million dollars in the hole. If we continue doing what we usually do until the end of August we will be $18 million dollars in the hole.”

Her point is well taken. We do need to get people back at their desks and their factories and get to the point where the lock down is over.

Burlington has shown exceptional discipline in adhering to the rules. City manager Tim Commisso pointed out that the infection and death rate in Burlington is ¼ of what it is nationally.

The ceremonies over the Naval Promenade becomes the fous with the Seniors' out in force listening to the All MAle Welsh Choir. Strolling along is Craig Stevens, the city's project manager on the pier project. He direction and oversight kept the project going when it got a little wonky at times - but that's another story.

This kinf of congregating won’t be permitted – not fo awhile.

We are going to have to continue to come out of the lock down we are in very slowly. Commisso said it was very easy to shut everything down – what isn’t easy is starting everything up again.

The Parks and Recreation program that was planned for the summer has been scrapped. They are working on what they think they might be able to do come the fall.

The message here is – we are doing what we have to do and we really really need to continue to following that six foot rule. That means staying at home – when you do go out don’t congregate with other people. Live within your bubble – that is the people you live with.

For some this is very hard. For very young children its is even harder – they are not used to going without; this is something they have not experienced before.

This holiday weekend is usually the beginning of being outside much more. The weather forecasts suggest that it will be warmer – T shirt weather – maybe even shorts.

Follow the rules, follow the rules. If we blow it this weekend we will have put ourselves back and the restrictions will be back in place.

We will know in two weeks if we behaved the way we are going to have to behave. This virus is passed from person to person; don’t be one of those who picks it up from a person you didn’t know all that well and got too close to.

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Major changes to service delivery in the works. Like it or not - it is scheduled to be imposed today

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is a new graphic related to what the city administration iis call Service redesign.

What we know graphic

Administration has been workiing on this for weeks. They will put it before a Standing Committee today and then make it official at a Special Meeting of Council. What’s the rush? No time for public engagement.

The item popped up on the agenda for a meeting of the CPRM Standing Committee as an addendum. It is a 64 page document about how the city administration wants to run things differently. It will be discussed at the committee this morning.

Immediately after the Standing Committee there will be a Special Meeting of Council to approve the changes – which the public knew next to nothing about.

No public engagement.

We should be getting an uncomfortable feeling just about now.

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Farmers Market to Open June 10th and June 12th

News 100 greenBy Staff

May 13th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Wonderful news from the Farmer’s Market.

IT IS Official – the Burlington Centre Lions Market will open on Wednesday June 10 – 8am to 2pm, Friday June 12 – 8am to 3pm and Saturday June 13 2020 – 8am to 2pm

They will be happy to be able to serve you.

Fresh bread - straight from the ovens - but you had to get there while the basket still had something in it.

Fresh bread – straight from the ovens – but you had to get there while the basket still had something in it.

There will be some rules for the Covid19 virus – but the rules will be posted and the process will be simple to follow. They are there to help and with everyone following the rules it will amount to one more thing people can get out and do.

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That Closer Look at the Downtown will be back on Stage for its next presentation - will this be the final one?

OPreview-FINALBy Staff

May 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Closer Look graphic

The Closer Look was that part of the Official Plan Review that focused on the downtown – what did we want and what was possible.

Remember the Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown? The exercise that had people taking walking tours and talking one-on-one with the planners, sitting in on Standing Committee and Council meetings to hear what the consultants had to say about what could be done and what couldn’t be done in terms of setbacks and height, and shadows resulting from the different height options?

Alison Enns

Alison Enns – she mothered that Closer Look from the very beginning. She introduced a number of innovative approaches to engaging the public; a public that wasn’t as engaged as it should have been.

The group involved in working with the the public, Alison Enns and members of the team she was leading, churned out document after document. Two options were put forward, one of which didn’t seem to please anyone – the other began to look like the best of the lot but not all that good.

The problem wasn’t so much with the ideas but with the graphics and illustrations that were used to get the concept across to people – they just didn’t work all that well.

3-D-rendering-Concept-2-Mid-Brant

A graphic of one of the concepts for Brant Street looking south: it doesn’t convey all that much information.

The announcement that we were now facing a pandemic changed everything. The province shut everything down; then the Mayor declared a State of Emergency and the city administration began running the city on a day to day basis – the crisis was something during which any immediate decisions that had to be made could be made without getting tied up in the procedural process that is required at council.

The COVID-19 infection was running rampant and it took some time for the health people to get a grip on the outbreaks that were taking place.

Most of them, it turned out, were cases where people working at several different nursing homes at the same time were spreading the disease.

Early in the game the disease was brought into the country from China, Italy, other parts of Europe and the United States.

Then the health people learned that the disease was being transmitted from one person to another in the community.

May 3 fig 5

On May 3rd the Halton Region Public Health Unit said the infections came from the following sources. Travel was significantly reduced.

We had to stay home and we had to be careful about the way we conducted ourselves around other people when we were outside.

City Hall staff didn’t go to city hall anymore.  Some exceptions – several of the members of Council go to city hall because it is a quiet place where they can get some work done.

The “Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown” project was the name the planners gave to the Scoped Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan: it has experienced delays due to COVID-19. There is now an updated project timeline.

It includes opportunities for public engagement.

End of May 2020: The City will release:
• the recommended policy changes for Downtown Burlington,
• the associated staff report,
• consultant report and
• technical studies.

Enns group

From the left: Paul Lowes with SGL Planning and Design, one of his staff, Alison Enns and one of her planning colleagues.

These documents will be posted for public review on both the Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown project webpage on Get Involved Burlington and the New Official Plan webpage.

July 2020: The City will share two more documents:
• Financial Impact Analysis concerning the recommended policy modifications, and
• Draft Downtown Burlington Placemaking and Design Guidelines for public review.

Aug. 28, 2020: Anyone with comments on these documents should submit their comments to the project team by Aug. 28 so the project team has time to consider the feedback in advance of the Sept. 30 Committee meeting.

Sept. 30, 2020: City Council will review all reports at a public meeting of the Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility Committee on Sept. 30. This meeting will include a presentation from City staff and the project consultants, and opportunities for the public to delegate.

Oct. 7, 2020: Council will consider the Sept. 30 recommendations at a Special Council meeting on Oct. 7.

 

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Provincial parks are opening up; Conservation parks still closed. Weather conditions are what keep us out of the parks now

News 100 greenBy Staff

May 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Saturday, May 9th, the Province announced it would be reopening provincial parks and conservation reserves starting today, with more to follow by Friday, May 15 for limited-day use. Recreational activities are limited to walking, hiking, biking and bird-watching. Parks are free until the end of the month.

Mt Nemo - birch trees

One of the really nice trails in a Conservation Halton Park – not yet open to the public.

Note that this does not include the Conservation Authority parks: – Mt. Nemo, Crawford Lake, Rattlesnake Point, Hilton Falls, Kelso, Mountsberg and Robert Edmonsdson.

Halton escarpment - long view up slope

This view from the top of Mt Nemo – not something you can experience this week.

These parks are separate from Conservation Reserves and Provincial Parks, and are independently owned and operated without tax revenues. Conservation Halton (CH) parks remain closed for now. CH is looking into a number of options that will allow monitoring visitor volume and opening parks in a safe and responsible way through pre-registered bookings in the coming days. CH will be gradually opening parks in a phased approach over the next several weeks.

Camping and other activities are not permitted at any provincial park or conservation reserve. All buildings and facilities, including washrooms, water taps, campgrounds, back-country campsites, roofed accommodations, playgrounds and beaches continue to be closed.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said “the province’s announcement mirrors our situation in Burlington — unlike other cities, we never closed our parks. They have remained open throughout the pandemic for walking through. We continue to ask people to ‘walk, don’t stop’.”

Consistent with provincial emergency orders and Saturday’s provincial announcement, city park amenities, including playgrounds, remain closed.

Mountainside PArk

Walk through but no playing or congregating in the park

Mayor Meed Ward said: “We closed parking lots adjacent to parks to avoid overcrowding and encourage people to stay in their neighbourhoods. As we review what our neighbouring municipalities are doing, we will also review this as we prepare our phased reopening of amenities and park use, consistent with public health advice and provincial announcements. We will be coordinating efforts with local park organizations to be consistent as possible in the use of parks and trails.”

Outdoor recreational amenities that are intended to be used by more than one family, such as outdoor playgrounds, sports fields, beaches, picnic sites, and park shelters, remain closed until May 19th, as an Emergency Order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Under the Emergency Order, green spaces in parks, trails and ravines, that are not otherwise closed, are available for walk-through access only.

“Walk-through” access means that individuals should pass through, and should not ‘stay and play’, even if they are in a group of less than five people. This is to prevent groups from congregating in green spaces in parks, trails and ravines.

Maintain 2 metres (6 feet) distance from others. You may need to change your route or the time of day that you go out in order to keep this distance.

Step aside or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks.

Do not enter spaces that are barricaded or have signage indicating the area is closed.

Keep your dog on a leash.

Remember to wash your hands when you return home.

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St George: Playing euchre over Zoom with my girlfriends from high school. How would THAT work?

graphic coping blueBy Nicki St George

May 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

WEEK 8 –

Monday, May 4th
Today I commence my new work-from-home/complete grad schoolwork/homeschool/stay active/keep a clean house/do the meal planning and groceries schedule. My plan is to get up early and work on my Masters degree followed by a neighbourhood walk using the Strava app that was set up by my friend and work colleague.

Then I will work with the kids until my husband takes over for his turn at homeschooling so that I can do my actual job. He completes his hour of face time with the kids and I return to make lunches and finish of schooling until 2pm when I allow the kids screen time while I do more work.

I’m not going to lie. It’s a grind. I know that I will be comatose by the time Friday rolls around. I only miss one meeting in the morning (while on my walk), which I am only now realizing that will be evident to all of my work colleagues who are also using the Strava app (luckily I only have 2 followers).

cat with wool

The cat and that ball of wool did add to the tension,

Tuesday, May 5th
The new schedule is playing havoc with our routine. Tensions are running high today. Everyone is upset at everyone. I skulk off to my bedroom for a zoom call with a student at 7pm and try to shut out the desperate cries of a 6-year-old and the sound of slamming doors.

Wednesday, May 6th
One thing that I love about Beatrix is her creativity and endless ideas for games to keep us entertained. She gets ideas in her head about fun things for us to do (usually involving treats or very messy science experiments) and I indulge her and use her schemes as bait for good behaviour.

Bea eating

Chocolate chip pancakes and they have to be in a stack, with butter and sprinkles and marshmallows and maple syrup and berries

For a week, I have been promising her that she can have pancakes for dinner on Wednesday. She has spent the week fixated on what this would involve. They are not just any pancakes. They are chocolate chip pancakes and they have to be in a stack, with butter and sprinkles and marshmallows and maple syrup and berries and anything remotely tasty that she can find in the fridge.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am pretty stingy when it comes to dolling out the treats, so this is a big deal. Leo devours his stack while Bea eats about 1/8 of her 5-stack of pancakes and asks to save the rest for tomorrow’s breakfast. For a girl who does not see the point of getting out of her pajamas, this has made her week.

Thursday, May 7th
By some miracle, I have managed to stick to my early morning routine of schoolwork and walking every day this week. I even managed to get to the hospital for my appointment today without getting too far behind. I just wish that I were actually back at work. I had been looking forward to a big return after having conquered the Big C. I imagined getting high fives and kudos for being a badass cancer survivor.

Instead I am just a black screen on a staff zoom call of 189 people. Now everybody is going through this period of isolation and facing adversity and I am no longer special.

Friday, May 8th
I am pleased that Bea finally has the independence to go into the cupboard and get a snack for herself. Unfortunately, her snack of choice is a plastic bowl filled to the brim with cheerios which she carries around the house, leaving a trail of singular cheerios in her wake. There are cheerios in every crevasse of our house. She consumes a large sized box of cheerios a week in this style.

Leo has been getting his 10,000 steps everyday by spending hours on the trampoline. He contributes to a google meet session with his teacher and fellow classmates once a week. This week they had to describe a household object (en Français) and get the other classmates to guess it. He chose toilet paper.

My prediction of being comatose by Friday comes true. I fall asleep on the couch downstairs while spooning Bea and watching Trolls 2, which I finally gave in and paid $20 to rent.

Saturday, May 9th
It snowed. That is all.

Sunday, May 10th – Mother’s Day
Daily step count: minus 12

Actual thoughts that I had: How long is too long to sit in a bath? If I flail my arms around in the bath would that count as swimming?

Things I did on my phone while lying in bed and avoiding interactions with the children: searched murderous hornet memes, changed my Bitmoji avatar from completely bald to short buzz cut, played words with friends, watched SNL skits on my Instagram feed.

Number of memes and funny videos forwarded to friends: 387

piggy drawing - st george

Mothers Day – what more can one say.

What the children did: They made me homemade cards and served up Leo’s scrambled eggs for breakfast in bed. Leo slept in his clothes from the night before. Bea refused to get out of her pajamas, as she does every day, but today I let her because it’s Mother’s Day (her justification). Bea and I sat together for a while looking back at old videos of her and Leo on my phone. We played beauty salon and I got a Bea make over complete with false eyelashes.

Conversations I had with Dan:

Dan: What would you like for dinner?

Me: To not have to make the decision about what we have for dinner.

Dan: But then how will I know that it will be something you want to eat?

Me: Sigh (on behalf of mothers everywhere).

Gifts: A gift card to a new local boutique #shoplocal

How I ended my day: Playing euchre over Zoom with my girlfriends from high school.

Highlight of the week: The kids changed Dan’s Netflix name to “Crap Bag” and he didn’t notice for several days.

Serious highlight of the week: The fact that we are all alive, healthy, and still smiling (most of the time).

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What if - we are still in lock down come December?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The strategic thinkers ask the “What if” questions.

Their job is to attempt to look over the horizon and figure out what lies ahead and then plan for that possible eventuality as well as they can.

The province is stepping very gingerly into opening things up. Parks and provincial conservation areas have been opened. Retail is permitted to sell you something and have it delivered to you at the curb.

I saw one clothing store promoting their product line – couldn’t get my head around buying a suit without tying it on first and then having the alterations done.

Restaurants are hoping the province will come up with some regulations they can live with – staying alive is their issue at this point.

We Canadians watch with despair and at times total disbelief at what is taking place south of us. Hearing the Premier insist that the border between us and them be kept closed now sounds like a really good idea. Interesting change for Canadians.

The province is dragging its feet just a little in announcing when and if schools will be opened. My take is that the writing is all on the wall – see you all in September is the message I think we can expect – but I’ve been wrong before.

Christmas tree

What if ?

The BIG question is – where will we be in December?

Will there be Christmas? If the province finds that every time they loosen up there are spikes in the number of new infections meaning they have to clamp down.

December is the month for retail. It is also a huge festive family month.

But what if things are just so bad that it would be necessary to put and keep regulations in place that severally limit what we will be able to do ?

The Premier broke the rules on Mother’s Day – will he, and others be able to exercise the discipline needed to stay the course should we be in December where we are now ?

The leadership of the country keeps referring to this as a war with absolutely no actual war time experience. We may be about to have to learn just what hard times are.

The people who are doing that strategic thinking are, hopefully, asking the hard questions.

There once was a small community in California named Paradise, which is what the people who lived there thought it was – until forest fires burned down every dwelling. Nothing was left standing.

We no longer have plagues; there are crop failures, tragedy hits some families. Life has never been fair.

All we have is our own inner strength – we might want to think about just how strong we may have to be.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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