Why gaming can actually be good for you: make new friends and develop strategic skills or just blow off some steam

By Chrysty Miles

May 28th, 2022



Compete or play just for the fun of it.

Given the array of gaming options available in the modern world, more and more people are discovering the benefits of gaming. Be it through an Amazon Fire Stick, a mobile gaming product, or a hugely powerful PlayStation 5 console machine, gaming is the preferred entertainment option for many of us.

Of course, like most recreational activities, gaming should be enjoyed in moderation and striking a balance is key, but once you get there, there are some proven ways in which enjoying an array of games can actually be good for you. Whether you’re playing first-person shooter classics like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare or simple puzzle games, there is a variety of proven benefits.

Gaming is a broad church these days. Some people like to play live casino games, whereas others go for big-budget console and PC games. Gaming could be playing something like Wordle in the New York Times every day. But whatever it is you do, it is the activity that counts. Not all of it is beneficial, of course. As they say – everything in moderation.

For instance, certain games are said to improve a range of cognitive skills, as well as helping with social skills. Throw in the fun and entertainment that can be had through a variety of gaming products, and it’s easy to see why the world’s population is filled with so many gamers.

In the past, we have tended to hear that gaming can be potentially harmful, perhaps leading to violence or even growth in certain street crimes, but this appears not to be true in general. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, there is strong evidence to suggest that gaming can actually be good for you. For instance, the research shows that gaming can benefit an individual both socially and health-wise while also providing learning along the way. Alongside this, there are some other additional reasons why gaming can be beneficial to a person. Let’s take a look at some more of them below.

Gamers can make friends around the world

Given gaming’s global appeal and the modern-day communication tools gamers can access while enjoying a gaming session, more and more people are connecting through a variety of titles. In the past, these types of opportunities were not available to gamers, but with the emergence of online gaming and an array of additional accessories, gaming is more sociable than it ever has been.

Gamers face a truly challenging set of obstacles to overcome, which, in turn, can improve coordination and strategic thinking. .

From Britain to Burlington, gamers are enjoying an array of products and teaming up with fellow players. As a result of shared Fortnite sessions and Pokemon Go trading marathons, gamers are making friends with other gamers around the world.

Gaming can improve your strategic skills

For people who perhaps aren’t too clued up on gaming and what exactly specific titles entail, playing games can seem like plenty of running around for no real reason. In truth, it’s the total opposite, especially when assessing some specific products that require a great deal of strategic thinking. Fact is, many games require skill, coordination and strategic play to succeed. It could even be argued that some levels on certain titles are essentially real-time board games in more detail, therefore giving gamers a truly challenging set of obstacles to overcome, which, in turn, can improve a variety of things, such as coordination and strategic planning.

Gaming can help people blow off some stream

Most importantly of all, gaming is fun and entertaining. A benefit of such pleasure and entertainment is an improved all-around mood and a perfect way to unwind after a stressful day at work. As stated already, specific titles require planning and can be tricky, but overall, gaming is a fantastic option for people who want to socialise with friends, have some fun, switch off from life’s trials and tribulations, and generally just blow off some steam.

Other entertainment options can offer a similar experience too, but gaming is the favoured choice for many people these days.

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Koogle Theatre goes 'Into the Woods' this evening and on the 28th and 29th

By Pepper Parr

May 27th, 2022



The new normal – we are seeing more and more of it in the community.

The hospitality sector took a terrible beating – some just disappeared others will struggle for years to recover what they lost during the 20 months of very very dire times.

The arts didn’t fare that much better.  The smaller groups did what little they could; the Art Gallery and the Performing Arts Centre survived because they were publicly funded.

Two groups have reappeared.  Drury Lane Theatre has a production (I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE) on the go June 3rd to the 26th; and and KooGle  has a production that hits the stage this evening and runs to the 29th.

Matthew Pichocki as the baker with his wife

KooGle is in the finals stages of opening the curtains.

We spent some time when KooGle  was doing a bit of a dress rehearsal and a run through of Into the Woods Jr.

Matthew Pichocki explained the Jr to me.  “The full length play gets a little dark during the second half, we are doing the shorter version – thus the Jr.

The story is about a husband and wife who want children; there is a wicked witch and four things the couple has to do to have the witch remove the curse that was on the house of the couple that wanted children  They were bakers.

In order to have the baby they wanted the baker and his wife had to go into the woods and find four things.

That cow is certainly white

A cow as white as a milk

A cape as red as blood

Hair as yellow as corn

Slippers that gleamed of gold

The baker and his wife meet these demands – there was a time limit and that is the mystery of the story that those in the theatre will take home with them.

KooGle has been had an active youth program since 2017.  They didn’t have a home for a number of years – just before the pandemic took over the lives of all of us they found as location that was perfect and once they felt the worst of the pandemic was behind them they signed the lease.

Putnam County Spelling Bee was very well received.

In the past KooGle has put on some exceptionally fine work – their version of the Putnam County Spelling Bee was very well received.

During the pandemic KooGle actually pulled off doing Cinderella virtually.  Perfect, certainly not but as Matthew explained it was an experience and was more like a movie – a lot of the acting ended up on the cutting room floor.

Leslie and Christopher Gray

In January KooGle put out a call for people who wanted to take part in a theatrical production.  There were then classes in dance, voice and singing.

These were classes followed by a workshop out of which came the selecting of the cast and crew for Into the Woods.

A dress rehearsal means finding something that fits.

Leslie Gray and her husband Christopher were professional performers who thought Burlington needed a place where young people could train and take part in theatrical productions.

The young people that become part of a production quickly become a team where they support each other – watching them as the wait for their turn in a rehearsal you see how they work together – they learn, they are in a safe environment and they have fun.

In the worlds of theatre you eat when you can.

The students range from 8 to 18; some have been with KooGle since 2017.   KooGle was formed in 2008.  Several are looking at careers in theatre others want to teach drama at high school.

The next opportunity for new students to get a taste for theatre is a workshop in June.

We will tell you more about that event.


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What will the province look like on Friday June 3rd

By Pepper Parr

May 27th, 2022



What will the province look like on Friday June 3rd?

Put a different way – How bad could it be?

Has Doug Ford changed? And if he has – how much? Building the 413 is not a change – its the same old Doug.

Province wide the polls say that Doug Ford will be returned as Premier.

Who will form the Opposition?

The polls again suggest that the New Democrats will continue to be the Opposition

What the polls are also telling us is that Steve Del Duca may not win his own seat.

Wishful thinking?

The New Democrats will be deeply disappointed about not being able to form a government and will need to think about their leadership.

Leadership for the Liberals will have to come out of whatever they have in the way of members sitting in the Legislature.

There is a better than even chance that Del Duca will lose his seat.

Will this happen?

Polls are never accurate – but they are an indicator.

The challenge for the people of Ontario is to find some way to limit how much damage Doug Ford can do.  A Progressive Conservative government would serve Ontario well.

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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The service is back up - the lesson - don't rely on GoDaddy to do the right thing

By Pepper Parr

May 27th, 2022


To those who found they could not access the Gazette yesterday, our apologies.

Go Daddy pulled some real boners – we were on the phone until 11:30 and had still not resolved the problem.

We were able to fix the Go Daddy errors and it looks as if the site is not stable.

The galling part of this is that the web site is no longer hosted at GoDaddy – we left them two years ago.

They sent us a note saying they were going to remove the service from our account – when they did that – the account went down.

Lesson – stay away from Go Daddy – they have become a joke.

And again – thanks for the patience.


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Data from city survey on Bateman high school limited but has merit

By Staff

May 26th, 2022



There weren’t that many participants taking part in the survey the city put out and then withdrew two days later but the data they collected does have merit.

The city wanted to know how people felt about the city selling a sports field to the Board of Education, and how people felt about the city buying the Bateman High school site and then renting part of what they bought to Brock University.

The results will surprise a lot of people – especially the ward 2 councillor who thought selling the sports field was close to a travesty.

The results:

There is some additional data if this kind of thing turns your crank Click HERE for that data.

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Some Day My Prince Will Come - 6 Best Dating Apps & Sites in Toronto for 2022

By Stephen Atcheler

May 27th, 2022



With all the dating sites out in the world, finding the right ones can definitely be a headache. You have Emo dating sites, swingers dating sites, music dating sites, and, of Bourse, sites where people are looking to find a sugar daddy. But how do you parse through this veritable buffet of options without getting overwhelmed? Not everyone is cut out for the informational overload.

Thankfully, there are a few dating sites out there that have managed to cut through the noise and become recognizable names in the online dating scene. Here is a list of the best dating apps and sites in Toronto for 2022.

1. Tinder
If you’re not familiar with Tinder, it’s basically the Wild West of dating apps. It’s a free app that allows you to set up a profile with some pictures and a little bit about yourself. You can then browse other people’s profiles and swipe left or right depending on whether or not you’re interested. If you both swipe right, you’re a match and can start messaging each other.

There are definitely some downsides to using Tinder, especially if you’re looking for something more serious than a hookup. The biggest one is that it’s geared towards people who are looking for more casual relationships, so if you’re looking for something more long-term, it might not be the best option. Additionally, because it’s free to use, there are a lot of fake profiles and people who aren’t really looking for anything serious.

2. Bumble
Bumble is very similar to Tinder in that it’s a free app you can use to set up a profile and browse other people’s profiles. The main difference is that on Bumble, only women can initiate contact with men. This is meant to empower women and put them in control of the conversation.
Like Tinder, there are some downsides to using Bumble. First of all, because it’s geared towards women initiating contact, there are fewer men on the app than on Tinder. Additionally, the pool of potential matches is smaller because it’s a newer app and doesn’t have as many users as some of the others.

The app uses your Facebook profile to connect you

3. Coffee Meets Bagel
Coffee Meets Bagel is another dating app that’s similar to Tinder in that it’s free to use and you can browse other people’s profiles. The main difference is that on Coffee Meets Bagel, you only get one match per day. This match is chosen for you based on your profile and the interests you have in common with the other person.

If you’re looking for a more low-key dating experience, Coffee Meets Bagel might be the right option for you. Because you only get one match per day, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed by the number of potential matches. Additionally, because the app uses your Facebook profile to connect you with potential matches, you know that they’re at least somewhat compatible with you before even starting to talk to them.

There are signs and symbols that express the sincerity

4. OkCupid
OkCupid is a dating app that’s been around for a while. It’s free to use, and you can browse other people’s profiles and message them if you’re interested. The app also has a paid subscription option that gives you some extra features, like being able to see who likes you and messaging people without having to match with them first.

OkCupid is a great option if you’re looking for a more serious relationship. Because it’s been around for a while, it has a large pool of potential matches. Additionally, the paid subscription option gives you some extra features that can be helpful in finding a compatible match.

5. Hinge
Hinge is a dating app that’s similar to Tinder and Bumble in that it’s free to use, and you can browse other people’s profiles. The main difference is that on Hinge, you’re only matched with people who are Facebook friends of friends. This is meant to create more meaningful connections and relationships.

Hinge is a great option if you’re looking for something more serious than a hookup. Because you’re only matched with people who are Facebook friends of friends, you know that they’re at least somewhat compatible with you. Additionally, the app has a paid subscription option that gives you some extra features, like being able to see who likes you.

The surprise and the exhilaration last a lifetime

6. eHarmony
eHarmony is a dating site that’s been around for a while. It’s a bit more expensive than some of the other options, but it’s also geared towards people who are looking for more serious relationships. The site uses a personality test to match you with potential partners and then sends you compatible matches on a regular basis.

eHarmony is a great option if you’re looking for a serious relationship. Because the site uses a personality test to match you with potential partners, you know that they’re at least somewhat compatible with you. Additionally, the app has a paid subscription option that gives you some extra features, like being able to see who likes you.

As with everything, you need to be diligent when choosing a dating app or site. Consider what you’re looking for in a relationship and choose an option that best suits your needs. With so many different options available, you’re sure to find one that’s right for you!

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A new city protocol - Don't think - just do it

By Pepper Parr

May 26th, 2022



Just how do they do it?

An event that is critical to the development of the east side of the city and the object of loads of questions that needs answers is being held on the same evening that the Performing Arts Centre is holding the launch of the 2022-23 season.

This is a major ticket sales event – people plan to take part and learn what is going to be presented and buy their tickets ensuring they get good seats.

Was the decision to hold the public meeting on the same day as the launch at the Performing Arts Centre or did someone not think to check the calendars?

Or worse, did they assume that the theatre people wouldn’t be interested in something civic like a $500 million land deal

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Public meeting on the Bateman matter - virtual - if it were live the public would be throwing eggs at the political and administrative leadership

By Staff

May 26th, 2022



If they were selling tickets for this event it would be sold out in an hour.

The city is hosting a public meeting on Robert Bateman High School proposals to provide information and to seek feedback on a proposed land transaction with the Halton District School Board (HDSB) and leasing arrangements with the HDSB and Brock University for the City’s planned acquisition of the Robert Bateman High School building and property. The meeting will include senior staff from the HDSB.

This is the sports field the city wants to sell the school board.


This is the school the city wants to buy. They plan to use some of the space and rent some of the space back to the school board and to Brock University.

Details are:

• Tuesday, May 31, 2022  – • 7 to 8:30 p.m.
• Virtual meeting, https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83280943817
• Registration is not necessary

The public meeting will involve a presentation, followed by a Q&A session.

Following the public meeting additional feedback will be sought through the City’s online engagement portal.

The City of Burlington’s intention to purchase Robert Bateman is a significant and long-term strategic matter that requires the City and the HDSB continue to share as much information as we can, and to make certain that the public is informed enough to provide feedback.

A survey had been made available to seek input into the proposed land transaction and lease arrangements, however, we believe more background information should be shared with residents on the City’s interest in purchasing Robert Bateman before we seek the public’s input, so the survey was paused.

The results of the survey are publicly available.

The proposed transaction with the HDSB would see the City transfer ownership of approximately five acres of City owned land to the HDSB as a component of a land exchange for the Robert Bateman site. The City owned land in question is located near Burlington Central High School and includes the high school football field and running track.

Securing the lands near Burlington Central High School in HDSB ownership has been consistent with the HDSB’s long term intention to continue operating Burlington Central as a school. This land exchange component will advance the City’s efforts to secure the Robert Bateman site in continued public ownership, ensuring that the Robert Bateman site is available for continued educational and community-oriented uses.

That’s their story and they are sticking to it.

Some questions ?

Who is going to facilitate the event ?

Will the Q&A be run like a council meeting.

How much back and forth is there going to be.

Will this event be like many the city has put on – they do all the talking with the last 20 minutes open for questions

The city has all kinds of documents – what has never been released – it may not exist – is a detailed report on just how the Bateman site will work.  The best the public has at this point is a sense that there is an idea that has merit – but nothing so far in the way of a wide open session with the public at the table and treated as the senior partner in this venture.  It is public money that is being spent

There is much more to say on what has become a very messy matter.


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Into the Woods - a Koogle production on stage starting tomorrow

By Staff

May 26th, 2022



They are back – like everyone else in the business of attracting a public the Koogle Theatre has survived and is putting an event on stage – first performance is on Thursday.

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Nicole Pierre has things to say and values that matter - much of the public won't get to hear them.

By Pepper Parr

May 26th, 2020



Word that we hear is that the Progressive Conservatives are getting some serious blow back on the decision to pull their candidate from debates as they campaign door to door.

The decision to pull the candidates from public debates was decided by the people running the provincial campaign.

In Burlington the PC’s stayed away from the Chamber of Commerce debate – which was surprising.  If there was ever a venue that was tailor made for the PC’s – it has to be the Chamber of Commerce.

The traditional focus for the Conservative community has always been – respect for law and order; being responsible for yourself; financially prudent and supporting the social institutions.

This country has had some great Conservative leaders.

Good graphics, a strong visual presence – all things a well funded campaign can afford.. That strong voice they advertise turned out to be close to mute.

In my short interview with Nicole Pierre I was impressed, especially with her empathy for people and the problems they face.

She didn’t bring much in the way of political experience to the table but she struck me as being sharp enough to pick up how the Legislature works and how to serve the community she would represent.

I find myself wondering how she felt about being told that she would not be taking part in debates.  I didn’t see Natalie as a woman who does what she is told to do if she thinks it is wrong or stupid.

In the event that she wins – and it is a very tight race in Burlington, how does she present herself as a person who is there to serve when she wasn’t prepared to let the voters hear what she had to say – even if she was just parroting the party line.

Elections are a part of our culture for which we have paid a very high price for – the cost in lives is set out in stone at the cenotaph with the names of the men who were lost.

To not campaign and take a sincere part in an election – the event those men gave their lives for is an insult.

Natalie Pierre – a decent candidate; someone who they could be proud of; someone who would reflect their values. Might have been false advertising.

Will we be seeing Natalie Pierre and the rest of the Burlington Progressive Conservative Party leadership on November 11th with poppy’s in their lapels?

The people who went along with the decision to keep the candidate in a bubble should be ashamed of themselves.

Should the PC’s win it will be due to some sharp practices that will find their way into how a Progressive government performs.

There is a woman, a senior, that I cross paths with from time to time, who used to complain about how big an embarrassment Jane McKenna was, hoping that the party would come up with a decent candidate.

This time around they found a decent candidate; someone who they could be proud of; someone who would reflect their values.  I wonder what the senior will say to me when we cross paths next ?

Are elections now just about winning with maybe a wink at values and the hope that the voters won’t understand what the politicians are saying.  The issues are complex – the responsibility is to explain them – which is something I thought Natalie Pierre was going to be good at.

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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The tight race for the next Burlington MPP might be opening up a little.

By Pepper Parr

May 26th, 2022



The Tory vote seems to be coming out of the woods.

What was a very tight race appears to be opening up.

The undecided and not voting are very high.

Undecided may be waiting to be convinced.

The number not planning on voting is disturbing – as a % of the number of people interviewed amounts to 18.6%   When you combine the Not voting with the undecided the number is 36.9%

We started asking the undecided if they were leaning towards a political party of candidate – there was no pattern that we could discern

The Gazette will be out surveying every second day until May 31st.

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Arrest made while fraudster was getting ready to collect $12,000 in a scam

By Staff

May 26th, 2022



Early in April , the Halton Regional Police Service responded to an emergency scam in progress at an address in Milton.

This type of fraud, often referred to as the “grandparent scam”, has been an ongoing trend across Halton Region resulting in dozens of community members being victimized.

Sergo Laine

The suspect was expected to show up to collect $12,000 cash fromthe  victim for the alleged and fabricated bail of her nephew, a theme often used by fraudsters throughout the GTA.

The suspect did show up and was placed under arrest by investigators and charged with Fraud Over $5000.

This same suspect was investigated further following this initial arrest, as it was believed that he was committing further fraudulent offences.

On May 19, 2022, investigators executed search warrants at a hotel in Mississauga and a Toronto storage facility. This same suspect was once again placed under arrest, and charged with 7 additional Criminal Code and Controlled Drug and Substance Act charges.

Sergo Laine (32 years) of Montreal is charged with:

• Fraud Over $5000
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5000
• Possession of a Controlled Substance (3 counts)
• Possession of Identity Documents
• Possession of Counterfeit Mark

Laine was released on an Undertaking.

Police believe there may be other victims.

Investigators are asking anyone who has information or has been victimized by Laine to contact the Regional Fraud Unit – Intake Office at 905-825-4777 ext. 8741.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca

Emergency scams
These types of scams typically involve the victim receiving an unsolicited phone call regarding a loved one being in distress. The perpetrators falsely identify themselves as a loved one, or impersonate a police officer and/or other participants of the criminal justice system (such a lawyers, bailiffs, and “bondsman”), falsely claiming that the loved one is in police custody as a result of a specific incident.

They request a larger sum of money to have the supposed loved one released from custody, or to pay for associated bills/fines accrued as a result of the alleged incident. The funds requested can be in the form of a direct cash payment, bank transfers, various gift cards, and digital currency. While the scam is ongoing, and the payments are being made, the perpetrators will on occasion use the threat of a fictitious “gag order” to prevent the victim from discussing the matter with anyone else.

Tips to protect yourself
• Attempt to verify the caller’s identity – do not volunteer any information, and further ask very specific probing questions about the caller.
•Request to call back the initial caller – then independently find the number of the police service (or other purported agency in question) and call them directly to clarify the situation. If unsure, call your local police service and ask them for assistance.
• Attempt to directly call the loved one in question and clarify the matter with them.

Remember – Fraudsters will count on your good will to act quickly and help a loved one. Take your time and use above noted tips to protect yourself.

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Backing down on the public survey over the sale of a sports field is proving to be a little awkward

REVISED By Pepper Parr

May 25th, 2022


The city’s Communications department had some concerns about wording we used to describe what we referred to as a self inflicted wound. There are some subjects that are very sensitive and we decided to remove a phrase we used.  Other than that – the story stands.  We changed the date as well from the 20th to the 26th.

Sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to.

The decision to get public feedback on the city decision to sell the sports field to the west of Central High school has, to be polite about it, hit a speed bump.

The words transparency and engagement seemed to have been lost by the city communications people.  They are now falling over themselves trying to back out of a survey that wasn’t thought out all that well.

The tweet on the right, sent out earlier today, is kind of embarrassing.

City Manager Tim Commisso is reported to be putting together a public meeting to pass along more in the way of information.  What isn’t clear at this point is – will it be a joint meeting with the Board of Education or is the city going to have to wear this one all by itself.

What is so perplexing is that the rush that has been behind all this just wasn’t necessary – these are self inflicted wounds – the people who put together the survey need to really think through what took place and look for different approaches to what is a serious problem.

There is a public that is confused and angry.

City manager Tim Commisso needs to get a grip on this issue. It is close to being totally out of control. There are tens of millions involved.

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City council nominations now less than a trickle - look for more after the provincial election

By Pepper Parr

May 26th, 2022



Is there another hat about to be thrown into the ring for the ward 2 Council seat?   And is there a third candidate waiting until after the provincial election?

Sabrina Alcala – a teacher at Central High School is rumoured to be thinking about ward 2 being better than a classroom.

What is Councillor Nisan up to?

Ms Alcala was involved in the Rory Nisan campaign in 2018 . No love lost between Nisan and Kearns. Is Alcala a ghost candidate? Wonder what that is all about.  Political hanky panky?

We are seeing something similar in ward 4 where Tony Brecknock has filed nomination papers for the ward seat held by Shawna Stolte.

Brecknock and Nisan go back some distance.

Councillor Stolte will not be sending Nisan a Christmas card.

There are a lot of hard feelings floating around the seventh floor of city hall where all the Councillors have an office and an administrative assistant.  Mayor Meed Ward gets the credit for creating some of the divisiveness and a knock for not working out the differences with Council members and creating a stronger team where differences are respected.

First day for nominations attracted five of the seven members of Council – Stolte and Sharman were the exceptions.

Sharman filed his papers on the 6th.

Between now and the provincial election don’t expect much in the way of new nominations. Look for something from Stolte once the next report from the Investigator of CLOSED meetings of Council is turned in; expected early in June .

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte

Their first report from the Investigator, determined that the four occasions  Council went into a CLOSED session that were suspect by some, met the letter of the law. During the meeting there was some suggestion that the spirit of the law was not being met.

And that of course is the issue – while Stolte knew she was wrong in what she did – she does not believe she was wrong with what she was trying to do.

Council and the Office of the Clerk have improved significantly on how they report when they come out of a CLOSED session, which was the point Stolte wanted to make.

Councillor Galbraith, was one of the two that filed complaints with the Integrity Commissioner, has been trying very hard to make amends with Councillor Stolte.

It was a council with five new members that the public trusted; the best they have been able to do is squabble and create two groupings that are unable to cooperate fully. Mayor says it ain’t so.

What is most disappointing is how a Council that brought so much promise and hope to the business of the city has become petty, two faced, disingenuous and something of a disappointment to many.

Burlington is facing some very tough issues, the provincial policy that requires the city to grow has stretched everything including the leadership ability of Council and the leadership within the Planning department.

Each red dot is a development application that is somewhere in the process of getting approval. The vast majority are high rise buildings that require much more time and expertise for the planners to bring forward a recommendation.

The changes in senior staff in the Planning department have left that group of people, who have had to work very hard to keep up with the flow of new development applications, close to leaderless.

The developers are taking cases to the Ontario Land Tribunal before there is even a recommendation from the planners.

This very poor ethical behaviour is not being done by all the developers – but enough of them to really gum up the works.

There is a tonne of money to be made; it has drawn experienced developers into the Burlington market.

The opportunity to create a city that maintains its character is being chipped away little by little.

More is needed in the way of leadership from the office of the city manager and that of the Mayor.

Burlington has been and could be better than this.


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Benefits of online betting - casino bonuses

By Dennis  Savoy

March 24th, 2022



Betting has existed since ancient times and there are more and more users every day.

It is a hobby of many people who like to taste their happiness and hope to win.

Over the years, the list of things to bet on has been expanding. Most often it is in a sport, but there are also events outside the sport, such as the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest and similar.

The Eurovision Song Contest is an event that has millions wagering on the outcome – online

With the development of betting and the expansion of betting offers, it is to be expected that the betting industry will not stop there and will work on it on a daily basis. With this hard work we got online betting. What is online betting?

Online betting is one of the novelties in the world of betting and it greatly facilitates our daily betting. Online betting can be accessed from many device that supports internet connection.

Many bookmakers have online betting on offer and their offer is large. There we have many games in which we can participate to bet and hope to win. They are working on the development and improvement of these games every day, and over the years of online betting, much progress has been made in design, graphics of games that look much more realistic today than before and troubleshooting bugs that are decreasing day by day.

In addition to the efforts invested in the development of online betting, we are also working on increasing the number of users and promotion. Today we can often see many advertisements on the internet that promote online betting and its benefits but this is not the only way to promote.

Online casino bonuses are today an everyday part of online betting where the user receives certain bonuses in the form of free money or spins that they will use in betting and potentially make a certain profit. Casino bonuses are a great form of promotion on the marketing side because they attract new and reward old loyal customers. Casino bonuses of course vary from bookmaker to bookmaker and we need to be careful here.

It is necessary to check all the conditions well before we agree to certain bonuses in order to avoid possible problems. For the best casino bonus there are many sites on the internet but don’t miss the only online casino bonus guide you need.

When we find the best betting offer it is usually necessary to sign up and add a bank account for winnings. After that we can leave the benefits of online betting and hope for winnings.

Benefits of online betting

    1. Accessibility
    2. Large selection of bookmakers and games
    3. Facilitated the process of payment and withdrawal of money
    4. Online bonuses

Online betting is growing very fast and there are more and more bookmakers offering it. As with everything on the internet, we should be careful and research each option well before betting, but after everything is over, an exciting adventure awaits us for sure.

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Polls are seldom right - but they are an indication of what voters are thinking. The number of undecided tells us someting

By Pepper Parr

May 26th, 2022



What will the province look like on Friday June 3rd?

Put a different way – How bad could it be?

Province wide the polls say that Doug Ford will be returned at Premier.

Who will form the Opposition?

The polls again suggest that the New Democrats will continue to be the Opposition

Steve Del Duca: Risks losing his seat – Liberals will have to find a new leader.

What the polls are also telling is that Steve Del Duca may not win his own seat leaving the Opposition leaderless.

The New Democrats will be deeply disappointed about not being able to form a government and will need to think about their leadership.

The leadership of the Liberals will have to come out of whatever they have in the way of members sitting in the Legislature.

Will this happen?

The Gazette survey results show a very tight race

Polls are never accurate – but they are an indicator.

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The winner of a very tight race for the Burlington seat in the provincial legislature is now up to the undecided voters

By Staff

May 26th, 2022



For the past three weeks the Gazette has had a reporter out on the streets of the city asking about the provincial election.

He asked the following xx questions

Question 1: Do you know there’s going to be an election in June?
Question 2: Do you know anything about the issues? 

Question 3: Are you going to vote (if not, why)?
Question 4: Would you like to say who you will vote for?

The number of undecided responses was higher than we expected – so we have added a 5th questions asking people is there a political party they are favouring

The latest results are set out below.






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On the campaign trail with NDP candidate with Andrew Drummond

By Jason Octavo

May 24th, 2022



The purpose of an election is to get more votes than anyone else and be able to form a government and serve the needs of the public that elected you.

That is what every politician will say and get in that line about it being an honour to serve the public.

Elections are something more than that. Most of the people running for public office love meeting people at their doorsteps, and listening.

NDP candidate Andrew Drummond

NDP candidate, Andrew Drummond and his team were working the streets of the Mount Forest part of the city hoping to meet people face to face and have conversations trying to convince them to vote for him.

The NDP is doing much better this time around. Last election, they had 216 signs around the neighborhood. This time, they have 366 signs.

The candidate never knows who will answer the door and what they will say. They may use the occasion to take a strip off the hide of the candidate or assure them that their vote is solid.

On the doorstep – soliciting a vote.

Drummond and his team have been going door to door for about two and a half hours every day since March.

For those who answered the doorbell, Drummond was ready with the NDP policy and how their leader Andrea Horwath was going to change the way government works and how voters will benefit.

If their is no answer to the door knock – a flyer would be left in the mailbox.

One house that was approached had a sign at the front of their door saying that a registered nurse lives here and that anyone from the PC party should stay away.

One person Andrew spoke to was a single mother of two children. She worries about housing and child care. She also thinks that candidates tend to break their promises and that people are struggling.

Another person was 72 years old and retired. He said that not too long ago, he had his rent doubled. Despite his age, he has been raising his kids for 30 years. He doesn’t believe that Doug Ford will live up to his promise of lowering gas prices if he gets re-elected as Premier.

Drummond knows where his support is. He has grown that support in the years he has been a candidate; the belief this time is that he has the numbers to get a majority in Burlington.

The last person Drummond spoke to on the time I was tagging along told him that he and his team “are doing much better.”

A campaign gives a candidate a small peek into the lives of the people they want to represent – it tells them as well if they are talking to the needs of those people.

The data – this what had been done up to the 20th of May

Campaign offices are filled with charts and data that show where the strength is and what the vote potential is – the task next week will be to get that vote out on election day.

Campaigns are hard work. Everyone loses some weight; everyone is committed – the enthusiasm is high.  It all comes to a couple of hours on the evening of Thursday June 2nd.

The tradition used to be that everyone gathered at the campaign office – workers and supporters – to watch the ballot counts come in.

The anticipation – the disappointment and the fear that it might not go their way is part of the evening.

Some contests get stretched out until the early hours – sometime everything is put on hold while the Returning Officer (the person who oversees the vote count that comes in from each polling station and deals with the problems) – there are always problems.

Jasmine Attfield, the Drummond campaign manager has decided that the candidate will not be at the office until the results are known.

Losing hurts – there is only one winner and in the game of politics – to the winner go the spoils.

The practice in Canadian politics is for the losers to drive over to the office of the winning candidate – congratulate them and then go back to your team and make the best of the evening.

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Backyard pools make a splash with Ontario property owners

By Staff

May 24th, 2022



More than 9,000 swimming pool permits issued in 2021 – up 33%

Swimming pools were obviously popular through 2021 according to MPAC’s analysis of Ontario home building permits.

High end of the market – expense doesn’t see to matter in many of the markets.

The counted 9,059 swimming pool permits issued in 2021, an increase of 33% over the previous year. This continues a trend that saw a 53% increase from 2019 to 2020.

“The pandemic likely continued to put a focus on the home,” says Carmelo Lipsi, Municipal Property Assesment Corporation (MPAC) Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer. “Whether it’s because people were staying close to home due to restrictions, or were uncertain about future travel, many property owners invested in a pool as part of creating a backyard oasis to enjoy with family or friends.”

The economy version – they work.

The City of Ottawa was Ontario’s swimming pool capital for the second straight year, with 1,372 pool permits in 2021, a 47% jump. The City of Hamilton was next with 566 permits, followed by the Town of Oakville (315) and the City of Burlington (293).

Top 10 Municipalities: Swimming Pool Building Permits 2021



City of Ottawa 1,372
City of Hamilton 566
Town of Oakville 315
City of Burlington 293
City of London 286
Town of Milton 196
City of Windsor 189
City of Kitchener 178
City of Cambridge 153
Town of Lakeshore 150

Percentage-wise, the City of Clarence-Rockland was the leader, with a 175% increase (88 permits, compared to 32 in 2020). The Town of Oakville was next with a 160% increase, followed by the Township of Tiny (136%) and the Township of Middlesex Centre (130%)

Add a wooden deck and you are about as Canadian as you can get.

Top 10 Municipalities: Swimming Pool Building Permits 2021 by Percentage Increase from 2020

City of Clarence-Rockland 175%
Town of Oakville 160%
Township of Tiny 136%
Township of Middlesex Centre 130%
Town of Amherstburg 119%
City of St. Thomas 114%
Town of Pelham 107%
Town of Fort Erie 100%
Township of Centre Wellington 93%
Township of Beckwith 90%

That is a lot of water – what will the impact on climate change be?

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How to remove Google from your life

By Staff

May 23rd, 2022


The Gazette uses Malwarebyte for much of our cyber security.  It has worked well for us in the past – we recommend it.  It is not free.

David Ruiz is a Pro-privacy, pro-security writer. Former journalist turned advocate turned cybersecurity defender. Still a little bit of each who writes for MAlwarebyteLabs.  The following is a piece he wrote early in May – well worth reading if who gets to use your personal information matters to you.

Swearing off a company used to be easier. Rude customer service, an unfortunate bout of food poisoning, even standing up for workers’ rights against the alleged involvement of a private company to order a country’s military to brutally quash a strike—almost every facet of an individual boycott could be satisfied by simply refusing to purchase a company’s products.

But such a move can be far more difficult to accomplish today, especially when you’re trying to sever your relationship with an Internet conglomerate. Tired of Facebook? Be sure to jump off Instagram and WhatsApp, too, which are both owned by the social media giant. Over Amazon? Good luck trying to navigate the web without landing on at least one site hosted by Amazon Web Services.

And what about Google?

The online behemoth has become so much more than a search engine, as it owns and produces hardware like Android phones, Google Pixel phones, Nest thermostats, and FitBit devices, while also operating Google Chrome, Google Mail, Google Calendar, Google Hangouts, YouTube, and Waze.

Saying goodbye to Google, then, isn’t as easy as refusing to buy an Android phone. It means likely changing several aspects of your life, including some that will affect the people around you.

Thankfully, this daunting task has already been taken on by the cybersecurity evangelist Carey Parker, who spoke recently on the Lock and Code podcast from Malwarebytes. According to Parker, it isn’t that he wanted to remove Google because he “hates” its products—if anything, he’s a fan. Instead, he wanted to start supporting other companies that will respect him and his data privacy.

“Google knows so much about us,” Parker said, explaining that Google makes the overwhelming majority of its revenue from online advertising, which it can only do because of how much data it collects from its users. “For me, it was about limiting as best I could how much information Google knows about me, removing as much as I can for things they already know about me, and then wanting to support companies who put privacy first.”

For anyone who has wanted to take a similar plunge into a Google-less life, here are some of the tips that Parker shared with us.
Start with the individual—Search, Chrome, and Android

Getting rid of everything Google product all at once could be a disaster, as there are simply too many services and products to track. Instead, Parker began the first steps of his experiment by only removing the products that directly affected him.

“I started with the easiest things—at least I think the easiest things,” Parker said. “The ones that have maybe the least tendrils into other things. They don’t affect anybody but yourself.”

For Parker, that meant removing and finding new providers for Google Search and the web browser Google Chrome. When it comes to stepping away from Android devices, Parker found that easy—he’s been using iPhones for years.

In finding an alternative to Google Search, Parker offered two suggestions: DuckDuckGo and the search engine Startpage, both of which claim to refuse any user data tracking for revenue purposes. Instead, the companies say they serve purely contextual ads based on the searches themselves—like showing ads for Nike and Adidas for anyone looking for shoes—and they do not record or keep data on users’ specific searches. In fact, Parker said, Startpage actually works with Google to deliver search results, but the company tells users that it refuses to collect user IP addresses, device information, and browsing history.

“You don’t have to track people to make money,” Parker said, “and Startpage is proof of that.”

In looking for a different, privacy-focused browser, Parker suggested his personal choice, Mozilla’s Firefox, and also the up-and-coming browser Brave.

Bigger shifts with Gmail and GCal

Having found different solutions for searching and browsing the Internet, Parker said he then focused his attention on finding alternatives to Google services that impact those around him.

“[Google Search and Google Chrome were] the first tier, and then, the next one, which is harder—a lot harder, because it involves other people—are Google email and Google calendar, Gmail and Gcal,” Parker said, “I’ve got shared calendars with my family and I am not going to expect them to drop Google like I am trying to do, so for that reason, I’m going to be stuck there for a little while, but I can minimize it.”

After researching the many options out there, Parker found two email providers—one that fulfills much of Google’s functionality and integration with a calendar function, and another that provides end-to-end encryption on messages sent and received between users of the same program.

The first suggestion is Fastmail. Fastmail, Parker said, is a for-profit email provider that users pay to use through a monthly subscription. The email provider also has a calendar solution that works directly with its main product. Even better, Parker said, is that Fastmail respects its users’ data.

“[Fastmail] explicitly say they don’t mine your data, and they are privacy-focused even if they’re not end-to-end encrypted by default,” Parker said. “It’s a really great service and it has the full suite of email, calendar and contacts, among other things. I use it for all my business stuff and some personal stuff.”

For user who wish to prioritize security, Parker suggested ProtonMail, which, by default, provides end-to-end encryption for all emails sent between ProtonMail users. That means that even if your emails get intercepted by a third party along route, those emails cannot be read by anyone other than you and your intended recipient.

More complexity with Google Drive and Google Docs

For users who want to take even more data out of Google’s view, there are just a couple final products to remove from the daily workflow. Those are the cloud storage service Google Drive and the cloud-based word processor Google Docs.

For each product, Parker encountered headaches and obstacles, but he managed to find alternatives that both respected his privacy and provided similar feature sets and functionality.

In finding a proper cloud storage platform, Parker recognized that some of the major players, such as Box and Dropbox, did not provide meaningful encryption for users’ data that would prevent the companies from scanning and gleaning information from user files.

Parker offered several suggestions depending on what users want most. If a user wants to securely send a private file to someone else, he recommended the online services Swiss Transfer and Mega, which can give users the option to set certain parameters on how they share a file, including how long a shareable link is active and whether the file requires a password to access.

For pure storage options, Parker recommended the service Sync.com because of its client-side encryption. Many of the cloud storage providers today, Parker explained, will promise to keep your data secure, but they will also hold the decryption keys to anything that you store on their servers.

“Machines will review the files that you have stored on these drives, either for advertising purposes or, a lot of times it’s for copyright violations,” Parker said. “They’ll look and see—are you trading movies or music with other people? And they’ll flag that and give you grief.”

But after extensive research, Parker found that Sync.com actually provided users with a type of encryption that the company cannot work around.

“[Sync.com is] end-to-end encrypted,” Parker said, “meaning that, even if behind the scenes, Sync.com uses Amazon Web Services, Amazon can’t see what my files are.”

As to finding an alternative to Google Docs, Parker said he struggled a great deal, simply because Google Docs works so well. After first trying to adopt a solution that Parker said is “secure, it’s private, it’s end-to-end encrypted—as far as checking boxes, it checks them,” Parker grew disappointed with the solution’s interface and its sluggish response time. Then, a second option called OnlyOffice was, as Parker put it, “not for the faint of heart” because of a high technical bar which could require renting out cloud servers.

The best, most accessible alternative, then, Parker said, is Skiff, which has an easy-to-use interface, but which only has a replacement for Google Docs, and not for the other, related tools, like Google Spreadsheets or Google Slides. Skiff’s tool can be found at Skiff.org.

Step by step

Taking Google out of your life can be a long and complex process, but it doesn’t have to be hard at the very beginning. And remember, if you ever start to doubt what you’re doing, think about what made you want to start the process. If you’re anything like Parker, you’re motivated to keep your data private and out of the hands of a company that is making money off of you and your browsing habits.

“At the end of the day, we are in an age of surveillance capitalism,” Parker said, “and Google is a publicly traded company with a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits for their shareholders. Absent privacy regulations in the United States, the financial incentives are just too great to ignore. That’s money off the table.”

Parker emphasized that until Google creates—and there’s no evidence this will happen—a version of its products that users can pay for with their own funds rather than with their own privacy, that users should assume that “at any moment, any Google product unfortunately can and probably will, somehow, monetize your data.”

As the saying goes, Parker said, “if the product is free, then you are probably the product.”


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