The cowboys are certainly up in the hills; Burlington drivers buckle up.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 26, 2012   Halton Regional Police Service have now concluded their Spring Seatbelt Campaign, which ran from April 14 to 22nd.  The Halton Hills community got top prize for not buckling up.. Police issued 121 warnings and 103 tickets – which are not cheap if you fail to convince a judge that the police officer got it wrong.

Burlington, that city everyone will tell you is the 2nd best Canadian city to live in,  got 22 warnings and 32 tickets issued.  Traffic court is going to be quieter down here.

During the campaign the Service utilized a multi-faceted approach assigning all three District Response Units, uniform patrol officers and volunteers to both educate and enforce the importance of the proper use of seatbelts, child car seats and child booster seats.

If you're unfortunate enough to be in an accident - the seat belt will save your life..

During the year the Service focuses on traffic safety through enforcement, education and liaising with our municipalities on engineering issues. Halton typically demonstrates a high seat belt compliance rate, however there are still those who opt to risk their safety, risk their lives by not buckling up.

Chief Gary Crowell remarked, “our Police Service is committed to enhancing road safety and we will continue to educate and enforce seat belt compliance in an effort to reduce personal injury and fatal motor vehicle collisions.”

A total of 198 provincial offence notices were issued in all of Halton during the campaign.

Oakville came in with 43 warnings and 63 tickets.



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Her name is Jane McKenna – she is your MPP. Why is she not on the invite list and why is Ted McMeekin on it?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 25, 2012  It`s sort of like one of those Rodney Dangerfield situations where he just can’t get any respect.

We have certainly had our comments to make about Jane McKenna, the Progressive Conservative MPP for Burlington.  But to not invite the woman to an event taking place in the city and then invite Ted McMeekin from the neighbouring riding of   Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale is a bit much.

Heck, the Teen Tour Band made the invite list.

BurlingtonGreen's Michelle Bennett pacing off the size of each lot in the Community Garden that will open this Saturday.

The event was to thank the funding partners for the help in getting the Community Garden plots operational.

Honourable Ted McMeekin—MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale was invited.  You know he is going to hold the microphone and talk about the wonderful provincial government project that made the community garden plot possible when it was actually Michelle Bennett and Amy Schneider who did all the work and went before Council committee on more than one occasion to convince the city to support the project.

Mayor Rick Goldring; Councillor Marianne Meed Ward; Community Services General Manager Scott Stewart; environmental community group BurlingtonGreen ; community gardeners; the Burlington Teen Tour Band; and Burlington residents are going to be there.  But no Jane McKenna.

No invite for the Burlington MPP - was this a mistake or is it petty politics.

Will we now see a quick reversal and have someone say – golly, we forgot.  No one forgets Jane McKenna.  You may not be a fan – but this is not a woman you forget.  This was really small town, petty politics.

We checked with McKenna’s constituency office and they said they would get back to us.  Late in the day there was an email thanking us for bringing this matter to their attention.

Did we forget that Burlington is the second nicest city to live in – and aren’t we supposed to at least be civil to each other?

The garden lots sit in the middle of Central Park,  back a bit from the Senior`s Centre.  Great idea.  It was good enough to get Michelle Bennett nominated as the Environmentalist of the Year.

The actual press release came from the city’s public affairs office – did they goof again and send out the wrong version of a press release ?

My making these comments is going to put me in deep doo, doo with my Liberals friends.  They think I should be a little more partisan.  And no, Ron Foxcroft, you are not to send me a membership application for the Burlington Progressive Conservative Association.  We are being fair here.

The event by the way is at Central Park at 10:00 am; Saturday May 5th


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Earth Day – let’s not lose it. Write Mike and ask him to help.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 25, 2012  The city had a very successful Earth Week.  Trash was cleaned up; trees were planted and the idea of taking care of the earth we inherited was embedded a little more deeply into the conscience of people.

Earth Day is people picking up and sorting through trash and just plain cleaning up the community. 8000 people took part in the Burlington program this year.

The success of Earth Day and the public’s appetite for clean air and water motivated governments to pass the world’s strongest environmental laws. The U.S. Clean Water Act promised swimmable, drinkable, fishable water. The Ontario Environmental Protection Act promised to protect environmental resources for all users. The Government of Canada promised to review the environmental effects of its decisions.

Over four decades, Earth Day became a global event, celebrated in 170 countries and involving 1 out of every 6 people on the planet.

True, critics however have voiced concerns in recent years that Earth Day was being co-opted by corporations interested in “greenwashing” their image. But the original Earth Day legacy remained intact: Canada and the U.S.A. had some of the world’s best environmental laws on the books.

That legacy is beginning to fade in Canada.

Government is taking steps to undo all the environmental safeguards.

In the last month, the federal government has taken steps to undo nearly every one of our nation’s environmental protection programs. The Natural Resources Minister calls it (without irony) “Responsible Resource Development”.

Three key safeguards that ensure your right to safely swim, drink, or fish Canadian waters is protected, are all being dismantled:

1. Environmental assessments will virtually disappear. The number of agencies who conduct assessments will go from about 40 down to 3, and will not include Environment, Natural Resources, or Fisheries departments. Provinces will be allowed to substitute their own approvals for federal approvals, even though they do not cover important federal matters such as fisheries and navigation. Individuals and organizations may be prohibited from participating in the assessment process.

2. Independent voices will be silenced. Not only will individuals and organizations be prevented from participating in some environmental assessments, environmental charities will be under close surveillance by the federal government. The Government of Canada is allocating $8-million to monitor environmental charities’ political activities.

“We’re seeing a very difficult period of time in terms of the rhetoric and the tone of what’s coming out from the government. And why we find this alarming is that environmental groups and organizations, we think, provide a really valuable input into discussions in our society, things that Canadians value,” Mr. Robinson, the Suzuki Foundation’s chief executive, told The Globe and Mail.

3. Fisheries protection rollbacks are coming. Rumours of Fisheries Act changes started swirling before the budget was released in late March. While habitat and water quality protections remain intact for now, there is compelling evidence to suggest it is a matter of time before Canada opts to protect only “fish of significant economic and ecological value.”

Martha Hall Findley, a former Liberal MP, calls this an “opportunity”. She says environmentalists need to learn how to “co-operate”. With due respect to Ms. Findley, that’s not the problem. Earth Day 1970 was about making sure  citizens had a voice when decisions were being made that would affect the environment.

It was about ensuring that there would be clear rules in place so that no one person or institution could take clean air or water away from a community. Environmentalists have been fighting for the ability to co-operate for 40 years.

Now, Canada is saying that there’s no more seats at the table for anyone other than a handful of special government and industry interests: no more independent assessment process, no more clear and consistent enforcement of laws, no more science, no more scrutiny. In the name of “modernization” and “growth”, we’ve gone back to 1969.

Mike Wallace - with all those plants around he's gotta be an environmentalist. Write him and get his help in saving Earth Day.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  We have a Member of Parliament.  He has a telephone, he has an email address and he has an office in Ottawa.  Tonight, instead of having the kids watching TV with you – set them down and have them write Mike Wallace.  Tell him to stand up for you, for our environment and for the planet we want to leave to our children`s grandchildren.

Use the occasion to raise your voice and at the same time teach your children how to write a letter and take their first step in participatory democracy.  It actually works.


Mike`s office telephone number  905-639-5757

His email address:

His office address in Ottawa.  If you write him there – you don`t have to put postage on the envelope.

Mike Wallace

Member for Burlington

House of Commons,

Ottawa, ON

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Thieves think they have their Modus Operandi down cold – they target ATM machines in out of the way locations. Do you know these guys?

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  April 25, 2012   On a Saturday evening last April 14th at 9:15 p.m. two suspects broke into the Harvester Medical Centre, located at 3155 Harvester Road, Burlington.  The suspects are believed to have entered through the west doors of the building.   Once inside the suspects broke open an ATM and stole the cash contents.

The suspects are believed to be responsible for at least three other Burlington commercial entries dating back to November, 2011. ATMs are always targeted.

Suspect #1 – male, white, 6’2” 225 – 240 lbs.

Suspect #2 – male, white, 5’8, 180 lbs. Carrying a black backpack.

Both suspects were dressed entirely in black clothing, with gloves and balaclavas.  Police are appealing to the public for information on any suspicious vehicles or persons observed near the site of the incident on the date and time mentioned.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905 825-4747 2315, Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-TIPS(8477), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637(crimes).

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Be very, very careful about this one. Major attempt at identity theft via a Facebook message

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON    April 25, 2012  The email message started out nicely enough. Hello, it said.  And it was from The Facebook Team.  Given that I`m a Facebook user – I read the message.

Here`s what it said:

The Facebook account associated with was recently changed.

If you were not the one who changed this account, please visit our Help Center to cancel the request.

Please note: for your protection, this email has been sent to all the email addresses associated with your Facebook account.


The Facebook Team

Cyber thieves can collect bits and pieces of information about you and create an online identity that says it's you but isn't you - and they can do a lot of damage. Be vigilant.

Hmm, I wondered – I didn’t change my Facebook password.  Then I looked at who the email actually came from.  Pay close attention to the line that follows.

That is who supposedly sent me the message.  Check the spelling  – notice it says

The message didn’t come from Facebook at all – it came from somebody who got their hands on a list of email addresses and sent the same email to millions of people.  Those that responded will have been pulled into a process that begins gathering information on them – and when they get enough they can begin to impersonate you.  Imagine if someone got into your Facebook page and started rummaging around there.

If you get the message – ignore it.  And pass this story along to every friend you have.

These crooks are going to do a lot of damage with this identity theft attempt.


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Through the magic of television and the community broadcasts done by Cogeco – you can hear Ken Greenberg if you missed him live.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  April 25, 2012  Close to 200 people converged on the Studio Theatre at the Performing Arts Centre a couple of weeks ago to hear what Ken Greenberg had to say about how you build a city.

It was an event worth taking in.  The occasion was one of Mayor Goldring`s Inspire series with which he brings interesting speakers to the city to talk about issues that need some thinking.  The audiences  get to hear what outsiders, who are exceptionally well informed in their area of expertise,  have to say about the way we are doing things in our city.

Ken Greenberg fascinated his live audience at the Studio Theatre. His talk will be broadcast by Cogeco Cable.

Greenberg was fascinating to listen to.  He started by outlining just where we had come from as a city, where we are today and how we got where we are.  It was a solid presentation – but then when it got to the Q&A part,  the event became an occasion that had people who are making a difference in this city asking an expert how they could best go about making change happen.  It was quite something to be part of – and if you didn’t get to the event you can tune in and listen to the broadcasts Cogeco Cable will be doing.

Friday, April 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 10:00 pm.

The next Inspire Burlington will take place on June 12 at the Ron Joyce Centre, DeGroote School of Business at 7:00 pm. Featured speaker is Chris Crowley, best-selling author of the Younger Next Year books.


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Rain barrels by the truck load – brought to you by your Regional government. You pay for them – but a good deal.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  April 25, 2012  They are going to sell them by the truck load and at $40 they are a steal.

The Region of Halton is setting up shop at the Mapleview Mall, lower parking lot on Saturday June 9 and will be on location from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.

Region making rain barrels available to Burlingtonians for $40. June 9th at Mapleview Mall

Each rain barrel is priced at $40 – cash only – and will hold  208 litre – 55 gallons of water.  They are made of a durable plastic containing recycled content.  The rain barrels fit into the back seat of an average sized vehicle and require minimal assembly. Residents are responsible for adapting their downspout to flow into the rain barrel.  All the instructions you need come with the barrel.

Putting in and using a rain barrel is an important part of outdoor water conservation; it allows you to reuse rain water that would otherwise go to waste,” said Gary Carr, Halton’s Regional Chair. He added that  “Since Halton began the truckload sales in 2009, almost 13,000 rain barrels have been sold, which at full use has the potential to reduce water consumption by 2.6 million litres.”

For more information about the rain barrel sales events or the water efficiency program please contact Halton Region by dialing 311 or 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866, TTY 905-827-9833 or visit us online at

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Citizens recognize the gift from our twin city in Japan. Blossoms on the Sakura trees worth celebrating.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 25, 2012  It took a little juggling but Burlington’s Mundialization Committee managed to get the permit they needed out of the Clerk`s Office and they can now hold the Sakura Tree celebration ceremony they had planned on Sunday April 29th.  It will take place at 1:00 pm at Spender Smith Park and while there may not be a large crowd on hand the significance of the event is important.

These sakura trees have been in place for close to 25 years. Each spring their blossoms come out, first in pink and then change to white, and then fall to the ground. Each spring the hope, the beauty and the relationship with the people of Japan who gave us the trees is renewed.

The trees have been in place for close to 25 years.  Each spring they sprout pink blossoms that turn to white.  Set out as they are in two rows in Spencer Smith Park closer to the east end immediately south of Lakeshore Road they are a very, very impressive sight.

After a short period of time the pink blossoms turn white and then they fall away.  The early spring we have had this year brought the pink blossoms out a little earlier than usual and then the sudden shift in weather shook everything up.  But the ceremony to commemorate and remember the relationship we have with Itabashi still takes place.  Each year the trees blossom and remind us of those people in Japan.

Ed Dorr worked with Parks and Recreation staff and can’t say enough about Karen Sabzali, with the Parks and Recreation department, and the help she gave in getting through the layers of bureaucracy in the Clerk`s department.  Sabzali gets the `we have customers` message.

Dorr couldn’t understand what the fuss was all about.  The city wanted the $100 fee for the permit paid, the Mundialization committee had to pass a motion to approve the payment when all that was happening was $100 was being moved from one city pocket to the other.  Such is the way some departments at city hall work.  The city managers direction to treat citizens as clients and leave them wanting to come back to your store is quite new and hasn’t reached all the departments yet and those that did get the message are still getting used to the idea.

When you are in Spencer Smith Park and you see the trees, pause and remember how they got here.

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Should there be two general managers or three at city hall and how does the city manager beef up his bench strength?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 24, 2012  You got the job.  The hiring committee was impressed with some of the ideas you put forward and you’ve been on the job long enough to have a sense of how the place works and what the bench strength is like – now you need to implement the plan you’ve been thinking your way through.  Some toes are going to be stepped on – there will be some egos to be massaged but you have a clear view of what you want to do and you are pretty sure you know how to achieve your objectives.

You have convinced city council how the city should be run in terms of accountability and they bought into your performance based budgeting.  Now to organize your team.

We brought in a new city manager because we wanted a change in the way the city was run. That city manager is about to tell the Council he reports to how he feels staff at the very senior level should be reorganized. Will council listen to Jeff Fielding?

The big questions you face are:

Should the city have two General Managers or three?

Are the ones you have doing the job as well as they should?

Hmmm … didn’t think so.

Do you want or need a Chief Financial Officer?

And how good is the bench strength the level immediately beneath the General Manager level?

Not good enough – is it?

Good thing you managed to keep the full $800,000 originally budgeted for staff training – you’re going to need every nickel of it to get your senior team to take a different approach to municipal administration and the delivery of services to their “customers”.  And by the way – how is getting all those people working for the city  to see taxpayers as customers and not tax bill hostages?

City manager Jeff Fielding is about to significantly reorganize the senior levels at city hall. Will Council let him do it?

And that is just about what city manager Jeff Fielding thinks about as he drives back to Burlington from London, where his wife and some of his family still live.  He will take a document to his city council soon and put forward his recommendations on how he thinks the city’s administration should be re-organized.

Will city council buy into his  recommendation as whole heartedly as they did to his performance based budgeting approach?  Or will they decide to look for cost savings?  Drop one general manager and you’re looking at savings of real close to a quarter of a million dollars.

Fielding has done his thinking, he knows what the core issues are – now he has to decide how he wants to put this to his council and convince them to buy into the way he wants to structure his team.

Will he choose to treat city council as a Board of Directors and ask them to think longer term and to think strategically and not as a council that has one ear listening to his ideas and the other listening to voters who frequently complain about the amount senior city staff are paid.  Lop off one of those city managers and save a cool quarter of a million each year.  That’s attractive to municipal politicians who have to talk to voters every day of  the week and explain what’s going on at city hall.

Will his “board of directors”  get caught up in that penny wise pound foolish mentality?  Or are they going to trust him enough to follow his leadership?

This city council has talked about taking risks and moving beyond the old traditional approach. Can they walk this talk?

We will continue to follow these developments

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Things that shouldn’t have happened in Burlington last week.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 23, 2012  The Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital shouldn’t  have asked the Mayor of Burlington  to take part in the visit the Minister of Health and Long Term Care Deb Matthews made to the hospital..  The Minister was playing crass politics hoping to shift any blame that might arise out of a failure to get their budget passed this Tuesday.

The provincial Liberals should not have targeted Burlington MPP Jane McKenna with the Robo Calls – served no purpose other than to confuse an issue.  McKenna hasn’t been able to get her two cents worth in on the hospital issue which happens to be in her riding.  While not a member of the government – she is the local MPP. The RoboCalls calls were a neat political shot that began when the Premier came to the city and ended when the Minister of Health descends upon the hospital to suggest that if the government falls the people of Burlington only have Jane McKenna to blame.  None of this should have happened last week in Burlington.

The government is a minority one and they have to work things out with their partners.  That the Progressive Conservatives have just walked away from the budget without hardly reading the thing reflects very badly on them – but there isn’t much that is going to change the minds of either Tim Hudak or Jane McKenna.

It was the day the Minister failed to show up with the cheque - but provincial minister Ted McMeekin sweet talked the crowd into believing it would eventually arrive. He's sweet talking the Mayor of Burlington these days. The old fox is still at it.

The Mayor of Burlington should have explained to the hospital people who invited him that he had just come back from an appointment with his dentist where he had some root canal work and wasn’t going to be available.  Your worship – you shouldn’t have let them sucker you into that one.  Ted McMeekin , the Minister of Agriculture and  MPP Ancaster – Dundas – Flamborough – Westdale played you on this one – not good for your reputation.  They need you more than you need them.

Jane McKenna should have walked right into the meeting with the Minister and the hospital big wigs and confronted Deb Matthews and then publicly given out the Ministers home phone number and asked the 1,000 people that called McKenna’s  office to call the Minister at her home and tell her to negotiate with the NDP.  Show her that you can be just as silly and as stupid as she was.  McKenna then might begin to negotiate with the government as well.  The Progressive Conservative position on this budget is very weak and very juvenile.  Rise to a higher standard Ms McKenna.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward shouldn’t have attempted  to reduce the funds needed to support the Burlington team that is going to negotiate with the hospital on the Contribution Agreement.

Meed Ward should either resign from the hospital board or at least recuse herself until the way in which city funds are going to flow to the hospital has been fully worked out and agreed upon by both sides.  Or she should give up her Council seat and represent just the interests of the hospital.

Not quite sure how a municipal politician who speaks loudly and eloquently about transparency feels she can sit on two boards that are into some serious negations and working on a project that is bigger than anything this city has worked on in the past.

Mead Ward then went on to let everyone who didn’t read what happened at city council in local newspapers or on Our Burlington, published her views on her Facebook page:

Is she talking out of the hospital side of her mouth or the city side of her mouth?

Disappointed budget committee voted today to spend $50,000 on PR consultant to develop a communications plan on the hospital, and a few meetings with a legal consultant to draft our long awaited contribution agreement. Support the latter in principle, but it costs a fraction of $50k. Don’t support the need for PR program. Curiously, city’s press release on this decision leaves out the $50k price tag. Will post once it’s online.

The news release is now posted, and the costing has now been added at my request.

Support the need for legal expertise with background in working with Infrastructure Ontario to draft our contribution agreement with the hospital, worth no more than $15k (and that’s generous!), but we don’t need to spend extra dollars for the public relations/strategic communications firm which will bring the total tab up to $50k for the taxpayers.

Bad enough to make a serious tactical mistake but to show that you really don’t understand the issues just adds to the track record.  Shouldn’t have happened in Burlington last week.

All three political parties will meet in the Legislature on Tuesday.  The government will make the changes in the budget that the New Democrats will demand – the Liberals are after all a minority government and they have to share the power they have with the other political parties.  The Progressive Conservatives have to accept the responsibility to accept their share of this minority government.

The budget will pass and the Liberals minority government will move on to running the province.

We are into a new week – let`s see if we can play nice this time and make better things happen for Burlington.

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Thieves rob woman inside Admiral Inn on Billings Court – did security cameras capture the theft?

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  April 23, 2012   A 31-year-old woman in Burlington on business escaped injury after being robbed of her possessions in a Burlington hotel room.

Just after 11:30 pm,  last Sunday, the woman met with an unknown man in a hotel room at the Admiral Inn, 3500 Billings Court, Burlington.

As the man opened the door to leave, two other men barged into the room.  One of the men held the woman down on the bed, while the other two rummaged through the room.

The men stole electronic devices and a quantity of cash. Halton Police Investigate Robbery at Burlington Hotel

SUSPECT #1 – white, 24-25 years, 5’6″, clean shaven, skinny, short spiky hair

SUSPECT #2 – white, 25-30 years, short brown hair (armed with a baseball bat)

SUSPECT #3 – black, 30-32 years, average build, possibly wearing a coat and had scarf around his neck

Anyone with information on this or any other crime is asked to contact the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905 825-4747 x2315, Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-TIPS(8477), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637(crimes).


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8000 people picked up trash during Earth Week; 300 trees planted; 200 people jammed themselves into city hall for the wrap up.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON   April 21, 2012   The weather was great for the first part of the 2012 BurlingtonGreen CleanUp GreenUp campaign week but a chilly Saturday morning cut down on the number of people who turned out for the wrap up and get together that has traditionally ended this event.

8000 people picked up trash, 300 trees were planted - Burlington gave the planet a hug.

More than 300 hamburgers were served at city hall  – so there were certainly hungry people who gathered in the city hall atrium to mingle and chat with friends and listen attentively to the draw numbers that were called out by Regional Chair Gary Carr.

Ken Woodruff spokesperson for BurlingtonGreen,  reported that some 8,000 people took part in the event this year.  The 300 trees got planted out at LaSalle Park where the BurlingtonGreen Youth Network organized the planting.

The event was part of the annual Earth Day that is celebrated around the world.  Does the event make any difference?  Are we any more environmentally conscious than we were ten years ago or is climate change still seen as something the “tree huggers” made up.

The first national Earth Day was held in 1970 and went international in 1990 .   Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues.  Burlington has been one of those communities for some time.

Climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a disinterested public, and a divided environmental community all contributed to a strong narrative that overshadowed the cause of progress and change. In spite of the challenges Earth Day has continued as a powerful focal point around which people could demonstrate their commitment.

The fight for a clean environment continues in a climate of increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day. If you missed Earth Day this year – there will be one next year when you can discover energy you didn’t even know you had. Feel it rumble through the grassroots under your feet and the technology at your fingertips. Channel it into building a clean, healthy, diverse world for generations to come.

This is our planet and we are expected to leave it in better shape than we got it for the use of our children and grandchildren.

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New Canadian author makes cookies for guests at the launch of her book at Burlington`s Different Drummer.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 21, 2012  It was her first book reading.  She was in Burlington at the Different Drummer to celebrate the launch of her first novel; Rachel’s Secret.  The small room at the Drummer was packed with at least a third of the audience made up of people who knew the author but that didn’t deter them from buying books.  Many, many people bought three and four copies of Rachel’s Secret by Shelley Sanders.

Shelley Sanders wait for a book buyer to say what she wants the inscription inside Rachel's Secret to say.

Sanders began her presentation with a short visual presentation about the background of the time period the book was written about which made the point she wanted to make.  She then stood there looking at her audience and they sat and looked back – this went on for a few minutes and then Sanders moved abruptly and said:  Oh, I`m supposed to read from my book now” and began her reading which went just fine.

New Canadian author Shelley Sanders signs books at Different Drummer launch.

Missing her cue made the occasion just that much more real and pleasurable.  The book will sell well enough and one should expect to see a second title from this author.

The event had a nice home spun feel to it.  The refreshments were made by the author and she explained in some detail what was in each, and one expected her to say that she would pass along the recipe if you wanted it.

Set in pre-revolutionary Russia, where tensions are high between the Jewish and Christian populations. Rachel, who is a Jew, and Sergei, a Christian, find their worlds torn apart by violence as lies about Jews leap off the pages of the local newspaper. Vicious riots break out on Easter Sunday, 1903, and when they finally end, almost three days later, Rachel finds that the person she loves most is dead and that her home has been destroyed. As she struggles to survive the aftermath of the riots—or pogroms—support comes from someone totally unexpected, as Sergei turns against his father to help Rachel. With everything against them, the two young people don’t want to fight the bond that is growing between them, one of the few signs of goodness and hope in a time of chaos and violence.

The basics of the story are factual; there is some novelization needed to ensure this wasn’t just a history book.  The editor of the newspaper in the town of Kishinev continually published brutally damaging headlines that built the tension in the community around the murder of a young man is a true and terrible example of the lies that drove much of the anti-Semitic literature that was behind the Nazi ideology.  On that level alone the book is a good example for young readers of what vicious propaganda can do to a society.

It was THE best selling book at the Different Drummer Saturday afternoon when Shelley Sanders launched the book.

The grandmother, the story is built around, was Shelley Sanders’ grandmother which is what inspired the author.  Her grandmother`s horrific experience may have been what more than 100 years later launched a new Canadian writer.

Ian Elliot, proprietor of A Different Drummer is using the launch of Rachel`s Secret at his book store as the first step in the creation of a Teen Book Club.

The Kirkus review, a literary publication librarians rely upon for reviews of new titles had this to say about the title: “Sanders’ debut has generic prose and occasional anachronisms, but nonetheless adeptly conveys the history, from Mikhail Rybachenko’s real name to the bitter bigotry and bloodbath”, which is not bad for the first effort by a new Canadian novelist.



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The pickings were really easy so a pair of petty thieves went from car door to car door – opened those that weren’t locked and took.

By Staff

The petty thieves must just love Burlington – all they have to do is walk up and down the streets and look for open car doors – and they are apparently finding dozens of them.

Last Thursday, an off-duty employee of the Halton Regional Police Service observed two young males on bicycles checking car doors in the area of Janina Boulevard and Humphreys Crescent, Burlington at 4 am in the morning.

Uniformed officers were dispatched to the area and located the youths near Brant Street and the QEW.  The officers noticed one of the males was wearing clear plastic gloves and they were brought into custody.

Further investigation revealed that the males had been checking and entering unlocked cars in multiple locations throughout the night.  Small items such as GPS units, an IPOD, cell phones, jewellery, a camera, loose change and miscellaneous items were taken from the vehicles.

At least four victims have been identified residing on Glendor Avenue, Bluefields Drive, Treeland Street and Esther Drive, yet police have recovered other property they are unable to attribute to its proper owner.

If you realized something was missing from your car – try the Halton Regional Police Service at 905-825-4777; they just might have your stuff in one of their property lockers.  And lock the car please..  When the petty thieves realize that Burlingtonians lock their cars they`ll stop looking.  Leaving your car unlocked just encourages them – and they always look for the easy pickings.

Paul Griffith-Willetts, 18 years, from Hamilton is charged with Theft Under $5000, Possession of Stolen Property and Failing to Comply with a  Probation Order.

A 16-year-old youth from Hamilton is also charged with Theft Under $5000 and Possession of Stolen Property.


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Show biz career revived; Burlington Mayor gets his act together and brings Arrogant Worms to town.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 21, 2012   He is back!  The show is going to take to the stage, the show biz career is being revived and you are invited to be there – Come to the Mayor`s  Cabaret.

The Cabaret was an event the Mayor of Burlington dreamed up during his first year of office.  It got off to a bit of a bumpy start with a change in the event date but this show is now ready for the stage.  This city has a tradition of the Mayor holding a sort of Gala event at which funds are raised that the Mayor gets to distribute.  The only rule is that the Mayor doesn’t hold a Gala in an election year.

It is going to take place at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre on September 29, 2012. It will be a variety show featuring special guests Lighthouse and The Arrogant Worms, along with some very talented local artists. The Mayor believes this is sure to be a “spectacular evening”.   As long as he doesn’t play the piano – it will be an entertaining evening.  And eh, don`t bring that “song and dance”  guy back – the one who tripped over his broom and forgot the words to the song he was singing.

It is going to be an evening of fun with the community out enjoying itself.  This was done when the Blue Jeans Gala was held and we got to see and hear some of the talent Burlington has produced.  The Spoons were on stage and Silverstein was there with all the energy and big sound they bring to what they do.  That was a blast!

Proceeds will go to the Burlington Performing Arts Centre; and proceeds there should be.  Through ticket sales, both a silent and a live auction and a cocktail reception the Mayor hopes to raise a significant sum for the BPAC.  Mark the date on your calendar.  September 29th.  Tickets can be ordered from the BPAC:

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Well, so much for that promise. Health Minister says government cannot re-develop JBMH if it loses the budget vote on Tuesday.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 20, 2012   The Minister of Health and Long Term Care Deb Matthews has conference calls with the Mayor and assures him that all is well and the funding for the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital is in place and we’ve no need to worry our heads one little bit.

The Mayor has a meeting with the Minister responsible for Infrastructure Ontario, the government arm that handles the actual construction of major projects, and they explain how that organization works and assures Mayor Goldring that everything is fine.

Then there is an announcement that the hospital is going to get $22.5 million to build the hospital when all the hospital needed short term was $9million.

Somewhere along the way the Premier of the Province strolls into the offices of the local thrice weekly newspaper saying he`d just like to have a friendly chat.  Something like that hasn’t happened before.

Then there are a set of Robo Calls that target Jane McKenna, the Burlington member of the provincial legislature who has been entirely out of the loop on the hospital re-development.  Her predecessor, Joyce Savoline at least visited the hospital and toured the place.

Will Burlington MPP Jane McKenna take a sick day on Tuesday or will she vote against the budget and bring down the government forcing another election? She will be looking at one of the shortest political careers on record if she does.

McKenna gets bush whacked by the phone calls that result in a reported 1000 calls to her office.  McKenna being a bit of a newbie at the game of politics doesn’t handle the situation all that well.

Behind the scenes in all this, is some tough negotiations between the leader of the New Democratic Party and the government.  Andrea Horvath, the NDP leader folds on one of her demands – that the provincial portion of the HST tax be taken out of home heating sales.

The vote on the budget is to take place in four days and the public is crystal clear on not wanting another election.  When it comes to getting into office and having all that power at your fingertips, what the public wants isn’t a significant part of the recipe.  The game is to determine just how close to the wire you can get and still stay in office.  Sort of like adults playing a game of chicken.

What is a citizen of Burlington supposed to do with all this?  The hospital is a mess, it’s actually not a very good hospital – we speak of the structure – not the staff.  The building has had its day and needs to be replaced – quickly.  One basic requirement for any hospital is the ability to quarantine patients if necessary – they can`t do that at JBMH.

Everyone is scurrying around but the hospital says nothing publicly.

The Liberal government puts pressure on both Ted Chudleigh, provincial member for Halton and Jane McKenna.  McKenna crashes the Minister’s tour of the hospital, but then stays in the background.  Why McKenna didn’t confront the Minister publicly, and demand that she meet the promise she made to the residents of Burlington, is beyond me.  There was a missed opportunity to show the people of Burlington that she was standing up for them and not touting the Progressive Conservative party line.

It is going to be an interesting weekend for the politicians.  McKenna might find that she has the flu Tuesday morning and isn’t able to get out of bed and get into the Legislature.  These things do happen – it`s going around you know.

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North Shore Blvd E accident leaves Burlington cyclist in critical condition. Rushed to Hamilton General

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  April 20, 2012  Halton Regional Police are investigating a serious collision that occurred Thursday evening between a car and a cyclist.

Shortly before 6 p.m. a Toyota Matrix northbound on North Shore Blvd. E. at the intersection of the North Shore and King Road attempted to turn left onto the extension and collided with a southbound cyclist.

The collision with a 60 year old Burlington male resulted in very serious head trauma.  He was rushed to Hamilton General Hospital where he remains in critical condition.

The driver of the Toyota, a 51 year old Burlington woman, and her 16 year old female passenger, were not injured.

Due to the life-threatening injuries, the Collision Reconstruction Unit (CRU) was called to the scene and took carriage of the investigation.  The roadway was closed for several hours while reconstructionists  collected evidence.

Part of the investigation will involve the downloading of the Toyota’s EDR (event data recorder) similar to the black box data of aircraft and trains.

Some independent witnesses have been interviewed by police, but any others are asked to contact the CRU at ext. 5189.  The CRU will not be making any comment on possible charges at this time.

Halton Regional Police would like to remind motoring and cycling citizens that with the increase of bicycle traffic on our Region’s roadways during the warmer season, caution, courtesy and patience with each other are needed when we share the road.

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Burlington streets will be car free two Sundays; one June 10th the other July 15th from 2 pm to 7 pm

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  April 19, 2012    Car free Sundays?  Will they work?   Will the public actually get themselves to those parts of town where the streets will be car free?  And what will they do when they get there?

The city has a nice catchy phrase to bring the community together:  get up, get out and get moving. The Mayor tells us  “Car-Free Sundays are a great opportunity to get to know your neighbours, spend time with family and friends, and to get active on the open street.”

So what is a Car Free Sunday Burlington event?  During the two scheduled events, roads will be closed to vehicular traffic and opened to pedestrians – whether strolling, wheeling, walking, cycling, or roller-blading. In addition to having access to the roadways, independent organizations and community groups will enliven the route with a variety of activities.

Two pilot events in two separate locations will take place this year: June 10 (south east Burlington) and July 15 (downtown Burlington) from 2 pm until 7 pm.

All of Appleby Line from Fairview on the north down to New Street on the south will be "car free" Sunday June 10th. Plenty of entertainment as well.

The first chance to roll about on your bike is June 10 on Appleby Line which  will be closed from New Street north to Fairview Street, with the south lanes of Fairview closed from Appleby Line to Sherwood Forest Park.  To celebrate the event, organizers are creating two themed areas, Music and Marketplace along Appleby Line.  “We want to fill the streets with colour, life and music,” said Car-Free Sundays committee co-ordinator Peter Summers. “We hope musicians; sports groups and art groups will come forward and get involved.”

This is what a car free street can look like. Appleby Line will be car free June 10th - what do you want to do on that street that day?

Music during Car-Free Sundays on June 10 will include local bands and performers. The afternoon will kick off with a parade featuring the Burlington Teen Tour Band, will continue with bands on stage and will finish with the MM Robinson Marching Band.  Event organizers are searching for bands to perform between 2 and 7 p.m., on stage, at the corner of Appleby and Fairview.

Businesses and groups that include charities, arts, dance and sports are invited to get involved in a Marketplace. Participants must commit to being on site between 2 and 7 p.m. and must bring and take away everything needed for a display.

To get involved in the Music or Marketplace on Appleby Line volunteers are invited to complete a participant application form by visiting For more information,  e-mail or call 905-335-7600, ext. 8536.

“Even if you can’t volunteer, we encourage you to pencil the dates June 10 and July 15 in your calendar,” said Robert Narejko, volunteer chair of Car-Free Sundays Burlington and a member of the Burlington Cycling Committee.  “Come out on foot, bring your baby strollers, roller-blades, wheelchairs or bicycles.”

The second car free Sunday is in Downtown Burlington on July 15. It will tie in with a planned BBQ event.  More detail to follow.


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Is being sustainable a philanthropic gesture or does it impact your bottom line?

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  April 19, 2012  Can you be sustainable and profitable at the same time ?

Some organizations think of sustainability as philanthropy that they can afford when times are good.  Leading  companies are investing more into sustainability through the downturn because they have found that sustainability can expose rich veins of cost savings within inefficient buildings, processes and supply chains.

Is sustainability a nice to have when you can afford it or does it work its way to your bottom line? Chamber Seminar offers some insight.

Those companies have also found that the sustainability lens is an effective way to attract talent, appeal to green consumers and play an important part of your brand image improvement.

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce is hosting  a special “Think Sustainable” seminar with James Gray-Donald, Vice-President & Sustainability Leader with Sears Canada, outlining  real-life examples of how sound sustainability practices can improve your company’s bottom line.

There are Burlington businesses that understand how having environmentally sustainable business practices is good for the bottom line.

The seminar is being held at the Waterfront Hotel Downtown Burlington. Registration desk opens at 7:30 a.m. with a full buffet breakfast running from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.  The presentation runs from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and is followed by a question and answer session.  The price to attend is $25.00 (+HST) for Chamber members and $35.00 (+HST) for non-members.  You must sign up in advance.  The event is sponsored by the CMA Certified Management Accountants.

Check in with the Chamber of commerce at


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Acclaimed Canadian author to read; first novel by Kilanko part of the program – April 29 – Different Drummer

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  April 19, 2012  Frances Itani, a Canadian writer, celebrated internationally for her fiction, which includes the sublime Deafening and Remembering the Bones, will present Requiem, her acclaimed novel of the internment of a Japanese Canadian family in the war years and the lifelong effect of the injustices.  Requiem is a deeply humane work, artful in recreating the history and elevated by Frances’ soulful prose.

Frances Itani will read selections from her book "Requiem"

Yejide Kilanko, social worker, passionate advocate for the rights of children and superlative storyteller, introduces her first novel, Daughters Who Walk This Path, a vivid rendering of a young woman’s coming of age amid withering gender oppression and the violence and political tumult of modern Nigeria will also speak at A Different Drummer Bookstore reading on Sunday April 29th at 3:30 pm.

Admission is $5, refreshments will be served.  To reserve tickets, please contact us at (905) 639 0925 or  A Different Drummer Books is located at 513 Locust Street.

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