Bear was killed – public now critical of police. It was a job that had to be done and the police did it. Thank them.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  May 19, 2012  You’re sometimes damned if you do and double damned if you don’t.

There was a black bear the police had to shoot in the woods around Mountainside Park .  They did exactly what they were supposed to do.  Can you imagine the public outrage if that animal had gotten anywhere near one of the schools or, heaven forbid, anywhere near a child. The lawsuits would have been something they would have to deal with later as well.

The comments and news stories on the decision the police made to shoot the bear are hard to understand.  This was a wild and very dangerous animal that was an immediate threat to the people in the area.

The police fired four bullets into the chest of the animal and it died almost instantly.  Yes there would have been an initial burst of pain and that is regrettable.  That the police fired the four shots quickly and that the aim was true in each instance is a reflection on their training and discipline.

Regretable, unfortunate - but killing the bear was the only option the police had. Public safety was the prime concern.

To have the police now defending the decision they made is close to incredulous.  Senior people within the police service are now spending their time explaining what they did minute by minute and you can bet the issue will be raised at the Police Services Board as well.  Hopefully someone on that Board will make a point of publicly thanking the police for the action they took and maybe someone will make a comment on behalf of the police.

The bear could not be tranquilized for several reasons.  First, the police did not have the equipment nor any personnel to tranquilize the bear.  Second, in order to tranquilize the animal it would first have to be up in a tree.  That would have meant having the police somehow badger, chase or scare the animal and get it to climb up a tree.  An extremely dangerous thing to attempt – the bear could have just as easily panicked and bolted off much faster than the police could ever move.

What if while frightened the animal had bolted further away?  It got to within 30 feet of a residential dwelling as it was.  Imagine if there had been a child in the yard or on the porch of that residence – that bear could have been on that child in seconds.

If there is anyone to criticize it is the Ministry of Natural Resources for basically abandoning the Halton Police.  They did nothing for the police other than to ask for a DNA sample and some hair from the bear.  You can bet there will be some questions asked about the way that Ministry failed to respond.

The police did their job; they did it quickly and efficiently.  Involving the aboriginal community in the burial of the animal was a wise and sensitive mood on the part of the police and Burlington’s Animal Control people.

A point to keep in mind – there were two bear sighting in the Milton area earlier in the week.  The wild animal experts don’t think the bear shot in Burlington is the same bear sighted in Milton.  The Regional police aren’t certain the two bear sightings were of the same animal – so we “might” have two bears some distance from us wandering around the countryside.

Should one of those bears venture into parts of the city where people live, work and play – the police should, if they are unable to get help and support from the Ministry of Natural, do exactly what they did on Wednesday.

What we would like to have heard was a statement from our local MPP Jane McKenna, saying she will inquire as to why the Ministry of  Natural Resources was unable to help.  That she apprently didn’t do so, is disapointing.


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What does the brutal murder of a delightful, inquisitve friendly little eight year old girl do to a community? How does it recover?

Part 11

This series is a first person account, told by a parent who has lived through the fear and pain that rocked Woodstock when an eight year old girl was abducted on her way home from school and subsequently murdered.  Elizabeth  Maloney takes us through each step of the ordeal and starts with: A girl the same age as my daughter – is missing, she didn’t get home after school. The worry sets in. No longer can a parent feel reassured by the spotlight of safety once provided by broad daylight. Things are different now.  It can happen anytime, anywhere, and the most gut-wrenching of all; to anyone.

By Elizabeth Maloney WOODSTOCK, ON May 19, 2012  Can we move on from this? And how?

For three plus years, the City of Woodstock has talked about, thought about or debated about the death of Victoria Stafford.  We were consumed with finding the little girl and then with finding her killers. But now that Tori has been laid to rest, and her murderers tried and behind bars, what is there left to do? It’s kind of like the first few days after you graduate from high school- you are grateful you survived, that you finally succeeded and now that it’s over, you’re not sure what to do with yourself.

Much like any other small Ontario town - the recent addition of a large auto assembly plant brought lots of jobs to the city but other than that - it's just another small town that drew some attention it could have well done without.

But much like high school, after a few days of reveling in the success, you get the idea that you have to move forward, get your direction and put one foot in front of the other. And that is where Woodstock is. We’ve been celebrating the verdict, but now it’s time we find our way. How have things changed for Tori’s family, the Oxford County Police Services and the community as a whole?

Our mourning period sufficiently satisfied, now it’s time for new growth from the ashes.

Signs of life after Tori are starting to bud sporadically around the City, much like tiny buds on a tree during the first warm days of spring. Tori’s mother, Tara McDonald has announced her plans with a job waiting for her and going back to school in her future, working towards her goal of becoming someone Tori would be proud of.

Rodney Stafford, Tori’s father, has stated that he is going to do something to make sure some good comes out of this tragedy, by continuing to raise money for ChildFind, challenging current laws or pushing for security cameras in schools. While the rest of Tori’s family have not publicly announced their plans, rest assured they are picking up the pieces much like Tara and Rodney and trying to move forward as best they can.

Since the investigation into Tori’s abduction and murder, Oxford Community Police Services (OCPS) has waged a war on drugs in the city. Woodstock was saddled with allegations of having a seedy, underground drug culture running rampant within the city limits. Every community has drug issues – even Woodstock – but I don’t think our “problem” is any larger than most other communities. I think the chief difference is that no one believed the friendly City of Woodstock had one. There is no doubt of the drug connection to this murder, with three of the major players in this investigation reported in the media as having a drug addiction; one could hardly argue. This case shone a bright light in that dark corner, making it impossible to ignore.

Woodstock - a city with an old city hall, a pleasant city hall square - quiet sort of suburban - a decent place to raise kids - and then everything changed.

Tori’s murder case provided the catalyst needed to motivate OCPS to launch a crackdown on the supply of drugs like Oxycontin. In the few years since Tori’s murder they have offered help to addicts while simultaneously breaking up the channels the drugs flowed through. Chief Rodney Freeman spoke of this when he said “We’re not going to win the war on drugs. But our effort has been to disrupt and displace the drug cultures within our city to the very best extent we can.” In other words, they’re not going to be able to eliminate the drug issue completely, but they sure as heck were going to make it harder for them to operate.

As for the many families in Woodstock, when Tori went missing the expected reactions occurred. Parents became more cautious, not allowing children to venture far, and in some extreme cases at all. We didn’t just watch our kids, we watched other peoples’ kids! My own child was sequestered to the back yard when she asked to go outside, with instructions not to play out the front of the house and to come in immediately should anyone come around. Tori’s story had rattled most of us parents. We were suddenly aware that two predators had been lurking amongst us for quite some time. It was alarming to say the least and we reacted the only way we knew how- out of fear.

Perhaps the saddest thing I learned out of all of this was the reaction of the children of Woodstock. According to a lady who works for one of the family services agencies in the city, they fielded calls from parents asking how to answer their children’s questions about Tori. Children who usually remain oblivious to the harsh realities of the world around them somehow were not immune this time. They were painfully aware of what had happened to Tori and many of them had questions. Parents were challenged with finding the right answers- giving enough so their children realized the gravity of the situation, but not enough to irrevocably scare them into hiding.


Lots of sports teams with parents heavily involved - the author of this series, a resident of Woodstock, coaches her daughters soccer team - but it isn't the same

So are our children still “bubble-wrapped” and under careful guard today? No, not really. While we still keep watchful eye, as parents we know we can’t watch our children every single second of their lives. Instead of locking them away out of the fear we felt, we teach them how to protect themselves and I believe that most of the parents within the city are doing just that, or at least moving towards that. Education programs about strangers were renewed in the schools and parents employed the buddy system, cell phones and check in times as a means of giving their children freedom but security at the same time. We are giving our children the tools to survive in a world that does not care about their innocence. Because we know that to just lock them up only imprisons them and does nothing to teach them about survival. We can’t stop all the predators before they strike, but we can arm our children with the tools to avoid, out-smart and escape them. Some argue this is robbing our children of their innocence. But I look at it this way, better to be robbed of innocence in this manner than for a predator to do the robbing and my child end up like Tori.

We are making progress, but with all tragedies, it will take some time. Wounds this severe don’t heal overnight. We are on the right path and pointed in the right direction. The bottom line is that Woodstock came together in this tragedy. Our citizens participated in the searches, the vigils and sadly the memorials of Tori Stafford. We cried, we raged, we mourned. We circled around Tori and her family and banded together even in our darkest hours. If after seeing that, you still have doubt that Woodstock will bounce back from our loss, let me be clear: Speaking on behalf of my city, we will heal. We will rise from the darkness, if for no other reason out of respect and homage to our dear little Tori. Our innocence may be lost, but our spirit is still fully intact.

 Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10





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Good police work means putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Halton Regional Police doing just that – can you help?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON   May 18, 2012  The Burlington detachment of the Halton Regional police have noticed a string of disturbing incidents involving young students and think there might be a pattern.  Here is what they know so far – can you help with any piece of this puzzle?

Incident 1:

On May 15th at 1:40 p.m. a man in a parked car struck up a conversation with a 15 year old female student at a bus stop in front of MM Robinson HS, located at 2425 Upper Middle Rd., Burlington. The male asked questions about the school, asked for the student’s name, and even asked the student to reach through the open window to hand him a piece of paper that was located on the passenger seat. The student did reach into the car; however the man made no attempt to grab or harm her.

The man is described as 55-60 years, heavy build, South Asian.  Vehicle description: Silver – four door.

That young lady should never has put her hand into the car.  The police officer taking the report must have cringed as he listened to the student.

Incident 2:

They are out there - they are dangerous - but we can teach our children how to protect themselves.

On May 17th at 4:30 p.m. two 15 year old males were walking along Tavistock Drive near Clarksdale Public School. A man drove up to them, got their attention, held up a package of cookies and offered them one.  The man is described as white, 60 years old, average build, white/grey hair, wearing glasses.  Vehicle is described as a black, four door Lincoln.

Does any of this trigger something you saw.  Don’t worry if you don’t have a complete recollection – the police know how to put the parts together – but they do need those pieces and they can only come from you.

Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to contact the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905 825-4747 x2385, 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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More than half the commercial vehicles pulled over for inspection fail; police tag and tow 52 of them.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  May 17, 2012  On Tuesday May 15th and Wednesday the 16th 2012, the Halton Regional Police Service in partnership with the Ontario Provincial Police, Peel Regional Police, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of the Environment and the Region of Halton conducted a two day Commercial Vehicle Safety Initiative.

And for a number of people it was an “ouch” day.

Scenes like this were repeated 52 times earlier this week.

The focus of the police blitz was to identify vehicles that may not be properly maintained and could pose a danger on our roads.

A total of 197 commercial vehicles were inspected resulting in:

• 186 provincial offence notices issued

• 52 vehicles removed from service

• 54% failure rate

That probably resulted in a lot of deliveries that weren’t made on time.  The police do point out that road safety is a shared responsibility, those who drive are expected to maintain their vehicles.

The Halton Regional Police Service remains actively committed to ensuring the safety of our community through a balanced approach of education and enforcement initiatives.


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Local amateur historian to meet the Prince of Wales – given the chance he might tell the Prince about the role Burlington played in 1812 War.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  May 17, 2012  As a kid, I knew it as 24th of May – firecracker day.  For Rick Wilson it will certainly be a crackerjack day.  He will be meeting the Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla at an event taking place at Fort York on the holiday Monday.

The Royal event is part of the Commonwealth celebration of the Queen’s 60th year on the Throne. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall

Rick Wilson points to the error in fact on a provincial historical plaque. Will he get a chance to ask Prince Charles to help him change this mistake?

Wilson, who is a serious amateur historian, a member of the Burlington Historical Society and a member of Heritage Burlington, the city’s  advisory committee on heritage matters in the city.

Wilson has a very keen interest in the history of the province and thinks there is a very significant error on one of those historical plaques the governments of the country put up.

The plaque that bothers Wilson is in Hamilton and was put up by the provincial government.  Wilson approached Mike Wallace and asked if his office could do anything about the mistake on the plaque.  Wallace tried but when his office learned that it was a provincial matter there was nothing he could do.   Wilson has not been able to get his telephone calls to Jane McKenna’s office answered never mind getting any help.  We are hearing that complaint from a number of people.  The Lady Jane, who represents us at Queen’s Park is still getting her office organized.

Rick Wilson will, if he gets a chance, tell the Prince of Wales that ships of war did not sail into the body of water west of the Skyway bridge.

Wilson won’t get his 15 full minutes of fame when he shakes the hand of the Prince of Wales, which is fortunate for the Prince,  because Wilson knows his history and he could keep the heir to the Throne standing there for hours while he talks about the War of 1812 and how a serious mistake has been made about how that war was won and what was done right here in Burlington to bring about the victory.

Rick Wilson believes he is standing near where the British ships retreated to and in doing so really won the War of 1812 for the British. There was a battle at Stoney Creek but the real fight, the one that mattered and resulted in mastery over the Great Lakes happened offshore from Burlington.

Wilson is both informed and intense.  If you want a conversation with him on things historical – you better know your stuff.

Meeting the Prince of Wales, who is also known as the Duke of Cornwall and a number of other titles,  will be a huge day in the life of Rick Wilson.  Little does the Prince know that had he the time Wilson could tell him all kinds of things about the war that surrounded the building, the burning and the rebuilding of the fort where the introductions will take place.

The current duke of Cornwall is Charles, Prince of Wales, eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning monarch. Charles was officially proclaimed Duke of Cornwall at Launceston Castle in 1973. As part of his feudal dues there was a pair of white gloves, gilt spurs and greyhounds, a pound of pepper and cumin, a bow, one hundred silver shillings, wood for his fires, and a salmon spear.

But Rick Wilson already knows that and when he meets the Prince and his wife he will be polite and make Burlington proud that he was one of the few that got to meet the Prince at Fort York in Toronto to take part in the celebration of the 60th year that Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne.


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Transit gets an interim fix up – a patch to hold the system together financially until Master Plan is completed. Expect a lot of waiting.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  May 17, 2012  Transit got a kiss and a promise,  and had half a million taken out of one pocket and put in another last week,  as four “underused” routes had major changes made to their level of service on the roads they travel.

The routes that are to have significant service level changes and some direction changes are:

Route 4; Route 11; Route 12; Route 15, with changes to the #61 and #62 GO specials as well.

The four routes were described as marginal and “under performing” and the city set out a proposed service level for each and called it the Interim Service Plan.

This Interim Plan is to resolve some of the more immediate problems while the city continues its work on the Transit Master Plan and gets a sense of what changes the citizens want to see in the Official Plan Review that is currently taking place.

City Manager Jeff Fielding said he expected to need between 18 and 24 months to figure out if the small fixes made during the interim are going to make a difference.

While the Workshop was all about transit, Fielding explained most of the choices that had been made while Director of Transit Donna Shepherd took Council through the presentation.

In this Interim Plan the city is cutting back frequency from once every half hour to every hour on most of the routes and making alterations on just about all of the four routes.  “How well did we deliver and is anyone better off was the question Fielding asked again and again – and it may well be the question that transit users in Burlington will want to remember and ask in a year and a half.

Doug  Brown, perhaps the most informed citizen when it comes to transit,  doesn’t think all that much of several of the changes.. “Burlington Transit” he said, “thinks they can make route changes whenever there is a problem but transit doesn’t work that way.”    If you keep making changes it just takes that much longer to get a stable ridership.  The change is upsetting to people.

“The most important thing about transit is the need to be reliable and if you go changing the schedule people begin to see you as unreliable and stop using the service.

Brown thinks the transit people have seriously misinterpreted their own data and that the data they use for route 4 is faulty.

The city has created a grid against which it will measure how well it is doing in getting transit to the point where the revenue/cost ratio is bearable and ridership is seen to be increasing. How reducing transit frequency is going to get them there is very debatable. Public will get several opportunities to discuss the changes which are scheduled to go into effect September 2

The changes to the four routes are expected to save the transit service $500,000 each year which they say they will then pump into the well-used routes to improve the service on those routes.  Brown’s comments that : The added service level are rather vague and goes on to say that Burlington spends half the average spend in other Greater Toronto Area municipalities.

“We really do underspend on transit in this city” and Brown should know – he attends numerous transit conference each year.  At a transit event in Markham two weeks ago Brown said the buses they use “are like Cadillac’s compared to some of the 20 year old buses Burlington has on the streets”.

While Brown can talk authoritatively on each of the routes that are to undergo a change he also points to what he believes is one huge error and that is the assigning of funds the city gives to GO service as a transit cost.  The city pays GO $3.3 million each year (just for being there I guess) and that amount is shown on the books as a cost to the transit system when there is no benefit to transit.

In the transit business the key number they use is their Revenue/Cost ratio.  This RC number pops up all over the place and Brown thinks with the $3.3 million given to GO included in the transit costs – the ratio is badly skewed and thus not a very reliable measure.

Route 4

Current Pinedale route

Rte 4 Pinedale proposesd peak

Pinedale Rte 4 WeekendsCurrent service is basically every half hour. There are two proposed services for this route. A) 30 minute frequency 9-4 weekdays; Saturday 7am to 7 pm. B) Weekdays 30 minute frequency 6-9 am and 4-7 pm


Current and proposed route changes for Rte 11 on Appleby Line


Route 12

Only change in this route is having the bus dip into Itabashi Way and the Tansley Wood Community Centre/

Having the service swing into Itabashi Way is seen by many as a very good move – but reducing the service to a 60 minute frequency from the current 30 minute service bothers many people.

Route 15

Frequency of service will be reduced from every 30 minutes to every 60 minutes between 9:30 and 2:30

No route changes on route 15 - Walkers Line but the level of service will change.

With the planned routes changes now out in the open the city wants to meet with the public for input and feedback.  There will be four public sessions, which is two more than the city held for the early stage of the Official Plan review

May 23 – Wednesday at the Senior’s Centre 3:00 to 4:30 pm

June 4 – Monday at Holy Rosary School 6:30 to 8:30 pm

June 4 – Wednesday at  Tansley Woods 6:00 to 8:00 pm

June 5 – Tuesday at City Hall 6:00 to 8:00 pm


A newly formed transit will be known as Bfast - they intend to inform the debate on transit and insure the issue of transit service doesn't get lost in the Official Plan Review

There is a group of citizens who have formed a coalition that is going to track the way transit is treated during the review of the Official Plan.  They have titled themselves Bfast and will meet next at the Burlington Central Library June 11 at 7:00 pm when Brian Bedford, former Commissioner of Planning for the city of Toronto will talk about how transit has to be funded.

A number of people who really study transit in this city are troubled with the changes made on route 10 which happens to have buses that travel right in front of Councillor Paul Sharman’s home.  James Smith quotes Sharman as saying he bought his house on a Sunday when there were no buses running and thought he was getting a great deal.  He didn’t realize then that there was a reason for homes being less expensive the other side of Appleby Line.

Smith it should be pointed out ran against Sharman in the last municipal election.  Sharman won; Smith came third.  The second place candidate Cal Millar is now the President of the Burlington federal Conservative Association and now has the ear of MP Mike Wallace and may well expect the Wallace machine to support him in 2014.

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Halton police shoot Black Bear sighted in the Mountainside community. School children never at risk

By Staff.

BURLINGTON, ON  May 16, 2012  Seeing a black bear in the community was more than two Burlington residents expected earlier this morning.  A quick call was put into the police and that brought out Burlington Animal Control people as well as staff from the Ministry of Natural Resources .   A 300 pound + bear was too much for the Animal Control people.

The police had reported two bear spottings in the Milton area but the sense then was that bears would stay in that area.  While there is no certainty that this is the same bear the one the police had to shoot was in the area of Mountainside Park.  The park is heavily forested, contains a children’s playground and is surrounded by many residential homes and schools.

Residents in this area spotted the bear that Halton Police eventually had to shoot, because there was no tranquilizing capacity at Animal Control and the Ministry of Natural Resources were unable to respond. Watch for tranquilizer guns to show up in next year's police budget..

As soon as the report came in police set up a containment area and notified neighbouring elementary schools of the ongoing problem to ensure there was no risk to school children in the area.  Clarksdale, St. Gabriel and Rolling Meadows schools were notified by police of the bear sighting. “MNR personnel advised police that in order to immobilize a bear to relocate it, it needs to be contained up a tree and not in a densely populated residential area,” explained Halton Regional Police media Sgt. Dave Cross.

“MNR officials said it can take up to 15 to 20 minutes for immobilization to take effect, and the bear can be actively on the move and still pose a threat during this time which is why this method is not suitable for residential areas.”

The MNR advised police that they were unable to attend the scene to assist.

This was clearly a public hazard and action had to be taken immediately.  Neither police nor the City of Burlington – Animal Control is equipped with or trained in the use of large animal tranquilizer guns or traps, or wild animal relocation.  Police attempted to engage the assistance of other private enterprises that may have had the training and equipment to respond, but none were available to attend in a timely manner.

At 11:20 a.m., the bear was sighted by police. Officers tracked its movements and saw it was exiting the forested area of the park into a residential area. The bear was seen again within 30 feet of a local residence. At that point, due to overwhelming community safety concerns, the bear had to be dispatched by officers.

The bear was an adult male weighing between 300 to 400 pounds.

“We empathize with those members of the public who are distressed by today’s events. Our officers do not relish having to dispatch an animal, but our options were extremely limited. Given the particular circumstances, we could not risk public safety as the bear moved deeper into residential areas,” said Public Affairs Sgt. Dave Cross.


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More pressure to give the public access to the lakefront. St. Paul Street resident wants to see some action.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  May 16, 2016    Good ideas just don’t go away.  James Ziegler wants to see a new link added to the Waterfront Trail and is interested in being part of any “community action group” that might want to push this one a little further.  Any pushing needs to be done at the Parks and Recreation department where Rob Peachey has been working the file..

Ziegler explains:  “I’m a resident of St. Paul Street.  While walking with my wife tonight to the end of St. Paul Street where the road meets the lake we mused about how nice it would be to walk right up the lake shore.   My wife was surprised when I said the property maps show that it is public lands right up to the lake at this point however you would not know this from how the adjacent home owners have landscaped the area.

St. Paul Street resident wants to see Waterfront Trail extended through lake shore property the city already owns.

“We took the opportunity to walk right up to the stone lake shore protection wall and enjoy the view and I trust we were not trespassing on private land and fully within a citizen’s right to do so.

“Looking more closely at the land parcels, there is a contiguous strip of public land along the Lake shore between St. Paul Street and Market Street.    I suggest this could become a pedestrian and bicycle pathway, part of the Waterfront trail.

“Although is has become the practice of the home owners adjacent to the lake in this area to treat the land as private it is not part of their deeded land.   I believe this is no different than places along the pipeline right of way that are being cultivated for gardens by the adjacent home owners.   There are so few areas of access the the lake for the general public, areas where the land title and property lines are both separated by a significant distance, such as over 30 feet, and form part of  contiguous lands between existing streets, these areas should be considered for public pathways serving the general good of our community.

Ziegler wants to know if  “consideration of this link has been initiated by the City of Burlington.   If not I would like to discuss the feasibility of a water front link between St. Paul Street and Market Street and the formation of a citizens’ action committee to achieve this goal.  If there is already such a citizen group I will be happy to add my support to the cause.”

Les Armstrong, a member of the Waterfront Advisory Committee, along with a couple of his fellow committee members covered the full length of the lakefront of the city looking for those locations where the public has the right to access the lake and found several places where the access wasn’t as accessible as it was supposed to be.

When former Mayor of Toronto, David Crombie met with the Waterfront Advisory he said there was a time when Burlington was a leader in the development of the Waterfront Trail – but that that is no longer the case.

This part of town isn't used to having just anyone tramp through the streets. Will the waterfront access ever be opened up?

The Waterfront Advisory Committee called people at city hall and asked then to explain why this was so.  Rob Peachy appeared and gave some of the background.  The best comment he made at the time was that “this wasn’t his favourite file”.  Apparently the property owners who live by the lake tend to think of the shore line as theirs and don’t appear to want any interlopers wandering around their homes.

The city has found itself with fights on their hands in the past in that part of town and haven’t always won the battle.  We just might be seeing another battle shaping up.  Will having Marianne Meed Ward at the Council table make a difference?  Stay tuned.




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The trial is over, impact statements given, the sentence delivered and they all leave the Courtroom for the last time. Now what?

Part 10

This series is a first person account, told by a parent who has lived through the fear and pain that rocked Woodstock when an eight year old girl was abducted on her way home from school and subsequently murdered.  Elizabeth  Maloney takes us through each step of the ordeal and starts with: A girl the same age as my daughter – is missing, she didn’t get home after school. The worry sets in. No longer can a parent feel reassured by the spotlight of safety once provided by broad daylight. Things are different now.  It can happen anytime, anywhere, and the most gut-wrenching of all; to anyone.

By Elizabeth Maloney

WOODSTOCK, ON  May 16, 2012   Over the course of this trial, the family of Victoria Stafford has spent a large part of their time being spectators to the court proceedings.  Having to sit quietly on the sidelines and follow along, much like the rest of us, just with a closer seat. How frustrating the last ten  weeks must have been; to be voiceless in a room with the alleged killer sitting a dozen or so feet away. Your head and heart are screaming for justice.

Tara McDonald will carry questions for the rest of her life.

The silence broke yesterday when the family gathered in the Court Room for what should be the last time to take part in the sentencing hearing of Michael Rafferty. The judge would be ruling on Mr. Rafferty’s fate, having been found guilty last Friday night on the charges of first degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault. But not before the family would take the stand and explain how the loss of their beloved Tori has scarred their lives.

This is not the first time Tori’s family have given victim impact statements. They did so at Terri-Lynne  McClintic’s sentencing speaking of their tragic loss. It would seem though, that their harshest and most painful words were reserved for Rafferty.

Tori’s parents spoke along with statements from Tori’s brother Daryn, grandmothers, several aunts and uncles.  All of them listing the pain and suffering they have dealt with over the last three years. Unable to hold back her tears, Tara McDonald, Tori’s mother, spoke about having no choice but to be strong and how her pain pales to that suffered by her daughter. And how she had to trade in heartwarming moments like Tori’s prom, graduation and wedding, for sombre memories the likes of the day Tori went missing and the day she was found.

One of Tori’s aunts, Rebecca Nichols, echoed a similar sentiment. Saying that instead of remembering Tori the way she was with her beautiful blue eyes and her smile and laugh, every time she hears Tori’s name she now thinks first of the forensic photographs of Tori’s distorted body.


They were close to inseparable - except for that one day.

As heart-wrenching as these statements were, it was Daryn’s prepared statement read by Crown Attorney, Stephanie Venne, that grabbed everyone. Daryn wrote about being afraid to walk alone on the street without looking back. He talked about having low self-esteem and anxiety. He also spoke of his guilt; how Tori and him had fought before parting ways on April 8, 2009, not knowing it would be the last time he would ever see her. And then he explained the loss of his “bestest friend” the one who felt what he felt. “No hugs, no ‘See you later,’ no goodbyes, just a part of my heart ripped out,” Daryn wrote in his statement. Continuing on to say he feels so alone and that it’s like the world is playing a sick trick on him, but instead it was his reality.

Daryn’s grief even touched a chord with the defendant himself. Rafferty who had remained unemotional and detached throughout the trial, wiped away tears as he sat listening in the prisoner’s box. It was unexpected to say the least, but it garnered no sympathy from the family. If I were to hazard a guess, I would think the family was happy to finally see him feeling some kind of discomfort over what he had done.

Rodney Stafford struggles with his pain - now he and his son must work out the life they will live without Tori

Tori’s father, Rodney Stafford had the harshest words of them all for Rafferty. His grief and, at times, his rage were painfully apparent as he spoke to the court. Rodney told the court how he agonized over Tori’s disappearance until she was found in a rock pile near Mount Forest months later. Of how he had to visit his daughter’s grave stone to say hi and not by having her in his arms and holding her tight. At one point he looked at Rafferty and spoke to him directly, calling him a “piece of s**t”, eliciting applause from the courtroom observers. Rodney perhaps summed it up the best near the end of his statement when he said “Nothing will ever replace what was stolen from all of us. A human life, a child’s life, my daughter’s life.”

When the family finished their statements, the court asked Michael Rafferty if he had anything to say. After being silent throughout the entire proceedings, Rafferty decided to break his silence here and now. He said he admitted he was guilty of many crimes and there are things he was very, very ashamed of doing, but he still stands behind not guilty. He confessed that he believed he was a “definite part” of why Tori is not with us today and that although we may not be believe him, he is sorry. He hopes that everyone will find closure from his sentence.

In a move that I think none of us saw coming, Rafferty addressed Tori’s mother Tara directly during his address to the court. He offered to fill in “all the pieces of the puzzle” if she wanted to hear them, but away from the court, the media and the public. Was this a genuine offer or an attempt to cast some shadow back at Tara, who had often been the scapegoat for suspicion in this case? Surely people would question why this offer was made to Tara and not to Rodney or the family as a whole.

With all parties heard from, Superior Court Judge Thomas Heeney, gave his ruling on Rafferty’s sentence. He referred to the negative media attention that angered many regarding the excluded evidence obtained from Rafferty’s computer, explaining the necessity of a fair trial. He pointed out that character evidence is more about who the defendant is, not so much as to what he did, stating “Being a pervert does not mean that he is a murderer.” He went on to say “But with the verdict of the jury, that presumption of innocence has been stripped away, revealing who he really is: a child abductor; a child rapist; and a child murderer.” At the very end he told Rafferty he was a “monster.”

Daryn Stafford is a teenager now. His sister is still his" bestest" friend.

Rafferty was sentenced to twenty five years for the murder charge, and to ten years each for the kidnapping and sexual assault charges. The sentences were to be carried out concurrently. Rafferty is also banned from possessing any weapons, his name will be added to the sex offender’s registry and he also must provide a sample of his DNA. Rafferty will not be eligible for parole until May 19, 2034. However, he may be able to apply for the faint-hope clause after 15 years.

Unless an appeal is filed within the next  25  days, this will bring to a close the three year odyssey we have all endured. Tori’s family and the community of Woodstock will wake up today with no trial or verdict looming. Nothing left to do but to somehow get up and move forward in the aftermath of one of the city’s darkest and most painful periods. The city has changed; there is no doubt about it. Can we move on from this? And how?

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9


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LaSalle Park Marina takes their Vision 2012 to a public information session – this is something the community should applaud.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  May 15, 2012  It’s a laudable objective – have the public marina at LaSalle Park become the 400th Safe Harbour in Ontario.  Burlington is one of the very last communities on Lake Ontario to have a Safe Harbour – and given that we are the Second Best City in Canada to live in – a Safe Harbour would seem essential.

LaSalle Park Marina as it looks today - 219 slips with wave breaker and docks that have to be brought ashore every winter.

For John Birch it is more than essential – a Safe Harbour out at LaSalle Park is an opportunity to add to the goals of the fisheries people, especially the Hamilton Harbour and Watershed Fisheries Management Plan.  Given all the toxic waste Hamilton has created in this end of Lake Ontario getting new fish species in the water is far more than a laudable goal – it’s an essential one.

And that is where Birch has been steering his boat for the past couple of years.  By advocating for a form of wave barrier that will result in a Safe Harbour, Birch envisions  1,500 linear feet of an environmentally friendly, state of the art, riparian rock island fish and wildlife habitat wave breaker that will provide all weather protection for the city’s marina.   It is a bold step.

The LaSalle Park Marina Association operates the marina at the foot of LaSalle Park and has done so since 1981 without so much as a dime of city money.  “We are a non-profit that built this facility from scratch and have it to the point where there are 219 slips available to members of the  Burlington Boating and Sailing Club.  There is a boat launching ramp for public use as well.

The Marina currently has 219 slips.  The docks have to be brought ashore every winter and the current wave reduction system doesn’t work particularly well.  The LPMA wants to have a riparian rock island fish and wildlife habitat wave breaker built at a cost of  $7 million that Birch expects to see paid for much the same way they built what they have today: a significant portion from the federal government with a close to matching amount from the provincial government and the rest coming from the association through some form of debenture they will pay off over time.

The option the LaSalle Park Marina Association hopes is chosen through the Environmental Assessment due March 2013. The design will add 100 slips plus 20 available for transient use and more significantly provide a solid barrier that will allow fish stocks to return and breed and put an end to the wave agitation

The Association has to be one of the gems for the city to work with.  Founded in 1981 the LPMA put together a joint venture with the city that works this way.  The land is owned by the city of Hamilton and is leased by Burlington and then sub-let to the LPMA.  In 1998 LPMA borrowed $250,000  from the city as part of their joint venture agreement  and built a new wave breaker that has a 20 year life span.  That loan was fully retired in 2008 – without a payment being missed.  The city now has a marina on land they lease and operated by the LPMA.  Close to 90% of the lease expense is paid by the LPMA and the Burlington Boating and Sailing Club – the city picks up 10% which pays for the public ramp.

While the wave reduction devices help – they aren’t up to the job of preventing significant damage to boats tied up in the 219 slips.

There is always someone below deck cleaning up - some things never change.

The demand for additional slips is consistent.  The Association turns people away every year and don’t expect to have any problems renting out the additional 100 slips that will become available when the project is completed.

The association saw an opportunity to take their two needs and add to them a third – a significant environmental improvement  and improving the fish habitat in the area – the result being what the LPMA hopes will become Ontario’s 400th Safe Harbour.

All hinges on a positive environmental Assessment which the LPMA expects to see completed by March of 2013.  Birch believes there are funds available for a project like the one they are proposing and that those funds will be spent somewhere – he just wants to see them spent in Burlington.

Another boat is hoisted out of the yard and into the water as the LaSalle Park Marina opens for another season.

The LPMA is confident that they can continue to operate what can only be described as a very successful business model.  The club provides an excellent marina to the city and is debt free.  It believe it will be able to bear its share of the $ 7 million it is going to cost to get the barrier in place and their hope is that the Environmental Assessment decision is for the option they have chosen.

They expect that the province will pick up 25% of the cost and the federal government an additional 25%. With LPMA picking up the balance.

This is one of those Mother of all Stakeholder partnerships.  There is the MOE, the MNR, the COB, CH, the TSP people and BARC  plus DOF, to name some of the people who will sit at this table.  All have to be placated and accommodated.

There are several options before the various levels of government.  The details are a little on the mundane side unless you sit on the LPMA Board.  The option the association likes is one that will provide everything the sailors want and given that they are going to end up paying the lion’s share of the cost – one would think the governments involved will decide in their favour.



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Region offers residents opportunity to become MVP’s – not what you think it is – but it won’t hurt you.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  May 14, 2012  An MVP – usually means Most Valuable Player but the Regional government has given it a bit of a twist and is calling for residents with a “my point of view” approach to things,  to take part in a new on-line survey.

Do these survey ever make a difference?  Or are they a device for the political leaders to get a sense of what voters want and then look for a way to be able to afford to go in that direction,

In the tiring “political speak” the Region announces that “As part of ongoing efforts to engage with residents, Halton is launching an online citizen survey panel (Halton MVP) to gather information about important Regional issues and initiatives.  Halton MVP is now recruiting residents to join the panel at  

Regional chair Gary Carr tasting honey on a farm tour. These days he is tasting the mood of the residents; wants to know what they are thinking. Take him up on the opportunity.

“I believe it is crucial that we engage with residents and I’m hopeful that the ease and flexibility of the online survey panel will attract many people to participate,” said Regional Chair Gary Carr.  “Public Engagement is a priority of the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan and I’m pleased to see new and innovative approaches being used to connect with residents in Halton Region.”

Who writes this stuff?

The Halton MVP survey panel will be managed and administered by Jane Armstrong Research Associates on behalf of Halton Region through a secure website.  All correspondence, data collection and data analysis are the responsibility of Armstrong Research. To protect your privacy, all information provided by panelists will be held in strictest confidence by Armstrong Research.  The names of panelists, or any other identifiable information, will not be released without written permission by the participant. Individual views will remain anonymous and data will always be analyzed – and presented to Halton Region – in the aggregate. This means that personal data and answers to survey questions are always combined with those of many other panelists so that no one panelist can be singled out or identified.

Residents who register to join Halton MVP may be invited to participate in up to eight surveys each year.  Simply, respond to the surveys and have your viewpoint heard.  Registration is easy and open to all residents of Halton Region (excluding employees of Halton Region) 18 years of age or older.  For more information about Halton MVP visit

Sounds pretty harmless and given that we will be into summer re-runs on television this will give you something to do.  We will report on the survey results and then watch closely to see if they get implemented.


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Mayor takes a vacation – expects to return rested and inspired. Will be reading The Spark, the Flame, and the Torch; heavy stuff.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  May 13, 2012   The Mayor is on vacation so don’t expect to see him cutting a ribbon somewhere or meeting with citizens and listening intently to what they have to say any time this week

He won’t be at the interactive workshop to get public input on community design elements such as land use; transportation and natural features for the Evergreen community that is to be created along Tremaine Road.  That event, if you’re interested is to take place at Tansley United Church – Sanctuary Room, 2111 Walkers Line – 6:30 to 9:00 pm.  However, the Mayor will be brushing up on his “inspiring”  techniques.  Goldring got a call recently from  Lance Secretan author of The Spark, the Flame, and the Torch that  teaches us how to become a more inspired person and leader and how to change the world for a brighter future. It is an interesting work that helps leaders overhaul stale concepts such as mission, vision and values statements, personal leadership, coaching practices, and rethink our entire model of leadership by focusing on inspiration.

Vacation reading for Mayor Goldring

Providing the Mayor isn’t the kind of vacation reader I am (I tend to fall asleep with the book on my chest – part of my napping routine) Secretan will teach him that a leader’s power comes from the soul and reaches to a place that’s far beyond personality

Secretan, who is highly ranked as an inspirational speaker and works some of the biggest of the big in the Fortune 500 ranks, maintains great leaders inspire people, not just motivate them; they radiate inspiration without saying anything.  That’s going to be a bit of a stretch for Rick Goldring – he has a level of decency that is seldom seen in politics and his sincerity is real.  This guy doesn’t fake it – what you see is what you’re getting.

According to Secretan to be a great leader “you need to be inspired yourself first; that’s the Spark.  Then you’re able to inspire other people; that’s  the Flame, and then you can change the world; that’s the Torch.  Wow, Rick are you sure you want to do this?

Secretan maintains that to be inspired you have to understand why you’re here.  Understand your behavior and values.  Understand what you will do to change the world – ask yourself:  “What’s my calling, gifts, skills and challenges.

Secretan then maintains you have to have a dream.  By that he means not your mission, vision or values, they’re old-fashioned junk, according to Lance.

Mayor to take on the CASTLE principles: Courage, authenticity, service, truthfulness, love and effectiveness. He's doing pretty good with these already. How would his fellow council members rate themselves on this scale?

With the dream firmly in place Secretan says you have to build relationships.  Ideally with the right people and not with those who want to exploit the office you hold for their benefit and not the benefit of the larger community.

Secretan has created what he calls the CASTLE Principles

Courage, Authenticity, Service, Truthfulness, Love and Effectiveness.

As Mayor Goldring works his way through Secretan’s The Spark, the Flame, and the Torch,  he will come to the final thoughts part; they go like this:

People get inspired with what they’re fed up by

It’s impossible to be inspired by anything that has no relationship with money

There should be a perfect intersection between your passion and your talent

Money is here to stay and will never be irrelevant because it’s energy and also a signal about your value and worth

The real issue is not the money but how much you’re willing to invest in yourself.

The Mayor told me he was taking a vacation.  This stuff is pretty heavy lifting.

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Environmentalists gather in Hamilton to talk up the mess the Great Lakes are in; Hamilton as good a place as any to begin the clean-up.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  May 13, 2012  They could have and perhaps should have held the event in Burlington but instead they are holding it in Hamilton.  While we are a Burlington publication, the event: Great Lakes Need Great Friends; Protecting The Great Lakes Forever, being held May 16  at 7:30 p.m. in the Hamilton First Unitarian Church, 170 Dundurn St. South, is important enough to get mentioned here.

That is not a healthy cloud - more like a marker telling you where Randall Reef is located - the second worst toxic site in the country.

Given that Hamilton has done as much as anyone else to come close to killing the lake and is home to the second worst toxic site in on our side of the Great Lakes perhaps the event is being held there to shame the city.  The plan to cap Randall Reef are kind of on hold – they’re still figuring out who is going to pay for the concrete cap that has to be put over the sludge that has accumulated from years of exploiting the natural water in the lake with waste from the steel mills and the coke ovens that once supplied the gas to light the street lamps in that city.

Maude Barlow, The Council of Canadians along with Mark Mattson, Lake Ontario Waterkeepers and Linda Lukasik, Executive Director of Environment Hamilton will talk about just how bad the situation is and what has to be done to begin cleaning up Lake Ontario.

Getting a good start at the Hamilton end is an admirable first step but given the rate at which the federal government is killing the whole environmental review process – don’t expect to see all that much done by the federal government.  For them it is all about jobs – most of which might well be at hospices where the cancer patients can end their days after years of being exposed to toxic waste.

Randall Reef - The second worst environmental waste deposit in the country is pretty close to home isn't it

The Hamilton event is part of an eight Canadian city tour, with allied groups, several U.S. cities the “Great Lakes Needs Great Friends” Tour hopes to foster connections along the Great Lakes by making the links between current fights against threats such as “fracking”, bottled water withdrawals, invasive species, and nuclear waste storage and shipments.

Another objective is to cultivate a Great Lakes stewardship by encouraging people to recognize they not only have a right, but a responsibility to protect the Great Lakes’ waters.  Ideally this will invite community involvement and encourage inspiring actions that will help shift the current market economy priorities that govern the Great Lakes to priorities based on commons and public trust principles.

Maud Barlow, who is a delight to listen to, will tell anyone with a minute of time, that “protecting the future of the Great Lakes is in all of our hands. When communities come together with passion and purpose, they can change political priorities and shape a better future for our shared water.”

Sometime this week you will get to the lakefront – pause and ask yourself what you can do to improve what we have.  Next time you see Mike Wallace, the person Burlington sends  to Ottawa, ask him what he is doing to help; listen carefully and ask him tough questions.  His first position is to usually try and snow people.

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The murder trial of their daughter ready to go to a jury; Tori’s Mother and Father struggle to cope. They succeed.

Part 8

This series is a first person account, told by a parent who has lived through the fear and pain that rocked Woodstock when an eight year old girl was abducted on her way home from school and subsequently murdered.  Elizabeth  Maloney takes us through each step of the ordeal and starts with: A girl the same age as my daughter – is missing, she didn’t get home after school. The worry sets in. No longer can a parent feel reassured by the spotlight of safety once provided by broad daylight. Things are different now.  It can happen anytime, anywhere, and the most gut-wrenching of all; to anyone.

By Elizabeth Maloney

WOODSTOCK, ON  May 9, 2012   Imagine with me for a moment. I am going to ask you to imagine something horrible, but bear with me. Imagine one day after school, only one of your two children comes home- the other is missing. Twelve hours pass, then twenty-four,…still no sign of your baby. Another day goes by, and then another.

She just didn't come home. Her brother did, Tori didn't and she was never seen alive again.

Each day waking with renewed hope that today will bring answers, each night going to bed just as lost as the night before. The ache, the emptiness inside. The media surrounding your home, pointing a camera in your direction each time you emerge, wanting a sound bite on “how do you feel”. How would you feel? Being the spectacle of a nation; your every comment, tear and irrational reaction recorded for the masses to see? And later, for those eyes to turn their suspicious gaze on you, and you know they are thinking “maybe the mom or dad had something to do with this”.

That was life for Tara McDonald and Rodney Stafford. Treated to revolving bouts of sympathy, pity and suspicion. Knowing the entire country was watching them suffer, and not being able to deal with the darkest moment of their life in private. Something like this is difficult enough. Think about it. If it was your child, how rational would you be? Would you be worrying about what you wore to a news conference, or if what you were doing made you look suspicious. No, you wouldn’t- your mind would be where it should be- on your missing child.

But despite how awful the public ordeal of Tori’s abduction and subsequent murder may have been, I would think it would pale in comparison to having to deal with the trial, and being in the same room as her alleged murderers. For the past ten weeks, Tara and Rodney have sat in the same courtroom as Tori’s accused killers, Michael Rafferty and at times Terri-Lynn McClintic, with only several yards separating them. As a mother myself, I have no idea how Tara and Rodney have maintained enough composure to be able to be in the same room as Rafferty and McClintic without rushing the prisoner’s box.


The not knowing when on for day after day. The eyes of the public were on them every minute. An ordeal they did not need - but Tara McDonald managed to keep it together.

Yet somehow that is what they did. They endured the testimony of Terri-Lynn McClintic, who spared no detail in her narrative of the horror that Tori faced. Six long days of what was labelled the most disturbing testimony of the trial, and they were there every day. Sitting through the excruciating details compelled to bear witness to the crimes against their daughter- in the  only way they can  be there for her, this one last time.

And if the wound wasn’t raw enough, there were pictures; unrecognizable, horrific pictures of their once beautiful little girl. Identified only by her dental records and the Hannah Montana shirt she was wearing when she disappeared. The pictures were more than Rodney could handle and he left the courtroom- it was the only time he left the proceedings. Tara stayed behind crying as the images flashed by. The Coroner explained the state of Tori’s body, every gruesome piece of evidence laid out before the court. Every word another reminder that Tori will never come home.

Of all the proceedings there was one single thing I found more appalling than anything else. On the day of the Coroner’s testimony, some of the most sensitive testimony of the trial, Michael Rafferty wore a deep purple shirt and purple striped tie. It was the same shade of purple that had become synonymous with Tori, and the colour of the ribbons her family wore in her memory. The audacity of his wardrobe choice left me fuming. For the accused to come to court in a show of solidarity to the victim’s family was a huge slap in the face to Rodney, Tara, their families and the community as a whole. And I was not alone in this opinion, with other members of the community taking note of it as well. Whether that was Rafferty’s idea or that of his defence council, Dirk Derstine it was in poor taste.

In spite of all these painful obstacles, Tara and Rodney have fared reasonably well through the trial. Tara was more outspoken during Tori’s disappearance, holding daily media conferences on her front lawn. During the trial she has become a little quieter, taking a bit of a backseat in the media eye. She has kicked the drugs and has been clean for six months now. After a brief move to Brantford, she came back to Woodstock and has been at nearly every session of the McClintic and Rafferty trials.

No longer with the Mother of his daughter Rodney Stafford handled his grief in his own way; resolved to be in the court room every day with a picture of his daughter in his hand.

Rodney on the other hand is determined to build a legacy for his daughter. He has made numerous appearances over the last three years. Showing up on Charles Adler’s program, raising money for ChildFind and speaking to the media at every opportunity. Even pushing a bill proposal loosely named Tori’s law that calls for capital punishment for child killers. He has kept the promise he made at the beginning of the trial to be there and look his daughter’s accused killers in the eye.

It seems that despite their tragic loss one silver lining has come from this horrible event- both Tara and Rodney seem to be stronger people for it. Both of them have come a long way in the last three years. More action, more attention to the family and more cooperation with each other. If Tori were here she would be proud of both of them.

With the prosecution finishing their closing remarks today, the case will soon be in the jury’s hands. Tori’s family will not likely have to wait long now for the final resolution in this case. The last shred of justice to be served in Tori’s name. After that, the media will subside and Tori will become a memory for most of us. But for her family it will be just another day of trying to live without their beloved little girl.

So now, we await the verdict.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

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They haven`t walked off the earth but they are going to be on the OLG stage – June 17th 3:45 pm. We told you that two weeks ago didn’t we?

By Pepper Parr

You heard it here first – Walk off the Earth will appear on the OLG stage June 17th  at 3:45 pm.

That’s what 110 million YouTube hits and a slot on ELLEN  will get you.  What kind of a reception will the band get?  Hard to tell.  Will local guys make good go over in their home town?   we`ll know that night won’t we.

The people who run the Sound of Music in Burlington (this is the 33rd year the event has taken place) had a tough decision in front of them.  Was the group available – of course they were available.  They had to be on one of the stages and not a small stage either.  What were they going to cost?  More than the SOM had planned on spending.  Before that viral wonder they were just another band struggling to get play dates – but now they had turned their 15 minutes of fame into careers where good management could get them into plays that had never heard of them before.

So, Dave Miller, SOM Executive Director, made the phone calls and put together a deal – the rest they say is history.  We will get to see if this “viral” business makes any difference.  You had to give then credit for a cool idea.

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Chivalry will be on display at city council with two knights now at the horse shoe.

By Pepper Parr

On Sunday “The Queen” will create two new Knights of the Realm and we will see Sir Paul of Sherwood and Sir Rick of Aldershot made knights as part of a visit the “Queen” is making to Ireland House on Sunday  -Mother’s Day.

The event is part of a day of fun during which Ireland House will pay all kinds of attention to the Queen and the Monarchy – not that there is any relationship whatsoever between the Farm at Oakridge or the Royal Family for that matter, but it will be a nice day to have some fun in an ideal setting.

This is how a "knighting" takes place today and each year the Queen knights a number of people.

The event is one of those that the Museums of Burlington hold through the year.  Joseph Brant did have a connection to Royalty, quite a strong one base on the evidence at the Brant Museum, but he is apparently not going to make an appearance with the impersonator filling in for “Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.”

There will be “tea with the Queen” at Ireland House in the afternoon and at some point there will be a ceremony that ‘knights’ Councillors Paul Sharman and Rick Craven.  There is an excellent opportunity for those participating to learn more about the heraldry that surrounds Knights, and Lords, and Barons and Viscounts and Dukes.

Knights of the medieval era were asked to “Protect the weak, defenseless, helpless, and fight for the general welfare of all.” These few guidelines were the main duties of a medieval knight, but they were very hard to accomplish fully. Knights trained in hunting, fighting, and riding, amongst other things. They were also trained to practice courteous, honorable behaviour, which was considered extremely important. Chivalry (derived from the French word chevalier implying “skills to handle a horse”) was the main principle guiding a knight’s life style. The code of chivalry dealt with three main areas: the military, social life, and religion.

When given a title the recipient has the right to create a "coat of arms". What would Paul Sharman and Rick Craven have chosen for their coat of arms.

The military side of life was very important to knighthood. Along with the fighting elements of war, there were many customs and rules to be followed as well. A way of demonstrating military chivalry was to own expensive, heavy weaponry. Weapons were not the only crucial instruments for a knight. Horses were also extremely important, and each knight often owned several horses for distinct purposes. One of the greatest signs of chivalry was the flying of coloured banners, to display power and to distinguish knights in battle and in tournaments.  Warriors were not only required to own all these belongings to prove their allegiance: they were expected to act with military courtesy as well. In combat when nobles and knights were taken prisoner, their lives were spared and were often held for ransom in somewhat comfortable surroundings. This same code of conduct did not apply to non-knights (archers, peasants, foot-soldiers, etc.) who were often slaughtered after capture, and who were viewed during battle as mere impediments to knights’ getting to other knights to fight them.

Probably not attire that we will see on either Councillor Craven or Sharman Sunday afternoon at Ireland House. Certainly not for Craven - but with Sharman - you never know.

Becoming a knight was not a widely attainable goal in the medieval era. Sons of knights were eligible for the ranks of knighthood.  While other young men could become knights, in theory, it was nearly impossible for them to achieve that goal, especially for those from the lowest class. Those who were destined to become knights were singled out: in boyhood, these future warriors were sent off to a castle as pages, later becoming squires. Commonly around the age of 20, knights would be admitted to their rank in a ceremony called either “dubbing” (from the French adoubement), or the “Accolade”. Although these strong young men had proved their eligibility, their social status would be permanently controlled. They were expected to obey the code of chivalry at all times, and no failure was accepted.[citation needed]

Chivalry and religion were mutually influenced. The early Crusades helped to clarify the moral code of chivalry as it related to religion. As a result, Christian armies began to devote their efforts to sacred purposes. As time passed, clergy instituted religious vows which required knights to use their weapons chiefly for the protection of the weak and defenceless, especially women and orphans, and of churches.

Some of this could well apply to our Council members and Burlington society in general but for this Sunday afternoon it will be a day of fun and game playing as someone impersonating the queen will tap Sharman and Craven on the shoulder with a sword and declare: “Arise Sir Paul”.

The Code of Chivalry continued to influence social behaviour long after the actual knighthood ceased to exist, influencing for example 19th century Victorian perceptions of how a “gentleman” ought to behave up to today.

Hopefully neither will take the statement all that seriously.

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The cyber crooks never stop; they are relentless. The best defence you have is to be vigilant.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  May 12, 2012  The email said I had recently changed my Facebook password.  I didn’t change that password and the email message was not from Facebook – but it certainly looked that way.

The message I got, set out below, needs to be looked at carefully – the way you look at your bank statement.

Look at the address he email came from –

Facebook <>

that’s not Facebook.  That’s a bunch of crooks on the other side of the world who want to steal my identity and with the bits and pieces they father they will create a profile of me and decide if I am worth trying to steal something from.

Read the address of the sender - that is not Facebook - that's someone pretending to be Facebook.

When these crooks succeed, and they succeed far more often than we realize, they do massive damage to the finances of the person they are attacking and sometime to the close to irreparable damage to reputations.

You can steer clear of much of this by being attentive – realize they’re out there and for them it costs next to nothing to send out electronic messages with the hope they will snag you.

The one thing the public needs is a place to send the attempts they get – the police are pretty good at tracking this kind of thing – but they need to know it is taking place.  The more they know the faster they can act.

At some point we will have an international agency that can track, apprehend, arrest and punish these crooks.

But for now – when you learn something tell your friends.  And pay attention.


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Guilty, guilty, guilty – he will rot in that prison. Tori Stafford’s murderer to be formally sentenced next week.

Part 9

This series is a first person account, told by a parent who has lived through the fear and pain that rocked Woodstock when an eight year old girl was abducted on her way home from school and subsequently murdered.  Elizabeth  Maloney takes us through each step of the ordeal and starts with: A girl the same age as my daughter – is missing, she didn’t get home after school. The worry sets in. No longer can a parent feel reassured by the spotlight of safety once provided by broad daylight. Things are different now.  It can happen anytime, anywhere, and the most gut-wrenching of all; to anyone.

 By Elizabeth Maloney

WOODSTOCK ON  May 11, 2012    At 9:09pm Friday evening, there was a silence throughout Woodstock. The news was broadcasting- the verdict is in. I was on my cell texting friends, warning everyone to get in front of a TV  A friend, who does not have cable,  dashed over to her neighbour and banged on the door. Her startled neighbour was puzzled until she told him the verdict was in as she rushed into the house.   It was that important. I think the city must have ground to a halt. In fact the more I think about it, I am sure there were no cars going by on my usually busy street. We were all waiting, holding our breath.

I had Goosebumps and the hair on the back of my neck was standing on end. I was furiously texting between 3 people. This is it. They are back earlier than we had thought. This was either going to be really good or really bad. The newscasters keep promising any moment we will know, be it seemed to be taking forever.

He will live in a prison with Bernardo and Williams and sit in his cell for 23 hours of each day. Child molesters are seen as the worst of the worst in prison society - there are men in there who will want to do to him what he did to that eight year old child.

And then suddenly,…..Count 1, murder in the first degree: GUILTY! I swear I heard a collective cheer within the city.  More texting back and forth. Count 2, kidnapping: GUILTY! And Count 3, sexual assault: GUILTY!  I believe a loud “YES!” escaped my lips and I pumped my fist. It was a celebration! It was over and Tori had justice!  It was like a weight suddenly lifted off the entire city.

More messages back and forth. Many wishing Rafferty would rot in prison. Several stating they wish Canada had the death penalty back. Postings littered Facebook, many making similar statements. In the end we just all felt better. We all felt he was guilty and now it was fact. Michael Rafferty was no longer the accused- it was Michael Rafferty, the convicted murderer and rapist of Tori Stafford. It was vindication, for Tori, her family and Woodstock as a whole.

Tara McDonald - an addiction to drugs brought her into a world with people who would end the life of her daughter.

Tori’s mother, Tara McDonald, left the courtroom quickly and did not stop to talk to the media. The emotion of the moment must have been overwhelming. Tori’s brother Darren was reportedly with her in the courtroom. Now 14 years old, he and his mother hugged when the verdict was announced. Someone in the courtroom asked Tara if she was happy and she said yes.

Rodney Stafford and his mother Doreen Graichen came out and spoke to the reporters. Rodney close to tears at one point said that they were “happy” with the verdict and thanked the Crown, the investigators, the people of Woodstock and even the whole province.

The Crown and Police Services both made several statements, but refused to answer questions, out of respect for the McDonald/Stafford families. They also cited the 30 day waiting period for the appeal. It was short and sweet and to the point. Rafferty was going to prison and for no less than 25 years. The soonest Rafferty could be released from prison would be 2037.

I had tears in my eyes. Especially when Rodney spoke. As I said before, I didn’t know the family, but in the last three years, I felt I knew Tori and in a way I had come to love her, just as the rest of the city had. The emotion of it all was a lot to deal with. Especially in light of what we had learned about Rafferty since the Jury was charged and sequestered.

Back on Wednesday, when the jury was safe away from the public, debating in a room in the London courthouse, new details began to leak out about the investigation into Rafferty.  Police had found much more evidence than we had been led to believe. When Rafferty was arrested he had his IPod Touch with him which was seized and searched. A search warrant was issued for Rafferty’s residence and a search there found a hard drive in a plastic bag hidden behind his dresser.  The hard drive harboured images of child porn and the laptop had a history of searches for “pre-teen” and “underage rape”.  He also downloaded a movie on Karla Homolka, at least one snuff film involving a child and a “how to” guide for raping children.

Unspeakable grief - Tori's Father sitting with his Mother.

Pretty damning evidence right? Wrong! The jury would never hear about it. The evidence was found under a faulty search warrant that omitted to list contents of computers or other electronics. Justice Thomas Heeney, ruled on January 31, 2012 that Rafferty’s rights were violated by the search of the electronics, as police did not have the appropriate warrant and thus the evidence was set aside.

Residents of Woodstock, and practically everywhere, were outraged when they heard this.  To most of us, this erased all doubt in our eyes about Rafferty’s guilt. To know the jury may never hear it was like a stake driven through the heart. Many of us had been debating if they would convict Rafferty on the sexual assault charge and to know the evidence was right there, but inadmissible was utter torture. If he  somehow escaped the charge, I don’t know what we would have done.

But the jurors saw through it. Their almost uncanny perception of this case drove them to stop deliberations and ask for clarification of what could be termed sexual assault. Pointing specifically to Tori’s clothing from the waist down being removed. I think that astute question is what sealed the fate of Mr. Rafferty. That is personal opinion, but I honestly believe that. I’m sure we will find out from the jurors themselves in the days to come.

So tonight Woodstock breathes a heavy sign of relief. An end to a nightmare and the hellish ordeal of bringing the responsible parties to justice. As Rodney said during his interview tonight, it doesn’t bring Tori back. But I’ll tell you what,  it does give us: a little bit of justice and a whole lot of closure. It is now time for the family to heal and begin the process of living life without Tori. Their battle is far from over.  Every day will still present challenges in dealing with their grief. I wish them well and I hope they find  a reason to smile again.

All the public could see was a sweet innocent child - and it was painful.

But for tonight all there is left to say is “Rest in peace Tori –  finally, you can rest in peace.”

Next week a judge will formally sentence Michael Rafferty to “life in prison”, which under out laws means he must remain in a prison for not less than 25 years.  There is a faint hope” cause that allows him to apply for an earlier release.   There is a reason for calling it the faint hope clause.

During the sentencing victims of this horrible, despicable crime are given an opportunity to make a statement on the impact the crime has had on their lives.



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Suspects arrested. Now for the trial. We expected it to be a simple case of convicting – little did we know.

Part 7

This series is a first person account, told by a parent who has lived through the fear and pain that rocked Woodstock when an eight year old girl was abducted on her way home from school and subsequently murdered.  Elizabeth  Maloney takes us through each step of the ordeal and starts with: A girl the same age as my daughter – is missing, she didn’t get home after school. The worry sets in. No longer can a parent feel reassured by the spotlight of safety once provided by broad daylight. Things are different now.  It can happen anytime, anywhere, and the most gut-wrenching of all; to anyone.

 By Elizabeth Maloney

WOODSTOCK, ON  May 10, 2012  With Tori’s accused murderers finally behind bars, now there was nothing to do but prepare for the trial. Things became calm and quiet for quite a long time. But on December 9, 2010 news broke that Terri-Lynn McClintic had plead guilty to the first degree murder of Tori Stafford. But not on that day- way back on April 30, 2010. A publication ban placed by the courts had pre-empted our knowledge of this fact, but a Supreme court decision was now allowing us some of the details of McClintic’ s plea and how it played out.


The community felt cheated when there was no trial for Terri-Lynne McClintic -just a sentencing hearing at which Tori's brother spoke of losing his "bestest" friend.

As a member of this city I have to admit, I was stunned. I couldn’t believe this all happened months ago and was hidden from us. I felt cheated. Our community collectively looked for Tori, worried about Tori and mourned Tori and now we had been shut out of getting justice for “our” little girl.

I understand that it was all a necessary part of the legal wrangling that go hand-in-hand with a case like this, but still it hurt. Terri-Lynn McClintic escaped having to face the community as a whole and I was just going to have to get over the injustice of it all.

At least she had to face Tori’s family. They were in court that day and even gave victim impact statements before her sentencing. One by one, they took the stand. Tori’s mother Tara, father Rodney, brother Darren and other family members, told of a loss that pales to all else in this world. Their messages were a blend of sadness for the loss of Tori in their life, how their world was different now and the outrage of why it was their family member who had to die. Darren’s was perhaps the most painful to hear, speaking of the loss of his “bestest friend” and how she was the most important person in the world to him.

After all the proceedings were said and done, Terri-Lynn was sentenced to life- the mandatory sentence in a first degree murder plea. Her sentence was to be served at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario. Terri-Lynn had already served 7 months of her sentence by the time we finally found this all out.

In addition to Terri-Lynn’s plea arrangement and sentence, an edited version of McClintic’s statement to police, an edited version of the agreed statement of facts describing the events of April 8, 2009 and details of her cooperation with police were also publicized for the first time. Finally we had a time-line of the day in question, from when Tori was abducted to her untimely death only hours later.  McClintic admitted her guilt, freely and willingly, even attempting to express remorse for her actions. And now she was going to jail, her part in this tragedy played out and judged. But that was not the end of Terri-Lynn’s involvement. We would see her again in 2012.

We heard almost nothing from McClintic during her sentencing - but we would hear from her again in 2012 - it was to be terrible.

With McClintic successfully navigating a clear and media-free path to jail, the public was still looking to hold someone accountable. Enter Mr. Michael Rafferty, McClintic’s boyfriend and co-conspirator. Upon his arrest, Rafferty took the opposite approach to that of his former girlfriend. He hid from the cameras and refused to co-operate with police. Since his arrest in May 2009, Rafferty has not said one word. He never spoke out; not even to proclaim his innocence. There is a saying “ better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Either Rafferty or his lawyers must have seen the wisdom  in this old adage.  And as we were about to find out it would seem his whole defense was based on this premise.

On March 5th, 2012, the case that was supposed to happen in 2010 finally began in a courtroom in London. Proceedings had been moved from Woodstock to protect the integrity and fairness of the trial. No one in Woodstock seemed to mind though. No one wanted Rafferty to have grounds for appeal, so it had to be done right. The general outlook on the situation can be summed up using the words of a fellow Woodstonians. “(Rafferty was).. far enough to be tried and close enough to burn.” And almost everyone in Woodstock wanted him to “burn”.

As anxious as we were to have the murder trial underway, we weren’t prepared for some of the horrible details that would be revealed through the course of witness testimony. I will warn you, just as the judge warned the jury, some of these details are very disturbing and can be quite difficult to handle. But as I see it, we have to face the evil in order to honour Tori and her memory. The only way to acknowledge Tori’s life is to acknowledge the agony she endure for those last few hours of her life.

The Crown called 61 witnesses in total- Tori’s 3rd grade teacher, her mother Tara McDonald, co-accused Terri McClintic, the Coroner and the OPP officer who found Tori’s body, just to name a few.

Tori Stafford's grade three teacher took the stand for what had to be one of the hardest days in her teaching career.

Tori had left school just like any other day and was walking to her mother’s place on Frances St. But as we all too well know, she never made it there. Terri-Lynn picked up the tale at that point, telling the courtroom how she approach Tori and talked to her about seeing her puppy. She lured Tori into Rafferty’s car and the final moments of Tori’s life began to tick away. She told how they stopped so Rafferty could buy drugs and another stop at the Home Depot in Guelph so she could purchase the supplies that would aid in concealing Tori’s broken little body.

And then the drive to the abandoned, secluded field off of 6th Concession near Mount Forest. McClintic said Rafferty had been talking of abducting a child and had even wanted one younger than Tori for his sinister purposes. According to McClintic, she walked away from the car, giving Rafferty the opportunity to repeatedly rape the little girl. McClintic only came back when Tori asked to go to the bathroom, taking the little girl by the hand. I can only imagine what must have been said between them. Tori’s tear-stained face, pleading to just go home. McClintic reassuring the girl to quiet her.

Tori died shortly after that, leaving the mystery of who really killed her. Crushing her skull with a claw hammer and breaking 16 of her ribs, one of them brutally murdered Tori. Only three people know the truth about that moment: Rafferty, McClintic and Tori. No matter who delivered the devastating blows, one could argue the other facilitated these events. One killed Tori and the other helped kill Tori with their inaction. Then they worked together to bury Tori in garbage bags, under a pile of rocks.

The Coroner Dr. Pollanen testified to Tori’s injuries, supporting McClintic’s account of events, but could not offer proof of the sexual assault. Tori’s body was found with no pants, clad only in her Hannah Montana shirt.  Her body was already in an advanced state of decomposition when she was found and that area of her body had already deteriorated completely, thus eliminating any trace of the alleged assault.

She had been murdered the day she was abducted her body left under a pile of rocks.

OPP Det.-Staff Sgt. Jim Smyth, also took the stand, as the officer that found Tori’s body. He testified to the nature in which Tori was found and corroborated McClintic’s testimony of how she & Rafferty disposed of the body.  Smyth had used information regarding Rafferty’s cell phone usage in the area, and acting on a hunch went for a drive to check out the area. After noting similarities to McClintic’s confession he continued to investigate until he found a rock pile,…and Tori.

Rafferty’s behavior after the crime was also presented to the court. Rafferty was portrayed as a womanizer, frequently juggling women. They attempted to show how he manipulated them, specifically talking one, a mother of four, into prostitution and channeling the proceeds directly to him.  After eight  weeks of testimony, the prosecution rested.

The media waited with baited breath- would Rafferty take the stand to refute the testimony of his ex-girlfriend?  Maintaining his silence it was announced Rafferty would not be taking the stand in his own defense. Instead the Defence’s response was short and simple. They called one witness, previously unknown to anyone. This witness, a grandmother of another student at Oliver Stephens, testified that she saw Terri-Lynn inside Oliver Stevens. She claimed she saw McClintic walk away with Tori, looking very determined and on a mission. Rafferty’s attorney, Dirk Derstine, was trying to inject reasonable doubt into McClintic’ s testimony. Implying she forged the plot to abduct Tori as a means of enforcing a drug debt. He connected the dots between Tara buying drug’s from McClintic’ s mother Carol and showing they had previous knowledge of each other. Mr. Derstine was not trying to prove his client innocent, but merely to cast a broad enough shadow of doubt.


Rafferty in a police car. He chose not to take the witness stand. Was there enough evidence to convict?

And then unceremoniously, the Defence rested.

That brings us to today. Wrapping up it’s closing arguments, the defence went through its alternate theory once more and pointed out what was circumstantial. Almost wagging a finger at the jury and reminding them that they cannot convict if there is a reasonable doubt.

And in a day or two, Ontario Superior Court Justice Thomas Heeney will charge the jury with determining the fate of Michael Rafferty. The decision to convict or acquit will be their’ s, and their’ s alone. All we can do is have faith and wait, hoping they make the best choice with the information presented to them.


Tori Stafford. We lost her - too soon. Woodstock needed a conviction.

It’s no secret that Tori’s family and the community of Woodstock are praying for a conviction in this case. Closure is desperately needed. Tori left our world just over three years ago, her last hours on this planet the most horrible a child could suffer. Tori was not allowed to die in peace, but perhaps with the end of the trial looming near, she will soon get to rest in peace.

Part 6

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Six community leaders recognized at awards ceremony. Wendy Hager named citizen of the year.

From the left: Michelle Bennett Environment, Sam Kawazoye Community Service, Trevor Copp Arts , Mayor Goldring, Wendy Hager, Citizen of the Year, Dan Taylor Junior Citizen and Jim Frizzle, Senior of the year.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  May 11, 2012  One award recipient saw the letter from city hall and thought it was a bill – so she didn’t open it.  Another had a voice that was made for the world of broadcasting.  Ellen Wilkes Irmisch,  speaking about the Arts Person of the Year Award given in her parents name, had the funniest line when she recalled for the audience the comment her mother used to make as she went out for an evening with a friend: “ make sure your hot date doesn’t become your due date.”  It had nothing to do with the award she was giving but it gave one an insight as to the kind of Mom she had.

Michelle Bennett’s acceptance speech:  This award deserves to be shared.  People who volunteer require the support of all the guests who are here tonight or in my case parents that stayed home to watch our kids.  Without the family and friendship networks  that help cover our at home and work  responsibilities, we’d be so hard pressed to join organizations and committees and support the good work being done in Burlington.  So my heartfelt thank you to you all.Another reason to share this award is because it was and still is a team effort to create this wonderful new community garden.  City Staff  identified available funds early on, and worked diligently to prepare staff reports that City Council unanimously endorsed.  The Burlington Sustainable Development CAC led the charge and BurlingtonGreen received the baton and ran with it to create a wonderful supportive program to really kick start this new pilot community garden.  Citizens have been impressed with the good work of the Parks and RPM staff in the garden construction, and are simply thrilled to be involved with this healthy grow-it-yourself opportunity to add fresh food to their daily plates.To receive this Environmental award has made me ponder the meaning of being identified publically as an Environmentalist.An environmentalist is someone who believes our consumer driven lifestyles have collectively contributed to climate change.  Someone who believes that by reducing our personal impact and by voicing our concern to change government policy and corporate practice that collectively we can hope to mitigate the negative consequences that threaten our immediate security, and our future survival.Personal action is where we each have the most control.   For instance, our household of 5 uses one vehicle. Our kids and I quite easily get the majority of what we need and want done by carpooling, taking a bus, walking or riding a bike.   To transition from stay at home mom I chose to spend my time volunteering for causes I felt important, and work for a local non-profit that advocates and provides programs to support environmental awareness and local policy for a healthier, greener city.  Thank you to Amy Schnurr and BurlingtonGreen for this opportunity.  I grow a garden (a few now actually), buy organic and local food when I can, and hope to inspire others to do the same. I am a daughter, a spouse, mother and citizen.  I do not wear an environmentalist label exclusively or intentionally.  It seems to be something that has grown on me naturally as I have simply altered small and large day to day practices making decisions with a conscious scope on what many consider common sense basics:  Refuse. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Grow. Buy and Eat Local.    Many people are aligned with the environmental movement’s goals even if they don’t necessarily align themselves with the movement itself.  We all can live eco friendly lives simply by striving daily to make rational balanced decisions.  Living lightly is a balancing act we can all improve upon.To truly create a more sustainable and equitable social and economic system we need to embrace the creation of “green” jobs and welcome more eco-conscious industry and services to Burlington.  I hope that the City or Chamber of Commerce will someday create an award to recognize the achievement of social, economic and environmental triple bottom line success in Burlington. We need to look past inherited divisions and understand that most of us are on the same side with the same fears, hopes and goals regardless of what labels we may wear.  Timelines are a victim of politics, but goals can be reached in both the short and long term as long as the commitment is made.  Individual efforts can make a difference, and collectively we can make good things grow.

The Civic Recognition Awards is a community event; a time to recognize those people who do the things that make a community real; a place where you can live a good, comfortable life and spend some of your time helping others.

Jim Frizzle, recognized as the Burlington Senior of the Year arrived 20 years ago and got to know his neighbour Keith Strong. And anyone who knows Keith Strong knows the rest of the story.

Jim Frizzle, who certainly did a lot of helping, explained that when he moved to Burlington twenty years ago,  his neighbour said he would have plenty of things to volunteer on.  His neighbour was Keith Strong, chair of the Civic Recognition Committee for 2011,  and probably the best civic minded strong arm the city has.  We are fortunate to have both of them.

Dan Taylor, Junior Citizen of the Year thanked his parents for driving him to all the places he had to get to as he both motivated and lead fellow high school students.  This young man has a voice that was made for broadcasting; listening to him – and you understand immediately how he motivates.

There were award recipients in six categories.

Community Service Award given to Sam Hawazoye, the sole nominee in the category.

Environmental Award given to Michelle Bennett with Susan Fraser and Barbara Frensch nominated.

Arts Person of the Year given to Trevor Copp with Myles Erlick nominated.

Junior Citizen of the Year given to  Dan Taylor with  Bo Chen Han and  Amy Stringer nominated.

Senior Person of the year award given to Jim Frizzle, with Donald Jervis, Mary Plows and Dr. Salem Rao nominated.

Citizen of the Year Award was given to Wendy Hagar with Marilyn Heinz, Bev Jacobs and Crystal McNerney nominated.

Burlington has been recognizing its leading citizens since 1955



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