Water testing indicates the real start of summer. Not all area beaches are safe for swimming yet.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  June 8, 2012 The Halton Region Health Department monitors the water quality at public beaches throughout Halton. Beach water samples taken on June 5 revealed the following beaches have acceptable levels of bacteria and are safe for swimming:

•       Halton Hills – Prospect Park Old Beach

•       Milton – Kelso Conservation Area

Not all the area beaches are safe yet.

The following beaches have high levels of bacteria and are unsafe for swimming:

•       Burlington – Beachway Park North, Beachway Park South

•       Oakville – Coronation Park East, Coronation Park West, Bronte Park Beach

Residents can also call Halton Region to find out which beaches have acceptable levels of bacteria or which have been posted as unsafe for swimming due to poor water quality. Beach water quality information is available 24 hours a day by dialing 311 or calling 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866 or TTY 905-827-9983.  During regular business hours ask for beach information, and after regular business hours press 2 for health information.

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First Bike to Work Day crowd small – can it grow? Alton & Orchard residents would have to put their life in their hands to be part of this.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  May 28, 2012  There weren’t traffic jams around city hall but there were more than fifty people who made it to the breakfast served by the city to mark the first Bike to Work Day which was part of the Smart Commute Halton, that the city and the Chamber of Commerce got behind this year.

It was a start, marred by some political bafflegab that seems to have to be said.  Here`s a sample:

With a hearty breakfast in their tummies the cyclists that made it to city hall for the first Bike to Work Day in Burlington, pose and are now part of the city's history. Photo supplied by Region)

“Transportation is an important issue for Halton residents,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “By partnering with the Metrolinx Smart Commute program, Halton Region is proud to offer Halton businesses and residents an easy to use alternative to driving alone. By working with the City of Burlington and the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, we’re excited to have motivating events like Bike to Work Day where cyclists can be thanked for their contribution towards making Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.”

“We encourage Burlington residents and employees to seek alternate means of transport whenever possible,” says Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring. “Whether you’re riding, walking or rolling, we hope to see you get up, get out and get moving.”

It would have been nice to hear an announcement about specific road improvements that would make it possible for people north of the QEW to actually cycle into the downtown core.  It`s still a divided city for cyclists.

The next item on the agenda of those who would have us our bicycles every day of the week is two Car Free Sundays – June 10 and July 15.

 

 

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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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Mountainside revitalization a Go, GO, GO. Taylor delivers and keeps the pool open while arena upgraded.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 11, 2012  He isn’t known as the Dean of City Council just because he has been there longer than anyone else – he’s the Dean because he gets things done.

Last night city council, after eight years of work, approved the revitalization of the Mountainside Community Arena and Pool.  John Taylor shepherded and guided this project and made sure it was done well within the budget available.  This was HIS baby and he wasn’t going to not let it happen – nor was he going to let it disrupt the summer pool schedule either.

The Mountainside recreational complex will be a much different place when the revitalization that was approved by Council is completed in 2013

Taylor worked the phones, and probably twisted some arms as well, to ensure that there was a provision in the construction tender that will go out once the drawings are completed, to keep the pool open during the summer months.

While there were rumours that the whole project was going to be shut down – Taylor squelched those – he also told the public last night that the pool would not be shut down while work was being done on the arena upgrade.

The project now goes to the architects who will do the final drawings that the contractor who wins the tender will work from.  There will be a little disruption on the site but come the fall of 2013 the arena will be completed and the disruption will have been well worth it.

Will Councillor Taylor be on hand to drop the puck for the first hockey game once the arens is opened?

With a municipal election following shortly after the Official Opening, Councillor Taylor will have quite a feather in his hat.  Good on him.

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Mountainside arena and pool to undergo revitalization. Place will look great when it`s done and be easier to get into when completed.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 2,  2012  It was eight years in the making, but Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor sat at a Community Services Committee meeting beaming with pride as he watched a presentation on the revitalization of the Mountainside Arena and Pool.  Then he said – twice – for emphasis – that the site was not being closed.  It would Taylor explained be closed for a season while the construction and upgrade work was done – which will be in the summer of 2014 – oops, that’s an election year isn’t it?  Taylor has such a high following that he can withstand some community dissatisfaction while an important community recreational site is closed to be upgraded.

Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor

As is Taylor’s way – the Committee went with the least expensive of the three possible approaches to the significant upgrade planned for the site.  Council will meet on April 10th and put a stamp of approval on the project.

The next step will be the issuing of a purchasing order for the detailed design phase of the project which lets the architects begin the detailed drawings.

The entrance to the complex will now be at the top of the site with a large parking lot that Parks and Recreation people expect will hold most of the cars that pull up.

An aerial view of the Mountainside recreational complex that will undergo revitalization in 2013

The buildings will now have a much more presentable entrance with a small pull into lane for those that want to drop off kids with those massive bags that hold their hockey equipment.

There will be better change rooms, a concession area as well as two community meeting rooms.  Expect Councillor Taylor to make considerable use of these.

The splash pool that was paid for with federal/provincial government Stimulus money will remain with very minor modifications.

An architectural rendering of the site with the view from the north looking south. Parking and entrance have been re-oriented making it a much easier site to move in and out of - also has much better facilities inside.

The architects commented that it was a challenging site with homes on the west side that objected to headlights from cars parking in the lower lot so they moved the orientation of that lot to face east.  The long, thin site the architects had to work with was hedged in by a woodlot on the east and an incline to get to the upper level parking lot.  Someone should have explained to the architect that there is a reason for calling the place “Mountainside”.

A look at the detail once revitalization has been completed.

With the entrance now moved to the northern end of the site it might be a little difficult to figure out where you’re supposed to go the first time you visit but after that – it will make a lot of sense and be a lot easier to get in and out of the building.  Burlington is currently on a bit of a sign blitz – so expect there to be good signage at the entrance to the site.

It is going to be a very significant improvement to a site that is heavily used by the community.  Good on John Taylor for steering the development of this project for his ward.

Burlington has seven arenas with two that are older than Mountainside: Nelson is 47 years old and Central is 44 years old.  The newest is the arena on Appleby.

The Mountainside site was first opened forty two years ago.  The pool was opened in 1962 and an arena added in 1969.

ZAS Architects have done some very innovative work on the lower Don River part of Toronto and based on their presentation they have brought the same innovation and quality to the Mountainside site.

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Bump up the kids allowance – there might be a $100. ticket to pay. Skate board fines might be in the works.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 6, 2010  –  Redo that budget and get in some money for the $75.00 fine the city wants to levy for those caught using their skate boards on city streets.  Add the victim fee and that $75. which will get you as close to $100. as you want to be.

The city isn`t all that concerned about the money – it just wants to find a way to be able to control the people that are behaving recklessly and feels that a $75.  fine will do the trick.  Problem with the fine is that there are all kinds of legal and Highway Traffic Act concerns.

This is a delicate area – just about every kid that doesn`t use a bike, uses a skate board to get around and the law as it stands now says you cannot use a skateboard on a public road.  You can use it on a side walk or in the bike lane.  All the police can do now is talk to you – there is no penalty for them to levy.

The city thinks that giving the police a tool they can use will solve the problem – and when they do that they shift that problem to the police who are going to be expected to exercise discretion.

The problem is with gangs that see skate boarding as almost an extreme sport.  Ward 1 councillor Rick Craven reports that there are kids who gather at night on Kerns Road where the hills and the grades are great for skate boarding. They get out there with a van and a video camera, film the thrill ride of someone speeding down the hill and post it on You Tube.  The police are powerless for the most part because even if they do catch the kids behaving recklessly they can only warn them off.

Council wants to give the police a bigger stick and wanted to talk about ways that a system of fines could be put in place.  But they didn`t want the police to be slapping a $75. ticket on every kid using a skate board on a public street – they wanted the police to use their discretion.

Can you imagine drivving up the street and seeing this coming at you? Not reckless but not the safest thing to do either.

Police didn`t attend the Committee of the Whole meeting – city staff said they were invited, the police say they weren`t.  Our information from our media man at Regional Police was that :“ I have spoken with the Burlington Operational Inspector who advised me they were aware of the meeting you are referring to, but they (police) were not asked to be in attendance for it.“   Go figure.  Methinks staff were being a little disingenuous.  The police are aware of the problem and they too would like to see a solution.  They are the people that have to attend when there is an accident and report that a young person has suffered serious head injuries.

Giving police the ability to issue a ticket and then expecting them to use their discretion reflects a bit of misunderstanding as to what police do.  They are there to enforce the law.  Give them clear rules and they will do their job – expect them to use their discretion and you invite nothing but problems.  I suspect too that traffic offence lawyers will have great fun with this one should a ticket case every get to traffic court.

That said, there is a problem.  Kids are creating dangerous situations in parts of the city where there are really good hills they can speed down.  The city put up signs saying Skate Boarding was Prohibited – the kids tore down the signs.

The problem however is not limited to parts of the city with steep grades.  Recently there was a serious accident involving a van and a young man on a skate board who was luging along a flat street.  Luging is when a person lays flat on a skate board.  The driver of the van just didn`t see the person on the skate board.

This problem is going to call for some very creative thinking by people who are very familiar with the Highway Traffic Act.  A new fine of $75. and expecting the HRPS to exercise discretion isn`t the answer to this problem.

Educating the kids isn`t going to solve this problem either.  The vast majority of the kids who glide along quiet residential streets with buds plugged into their ears meaning they don`t hear traffic approaching are harming no one.  It is just a few that are creating a problem – let`s find a stick that won`t cripple them when they are hit with it – but let`s not put our police in a situation where they have to solve a problem we can`t solve.

The Highway Traffic Act says that bicycles can be used on the streets.  Blades and boards can be used on a sidewalk or in a bicycle lane if one exists.  Can you imagine the howls from the public if all the skate boards are suddenly on the side walk ?

Sergeant Dave Cross, the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) media man, advises that HRPS does not have a Skate Board Swat Team, so we shouldn`t expect to see cruisers out on the prowl along Kerns Road every night

And as for Officer who gave me a speeding ticket for doing more than 60 on Walkers Line, ( I thought the limit was 80)  – he did exercise some discretion and cut it back a bit and saved me some points.  Will that kind of discretion solve our skate board problem ?  Is it worth a try ?

The officer who caught me was parked behind a cluster of bushes – are we going to see officer hiding in hedges along Kerns Road with bicycles at the ready to race after skate board miscreants ?

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Elite level cycling opportunity brought to a close. City will terminate the agreement.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON October 3, 2011  Today was the Go – No go day for elite cycling in Burlington and because a hard deadline the city had set for a response from the MidWeek Cycling Club did not arrive before the end of the cling events during the summer of 2012 in Burlington.  Which is unfortunate because the city’s geography offered so much potential for the development of some sports tourism that the city had dearly hoped to develop.

The Canadian Cycling Association has given the rights to the 2011 and 2012 qualifying events to Mid-Week Cycling who then approached Burlington and the

We could have become a great place for elite level cyclists to develop their skills. Not this time but the geography we are blessed will be there for the next attempt.

city along with the Burlington Hotel Association put up a total of $50,000. to support the initiative that was to see exciting Criterion races in the downtown core of the city o

n Canada Day.

But it was not to happen.  In 2010 Parks and Recreation staff bent over backwards to make the event happen.  The Halton Regional Police spent hours working through traffic plans and routing possibilities.  But time and again the Mid Week Cycling Club failed to deliver documentation and details.  The last time around in 2010 and 2011 everyone worked very hard and there was the one race event in the Aldershot areas that most people felt went off very well.  But the city tired of never really knowing of the cycling people were going to come through.

At one point in the comedy of errors on the part of the Mid Week Cycling Club a required payment was made to the Halton Regional Police but the cheque bounced.

Police turned a blind eye to the offence and continued with all the field work.  It amounted to nothing.

The contract was for a two year agreement and 2012 was to be the year that it all came together.  This time the city was not going to be run around in circles.  The Parks and Recreation people at the direction of Council established deadlines that had to be met and October 3rd was one of them.  If event route data was not in the hands of the city by 5:00 of the 3rd – the event was off and the agreement  would be terminated.

There was nothing in hand by 5:00 pm.  So no cycling races in Burlington during the summer of 2012.  City hall staff were not as disappointed as they had been in the past.  They learned some hard lessons last summer and were not going to make the same mistakes twice.

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City sees major benefits in elite cycling – prepared to work with new leadership at cycling club.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON September 15, 2011 – It was a great idea at the time but it got off to a shaky start and just didn’t get any better.

The first step in having elite cycle racing take part in Burlington started during the Jackson administration when a group known as MidWeek Cycling appeared before a Council Committee asking for financial support for a plan they had to run two cycling event in the downtown core and at other venues around the city and elsewhere in the region.

Then Mayor Jackson however didn’t like the look of the idea and was disturbed over the fact that the project wasn’t properly documented and that the promoter hadn’t showed up for a critical meeting. We should have paid attention to that red flag.

On a recorded vote it passed but Jackson didn’t go for it. On that one he was right. More than a year later, a lot of egg on our faces and hours and hours of time pout in by staff and the Regional Police – and guess what? We are looking at the event again.

This time however – it is going to be a lot different. The biggest change is at the MidWeek Cycling club level. Crag Fagan, the guy that drove people at city hall and the Regional police offices nuts, will not be part of the next attempt to bring elite cycling to the city.

Why are we doing this a second time? The original agreement was for a two year period. The thinking at the time was that 2011 races were to be a lead up to the 2012 races which were 2014 Olympic qualifying events.

Chris Glenn has kept his staff focused on the objective, it wasn’t always easy working with an event organizer who didn’t appear to be able to meet commitments.

Chris Glenn has kept his staff focused on the objective, it wasn’t always easy working with an event organizer who didn’t appear to be able to meet commitments.

Many saw this as an opportunity for Burlington to take advantage of the geography and put the city on the map as the place to hold first class racing events. The plans to hold a Criterion event in the downtown core had a lot of people excited. The Burlington Down Business Association and the Burlington Hotel Association were all a twitter over the possibilities.

They liked the idea so much that they petitioned the Region for permission to have retailers remain open for the Canada Day Race. They could just see the dollars rolling in.

Councillor Jack Dennison, a keen cycler did everything he could to make the event happen but it was just one problem after another that had city hall staff doing far more than they should have. That won’t be happening again. The event is actually the Canadian National Road Cycling Championships which are held by the Canadian Cycling Association. That association doesn’t really put on the event. They look for a local association to put on the event and chose MidWeek Cycling to do that job. MidWeek had Crag Fagan lead the project for the club. That was a terrible mistake.

Fagan came close to getting himself arrested when he had MidWeek issue a cheque to the Regional Police to cover some permits. The cheque bounced. Bouncing a cheque made out to the police isn’t exactly a positive career move.

Things are going to be much tighter and much more disciplined. City hall staff now have a much better understanding as to how these events take place and what the dynamics are and what they need to do and what they need the partners in the events have to do. During early 2010 staff did everything but send a cab to Toronto to pick up Fagan so that he would actually be at meetings. It was dispiriting for the staff and disappointing for everyone involved – but Scott Stewart, currently the Acting City Manager but in real life the General Manager of Community Services could see the potential and he worked with his staff to figure out how they could salvage something from the experience.

Stewart’s team has put together a list of what has to be done and by when – and made it very, very clear that if a deadline is missed – no excuses this time, the deal is off. The deal amount to $30,000. From the city and $20,000 from the hotel association.

The cycling association has to have the following worked out and documentation delivered to the city and the Regional police by October 3rd. No extensions.

If they come up with documentation on the timing, the staging of the event, worked out the logistics that are involved, worked out how residents in the affected areas will be notified, how the general public will be kept aware of what is happening and provide a preliminary traffic management plan – things will go forward. But – the city has made it very clear – the deadline is October 3rd.

Traffic management was a major hurdle that really wasn’t overcome during the 2011 experience. The costs police were looking to have covered were seen as just too high by the MidWeek Cycling people. The belief is that the police have also learned something from this experience and the intention seems to be to make more use of the volunteer police.

Acting City Manager Scott Stewart mentioned that someone had suggested the police volunteer some of their time. Stewart commented that “that one wasn’t on – the idea didn’t fly:, which is unfortunate. Our police are well paid and policing in Burlington isn’t exactly hard work. Giving a little back is part of the Burlington culture that could work its way into the police service.

There were some valuable lessons learned from the summer of 2011 experience. The city now knows that cycling events work best when roads being used are closed with escorting available for those who must drive along the cycling route. There were other lessons learned as well – the biggest one being to insist that deadlines get met by the sponsors of the event. We will know on October 3rd if that lesson has really been learned.

 

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Curran needs to keep the water off the gym floor so Kline can build character; all part of what gymnastic people do.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 14, 2010 – George Curran has a problem. The roof on the building he looks after needs to be repaired but George doesn’t have the money to do the repairs and he can’t borrow to pay for the repairs because, you see, George doesn’t own the building. The city of Burlington does. The gymnastic club uses the building and pays for the upkeep but there isn’t any rent, which sounds like a great deal but a bit of a problem if the roof is going to leak and you can’t afford to pay for the repairs and the owner of the building didn’t have a budget allocation for roof repairs.

George Curran is Manager of Facilities at the Burlington Gymnastics Club where he makes sure the place runs smoothly and that all the systems work the way they are supposed to work. “We had to install a heavier duty air conditioner a number of years ago and that meant bracing the roof a bit, but we got that done. With this heat – the girls sure appreciate that bigger machine on the roof”, added Curran

They are like a bunch of little pixies.  They scamper about and then suddenly they are flying through the air coming off a spring board.  They seem to have bottomless energy and somehow stay focused on the athletic routines they do.

They are like a bunch of little pixies. They scamper about and then suddenly they are flying through the air coming off a spring board. They seem to have bottomless energy and somehow stay focused on the athletic routines they do.

Kathy Kline has a significantly different problem, more like a challenge actually. She works under the roof that George Curran knows needs to be replaced. Kline’s focus is on the 25 or so gymnasts that range in age from about 8 or 9 to 18, who take part in the Peer to Peer Program offered by the Burlington Gymnastics Club. The all female group spends Friday afternoons at the gym working through different routines until they have them perfect.

“The program” explains Kline “is intended to build character and skill as an athlete.”

The first part of this gymnastic routine is to mount the small bar.  The athlete has to run towards the small bar on the floor, reach down with her hands and grasp the bar and then swing her body into an upright position and hold her body steady as she prepares to move into the twirl part of the routine.  Here Kathy Kline, the athlete who runs the program prepares to steady an athlete.

The first part of this gymnastic routine is to mount the small bar. The athlete has to run towards the small bar on the floor, reach down with her hands and grasp the bar and then swing her body into an upright position and hold her body steady as she prepares to move into the twirl part of the routine. Here Kathy Kline, the athlete who runs the program prepares to steady an athlete.

 

Now the actual twirl.  Having grasped the bar the athlete then releases one hand and begins to place left hand over right hand and in the process twirling her body – all the while keeping her legs straight up into the air.  Getting to the point where they mount the bar, do the twirl and then dismount takes hours and hours of hard work.

Now the actual twirl. Having grasped the bar the athletes then releases one hand and begin to place left hand over right hand and in the process twirling her body – all the while keeping her legs straight up into the air. Getting to the point where the mount the bar, do the twirl and then dismount takes hours and hours of hard work.

Once the twirl has been completed the athlete then has to dismount and have her feet on the floor and be standing perfectly erect with her hands at her side.  The complete movement takes a matter of seconds to complete but requires many, many months of practice. It is not as simple as it sounds but when done perfectly the movement is close to ballet and almost poetic.

Once the twirl has been completed the athlete then has to dismount and have her feet on the floor and be standing perfectly erect with her hands at her side. The complete movement takes a matter of seconds to complete but requires many, many months of practice. It is not as simple as it sounds but when done perfectly the movement is close to ballet and almost poetic.

Chris Glenn, Acting Director of Parks and Recreation in Burlington is aware of the problem with the roof, he also very well aware of the program Kathy Kline runs and is delighted it is in place and pleased as all get out when an organization that draws 900 young female athletes to an annual event that takes place in one of the arenas he is responsible for and it doesn’t cost the city a dime. This is win, win, win for Chris Glenn. But about that roof? That will get taken care of and will be part of the new Joint Venture Agreement the city will put in place with the gymnastic club.

Last fall when the Executive Director of the Club, Betty Tate, appeared before a city council committee asking if the city would allow the club to sell their own Gatorade and power bars during the weekend Spring Cup competition the city had a bit of a problem.

Chris Glenn, Acting Director of Parks and Recreation, was in the process of entering into a new contract with a concession that would handle all food and beverage sales at the Central Arena. “All they wanted” explained Glenn, “was the right to sell the kind of treats and liquids they were good for athletes. This was an easy request to go along with. I could live with every request being that simple to fill.”

Parks and Recreation is about providing a service to the community. The challenge for Glenn is to provide that service within the budget City council approves; runs programs relevant to the community and do the longer range thinking that will position the city to be able to meet the needs of a changing demographic.

The link between the Peer to Peer class that Kathy Kline runs and the roof that needs repairs at the gymnastics club and the work Glenn is doing to put better Joint Venture agreements in place with the community organizations that provide services is pretty straight line – just a matter of following the dots.

The city of Burlington doesn’t have a soccer program or a baseball program. The city has facilities that are used by different groups that create the programs. “Burlington is a community where different groups of people set up programs and then work with the city to ensure that the facilities needed are in place. George Curran will explain to you that the gymnastic building was put up some 40 years ago by the city. “We use it and take care of it”

The parents whose children are enrolled at the Gymnastics Club are a resourceful lot. The scan the supermarket flyers and whenever Gatorade is on sale the word goes out and the parents buy the limit and store the stuff in their basements – come Spring Cup time they have a low cost inventory that generates revenue for the club.

Kathy Kline runs the Peer to Peer program at the Burlington Gymnastics Club along with her associate Jenna Gleza  The two know the strengths and weaknesses of each of the athletes and work tirelessly to help each one advance to the next level.

Kathy Kline runs the Peer to Peer program at the Burlington Gymnastics Club along with her associate xxx xxx. The two know the strengths and weaknesses of each of the athletes and work tirelessly to help each one advance to the next level.

Values, determination and constantly striving to do your best and reach new goals are a large part of the Peer to Peer program Kline runs along with her helper Jenna Gleza. “Character isn’t something you measure on a scale”, explains Kline. “A person isn’t a 1 or a 7 – character gets built over time and consistent interaction with adults and their peers. “I can tell in almost an instant if there is something that is bothering one of my girls. This is a very tightly knit group of kids,” adds Kline.

“The girls are expected to work hard and to be consistent in getting to classes. They are here to train and to become top flight gymnasts. Kline, who was an active gymnast in her younger days, understands how hard it is to complete some of the routines but “you master a skill by practice, practice and more practice”, explains Kline and “you have the constant support of your peers throughout your growth as an athlete.”

These young girls are not female “jocks”. There is a sense of determination in every routine they go through. They are at the gymnasium to become better athletes and in the process develop perseverance, depth of character and an ability to start something and follow though until the task is done.

Xxx xxx rings the cowbell to signal to her peers that she has perfected a routine and wants to show her peers what she is now able to do.  The bell doesn’t get rung often – it takes hours and hours to perfect a routine – and it all comes together at the Burlington Gymnastics Club Spring cup event where Burlington athletes compete against others in the province.

Claudia Bartoszek rings the cowbell to signal to her peers that she has perfected a routine and wants to show her peers what she is now able to do. The bell doesn’t get rung often – it takes hours and hours to perfect a routine – and it all comes together at the Burlington Gymnastics Club Spring cup event where Burlington athletes compete against others in the province.

Whenever a gymnast perfects a routine they run into a little closet space and pick up the cowbell that sits in a shelf and give it a little ring – everyone in the gym knows that the athlete has achieved a new level of perfection and they all share in the joy and the knowledge that they too will be supported by their peers. It doesn’t get much better than that.

 

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White construction helmet instead of a tiara and pink work boots – Burlington Beauty Queen graduates

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON June 15, 2011 – Alton, a neighbourhood in the upper east part of the remaining developable lands in Burlington where a number of construction projects are underway, was the site of a sod turning ceremony with Mayor Rick Goldring and the Ward council member for that part of town, Blair Lancaster on hand to dig a little dirt.

Construction crews can now get onto the sit and begin shaoing it as a soccer field and a play area with plenty of shade trees and parking.

Construction crews can now get onto the sit and begin shaoing it as a soccer field and a play area with plenty of shade trees and parking.

The site that construction crews were finally able to get to into now that the sun is drying up the fields will be home to a soccer field a playing field with plenty of parking spaces and some housing along one edge.

The street leading into the soccer field, Palladium Way is separated by a stretch of employment lands, that have yet to be developed, and the 407 on the north with the project itself east off Walkers Line and north of Dundas. Residents in the area have been waiting for the soccer fields to get built and if the weather holds those fields should be accessible well before the kids are back in school.

Always making a fashion statement – the pink boots Councillor Lancaster wears on a construction site turn an eye just as well as the tiara did.

Always making a fashion statement – the pink boots Councillor Lancaster wears on a construction site turn an eye just as well as the tiara did.

These “ceremonial events” are pretty hum drum but if you pay attention there is usually something that can be picked up for what the politicians call the “photo op”. In this situation the photographer from “another news source that get published in Burlington” wanted to frame people in front of a large crane. Here is their intrepid photographer in action.

Becky Ellis, a city landscaping technician was on hand to show the Mayor and the Council member around the site which has houses within a very short distance allowing parents to wander over to the park and playfield where there children are.

What was missed and so typical of what Councilor Lancaster does(she does have a sense of fashion) were the pink construction boots she wore on the site.

The neighbour hood is going through significant growth – a storey we will tell you about later in the month.

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Twins give it a good shot but Hamilton Thunderbirds takes the Saturday game. Teams are now even at one each.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, PM May 28, 2011 – With the weather threatening throughout the day, the Hamilton Thunderbirds made it even – a game apiece – with the Burlington Twins by taking the Saturday game 8 to 3.

The first inning showed some promise for the Twins when they got a run but they couldn’t match the three runs the Thunderbirds got in the first and fourth innings.

The Twins rallied a little bit in the 8th and the 9th – with a run in each but it wasn’t enough to catch the Thunderbird lead.

The league schedule is still working through all the rain postponements. But sunny days are surely ahead from weather point of view – and hopefully sunny days for the Twins as well.

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Twins back in town after road trip that could have been better; one win and one shellacking.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON May 27, 2011 – One could argue that it is still early in the season and that there have been a lot of games postponed – but so far this season, with 4 games played, the Burlington Twins have managed to win one game – we beat Hamilton nicely but got totally shellacked by the Barrie BayCats 13-1 in that disaster and lost to the Ottawa Fat Cats 7-4 and then again to the Brantford Red Sox 12-4

The Twins are back in Burlington this Saturday and providing the weather holds the Big B spirit should infuse the boys on the field.

The Twins are up against the Hamilton Thunderbirds – we’ve beat them once before – could be a good day for the boys with the bats.

Game starts at 2:00 pm Nelson Park. Play ball.

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The parks and open spaces are used – but not by seniors. Could Tai Chi early in the morning change that ?.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON May 18, 2011 – Burlington has parks galore. How well are they used? Do they matter? The question asked was if parks and open spaces were “very important” or “extremely important”. Parks certainly mattered – but what stuck out in the answers to this question was how more they mattered to the people in Ward 2 when measured against the importance to people in the other wards.

Burlington has great parks – but are the right people using them?

Burlington has great parks – but are the right people using them?

Those residing in ward 2 were significantly more likely than those in wards 2,3,5 and 6 to consider parks, open spaces and sports fields important.

Not surprisingly, resident aged 18 – 34 were more likely to make use of parks, open spaces and sports fields on a regular basis when compared to those 55+ – 73% compared to 49%

A clear recreational development and health improvement opportunity and need is to get seniors out into the parks and open spaces.

Ward 2 is the smallest ward in the city and covers all of the downtown core.

The importance of parks, open spaces and sports fields relative to other services is show in the list of ten items that are summarized below.

The Quality of Service Survey was done for Burlington in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2011. The data is based on a random and representative telephone survey of 752 residents over the age of 18 and is considered to be accurate to within plus or minus 3.6%, 19 times out of twenty. For the full survey CLICK HERE.

On balance people in Burlington are happy with the services provided them by the city.

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They apparently made a payment and it wasn’t Canadian Tire money either. Elite Cycling promoter makes another deadline

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON May 16, 2011 A usually reliable source advises that the Midweek Cycling Club event promoter made a payment by certified cheque to the Halton Regional Police Service before the noon deadline of May 16th, to the surprise of many.

The event promoter has missed so many deadlines that everyone expected him to miss this one – and had it been missed, the city would have withdrawn its support for the event. Burlington had originally agreed to put up $30,000. to help fund the event with another $20,000 coming from the Burlington Hotel Association.

When the five scheduled races were cut back to two races the Hotel Association cut back their amount to $10,000. and the city cut back its contribution to a total of $10,000. with $5000. attached to each race.

This event has perplexed council, maddened staff and driven the police to near distraction with the number of hours that have been put in and extensive community consultation.

Ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward commented at the last Council Committee meeting that the two events really weren’t in Burlington but others on Council felt that the promoter should be given a chance – and he seems to have made it under the wire.

There is a contract in place and Council at its next meeting will have to decide if it wants to follow through. It may have to honour the contract even though the promoter has twisted it so badly the original intent is hard to see.

The marquee event was to be a fast flashy races through the streets of downtown Burlington on Canada Day– but that event is off the table. It is being held at the CNE grounds instead.

My friend Margaret Lindsay Holton gives a take that many in Burlington seems to share. She says: ah, ‘Sport tourism’ , the big ‘sexy’ ever-elusive money-maker … Seems like the reality of our aging demographic is forgotten by those who want to pump up the region. I’m not opposed to sport of any kind, but I have doubts when it’s focused around ‘downtown’ ambitions that conflict with many of the reasons that people choose to live here in the first place, like a safe, tranquil, and somewhat sedate ‘quality of life’ … Wouldn’t it make more sense to pump up those ‘values’ then spend hard-earned tax-dollars on soliciting ‘out of town’ ‘invitational’ youth-orientated tournies?”

Stay tuned – this isn’t over yet.

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Gymnastics club attracts 1200 athletes from 32 locations across Ontario for a most successful event.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON May 16, 2011 – More than 1200 young girls took part on the 23rd Annual gymnastic event hosted by the Burlington Gymnastics Club at the Central Recreation Centre and according to Betty Tate, Executive Director of the club the event was a “fabulous success. “No one was hurt and I am thrilled with the results.” The event, known as the Spring Cup, is Canada’s largest invitational gymnastics event three years running.

Members of the Burlington host club handed out the awards to their peers.

Members of the Burlington host club handed out the awards to their peers.

There were 125 Burlington families and their sibling participating in the event that had clubs from 32 communities across Canada. Not only was the event an athletic success but it was also a financial success and raised several thousand dollars for the club that needs a new roof on their Maple Avenue location.

“We are now at capacity in terms of the number of people we can accommodate at this location.

One of the really nice touches at this event was the having Burlington Club members hand out the medals. In the past, politicians or public personalities would do this task and they always serve as a draw but watching the Burlington kids drape the medals around the necks of their peers was something to watch. Good move on the part of the club.

While the event is an athletic one, it really isn’t about developing Olympic level athletes. Some of the girls do go on to advanced levels but the Burlington Gymnastics Club focuses on developing character and confidence. Meaghan Rice who won a Gold Medal for her floor performance and a Bronze for her work on the bars was more thrilled with the Bronze medal because it was the best bars work she had ever done.

Kathy Kline, a parent who was once a gymnast keeps a close eye on a gymnast doing vault work.

Kathy Kline, a parent who was once a gymnast keeps a close eye on a gymnast doing vault work.

Kathy Kline, a parent working with the Burlington girls doing vault work and on hand to catch a child that might falter, had a young girl say she was sorry for not doing as well as she wanted to. Kathy was quick to point out that “she had done her very best and next time she will do better. “We focus on developing their confidence” said Kline – “the skills follow.”   Kline, in an earlier life was a gymnast and knows what this kind of activity does to build character and confidence.  She, like many of the Mother’s on site helping out, did gymnastics and enjoy being part of the sport but, as Kline points out, she “doesn’t fly over a vault any more” Kline is both a parent with a child in the program and a competitive coach with BCG

Every move made on either the floor work, bars or vaults was photographed and available to the participants.  Two gymnasts look at a performance deciding if they want the picture.

Every move made on either the floor work, bars or vaults was photographed and available to the participants. Two gymnasts look at a performance deciding if they want the picture.

The event is very much a family thing. Teams are created for the set up and take down of the equipment; there is an awards team and a concessions team. Tate explains that the woman working the concession table will watch for sales and when they see a really good deal they will tell their colleagues who will then go out and buy up as much as and be well stocked with low cost food and drinks. This is about as community as you can get.

Tate, who works as a teacher at the Canadian National Ballet School and serves part time as the Burlington Gymnastic Club Executive Director, manages a collection of parent volunteers “without who none of what we do would ever get done”.

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Mayor throws a grounder, twins lose home opener 7-4 but the fans hang in while the weather refuses to cooperate.

By Sports Staff

BURLINGTON, ON May 7, 2011 – It wasn’t one of his best moment but Mayor Rick Goldring was there throwing the ceremonial first ball at the home opener for the new to town Burlington Twins semi pro baseball team. The ball landed a foot or so into the ground before home plate – but the catcher as able to scoop it up.

New bleachers will soon be in place at Nelson where the Burlington Twins played their league home opener on Saturday.

New bleachers will soon be in place at Nelson where the Burlington Twins played their league home opener on Saturday.

There was a nice enough crowd and it was certainly a family event. The weather will be a little more cooperative as we get into May. The beer garden was open – need to gussy that up a bit, but the hot dog vendor was doing a brisk business.

The Twins were home to the Ottawa Fat Cats who won the opened 7-4. The game got just a little bit exciting when the Twins brought in four runs in the final inning but by that time the Fat Cats had too comfortable a lead.

Pitching with both teams was allright, some very good batting but the base players and those in the field need some work and help on both sides. The ground was a wee bit soggy which didn’t help. But it was a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Meet friends ands- schmooze with your neighbours and let the kids tear around knowing they were safe. Michael Burgess gave a very, very spirited rendition of Oh Canada – held every note and we all got to feel the hair on our skin bristle just a bit as we all stood tall.

Burlington Twins rest up in the bull pen before the home opener at Nelson. Field was just a little on the damp side but it was a good game of baseball – final score of 7-4 for the other guys wasn’t very good though.

Burlington Twins rest up in the bull pen before the home opener at Nelson. Field was just a little on the damp side but it was a good game of baseball – final score of 7-4 for the other guys wasn’t very good though.

Elliott Kerr, team owner was seen watching over a bunch of young kids – think he was eyeing potential for a really young farm team.

 

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Fagan fades and city plus police prepare to pull the plug on the Canada Day cycle races planned for Burlington.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON May 6, 2011 – It was no great surprise but with considerable disappointment that Council meeting as a Committee learned that the promoter of the planned Championship level cycling events scheduled for late June and on Canada Day will not take place.

The Mayor and Deputy Police Chief Bob Percy were advised by letter that two of the four remaining events were going to take place elsewhere, which led Councillor John Taylor to say that he was going to vote to with draw Council support for the event. The police, who at this point were just totally fed up with Crag Fagan, head of Mid Week Cycling, the promoter of the event.

Two events were still a go – the event at Rattlesnake Point and the event in Aldershot/Waterdown but they won’t happen when the city pulls it support. The Hotel Association and the City had put up $50,000 in the way of grants – that money was held in escrow – so it isn’t lost.

Fagan didn’t have the decency to call either the Mayor or the police and thank them for their support and explain why he was moving two of the event, including the Canada Day marquee event, to some other location.

Chris Glen, chide parks guy in Burlington advised the Council Committee that they were not able to reach Fagan by telephone or email, which was pretty standard procedure for him. When there was a problem – Fagan faded.

The Halton District Police Service should now issue an arrest warrant for Fagan due to the cheque that he bounded.

Sports cycling has a future in Burlington – we just need the right promoter – and Mid Week Cycling wasn’t it.

 

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Play ball and listen for the sound of the crack of the bat – Ooops soggy field.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  May 6, 2011  –  The Burlington Twins got off to a slow, slow start in Burlington this week.  The team was to take to the field Wednesday evening for a solid warm up, but while the grass had been cut and the mounds raked – the ground was just a little too soggy – so they spent their time cleaning up equipment.

Assistant coach Jamie Trull thinks the “boys” will be out later in the week to warm up for the home opener which takes place on Saturday – starts at noon – at Nelson Park on New Street.

The Intercounty Baseball League is the oldest in the Country – started organizing games in 1919.  solid ball played by up and comers and guys who just like to swing a bat and chase a ball.

Burlington is welcoming the Twins who moved west to the third best city in the country to live in.  The team has to rise to what Burlington is – and of course Burlington has to support the team.  With a ticket price of $4.00 for adults and kids get in free it has to be one of the best deals in terms of family entertainment.

Elliott Kerr, team owner, has plans for a lot of side show entertainment with kids running the bases during parts of the game and prizes for catching foul balls.

There are plans for a small beer garden and later in the season improved bleachers will be installed.

Toronto Maple Leafs played the Hamilton Thunderbirds.  Toronto took that first game 3-2; much like the hockey team with the same name – they can now say they are “unbeaten”.  The Burlington Twins might put an end to that scoreboard.

 

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Big time baseball comes to Burlington. League that develops players for the major leagues setting up in Burlington.


By Staff

The crack of the bat and all eyes follow the ball. Is it a pop fly or a bouncy grounder and did someone just slide into third base?

It is Spring time and that means baseball and for those who love the game – things in Burlington just got better. The Burlington Twins, formerly the Mississauga Twins have made Nelson Park their home turf and will play their first home game on Saturday, May 7th at 2:00 pm

The team schedule for this year is Thursday’s at 7:30 pm and Saturdays at 2:00 PM. Full schedule is available at https://www.mississaugatwins.ca/mt_calendar.shtml

The ball team is part of the Intercounty Baseball League announced today the franchise will move to the City of Burlington and will operate as the Burlington Twins with Nelson Park as their home field for the 2011 season.

Doug Kelcher and Scott Rogers will manage the team as General Manager and Assistant General Manager respectively.

Joining Elliott Kerr as part of the ownership group is local Burlington businessman Scott Robinson, COO of Burlington based Interior Design House, a fixture in the Burlington community for over 20 years and Backspin Marketing Group.

Season tickets for 17 home games will be available for only $75 (that’s just over $4.00 a game – great deal) so make sure you get yours today. Follow the Twins at www.burlingtontwins.com

The IBL was founded in 1919 with just four teams—Galt, Guelph, Stratford and Kitchener—and is the oldest amateur men’s league in Canada. During the early years, the league expanded to include the cities of London, Brantford, Preston and St. Thomas, Ontario. It was previously known as the Intercounty Major Baseball League and the Senior Intercounty Baseball League. The league has been home to a number of aspiring major league players, and the league has continually graduated players into the major league ranks each year. The league includes franchises in Toronto, Brantford, Barrie, London, Kitchener, Hamilton and Ottawa, who joined the league prior to the 2010 season.

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It looks as if it’s on – but with these guys – you’re never sure.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON March 31, 2011 – Nobody particularly likes the guy, few trust him but he’s the front man for Mid Week Cycling Club and they are the sponsors chosen by the Canadian Cycling Association to hold a multi-day event in the Burlington community around Canada Day.

The planned elite cycling event planned for late June and Canada Day could still come crashing down – but there is now a contract in place.

The planned elite cycling event planned for late June and Canada Day could still come crashing down – but there is now a contract in place.

So, a council committee held their noses tightly and passed a Direction enabling Community Services Manager Scott Stewart to sign the agreement with Craig Fagan and the Mid Week Cycling Club to hold the six scheduled cycling races in Burlington.

Once again, Halton Regional Police Deputy Chief Bob Percy was on hand to get their concerns on the table and then tightened up the financial requirements considerably. The $115,000 it is going to cost to cover policing has to be in the hands of the police by noon of May 16, 2011 or the Halton Regional Policed Service will withdraw their support. That puts a squeeze on the Mid week people but bouncing a cheque made payable to the policed doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

This event has been a problem that created its own problems and Scott Stewart General Manager Community Services, has been stretched to the limit to make this happen. “This is how it goes and it shouldn’t go like this” was the way he summed up the working relationship with Mid Week. Ward 6 councillor Blair Lancaster didn’t have much faith in the financial capacity of the Mid Week people when they were before council last and she had even less this time. However, Ward 4 councillor Jack Dennison thought he had a better feel for the way athletes register for events. “The time frames are tight” he agreed, but “there is a pent up demand for this event – there are people waiting with baited breath to register but they can’t do so because Mid Week doesn’t have a contract with us.”

The cyclists, who move at up to 75 km an hour, are going to have to compete with people who want to pick strawberry’s on June 23 – should be fun.

The cyclists, who move at up to 75 km an hour, are going to have to compete with people who want to pick strawberry’s on June 23 – should be fun.

This key issue this time was the closure of Bell’s Line for the Time trials and the operation of the strawberry fields at Spring Ridge Farm on June 23rd, a prime strawberry picking day. They have an event that is expected to draw 1,800 cars that day – and police aren’t entirely sure how they are going to manage all that traffic.

Ward 1 councillor Marianne Meed Ward wanted to know why this concern had not been ironed out months ago. Ward told the meeting that “if this issue were being voted on tonight, I would not support it” – and she didn’t but enough council members did and the city is going to sign the agreement that appears to have more than enough clauses for the city to get out of the deal if they are not happy.

For Mid Week, the promoters, the signed contract is something they have been working towards for more than two years. With the contract signed, explained Craig Fagan, head of Mid Week, we can open up registration and registration fees will begin rolling in and Mid Week will have the funds in hand to give the Halton Regional Police a cheque for $115,000. by the middle of May – they hope

This seems to have been one of those chicken and egg situations. With a contract we can begin bringing in some revenue” explained Fagan while Ward 6 councillor Blair Lancaster said several times that she just didn’t believe Fagan’s organization had the financial capacity to make this happen.

Councillor Taylor took a more sanguine approach. “We have this unique topology” and this event is going to happen. “If it’s a bad experience we won’t do it again.”

Mid Week has their contract, registrations can begin, cash will flow – but the fear is that there will be yet another problem that should have been foreseen. Scott Stewart says we are covered legally and we won’t lose a dime.

Mid Week could look for a better front man for their organization.

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