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205 Madawaska Blvd., Arnprior
Chronicle Guide Proudly serving Arnprior and surrounding area since 1879
132nd Year, Issue 19
May 10, 2012 | 64 Pages
Unions defend health sector
Teacher cuts loom
ADHS course selection to be reduced next term Sherry Haaima Sherry.email@example.com
A local ringette player is making a name nationally for herself by excelling in the sport. â€“ Page 27
Animals are in the news this week with the start of another team penning season at the Arnprior fairgrounds and word that a local horse has been named to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
EMC news â€“ Itâ€™s not a good time to be a teacher looking for work at the secondary level. Declining enrolment can be blamed for the loss of about 12 teacher positions at Arnprior District High School for the 2012-13 term, which will likely mean fewer course choices for students. About 12 teachers at ADHS are affected at this point, say officials. The school population, which sits at about 790 students now, is expected to drop down about 65 students in the fall, said Dennis Jenkins, Renfrew County District School Board superintendent for the Arnprior area. â€œAcross the school board at the secondary level, there are about 50 people that are surplus,â€? said Jenkins. Fewer students and teachers means there are courses, in particular the elective courses not required for graduation, which will not be offered in the fall, said Jenkins. â€œThe smaller your school is, the harder it is to offer more choices,â€? he said. While it is uncertain exactly what will not be offered in the fall, it is likely that courses such as cosmetology will be slashed as things are realigned, said Jenkins. Along with declining enrolment, there is another factor affecting the situation, says Jenkins - leaves and retirements. â€œThe last two years there were a very small number of retirements,â€? said Jenkins. â€œIn the past we had 15 or 20 retirements each year. Arnprior, for example, now has more teachers who are younger and more subject to the bumping process.â€? See JOBS SCARCE Page 3
Above it all Photo by Claude Paquette
A firefighter gets on top of the flames and smoke pouring out of this Russell Street home yesterday afternoon. No one was home at the time. But a firefighter suffered an injury while at the scene. See story on Page 4.
EMC news â€“ To prevent the collapse of small towns through the gutting of rural hospitals, information pickets are taking place throughout the province â€“ beginning at Arnprior District Memorial Hospital (ADMH). About 30 members of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) gathered in front of ADMH on May 2. With the decline of manufacturing and other good-paying private sector jobs, small towns count on public sector jobs in hospitals, Ontario Works and elsewhere to keep their local economies sustainable. But according to union member Gary Sprague, whose family goes back four generations in Arnprior, the McGuinty Liberals are slashing health care funding. See SAVE Page 2
â€“ Pages 6, 31
User pay support surprises M-B council Derek Dunn firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arnprior Chronicle Guide EMC wishes all moms a very Happy Motherâ€™s Day this Sunday, May 13.
EMC news â€“ The vast majority of the nearly 100 residents who took in the servicing agreements meeting on Monday agreed that McNab-Braeside council that are OK with taxes going up to pay for services. Mayor Mary Campbell was â€œshockedâ€? at the message sent during the Our Lady of Perpetual Help church hall meeting. She has always seen the rural way of life as one of independence and lower taxes.
Now that she has heard there is â€œsuch an appetite to spend more on Arnprior services,â€? she said taxes will also increase to pay for projects in the township, such as a dock in Burnstown. â€œBe prepared for all the newspaper articles talking about tax increases,â€? she said at the meetingâ€™s end. Tempers ran high at one point in the meeting when it became clear that users of town services would continue to press council to pay for use of the Nick Smith Centre and Arnprior Public Library.
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A resident proposing that users pay their own way and not dip into the tax base for the money began shouting his position to a speaker before the microphone. The speaker returned with an angry few words of his own. The other 95 per cent of the meeting was civil, as residents struggled to grasp the offer made by Arnprior and three options Campbell and other members of council were voicing. See LETâ€™S PAY Page 4
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County, union head Save town by saving public sector: OCHU back to negotiations Continued from front
EMC news â€“ Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4989, representing Ontario Works staff in the County of Renfrew, is meeting with the County of Renfrew this week in an effort â€œto reach a settlement and continue to deliver services residents rely on.â€? The parties are heading back to the table with the help of a conciliator and the union is hopeful a settlement can be reached. â€œThe members voted last week to stand up for the services they deliver,â€? said Amy Parker, CUPE National Representative. â€œWe called on the employer to come back to the table and we are hopeful that we can come to a settlement that represents the work Ontario Works staff provide in our communities, â€œWe need to work together to make the services Ontario Works staff provide a priority for the County of Renfrew. The key is to maintain service delivery and advocate to secure the funding needed to ensure consistent quality supports for the people and families we serve while ensuring CUPE 4989 members have the resources to do so,â€? Parker concluded. Ontario Works delivers social assistance to about 1,110 clients monthly in the County of Renfrew. CUPE 4989 members provide services to those who are most vulnerable and being able to help them in a safe and healthy environment is a priority. â€œThose they support are part of the community they live in and clients rely on them every day,â€? says the union.
plies and technologies rise faster than the rate of inďŹ‚ation.â€? ADMH CEO Eric Hanna rejects the claim that overall health funding in town will be zero. While acknowledging the provinceâ€™s $16-billion deďŹ cit means future funding wonâ€™t compare to past funding, Hanna said thereâ€™s been a 1.5 per cent increase in long-term care funding, an increase in assisted living. â€œEducation and health remain priorities for the government,â€? Hanna said. â€œOverall funding to health care to the area is not zero. Itâ€™s more than zero.â€? However, on service cutbacks and bed closures, his response was that he didnâ€™t expect â€œany signiďŹ cantâ€? cuts in services.
â€œThis is my town. My great grandfather worked here and built this town and we are losing these jobs,â€? said Sprague, who works at an Ottawa hospital. â€œThis town will disappear. It will become part of Ottawa. But we built this town and we will not give up. We will keep going and going and going.â€? Louis Rodrigues said patients are hit hardest, but that unions will ďŹ ght to ensure Canadians keep their standard of living. â€œThe most vulnerable are the ones that are going to hurt the most,â€? Rodrigues said. â€œWe are labour and proud to be labour. But we are workers of this community. Weâ€™re not a third world country. Why are we being treated like one?â€? Arnpriorâ€™s is typical of Ontarioâ€™s 55 small hospitals, according to an OCHU press release: it is well managed and operates without a deďŹ cit. â€œBut that may soon change because the provincial governmentâ€™s funding plan means rural hospitals get a zero per cent increase this year,â€? reads the press release. â€œThis is actually a cut of more than 5 per cent because hospital costs such as physician salaries, drugs and medical sup-
NDP SCORES DEAL FOR HOSPITALS
In a deal to avert an election, the NDP forced the Liberals to include $20 million for small hospitals in the recently passed budget. OCHU calls it â€œminiscule and doomsâ€? rural hospitals to cuts. Hanna indicated the unions are speculating; that no one knows how the money will be split. He reiterated that in past years the government funded growth, the emergency room expansion, assisted living and other
areas, but that the current economic state of the economy will mean â€œless in years to come.â€? OCHU president Michael Hurley acknowledges the economy is bad, but increasing taxes on corporations and the rich are ways to generate revenue. Keeping money in health care is good for the economy, he said, getting workers back on the job quicker and allowing rural communities to retain good jobs. He said Ontario hospitals are most efďŹ ciently run in Canada; that they already have the fewest beds and staff members, the shortest lengths of stay, that they run on 98 per cent capacity, and that the funding per person is $320 less than any other province. â€œYes, the government has to use ďŹ scal restraint. But small hospitals are already underfunded,â€? Hurley said. â€œTo suggest service cuts when there could be a different tax regime â€“ people have to see public health care as an economic good. Each of us pays less (compared to buying private insurance, which depletes a consumerâ€™s purchasing power.)â€? OCHU plans to picket out front of Smiths Falls hospital on June 14.
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Jobs scarce for teachers as falling enrollment cuts need for more classes Continued from front
Jenkins also noted there is quite a difference in situations at the elementary and secondary levels. In part, extending the kindergarten programs has absorbed some of the fall-out from declining enrolment at the elementary level, which is happening, but more slowly. Jenkins agreed it is not an easy time for those affected. “We know it’s difficult,” he said. “We’re hoping most will be stay around, but we know some will not.”
Jeffrey Barber, unit president for the Renfrew County branch of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, says Arnprior and the county are not alone. MOOD GLUM
The mood for teachers is pretty glum and depressed, he said. “It’s not a good time to be in this role because there aren’t a lot of job opportunities,” said Barber. “There are people who have been working
for our board for 10 years who have received notices they’d be affected. “We’re facing declining enrollment. There are a number of schools across the province in similar situations,” he added. “We have a lot of teachers who do not have jobs at the end of this year.” The union continues to go through the process of looking at seniority and qualifications. “There’s a lot of redundancy in our board,” said Barber. Letters have gone out to the teachers potentially affected, he said.
“We did go through a round of bumping last Monday,” said Barber. “People have a very clear idea whether they will be affected or not. I think they are well prepared.” The fact that the board doesn’t qualify for additional funding available for rural and remote schools just further adds to the burden, he said. “It’s unfortunate, we’re facing declining enrollment and our funding for our board is not what I’d like it to be,” said Barber. “I don’t feel that we’re adequately funded.”
Arnprior Chronicle-Guide EMC - Thursday, May 10, 2012 3
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Fire guts house on Russell Street Wednesday Derek Dunn
Fire crews work to contain a fire at the corner of William and Russell streets on May 9. No civilians were injured. But a firefighter suffered a minor injury. It is believed the house was undergoing renovations .
EMC news – Smoke and flames consumed a home near the LCBO yesterday afternoon. Arnprior firefighters, police, and later firefighters from McNab-Braeside descended on the scene starting at 3 p.m. Police and other first responders kept neighbours well back of the 4 Russell St. fire, at the corner of William Street, while firefighters punctured holes in the roof and let smoke billow from open windows of the green stucco structure. According to the next door neighbour, who refused to be identified, rescue crews came knocking on his door and ushered everyone out soon after arriving at the scene. “I was having a nap on the couch,” the man said. “They were fixing it up inside to sell. A real shame.” He wasn’t concerned smoke would damage his home. It was blowing over William Street and past the tracks at the time. Fire chief John Okum, who was in Toronto, said in a phone interview his investigators believe no one was inside when it started. It was his understanding that renovations were taking place. No civilians were injured, but Okum confirmed that one Arnprior volunteer firefighter suffered a cut to his hand. “A firefighter had a minor injury, a laceration.” He couldn’t offer a damage estimate, or say if the home will need to be razed, but confirmed it sustained “extensive damage.” Authorities continue to investigate for a cause.
Photo by Derek Dunn
Let’s pay our fair share, it’s worth the cost, township residents tell councillors Some who stood up to speak said they expect to pay higher taxes – “everything costs money, and everything’s going up,” said one person – and they accept that Arnprior residents have been shouldering a disproportionately larger burden than township residents have been over the last number of years. All those who expressed similar sentiments, such as Bill Griese, were given a hearty applause. “We’re not paying our fair share,” Griese said. “It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask for. It’s the fair thing to do.” But the case presented to them was that Arnprior is asking for a lot. On the recreation front, the township already pays Arnprior $100,000 a year, one-third of the recreation budget, 40 per cent of deficit tax dollars. Yet, according to Campbell’s calculations, only 13 per cent of the township’s population participates in Nick Smith activities. All of council dismissed Arnprior’s proposal before the meeting started. It would see the current $117 paid per user climb to $122 this year and eventually to $175 by 2016. “This represents an increase of nearly another $55,000 to McNab-Braeside or another $18 per household to our tax bills on top of almost $36 we are paying now,” Campbell said. The second option was to have township users pay the town’s new prices.
“Many of us on council have seriously considered the question of why we should be in recreation agreements with either Arnprior or Renfrew based on the low number of residents participating,” Campbell said, adding that “the substantial subsidies that this participation burdens other taxpayers while deflecting from improvements to recreation facilities and programs with the township.” Later on she said the average township homeowner pays $820 less in taxes than the average town homeowner. Those savings could go toward paying a family’s recreation fees to Arnprior. Others rebutted that stand by saying the $820 proves that the township can afford to raise taxes to pay for the services. The third option is to have the municipality subsidize up to a limit of $112 per person, which is what township users of Renfrew facilities pay. While council held the meeting to hear public opinion on the three options, the first one is already ruled out. “I want to be clear that council is not considering Arnprior’s proposal,” she said before opening the floor to questions and comments. “The gulf between our cultures, spending habits, and organizations is viewed by council as being too great to bridge.” She cited a unionized staff in Arnprior and spending on items she sees as superfluous at the library. “A fireplace? Come on. I walk through there and say to my-
self: ‘Don’t you people have homes.’” Others said they have many friends in Arnprior and enjoy socializing at the library or Nick Smith Centre. Campbell said folks could do more socializing in township facilities if money were directed away from outside municipalities. At one point she suggested kids play hockey on an outdoor rink, which brought snickering from parents sporting Arnprior Minor Hockey jackets. Her point was that it made hockey accessible to more kids; others would say organized hockey is superior in many ways. LIBRARY OPTIONS
Arnprior’s proposal is to increase McNab-Braeside’s budget by another $33 per household to pay for the library. The issue is again complicated because some township residents are closer to Renfrew’s library and pay less to use it. Should they be burdened with supporting users of Arnprior’s? The costs and payment systems are also different. The second option has council considering that township tax revenue be used to subsidize residents holding memberships at either library up to $35 per person. “We are also proposing that this rate remain in effect until 31 December 2016,” Campbell said. The third option is to have users pay their own way. Again, most in the room seemed to flatly reject the user pay approach, and were apprehensive about having the township contribute by way of a subsidy. It was indicated that the services attract economic spin-offs in tourism and help grow the tax base, which lessens the burden on all. However, at least three people stood up to endorse the user pay approach. They were against raising taxes on seniors living on fixed incomes and other low income people. Coun. Bob Campbell said many folks who hunt, fish, snowmobile and do other recreational activities don’t get taxpayer dollars. The proponents of user pay were told their costs would skyrocket without help from the tax base. No one responded to the councillor’s point. At an upcoming council meeting, all opinions voiced at the public session will be considered and a decision brought to Arnprior.
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Volunteers in costume urgently needed for Arnprior 150 festivities
Photo by Sherry Haaima
A large number of people, young and old, dressed in period costume on July 3, 2010 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the visit of the Prince of Wales to Arnprior. The Arnprior 150 Committee is looking for volunteers to do the same during the June 9-10 anniversary festivities.
Legion seeks 150 parade entries EMC events â€“ Arnprior residents have enjoyed many parades over the townâ€™s 150 years. Now a parade is in the works to help celebrate Arnpriorâ€™s 150th birthday. The Arnprior Legion is marshalling a parade to take place Saturday, June 9 to kick off the Arnprior 150th anniversary events that weekend. The Legion is seeking entries for the parade. There is no fee, but registration is required. The parade will start at 10:30 a.m. and wind through town. There will be recognition for the top three entries in the parade. Contact the Legion at 613-623-4722 to get your registration form. Theresa Carron has taken on a leading role in organizing the parade.
od costumes during the June 9-10 weekend. The costumes will be provided. Grinstead is urging people to help for a couple of hours and â€œbe part of this historic event.â€? The shifts the committee is looking to ďŹ ll are Saturday June 9 from noon to 2:30 p.m. and 2:30 to 5 p.m., and Sunday, June 10 from noon to 3 p.m. â€œIf you donâ€™t want to dress in period costumes but would like to volunteer, than please let us know that too, as there are other duties we need assistance with,â€? added Grinstead. To put your name on the volunteer list, call Natascha Smith, 150th Anniversary Committee administrative assistant, at 613623-4231, ext. 234 or at smithnrm@gmail. com/.
EMC events â€“ Looking for a way to volunteer, help your community and have a great time while doing it. With the major festivities less than a month away, the Arnprior 150 Committee is in need of more volunteers in a big way. â€œVolunteers is a big void that we need to ďŹ ll as soon as possible,â€? said committee chair Lynn Grinstead. â€œWe are looking for volunteers to dress in period costumes, much like so many townspeople did during the Prince and the Prior.â€? A large number of people dressed up in period costume for the highly successful reenactment on July 3, 2010 of the Prince of Wales visit to Arnprior 150 years prior. The 150 Committee is looking for men and women, as well as teens, to dress in peri-
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