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Your Business. Your Community.

Volume 6, No. 4, December 2015

It’s Christmas! • Decorate anew Page 24

• Wines of the season Page 28

Sarah Foshay Elgin Enterprise winner

Page 30

Cover story: Page 3

Page 25

• Saved by chiropractic • Unlikely spirit • The perfect tree? Page 31


Downtown St. Thomas • Over 300 shops and services • 3 kilometers of beautiful painted murals, parkettes and gorgeous historic Victorian buildings • T h e C i t y H a l l C h r i s t m a s Tr e e Downtown Development Board (DDB) Downtown Dollars are redeemable at participating vendors displaying the yellow “Discover Downtown St. Thomas” logo. For information on purchasing Downtown Dollars as gifts, visit our website, contact us on Facebook, email or call 519-633-5248. Huge selection of: Flat Panel HDTVs, Home Audio and Car Audio Systems

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Faith and family crucial to winner’s success by Terry Carroll

Just a little over a year after Sarah Foshay opened Smart Dental Hygiene, her business took home a $10,000 prize package. She was the winner in a new competition called Enterprise Elgin, sponsored by Elgin Business Resource Centre and the County of Elgin. Over thirty Elgin County entrepreneurs entered the contest. They wrote or updated business plans that demonstrated how the prize package would assist them in successfully opening a new business venture, purchasing an existing business, expanding an existing business or re-locating an existing business to within the County of Elgin. The six top finalists were invited to the New Sarum Diner October 22 to deliver 15-miunute presentations and answer questions. In addition to Smart Dental Hygiene, these finalists included: Curtis Van Kasteren, Astute Studios; Jill Bond, Groovy Moon; Jami Jacklyn, Head Case Hair Co.; Denise Lauzon, Metamorphosis; and Vera Needham, Tubee Fit. The winning prize package consisted of $3,000 in cash plus $7,000 worth of in-kind services: graphic design and website work, free banking, one year of rent-free office space and memberships in local business organizations. Foshay describes herself as a detail-oriented, Type A personality, and she had written an extensive business plan before opening the doors of Smart Dental Hygiene in July, 2014 at the Wellness Centre in Aylmer. But as every entrepreneur quickly realizes in the first year, daily life in a new business never goes exactly according to plan. Preparation for the Enterprise Elgin competition gave her the perfect opportunity to rewrite her business plan and look ahead. Her new three-year plan includes incorporating her business, hiring a second hygienist, and using mobile equipment so she can bring her dental hygiene service to people who can’t come to her. These would most commonly be homebound people and those in retirement homes. Currently, Foshay does almost everything herself. In addition to her dental hygiene work, she is the one responsible for sterilizing the equipment, record-keeping including recording individual client cleaning and prevention plans, booking appointments from on-line contacts, keeping track of monthly revenue and expenses, cleaning the floors and so on.

Sarah Foshay is passionate about the role of prevention in dental health. Small wonder that, in addition to a great business plan, Foshay emphasizes two things that have been critical to the success of her business to date. One is faith. Every entrepreneur knows the importance of determination, resilience, a never-say-die attitude, particularly in the first three years of business. In Foshay’s case, there’s also a strong religious component. She’s of Low German Mennonite background in the Aylmer area. “The Christian faith is extremely important to me,” she says. “In the beginning, most days were hard, and I had to leave it in His hands. I knew I would have to let this go, to leave it all with You, or I would drive myself crazy worrying.” Another very important factor is her support system at home. Her husband is a millwright and they have two teenage daughters. “They understand if I can’t be there at eight o’clock in the evening,” she says. “And my husband’s completely rooting for me. You have to have that support system around you. Somebody has to clean the house, walk the dog, take the kids to soccer, make a casserole.” Independent dental hygiene clinics like Foshay’s have only been possible since 2007 when regulations were changed to allow them to operate separately from traditional dentist offices. Cur-

Elgin This Month Manager Linda Axelson Section Editor Business Beat – Bob Hammersley Freelance Editor Terry Carroll

rently 600 to 700 operate in Canada, including London/Middlesex. Smart Dental Hygiene is the only one in Elgin County. Sarah Foshay began her working career in Human Resources. When her two children were little, she operated a home day care for seven years. As that time was drawing to a close, Foshay felt drawn to dentistry. She went to college for three years, graduated as a registered dental hygienist and went to work in the dental hygiene program at Elgin-St. Thomas Public Health. The Health Unit offers free preventive dental hygiene services for eligible children and youth under eighteen at clinics in Aylmer, St. Thomas and West Lorne. Through this work at the Health Unit, Foshay developed a passion for prevention as key to good-looking smiles, healthy teeth and gums and the prevention of disease through lifestyle and holistic-based living. Her dedication to this cause is part of everything she does at Smart Dental Hygiene. For example, her Teen and Adult package includes complete dental hygiene assessment, risk assessment for oral diseases, dental hygiene diagnosis and proposed treatment plan, one-on-one oral hygiene instruction, tartar/stain removal and application of anticariogenics or antimicrobials (if required, based on individual client need). Her rates, she says are 30 to 50 percent less than dental hygiene services, and she offers a special rate of $19 for infants and toddlers from one to three year. She says six years old is too late for the first childhood hygiene appointment. For instance, she has seen first-hand the benefits of using dental sealants on some toddlers’ teeth. Because Foshay speaks Low German, Smart Dental Hygiene offers a comfortable place for the people she grew up with. She has found that if she helps one person in a family of eight, for example, the rest of the family often become clients, even if she has to develop a schedule of seeing two or three family members one year and the rest of the family as soon as they can afford it. And she arranges Saturday or evening appointments, if that’s the only time someone can come. It’s all about the client and a holistic approach to healthy teeth.

Regional Sales Manager Nelson Parreira Graphic Design / Production Metroland Media Group Sales Representative Greg Minnema

Cover photo by Mark Spowart.

Elgin This Month is a monthly magazine focusing on business and lifestyle issues and includes Business Beat, the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce newsletter. The publication is available for pickup at no charge at news stands and other locations around Elgin County, as well as distribution to businesses and selected households.

Published monthly by Metroland Media Group Ltd., 15 St. Catharine Street, St. Thomas, ON N5P 2V7 519-633-1640 December, 2015




The life journey back to centre by Jim Innes Don’t you hate those days when you’re spin- believed that things were ning and can’t seem to hit the mark no matter constantly going wrong and how hard you try? It feels like something has got that the future was scary. Her a hold of you and you’re not the person you want central nervous system was to be. Your decisions seem to make things worse. overly stimulated, and she And you become impatient, perhaps even disap- was more or less on guard pointed, with yourself and those around you. all the time. Her re-centring When this happens, we are off centre and un- self-talk became “all is well grounded. Everything we try goes wrong. Even and all will be well.” the family dog is sitting far in the corner … gazThis perspective works for ing down its warm friendly snout, waiting long- her because, from past expeingly for the tide to turn. riences, she believed deeply At such times, we must return to our centre, that ‘by the grace of God go finding a way to rebalance, or recalibrate, the I.’ And this is important to tumultuous thought processes that keep us spin- note … because perspectives ning outside the easy flow of our best self. that re-centre us must come With permission, I’ll share the life of a client from experience and not who lived with an alcoholic father whose behav- from some heady philosophy iour was erratic. Consequently my client became or moral platitude. a chronically anxious child. And because she knew no other world, her anxiety became normal. She was off-centred and “we unravel our false did not know it. self and reveal our In counselling, previous to my time with her, my client had come to realize individual truth” that her central nervous system was out of whack, and her hypersensitivities were too often self-destructive. Anxious behaviour was As the words began to sink too easily triggered by everyday stresses. deep, she became increasThough she knew where her unwanted behavior ingly self-assured, spontanecame from, she still struggled with it. It became ous and creative. Her fears my job to help her calm her easily provoked cen- eventually decreased and, I tral nervous system. And to do this without medi- assume, her central nervous cations … though I did suggest she might consult system returned to some norher doctor for temporary assistance when times mal vibration. Every success reinforced an even got really ‘bad’ for her. calmer disposition. Her journey was about moving back to her Finding our centre, and staying centred, is a life centre, perhaps discovering for the first time that journey. A work in which we unravel our false self place inside where fear, though present, would and reveal our individual truth. not dominate and control her thoughts and feelEach of us has those deep spiritual or philosophings. ical beliefs that we feel to be true. We may not What we found most helpful was creating a live them consciously, or they may be lost beneath grounding credo: words she could tell herself (re- our pains and wounds. But we recognize them as petitively) to pull her back into her soul’s depth. truth when we hear them. I have found that such perspectives flip the deAs I see it, we could all benefit from unearthfeating spin 180 degrees. For example, my client ing the perspectives we hold true to our authentic

selves. Through repetitive self-talk, we can raise up those perspectives as active touchstones, or grounding self-affirmations, when things get a bit crazy. Such a centring practice can push beyond the wounds that bind us, and heal those reactive behaviors. Jim Innes is a clinically trained therapist and a priest at St. Johns’ Anglican Church in St. Thomas. Learn more at

Remember the meaning of Christmas

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season investment • insurance • retirement and estate planning T: 519.644.2641 F: 519.644.2640 14107 Belmont Rd., Belmont, Ontario N0L 1B0 December, 2015


Call John, VAN GORP Brad or Jason at DRAINAGE 519-765-4445 & EXCAVATING A subsidiary of Van Gorp Farm Drainage Ltd. 4

First Elgincentives grants awarded

Business & Community AWARDS

by Katherine Thompson

Elgin County Economic Development is pleased to announce that Laurence Grant of Dutton-Dunwich and Great Lakes Farms of Southwold are the first successful applicants for funding under the new Elgincentives Community Improvement Plan (CIP). Mr. Grant has been approved for façade, building improvement, and energy efficiency grants in the amount of $15,000. These funds will be used for the restoration of the former Iona General Store. The completed project will include a refurbished store, an enhanced façade, and a bed and breakfast. "The grant from Elgincentives will facilitate

important transformations in this historic Elgin County building,” said Mr. Grant. “The repairs will turn an eyesore into a showpiece, make the main floor of the building useable once again as a commercial space, and will make it possible to open a bed and breakfast facility catering to tourists on the old Highway 3 route. In 2016, the old Iona General store will come back from the brink." Great Lakes Farms was approved for building conversion and Savour Elgin/Elgin Arts Trail supplemental grants in the amount of $11,500. These funds will be used for the conversion of the Great Lakes Farms barn into a cold storage facility. This conversion will help to extend the retail and tourism seasons for the business. “The Elgincentives funding will help Great Lakes Farms provide local food to Southwold and Elgin County residents for a longer period of time throughout the year, as well as provide healthy produce to the school nutrition program,” said owner MaryAnne Van De Gevel. “Great Lakes will be able to provide greater local employment and attract more visitors to the County as a result of this investment.” The Elgincentives CIP offers financial incentives that cover up to 50% of eligible costs to a

maximum of $15,000 per project. Businesses will qualify for Elgincentives provided that they meet certain criteria and are located in one of the following areas: Downtowns; agricultural areas; and, ports and lakeshore areas. Grants are available for façade, signage, and property improvements; building improvements/restorations; building conversions/expansions; energy efficiency retrofits; feasibility and design studies; and outdoor art projects. Supplemental grants are available for multiple property owners or tenants looking to implement a coordinated approach to improvement projects and to members of the Savour Elgin and Elgin Arts Trail programs. Visit for more information. Katherine Thompson is Marketing & Communications Coordinator with The County of Elgin

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from Board & Staff at the Elgin Business Resource Centre Stop by one of our three offices in either Dutton, St.Thomas or Aylmer to receive information on any of our programs. 516 John St., N., Aylmer

300 Edgeware Rd., St. Thomas

199 Currie Rd., Dutton Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario Agence fédérale de développement économique pour le Sud de l’ Ontario

December, 2015




Recruiting and retaining fabulous employees, part II by Anouschka Van den Bosch

their first six months and beyond? Would they be ing and never came back. This is obviously not candidates for succession planning for the retiring the norm; however it makes you wonder whether you did all you could to make this new employee department manager a few years down the road? It is much more than just filling an empty po- comfortable. A simple conversation with the emsition with a warm body. It is about setting the ployer would have been more appropriate, obviexpectations, providing the tools to be successful ously. So the employee has been with you for almost in the job and allowing for further growth and three months, and this would be the time to sit development. It starts on their first day they start with your down and have a three-month probation review. company. Is there someone available to take them You might not always think you have the time around the building, introduce them to the rest to do so. However, it is an important conversation. You have invested time and of the team? Is there money, and you want to make someone in charge ...the real treat is sure you are both still on the same of making sure that when they page. all the tools for new If the working environment is employees are good return the a safe and trusted environment, to go? Computers set next day... this conversation should not up with passwords? bring up anything new for the Working phones? employee or the employer. HowPaper and pen? Cell ever, sometimes this is when your employee will phones if required? And the list can go on. It wouldn’t hurt to have an orientation check list express some concerns that you may have to adso nothing is forgotten. Depending on the job, dress, either right away or over time. If you can, set up some goals for the new emit might be helpful for the new employee have a buddy to check in with during the first week. We ployee to work towards during the next year so take for granted that everyone should know what when you sit down for the yearly review you can time everyone takes their lunches, and whether chat about the goals and see whether they have been reached or adjusted over the year. Setting they all eat at their desks or in a lunch room. You would be surprised how many unspoken clear expectations for your employees is imporrules are in your orga- tant so they understand what you will be expectnization. They seem so ing from them, and they feel they have a purpose normal to the rest of coming into work every day. Retaining employees is not rocket science. Prothe team but for those walking in brand new, it vide guidelines and expectations, reward them for could be a maze of try- work well done and constructive feedback when ing to figure it all out on it is needed. Train them when possible and allow them to grow. If possible give them opportunity to one’s own. The best part is when participate in your business as if it was their own Our Partners and Staff would like to they return from their and you will have no problem keeping your fabwish you and yours a Merry Christmas, lunch back to their ulous employee. desks, and the real treat filled with the warmth of friends and is when they return the Anouschka Van den next day! Seriously, I loved ones, and with the promise Bosch is a Human have heard stories where Resources Professional of a prosperous new year. a new employee just did and Certified Life and not show up again after Career Coach. lunch. Left the buildSt. Thomas and Aylmer Partners:

Last month we left off on how and where to recruit fabulous employees, after I realized there is a whole other aspect of recruiting that we so often forget. I have always loved the whole recruitment process. I like to look at the whole picture of taking employees into our team and the potential of candidates to move further on in their careers. What training will they require as they move through the organization? What support will they need in

Bill Graham John Scott Al Enns Rob Foster Mike Stover Jim Frederick Bill Luyks Mike MacKinnon Garth Howes



St.Thomas 519-633-0700 Aylmer 519-773-9265

December, 2015

1207 Talbot St., St. Thomas 519-633-0240 ELGIN THIS MONTH



At Christmas, my mind is full of positive things by Serge Lavoie

In his most recent book, Road to Little Drib- markets, in their own farm stores or via delivery. bling, humourist Bill Bryson makes the following This farming model is in truth old fashioned, but observation: “The older you get, the more it seems it’s being driven by new technologies and social media. It’s nice to see small come back. the world belongs to other people.” I like the idea that I can obtain organic vegEbenezer Scrooge was more succinct. “Bah, etables, wood oven breads, humbug.” gluten-free meals, even farmThe older I get, the more I raised trout smoked or cured catch myself sounding cura dozen different ways, all mudgeonly. About everything. within the county limits. In It surprises me to hear the a few months I’ll be able to things that come out of my access farmed shrimp, raised mouth sometimes. I’m not in super high tech conditions alone by any means, but that’s inside a repurposed tobacco little comfort. warehouse in Aylmer. Generally, my mind is full of All of this is new thinkpositive things, things I like ing, often tech-driven, highly and take delight in. Perhaps I entrepreneurial. And it repdon’t share them enough, so resents a new future for our here goes. It’s the Christmas county and our region. When season after all. multinationals take our liveliI genuinely like the comhoods off shore, the best remunities of Southwestern Ontario, especially those in Elgin Ontario Plants Propagation, owned sponse is to create new ones County, and St. Thomas in and operated by the Jack Vanderkooy from scratch. For those of you particular since it’s home. family, is one of many successful newer who think these kinds of businesses are too small and marIt appears to me that our combusinesses in Elgin and ginal and will never replace munities are going through St. Thomas. what we’ve lost, there’s a simple a pretty massive re-set at the moment, recreating themselves after a string of solution: start supporting them; buy their proddownturns and the loss of legacy manufacturing ucts. Buying local is a powerful economic develjobs. While many of the large-scale facilities have opment tool. Our region’s re-set disappeared, some, like Magna and Toyota continue to invest in us and others, such as Masco doesn’t end with busiand Dr. Oetker have entered the area with new ness growth, however. It extends to all those investments. What’s perhaps more impressive is the recent investments designed to growth of smaller-scale operations. Who doesn’t improve our quality of take pride in the success of GCW Custom Kitch- life and attract visitors ens, Canadale Nurseries and Ontario Plants to our communities. For instance, I love Propagation, among many? Our fledgling craft brewer, Railway City Brewing, is popular across the idea that I can again the province and already bursting at the seams in walk the Port Stanley pier safely, just as I did its new facility. The region may have lost Heinz and Kellogg’s, with my father over yet something really interesting is happening in 50 years ago. I like the agriculture. Young people are adapting the family fact that we can access farm to a new model -- smaller scale, with targeted theatre and live perclients, sometimes organic, sold through farmers’ formances at venues in

places such as Aylmer, Port Stanley, St. Thomas and Dutton. Or that we can attend community dinners at the Arts and Cookery Bank in West Lorne or a historical dinner in Sparta. There’s pride in knowing that every weekend there is a wedding reception in the restored CASO Station in St. Thomas. Also at the station, we can now access services from both our MP and our MPP in a historic building erected only four years after Confederation. In all these cases, were it not for enlightened municipalities or the efforts of our social entrepreneurs, many of these facilities might well be rotting shells or parking lots today. I can celebrate that. In fact, this Christmas, as I buy my food from local growers and suppliers, and as I find unique gifts at artists’ and crafters’ sales across the region, I will find it easier to stay positive and reflect on everything that is going right in our communities. As I get older, I don’t want to feel like the world belongs to others. I want to be part of it. Serge Lavoie has a 35 year career managing associations. He is currently president of On Track St. Thomas and Secretary-Treasurer of the United Way of Elgin-St. Thomas. He lives in St. Thomas.

Happy Holidays

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Dream what is possible – the future is now by Doug Lester

If you are serious about you can create in 2016. making a difference in life If you do what you have and leadership in 2016 it is always done you will get time now to pause and plan the same results — status for success in the year ahead. quo — same old, same In our book, 12 Steps of Selfold. Breaking free takes Leadership we write: courage and determinaNo matter your age or prestion. The odds against ent reality you are capable of you are 9 to 1. The redoing more and being more. wards are worth the comIt starts with a belief deep mitment. within, a whisper from your Everything is created best Self inviting you to let go twice. In his classic 7 of ‘what has been’ and ‘what Habits of Highly Effective is’ in order to experience ‘what could be.’ When was People Stephen R. Covey wrote: the last time you sat in a comfortable place and Habit 2 is based on imagination — the ability to daydreamed for half an hour? Isn’t it time — allow envision in your mind what you cannot at present yourself to believe with futurist, John Schaar, that, see with your eyes. It is based on the principle that all “The future is not a result of choices things are created twice. There is a among alternative paths offered by the mental (first) creation, and a physipresent, but a place that is created — cal (second) creation. The physical created first in the mind and will, crecreation follows the mental, just as ated next in activity. The future is not “breathe deep and a building follows a blueprint. If some place we are going to, but one we let go of what is” you don’t make a conscious effort are creating. The paths are not to be to visualize who you are and what found, but made, and the activity of you want in life, then you empower making them, changes both the maker and the des- other people and circumstances to shape you and tination.” your life by default. Don’t wait until the first day back in January In order to free up your imagination step away to struggle to figure out who you are and what from the numbers, the responsibilities, the ex-

pectations of your inner and outer voices. Allow yourself to dream of what is possible. This is scary stuff. Calm the butterflies. Find a place where you can sit with your laptop, a journal, a calendar, and large sheets of paper for at least an hour uninterrupted. Watch the highly charged TED Talks at Start your Difference Makers quest with an honest look at where you are now. Feel the tension points, the frustrations, and the disappointments. See yourself as others see you. Be honest. Now breathe deep and let go of what is in order to reach for what could be. Dream of who you could be one year from now. Buy a 2016 planner now. Mark you birthday. Fill in the big events. Plan now to make 2016 the best year of your life.

Cheryl Lester and Doug Lester—individually and together—making a difference through leadership coaching and development, writing, and speaking. Co-authors of 12 Steps of SelfLeadership.

Merry Chri Happy Nsetmas and w Ye ar from our Partners and Staff Tis the Season to start thinking about your Accounting and Tax needs before Christmas is upon us. Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season and a Joyous Jump on personal tax season. Mayor Heather Jackson & the members of St. Thomas City Council would like to take this opportunity to extend warm greetings for the season, and wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year

Accounting Auditing • Tax Services

At Kee, Perry & DeVrieze we ensure our clients recieve the service and expertise they need to succeed. Please make a call to our office your first step on the road to success.

City Hall will close on Wednesday, December 23 at 4:30p.m. and re-open Monday, January 4 at 8:30a.m. 545 Talbot St., St. Thomas 519-631-1680 December, 2015

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• December 2015 •

GLIAS Board President Jim Banman (left), Sponsorship Chair Kathleen Keating and STEGH executive director Paul Jenkins are all smiles as they announce the June 18-19, 2016 Great Lakes International Air Show at the November Business After Five at the St. Thomas Airport. The local hospital was a major recipient of proceeds from the 2013 airshow.

Date: Wednesday January 13, 2016 Host & Sponsor: The Talbot Teen Centre 745 Talbot Street, St. Thomas Catering by James Meadows + the TTC food services group Main Door Prize: VIA Rail Tickets for Two (travel in the Windsor – Quebec City corridor) Free Admission to all personnel from any business or organization that is a Member of the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce.

Business Beat Table of Contents Page 10 ................The S-word Page 11 ................Trade Opps Page 12 .......... Legal Business Page 13 ......... Meet the Board Page 14 .......... Family security Page 15 ..............BA5 winners Page 16 ...........New Members December, 2015

Last call for Uncorked … almost!

Tickets for the Chamber’s 4th annual “St. Thomas Uncorked” event have been selling quickly and, with Christmas fast approaching, it’s likely there will be few or no tickets left once January gets here. Uncorked is our annual wine-tasting event mixed with some art appreciation in the comfortable setting of the St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre. The date is Saturday January 23, 7 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Tickets are $45 per person and include 5 wine-sampling tickets plus unlimited opportunities for food samples that complement the 16 wines to be featured this year. All wines are served in a “blind” taste test, initially identified only by number. As the evening progresses, our sommelier and event MC Jamie Quai, will reveal each wine and provide details. At the conclusion of the event, we will provide lists with LCBO product numbers, wine names and prices to make finding any new favourites really easy. More event details and ordering information are in the Events listing on the Chamber website at, or you can call the Chamber of Commerce office and speak with any staff member at 519-631-1981. Uncorked is made possible by several sponsors. Our 2015 main sponsor is TD Canada Trust with Century Sound as co-sponsor. The Real Canadian Superstore will be our provider of delicious foods for this event. Table sponsors host each of the four wine service areas: Alexelle Slipcovers & Décor, Cellular Magician, HollisWealth/Action Financial Group and Michael Clark Construction.

Season’s Greeting Community Spirit & The Spirit of the Season. They come together here thanks to people dedicated to progress and prosperity. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Members, Board of Directors, Volunteers and Staff at the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce.

Healthy Lifestyles for the New Year A special feature in the January edition of Elgin This Month To take advantage of these excellent advertising opportunities (ext. 222)

January Edition Advertising Deadline is December 14th



Viewpoint Events and News of Interest to our Members

Removing snow from roofs

Get ahead of winter with a 10-step plan There’s a lot more to snow removal than buying and using a shovel, especially for businesses. Steve Zronik is a Consultant with WSPS (Workplace Safety & Prevention Services), an agency the Chamber works with year ’round to assist our Members in managing workplace health and safety laws, and in working intelligently to reduce and prevent injuries. Steve has provided the following article and quotes that prove there’s more to snow removal than just a shovel. Ontario winters can sweep in quickly and unexpectedly, and once here they can still be unpredictable, with extreme variations in snowfall and temperature. If snow and ice could accumulate on the roof of your business, be proactive. Preparing a snow removal plan now could make all the difference between a worry-free winter and a frantic, last-minute response that could expose people to injuries, and your business to liability and loss. "During a storm is not the time to improvise a snow removal plan," advises Zronik. "Your people could be removing snow in the worst possible conditions." Why you need to plan Seeking a rationale for putting a plan together? Consider this: • excessive weight loads can cause roof collapse, jeopardizing the safety of anyone on site and the health of your business

• freeze/thaw cycles can exacerbate existing defects and compromise the integrity of your roof membrane What to include in your plan 1. Know your roof load limit and build your plan around it. If you don't know the load limit, have a civil or structural engineer inspect the roof. Compare the limit to the estimated weight of the snow, the removal equipment, and workers on the roof. 2. Conduct a hazard assessment. "Treat it like any other job hazard," says Zronik. Figure out what could go wrong, and how great the risk is, then use this information to prioritize your next steps. 3. Map the site. Knowing where all the roof penetrations are and where to deposit rooftop snow on the ground is priceless information. Take digital photos. They'll give you a quick visual reference when you need it. 4. Prepare the site. Cordon off skylights, gas lines and other obstacles that snow may hide and remove anything that doesn’t need to be there. 5. Figure out what snow removal and personal protective equipment you'll need. Shovels and scoops are recommended over snowblowers and other motorized equipment. Those devices aren't very congenial with fall prevention lines and ropes, gas lines, or plumbing stacks. Inspect your equipment now and make repairs or replace if necessary. Ensure you have the right fall protection equipment for the job, and that employees wear clothing suitable to the weather and working conditions, e.g., head protection, mittens/ gloves, insulated footwear, sunglasses, etc. 6. Determine how many people you'll need. Make allowances for winter holidays, illnesses and other factors that could affect your head count. 7. Arrange for whatever specialized training workers will need,

such as working at heights. Provide as much training as possible so that workers can approach every situation safely. “If you're hiring new employees," says Zronik, "ensure they successfully complete worker health and safety awareness training and any other training required under the Occupational Health and Safety Act." 8. Create pre- and post-snow removal inspection checklists, to ensure workers have everything they need before going on the roof, and to identify and repair any changes to the roof after the snow has been removed. 9. Have the equipment ready and people trained before the first snowfall. 10. Devise a written rescue plan in case a worker falls and becomes suspended in a fall arrest system. Hiring a snow removal service? If you're hiring a service instead of using your own people, the above suggestions can help you assess prospective service providers. "You need to have confidence that your service provider will do the job safely," says Zronik. "If they're not up to the job, you could be held liable." Everyone involved needs to be clear on who is undertaking the work, what each of the parties associated with the work are responsible for. This ensures compliance and helps keep everyone safe. How WSPS can help WSPS  consultants  can help you develop a snow removal plan and identify training needs. If you're contracting out, WSPS offers three essential courses on working with contractors: • Hiring Outside Contractors • Managing Safety of On-Site Contractors • Contractor Health and Safety in Ontario (1 hour e-course). Also available in French If you're not familiar with Ontario's new working at heights training requirements, read these articles on the WSPS website: • New working at heights training requirements may affect you. Follow these 6 steps • 10 tips for choosing the best working from heights training provider

Business Beat Published by Metroland Media Group Ltd., and delivered to businesses in St. Thomas and Elgin Country For complete information on the St. Thomas and District Chamber of Commerce, reach us at: 115-300 South Edgeware Rd., St. Thomas, Ontario N5P 4L1 Telephone: 519-631-1981 Fax: 519-631-0466 E-Mail: Website: President & CEO Bob Hammersley Accounting Coordinator Susan Munday Member Services Warren Allen

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December, 2015

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St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce 2015 Board of Directors Chair: Ross Fair Fanshawe College Vice-Chair: Dan Kelly, CPA, CGA Dowler-Karn Ltd. Treasurer: Mark Lassam, CPA, CA Lassam & Co. Past Chair: Laura Woermke St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre Director: Sean Dyke St. Thomas Economic Development Corp. Director: Robert Furneaux Gorman-Rupp of Canada Ltd. Director: Brian Helmer Reith & Associates Insurance & Financial Director: Kevin Jackson Elgin Business Resource Centre Director: Jeff Kohler City of St. Thomas Director: Phil Mauer Phil Mauer & Associates Inc. Director: Ginette Minor Alexelle Slipcovers & Décor Director: Ray Bosveld HollisWealth


CHAMBER NEWS Events and News of Interest to our Members

Minister's Mandate – A look at trade and local opportunities for Chamber action The on-line newsletter iPolitics is a solid source That strategy, the letter explains, should include of news, resources and information for us at “the mobilization of our small- and mediumthe Chamber. Following the Friday Novem- sized enterprises and the rich diversity of Canada’s ber 13 move in Ottawa by Prime Minister Jus- population; and improved supports to Canadian tin Trudeau to release the mandate letters given companies looking to export and Canadian comto all 30 members of the new Liberal cabinet, iP- munities looking to attract investments.” olitics  released summary information night. We CETA and the TPP are both addressed in one found particular interest in the mandate given to bullet point. the Trade Minister. “Develop strategies to implement the CanadaThe following is an excerpt from a feature  by European Union Comprehensive Economic and writer BJ Siekierski. Trade Agreement (CETA) and consult on CanIn addition to directing her to implement the ada’s potential participation in the Trans-Pacific Canada-EU trade agreement (CETA) and consult Partnership (TPP). This will include working on Canada’s “potential participawith relevant ministers and tion” in the Trans-Pacific Partprovinces and territories to nership (TPP), Trade Minister support adjustment in sectors “since 2013 we have including agriculture, the auto Chrystia Freeland’s mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin hosted and participated sector, and compensation for Trudeau stresses expanding trade in three tours to China” incremental cost increases to with emerging markets — sinpublic drug plans arising from gling out China and India as priCETA,” the letter says. orities. It doesn’t specify, however, whether that The letter also calls for a new Canadian Trade means concluding existing free trade negotiations and Export Strategy, part of which includes an — with India — or launching them, with China. Investment in Canada Office, headed by a Chief “As Minister of International Trade, your over- Executive Officer. arching goal will be to increase Canada’s trade and The role of that CEO, the letter says, will be to attract job-creating investment to Canada, focus- “work seamlessly with ing on expanding trade with large fast-growing provincial, territorial, markets, including China and India, and deepen- and municipal governing our trade links with traditional partners,” the ments and provide letter says.  concierge services to A bullet point later calls for the development of promote business ina targeted strategy to promote trade and invest- vestment in Canada so ment with emerging markets — “with particular that potential investors attention to China and India.” will have a one-window

shop to make investing in Canada simpler and more attractive.” As many of our Members are aware, the St. Thomas & District Chamber has shown previous interest in China. Since 2013 we have hosted and participated in three tours to China with visits to Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou. Chamber staff are negotiating a return visit for later in 2016 and expect to release details next month. We expect to provide an opportunity for Members to see and explore China from both, or either, a business and personal awareness perspective. Working in collaboration with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, we have also begun plans for local analysis on any Canadian participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We are assembling a Task Force to review the agreement with an eye to identifying specific and detailed information that relates to our local area and presenting the information for the benefit of all interested. Agriculture and manufacturing are key interests that we will explore. Timelines for action suggest we will begin our work in February and conclude any activity concurrent to ratification by Canada, the US and all other key partners in the agreement.

Communication check-up We’re sending it. Are you receiving? One of the Chamber’s main communication products is a weekly email newsletter we call Green Mail. If you should be – or want to be – seeing it, but you’re not, there’s any easy fix. Just go to the Chamber’s website at and click on the Green Mail words in the left-hand column on our main page. Or, if you’d prefer to come and get Green Mail instead of having us send it, links are posted each week on the main page of our website and via the Chamber’s Face Page, our Members-only Facebook Group, on Twitter and in the Chamber’s LinkedIn group. Green Mail contains two sections of information each week. The first is an event & activity section that showcases Chamber events and provides our community partners with an opportunity to share news of theirs. The second section is news that impacts the business community. We deeply appreciate the frequent comments we get from Members on the news and information we share via Green Mail. From news on surprise Ministry of Labour inspections to legislation changes that impact the workplace, we try to make Green Mail as useful and informative as possible. That means we also welcome your media releases and posts, too. Submissions are welcome at this email address: The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce has been building and making B2B and B2C connections since 1869, and we have several plans to grow our services in the months ahead. December, 2015



Legal Business Events and News of Interest to our Members

Heard it (EAT) through the grape vine by Monty Fordham We would all agree that the various forms of social media so readily accessible these days provide an ongoing barrage of information ranging from health issues, politics and law, Monty Fordham right down to topics of personal interest. However, we can never lose sight of the fact that these social media are really not much more than electronic rumour mills. While much of the information posted by individuals is derived from other sources, there is absolutely no guarantee the information is reliable or truthful, at least without us digging deeper. Recent postings concerning the amendments to the Ontario Estate Administration Tax Act (1998), while containing some useful information, often contain serious misinformation, which has resulted in a minor panic concerning the payment of the tax (EAT) and the calculation of the amount of the tax. A little history would be helpful. While the Estate Administration Tax Act (1998) was passed in (surprise) 1998, the present levels of tax have been in existence since 1992 and have remained unchanged since. Back in 1992, we referred to the levy as “probate fees.” This was because the payment was made to the Clerk of the Court at the time a will was submitted for

probate, upon the death of the maker of the will. This terminology persists today, at least among the more mature of the legal profession. The government of the day, however, decided it would be a good idea to triple the amount of “probate fees” on the value of an estate over $50,000. So, in 1992, the rate went from .5% to 1.5%. As a result of a Supreme Court decision in 1998, the fee was determined to be a tax. As a result of this decision, the government passed the present Estate Administration Tax Act (1998). It did not increase or decrease the amount of the levy, and it remained payable at the time a will was submitted for an appointment of an estate trustee (formerly called probate). Lawyers involved in estate and personal planning have always known that certain assets of a deceased person are exempt from “probate,” or, using the current terminology, do not require that a certificate of appointment be obtained. Examples of this type of asset include jointly registered real property, joint bank accounts with right of survivorship, life insurance policies with a named beneficiary and certain registered investments, again, with a named beneficiary. These types of assets are said to “pass outside the will” of a deceased person. Accordingly, generally, no EAT is payable on these types of assets. But how do we value the assets which must be included in the application for appointment of

estate trustee? Well, up until January 2015, the valuation process was fairly informal. An estimate of the value of the estate less any debts was prepared and EAT was paid to the Court official at the time of filing the application, based on that amount. The estimated amount was not broken down in any way, and was simply set out in a sworn declaration by the estate trustee (executor for us mature folks). I can’t imagine that anyone would have undervalued any assets in order to pay less tax. However, the government was not as convinced. The change which occurred in January, 2015 simply requires the estate trustee to provide detailed valuation of estate assets which are subject to EAT. There has been no increase in the amount of EAT charged, and assets which were exempt before are still exempt. The tax is payable on estates where an application for appointment of estate trustee is required. The inventory and valuation are set out in an “estate information return,” which must be filed within 90 days of receipt of the appointment. Nothing in the new regime makes it more or less important to effectively plan the eventual transfer of your estate to your heirs with your lawyer, accountant and financial advisor with a view to minimizing the amount of EAT. Continued on page 25

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CHAMBER NEWS Events and News of Interest to our Members

Chamber Board set for 2016

Upon completion of the Chamber’s 146th Annual General Meeting on November 18, the current Board met and accepted the Nominating Committee report naming the Directors to represent our Members for 2016, January 1 to December 31. Completion of the Nominating Committee Report is one of the final duties of the Board’s Immediate Past Chair. Laura Woermke of the Dan Kelly, Ross Fair, Ray Bosveld, St. Thomas Elgin Public Art will Chamber Chair-Elect 2016 Chamber Board Chair 2015 new Chair of the retire as Past Chair at December Chamber’s Member Services 31 this year. Two other DirecCommittee Dan Kelly of Dowler Karn Ltd. is completing tors, Jeff Kohler and Rob Mise, a year as the Chamber’s Vice-Chair and is the retire at December 31, having served the maxiRaymond Bosveld HollisWealth Chair-Elect for 2016. Ross Fair of Fanshawe Colmum of two consecutive terms. Kathy Cook World Financial lege becomes the Immediate past Chair. President The Chamber’s Board consists of 12 Members Sean Dyke St. Thomas Economic Development & CEO is Bob Hammersley and, ex-officio, the elected from the membership and up to 3 addiRoss Fair Fanshawe College Secretary of the Board. The Board will elect its oftional Directors appointed by the incoming Chair. Robert Furneaux Gorman-Rupp of Canada ficers at the first meeting of the new year in JanuElected Directors serve 3-year terms while Chair’s Brian Helmer Reith & Associates ary. Appointees serve 1-year terms. The Chair has the Kevin Jackson EBRC The current Vice-Chair of our Member Seroption of making additional appointments to enDan Kelly Dowler Karn Ltd. sure balance in sectoral representation and skills at Mark Lassam Lassam & Co. Chartered Accountants vices Committee, Ray Bosveld, has been named to Chair the MSC group and Chris Patriquin of the Board table. Phil Mauer Phil Mauer & Associates Simply Pure Water/My Water has been Ginette Minor Alexelle Slipcovers & Décor named Vice-Chair of Member Services. The Chamber’s 2016 Directors are, by alphaBob Ward The Auto Guys betical order,

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Pro Text Events and News of Interest to our Members

Mortgage insurance

Options for family security by David daCamara

meets your needs. You do have to qualify for perYou’re finalizing your mortgage – a huge comsonal life insurance, a process mitment that comes with a great deal of responsibility. It’s natural to be concerned that your family that may include verification might lose their home if the income earner was no that you and your spouse are in good health. Once you start longer around to make the payments. You have a couple of options, both involving af- paying the premiums, you’re fordable monthly payments. Lending institutions covered for the term of the offer mortgage insurance – also called creditor policy, with automatic renewals. insurance — at the time you sign the mortgage. And as long as premiums are The other route is personal life insurance that you paid as required, only you can cancel the policy. can buy through your financial The benefit payout security advisor. ...personal life With mortgage insurance, Mortgage insurance is conveyour creditor is the named insurance allows nient. You can apply for insurbeneficiary and the proceeds ance coverage at the same time you to choose your are paid to the creditor, not you’re getting your mortgage. your family. If you die or beneficiaries... This insurance is used to cover your spouse dies, the outthe outstanding mortgage balstanding amount is paid off. ance if you die. You can also inAs the mortgage is paid down, the benefit coverclude your spouse in the coverage. age decreases. However, it’s important to research the differPersonal life insurance allows you to choose your ences between mortgage insurance and personal beneficiaries. And the lump-sum benefit payment life insurance to help ensure you’re giving yourself and your family the insurance protection that is paid tax free on the death of the life insured even if the mortgage is paid off. This type of coverage provides added financial security beyond just the mortgage. Monthly premiums With mortgage insurance, the coverage decreases each month until the entire principal is paid off, although the premiums stay the same. With personal life insurance, your coverage doesn’t decrease as the mortgage is paid. Enjoy your time with family and friends Don’t let your mortgage jeopardize your this festive season. Happy Holidays! family’s financial security. You have choices!

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Perhaps your best option is to choose a plan that will keep the premium you pay level for 10 years, 20 years or for your lifetime. Flexibility Generally most lending institutions offer nonconvertible term life insurance where the lending institution owns the mortgage insurance policy. If you switch mortgage lenders, your policy is void. Given that you’ll be older than when you originally signed your mortgage or your health may have changed, the premiums with a new lender could be higher or you may not qualify for new coverage. If you already have a personal life insurance policy in place and you buy a bigger home, you may want to consider increasing the coverage. One option may be to leave the existing policy in place and take out a second one to increase overall coverage for your family. Take time to carefully weigh both of your options. A financial security advisor can provide expert guidance. This column appears regularly in Business Beat and has been submitted by David daCamara, Financial Advisor, with Reith & Associates Insurance and Financial Services Limited, 462 Talbot Street, St. Thomas. Questions and comments on this column are welcomed by the writer at 519-631-3862 or via e-mail:

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CHAMBER NEWS Events and News of Interest to our Members

We love winners!

The Chamber’s November Business After 5 at St. Thomas Municipal Airport brought news on the 2016 Great Lakes International Air Show coming next June 18 & 19. The event was sponsored joint-

ly by the Air Show and Railway City Brewing Co. Hetty Teuber of Silverthorn Landscape won premium Chalet Flight Deck passes to the Air Show, valued at $400. John Taylor of VON and Peter Leack claimed 4-packs of Air Show admission tickets. Royal LePage realtor Jim Harris earned a flight in a vintage aircraft. Paul Jenkins of the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital Foundation was rewarded with a Railway City Brewing gift basket and real estate sales rep Brent White took home a brewery gift card. Jim Banman, President of the Board of Directors of the Air Show presented their prizes while Paul Corriveau awarded prizes from Railway City Brewing. (Photographs courtesy of Photos by MG).

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Member NEWS Events and News of Interest to our Members

New Members The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce proudly welcomes the following businesses and individuals as our newest Members. Those listed below were accepted as registered Members to November 15, 2015. Once an organization registers with the Chamber, all personnel (owners/ managers/staff) within the organization have full access to all Chamber programs, projects, events and services. Crown of Jewels Salon 811 Talbot Street St. Thomas, ON N5P 1E4 Phone: 519-633-4201 Email: Website: n/a Contact: Julie Somerville, Owner/Stylist Buyers Guide Categories: Hair Care/Hairstyling Products & Services: Crown of Jewels Salon welcomes new and past clients to their location at 811 Talbot Street across from Van Pelts. There is free parking in front of the salon. From hair colouring to hair extensions, the team at Crown of Jewels

Salon are always there for their clients and accommodate them the best they can! Canadian Congenital Heart Alliance C4 – 233 Cross Avenue, P.O. Box 233 Oakville, ON L6J 2W9 Phone: 519-494-8700 Email: Web: Contact: Allan Weatherall, Executive Director Buyers Guide Category: Agencies & Associations, Community Services Products & Services: The Canadian Congenital Heart Alliance (CCHA) is a Canada wide volunteer-run registered charity consisting of people with a congenital heart defect, their friends, families, and the medical community. CCHA’s Mission is to improve the quality of life and health outcomes for individuals with congenital heart defects: by raising awareness, providing peer support and mentoring, advocacy, and advancing research.

CBRE Limited 380 Wellington Street, Suite 30 London, ON N6A 5B5 Phone: 519-286-2010 Email: Web: Contact: Chris Harris, Broker/Associate Vice President Buyers Guide Categories: Real Estate Services, Real Estate - Commercial Products & Services: Serving St. Thomas, Elgin County, and all of Southwestern Ontario, CBRE is the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm. Associate Vice President & Broker Chris Harris is a St. Thomas resident and part of CBRE’s Special Properties Group. He has strong interest and extensive experience in meeting the needs of clients in all commercial sectors including industry.

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December, 2015



Aylmer & Area Chamber of Commerce

Volunteers from the Parks Lighting committee spent the warm month of November decorating three different parks in downtown Aylmer. For the past four years, volunteers have spent numerous hours decorating the park for the Official lighting. The parks are lit up every evening for guests young and old to enjoy the colours of the season. There are over 18,000 lights, large wooden characters painted in bright colours and greenery hung with care. While you are in downtown Aylmer this holiday season, stop by Palmer Park, Bear Park and Balmoral for a memorable treat! This initiative is supported through MainStreet Aylmer, Aylmer Area Community Foundation and downtown PLEASE DONATE merchants. TO THE





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Aylmer & Area Chamber of Commerce

Tips for investing your holiday bonus agree however, that splurging on new electronics may not be the best use of your bonus and that, For those lucky enough to receive one, a holiday instead, investing it may lead to a much happier bonus brings with it feelings of excitement and New Year. dreams of purchasing all those items we’ve had “While the thought of a shiny new phone or our eyes on throughout the year. Financial experts tablet is certainly more appealing, using your holiday bonus to pay down debt and invest in your On Wednesday, November 18, age inc. future will be far members from 19 different businesses First Impressions Hair Design more rewarding in the area gathered for lunch at the Elgin Business Resource Centre in the long-run,” Family Central downtown Aylmer. A Hamilton Ward & Cathers says Wade Stayzfull buffet lunch was prepared for the Enns Textiles er, vice president, guests.  Executive Director, Nicole Mobelhaus retail and investPressey-Wiebenga welcomed attendMartin’s Lift Truck ment services at ees and local events and projects were McFarlan Rowlands Meridian. discussed. Guests also had the opporJersey Photography Meridian, Ontunity to introduce themselves and United Way St. Thomas-Elgin tario’s largest invite guests to specific events, workFarmtown Canada credit union, ofshops or update them on notable projMutual Financial Services fers the followects.  Members enjoyed lunch while Aylmer Community Services ing tips to help chatting with friends they know and Fanshawe- Career and Employment Ontarians spend meeting new members as well. Services-Elgin their bonus where Mennonite Savings & Credit Union it will benefit Members in attendance included: Asymmetric Consulting them the most: Erica Unger Insurance H. Broer Equipment Sales & Service Pay off debt Meridian Credit Union – Bonuses are a Showcase East Elgin Realty brokergreat way to make By: Karyn Silliker

Projects discussed at Nov. Chat & Chew

Season’s Greetings

lump-sum payments on high interest loans, credit card debt and mortgages. This not only cuts down the principal but has the added benefit of reducing future interest, allowing you to enter the New Year without the lingering reminder of last year’s purchases hanging over your head. Add to your emergency fund – It is generally recommended that a household have enough living expenses for three to six months set aside in an emergency fund, however many Canadians have significantly less put away. As “found money,” a holiday bonus is the perfect way to help prepare for life’s unexpected expenses. Invest in your retirement – It’s never too early to think about retirement and a holiday bonus is the perfect opportunity to invest in your future. Placing all, or at least a portion, of your bonus in a retirement savings plan will help ensure that you have a comfortable nest egg prepared for the future. For more information on how to make the most of your holiday bonus, visit or come and visit us at Meridian’s Aylmer branch located at 36 Talbot Street West. Karyn Silliker is Meridian’s Aylmer Branch Manager.

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Relationships: What makes them work? by Ronda Degaust

You may have heard the saying “You become acteristics of both. Also you can model one parent and marry the other.” teachers, peers, movie stars or anyone else If this is new to you, you may be in for an inter- in your life. But for the most part, you will esting awakening. model one of your parents more than anyWhy do nice women pick not so nice men one else. and vice versa? Which parent did you model more? You may have noticed great guys who marry Which parent did you become more like? women that treat them badly, and sweet, loving Of course you have your own personality, women who have demanding controlling hus- but there are certain attributes that will be bands. This situation plays out more prominent in you in many relationships. Whether that resemble one parent. it is a male/female relationship, These attributes may be kindfemale/female or male/male, “you will model one of ness, sensitivity, frustration, the reason behind your choices your parents more than outgoing, shy, driven, helpful, starts at a deep unconscious or patient or controlling and so anyone else” subconscious level. Your choice on. of a certain person is based on Which parent did you marattraction. He or she seems wonderful and just ry? what you want in your life. You may be unaware Which parent did you attract in your life as a of the other reason you choose someone to be mate? Which parent is most like the person you your partner or friend. chose for your partner or friend? Which parent did you become? Often the partner you choose will be the parent During your developmental years, you go that you did not become. This is where the saying through a stage called the modeling stage, be- comes from: “You marry one parent and become tween the age of 7 and 14. These are the years the other.” where you model significant people in your life Why do you marry one parent and become and start forming who you are. Little girls often the other? model their mothers and little boys their fathers. There can be many reasons you do this. One However, this is not always the case. You may may be that we choose what we are familiar with. have modeled either and sometimes certain char- That is an easy one to understand and probably

not a light-bulb moment for you. Another reason is to heal your hurts from the past and to evolve as a person. Yes, believe it or not, you choose your partner to bring out all your hurts and insecurities you developed as a child so you can heal these issues and become the person you are meant to be. An unconscious process for sure, but if you have been in your relationship for a while, you may notice how your partner triggers certain emotions that send you back into feelings just like those you had as a child. For this reason changing partners may not solve the problem. People repeat the patterns in their life until they learn and heal what is driving the emotions and behaviours. Healing your insecurities, developing self-worth and learning to love yourself by stepping into your own power will change your unhealthy relationships into healthy happy relationships that work. Ronda Degaust is the author of How To Heal from Years of Criticism, Insults, Abuse & Rejection. She is a Break-thru Coach & International NLP Trainer. Find out more at or email her at

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How to throw a party stress free (NC) Not much is as taxing as hosting a large group and things can derail fairly quickly. Stop, take a deep breath, and follow this simple guideline to holiday entertaining that is certain to be merry and bright: Set a budget: It's easy to get spendy when everyone will be scrutinizing the details of your event, but make sure to set a realistic limit. If you plan early enough, there are many DIY projects to spruce up your home décor without breaking the bank. Head to Pinterest for inspiration and your local dollar store for supplies. Whatever your budget, you can throw a great party. Make a guest list and check it twice: Who you invite to break bread with is important to a successful event. Don't feel that you have to invite everyone and their friends in order to be a good host. It's hard not to invite your crazy Aunt Evelyn, but you can probably skip the gossipy co-worker. Fill their plates: Whether you're having it catered or tackling the job yourself, the holidays are a time for old favourites, but don't be afraid

to throw in a contemporary spin. Just don't try a new recipe the day of the party. Test the food out on your family first to avoid serving 50 collapsed soufflés. And make it easy on yourself by only serving nibbles. People love to graze, it's easier to make the dishes ahead of time and this gives you the opportunity to offer variety to a group of diverse eaters. Set the mood: Don't forget an essential element to entertaining: music. The tunes at any event really help to set the ambience, but with everything else that you're doing, don't add the time-consuming task of building a perfect mix. “Make it easy on yourself,” says SiriusXM Canada. They advise to simply use your computer or mobile device to access commercial-free music to


suit every taste through SiriusXM Internet Radio. From Christmas classics to Hanukkah favourites, keep the party going with hits from the past, current club anthems, or traditional tunes. You can listen free for a limited time at When it's all done: Make sure all your guests have a safe ride home by having a few cabs preordered. Surprise them with an adult “goodie bag” to take along, which may include water bottles, ibuprofen, a recipe for a “hair of the dog” cocktail, and anything that shows you care. Get creative. And as the door closes behind the very last guest, you deserve to sit down, relax and toast yourself for throwing a sensational holiday bash.

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How to keep your shopping list in check this Christmas (NC) It's the holiday season, which likely means that you're spending a lot of money. As lists continue to grow and requests from friends and family get more intricate, follow these tips to help stay on budget for the holidays: • Give a group gift: For your child's teacher buy one meaningful gift with a group of other parents. There are many thoughtful ideas from the World Vision Gift Catalogue ( • Use coupons: Do a quick online search. Use your smartphone to find couponing apps to help your holiday budget stretch further. • Do a secret Santa: Instead of buying for everyone, draw names with your colleagues and adult family members from a hat so everyone buys a gift for just one other person. December, 2015

6 2S E 01 ASON

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Business & Community FUNDRAISING

Going ga-ga at the Gala St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital Foundation hosted a spectacular fundraising event November 21 at St. Anne’s Centre. The emphasis was on the glitter at Black Tie & Pearls, with a Roaring Twenties theme. (Any moonshine was of the legal variety). The Gala included gaming for prizes, gourmet food stations, silent and live auction, entertainment and dancing.

Celebrity guest chef Michael Smith revs up the crowd with his enthusiastic support for local health services at STEGH. He was also signing copies of his new cookbook at the Gala.

Local people perform the Charleston to enthusiastic applause.

Julie Rynen and George Mois are decked out in fine Roaring Twenties style for Black Tie and Pearls.

Give Generously to Christmas Care and the Salvation Army this Holiday Season. Let’s make sure everyone has a Merry Christmas.

Allan Hughson Gary Hughson Owner/Funeral Director Owner/Funeral Director

Owen Boughner Licensed Funeral Director

Craig Harwood David Gifford Licensed Funeral Director Licensed Funeral Director

Merry Christmas from all the staff at Ron’s Auto 225 Edward Street, St. Thomas 519-633-6130

December, 2015

45 Elgin Street, St. Thomas (519) 631-0850 ELGIN THIS MONTH


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Neither darkness nor pouring rain could dampen the enthusiasm of the large crowds and the float participants during the St. Thomas Optimists Santa Claus Parade Saturday, November 21. (Photos by Mike Maloney).

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Start now on new Christmas decorating ideas by Renée Carpenter

Sleigh bells are ringing somewhere as the reindeer prepare for their long journey here. We, too, prepare for their arrival by decorating our homes to envelope their spirit and give life to not only that special day but the entire month that it represents. But like our homes, these holiday décor items need to be updated more often than most of us probably actually do it. Some things are too memorable to replace, but if we are honest, the majority of this stuff we drag in and out every year isn’t even dump-worthy.

Every year tends to have trendy theme. That’s all well and good if you have already replaced or added to the existing collection annually but most of us haven’t. Therefore, some basics are the classics that you will need and want to use for a long while. Whether that is an artificial tree or the type of lights you put on it, remember those are the bones to holding or reflecting the “make a decision this details to come. Choose year to toss out the them wisely as their shape, size, texture, etc., does make rattiest and oldest” a difference but also be aware that you could blow a huge Yet it’s very expensive to go out and replace all budget on just these areas if at once, as most of us have acquired it in bits over you allow yourself. the years. You can do the same thing again but Now, having said that, I’m you need to start now. Evaluate what you have a huge advocate on having and make a decision this year to toss out the rat- lots of lights and if you get tiest and oldest among them. Then, rather than good ones, you won’t be replacing them as often – decorating around the void, go out and replace it. which is a job I truly despise. Build your foundaNext year do the same thing. Soon you will have tion strong and then play! an entirely new look. Now for the fun stuff, here’s a few ideas to help change things up a bit. - Instead of hanging the stocking on the mantel, hang them down the stairway, highlight it with a thick garland and twinkle lights. - For a quick and easy centerpiece, place several snowy taper candles in the center of a store-bought boxwood wreath. There should In keeping with The Co-operators tradition be enough candles in the center grouped of giving back to our communities, this year, together to be a tight Debbie Hamilton & Associates Ltd., has fit to hold them up

Thank You St. Thomas!

made donations to various charities in lieu of Christmas cards. St Thomas, you have supported us this year, and now it is our pleasure to give back to you!

From our families to yours, Happy Holidays and all the best for 2016

straight and in place. - Shiny ball ornaments don’t just look good on trees, but they make for a great holiday centerpiece, tucked neatly into a bowl full of greens. - Transform mittens into ‘stockings’ and hang for holding tiny treats. - Mix faux garland with real greenery, weaving in pinecones and thick ribbon. This is good for stairways, mantels, tops of cupboards, pianos, foyer/console tables, etc. - LOVE this idea! Create warmth to your home this season by designing a cocoa brewing station, made complete with mugs, stirrers, and a dispenser. - Another LOVE – a simple yet stunning way to dress up your dining room for set-down, gatherings. It couldn’t be quicker. Just grab each place setting, place your napkin and flatware on top. Then wrap a length of wide, pretty ribbon around it all and tie into a bow. - White and gold is completely en mode when planning a chic dinner party. - In ancient Greece, pomegranates were consumed on holy days. If this red fruit doesn’t make it to your Christmas menu, then make sure it gets down the runner of the Christmas dinner table and keep the tradition alive. And finally, to ensure that the reindeer do arrive with Santa, add cozy sleeping bags for a ‘camp out’ around the tree. The kids will love it! Renée Carpenter owns Jennings Furniture & Design & Stage It With Jennings in St. Thomas.

Jeff Yurek, Jenn and Maggie wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. JEFF YUREK, MPP


Debbie Hamilton & Associates Ltd. 555 Talbot Street, St. Thomas · 519-633-3600 Unit 1 - 17 King Street, Aylmer · 519-765-3636 December, 2015


Office Hours:

Monday-Friday 10am-4:30pm 750 Talbot St., (CASO Station Suite 201) St. Thomas, ON N5P 1E2 519-631-0666 email:


Dining Entertainment FOOD & WINE

My picks: great wines for the holidays by Jamie Quai

The holidays are upon us. In the last article of is thinking that they are only for celebrations. 2015, I’m going to devote a few paragraphs to They are amazing everyday wines. The next wine style I’m enjoying this holiday are some wines that are on a trendy upswing right now, have some real quality to them, and will wines from the classic white Rhone grapes: Viogmake perfect additions to your holiday celebra- nier, Marsanne, and Rousanne. These are three grapes that don’t properly ripen with low sugar. tions. The first wines that would be great in your glass- As a result, the wines finish with 13-14% alcohol. es this season are traditional style champagnes. These are fireside wines, they are cold weather wines, and they are delicious. I This includes classic Chamhave been fortunate enough to pagne from France, as well make Viognier for a few years, as Cremants (also French), “sparklers are a and it never fails that when the and wines from almost anyweather cools, this wines sales mainstay of the holidays where in the world that have heat up. Look for these grapes some variation of the words: for me” as varietals, or blends, from the Method Traditional. For Rhone Valley, California, Ausclarity: sparkling wines from Champagne are Champagne. Sparkling wines tralia, South Africa and British Columbia. The next wine that I find I’m drinking more of from anywhere else in France are generally rethis holiday season is Pinot Noir. Simple Pinot ferred to as Cremants. Sparklers from Australia, England, Canada, the Noir for me is quite often a summertime wine, United States and New Zealand are wonderful but really good Pinot Noir is a wintertime wine. choices too. Sparklers are a mainstay of the holi- Unlike a lot of the other wines, this one can be a days for me for a few simple reasons. They are so sit-and-reflect wine. Great Pinot Noir is expeneasy to drink, the bubbles are supposed to help sive. Great Pinot Noir takes hours to develop in stimulate your digestive system, and sparklers the glass. Great Pinot Noir and interesting friends have really high acidity which will cut through a are all you need for an amazing night. Great Pinot lot of the sugary foods being passed around. The Noir comes from (in order of importance to me): biggest mistake people make with sparkling wines Burgundy, Oregon, Ontario and New Zealand. When it comes to a big red wine for the dinner

table this holiday season, there are a lot of safe choices, but real value can be found in Portugal. Most people don’t think that Portugal really produces much beyond Port and Mateus rosé. Spend some time around the Portuguese section of your local store, buy a few bottles, and you will quickly discover that the wines are full-bodied, complex, and easily half the price of comparable styles from Bordeaux, Rioja and Napa Valley. These wines are so robust that I don’t worry about pairing a wellmade Duoro or Dao with a full Christmas dinner. Last recommendation for this season is all about sweet wines. Sweet wines are always great choices when trying to pair with cheese courses and desserts. Icewines, Ports, Sherries, Tokaji’s, and Vin Santo are absolutely amazing wines that don’t spoil quickly when they’re opened, evolve beautifully over hours of enjoyment. Don’t overdo it with sweet wines – an ounce or two, per pour, is perfect. Happy Holidays and see you in 2016!

Jamie Quai is head winemaker at Quai du Vin Estate Winery in Elgin County

Heard It (EAT) through the grape vine Continued from page 12

But, as far as the changes to the Act are concerned, the political history is more or less thus: Bob increased the fee; Mike called it a tax; Kathleen wants us actually to pay it. On behalf of Michael and myself and the staff at Fordham and Brightling, I would like to wish everyone a safe Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Lawyer Monty Fordham prepares this monthly column for the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce and our Members. Questions, comments and suggestions for future columns are welcomed by Monty at his office: Fordham & Brightling Associates – Lawyers, 4 Elgin Street, St. Thomas. Telephone 519-633-4000, FAX 519-633-1371 or e-mail:

Happy Holidays FROM ALL OF US!

Joyce Wilson, Shawn Jackson, Myra Pettit Terry Lanning, Ron Fish, Greg Machan, Dave Somerville, David Pettit



31 Elgin St., St. Thomas 519-631-0570 December, 2015




Miscommunication costs small businesses Mitigate the risk by Lisa Jibson

Communication is critical to success. I know that from my own business. It’s a two-way street: from me to my clients/potential clients and back. The nature of my business means that I do not always meet my clients in person. As a result, we often communicate on-line, which increases the chance of miscommunication. And, when there is a communication breakdown, costs are incurred. Not just financial; costs that can't be measured easily, such as future business losses, hurt feelings, broken relationships and loss of time. The bottom line drives how small- and medium-sized companies do business. However, there is no budget line to reflect the money lost from poorly run meetings, unreturned phone calls, or casually written emails that result in lost clients. These costs are hidden, but ultimately more damaging than a slow sales month. Workplaces that fail to recognize the importance of constructive and productive communication practices tend to experience budget overruns, higher employee turnover, increased project failure, and higher litigation costs. Start off on the right foot: Establish clear expectations Companies put a lot of effort into designing job descriptions with lists of responsibilities. But they often neglect to sit down with their staff/clients and create a work plan with clear objectives, timelines and expectations, and a schedule for follow up. Miscommunications can derail even the best projects if expectations are not clearly defined. Make sure your business's message is clear. Listen, ask questions, and seek clarification. Allow others to do the same. Do not make assumptions

about your colleagues, your clients or your supervisors. Ask how they prefer to communicate. If they prefer a call vs. a text, or a professional letter over an email, adapt your work style to suit your clients’ needs. Social networking vs. business communications Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, and Google + are all social networking platforms. While they can be used for business communication, their environment is far more casual than formal. Communication is short, potentially out of context and is often opinionbased. MS Lync, Glip, HipChat, and Go to Meeting are online business communication platforms that enable internal team collaboration and communication. They use instant messaging, group chatting, and file sharing, which if implemented properly can improve business efficiencies and save both time and money.

“when there is a communication breakdown, costs are incurred” Communication vs. miscommunication: Act like adults Business owners often do not communicate well when faced with an uncomfortable situation such as missing or extending a deadline, ending a client's contract, terminating staff, or cutting budget lines.

If you (or someone in your employ) need more time to complete a task, and have difficulty expressing your need, the immediate and long term costs will pile up. Similarly, if you are unhappy with the work of one of your staff members, contractors, or clients, have a frank discussion with the person, indicate your concerns, listen to their views, and give constructive feedback. If no mutually agreeable resolution is possible, at least you have communicated your concerns in a clear, open and professional manner. Who is responsible? Do not waste time on blame. Assess what went wrong and recognize how you might have handled the situation better. If there is an opportunity to fix it, do so (apologize). If not, move on; but learn that lesson for next time. Ways to alleviate communication challenges To ensure that both your company and your employees are communicating to the best of their abilities, implement workplace strategies that address potential communication challenges: Set clear rules. Emails must be composed in proper business writing format; instant messaging may only be used for internal communication. Do not make assumptions. If you are unclear what your employer or client expects from you, ask questions, repeat the answers, and write them down. Learn /try new methods. If some employees in your company are more familiar with emerging technologies; let them use them. Experiment. Train some of your staff to use them. You may just find a good fit for some of your communication needs.

Quality Energy Solutions 519-631-3810

Supporting Our Communities December, 2015


After spending 11 years on Parliament Hill, and four years as the Director of Administration at Western University’s Law School, Lisa Jibson now owns Ross Street Agency, a virtual executive assistance business in St. Thomas. 26


Do Canadians make good financial decisions? by Stephanie Farrow

We would each like to think we are capable of making fairly decent financial decisions, but in reality, do we? An even better question is, would we recognize if we make a bad decision? Or, would it go by unnoticed? Do we understand enough about financial matters to accurately gauge our own success? As the saying goes, sometimes “we don’t know what we don’t know.” Individually some of us make excellent finan-

“we are too eager to take on debt” cial decisions and are very well versed in financial matters but as a whole, we Canadians still need some work. The financial marketplace can be confusing. Numerous financial acronyms, jargon and an ever changing variety of financial products and options can be overwhelming. We live in a consumer-driven society. We can be careless about purchases, and we are too eager to take on debt without understanding the longterm consequences. We haven’t really nailed the concept of living within our means. Although reading about or listening to financial information may seem like death by boredom to many, the reality is, we really NEED to understand some financial basics to understand and improve our overall financial well-being. So what are we doing about it? You may recall, in 2009 a task force on financial literacy was created by then finance-minister Jim Flaherty to help strengthen the financial well-being of Canadians through financial education. November was designated as Financial Literacy Month, and what started slowly has gained momentum each year. The idea is for the national steering committee, financial organizations and planners to make a contribution to educate Canadians on financial matters, and ultimately improve their financial decisions. The concept of improving financial literacy has since evolved into the National Strategy for Financial Literacy – Count me in, Canada. If Canadians are going to better manage their finances and make appropriate financial decisions, it is important for people to have access to the knowledge and skills needed to make these responsible decisions. In June 2015, Stats Canada reported that Canada’s debt to income ratio rose to 164.6%, its highest level on record. On the flip side, Canada’s net worth is on the rise and our debt-to-asset ratio is still relatively low at 17.9 percent. This implies the average Canadian household has also invested in some assets that are appreciating in value. Bank of Montreal economist Benjamin Reitzes indicates, “Though the debt figures are eye-popping, there’s reason for optimism beneath the surface.” December, 2015

Raising awareness of financial literacy and the positive impact it has on people’s lives has been broken down into three goals: - Manage money and debt wisely - Plan and save for the future - Prevent and protect against fraud and financial abuse As the November 2015 Financial Literacy Month has come to a close, you may not be aware of the amount of resources circulating and available. If you are a twitter user, search #FLM2015 or with a trusted financial advisor who can clarify #CountMeIn, and you will be able to find many financial resources shared and help you make the best decision for you. throughout the past month. Stephanie Farrow, B.A., Using the internet, you can access these resourcC.F.P., is a Certified es on financial topics that matter to you: Financial Planner and Canadian Financial Literacy Database (Fico-owner of Farrow nancial Consumer Agency of Canada – FCAC) Financial Services Inc., in Belmont Count me in, Canada Get smarter about money Canadian AntiFraud Centre antifraudcentre-cenCall for your Free Consultation with Pisek, DD or Mike V. Pisek, DD! eng.htm The sources above Walk in patients and new patients are credible, and while are always welcome. there are many other All insurance plans are accepted great resources out (financing available). there, be cautious when searching for financial Come visit us today and let’s get started information on the inon the road to a fantastic smile. ternet. The internet can be a great source of information, but as we all • Full & Partial Dentures know it also has many sources of misinforma• Dentures on Implants tion that can easily lead you astray. Inaccurate • Same Day Relines & Repair financial information has a detrimental effect • Invisible Clasps (No Metal) on Canadian’s overall financial literacy, and • Financing Available may do you more harm than good. Make sure the source is credible and if in doubt, seek 989 Talbot Street, St.Thomas to validate the infor519-631-3130 mation from a reliable source and/or check





How chiropractic saved Christmas, Part VI by Dr. Greg Johnston B.H.K., B.Ed., D.C.

Regular readers of this column will remember that there have been several occasions when I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to assist Santa Claus around the Christmas season to ensure that he has been able to make his annual trip around the world to deliver his gifts. Along the way, Santa has learned a lot about everything that chiropractic has to offer with regard to eliminating pain, increasing function and helping to contribute to an overall heathy lifestyle. Believe it or not, this year provided yet another opportunity to assist Santa. Santa attended my clinic for his regularly scheduled monthly visit in August, and I could tell that something was wrong. He seemed tired and not his usual jovial self. He explained to me that he was having trouble sleeping and that he was becoming very run down. As we talked further, he explained that it had been a stressful spring and summer at the North Pole.

December, 2015 August, I could tell that something was wrong... The workshop had required some extensive renovations and upgrades and just as that was coming to an end the sleigh had developed some major mechanical problems that also required extensive and expensive repairs. He was feeling anxious about the upcoming Christmas season and as a result he was feeling generally stressed out and tired. As we discussed his sleeping problems, he explained that he didn’t seem to have trouble getting to sleep, but he was having difficulty staying asleep. He generally seemed to wake up several times during the night and often was unable to get back to sleep for some time after. I explained to Santa that this kind of problem can be associated with an increase or an imbalance in a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that is released during times of stress. Its purpose is to help in something called the “fight or flight” stress reaction. This is a cascade reaction involving the nervous and endocrine systems which creates ELGIN THIS MONTH

changes in our physiology to help us to either run really fast to get away from a threat or fight really well to defend ourselves from a threat. Once the threat is over, then the fight or flight response should diminish, hormone levels and nervous system function should return to normal and life goes on. Unfortunately, we do have a lot of stressors in our wonderful modern society. In many cases, more stress than our physiology seems to be able to handle. As a result, many people have a constant seepage of cortisol being released by the adrenal glands. Cortisol is an important hormone, but when it is present in too great an amount or at inappropriate times it can have a very negative affect on our overall health. The famous endocrinologist Hans Selye did extensive research in the area of the stress reaction. He coined the term “General Adaptation Syndrome” to describe how the human body reacts and adapts to stress. He pioneered the discovery of the “hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis” (HPA axis) which involves the major endocrine structures involved in the stress reaction. His research and theories described the potential negative impact that inappropriate stress reactions can have on our overall health potentially leading to a severe breakdown which he termed adrenal exhaustion. I explained how the recent stress in Santa’s life may have caused some hormonal imbalances in his endocrine system. We then proceeded to introduce some stress relieving changes in his life including exercise, some nutritional changes and some supplementation to help control and regulate his cortisol levels. Over the following months, Santa’s ability to manage stress improved and his sleeping patterns slowly returned to normal. I am happy to say that on his most recent visit he was back to his old elf (I mean self ) and is more than ready to make his annual trip once again this year. Merry Christmas everyone and all the best in the New Year! Dr. Greg Johnston is a Chiropractor and partner in Family Health Options Treatment & Resources Centre in St.Thomas 28

Business & Community EMPLOYMENT

Looking for a job? Start with these stats by Debra Mountenay

The EmployerOne Survey, conducted in January 2015, provided good news for local job seekers as 68% of the employers that participated in the survey said that they planned to hire this year. For three years running, employers said that they felt confident enough to be adding to their number of employees. In fact, 75% of the employers responding to the survey said they had hired someone in 2014, so the fact that over 2/3 of them expected to also hire in 2015 was a very strong sign that job recovery was well underway. This is good news for both the employers and for local job seekers. Of course, the question for job seekers is, if employers are hiring why don’t I hear about it? Employers use a number of methods for finding new employees. Some of the methods have been around a long time, while others are relatively new. Recruitment methods Word of mouth still ranks the highest with 24% of employers reporting that they tell people they

are looking rather than posting a job. For a job seeker, that means you must also be telling people that you are looking for work. If people don’t know you are available, they won’t mention it to an employer who may be looking for employees. Online recruiting is also a major way of finding employees with online job boards or postings and the company’s own internet site a method of choice for 29% of the employers responding to the survey. There are many online job boards to choose from, so you may want to regularly check several or if possible sign up for the postings to come you. Although employers are posting jobs online, they may not be ‘open for applications’ for a long time. Check with your local Employment Ontario offices to find out what job boards employers like to use locally. Local sites such as knighthunter. com are popular with employers for posting jobs. Companies of all sizes are also now posting their jobs on their own websites, so if there is a particular company that you would like to work for, you should check that site regularly and don’t be afraid to contact them to let them know you think you would be an ideal employee. Unsolicited resumes

were used as tools for finding employees by 9% of the employers in our survey. Sending an unsolicited resume lets you be in charge of your job search, but – don’t forget – it’s only a piece of paper if all you do is email or mail it to someone. If you can deliver the resume in person, you have the opportunity to make a good impression on the employer. Whatever ways you choose to connect with employers to make your case for employment, remember they are looking for people who are reliable, have good communication skills, will fit in with the other employees and will be a good reflection on their organization. As an employee, you are looking for an employer who will treat you with respect, be clear on what they expect from you, and will treat you fairly. You will spend a great deal of time at work – make it a good fit for both of you. Debra Mountenay is Executive Director of the Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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December, 2015




Christmas spirit lives on in unlikely places By Duncan Watterworth

I’m an atheist, but I like Christmas as much as the next guy. Although 96% of Ontarians celebrate Christmas, only 24% think it is “about religion,” according to a recent Forum Research poll. While its Christian roots are withering, Christmas is as healthy as a hothouse poinsettia. So what is it about Christmas that we like so much? I think it is the Christmas spirit that suffuses the season. Christmas brings out the best in us. When we are in Christmas spirit mode, the world is a better place. Christmas spirit is a re-focusing of our priorities. Partly, it is turning in toward family and friends, a time to reconnect with our inner circle. But the Christmas spirit is also about turning outward. It is about thinking of others, about extending our generosity and goodwill beyond their usual limits, beyond our tribe. We organize food drives and coats-for-kids collections. We drop money in Salvation Army kettles. We show greater kindness and charity to strangers. As the social scientists say, we “expand our moral circle.” The better angels of our nature hold sway for a while. The most wonderful thing about Christmas spirit is its range. There’s no boundary around it. I’ve seen it in some faraway places. Once was in India during Dewali, the ancient Hindu “festival of lights.” It was evening, and I was w a n dering

through a street teeming with celebrants. Every doorway, windowsill and flat surface was lined with blazing candles. A group of men with a chillum was sitting on the street and, upon seeing me, literally expanded their circle to bring me in. I gratefully accepted their hospitality toward one who could not have been more foreign or alone. We watched the fireworks, which occasionally ricocheted horizontally along the street. A second time was in a small mountainside village in southern Morocco during Eid alAdha, a major Muslim holiday. I was thirsty, a half-day’s walk from my hotel, and no stores were open. I pantoThe most affordable detailing mimed to a man on the street that I was thirsty, and he led me Gift Certificates to his friend’s house available nearby. The friend, all Makes a great smiles, insisted I take stocking stuffer! two large, store-bought bottles of water – more than I could possibly drink – and offered soft drinks as well. 160 Burwell Road, St. Thomas Later that day, back in 519-631-5502 the town where I was


December, 2015


staying, I bumped into two female backpackers who described to me being invited into a family’s home to share their holiday meal.

... “the better angels of our nature hold sway for a while... Can the Christmas spirit really abide in the hearts of Hindus and Muslims? Can it exist outside of December? Why not? If it looks like Christmas spirit, feels like Christmas spirit, and if it springs from the better side of human nature … Call it what you want; we could use more of it. The Christmas spirit shows us that people everywhere can open the tap of human kindness and expand their moral circle, at least for a while. That is the magic of Christmas. It’s still about: Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men. Duncan Watterworth is a lifelong resident of Elgin County and a retired lawyer. He can be reached at 30

The perfect tree? The search continues


by Elizabeth VanHooren

The Christmas tree is the focal point of every home during the holidays. And for me, the pursuit of the perfect Christmas tree has defined my Christmases as far back as I can remember. When I was a child, Dad was always responsible for bringing home the tree. Then my sisters and I would tackle the decorations. The thing with having three sisters is that each one has a certain preconceived notion of what constitutes a perfectly trimmed tree. There was inevitably a brawl (and by brawl I mean somebody usually ended up crying and retreating to her room). Somebody always disagreed over who should place the angel on the top, if the lights would be multi-coloured or just clear and if there was even going to be tinsel.

“the needles fell off like the tree was going through a shredder” But I digress, because even before we could trim the tree Mom and Dad had to wrangle the tree into the tree stand and agree on what side of the tree should face outward into the living room. One year, Dad devised a plan where he would

place the tree in the stand out in the garage. Mom was at the ready at the patio door with a towel waiting to slide the tree – in the stand – over to its place of honour in the living room. That was also the year that they conveniently forgot about the newly installed ceiling fan in the living room – the one that was running and took an extra foot or so off the tree, sending pine needles everywhere. As a newly married couple, my husband and I took to a local Christmas tree farm to partake in the entire cut-your-own Christmas tree experience. We set off into the forest armed with a saw and cut down the perfect tree. Our triumph was short lived when we found out that the tree we cut down actually cost over $100. Lesson learned: ask the price before you cut. Our second Christmas, together my husband went for a pre-cut tree (considerably less expensive). It must have been a steal. I

remember taking that tree down on Christmas Day night because, despite my daily watering regimen, the needles were falling off the tree and forming small peaked piles on my white carpet. You could actually hear them falling. When he took the tree out of the house through the patio door the needles fell off like the tree was going through a shredder. That Chrismas led to a huge argument of real versus artificial. By the way, we are still a household committed to a real Christmas tree. But we are much smarter about it. Now every year we head to a local Christmas tree farm. The kids get some hot chocolate and we walk down one aisle of freshly cut trees with the prices clearly marked. There are still the traditional battles over which one is the best (too fat, too skinny, too tall, too small) what’s the best way to get the tree in the house, coloured or clear lights, and whose turn it is to water. Frankly, in my experience there is no perfect Christmas tree, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Elizabeth VanHooren is General Manager of Kettle Creek Conservation Authority

Shop At Briwood Farm Market and Support Local Farmers Taking Orders Now for Christmas Turkeys

rder O o T e Mad kets Gift B3a3s-9691 519-6

Fresh Cut Christmas Trees See our huge selection of Christmas Decorating Items and Christmas Baked Goods

Freshness, Quality, Satisfaction and Ultimate Customer Service...always. 519-633-9691 1030 Talbot Street, St. Thomas Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm Saturday & Sunday 8am to 6pm December, 2015



Phase 1B, Orchard Park The newest phase in Orchard Park now has a name – Martingale Terrace! It has been released for deposits and is garnering quite a bit of attention. There are already 9 lots reserved and everyone is excited to see some forward progress. Please contact Allison at for more information.

Welcome to DTL!

Tracy Thomas is welcomed by Doug Tarry Homes to our staff. A model home hostess for St. Thomas and Aylmer, she will be found at our model homes on the weekends. Annie Beer has joined the Doug Tarry team as a model home hostess in Ingersoll. She will be working and helping out Amanda at the model home in Harrisview.

Doug Tarry Homes Wins OHBA Award

Doug Tarry Homes wins OHBA award for most outstanding custom home up to 3000 square feet.

Golden Hammer Awards

Doug Tarry Homes took home several Golden Hammer Awards, including Builder of the Year 2015, Leadership in Environmental Excellence, Custom Home Under 2500 square feet and Best Model Home. We couldn’t accomplish this without the help from our staff and trades. Thank you to all of you.

Website blogs

Do you wonder what’s new with Doug Tarry Homes? Well wait no more! If you go to our website there is a blog section as well as a news section. Check it out today

Harrisview Estates - Phase 2 coming soon! There was a mad flurry of sales of Quick Possession Homes in the Ingersoll development but Amanda is now settled into 17 Chatfield until she has a brand new model home to showcase. The next phase of Harrisview is poised to be released very soon. We’ll have a nice mix of lot sizes as well as the much sought after treed lot lines. For more information contact Amanda at Saxonville Plans are moving forward for the commencement of both a Rosewood and Thornwood on Veale Cres in the Saxonville development in Strathroy. The area is attracting commuters from the London market and is a lovely, lively community. Saxonville has a wide variety of builders and plans so these 2 homes should fit in quite nicely! Please contact sales staff for more information.

Wellington Manor Have you seen the trailer on site? The sales centre will be built soon and we hope to be open by the new year. Do you have questions or wonder what it’s all about, contact Michele Milles at 519-637-8266. New Subdivision Doug Tarry Homes hopes to be introducing 2 new subdivisions in St. Thomas in 2016. Contact us today for more information. Service and Warranty Do you have any questions or concerns about your Doug Tarry Home? Darryl Walker is our service manager and Heather Fletcher is there to help as well. They can be reached at 519-631-9300 ext. 25 or

Quick Possession Homes – Available from 15 – 150 day closing

For more information & for model home hours, visit our website at *The ENERGY STAR® mark is administered and promoted in Canada by Natural Resources Canada and used with permission.

December, 2015



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December, 2015  

Elgin This Month

December, 2015  

Elgin This Month


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