Page 1

Your Business. Your Community.

Volume 6, No. 2, October 2015


• Aylmer & Area Chamber of Commerce Pages 18 and 19

• Be Ready For Winter Pages 20-27

• Watterworth and VanHooren Funny things happened Pages 30 and 31

Judy & Jim Blondin Pillow talk Cover story: Page 3


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Therapeutic pillows to dream on by Terry Carroll

On the road to success, some entrepreneurs can be a bit of a pain in the neck. Or, in the case of the Align-Right Pillow Company Ltd., have a pain in the neck. Judy Blondin is in the latter category. Born with two neck vertebrae fused together, she often woke with neck and shoulder pain, and horrific headaches. “I had to take two ibuprofen and a cup of coffee. About 30 minutes later, I was ready to start my day,” she says. As a young mother, she not only sought relief through chiropractic care. She also worked as a chiropractic assistant for Dr. Roger Hollingsworth in Kitchener-Waterloo. She tried pillows he was selling in his office, but none worked for her. “They were too hard, causing too much neck pressure and were not the right curve to fit my neck,” she says. Dr. Hollingsworth suggested a roll pillow to fit and support the curve of her neck and help keep the vertebrae spaces open, relieving the nerve compression between them that caused her headaches.  In the early 1990s, Judy made her first prototype roll pillow. It was the size of a person's shoulders, about 6" in diameter to fit and support the neck and head. She quickly realized she needed help with the filling for the pillow. On her husband Jim’s advice, she contacted DuPont in Montreal about pillow fibres. The filling they evolved to is called  Hollofil IV. It has four channels of air in each fibre and slickening to keep the fibres moving. “I found a way to weigh and roll each pillow, and started making them for our office patients.  Dr. Roger and I saw we needed a bigger diameter size for patients who had bigger body structures than me. I figured out where to go from there with two more sizes.” In 1992,  she began selling her pillows at the Kitchener Market,  doing about $200 a month. Satisfied customers reported headaches were gone, numbness in hands and fingers gone, snoring gone, Judy says. The business began to grow, largely through word-of-mouth and testimonials. Jim had been attending night school at the University of Waterloo for his Canadian Institute of Management designation. When he lost his job in 1994, he and Judy had five children, but they took the plunge and he joined her in business.

Judy Blondin prepares to make more pillows in the St. Thomas home- and garage-based business. “We re-mortgaged our home,” Judy says. “Mortgage free one month ... I remember the feeling!” Judy refers to the small business lifestyle as, “Pitfalls, start over … Pitfalls, start over. Two steps forward, one step back.” They have certainly had their ups and downs. In the early days, Jim and Judy were defrauded by an unethical distributor and lost almost everything. Time to remortgage the house again and personally hit trade shows to make much-needed cash. The Blondins and their pillows made it to The Shopping Channel in England and Germany. “We’ve travelled to places we never expected to go,” Jim says. They were awarded Most Promising Innova-

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

tion, 1996, from the Inventors’ Alliance of Canada. Japan became a major market for them, as much as $5,000 a month, until that particular market dried up. Pillow sizes expanded from small, medium and large to five sizes. Jim and Judy invented measurement tools to be used by retailers to determine the perfect size for each potential client. Along the way, they added related products, such as the Align-Right Quality Comfort Neck Support, designed for a vehicle’s head rest or for a living room recliner. They lost their class one medical device number designation (Jim is no fan of government bureaucracy) only to discover that most insurance companies do not require the number to cover therapeutic cervical pillows. And they were almost featured on Dragon’s Den. It’s a complicated story that left Jim and Judy suspicious about the dynamics of the show and no fan of Kevin O’Leary. But the experience hardened Jim’s resolve. “Watch me. I’m going to make this business a success,” he said. Together, they did. A large part of their success comes from their passion for the pillows they make. “The body heals when you are sleeping. If your sleep is right, you don’t even catch the common cold,” Jim says. And the quality control that goes into every pillow is second to none. All their pillows are handmade and come with a 30-day guarantee or exchange policy. To be closer to their grandchildren, Jim and Judy moved the business to St. Thomas in 2013, moving from 1,800 sq. ft. premises in Waterloo to a double-wide, climate-controlled garage behind their home in the Railway City. Today, the Align-Right Pillow Company Ltd. manufactures and ships to over 100 outlets and retailers, including Health Centre Pharmacy, Wellington Medical PharmaChoice and Yurek Pharmacy in St. Thomas. Judy has the last word about her personal experience. “I still see a chiropractor, as I have other spinal problems. But the Align-Right pillow has kept the morning headaches completely gone.” Cover and page 3 photos by Mark Spowart.

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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 www.theweeklynews.ca/etm October, 2015



INNES As I see It

The place of wounds (Part 3)

has created. For example, we can work to change the way we relate to our life partner, but withIn my last two articles, I have been exploring out addressing the underlying wound causing the the healing of our past wounds. These wounds are problematic choices, no permanent shift will octhe result of our past hurts and they comprise ev- cur. In this article I’d like to share my growing realerything from genetic predisposition to abuse and ization that many change therapies are unsuccesshardship later in life. Some understand this as our ‘holy brokenness,’ ful over the long term. Real change, real healing, leading to compassion and developing character. I only occurs when we invite a power greater than ourselves to enter our wounds and release us. agree, but … there is more to it than that. To help explain and differentiate this spiritual Such wounds mold our thoughts, attitudes and approach to healing, let me share my personal expectations and, when left and professional experience unhealed, will consequently that many forms of psychofilter down into our current therapy are a form of behav“the ongoing work choices. ioral gymnastics wherein, by Because these choices have is more of a prayerful determined intent, folk are come from pain, they can ofjourney” encouraged to make healthier ten lead to pain; a complex choices. Such practices can process that cannot be quickly help curb certain behavior, but don’t necessarily explained, nor quickly unraveled. In my first article I shared my pastoral experience heal the wound leading to the behavior. Change that some people have found that their wound- is often incomplete and/or short term. Other forms of psychotherapy enable us to based choices created an entire lifestyle that has buried them deeply. Others have become, over touch the pain of our wound, yet as helpful as time, increasingly angry, or sad, or confused and this is, the wound, though better known, can still depressed, thereby experiencing a poorer relation- have power in one’s life. The healing process, to be most effective, must ship to the people and things they love. My second article shared my view that one’s life work to remove the inner wound. And this, as I does not change until our wounds are healed. am learning, is a spiritual task. Initially, healing work is begun through selfThis process is different than simply addressing the circumstances that the wound-based choice evaluation and introspection (traditional counseling may assist well at this point). But the ongoing work is more of a prayerful journey, wherein we ‘release’ our wounds by inviting Spirit (or a power greater than our own) to remove its influence. This approach can sound flaky (full of spiritual rhetoric). It has taken me a long time to move towards it. But even traditional psychology is no longer denying the value of what I call ‘spiritual medicine.’ by Jim Innes

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There is much needing to be understood about this topic. An increasing amount of mainstream research is being done on it. My wording may not exactly reflect how the phenomena are being recorded, but there is no denying that Spirit is finding its way into traditional healing practices. As I see it, when we release our wounds to Spirit, over time, with patience and affirming support, the behaviours associated with our wounds are gradually replaced with a desire to live with increased compassion. We wake to find ourselves managing unbelievable circumstances that once tripped us up … living from within our own skin, confident that all is well and all will be well. Our healed lives may not be what we expected … they will be better than we could have asked or imagined!

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Jim Innes is a clinically trained therapist and a priest at St. Johns’ Anglican Church in St. Thomas. Learn more at jiminnes.ca.

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Virtual communities can be like empty calories by Serge Lavoie

Most of us, especially those who are of “mature” age, have lived our lives in physical communities—neighbourhoods, towns, cities. We can see our fellow community members up close and personal, on the street, at the supermarket, at church or community events. We can see our community, define it and even put some physical limitations around it. Today, thanks to the power of technologies, we increasingly live in several different communities at the same time, some physical and most virtual or online. This is especially true of young people under 20 who grew up with the virtual world as tape recorder from Mission Impossible). People seldom go back over old posts to find informathe norm. Most of the time, I think that the addition tion shared weeks or months earlier. Unless they of virtual communities is a good and positive are trying to dig up dirt on political candidates, thing. Most of the time. At other times, I wonder of course. If the messages are ephemeral, what does that whether virtual communities have the same value or staying power of the physical ones we created say about the staying power of the virtual communities we create through social media? Can we over decades, even centuries, of development. Virtual communities on social media are power- really count on them to link us together in a comful things. Join a Facebook group and you have mon goal? Will they be there when we need them? I really like participating in all my virtual cominstant access to hundreds or thousands of sources munities. They allow me to of information and opinion live where I want to live while (and cat videos). You have staying engaged with friends, a built-in audience for your “you have instant associates and like-minded own messages as well. Tell people all over the world. I people what you think of the access to hundreds or can’t imagine life without my current government in power, thousands of sources of social media tools. or promote an event or fundinformation and opinion raising initiative. (and cat videos)” In a single day, I can feed new information to my accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Yet, I have a sneaking LinkedIn, About Me, WhatsApp, update a web site, send a newsletter to a database of hundreds, suspicion that virtual and sell tickets to an event, all on one laptop lo- communities could be cated wherever I happen to be. Never in my 45- the equivalent of empty year communications career have I had access to calories; sort of satisfyso many communications tools for so little cost ing while you’re con(I began my career as a $100 a week reporter at suming them but with a newspaper that still set its type with hot lead. not much to show for the experience. Prehistoric). That’s why I put my The flip side of all of this just-in-time communications is that no message lasts for more than money on real commua few days or hours (or minutes—SnapChat nities and the attributes messages are designed to self-destruct right after they excel at: creating experiences, they’re read. Way more efficient than the smoking shared

Only real communities can support the body, mind and soul. whether at fall fairs, sports events, parades, art shows or simply a stroll down a renovated pier at Port Stanley. The shared experiences of my youth are the most vivid memories I carry with me, and I know that my adult kids, even with all the technology they grew up with, feel the same way. Real communities may have serious challenges – aging citizens and even older infrastructure— but only real communities can support the body, mind and soul. They are worth investing in. 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.

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Dining & Entertainment Tourism

Take a Bite A new flavour of food truck by Katherine Thompson

They say when one door closes, another door opens. When Jeff Ashford’s job as a Mechanical Engineer ended, the door that opened led straight into a refurbished food truck located at 277 Currie Road Dutton, just off the 401 at exit 149. Since its opening in May of 2015, Take a Bite Food Truck has been keeping delighted patrons salivating and coming back for more. The transition from Mechanical Engineer to proprietor of a food truck might seem like a considerable change in direction but it was a natural step for Jeff and his wife Amal, both avid cooks.


The pair have always enjoyed experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen and are frequent viewers of cooking shows such as “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and “You Gotta Eat Here”. Amal had 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry and had always dreamed of opening her own restaurant to share her talents for cooking delicious, authentic Lebanese food. It was Amal that suggested they open the food truck together. Jeff ran with the idea purchasing a used food truck and completely refurbishing it himself.

“like our food, our truck is homemade”

“Like our food, our truck is homemade,” jokes Jeff. Take a Bite Food Truck is not your run-of-themill fry wagon, although Jeff will tell you that they do serve fries – fresh cut from local potatoes and deep fried on-site. The Ashfords take pride in the quality of food they provide, going to great lengths to source their ingredients locally and make everything they serve from scratch. One of the things that sets Take a Bite Food Truck apart is the variety of different foods that it offers. In addition FUEL & LUBRICANTS to the standard food KEEP YOUR FARM EQUIPMENT truck fare of hamburgers, hotdogs and fries, AT PEAK PERFORMANCE they also serve a variety of authentic Lebanese foods, deep fried delicacies, homemade pizzas, smoked BBQ and desserts. Amal takes care of Lebanese specialties such as shawarma, hummus and chips, wrapped grape leaves and falafel, all made from coveted


Katherine Thompson is Marketing & Communications Coordinator with The County of Elgin


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Customer Account Representative

(226) 378-8983 (cell) (519) 631-3810 (office) chris@dowlerkarn.com

www.dowlerkarn.com October, 2015

family recipes, and Jeff operates the smoker, providing a different type of BBQ each weekend. “We don’t always make the same thing,” says Jeff. “We smoke everything from pulled pork, ribs, and brisket to turkey, chicken and even hamburgers!” Unique menus items are a specialty at Take a Bite Food Truck including deep fried Mac & Cheese, Shawarma Pizza and Haddock with Take a Bite’s signature Railway City Brewing Company beer batter. Jeff even takes inspiration from the Jurassic period, serving up a smoked Pterodactyl wing (really Turkey) – which is quite fitting for a man who refers to himself as the “Caveman Cook.” Jeff and Amal encourage visitors to “take a bite” and try something new by offering bite-sized samples of their menu items for free. “We get really excited when we surpass people’s expectations,” said Jeff. “It’s really exciting to see the look on their faces and hear them say ‘That’s delicious!’” The food truck is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. from May until the snow flies. Daily specials are posted on the Take a Bite Facebook page and at www.take-a-bite.ca. Take a Bite Food Truck is also available to cater weddings, private parties and other events yearround, and the Ashfords hope to open a restaurant of the same name in the near future.

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Dining & Entertainment Food & Wine

Is winemaking an art or a craft?

winemaking really an art? If you had asked me this question in the spring, Harvest season (or, as it’s known in the business, my answer would have been some degree in the the Crush) is in full swing. It’s this time of year affirmative. Now I’m not so sure. While labouring most of my physical and mental faculties are di- in one of my vineyards recently, I listened to a rected to bringing the best fruit in from vines that conversation between one of my favourite writers, have laboured all summer, and transforming it Brett Easton Ellis, and his guest, the writer David into the best wines possible. More than any time Shields. The discussion eventually focused in on of year, this is when the skill of the winemaker the distinction between something as a work of tends to shine. All winemakers, or vignerons, art and something as a craft. The example they have developed a knowledge and experience base used was a superb cellist performing Bach, and a that guides their decision-making process during talented poet standing up and reading his or her crush. Influences like market own monologue. The poet is demand, and style goals, are an artist, the cellist is a craftsimportant to the final product, person (Bach as the composer “the role or importance but it is the journey to the final of the piece is an artist as well). of the winemaker is wine that demands the wineThe cellist might be upset at makers’ attention. not being recognized as an constantly debated in The role or importance of artist, but the distinction matthe business” the winemaker is constantly ters. Through that lens, winedebated in the business. One makers are craftspeople. We end of the spectrum feels that a winemaker is un- don’t create an original object; we merely channel necessary since grapes have everything they need the raw products into something of beauty. That to make themselves into wine. The other feels that sounds like a craft to me. to make the best wine every little detail needs to I haven’t completely given up on the idea of the be managed and optimized. This is where we of- winemaker as an artist though. Bach, the artist, ten say the ‘art of winemaking’ comes in. Wine- didn’t create the notes. He arranged them in a spemakers, and to a greater extent wine marketers, cific order to create something wholly original. Is portray the vigneron as an artisan who harnesses it possible that the winemaker who takes the varinature to create this wonderful beverage. But is ous different blocks, parcels, or varieties of grapes, by Jamie Quai

October, 2015


and blends them together creates a work of art? Certainly, there is a potential for a lot of overlap between the artisan and the craftsperson. I went in search of definitions of both art and craft to settle these thoughts. Some institutions suggested that an artist creates something of beauty that has value, but little tangible use. A craftsperson similarly creates something of beauty that has value, but the product has some tangible uses. A drawing in a sketchbook versus a dish cabinet. These thoughts will likely kick around my head for a while during this crush. I’d love to know what you think. Is wine a well-crafted product, or bottled art? How about beer? Or cider for that matter? Happy Thanksgiving! Jamie Quai is head winemaker at Quai du Vin Estate Winery in Elgin County


Healthy Living Self DiScovery

Customers: much more than cash in the register by Anouschka Van den Bosch

co-workers are bound to leave some sort of im“Some people come into our lives and quickly pression, whether they have moved on or are still go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our with us after 20 years. I think it’s important to notice, to pay attention hearts, and we are never, ever the same” – Flavia to the conversations we have at work. Remember Weedn When I worked in retail, we had our regular people’s stories, remember where they have been customers who would come in every Saturday and where they are right now. Some will test our morning, grab a basket and a flyer and cruise the patience; others will brighten our day with a kind aisles, enjoying a Saturday morning getting lost thank you or a coffee. These people are more than in the store with a coffee in hand. Many of those cash in the register, an order to complete or a job customers shared stories about their children, offer to process. They are also an opportunity – to leave footprints on your heart grandchildren and family vaif you are open to see and feel cations. We would miss them that. if they skipped a week. If they “more like a footprint This summer, my private didn’t show up for longer on my butt, but yoga student passed away. than a few weeks, we might that’s okay” We only practised yoga for a find out through the grapeshort period of time, but she vine that they had moved or, sometimes, died. You might think they were just definitely left footprints on my heart, and I will customers. But 25 years later, I still remember never be the same. As much as I thought it would just be a yoga practice, it became a time of storythem fondly. They left footprints on my heart. Throughout my career, I’ve had the pleasure telling and a life-learning experience every time I of working with many great employees and co- came to her home. We shared a love for animals, workers. Some became good friends and others nature and life. She became an inspiration for just passed through. In business, we have custom- me. She also made me reflect on all the relationers that stay with us for years, becoming more ships I have encountered throughout my career than just customers as we learn about their fami- as a life coach, yoga teacher and human resource lies, job losses and weddings. Often we spend professional. There were times some people did not exactly more time with co-workers or business associates than family. Customers, business associates and leave a footprint on my heart, more like a foot-


print on my butt, but that’s okay. I have moved on from that to cherish the moments I had with my yoga student, regular shoppers from my retail years and employees I helped through a rough spot in their career. Life is short, and as you click “buy” for your on-line purchase, don’t forget the customer that walked through your door or the employee you hired to start a new career. You may have left footprints on their hearts, and they will never be the same. Anouschka Van den Bosch is a Human Resources Professional and Certified Life and Career Coach.







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Rogers TV producer James Elsdon readies the Elgin Business Resource Centre Boardroom for recording the joint Rogers/ Chamber of Commerce All Candidates program.

See the information to the right. Our Business Sample Show is also our October Business After 5! Mark your calendars now

Nov. Business After 5 at the airport

Date: Thursday November 12 Site: St. Thomas Municipal Airport Time: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Sponsors: Co-hosted by the Great Lakes International Air Show and Railway City Brewing Company

Business Beat Table of Contents We are concerned ... Page 10 Report & review ...... Page 11 Halloween tips ........ Page 12 Magna-ficent .......... Page 13 ExUBERance ............ Page 14 Car costs ................. Page 15 New Members ......... Page 16 October, 2015

You’re invited!

National Small Business Week is a big deal in the Chamber’s world and one of the highlights of our week this year will again be our Business Sample Show. It’s Wednesday October 21 at St. Anne’s Centre. If you’re one of our exhibitors, it all starts with our Exhibitor Power Hour at 3:00 p.m. For the first hour, the show gives each of up to 65 exhibitors a chance to walk the floor and see every display. And we throw in some food and refreshments to energize everyone before the biggest part of the day starts at 4:00 p.m. From 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., the Business Sample Show is open to all of our Members and to the general public. This event does double-duty as our regular, monthly Business After 5 for our Members. We also add door prize draws and a special PASSPORT program where one lucky person attending will take home

$500 in cash. Get your PASSPORT stamped at participating exhibits and you’re eligible for the cash. Admission is FREE. And so are plenty of other things. Let’s start with the free food. In each corner of the hall, we feature some of the best eats and treats in the city. Boston Pizza will be with us and so will Tim Hortons, Legends Tavern and The Bistro. Seven aisles of displays and exhibits will be set-up and we’re very excited about what many of

All candidates TV

Through the remaining days leading up to the October 19 federal election, the Chamber hopes some work we have completed with Rogers TV will help people get to know the local Elgin-Middlesex-London candidates. We have recorded a 60-minute program that is being shown on the Rogers cable system. The program is being aired in a wide variety of times over several days to give as many people as possible a chance to see it and learn more about our local choices.

them have planned. Want to see some 3-D printing? So do we! The St. Thomas Public Library has a new 3-D printer that will be on display and will showcase the incredible capacity of this stateof-the-art technology. We’re also proud to showcase the suppliers and vendors of products and services in the Chamber’s Member Benefits Bundle. The 2015 Business Sample Show will be our biggest and best ever. Please plan to join us!

Chamber President & CEO Bob Hammersley moderated the show. Questions to the candidates were presented by myFM 94.1 News Director Andrew Buttigieg and St. Thomas Times-Journal reporter Jennifer Bieman. The Chamber sincerely thanks all involved for making our task possible. Special thanks to Rogers producer James Elsdon for doing all things technical! To find broadcast dates and times for the show, search rogerstv.com and the St. Thomas program schedule.

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Chamber News Events and News of Interest to our Members

We are concerned over major changes to labour legislation We are concerned over the growing burden from Queen’s Park

Chambers of Commerce across Ontario, St. Thomas & District included, changes to provincial labour laws, government must consider the impact continue to have major concerns over the growing burden facing business- these changes would have on Ontario’s competitiveness. These additional es and the people in them. Electricity costs, the proposed Ontario pension, proposals could add to the cumulative burden, impacting jobs and the cap & trade enviro fees, and now new proposals on labour laws. economy.” The Chamber of Commerce network feels that additional proposals The consultations have considered how the Labour Relations Act, 1995 could add to the cumulative burden, impacting jobs and the economy. and Employment Standards Act, 2000 should be amended to reflect changes The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with to the nature of work that have occurred over the past 20 years. the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), has called on the province to In its submission, the OCC provides the Province with 14 recommendaavoid proposals that would substantially affect Ontario’s competitiveness, tions, including: jobs, and the economy. • Sector exemptions currently included in the Employment Standards Timed to coincide with the final consultations of the Ontario govern- Act (ESA) should be maintained – Some groups have been calling for ment’s Changing Workplaces Review, the OCC, the St. Thomas & Dis- all exemptions to be abolished. The OCC is urging caution, noting that trict Chamber, and over 30 chambers of commerce and exemptions often reflect the unique nature of certain boards of trade from across the province, have publicly sectors. For example, the agricultural sector is highly released their submission, which expresses concern dependent on external factors including weather and “the secret vote is an over previous deputations under consideration by the the perishable nature of agricultural products. Review. Many of those recommendations would result • Do not legislate how businesses should schedule essential component in significant changes to the Employment Standards – Some groups are calling for provisions in the ESA of a democratic and Act and the Labour Relations Act, and would increase that would require employers to post work schedules transparent union the cost of doing business in Ontario. Our Changing two weeks in advance. This is not feasible for all seccertification process” Workplaces Review document can be viewed and/or tors. Many businesses in the manufacturing sector, for downloaded on the Chamber’s website. It is posted on example, must constantly adjust production in order to our main page at stthomaschamber.on.ca. meet demand. The health sector is also subject to surg“Ontario’s employers face mounting costs as the result of a new manda- es in demand which must be met with an equivalent increase in staffing. tory pension plan, rising electricity rates, and some of the highest work- Many employers in the health sector noted it is impossible to predict how place safety insurance premiums in the country” says Bob Hammersley, demand for health services will increase day-to-day, let alone two weeks in St. Thomas & District Chamber President & CEO. “Before making any advance. • Maintain a transparent process for union certification rules – The Review is considering a proposal to allow Ontario workers to unionize by simply signing a union card, and removing the requirement for a secret vote. Currently, the process to unionize involves an application demonstrating at least 40 percent support among workers followed by a supervised secret ballot vote. The OCC notes that, despite assertions to the contrary, Ontario’s unionization rate has remained largely static since the secret ballot was first introduced a few decades ago. Credit Card “The secret vote is an essential component of a democratic and transparProcessing to Help ent union certification process,” says Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of Drive Business the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “It provides workers with the opporSuccess tunity to make decisions free of interference and external pressures.” The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce has been an active participant in work with the provincial Chamber and our counterparts in dozens of communities across Ontario on several recent issues that concern Full Suite of Products Preferred Chamber Pricing and impact employers and employees. We encourage all Members to look • Ecommerce for news and updates regularly via our weekly Green Mail email newsletter, • Wired & Wireless here in Elgin This Month magazine, and on the Chamber’s website. Terminals

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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: mail@stthomaschamber.on.ca Website: www.stthomaschamber.on.ca President & CEO Bob Hammersley Accounting Coordinator Susan Munday Member Services Warren Allen

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115 - 300 South Edgeware Road, St. Thomas Phone: 519-631-1981 Fax: 519-631-0466 Email: mail@stthomaschamber.on.ca www.stthomaschamber.on.ca

October, 2015


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

Fiscal year-end report & review August 31, 2015

2015 Chamber Board Chair Ross Fair The St. Thomas and District Chamber of Commerce is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, elected by Members of the Chamber in accordance with its By-Laws. The Board is legally required to exercise due diligence in providing policy direction and oversight on the advice of the President and Chief Execu-

tive Officer and to carry out its fiduciary duties productivity of this important group of volunrelative to finances of the Chamber. teers. The Board has determined that it is time The direction of the Chamber is guided by to review its Member Benefits Bundle and is its 2013-18 Strategic Plan. The Plan identifies looking at each of the 8 programs now offered the Mission and Vision; Priority Strategies and to ensure that the Chamber and its Members Action Plans. are getting the best possible set of benefits to For the 2014-15 fiscal year, offer our member-businessthe Board reviewed the Plan es, their employees and, with particular emphasis where possible, programs “two primary functions on action plans related to that extend to family mem– Member Services and bers and retirees. the two primary functions – Member Services and beFrom a financial perspecbeing the voice of our ing the voice of our busitive, the key challenge for business community” ness community. The Board the Chamber is flat revenue determined that increased growth. This is not new, as efforts were warranted relative to the Voice our business community continues to navigate of Business function and so additional direc- a difficult economic environment. In response, tion was provided to the Public Sector Liaison the Board has directed the President and CEO Committee and to the President and CEO to increase the work complement in the ofto increase efforts in this area with particular fice to free up more time for him to focus on focus on the Fall 2015 Federal election. This growth-related activities. The Board is also in work has been aided by the policy activities of the process of evaluating the success of and the National and Provincial Chamber offices future potential of the Building Fund with a which continue to produce timely relevant re- view to delivering a policy recommendation to ports in support of the business community. the membership this Fall. Our Member Services Committee has been charged with ensuring an active agenda of Respectfully submitted, events and revenue-generating activities and Ross Fair a review of the Chamber calendar shows the 2015 Chair, Board of Directors

Notice to Members – 146th Annual General Meeting The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce operates on a fiscal-year running September 1 through August 31. Operations, projects, volunteer terms and other parts of the Chamber’s business and services operate over the traditional calendar year, January 1 to December 31. The financial affairs of the Chamber are the subject of an annual audit, as specified in our By-Laws. Results of the fiscal year ended August 31, 2015 will be presented to our Members as part of the agenda for our 146th Annual General Meeting on Wednesday November 18, 2015. The meeting will

October, 2015

take place at the Elgin Business Resource Centre, 300 South Edgeware Road, St. Thomas, starting at 5:00 p.m. Members are encouraged to attend. All designated representatives from any business or organization that is a Member in good standing are eligible to vote at the Annual General Meeting. In order that plans be made for adequate seating, Members wishing to attend are asked to notify the Chamber office in-person, by telephone, or by e-mail on or before 4:30 p.m. Monday November 16. Speak with any staff member at 519-631-1981 or email: mail@ stthomaschamber.on.ca

LIVE A LIFE filled with Verve. Retirement living can be rich, inspiring and fulfilling. We know, because we see it in the spirited seniors who call a Verve residence home. For the passionate and caring staff at Verve, we do whatever we can to create communities where spirit, body, and mind flourish every single day. To learn more and book a tour of Metcalfe Gardens with Verve visit VerveSeniorLiving.com 45 Metcalfe St, St. Thomas, ON, N5R 5Y1 Tel: 519-631-9393




Pro Text Events and News of Interest to our Members

Tips to protect your family on Halloween free and clear passage. So, when a trick or treater, • Select a route in an area known to your children or parent or guardian, trips on your front walk, – which ensures travel on one side of the street at a steps, or extension cords you are legally respon- time with easy crossing at lit corners/intersections; sible for their injuries. Fortunately, your personal do not criss-cross the street. liability insurance that is a part • Send children out with a of your house insurance policy parent or responsible guardwill respond to defend any acian, not alone. “take the time to tion brought against you and • While children do enjoy ensure walkways cover any court settlement/ collecting as much candy as are clear” award. That said, why have to possible, provide them with endure the unpleasant experibags or containers which are ence? Take the time to ensure walkways are clear. sized appropriately for your child; and when full – • It is also prudent to ensure your walkways are unlike a pillow case or small garbage bag – do not well lit. A brightly lit front door may dampen the provide a tripping hazard. impact of your decorations but it may save the po• If your children do venture out alone or with a tential for a fall and broken limb. group friends, provide them with a cell phone so • If lighting your jack-o-lanterns with candles, that they have a way to contact you or emergency place them away from doorways and stairways to services should the need arise. If you are uncertain or have any questions about ensure costumes cannot come in contact with the flame. Be certain to extinguish the candles before making your Halloween experience a positive one, bringing the jack-o-lanterns inside the house at the contact your insurance provider for additional loss control techniques and/or your local police services. end of the evening. • When considering costumes select ones that are appropriately sized and do not present any tripping This column appears regularly in Business Beat hazards. Ensure costumes are a bright colour or en- and has been submitted by Dan Reith, BA(Hons) hanced with reflective tape so that children are vis- CAIB, a principal of Reith & Associates Insurance and Financial Services Limited, 462 Talbot Street, ible when crossing the street. • Provide your children with a light source to St. Thomas. Questions and comments on this colguide their path when walking on streets, drive- umn are welcomed by the writer at 519-631-3862 or via e-mail: info@reithandassociates.com ways and stairways.

by Dan Reith

Halloween can be an exciting and memorable time for children and parents alike, yet it can also be a time for sudden and unexpected loss to people and property. Rather than being a Halloween statistic, take the necessary precautions to make the experience a positive and memorable one. Here are some key tips: • When decorating the inside of your home do not leave burning candles unattended or in areas that are not well ventilated or are enclosed. An unattended candle can result in fire damage. It takes only a few minutes before a candle turns into a fully engulfed house fire. • Keep burning candles away from any flammable materials such as window coverings and decorations. • When decorating the outside of your home keep stairways, walkways and driveways clear of tripping hazards so that trick or treaters are safe from accidental slips and falls; a slip and fall which results in an injury makes you legally liable and exposed to litigation. Ontario case law ensures any person who comes onto your property to the right of safe,

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Members News Events and News of Interest to our Members #StThomas proud again! What a reason to be proud of our community and the people in it! Magna’s September 17 announcement of their $1 million gift to “The Great Expansion” at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital is a milestone we’re very happy to see and share. Community spirit and community involvement definitely pay huge dividends.

2016 St. Thomas Uncorked. A BIG night with BIG wines! It’s a guided wine tour around the world. With the New Year coming up, it‘s time for us to launch promotion of the Chamber’s 2016 St. Thomas Uncorked event. It’s being held Saturday January 23, 2016 at the St. Thomas - Elgin Public Art Centre, downtown at 301 Talbot Street, from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Ticket sales opened October 1. They are $45 (plus HST) each which includes admission, wine samples, and food samples. Only 140 tickets are available. St. Thomas Uncorked has been a sell-out every year since we launched this wine tasting and art appreciation event in 2012, plus a large Silent Auction

Sponsor opportunities – Win-Win-Win

Interested in a win-win-win opportunity? The Chamber may have just the thing for you. All Chamber events and products are produced and delivered with support from sponsors, and constructed in such a way that participation includes a winning equation split 3 ways: a win for the sponsor; a win for Members and consumers attending or using what we offer; and a win for the Chamber that sustains our operation. Over the coming months, the Chamber invites Members to consider participation in events we will deliver and in our communication services. Upcoming events open for consideration include our monthly Business After 5 series as either a sole sponsor or a co-sponsor or, for our December festive version, as one of six participating sponsors. Costs range from $600 and up. January’s St. Thomas Uncorked event has a couple of supporting sponsor options at $500 each. Later in the spring, a couple of government-focused luncheons with area Mayors and our local MP & MPP are on our agenda. Next May, the annual Free Enterprise Awards Reception brings options. Chamber services and publications open for Member use include our weekly Green Mail newsletter, or a stand-alone version we call Green Mail Exclusive. Ad and promo content is limited in each one since our aim is based on cost recovery. Prices start at $35 and full details can be seen in any edition of the newsletter via our website or your inbox. Green Mail distribution is over 2,200 copies per week with an ‘open rate’ that is well above industry averages. To explore opportunities in detail with the Chamber, CEO Bob Hammersley and Member Services Rep Warren Allen welcome you to call or visit anytime. Reach us at 519-631-1981.

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and door prizes. Quai du Vin’s resident sommelier, Jamie Quai, returns as a member of our Member Services Committee’s organizing group. Jamie specializes in wine and food pairings using the 16 different wines to be featured this year. Our wines will all be products available locally through the LCBO and we will proudly feature a selection of reds and whites from local, national and international wineries. Thanks to the generous sponsorship support of the Real Canadian Superstore, our guests will enjoy a wide variety of fruits, cheeses and hors d’oeuvres prepared to complement the wines we offer. Call us soon for tickets. We expect a sell-out by Christmas (Hint: Good Gift Idea!). The St. Thomas & District Chamber office is the place to connect. Advance sale only to Members via phone or email or inperson. Reach us at 519-631-1981 and speak with any staff member, visit our office at 300 South Edgeware Road, or email warren@stthomaschamber.on.ca.

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Legal Business Events and News of Interest to our Members

Uber thou goest! and along with it, an enormous number of ways to use it, or more particularly, its apps. Without Victor Hugo once wrote, the smart phone, the concept of Uber would be “Nothing is more powerful impossible. than an idea whose time has Basically, Uber, relies on a smart phone applicome.” He also, by the way, cation which allows the user to arrange for, and predicted that, by the 20th cenpay for, a ride with a “ride sharing” driver, who, tury, war, executions, illness and Monty Fordham in turn, delivers a service which bears a striking a myriad of other plagues would resemblance to that offered by a taxi. Uber has inbe no more. Oh well. However, it seems that a vaded just about every large North American city 21st century idea’s time has come, and it remains and shows no sign of abating. Not surprisingly, to be seen if the engines of the state and/or the owners and operators of conventional taxi services courts can dislodge it. The idea, of course, is Uber. are on the war path. Back in Victor’s day, passengers were transportIn our civil court procedure, aggrieved parties ed about the cities of Europe by means of horse- may sue a defendant directly and seek to prove drawn taxis. The drivers of these “hacks” (and they have suffered damages. Or, they may form their horses) were either self-employed or the part of a much larger group within what is known employees of larger businesses. There were, to a as a class action. Back in July, a class action was greater or lesser degree, forms of municipal licens- commenced in Toronto on behalf of the cabbies ing of these chariots, and, in any event, the driv- for damages of $400 million. However, there is a ers themselves dealt directly, and most effectively, catch to the class action process. In Ontario, (and with any unauthorized taxi operators. elsewhere) class actions must be “certified” by the With the invention of the automobile, the mode court in which they are brought before they can of transportation changed drastically, but not the proceed to trial. methodology of the taxi business; still individual Basically, in order to have the class action cerlicensed cab drivers, either self-employed or em- tified, the plaintiff must show there is an idenployees of cab companies. Hailing a cab in the tifiable cause of action, that there is an identifidowntown was easy: Either call on the phone or able group or class, that there are common issues stick out your arm. Then came the smart phone, among the members of the class, that a class action is preferable to numerous individual actions, and that there is a suitable, representative plaintiff. In this case the lawyers are confident all these criteria will be met and the action will be certified. As part of the law suit, the plaintiffs are considering asking the court for an “injunction,” which would essentially shut down Uber, at least in Toronto, until the case is tried. An interesting aspect Life insurance • Critical illness insurance • RRSPs of this class action is the legal basis upon which I can help with your goals. Let’s talk about Money for Life. it is being brought. The plaintiff alleges Uber is violating s. 39.1 of the Ontario Highway TrafMichael Moore* fic Act. It is very unusual Tel: 519-637-7747 for a civil claim to be michael.moore@sunlife.com based solely on an alwww.sunlife.ca/michael.moore leged breach of a provinby Monty Fordham


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October, 2015

cial statute. We’ll be following this one closely. In Edmonton, an action has been commenced by individual taxi companies against Uber for $150 million. This is not a class action, and may proceed in the normal way, unless Uber is able to obtain a summary judgment dismissing the claim. In this case, the grounds for the suit are alleged breaches of the municipal bylaws as well as pricefixing under the Competition Act. The plaintiffs are also seeking an injunction against Uber. Needless to say, the stakes are high for all the parties in these lawsuits. It could mean the end of an era for conventional taxi companies. Or, it could put the brakes on an idea whose time may not have arrived just yet. But, hey, isn’t that a driverless car just around the corner?

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 519-6334000, FAX 519-633-1371 or e-mail: montyfordham@4elgin.ca



Member Viewpoint Events and News of Interest to our Members

The real cost of owning a car tenance and trading your vehicle in every three years. A vehicle that cost $30,000 new will depreciate by 50% in 3 years, even with low mileage of A vehicle is the second largest investment most people make. Housing around 30,000 km. Your $30,000 vehicle is now worth $15,000. Your cost takes the top spot and, quite likely, a lot more of your disposable income at this level, plus basic regular maintenance, will give you a net spend or cost of around $15,400. That’s just under $430 per month. than your vehicle. Change the plan and project what would happen if you keep the vehicle When it comes to vehicles, we’re often guilty of holding off or delaying maintenance and repairs until they are absolutely necessary. That’s surprising until it has 150,000 km. on it. Maintenance costs will include brakes, tires, fluids, a major tune-up, and a new battery for a total of to those of us in the auto industry since we depend more around $3000. The well-maintained vehicle can easily heavily on our vehicles today than ever before. give you a lot more than 3 years of trouble-free drivRoutine maintenance of your vehicle can save you “today’s vehicles are ing and drop your total cost-per-month of ownership money. Probably more than you think. considerably. Today’s vehicles are much better built than those of much better … but they Statistically, it is a better investment to do mainte20 years ago but they are also much more complicated. are also much more nance vs. replacement every 3 to 4 years. The key is to The mechanical demands on today’s vehicles are much complicated” do maintenance regularly and not wait until a breakhigher than in previous years, and mean much more down occurs. maintenance to keep them running. Another scenario to look at is leasing vs. purchase. By leasing, you have If you plan to keep a vehicle past the warranty period, regular maintenance is very important. It costs far less than breakdowns and repairs. Keep in lower payments but are essentially paying the depreciation off. Remember, mind that a well-documented maintained vehicle is worth far more than one you have no equity in a leased vehicle and you are still responsible for performing regular, scheduled maintenance during the lease period. You are without proper maintenance. Let’s take a comparison of component repair/replacement vs. maintenance. required to put money into a vehicle even though you don’t own it. If you Regular maintenance cost over 150,000 km would be roughly $675 for oil try to return a leased vehicle without documented maintenance, you may be changes and one major tune-up at around $400 for a total of $1075. Con- responsible to have it done before the contract is fulfilled. Decide for yourself which option best suits your needs. sider an engine with 150,000 km. The average replacement cost, should that engine fail, will be $5,000 - $8,500. Doing just the basics in maintenance puts you ahead by $3925 - $6025. This column has been prepared for the Chamber and submitted by Bob Ward, Car manufacturers are extending service intervals farther and farther apart. owner of The Auto Guys, 135 South Edgeware Road, St. Thomas. The writer It is a fact that extending these intervals will lead to premature component welcomes your calls and comments at 519-631-7117 or email: bob@stthomawear and possibly early mechanical failure. Manufacturers are already expe- sautoguys.com. riencing increases in warranty repairs from this. Lack of maintenance even with as little as 50,000 km. can lead to premature failure. If the manufacturer calls for one oil change per year, doing two extra oil changes annually can dramatically lengthen the life of your vehicle. The norm used to be every 3 months or 5,000 km., whichever came first. This is only the tip of the iceberg. There are several other components that can Business Plans • Management Consulting benefit from regular Small Business Services • Bookkeeping Services maintenance. Estate and Trust Returns Now, let’s talk about simply doing Business Succession Planning the minimum mainby Bob Ward

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New 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 September 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. HollisWealth 130 Centre Street St. Thomas, ON N5R 2Z9 Phone: 519-631-4088 or 1-866-643-5536 Fax: 519-631-0557 Web: www.holliswealth.com Contacts: Ellen Luft, CFP, Investment Advisor, Insurance Advisor ellen.luft@holliswealth.com Steven Knipe, CIM, Investment Advisor s.knipe@holliswealth.com Raymond Bosveld, Investment Advisor, Insurance

Events and News of Interest to our Members

Advisor raymond.bosveld@holliswealth.com Buyers Guide Categories: Investment Services; Financial Services; Retirement Planning; Insurance Services Products & Services: HollisWealth is a nationallyrecognized firm dedicated to providing professional services in investment advice, retirement planning, insurance, and related financial services. HollisWealth personnel are fully-trained professionals who are experts in their field. Editor’s Note: This HollisWealth membership registration should not be confused with, and is in addition to, the existing Chamber registration of HollisWealth – Action Financial. Marna Berry – Independent LegalShield Associate 377 Warren Street Port Stanley, ON N5L 1B5 Phone: 519-615-4221 Email: marnaberry@legalshieldassociate.com Web: www.marnaberry.legalshieldassociate.com Contact: Marna Berry, Independent Associate Buyers Guide Categories: Lawyers, Bankruptcy Trustees, Real Estate Services

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Continued on page 20

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Participate in our 2015 Bail or Jail October 23rd & 24th at Geerlinks Home Hardware

Be a “Detainee” (or persuade someone to be a “Detainee”) and the release from “Jail” will be determined by money collected previously by “Bail Pledges” or by phoning friends and relatives for bail money while you in jail. We will be Rewarding the “Detainee” who brings in the highest amount of collected pledges on the day they go to “Jail” with a very special prize. Call Constable Heather White at (519) 631-1224, ext 153 to get involved.

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Aylmer & Area Chamber of Commerce

Semi-Annual Mayor’s Breakfast speeches On September 16, the mayors of Aylmer, Malahide and Bayham spoke at the Chamber’s Semi-Annual Breakfast at Saxonia Hall, Aylmer. The transcripts of their speeches are presented on these two pages, edited for length due to space restrictions.

Mayor Greg Currie,

Mayor Paul Ens,

As many of you know, Aylmer is in the midst of construction especially on John Street South and Caverly Road. I am happy to see the progress on these infrastructure projects. I am happy to announce that staff is diligently submitting applications for federal and provincial funding for future projects. It has been a busy summer. We’ve had an awesome Canada Day celebration as well as a Doors Open community day and, of course, a successful Sweet Cornfest. I was able to attend these events and organizers are to be congratulated for highlighting our town and township. We recently passed by-laws to highlight the various Community Improvement Programs with the County. In the most recent budget, there was a 3% reduction in Town property taxes. Council is working hard to keep costs down so we may be able to keep the burden to ratepayers to a minimum. During budget deliberations, council agreed to move forward to build a new works building. The funding for this project will be covered by reserve funds and will not affect the tax levy. I would like to tell you that the plans for the Library are moving forward … not at the speed I would like … however, we on council have prioritized the need for more space now as opposed to later. Currently it is in the hands of the County to respond to our inquiries about viability of our space selection. Along with the plans for the Library, staff and council are looking at the recent Canada150 grants and what this may mean for improvement particularly at the Old Town Hall, where I understand Sir John A MacDonald spoke. I have been asked whether Aylmer would consider a Joint Economic Development officer with other local municipalities. The short answer is yes … but only if there is a measureable definitive plan for any new person to work on; all of this in conjunction with the County of Elgin initiatives. And finally, the council is working well with an overall plan for the East Elgin Community Complex. Recently both councils attended workshops on a governance model for the Complex; to date both Malahide and Aylmer are moving ahead with creating a sustainable governance model. I was pleased to see that both councils, from councillors, deputy mayors, and mayors are committed to making positive decisions for the betterment of the Complex. As we move forward, we all agree that the Complex is a diamond and our decisionmaking team has to keep that in the forefront of our minds.

In 2015 the Municipality completed an upgrade of its entire street light inventory to LED. The entire project has a payback period of 3.5 years and demonstrates a commitment to environmentally responsible use of resources. The LED solution was also implemented in the Municipal Fire Halls, Water/Wastewater Plant and Public Works Yard. Internally, the Municipality finalized improvements to its computer operating systems to assist in delivering more efficient services. In the Public Works and Operations Department, the Municipality implemented more robust preventative maintenance processes to preserve and elongate the life of critical infrastructure. Several of our Municipal facilities have undergone an engineering review this past year and we are working through those findings currently. Challenges being faced with today Like all municipalities, the Municipality of Bayham is striving to find a balance between revenue sources and continuing to sustainably deliver the varying infrastructure and services the community is looking for. To that end, the Municipality continues to conduct reviews of various service areas to ensure each service area is sustainably funded, both in the short and long term. We are also trying to ensure ‘Quality of Place’ so as not to inhibit the positive economic indicators recently seen. We are also dealing with challenges such as reduction in OMPF funding, increases to the OPP budget, and inflation which are all beyond our control. What is your municipality doing to attract new residents and businesses? The Municipality is making a strong commitment to ‘Quality of Place’ and letting the natural beauty of Bayham, the prime agricultural land, its rich cultural history and diversity along with the scenic waterfront help attract new residents and businesses. Bayham is also strong on partnerships and regional collaboration in economic development. Some examples of these are: 1) Involvement with the South Central Ontario Region, whose mandate is to pursue a regional approach to economic developments. 2) Partnering on Alternative Land Use Services, an economic incentive program for the farming sector. 3) Involvement with Elgin County in the Community Improvement Plan (C.I.P.) which offers economic support for agricultural and small businesses alike, including Elgincentives, a framework to help businesses all across our County. 4) Joint government applications such the one with the Township of Malahide for the waterline relocation on Dexter Line. 5) An undertaking to amend our official plan to take advantage of the C.I.P. through Elgin County and to expand our criteria to allow more value-added businesses to open up. Industrial land and commercial properties are still available in Bayham. We are also encouraged by the application by Capstone, for the development of Erie Shores Wind Farm 2. Would your municipality consider a Joint Economic Development Officer with the other local municipalities? Personally, I would definitely consider a Joint Economic Development Officer with other Municipalities, as any possibility for communal benefit would benefit all of us in Elgin County. That being said, the Elgin County Economic Development Department is a strong asset offering significant skill, expertise and opportunity for the Municipality and the County. If the same question is asked with the background of limited revenues, even greater importance would be placed on first exploring additional opportunities for the County Economic Development Department to directly impact the local economy within Bayham. Update on the Ojibwa project Obviously a significant challenge and financial burden occurred when the Elgin Military Museum defaulted on its loan, and the Municipality was called upon to fund the same. Bayham is presently carrying out the legal process for the Elgin Military Museum to honour the terms of the Guarantorship Agreement as authorized by By-law No. 2012-037 and repay the Municipality. I cannot comment much more than that.

Town of Aylmer

Now! Local community news every day. Plus much more!

www.theweeklynews.ca October, 2015

Municipality of Bayham



Aylmer & Area Chamber of Commerce

Mayor Dave Mennill, Township of Malahide

An update on current projects Last winter, Council developed a strategic plan with a number of goals to guide our decision-making for the Township. One of the key items within the strategic plan is maintaining and improving our road system. Over the past several years, we have improved the maintenance and condition of the overall road network, including the conversion of approximately 17 kilometers of gravel roads to hard surface in the past three years. This will ultimately save the Township money in annual maintenance costs over the long term. Our water system recently received a 100% rating from the Ministry of the Environment – a laudable achievement given the incredibly strict regulations imposed by the Province to keep our drinking water safe. Our fire department is the only department in Elgin County accredited with superior shuttle service to residential properties. We are looking to expand the superior shuttle service this fall to include commercial properties as well. This accreditation is provided to insurance companies to help reduce property insurance costs for our residents. We’ve received numerous compliments after significant upgrades at our ball diamonds in Springfield, with a noticeable increase in tournaments. In fact, we’ve had to direct teams and tournaments to other nearby facilities because we were simply unable to accommodate all of them. The Port Bruce Provincial Park was cleaned up this past spring and summer with the assistance of the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Port Bruce Ratepayers and Township staff. We will continue to monitor the Park’s condition and work with the Ministry in maintaining the beach to make it inviting. We recently completed a plan to improve Wonnacott Park in Port Bruce. Recommendations include new playground equipment, improvements to the shelter and new amenities along the pier and waterfront. We just received a Canada 150 grant to help pay for these improvements over the next two years. Challenges Malahide is a large municipality with approximately 200 kilometres of roads and bridges to maintain, supported by the taxes of 10,000 ratepayers. We are often compared to Thames Centre which has the same geographic area and 15,000 ratepayers. Of course, there are going to be higher taxes in Malahide with our lesser population. Stable funding is another challenge. It is nice when you get a grant for a water pipe line relocation or for a Port Bruce Pier enhancement. However, we have all seen the grants dry up when the provincial and the federal governments try to balance their budgets. Attracting residents and businesses Malahide is entering a Community Improvement plan for 2016. One example is that we want to enhance the downtown area of Springfield by adding flowers and benches, cleaning up store fronts and painting murals on the sides of the brick buildings. Malahide staff are more than accommodating when a business wishes to start up or expand. I’ll offer three examples. One is the Underhill brothers’ conversion of the old McConnell’s nursery to a vegetable processing center. Next, Creative Enterprises started with a two-man shop and with their recent addition, they now employ over 100 people. Finally, there’s a joint effort between Aylmer and Malahide to extend services to the north side of the old Imperial plant, now called Elgin Innovation Centre, allowing new businesses to locate. Sharing a Joint Economic Development Officer As far as a Joint Economic Development Officer, Malahide’s position is to have a more regional approach. Al Smith and his team at the county level are in constant contact with existing business, attempting to expand and retain current operations. The county’s website is updated regularly, and Al Smith is the first contact for new businesses coming to Elgin. From my perspective, if a new business is established anywhere in Elgin, we all benefit. The East Elgin Community Complex The full councils of both municipalities will sit as the governing committee until October 2016. Over the next year, we intend to set a framework in place that will include: - A smaller governing committee structure that will include representatives from both councils as well as the public - The delegation of decision-making authority for certain aspects of the Complex’ operations October, 2015

- Establishing program and service priorities We will continue to explore opportunities to secure an anchor tenant for all or part of the main hall as well as opportunities for green energy to reduce the utility costs at the Complex and potentially provide some revenue from power generation. The challenges at the EECC are not over but we are making progress.

Serving the Needs of the Community since 1946. Rowland Hill has worked at Hills Pharmacy for most of his life. Starting at 10 years of age he delivered prescriptions on his bicycle.Today working exclusively Downtown he looks after special orders and the inventory. Rowland lives in Aylmer with his wife Nancy and his daughters, Heather & Samantha.

Rowland Hill

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Be Ready For Winter

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Tips for success when buying a used car (NC) There are several claims you might hear when buying a used vehicle. “It's hardly been driven,” or “The tires are brand new,” but how do you know what to believe? Don't end up spending more time at the me-

chanic than on the road. The auto insurance experts at ingenie, which offers telematics based auto insurance for Ontario drivers aged 16-24, provide the following tips for purchasing a used car: 1. Do your research: You've seen the ads, you like the pictures, but before you contact the seller, do an internet search of the car's make and model. Is it a gas-guzzler? What will it cost to insure? This background will help you ask the right questions when you meet the seller and will prepare you to bargain for the right price. 2. Check out the seller: You should be comfort• Major & Minor Repairs • Brakes & Mufflers able with the person • Front-End Suspension • Tires & Alignment • Radiators you're dealing with for

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the transaction. Most of us buy cars from strangers or dealers, so watch for suspicious warning signs to make sure you're dealing with an honest seller. These can include an ad that's been up for too long or pushy, aggressive dealership staff. 3. Ask questions: Beyond “Why are you selling this car?” asking some questions can help you understand how the seller treated their car. “Where and when did you buy this car?” This will tell you if there have been previous owners and a bit more about the car's history. “Can I get an independent inspection?” If they agree, get your mechanic to look over the car. 4. Check the paperwork: Make sure the seller's name and address match the car's registration info. You do not want a stolen car. And finally, once you've bought it, remember Ontario gives you only six days to register the used car in your name. Further information for young drivers is available at www.ingenie.ca. www.newscanada.com


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Be Ready For Winter

Planning to travel this winter?

There are some things you should leave at home by Lisa Jibson

The motivation behind writing this article happened earlier this year when I had my passport stolen out of my vehicle. It had expired and was for the most part useless for the purposes of travel. However, it still served one very important purpose after it expired – it had all of the primary elements of my identity: my photo, my name and signature, my date of birth and my address (yes, there is a spot to enter your address on page 4). At the time, I didn't think much of it since I had to get a new passport anyway to travel. But a month later, when my wallet was stolen out of my vehicle at home, I began to wonder. The person who originally took my passport would have my address so he or she would know where to find me, and now the thief potentially had my driver's license, health card, birth certificate, bank cards and credit cards. Having your identification stolen doesn't just happen while you are at home. Travelling in unfamiliar environments makes us even more vulnerable as we are less focused on our regular routines and more relaxed when we are on vacation.

“leave the original documents at home and replace them with the photocopies” Purge the purse In order to ensure a stress-free vacation this winter, pack light. Empty your usual purse or wallet and leave things at home that you do not need. While travelling you will not need your SIN, or your birth certificate cards. You have your passport to prove your citizenship and identity. Take out all hospital cards, health cards, and replace them with your out-of-country travel insurance card. Leave your cheque book, loyalty program cards, or gift cards at home. Decide which credit

card or bank debit card you are going to use and leave the others at home. If you use one of the long-term parking lot services near major airports where you leave your keys, and the owners keep your car parked in a massive outdoor lot, don't leave your vehicle's insurance and ownership and registration in your vehicle. Take a picture of the documents with your cell phone, as well as a photocopy. Leave the original documents at home and replace them with the photocopies. Coming home to an empty parking space because someone sold your vehicle while you were away is not be a great end to your vacation. easy for hackers and thieves to recreate our idenDocument your documents After my experience a few months ago, I have tity in a foreign country and take out loans and replaced all of my ID, and have taken a digital commit crimes using our information. Taking a picture on my cell phone of everything, includ- picture of our identification will help ensure the ing the front and the back of all cards. I now process of replacing everything, in an emergency, have an electronic copy of my passport, driver's is smooth and our identity is restored properly. Now, let's hope no one steals my cell phone! license, health card, birth certificate, credit cards and bank cards, as well as all of my loyalty reward Lisa Jibson owns Ross Street Agency in St. Thomas cards. Unfortunately, I had to learn this lesson the hard and is a LegalShield Independent Associate. way, which is why I am sharing this with all of you so hopefully I Century Sound Sales and Service can help someone else avoid this situation. Keeping everything digital isn't 100% fail-safe. I would still recommend taking a photocopy of all your ID and keeping it in a fire-proof box at home. Doing everything you can to protect your identity while travelling is crucial today. It's incredibly


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Tips for putting your garden to bed this fall (NC) The Canadian winter climate can take its toll, but with the proper fall maintenance you can set your lawn and garden down for a rest. “After a busy summer of mowing and maintenance, your lawn and garden will need some special care before the snow falls,” says Michelle Sordi, director of marketing for Husqvarna. “You can however, jump start your spring chores for growing a healthier garden.” To ensure your garden survives the winter and has the ultimate spring awakening, the pros from Husqvarna recommend the following steps: • Clean up the area: Be sure to remove any dead foliage, this will prevent a difficult spring cleanup and overgrown weeds. Harvest everything above ground in the vegetable garden to avoid attracting

animals and pests. • Protect your shrubs: To help keep your shrubs healthy, generously water them before wrapping in burlap for the winter. When wrapping, work your way from the bottom up to prevent the bending of branches in an unnatural form. • Fertilize before the frost: Your grass will start to slow its growth so it is important to fertilize it with the appropriate nutrients to survive the harsh months ahead. Also, the clippings from the final mowing should be left on the lawn as mulch to help protect the delicate crowns of the grass plants and lock in nutrients. • Take it indoors: Some plants fare better indoors during the winter but before you make the switch, immerse the pots in lukewarm water to

help remove insects and prevent other unwanted critters from transferring into your home. Also check the leaves of the plant and give them a quick rinse as an added precaution. • Store your tools properly: Last, but not least, remember to clean all your gardening tools thoroughly before storing them indoors. Use soap and water to remove residual dirt and dried-on materials from tool surfaces. Be sure to drain the fuel from mowers as gasoline left in fuel tanks will break down, leaving deposits and build-up that will plug up the fuel system. Additional lawn and gardening tips can be found online at www.husqvarna.ca. www.newscanada.com

Car emergency kits can be a life saver


(NC) No matter where you drive, something could go wrong. It could be a flat tire, getting stuck in traffic, an accident in a blizzard, a car break down when it’s 40 below, or sliding into a ditch on a less travelled road. This is why it is important to always be prepared and part of being prepared involves having an emergency kit. Having an emergency kit in your car can be very helpful when you are in a bind. “Even if you have road side assistance coverage you may have to wait a while for help to arrive, especially in poor weather conditions,” says Wayne Ross, an insurance and claims expert for Aviva Canada. “An emergency kit can help make things more comfortable while you are waiting for assistance.” While there is no limit to what items you can include in your emergency kit, here are a number of things that Ross suggests you need: • A cell phone (if you don’t carry one with you); • A first aid kit; • Bottled water and snacks; • A blanket, gloves, and additional warm clothing for the winter months; • Flashlight and batteries; • Tire gauge and jumper cables; • A small tool kit. This is a minimum. Depending on your specific situation, you may include other items based on your driving frequency and the climate where you drive. Regardless of how often and where you drive, having an emergency kit is common sense. If you don’t have one already, investing in one could be a lifesaver. More detailed information is available from your insurance broker or at AvivaCanada.com. www.newscanada.com

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Be Ready For Winter Introduce a culture of respect at work by Laura Pavilonis and Nancy Annett

that their behaviour starts to affect others’ perforWe recently asked a new high-end resort em- mance, it’s time to take action. These types of disployee if they liked their job and were struck by respectful behaviour can play havoc on individual their response. The young staff member said it was and team performance. In order for teams to be truly effective, everyone a great place to work, with one of the highlights on the team has to have a voice. If even one perbeing the no-yelling policy. Sometimes when people become passionate son on the team is exhibiting these behaviours, be about their work they can become very assertive it their coping personality style or not, different or maybe even aggressive when things aren’t going personality types may shut down and quit comwell. This can be found at all levels within an or- municating altogether. This can lead to group ganization and may display itself as a raised voice, think, where bad ideas are not challenged and mistakes that could have been dominate body language or avoided are overlooked. impatient behaviours includThis effect is heightened ing rushing through a task or when there is a power differbluntly cutting others off. Are “a great place to work, ential between team memthese behaviours just a natural with one of the highlights bers. That power doesn’t have and acceptable intensity that results from ‘high performers’ being the no-yelling policy” to be legitimate power based on their position. Sometimes pushing for results and worksomeone’s high energy and ing hard? knowledge on a topic can also Here’s the thing. These behaviours are also considered rude and disrespect- be an influence. Bad language, tone or body language can actuful. So how do you draw the line between passion and disrespect? Passion and intensity can be ally be considered harassment and are illegal. The very positive and motivating, and we love it when process of dealing with harassment is a huge repeople feel challenged and love what they do. But sponsibility at all levels of the organization and when people are so heightened by an outcome requires active and immediate action on the

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part of the employer. Oftentimes as part of an investigation, legal firms or other neutral external consultants are hired to interview all team members/witnesses separately and create a report with recommendations for action by the organization. The cost, time and hit to morale for one of these investigations is huge. No-yelling policies and the like may seem odd, but it does force everyone to play nice in the sandbox with each other and reduces risk of costly harassment claims. The old adage ‘let cooler heads prevail’ does ring true and it might just improve your teams’ performance and your organization’s bottom line.

Nancy Annett, MBA, CHRP and Laura Pavilonis, MBA CHRP own Flashpoint Training and Development.

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Be Ready For Winter

What to do about the serious winter blues by Mayo Clinic staff mayoclinic.org

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer. Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy and medications. Don't brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the "winter blues" or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year. In most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. However, some people with the opposite pattern have symptoms that begin in spring or summer. In either case, symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses. Major depression Seasonal affective disorder is a subtype of major depression that comes and goes based on seasons. So symptoms of major depression may be part of

SAD, such as: Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day Feeling hopeless or worthless Having low energy Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed Having problems with sleeping Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight Feeling sluggish or agitated Having difficulty concentrating Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide Fall and winter SAD Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD, sometimes called winter depression, may include: Irritability

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Tiredness or low energy Problems getting along with other people Hypersensitivity to rejection Heavy, "leaden" feeling in the arms or legs Oversleeping Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates Weight gain Spring and summer SAD Symptoms specific to summer-onset seasonal

affective disorder, sometimes called summer depression, may include: Depression Trouble sleeping (insomnia) Weight loss Poor appetite Agitation or anxiety Seasonal changes in bipolar disorder In some people with bipolar disorder, spring and summer can bring on symptoms of mania or a less intense form of mania (hypomania), and fall and winter can be a time of depression. When to see a doctor It's normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time, and you can't get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed or if you feel hopeless, think about suicide, or turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation.

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Be Ready For Winter

This fall / winter, follow the proactive path by Doug Lester

As the long days of summer end and businesses, tlefield, the operating room, or the runway, they schools, and organizations ramp up for the fourth discount the amount of inner preparation, conquarter of the year, your Self-leadership in the stant awareness, and Self-management it takes to next few weeks is essential. Your attitude and ac- work at the highest levels of skill and action. Invest in your own effectiveness each day. Rest. tions during the last part of 2015 will set the tone Exercise. Eat well. Meet regularly with positive and provide the basis for your vision, energy, and people. See each thought and action as pebbles focus on January 1, 2016. Don’t get lulled into inthrown into the ocean of energy around you. Like difference or reactive stances by the constant shifts the butterfly in the Amazon every move you make in politics, economy, and has a huge ripple effect bepersonal interactions. You yond your awareness. are a Difference Maker. By The proactive path is a taking a positive, proaccall to transformative lead“those waves and ripples of tive approach to life, work, ership and conscious livand relationships in the last consequence that follow our ing. This is an invitation three months of this year, every action are much bigger to become a courageous you will create a launching than we can ever imagine” champion of the ‘both— platform for an amazing and’ life where both inner New Year. awareness and outer effecTo lead consciously is tiveness weave a dynamic to lead with intent. From new fabric of life and leadership for the evolving this awakened perspective, conscious leaders realworld. Tip Kindell, Chairman and CEO of The ize that they are not an insignificant speck in the Container Store, in his book, Uncontainable, mass of humanity but a vital part of the emergstates, “One of my firmest convictions is that our ing future. What keeps many leaders from being more conscious of the inner life is the constant wake — those waves and ripples of consequence demands of the outer life. Because most leaders that follow our every action — is much bigger focus on the game, the construction site, the bat- than we can ever imagine. Everything you do and don’t do affects the people around you and your

business far, far more than you realize.” Self-leadership involves stepping intentionally onto the path and moving toward a brighter future where you are engaged with your inner and outer life in a more dynamic and intentional way. Instead of life happening to you, it is time to see life happening through you. As a co-creator, you are being invited to accept the challenge, to wake up, to become fully alive, and by living with clarity of purpose to shift the energy around you. Start planning your late fall social events now. Find new and exciting ways to celebrate your successes of the past year and to look forward toward the future with vision and optimism.

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. eagletreeleadership.ca.


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Be Ready For Winter

Preparing for life’s winter years Why new RRIF rules might matter to you by Stephanie Farrow

This past April, the 2015 Federal Budget announcements unveiled new RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Fund) minimums for Canadians. If you are currently drawing a retirement income from your RRIF, or if you are approaching age 71 when your RRSP must be converted to a RRIF, these new minimums will pertain to you. For starters, let’s review at a very high level how the RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) and RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Fund) are connected and their general premise. If you have an RRSP, your contributions act as a tax deduction each year and grow tax sheltered over time. For an RRSP to work best, you are taking a tax break today (while working at a higher tax bracket) in favour of paying the income tax on principal and growth at a later date (in retirement at a lower tax bracket) when you withdraw. Not everyone has an RRSP, and not everyone needs an RRSP, but for some it is a valuable tax deferral tool if used properly and it fits your situation.

While the RRSP is a savings tool, the RRIF is an income tool. The RRSP is where you save the money, and later you convert this to a RRIF where you withdraw the money. You must convert your RRSP to a RRIF by the

...over the years, there has been some criticism and lobbying to lower RRIF withdrawal minimums... end of the calendar year in which you turn 71. For a RRIF, there are minimum withdrawal rules which force a minimum amount of your money to be withdrawn from the RRIF annually and taxed as income. Minimum withdrawal amounts are expressed as a percentage of your total RRIF portfolio that must be withdrawn in any given year. The minimums that once started at 7.38% at age 71 and increased annually with a maximum cap at 20%


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at age 94, have now been decreased starting at 5.28% at age 71 and increasing annually with a maximum cap at 20% at age 95. So why the change? Over the years, there has been some criticism and lobbying to lower RRIF withdrawal minimums on the premise they were creating the following challenges for some seniors: - Being forced to take more money than needed to live on - Desire to spread out their income as life expectancies are rising - Greater risk of outliving your money - RRIF withdrawals are fully taxable which may push a senior to a higher tax bracket - Higher annual income may create an OAS (Old Age Security) clawback - RRIF minimums had become out of line with actual investment return averages in recent years. The last time they were adjusted was in 1992 when the real after-inflation 5 year GIC returns were around 4% versus an average of less than 2% today

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Be Ready For Winter Continued from page 26 It’s no surprise the RRIF minimums were addressed in this most recent budget with the first baby boomers reaching 70 this year. And while even though these RRIF adjustments are seen by most as a small win for today’s seniors, it doesn’t mean that everyone will choose to lower their payments by any means. There is still much planning that needs to be done by the senior and the financial planner to see what balance is best suited

for their situation. The biggest victory is simply for seniors to have more flexibility over how they withdraw their retirement income and utilize their resources in the most efficient way possible. Other options to consider where your RRIF income levels are concerned include: - If I lower RRIF payments now and draw less, am I leaving too much in the RRIF to possibly be taxed at the highest income tax rate through my estate when I pass away? Where is the balance between too much and too little? - If I take higher payments now than I need to live on, can I still keep within a manageable tax bracket? Should I re-allocate some of those unused funds to my TFSA? - How can I manage my income to utilize as much TFSA room as possible for greater control and flexibility to withdraw money without the tax conse-

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quences of a RRIF withdrawal? These new minimums take effect for this 2015 calendar year. If you have an active RRIF and wish to switch to the new lower minimums for this year and going forward, you have some options. Payments can be adjusted to the new minimums going forward. If you have already received your maximum RRIF amount for the year, or more income from your RRIF than you want, you can re-contribute some of it back to meet the new minimums. In this case, you will be issued a T4RIF for the amount withdrawn and a corresponding 2015 contribution slip for the amount re-contributed. The deadline for this re-contribution is Feb 29, 2016. If you currently have a RRIF, and will be impacted by these changes, your financial institution will send you a notice this fall to provide further details. There is much to consider in the big picture for your retirement income needs and your personal situation. To figure out which of these options pertain to you, work with your financial advisor to do some calculations to see what the best strategy is for you and your retirement income. Stephanie Farrow, B.A., C.F.P., is a Certified Financial Planner and co-owner of Farrow Financial Services Inc., in Belmont

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Healthy Living EvEryday HEaltH

Great strides in concussion research by Dr. Greg Johnston B.H.K., B.Ed., D.C.

post-concussion syndrome. During the Education and Community InforThe “See the Line” concussion symposium, pre- mation Symposium, Dr. Douglas Fraser from the sented by the Schulich School of Medicine and Schulich School of Medicine, did a presentation on Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario this Blood Biomarkers of Concussion. Through his reyear, was a tremendous learning experience and a search, he has discovered that certain chemicals are reminder of just how lucky we are to have a world- released when a concussion has taken place. He’s class health science centre right in our back yard. developing a blood sampling tool, similar to that See the Line” is a 10-year initiative that aims to used for testing blood glucose levels in diabetics, seamlessly bring together world class heath care with the objective of a definitive test that can be and research partners in a unique collaboration. administered on site to determine if a concussion It positions London to become the national hub has taken place. for concussion research, care Dr. Ann McKee, Professor of and awareness – a leadership Neurology and Pathology at Bosrole unparalleled in North ton University, presented on the America. “it was heartbreaking connection between traumatic I attended the continuing brain injury and a condition called to see this young medical education (CME) chronic traumatic encephalopathy. athletic-looking man stream of the symposium This is a distinct condition similar which included presentastruggle to walk across to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s tions about prevention and the stage” disease and amyotrophic lateral treatment. Specifically, we sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), the learned about concussed condition found in famous athletes pediatric patients, adult like Junior Seau and Steve Montador through that concussions following major trauma, and the dif- post mortem autopsy. Dr. McKee’s research indiferences between post-traumatic stress disorder, cates this as a distinct condition that results from post concussive syndrome and mild traumatic chronic repetitive trauma to the brain in such brain injury. Of particular note was a presentation sports as hockey and football. from Parkwood Institute about a program they call The day concluded with a panel discussion inBrainEx90, a combined physiotherapy and occupa- volving well-known professional and local athletes tional therapy treatment program for adults with including Eric Lindros (spokesperson for See the


Line), Andy Fantuz, receiver for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Brian Bulcke, defensive tackle for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and Jessie Fleming, Canadian national soccer team member. The most dramatic member of the panel was Dean Stock, former NHL player and brother of CBC hockey analyst P.J. Stock. Dean was recently diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease). It was heartbreaking to see this young athletic-looking man struggle to walk across the stage, speak in laboured and broken sentences and have difficulty expressing his message. He was accompanied by his wife and they discussed Dean’s story of repetitive concussions and the steady decline in his mental and physical status. There is now speculated to be a direct link between chronic repetitive brain trauma and the development of ALS. The important message is that concussions need to be taken seriously. Amazing research is taking place to help us better understand and treat this serious problem. It’s important that we all see the line, don’t ignore the risks and seek proper treatment if a concussion or a suspected concussion has taken place. Dr. Greg Johnston is a Chiropractor and partner in Family Health Options Treatment & Resources Centre in St.Thomas

Supplies upplies ffor Students is an annual initiative run by volunteers eers of the Thames Valley Education Foundation. The he goal is tto ensure every child in need starts the school yyear with a new backpack filled with school supplies supplies. New Backpack and School Supply Drop off LLocation in St. Thomas is Family Video.

Call for your Free Consultation with Brandi Pisek, DD or Mike V. Pisek, DD! Walk in patients and new patients are always welcome. All insurance plans are accepted (financing available). Come visit us today and let’s get started on the road to a fantastic smile.

If yyou know a child who could benefit from receiving a filled backpack from Supplies for Students, please contact the child’s school Principal. Thank you to everyone who supported Supplies for or Students in our rrecord breaking 2014 year. Becaus aus ause of your generosity we were able to collect 3,891 backpacks tto help children have a better start to the school chool yyear.

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Homestyle Decorating

Designing to please the nose (Part 1) by Renée Carpenter

Ever wonder what your house smells like to others? Bet some of you have never even thought about it – but you should! It is a common fact that we cannot smell our own odour. Now what does that have to do with interior decorating? Everything! You cannot completely balance a good design that is pleasing to all the senses if your home stinks. In the past, I’ve sometimes had to tell clients their home smelled bad, and that it was offensive. No matter what we did to the place, nor how much money a couple spent, until the odour changed, absolutely no one would want to spend time with them in their beautiful new space. As their designer, who was being paid to give them advice and to pull the room or home together to make it appealing and inviting, it was my place to tell them the truth. Who else was going to do it?! Designing to please the nose is as important to your interior plans as the colour and style of

13th Annual

your home. Just as colour plays such a part in They knew what they were allowed to get on and the therapy of the body, so does the nose con- stay off, but I still did not leave that to chance and nect to memory, and the physical aspect of this when away, just removed the temptation or covaffect our bodies. When you see a colour, many ered it up. Dogs also need to be bathed regularly times it relates to something you have smelled in to control their natural odour, along with regular outdoor walks to help ‘air’ them the past, eaten, or enjoyed out. It’s just another responsibilrather than just seen. This ity of owning a pet! part of our surrounding is This is all above and beyond the as real and powerful as the “you cannot completely actual possibility of the animal sight and tactile aspect of balance a good design peeing in the house, or remains great design. that is pleasing to Odours can come from of a poop job being trailed and various sources. It’s obviaccidentally dragged and then deall the senses if your ous if you have a pet that posited somewhere in the house. If home stinks” you potentially run the risk cats or dogs ever once use a spot of having somewhat of an in the house, they will generally always go back to it. And can conodour issue. But it’s those other smells that we become accustomed to in our tinue for some time before you realize there is a daily life that are harder to pinpoint and remove. problem. Dog pee is difficult to remove but can The good news is that even with an inside pet, be done. But cat pee is the worst and CANNOT there are ways of controlling the environment to be removed. If a cat pees on something, be prehelp eliminate a large amount of potential smell. pared to take it to the dump. Even if you are told For those with cats, keep the litter box in a re- it can be removed, trust me on this one. It canmote place such as in the basement, mudroom / not and the odour WILL return – forever. Throw laundry room, away from any draft that might whatever it is away! Been there, done that. carry a whiff through the house. Also be sure to We have fish now – and believe it or not, they clean it daily – and more than once! Set boundaries as to where cats can go – and yes, can stink, too! Keep the tank clean, add a filthis can be done if you start when they are young ter no matter how small the tank, and DO NOT and train them. (Even older cats can learn). It’s spill any of their food. Some smells are worse than just like raising children. Be consistent and firm, others and if the small pellets get into the rug or and they are smart enough to fully get the point. surrounding areas, the entire room will smell like If you have to, shut doors to rooms that are off something has curled up and died. (Continued next month) limits. Throw a sheet over a bed or sofa. Watch cats as they create a new ‘favourite’ hangout spot and place a towel in the space for them to curl up on and make it theirs. In a week or so, they will Renée Carpenter owns travel and find another spot. Snoop them out and Jennings Furniture & be one step ahead to protect your home. RememDesign & Stage It With ber to wash these towels and sheets weekly to keep Jennings in St. Thomas. the smell under control. I did the same thing with my dogs in years past.

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LIFESTYLE Time On my Hands

Sensible people with catapults A rural community makes its own fun By Duncan Watterworth

“Holy crap on a cracker. That one went good!” It’s Thanksgiving weekend, and pumpkins are in the air. Here on the Bruce Peninsula, it’s the Fourteenth Annual Lions Club Pumpkin Toss. Lefty, standing on a farm wagon and silhouetted against the crisp, blue sky, exclaims into a microphone. Around him, hundreds of people are standing in Delbert Richardson’s cow pasture on Forty Hills Road, just outside the village of Lion’s Head. Cars are parked along the road as far as the eye can see. Way back in the pasture, a herd of white Charolais beef cattle lies in the grass. Beyond that, a sundrenched forest glows with autumn colour. The summer tourists are long gone, leaving behind a rural community several generations old. The event is free, but “barbeque delights” and “Bev’s fresh baked pumpkin muffins” are for sale. Some spectators are, as Lefty observes, “tossing back a few.” Five brawny machines are lined up for this year’s Pumpkin Toss, including an authentic trebuchet built by the Wiarton High School tech class. A trebuchet is a catapult-like medieval invention made to hurl rocks at castle walls, or perhaps toss a diseased corpse over the wall. Although one of the earliest was named “Bad Neighbour,” today’s model was built by good neighbours to entertain each other with flying pumpkins. As each pumpkin is launched, “distance-measuring guy Eric,” armed with a GPS, races up-pasture on his ATV, and reports the distance back to Lefty. The charm of this event, compared to those in cities, is its relaxed and unregulated feel. There are no marshals in orange vests, there’s no traffic control, no plethora of warning signs. These people still have the common sense to keep back from machinery. They accept responsibility for their own safety. They know how to navigate a cow pasture, and if they step in something,

they know it’s their own fault, and not everyone else’s. They know how to sit in the elevated bucket of a front-end loader for a premium view. And if a few spectators are sipping beer, so what? The Pumpkin Toss is not for medieval purists, and the trebuchet is upstaged by “Totally Wicked,” a monstrous all-steel air cannon with a thirtyfoot barrel and a huge air tank. It is pressurized to one hundred P.S.I. by an industrial air compressor. The air cannon is the creation of hardhat-wearing Kent Cruckshank, who made the towering beast himself. “I’ve been welding since I was twelve,” he says. When Totally Wicked is ready to fire, Kent blasts an air horn, and the crowd goes quiet. Then KABOOM! The sound wallops the crowd, echoes off the side of Delbert’s barn, and hits the crowd again. The cows stand up. From a viewpoint right behind the cannon, the pumpkin can be seen to corkscrew slightly as it keeps rising until it disappears from sight. Distance-measuring guy Eric radios the official result back to Lefty, who reports to the crowd: “It’s 750 yards back to the creek, and he couldn’t cross it, but he could hear branches snapping as it landed in the forest. He estimates 800 yards.” I look way down the pasture. The cows have disappeared. Totally Wicked is the highlight of the Pumpkin Toss, though perhaps not of the community’s entire weekend. For it is also running a Farmers Market, the Wooly Bear Caterpillar Festival, a music concert, and the Lawn Tractor Races. Duncan Watterworth is a lifelong resident of Elgin County and a retired lawyer. He can be reached at duncanetm@gmail.com.

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Homework can stump the most diligent mom by Elizabeth VanHooren

As a Mom I can multi-task. I can drive, plan up, “Which direction do 3-D shapes go?” I may supper and not lose my cool when half-way to have overthought the questions but I couldn’t impiano lessons my son informs me he has some mediately come up with answers. So, I posed the questions to my son hoping he homework. would answer with enthusiasm – recalling the lesAccording to the Toronto District School Board, son from his class. But he answered with a flat, “I “Homework is an important part of every child’s don’t know.” I called in my husband for back up. school experience. It is an opportunity to engage He found it quite hilarious that I couldn’t assist in learning at home and to support what is learned with kindergarten homeduring the school day.” Don’t work. That is until I asked get me wrong I believe teachers, him the questions. He ponschool staff, and parents all have it for a moment and “he pondered it for a dered their roles to play in educating then we both conferred with our children. I want to be an moment and then we both Google. active participant in my child’s The experts say that setting conferred with Google” education. But let’s be honest, a time for homework in a nobody is that into homework. quiet space away from disI breezed through the primary grades, weathered the secondary ranks and have tractions ensures success. I wish I could talk to those experts on a Sunday a couple of degrees on my wall that say I did my afternoon when the only thing keeping my son homework. And yet, I’m not proud to admit that from the great outdoors is a couple of math quesI’ve been stumped by homework my son brought tions. My eldest son stalls. His fingers hurt. His home from kindergarten. pencil is broke. He sharpens it, then returns to Homework is difficult and often a collaborainquire, “Wouldn’t it be better if we did this after tive effort. We do our homework at the kitchen supper?” He writes his name on the top of the table. And I spend time with each son individually working through the various questions or paper and then thinks it would be a good time reading assignments. On one occasion my then for a break. Homework is sneaky. It’s not always written four-year-old’s homework question was, “Which down in the school planner or sent home on a direction do 2-D shapes go?” and then as a follow

piece of paper. Sometimes the assignment gets blurted out from the backseat of the car as you are traversing across town to piano lessons. “Mom, I need to take an insect to school tomorrow.” And that’s when this mom panics because sometimes there is just not enough time in the day to search for insects. So I suggested taking the spider that’s been spinning a web in the garage. “Mom, spiders are arachnids,” my son groans. “Insects have antennae and wings.” Yes, moms can multi-task just about anything but homework. Turns out my mom was right. Homework requires focus. Elizabeth VanHooren is General Manager of Kettle Creek Conservation Authority

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