Page 1

FARM BUSINESS INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Volume 4, No. 3 November 2013

• Neal Ambrose New Mediation column Page 3 • Wes Bailey So you think you need a Webmaster Page 8 • Renee Carpenter Think BIG in small spaces Page 25

Cover Story Bill Walters in the Farm Business Feature Pages 17 - 23


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Dan Dale Dealer Principal November, 2013

Brent Kidder General Manager E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 2


Lifestyles Elgin Arts Trail

Anything Used & Sparta Country Candles Scent-sational in Sparta

by Katherine Thompson

An 1838 general store in the heart of historic Sparta is home to Anything Used & Sparta Country Candles. The sweet scents that waft through the building have been attracting visitors to the village for over two decades. The store is comprised of two floors featuring unique gift items, home décor, outdoor décor, candle accessories and of course, Sparta Country Candles. Pat and Mary Muscat founded Sparta Country Candles in 1995 to provide their customers with quality candles at affordable prices. The candles are handmade at a small factory a few kilometers west of Sparta and are sold exclusively at Anything Used, at home parties and at area craft shows and festivals. This progressive business is committed to commuThe Elgin Arts Trail is a program with a goal to promote and enhance arts tourism in Elgin County and St. Thomas. The trail is a route through Elgin County that visits some of the best galleries, studios and artisans in Elgin and St. Thomas. For full trail information visit www.elginartstrail. ca or find us on Facebook

nity and believes firmly in giving back in many ways to the community that supports them. Utilizing environmentally sustainable practices is also personally important for this family business. Sparta Country Candles was the first candle company to introduce refills for their 12oz jars and candy dish candles. They use biodegradable soy chips for shipping orders instead of foam, educate their customers about how to use leftover wax and recycle everything they can. Sparta Country Candles contain three times more scent than the average candle. The candles come in 20 different scents that are available yearround and in seven seasonally themed scents with limited time availability. New fragrances are introduced on an ongoing basis and customers decide which ones stay and which ones go. Scents range from traditional Lavender, Strawberry and French Vanilla to unique and whimsical scents like Mexican Vacation (a Pina Colada inspired scent that takes you to a beach front resort), Elgin County Cobbler (an apple creation that smells good enough to eat), and Double-Double (the aroma of freshly brewed morning coffee). The aptly named Spartaberry candle is a mysterious combination of over 40 fruity essential oils and is by

far the most popular scent and unique to Sparta Country Candles. An afternoon in quaint downtown Sparta isn’t complete without a visit to Anything Used & Sparta Country Candles. First-time visitors receive a free Spartaberry tealite and everyone receives a free sample of homemade fudge. Pick out an enchanting gift for a friend, munch on delicious homemade fudge and experience the charm of rural Ontario. For more information on Anything Used & Sparta Country Candles or The Elgin Arts Trail visit www.elginartstrail.ca. Katherine Thompson is Marketing & Communications Coordinator with The County of Elgin

What is mediation and why should I use it?

by Neil Ambrose

Have you ever had a problem with your landlord and refused to pay your rent? Have you ever been sued when someone slipped and fell at your place of business? Have you ever felt taken advantage of when getting your car repaired and refused to pay the bill? Have you ever felt mistreated at work and had no union to support you? In all these situations, and many more, your first reaction might be: “Take them to court!” While that may be justified, there could be another way to fix the problem – Mediation. Mediation is fast becoming a popular way to resolve disputes without going through the often expensive and stressful court process or what is often referred to as litigation. While litigation may eventually be the required action, mediation may be a less stressful and more informal way to resolve issues. Simply put, mediation is where a neutral third party (the mediator) brings the disputing parties

together and helps them negotiate a solution that works for both sides and is better than continuing the dispute and “going to court.” The mediator tries to help the disputing parties find some common ground or interests and then looks for ways to meet those interests where both sides are satisfied. These interests can be met in many different and creative ways, and the mediator gets both sides to participate in finding ways to resolve the issue. This makes for a better agreement and one that will last since both sides participated in finding the solutions. Mediation can be used in a number of situations such as workplace disputes, contract grievances, landlord-tenant issues, community disputes, consumer-business disputes and some family law situations such as custody and access issues where abuse is not a concern. There are many appealing qualities to mediation. It is, in most cases, voluntary, and either party can end their participation at any time in

Elgin This Month General Manager Terry Carroll Section Editor Business Beat – Bob Hammersley Regional Sales Manager Nelson Parreira

the process. Mediation is also informal, unlike the court process, and non-binding, so that anything said or offered up as a solution during the process is not considered a binding offer. It is often a much shorter process than court and can usually be completed in 4-6 hours, making it less stressful as well. Since the cost of the mediator is most often split between the parties, it is an attractive option to the court process. In addition, if mediation does not work and an agreement is not reached, litigation is still an option and not much time has been taken to try mediation. So, before you “go to court,” consider this exciting and increasingly popular alternative dispute resolution process – Mediation.

Graphic Design / Production Metroland Media Group Sales Representative Greg Minnema Sales Representative Michelle Lucy

Neal Ambrose is a Mediator with Elgin Counselling and Mediation Centre.

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 November, 2013

E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 3


INNES As I See It

If you are a chameleon, do you know who you are? by Jim Innes It took three failed attempts before I was suc- demands of someone or some cessful in getting my licence plates renewed. First system. I have found that time I went on the computer site. I was excited when someone demands anthat Ontario drivers are now the first in Canada other to change, there is usuwho can renew their licences online. However ally a selfish motivation. No that failed because I didn’t have the correct pass- matter how sincere that call to word available. So then I drove to the local issu- change sounds, such change ing office (twice) where both times it was so over- is often of greater benefit to whelmingly busy that I realized I would need to them then to us. And as one come a third time and that I would need to sched- acquiesces a miserable frustraule in the wait time. Though I began the process tion sets in. early enough in the month, I was late getting my This scenario happens often stickers on the car. in couple counseling. One This article is not so much to complain about partner trying to force the the process. Our local issuing office is generally other to adapt to a new way quite efficient. This article is more about how we of behaving. In my experience manage the process of adapting to this is a formula for failure. the ways of others. My licence plate It is a manipulation (no experience is a minor example of matter how unconscious how we can be frustratingly pushed the act is) and the self-serv“someone will to adapt. Such frustration (and an- invariably be shamed” ing motivation needs to ger), when not managed effectively, be recognized as projected can be cause for depression and nonsense. It is no one’s anxiety. responsibility to make us I can best speak to this issue through my expe- happy; not even our intimate partners. riences as a counsellor. Many folk enter my ofAsking for someone to adapt their behaviour to fice looking to change so they can adapt to the meet our expectations is a misunderstanding of how a healthy relationship is created. Counsellors who don’t cut this process off quickly prop up a process of acquiescing (often called win-win) and, at best, it is a short-lived solution with no long-term benefit. Someone will invariably be shamed and that unspoken, unnamed, miserable frustration will take root. This may result in more problems then when it all began. Saying all this I must

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also adamantly state that pushing people to adapt their behaviour is appropriate in some situations. Such is the case when someone is endangering another, or breaking the law, or being abusive (as in domestic abuse), or self destructive (as in alcohol and drug addiction). These demands for someone to adapt their behaviour are commonly referred to as interventions. They are for someone else’s benefit and we can only hope that, if needed, someone loves us enough to go there for us. Acquiescing to keep the peace invariably happens in all relationships, and it can be a highly rewarded mannerism. But taken too far, it’s a problem. I call it the chameleon trait. Nobody really knows who you are, or what you’re really thinking, not even you. Examples of how we've been taught to adapt to Bedemand much goes moreback effective, healthy meet another’s to our relationship with our parents. Later it was fostered by the and happy in all aspects education system. As of I now see it, there is a your daily life. time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and Successful counseling and therapy is a time to hate, a time for peace and time forfrom war.the a collaborative process thata benefits

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 4


Business & Community Employment

Adding strategy to your job search

by Justin Dias

ect being undertaken in St. Thomas will hopefully When it comes time to look for a job, the pro- make it easier for job seekers to connect with culcess often begins with dusting off an old resume tural employers who make up some of the small and making some changes and updates. But now business numbers in Elgin County. The cultural that you’ve got a new and improved version in mapping process will help to uncover, categorize hand, the question is, where to next? You might and highlight resources and organizations in the be inclined to either pound the pavement or scour community that might not be on your job search the online job boards until something comes radar, either because you didn’t know about them up that you think you might have a reasonable or didn’t consider them as a possible employer. Dr. Greg Baeker, a leading thinker and practichance at landing. Or you might just mass email tioner in cultural resource mapping talks about every single employer in Elgin County and hope the importance of cultural resources as a tool for for the best. Some common thinking is that if you are strate- economic development, and ultimately, a tool gic, you would start with the larger employers in for job creation. Creative cultural industries are among the fastest growing globally the area first since they likely have but are often overlooked according the greatest hiring power. However, there is more than one strategy “where growth is happening to Dr. Baeker. “When people think about occupations in culture they in Elgin County” when it comes to job searching generally think about jobs in the and doing a quick scan of some not-for-profit cultural sector, and numbers might help you target growth industries exclude the rapidly expanding creative cultural rather than simply targeting employers. industries.” A look at some data from Canadian Business One such example is the publishing industry. Patterns (CBP) quickly demonstrates where the This sector is categorized under the NAICS Code growth is happening in Elgin County. CBP tracks employers by their employee size and reports the 511. Statistics Canada results semi annually. Small to medium busi- categorizes these emnesses with less than 100 employees are consis- ployers as primarily tently the fastest growing employers in terms of involved in the publishboth absolute number and percentage. The latest ing of newspapers, peWINTER AFTER CBP report indicates particularly high growth in riodicals, books and absolute numbers for businesses in the 10-19 em- other databases that ployee size and smaller with a net increase of 62 involve creating intellectual property that is employers. But where exactly are these small employers? protected by copyright. Processes like the cultural resource mapping proj- In Elgin County, this cultural industry has

experienced consistent growth in absolute employment since 2008. Those employed in this industry totaled 123 in 2008 and 134 in 2011. In 2012 that number increased to 141 and to 150 in 2013 according to CBP projections. This is just one example of an industry that is demonstrating growth in the cultural sector and in the thriving small business environment that exists in the area. The hope is that exercises such as cultural mapping and cultural planning will help to put these types of opportunities on the map for job seekers and entrepreneurs, literally. Dr. Baeker believes that raising the profile of the creative cultural industries will help to shed light on the opportunities that exist for students and entrepreneurs, through networking events and creative incubators in a sector that is often overlooked. Job seekers and interested citizens in Elgin County can follow the process through the City of St. Thomas’s website. Justin Dias is with the Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board.

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Employee Size Range Elgin 0 (indeterminate) 1-4 5-9 10 - 19 20-49 50-99 100-199 200-499 500+ Total

Number of Employers

Number of Employers

2012 2,955 1,258 508 281 176 54 21 12 5 5270

2013 3,240 1,299 508 302 166 55 22 11 5 5608

Absolute Change 285 41 0 21 -10 1 1 -1 0 338

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 5


LIFESTYLE In The Garden

Too late for bulbs?

by Dorothy Gebert

Have you ever turned he once planted over the calendar page to bulbs beneath the the month of November snow as late as early and wondered where the January and flowers time has gone? still came up in the With Thanksgiving, spring. Hallowe’en, work and I wasn’t sure if family activities coming Larry was writing and going so quickly, with his tongue in it’s often hard to find his cheek or not, so time to fit in any garI decided to consult dening activities in the a local expert who is fall, except for maybe familiar with Elgin an afternoon or two tiCounty conditions. dying flowerbeds or rakAccording to PauNew early spring blooming tulip varieties include ing leaves. So it’s easy to line Intven-Casier at ‘Princess Irene,’ ‘Mickey Mouse,’ and Diana.’ forget about planting Canadale Nurseries (Dorothy Gebert photo) bulbs until it seems like in St. Thomas, anyit’s much too late. time in the fall is the perfect time to plant bulbs I’ve always heard that September and October – at least, as long as the ground isn’t frozen. are the optimal months for put“Bulbs need a minimum six ting tulips, daffodils and alliums to eight week cold period,” into the ground to ensure a radishe says. Winter provides that “bulbs have their own chilling time before the bulbs ant display in April and May. Is it too late to plant them in Nobreak their dormant state and time frame” vember? start generating shoots and No, says garden writer Larry flowers. “So as long as the Hodgson in an article called “Planting last-minute ground is soft enough and moist enough, it won’t bulbs” on canadiangardening.com. He says that be a problem to plant.” It all depends upon the weather. “There have been times when we’ve had snow by now, and it’s been cold,” she says. This year, however, is looking very good for late planting. “It’s a nice late fall this year. The ground is warm enough, it’s not too wet, so it’s fine. The only thing that will prevent you from planting in the fall is ground frost.” Do bulbs that are planted later come up later? Pauline says no, the date bulbs are planted has no effect on when they bloom. “They have their own time frame,” she says. It doesn’t make any difference Late spring blooming bulbs are ideal for planting in November. whether you plant a bulb in Septem(Dorothy Gebert photo)

King Alfred daffodil bulbs (displayed here at Canadale Nurseries) bloom early to mid spring. (Dorothy Gebert photo) ber or November; an early blooming variety will emerge early in the spring and a late blooming one will come up later. So it looks like there’s hope for those of us who put off bulb planting until the last minute. Just check your flowerbeds to see if you can dig a hole and pop some bulbs in. But if the temperatures start getting frosty and you’re still determined to have spring flowers, you may want to try another Larry Hodgson planting experiment. One December, he threw some bulbs on a patch of frozen earth in his garden and covered them with 20cm of commercially bagged soil. The bulbs bloomed the following spring as if they had been planted properly. I’m not sure if it will work for you, but you never know. Dorothy Gebert is a writer and garden enthusiast in St. Thomas

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Healthy Living Self Discovery

Being in the flow

Finding those activities is sometimes tough

by Anouschka Van den Bosch

There is something seriously wrong with me. be out here. It is the long weekend and I am up at 8:30 makWhen I have clients that are stuck ing my coffee and anxious to get outside. This is in their careers, I often ask them not normal; I am the queen of sleeping in, roll- when they feel in their flow, when ing over one more time pulling the covers up and does time stand still and you forget snuggling in for just a few more minutes. And to stop for lunch or go to the bathhere I am sipping my coffee as I am sitting on room? Not because you have deadmy deck. Watching, listening and being with the lines to meet, but because you are birds. The feeders look empty and I go through in a rhythm that feels natural and my routine of filling the feeders as the birds watch moves without worries, without the from the rooftop. A finch is calling her mates; yes need to stop and analyze and without having to the feeders will be full again. be concerned about the outcome. Just knowing The feeders are topped up, that what you are doing is right and I grab my coffee and and feels right. Some people have shovel and move to the front a hard time with that question. It garden. Slowly I move around is not something you think about. “when does time the newly created garden, creWe are always in go mode, never stand still?” ating a clear edge that defines really in flow mode; we forget the border between the grass when our bodies are totally in and my garden. It all hapsync with what we are doing. pens naturally. It feels good to be out here, I feel Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a well know profesconnected with nature and the earth that I am sor of psychology and in his book “Finding Flow” digging into and the wind that keeps blowing my he describes flow experiences as those moments hair into my face. when what we feel, what we wish, and what we It is interesting how time stands still as I shovel, think are in harmony. As he describes it “there is dig and plant. Not feeling hungry (and that is also no room in your awareness for conflicts or conso very wrong), not needing to stop, completely tradictions” and I so agree! I have become more in my flow. It feels natural and so comfortable to aware of “being in my flow” and whenever life

gets crazy busy I find those activities that allow me to feel my flow again whether that is gardening, being with horses or enjoying a glass of wine with a good friend. I feel complete as I finish up my edging and put away my gardening tools. Now I must go inside to catch up on household chores and something tells me that during my chores I will be very much aware of conflicts and contradictions! I take one more look back at my garden and step inside knowing I can go back to “my flow” anytime I choose. Anouschka Van den Bosch is a Human Resources Professional and Certified Life and Career Coach.

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 7


Business & Community Business Resources

Take control of your website

by Wes Bailey

Too often, I’ve heard horror stories from busi- Markup-Language) and created websites for you. ness owners who say it can take weeks to get re- Once the website was created he or she would quested changes or updates onto their website. maintain it, updating text, pictures, or adding That should no longer be acceptable; it should be new pages. instantaneous. When business owners wanted In the early days of the World to promote a new special offer or Wide Web (WWW), in order “you make changes add a new page, they would go to have a website online you by simply dragging and through the Webmaster to get that needed a Webmaster. That perdone. They did not control their dropping” son could speak the language website themselves. of the internet (Hyper-Text In 2003, Wordpress completely changed the way people managed their webLooking for a Better Way to keep sites. It’s currently the track of your Income and Expenses? most popular, free CMS Management We have the Perfect Bookkeeping Solution (Content System) and powers over for Small Businesses. 60 million websites. It’s based on a template and plug-in system that easBookkeeping done for all Budgets! ily allows users of any Work at your location or mine. computer skill level to Call now extend the functionality 519-520-6174 for a FREE of a website and appear213 Elm St. ance. Consultation West Lorne, On Businesses that take the N0L 2P0 leap and migrate their Tax Accounting Simply Managed Tracy@tasm-bookkeeping.com websites to Wordpress Bookkeeping Service https://www.tasm-bookkeeping.com can now have full access. Serving St. Thomas, West Elgin and surrounding area. They can add and con-

tent without having to know any HTML coding. If you can write an email, you can make changes to your website; it’s that easy. Wordpress has an intuitive back-end administration page. This administration interface manages each section of the website such as pages, posts, and menu navigation system. You make changes by simply dragging and dropping and then hitting save. Changes are made through a WYSIWYG (pronounced "wiz-ee-wig") editor. WYSIWYG is an acronym for “what you see is what you get.” It allows you to see what the end result will look like while the page is being created. With a powerful plug-in system, Wordpress also allows people to add extra functionality without needing to pay extra for a web developer to create custom code. A Photo Gallery, or Contact Us submission form can be easily added. There are over 25,000 plug-ins that can be added for free to the website. If you have ever felt the pain and annoyance of waiting days or even weeks for your Webmaster to make changes to your website, I suggest that you take the plunge and migrate to Wordpress. Only then will you truly be the master of your website. Wes Bailey is a Business Assistant with Elgin Business Resource Centre

Youth Employment Fund

Providing incentives to employers... Providing opportunities for youth. Youth:

Employers:

If you are unemployed, not in school full-time, and between the ages of 15 and 29, you may be eligible to be connected with employers for a job placement of four to six months.

The Ontario Government is expanding employment opportunities to help employers find the skilled workers they need, and to help young people gain job skills and experience.

Job placements will provide opportunities for youth to build skills & confidence, get valuable work experience, and connect with employers.

Employers will receive incentives to help cover the cost of wages and training for new hires when they provide a job placement of four to six months.

For information about eligibility, please contact Employment Services Elgin | 400 Talbot St., St. Thomas | 519-631-5470 www.jobselgin.ca or visit www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/employmentontario/youthfund November, 2013

E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 8


Issues and options:

• November 2013 •

Our research continues Wednesday November 6

Location: St. Thomas Roadhouse, 837 Talbot Street Sponsored by Dowler-Karn Fuels, this event marks Junior Achievement’s 50th anniversary of serving St. Thomas and Elgin County and teaching thousands of area students about business.

Wednesday December 4

Location: St. Anne’s Centre,

Morrison Drive 6 local sponsors combine to deliver our annual Holiday Season event with an emphasis on good food, good cheer and connections with good business neighbours.Doors open 5:00 p.m. Prize draws and sponsor remarks start at 6:15 p.m.

Our newest report is yours: Employer-sponsored Training and Resolving the Skills Gap. It can be viewed and/or downloaded on the Chamber’s website at www.stthomaschamber.on.ca On October 11, The Canadian Chamber of Commerce released the latest report in our series dealing with the Top 10 issues facing Canadian business, the issue we call the “Skills Gap.” This new report should be seen as a step toward understanding and potentially leveraging the role of business to work with individuals, educators and governments to achieve better skills and better outcomes in Canada’s economy. With a focus on the employer’s role in the training of employees, this report raises several of the issues and gaps in the skills picture in Canada. The report recognizes that the training and development eco-sys-

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce, and all local Chambers across Ontario including the St. Thomas & District Chamber, are working to create an updated economic plan for Ontario. Emerging Stronger 2013 was our first one, last year, and now our focus turns to create Emerging Stronger 2014. Your opinions and issues are the foundation and the results give us a strong and clear message for decision-makers at all levels. Until 3:00

Business Beat Table of Contents What business thinks Page 10 Thanks to John .......... Page 11 Where there’s a will .. Page 12 St. Thomas Uncorked Page 13 Ont. auto insurance .. Page 14 ID work hazards ........ Page 15 New Members........... Page 16 November, 2013

tem is complex, spanning everything from the supply side to the demand side with many actors and various actions on both sides. Consider the impact on a learner, and potential future employee, from the players along the skills road, starting with high school guidance counsellors

Tell us more p.m. Tuesday November 12, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Leger Marketing are conducting an on-line survey of Chamber Members. We’re asking a few questions on a central theme: How confident are you in Ontario’s economy? We need to hear from owners, managers, and staff at all levels and in every type and size of business. The link to the survey is posted now on the Chamber’s website and is appearing each week in the Green

and teachers, to professors and instructors at the post-secondary level, co-op and internship-sponsoring employers, professional accreditation bodies and unions and, ultimately, employers of all sizes. Each and every one of these can influence the range and quality of learning and training choices for the potential or existing employee. Through research conducted for this report, three broad areas where government action could improve the current context for learning and training sponsored by employers across Canada are explored. These three areas are identified and explained in the summary of the report. We’re confident that employers of every type and size will find this report of interest, and we invite you to share the report with associates and colleagues across the entire business community.

Mail electronic newsletter sent to Members every Tuesday. Participation takes just a few minutes, and could earn you a reward such as a new Apple iPad mini; gift certificates and Toronto concert tickets. Go to the main page on the Chamber’s website at www.stthomaschamber.on.ca to add your voice to our work.

Send Holiday wishes to your Business friends in our annual Holiday edition To take advantage of excellent advertising opportunities give me a call at 519-633-1640 (ext. 22) Greg Minnema, Advertising Sales

or email me at gregthismonth@theweeklynews.ca December Edition Advertising Deadline is November 12th

ELGIN THIS MONTH

9


Chamber News Events and News of Interest to our Members

You told us … Notes on the voice of business Thanks to a lot of local input from the businesses and people that are Members of the St. Thomas & District Chamber, participation in four QPS (Quarterly Policy Surveys) led by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce means we generated the largest and most significant business opinion studies in the province, maybe in the country. Developed and managed in co-operation with Leger Marketing, our provincial surveys recorded nearly 7,000 responses between November 2012 and July 2013. That’s an average of over 1,700 voices heard in each of the surveys, and the foundation of solid logic for decision-makers at many levels. The success of this initiative means it will continue this year and next, and the first of our four 2013/14 surveys is underway now through November 12. Participation details appear in the article on the previous page. Looking back over our What Ontario Business Thinks 2013 surveys, here are some of the key findings: How Confident Is Ontario Business? – We’re in the middle. Not overly confident but not completely pessimistic. “Relatively Confident” was the main response cited by a provincial average of 44% of respondents. Locally, the number was 36%. Kitchener-Waterloo, the GTA and north-

eastern Ontario have more optimism with averages in those locales all at 50% or more. Explored by business size, small business has more fear. 41% of Ontario businesses with 1 – 10 employees reported declining confidence in the economy. How Likely Is Your Business To Expand? 57% thinks it’s possible at the local level (Greater London Area) but the K-W region tops the list at 72%. The Ontario average was 62%. “Hot Button” Issues? We asked you about the minimum wage, casinos, WSIB, Right-To-Work laws, privatizing alcohol sales and more. - An average of 61% of Ontario businesses appear to support a minimum wage hike with 13 of 16 sectors measured scoring a majority YES on the question. Lowest support is in the retail sector (29%) and next lowest the automotive sector at 42%. - Right-To-Work laws are supported by a strong majority. Provincial average 80% supporting, 5% neutral, 12% do not support, 3% don’t know. - Business is divided on seeing value in the WSIB (Workplace Safety & Insurance Board). Of 2,059 respondents the Ontario average was 50%. The auto sector and construction argue to the negative with only 23% and 27% respectively seeing worth. - College of Trades? An average of only 46% see merit. - Casinos? 50/50 on whether or not the province should have a priority to generate revenue through gaming. - Privatize the LCBO? No strong majorities on this one. Provincially, 51% of our respondents say yes. Only 42% lo-

cally agree. Just 38% in the GTA and Stratford/ Bruce Peninsula regions and only 35% in the K-W area. Support a “Pooled Registered Pension Plan”? – Cross-province average is 67% yes. Larger firms support more (up to 75%) than smaller ones. 24% of respondents unsure. Key provincial policy area? Five areas of focus are most important to business, but no single issue draws a strong majority. Building a skilled workforce is highest at 41%. Getting back to fiscal balance is second at 37%. Productivity/Innovation, a Smarter Regulatory System and Ensuring Infrastructure Needs Are Met scored 34%, 29% and 25% respectively as most important to some respondents. Skills Gap? One third of survey respondents confirm they have had difficulty filling a job opening. Locally, we mirror that at 32%. Biggest problem area is north-eastern Ontario with 46% of employers having the problem. Funding and support services such as the Canada Job Grant are a related problem, due to lack of awareness and/ or interest in participating. Only 12% averaged across Ontario said they would be likely to try to access funding of up to $15,000 per trainee. On the issue of seeking off-shore solutions in hiring, only 7% of respondents have gone that way and 58% say they’re not likely to. Locally, 78% of our respondents in the London/St. Thomas region reported they have not yet used any off-shore options. The complete summary report titled What Ontario Business Thinks 2013 can be viewed and downloaded on the Chamber website at www.stthomaschamber.on.ca.

St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce

2013 Board of Directors

Acting Chair: Laura Woermke

www.chambers.ca November, 2013

E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 10


Chamber News Events and News of Interest to our Members

Export sales?

Chamber Member Services Representative Jeff Sheridan left, reviews the Business Sample Show ‘passport’ layout with TD Canada Trust rep David Van Dinther. TD was the Chamber’s main sponsor at our October 23 event. Everyone attending was given a passport and a mission to find 10 exhibitors with stamps for them. Success earned entry into a draw for $500 cash, won by Melissa Schneider from the Elgin-St. Thomas United Way..

Thanks, John!

After almost four years of service with the Chamber and five years as General Manager of the Elgin Business Resource Centre, John Regan has moved on. John resigned on October 31 to accept a position in economic development in another southern Ontario community. The Chamber is very appreciative of the time and energy John devoted to our organization, the EBRC and the communities of Elgin County. His term with the Chamber saw him elected as Chair of our Board of Directors last January. He was actively John Regan involved in with our Board, Member Services and Strategic Planning efforts. As EBRC’s senior staff officer, he played a leadership role that saw the organization expand to add two satellite offices in east and west Elgin. Development of new programs and expansions of services in John’s time here have taken the EBRC team to new levels and produced awards and recognition nationally and internationally. The loss of John Regan to another community is definitely a bonus for them. We’re sorry to see him go but remain grateful for his efforts while he was with us and wish him much success in his new career. • Accounting

In co-operation with the St. Thomas Economic Development Corporation, the Chamber will host a special & informative breakfast meeting for exporters looking to build sales and/or gain information about Export Development Canada's ARI (Accounts Receivable Insurance) program. Our event is titled “Making Sales – How to Compete in a Competitive Global Export Market” and features presentations led by Cameron (Cam) Ellis, Senior Account Manager with Export Development Canada and Johanna Franz, recently appointed Account Manager at Export Development’s London office. You’re invited to join us for this event on Tuesday November 12, 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., in the main Boardroom at the Elgin Business Resource Centre, 300 South Edgeware Road, St. Thomas. Admission to this event is FREE for any local businesses, especially manufacturers and distributors, that are engaged in exporting or exploring export opportunities. Breakfast is included but advance registration is a must. Register via email to the Chamber office at: mail@ stthomaschamber.on.ca To allow catering preparation, registration must be submitted before 4:00 p.m. Friday November 8. Doors open at 7:15 a.m.  Program begins at 7:30 a.m.

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 11


Legal Business Events and News of Interest to our Members

Of sound mind

Lawyers sometimes (although thankfully not all that often) must deal with questions surrounding a client’s “capacity” to make their last will and testament. This situation arises, more often than not, with elderly clients, and from time to time in relation to persons who have experienced some mental health issues in the past. There are two types of capacity: legal capacity and testamentary capacity. Generally, all persons who are of legal age may make a will mapping out the disposition of their assets upon their death. Exceptions are made for persons who are married or in the armed forces. In other words almost every adult has the legal capacity to make a will. Seems pretty straight forward, doesn’t it? However, when the focus turns to testamentary capacity the road takes some unusual turns. As with many of the principles of our common law, the test for testamentary capacity was set down long ago when the world was a very different place. Back in 1870, in a case known as Banks v. Goodfellow, the court ordered that, to have testamentary capacity a person must a) understand what he or she is doing (i.e., preparing a will); b) comprehend and recollect the nature and extent of his or her property; c) understand and identify the persons who will be benefitted by the will; and d) understand and identify the claims of persons excluded by the will and the extent of property being given to persons included in the will. Later, a 1937 case summarized the test as follows:

St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce

“What is required is that the testator must have such party, or lack of mental capacity on the part of the memory and appreciation as to be able to carry in person making the will. But who bears the onus of mind and appreciate the extent and nature of his proving these things? Well, in the case of “undue inestate and the persons who normally should be the fluence,” it is up to the person challenging the will to objects of his bounty.” But are the standards set prove, on a civil standard, that someone influenced down so many years ago adequate to determine is- the individual to an extent that the will did not consues of mental capacity in 2013? tain his or her true intentions. However in the case The Alzheimer’s Society of Canada has determined of “mental capacity,” the onus is reversed. In other that, in 2011, there were some 747,000 Canadians words, the mental capacity to make the will must be living with a cognitive impairment, including vari- proven, again on the civil standard, by the person or ous degrees of dementia. As well, when the figures persons putting forward the will. are broken down by age, nearly 15% of Canadians Not surprisingly, a number of recent court deciover 65 years of age are affected by some form of im- sions have wrestled with the issue of mental capacpairment. Barring any significant advancement in ity to draw a will, and in my next column, I will treatments or prevention, the total figure will rise to review a recent case dealing with the issue and toss 1.4 million by 2031. The Society estimates that the out some suggestions which, it is hoped, allow our risk for dementia doubles every 5 years after age 65. executors to avoid the issue all together. Now for the tsunami. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada states that, in 1971, the Lawyer Monty Fordham prepares this monthly colpercentage of Canadians over 65 was 8%; in 2011, umn for the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Com14.4%. In 2031, that percentage is projected to be merce and our Members. Monty 22.8%. (Some agencies estimate up to 25%). You is also a volunteer serving on the can see what is happening, mostly because of those Chamber’s Board of Directors. pesky baby boomers. So, while scientists work diliQuestions, comments and suggently in an effort to find cures and preventatives for gestions for future columns are the anticipated dementia deluge, what can we do to welcomed by Monty at his office: ensure our wishes are eventually carried out by our Fordham & Brightling Associpersonal representatives without challenge to our ates - Lawyers, 4 Elgin Street, St. Monty Fordham Thomas. Telephone 519-633mental capacity when we drew our will? When wills are challenged, it is usually on either 4000, FAX 519-633-1371 or or both of two grounds: undue influence by a third e-mail: montyfordham@4elgin.ca

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can do for your family and loved ones. Tending to the details immediately following a death can often be complex and confusing. By preplanning, you not only relieve your family of the burden at an emotional time but also of the task of secondguessing what you would have wanted. • A licensed funeral director manages the documents, paperwork and keeps a detailed plan on file which outlines your wishes. • Pay in one lump sum or pay over a period

of time. 1,3, 5, 10, 15 and 20 year time payment options are available at Shawn Jackson Funeral Home. • Pre-planned and Pre-paid funerals have always been transferable to another funeral home. • A simple phone call is all it takes to change the details of your plan, or even to transfer an existing plan to Shawn Jackson Funeral Home.

• You may be surprised to know that by transferring your prepaid funeral to the Shawn Jackson Funeral Home, you may even qualify to get money back. • We’ll make sure that your family receives applicable Survivor Benefit entitlements: 1) The death benefit is a one-time payment to the estate or person responsible for the funeral expenses. 2) The surviving spouse’s pension is a monthly pension paid to the spouse of a deceased contributor. 3) The children’s benefit is a monthly benefit paid to children of a deceased contributor.

31 Elgin Street, St. Thomas 519-631-0570 • www.shawnjacksonfuneralhome.com November, 2013

E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 12


Member NEWS Events and News of Interest to our Members

A BIG night with BIG wines It was a huge and sold-out success last year so we’re doing it again. The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Saturday January 25, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., we will host the wine tasting Party of the New Year … St. Thomas Uncorked. We’re also humbled and thrilled to acknowledge the recent honour our 2013 event received being named “Event of the Year” in the St. Thomas Spirit Awards. Your satisfaction and our team’s success in producing and delivering Uncorked last January will ensure an even better event

- St. Thomas Uncorked returns!

this January. Tickets are on sale now and only 120 are available. Call the Chamber office at 519-6311981, email us at events@stthomaschamber.on.ca, or see our website for online info at www.stthomaschamber.on.ca $35 per person buys admission and sampling of quality wines from local, provincial, national and international wineries, plus tasty hors d’oeuvres. Music and door prizes draws, too! Our location will be the St. Thomas – Elgin Public Art Centre at 301 Talbot Street and we’re excited to welcome back Quai du Vin’s expert vintner

Jamie Quai to lead us through blind taste-tests followed by revealing of the wines and commentary. Everyone attending will have the opportunity to sample up to 20 carefully selected wines. Tickets make GREAT Christmas gifts and we can almost guarantee that delaying to place your order will mean disappointment. Last year, our first Uncorked was sold-out by mid-December and we know dozens of people missed a great night because they waited too long. Please understand that once tickets are gone, they’re gone and that liquor and insurance regulations mean our attendance cap cannot be exceeded in any circumstance.

St. Thomas business goes national A local business based in St. Thomas has earned some time in the national spotlight by being selected as a supplier in the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Member Benefits program. Quantum RBS Inc., a specialist in computer data back-up and recovery services, has been selected to offer services through the national Chamber and all local Chambers that will bring benefits and savings to every Chamber office – and potentially every business that is a Member – from coast to coast to coast. Similar to our national benefits program offering Esso gasoline discounts across Canada, Quantum’s Cloud-Backup and Recovery service is now available at a 15% discount to all businesses and organizations that are Members of the Chamber network anywhere in Canada.

Kim Marcotte is the owner and driving force behind Quantum RBS, a computer data back-up and recovery service now delivering discounted services to Chamber of Commerce Members across Canada.

The services provided by Quantum RBS can be used value-adding plus (at a 15% discount) for our Members. by virtually every business and organization in the Quantum welcomes your calls and questions via their country, from the smallest to the largest. website, phone or email. Details on the Chamber proLocally, the St. Thomas & District Chamber has gram can be found at www.qrbs.ca/CCC_Member_ been a Quantum client for over two years, since we Request.php or by emailing Quantum at sales@qrbs. retired our outdated tape backup system for our server ca Telephone calls are welcome, too. 519-633-8903 or and workstations. Several other Chambers in larger 1-866-855-2855. For a look at all of the programs and offers in the centres like Edmonton and Winnipeg are also Quantum clients and that led owner Kim Marcotte to ex- St. Thomas & District Chamber’s Member Benefits plore opportunities and prospects connecting to every Bundle, check the Chamber web at: www.stthomaschamber.on.ca/member-benefits.html Chamber and all of their Members. That connection has enormous potential and value. The Canadian Chamber network now numbers nearly 500 local Chamber Metcalfe Gardens has their offices and counts over own On-site Hair Salon, 5 days 200,000 businesses and organizations of every type a week, as well as Hand Waxing & size as Members. Add to and Foot Care services. that the number of comAt Metcalfe Gardens, puters and servers we all deIt’s About Living, pend on and the argument It’s About Life. of strength-in-numbers is clear. The Next Quality, reliability and Best Place dependability, and price? To Home! Without question, our new Quantum addition to our Member Benefits Bundle is a solution to the back45 Metcalfe Street, St. Thomas 519.631.9393 Fax: 519.631.2563 www.diversicare.ca up needs of everyone and a

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ELGIN THIS MONTH

13


Pro Text Events and News of Interest to our Members

Ontario Automobile Insurance A political tool again by Dan Reith On August 23, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced details of the government’s plan to lower auto insurance rates by 15%. The government committed to this target as part of its deal with the New Democratic Party to pass the 2013 Provincial budget. This budget legislation gave the Superintendent of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, FSCO, and the regulator of auto insurance, the power to set a rate reduction target, by regulation, and compel insurers to re-file rates to achieve this target. In Ontario, no automobile insurer can raise or lower their premium or rate structure without first obtaining approval from FSCO. Typically, this process can take 6 months. And the consumer isn’t getting a clear picture. This rate reduction is a provincial average, which means that some will see a 15% rate reduction while others will not. The first reduction is 8% by August 15, 2014; the second reduction is an average of 7% by August 15, 2015. While the government believes this reduction can occur, they have not been clear on the fact that currently, on average, 85 cents of every premium dollar taken in goes out to pay claims. This would suggest that the 15% reduction is the perceived profit margin thereby making auto insurance a breakeven prod-

uct. Yet, current provincial regulation guarantees insurers a fixed return so as to ensure financial stability in the event of catastrophic loss. While the calls for premium reduction may be a votegetter in certain parts of the province it is disappointing that the government has failed to address the real issues which are driving the costs of auto insurance: • The current auto insurance coverage, standard across all insurers, is a fixed product with very few options for the consumer in terms of selection and choice. • Basic Accident Benefit coverage, the richest in Canada compared to any other jurisdiction, represents approximately 50% of one’s annual premium and Ontario drivers have no choice in the selection of coverage with the exception of buying up-grades or enhancements. • The current system is riddled with fraud and abuses and without a concerted effort by the government to regulate and licence health clinics, regulate the towing industry and implement a muchneeded new definition of “catastrophic” injury, a 15% premium reduction in 2 years is very challenging. If the government is going to order reductions in premium without addressing the issues of fraud and much needed We take the responsibility and concern for licensing and regulation, market dislocation your technology systems so you can focus then and the withdraw of caon your business. pacity could occur. This • On-site service/Remote connection support would leave drivers with• Network and System support and design out insurance or forced to rely on the secondary • Software services and training market or insurer of last Looking to Update I.T. Budget Planning resort. This has happened Ontario before. Financing and Lease inAuto Your I.T. System, insurance in Onoptions available but the Budget tario is expensive. Ontario You can acquire the technology drivers deserve an affordisn’t there? to reach your business objectives able product which prowithin a budget that works for vides choice and where you and your business. fraud is controlled. Here in Ontario, auto insurClient Focused ance is expensive because Honesty, Integrity, Transparency. government mandates the product and coverage and Mark McIntosh prevents the consumer 1-888-766-7767| Office: 226-777-0324 from choosing coverage. 800 Talbot Street, St. Thomas, ON N5P 1E2 Successive governments, info@markit-techsolutions.com | www.markit-techsolutions.com over time, have turned

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auto insurance into a product which provides more for the care and rehabilitation of the injured than the repair or replacement of the vehicle. Basic accident benefits coverage represents on average at least 50% of one’s annual premium. The average accident benefits claim in Ontario is reported at $17,000 while in Alberta, a jurisdiction where accident benefits coverage is far less than in Ontario, the average accident benefits claim is reported at $3,500. Further, in Ontario, it is the coverage of last resort. Meaning, if one is injured in an auto accident, the accident benefits coverage is in effect where the injured party does not have coverage of their own whether through a privately held plan, employer group benefits or WSIB. If the government were to remove accident benefits coverage completely from the policy, and allow drivers to purchase such coverage as they choose, some could see premiums drop by as much as 50%. Unfortunately, current public policy suggests the consumer is not able to make appropriate decisions and therefore the choice must be made for Ontario drivers. As an insurance broker we support a reduction in auto insurance rates. For the long-term benefit of the consumer and for purposes of long-term rate stability, such reductions need to be made responsibly, and come from addressing the issues of fraud, required licensing and regulation, and the current failings of the product government has created. There is no benefit to the consumer when forced, band-aid fixes are mandated. For more information on the pending round of rate reductions and how it may affect you speak to your insurance provider or visit the regulator at www.fsco.gov.on.ca. This column appears regularly in Business Beat and has been submitted by Dan Reith BA(Hons) CAIB, Principal Broker, Reith & Associates Insurance and Financial Services Limited, 462 Talbot Street, St. Thomas. Questions and comments on this column are welcomed by the writer at 519-631-3862 or via e-mail: info@reithandassociates.com

E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 14


Viewpoint Events and News of Interest to our Members

Six tips for identifying your workplace hazards Members of the St. Thomas and District Chamber of Commerce who have the knowledge and skills to conduct a thorough, three-step hazard assessment enjoy several business advantages: they manage hazards before injuries or even fatalities can occur; they understand costly risks to their people and business; they avoid preventable jumps in insurance costs; and they have a clear line of sight to improvements that will help workers stay healthy, safe and productive. According to the Ministry of Labour, a hazard is anything in the workplace that could hurt someone: it can be a practice, behaviour, tool or equipment, substance, condition, or combination of these. Hazard assessments are made up of three phases: 1. Identifying the hazards, and fourth step focused on action: 2. Assessing the level of risk that might be posed by the hazard, such as likelihood and severity of injury 3. Ranking the risks based on the severity and likelihood of harm 4. Developing an action plan to eliminate or control the hazards Typical hazards for St. Thomas and District Chamber of Commerce Members include: 1. Repeating the same movements over and over, especially if you are in an awkward position or you use a lot of force. Think of someone who bends down all day, or someone who lifts heavy things over and over again, especially above the shoulders or below the knees. 2. Slipping, tripping or falling. Think of something as simple as spilled coffee on the floor, a cluttered work area, or a raised platform with no guardrails. 3. Working near motorized vehicles. Think of being hit by a dump truck that is backing up on a construction site or someone getting hit by a forklift truck in a warehouse or on a loading dock. Six triggers for a hazard assessment It’s always a good time to assess your hazards, but you’ll particularly want to undertake this activity in response to • the introduction of new equipment, processes, or tasks • an injury or illness to someone on your staff or

within the industry • employee concerns or complaints regarding a particular issue • the introduction of a new regulation or guideline • a Ministry of Labour order or alert • your ongoing review and renewal of your health and safety program Six tips to improve your hazard-spotting skills Identifying hazards is the first step of three, which means getting this step right will set you up for success when you tackle the next two. Here are six tips to consider. 1. Know why the hazard assessment is needed. Employers and supervisors have obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to inform workers of hazards so that the workers can perform their duties safely. Employers and supervisors can’t meet these obligations without conducting hazard assessments, and eliminating or controlling the risks. 2. Form an assessment team of at least two people (two will notice more than one). Include a manager or supervisor; they are required by law to know what the hazards are. Also include a fresh pair of eyes on the team—perhaps an employee from another work area, a colleague from another company, or an outside consultant. People familiar with the work often stop seeing hazards over time. Fresh eyes may catch something you miss, or bring complementary experience to the process. 3. Determine an approach. Will you identify hazards by season, work area, steps within the work flow, or equipment? What makes the most sense for your organization? Look for all types of hazards: musculoskeletal, slips, trips and falls, contact with machinery, driving, violence, chemical, cuts, burns, and psychological. 4. Do plenty of homework. Prepare for the assessment by collecting and reviewing existing information. Start by touring your workplace and talking with staff. Look for activities, equipment, tools, materials, chemicals and situations that could potentially result in an injury. Ask yourself “what if ” for each situation. If you have records of hazardous materials, previous inspections, hazard or injury reports, review them as well.

5. Keep an open mind. Don’t assume any task, procedure or process is safe, just because no one has been injured yet. 6. Involve your workers. Ask staff for input on hazards and how they may be controlled. As they walk you through tasks step by step, ask questions like, “What’s happened in the past? What could potentially happen? If someone wasn’t trained, what could go wrong? If I were doing it, what could hurt me, and how badly could I be hurt?” Reducing risks serves the well-being of everyone in the organization, including owners and employers. Involving staff and taking visible action to protect their health and safety shows you care and will win their buy-in and support. For more information Look for simple, easy-to-use resources to help you assess your workplace hazards, provided at no cost by our trusted health and safety advisor, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS). Search on “hazards” at www.wsps.ca, and click on each tab for a full spectrum of support. Also, stay informed with timely information about occupational health and safety by connecting with WSPS on Twitter at twitter.com/ wsps_news.

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 15


Member News Events and News of Interest to our Members The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce is pleased to recognize and welcome the following businesses and individuals as our newest Members. Those named below are our latest additions, September 16 to October 15, 2013. Once a business or organization is registered as a Member, all personnel (management/owners/staff) within it have access to all Chamber programs, projects and services and are welcome to participate in all Chamber events. Sheridan & McPhee Insurance Brokers Limited 750 Talbot Street, Suite 204 St. Thomas, ON N5P 1E2 Phone: 519-633-5000 Mobile: 519-851-7793 Email: tsheridan@sheridanmcphee.com; mmcphee@sheridanmcphee.com Web: TBA Contacts: Mike McPhee, President; Tim Sheridan, Vice President Buyers Guide Category: Insurance Services Products & Services: Sheridan and McPhee Insurance Brokers offers a broad range of risk management and insurance products and services, focusing their industry expertise on the

unique commercial insurance needs of small and medium sized businesses throughout Southwestern Ontario. Strong strategic alliances with a variety of insurance carriers allows them to better assess current market trends and bring you the best combination of product, price and service. They are proud to offer a business relationship built on professionalism, service and integrity and delivery of complete insurance and risk management solutions. Trough Trojan 549 Chester Street London, ON N6C 2K1 Phone: 226-268-9339 Email: jrscando@live.ca Web: www.troughtrojan.com Contact: John Rhodes, Owner Buyers Guide Category: Eavestroughing Products & Services: The Trough Trojan is a new product that is ideal for eavestrough & rain gutter leaks in corners. Insert the Trough Trojan and be assured of no more leaks. Over time, sealants eventually break down and crack allowing water to seep through causing those harmful drips. When applied correctly, inserting a Trough Trojan will end this problem for the life

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• • • • • •

of the eavestrough. Now serving the St Thomas & District market. Ideal for both the "Do it Yourself" property owner or Home Installation Experts. See the Trough Trojan website for details, pictures and a demonstration. Red Line Transportation Services 1212 Talbot Street St. Thomas, ON N5P 1G7 Phone: 519-631-1200 Email: canrayele@live.ca Contacts: Murray Watson, Owner; Michele Watson, Owner Buyers Guide: Taxi Services Products & Services: Red Line Transportation Services operates a large fleet of clean, safe and well-maintained vehicles to provide in-city and inter-city services for residents, business and industry 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. For individual or group transportation needs, Red Line welcomes your call day or night. . markIT Technology Solutions Group 800 Talbot Street St. Thomas, ON N5P 1E2 Phone: 226-777-0324 or toll-free 1-888-7667767 Email: mark@markit-techsolutions.com Web: www.markit-techsolutions.com Contact: Mark McIntosh, Owner Buyers Guide Categories: Information Technology Services; Computers - Custom Programming; Computers – Networking; Computers - Sales, Supplies & Service; Computers - Training Products & Services: markIT is an elite business technology solutions provider based in St. Thomas and serving Southwestern Ontario's small to medium size businesses. They are highly skilled specialists providing solutions for Disaster Recovery (both planning and implementation), Systems Security, Network Systems, Support & Training, Onsite and Remote Services, Consulting Services & much more. Need essential computer equipment? markIT will assist your business in acquiring the necessary equipment with financing options. When it comes to all of your business and technology needs, if you need it they can provide it!

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 16


Farm Business Local food on the minds of farmers and politicians this harvest

By Mark Wales, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Warmer weather and positive growing conditions this year have extended the vegetable season across much of Ontario. That means, as we head into Thanksgiving celebrations, consumers will have the opportunity to enjoy larger amounts of fresh, local produce. Grain farmers, too, are spending long hours in the fields and on the roads this month, hauling their grains to market, making this time of year a particularly busy season for Ontario farm families. It’s timely that Ontario’s provincial legislature has recently announced the Local Food Fund, a $30 million fund that will promote local food, improve partnerships along the supply chain and increase the distribution of local food. The Local Food Fund is part of the government’s broader local food strategy to increase awareness and demand for foods grown and made in Ontario. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is pleased to see the development of a provincial local food strategy, which also encompasses the proposed Local Food Act. Supporting Ontario farmers with a provincial local food strategy will strengthen Ontario’s $33 billion agri-food economy. The agri-food indus-

try already employs approximately 10 percent of Ontario’s workforce and we welcome the opportunity to grow that number. Ontario farmers grow a wider variety of crops in Canada than anywhere else, with more than 200 crops including grains, fruits, vegetables and livestock – we’re doing our part to meet consumer preferences and are encouraged by the development of a local food strategy to increase awareness of our products and drive demand for Ontario freshness. This autumn, we will work with the provincial government to further develop the local food strategy and move the Local Food Act through the parliamentary approval process. OFA is making recommendations to the Act to broaden its scope. In addition to local food promotion, OFA would like the Act to address food deficiencies, increase food literacy programs in our school systems and improve food access across the province. To be effective, OFA firmly believes this Act must help Ontarians to develop an understanding and awareness of the importance of local food, and its value to the economy, and human health. OFA has worked with our provincial and national partners to develop a recommended strate-

gic approach to fostering food systems by creating a National Food Strategy. We encourage our provincial partners to incorporate elements of the National Food Strategy into the provincial local food strategy. Others are bringing valuable ideas to the table too. For example, MPP Bob Bailey’s tax credit for farmers who donate their products to local food banks is an example of how this proposed Act can recognize the important contributions many farmers make to communities across Ontario. OFA welcomes the opportunity to provide recommendations on how a local food strategy can best serve the needs of farmers and all Ontarians – by encouraging profitable and sustainable farms to become more integrated with profitable and sustainable communities.

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 17


Farm Business Welcome to the high stakes world of modern farming The family farm is not small potatoes anymore

by Terry Carroll

In 2012, many cash crop farmers, at least in the central and western parts of Elgin County, hit the perfect storm: record prices and high yields. But according to Bill Walters, who farms about 2,200 acres in Central Elgin, this year is back to normal for yields. So far prices are average to above average. In October, Grain Farmers of Ontario were reporting December corn prices at $4.39 a bushel, compared with $7.57 for December corn in 2012, a drop of about 40 percent. For soybeans, the November 2013 soybean price was $12.73 a bushel, as compared with $15.32 a bushel in 2012, a decrease of 17 per cent. Bill was interviewed as he was harvesting soybeans from his John Deere combine with a 40foot head. He uses roughly $4 a bushel for corn and $11.50 a bushel for soys to calculate how much a modern farmer has to produce, and what

yield he or she needs to get to keep the bank happy. In October, depending on weather, it appeared that a farmer could make a dollar or two this year. Two things have changed agriculture dramatically in recent years – the price of farmland and the technology that goes into equipment. In southwestern Ontario, good farmland has skyrocketed from $3,000 an acre 10 to 15 years ago to $12,000, $14,000 and in extreme cases, $20,000 an acre today, Bill said. The traditional 100-acre farm, common 60 to 70 years ago, now costs between $1 million and $2 million for the land alone. That’s before the farmer adds the price of equipment, seed, fertilizer and spray. Unless a farmer has a second job or is in a very specialized field such as vegetables, 100-acre farms are a thing of the past. Three main types of farmers are operating today in Elgin – smaller producers who grow specialty crops or farm a small amount of land and have a full-time job; We insure all types of Farm Properties, medium-sized farmers Farm Buildings and Farm Machinery, like Bill who need well in excess of 1,000 acres

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to make a dollar; and large operators such as the McCallums in the west of Elgin, the Fergusons in the centre and the Walkers in the east who have amassed parcels of land of a size once associated with western Canada. Technology is a huge part of the success of modern farming. Bill Walter’s combine can harvest about 15 acres an hour. It comes with an array of computerized assistance for the operator. With GPS mapping and auto-steer, the combine runs straight down the field without Bill steering – and he and the operator of a tractor and buggy running beside the combine can perfectly synchronize to unload on the go. The combine also comes with a grain loss monitor, yield monitoring and spill monitoring. If the combine hits a heavy patch, it automatically slows down. The list of computerized assists goes on from there. Bill’s land varies from sand to clay to loam, so he’s been working with field agronomists to plant different varieties in different fields, or parts of fields. Over the last five years, he has been able to better target his spraying, fertilizer and chemicals to minimize duplication and to feed the right amounts into the soil with the least waste. Continued on Page 19...

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 18


Farm Business Continued from Page 18... Cash crop farmers also maintain some control over the unknown by purchasing crop insurance, something that is expected by most financial institutions if they are going to loan money or extend lines of credit. “There’s two things we can’t control,” Bill says. “One is the weather and the other is the price. In farming, we buy everything retail – fuel, fertilizer, chemicals, seed, equipment – and we sell everything wholesale.” Most farms are still family businesses, but they are big businesses. The Walters family exemplifies this trend. Bill’s father continues to farm in his seventies and Bill’s son is getting started while working a full-time job. Given the millions of dollars it takes to operate a medium-sized family farm today, and the enormous risk, I asked Bill how anybody could get started without a family farm background. “Basically, they can’t,” Bill says. “But I look at that the same way as somebody getting into any kind of business. If somebody was going to start an automotive business or a manufacturing plant, they need a base. The same thing is true of farming. Somebody starting today would have to be inheriting the land or come from a family farm to get started.” Bill has learned to be very well organized for another reason. He has combined a career in agriculture with a long history of community service, including politics. He started in 1990 with the old Yarmouth council, and the Elgin

County website lists the following accomplishments: Central Elgin mayor 2010-2014 as well as mayor from 1997-2000, deputy reeve from 1994-1997 and councillor for the previous term. He served six years on Elgin County Council and was County Warden 2011-2012. As a county councillor, he serves on the Dispute Resolution Committee and the Elgin St. Thomas Public Health board. In the past, he has served on the Health board, the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital board, the St. ThomasElgin Public Art Centre and the Elgin County Land Division Committee. Community involvement also includes active involvement in the Elgin 2010 International Plowing Match, and membership in the Ontario Soybean Growers Association and the Elgin Corn Producers. He was also part-owner of a local Junior D Hockey Team. Although he has always • Farm Drainage • Excavation of Basements been committed to his • Watermains • Bulldozing community, Bill knows where he likes to be • Road Boring • Brush Cutting more than anywhere else. “Step into my office,” he FREE ESTIMATES — QUALITY WORKMANSHIP says with a big grin as he swings wide the door of Call John, Brad or Jason at his John Deere combine.

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 19


Farm Business Bringing our message home to politicians

By Mark Wales, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Ontario agriculture is busy. Fall harvest is in full swing, Ontario celebrated its 15th annual Agriculture Week and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) recently held a fall reception with MPPs at Queen’s Park. OFA regularly meets with provincial government representatives and policy makers, bringing the interests of Ontario agriculture to their attention. On October 8, we hosted our annual fall reception and one-on-one meetings with MPPs in Toronto.  Our focus was in presenting how agriculture can grow Ontario jobs and prosperity. The OFA believes the best investment our provincial government can make in farming and our rural economy is the development of natural gas infrastructure in rural Ontario. This investment would generate significant economic stimulation, and create jobs, long-term energy savings and reduceddemand on our already burdened electrical supply. Expanding natural gas infrastructure to rural Ontario just makes sense. OFA directors also discussed the potential impact of raising minimum wage to the agri-food sector. We reviewed the importance of suitable property assessment and taxation. And we covered the need to protect agricultural land as part of the Aggregate Resources Act. 

We know that farmers consider regulations to be the number one issue affecting their business. OFA directors reminded MPPs of this message and recent successes with the Ontario government’s Open for Business initiative. OFA has worked to reduce regulatory red tape across provincial ministries through this successful consultation process, and looks forward to further improvements. A recent government initiative, led by Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food, Kathleen Wynne, is the development of the Local Food Act. OFA is very pleased to see this initiative, highlighting the benefits of local food promotion. We shared this with MPPs and challenged them to go even further and add food literacy and food access to the act as it moves towards a more comprehensive food strategy for Ontario. An increase in food education and access to local food will help drive our economic health and the physical health of our province. When their MPPs are in their home constituencies around the holidays, OFA encourages all members to visit

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with their MPPs. We’ve laid the groundwork by identifying the key issues affecting Ontario farm businesses and opportunities for the government to help our industry and province grow. Visit ofa. on.ca  and click on Agriculture’s Agenda for Growth for more information on these issues and key points to address with your MPP. Our province’s Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food, Kathleen Wynne goes on record as saying Ontario’s agri-food sector is a rising star. As farmers, we can’t wait to shine.

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We know that farming is more than a business – it’s a way of life. We are committed to serving Canada’s farm communities by providing flexible financial solutions that let you get on with the business of farming. Contact our Agriculture Specialist. We’ll take the time necessary to understand your unique needs. Together we can meet today’s challenges and anticipate tomorrow’s opportunities. AnnMarie Kemmerling Account Manager, Agriculture Services Serving Elgin, Norfolk, Oxford and Middlesex Counties 519-631-7070 ext 265 annmarie.kemmerling@td.com

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 20


Farm Business Remember safety practices when farm equipment rubber hits the road Custom Cutting and Wrapping

By Larry Davis, Board Member, Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)

• Custom Slaughter • Provincial

Slow-moving farm equipment on roadways can present significant chalInspection • Beef sides and quarters lenges for both motorists and farmers, particularly at this time of year. As Ontario farmers rush to bring in the harvest in good weather conditions, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) encourages farmers to review road safety practices. Dean and Darlene Johnson While farm equipment is permitted on roadways at all times of year, it is a Family Owned and Operated since 1919 more common sight during the busy harvest season. Motorists who are unac49801 Glencolin Line, Aylmer 519-773-9208 customed to encountering farm equipment on the road are often unprepared Hours: Mon,Tues,Thurs,Fri 8-5, Wed 9-12, Sat 8-12. to safely follow slow-moving tractors towing large, specialized pieces of equipment such as combines and grain wagons. The OFA reminds farmers there are specific rules farm equipment operators are required to follow to keep our roads safe. For example, drivers must be at least 16 years of age and all farm equipment drivers should practice a “no riders policy.” Farm vehicles must yield half the roadway to oncoming traffic, they must be properly lit, and operators must signal turns. Farm vehicles should be driven on the travelled portion of the road, because road shoulders may not support the weight of farm equipment. And remember tractors and farm equipment still follow the rules of the road, and that means no cell phones while driving. It’s always good practice to keep your lights on when travelling roadways – especially around dawn and dusk. And every tractor, comFrom your Friends at: bine or towed implement must display a slow moving vehicle sign to www.farmtowncanada.ca warn motorists that the vehicle will not reach highway speeds. But with proper signage comes some hefty rules: equipment displaying a slow advantage Farm equipment is moving vehicle sign is limited to a see us for: maximum speed limit of 40 kilocommitted to superb Customer service metres per hour. Equipment often • Agricultural and excellent after-sales service. requires operators to travel at lower equipment speeds because wide turns and • Snow Removal heavy loads make it difficult to stop quickly or turn easily on roadways. equipment Let’s put farm safety first this har• Lawn & Garden vest season. The OFA encourages equipment everyone – farmers and motorists – to consider road safety practices when farm equipment travels on roadways. On behalf of the OFA, we wish farmers a safe and profitable harvest season.

tHanK you

for all your help with Harvesting Healthy

Kids, Families and Communities and Helping to nurture the next

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 21


FARM BUSINESS Farm girl on the run by Janine Lunn

This farm girl gets a bit sentimental this time of for running as we added a second year. Of course I enjoy the changing leaves, the and third to our family. I don’t temperate weather, and the many signs of harvest remember if I missed it; life just around the farm. But the aspect I wish I could kept rolling. hold onto all year is the feeling of a run on a perBut after a serious car crash fect autumn day. three years ago, I had a lingering I’ve run on and off for years, and am happy to ankle injury that limited my moreport that over the last several years I’ve managed bility for about three months or to keep up the habit more often than not. A rather so. I didn’t realize how hard that short, introverted student, I was not a natural ath- had been until my husband nodlete so my parents were impressed when I signed ded at my forlorn running shoes up for Cross Country in elementary school. It and sent me outside. Freedom! made sense though; a sport that I could enjoy Instead of spending gas and time along with others but without the prest o ...memorable sure of ‘offense and defense.’ It also ofdrive fered chance to train and compete in my t o finds include a favourite environment: wide open spaces. t ow n box of car parts... trails, Farm life means a certain amount of routine, mixed with a fair amount of I ‘we’ll see what tomorrow brings,’ so stick to the local jogscheduling in a regular running time in ging routes; we have around work and family isn’t normally an miles of gravel shouloption. Nearly a year after we had our firstborn ders stretching out on both sides of the farm. I would park him in the barn stroller to watch Without the addition of gadgets to track progress, daddy at milking time so I could squeeze in a few count steps and chart calories, I prefer to travel minutes to myself, preparing for my first Terry light, and gauge my distance in culverts, trees and Fox run in ages. The next few years weren’t great laneways. And since I use running time to sort out my thoughts, I rely on whatever songs pop into my head and run according to that beat. Besides, plugging my ears with music would block out the natural sounds around me. There is not a lot of competition out here for space but there are a few timing issues. Without Let us show you how a life insurance policy can also help you reach other financial goals like retirement and paying for street lighting it makes post-secondary education. sense to stick to daytime running, but heading GET TO A BETTER STATE™. out too early can mean having my legs slapped CONTACT A STATE FARM® AGENT TODAY. by wet roadside plants, or feeling swallowed up

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in thick fog. Of course some landowners cut their ditches, so running along their manicured lawns is a breeze. I’ve also learned to give school buses and transport trucks a wide berth, as they stir up a whirlwind of gravel and dust on the way by. I’m always amazed at the amount of garbage left behind by those driving through. A compulsive recycler, I know I’ve been too many days between runs when I’m out of space to carry all the roadside treasures I’ve found. Memorable finds include a box of car parts, renovation scraps, still-loaded gift cards, and enough ‘empties’ to have me considering installing a recycling depot at the end of our lane. I’m sure more than one passerby has assumed I must need the run to justify my handful of beer cans and cigarette packages! Running is not everyone’s idea of relaxation, but it works for me. It clears my head, gives me strength and helps me take on the day. It might look like I’m running away from the farm, but I always find my way back. Janine Lunn’s family operates a sheep farm, a source for local sheep’s milk cheeses.

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Farm Business Driving growth for Ontario's agri-food industry Premier challenges sector to double its growth rate, create jobs

from the Office of the Premier

Premier Kathleen Wynne recognized excellence in agri-food innovation in October and challenged the sector to double its growth rate and create 120,000 new jobs in Ontario by 2020. She issued the challenge as part of a keynote speech at the Premier's Summit on Agri-Food Innovation at Queen's Park, encouraging agri-food industry partners to help Ontario: • Become one of the top five places in North America in revenues for food and beverage manufacturing; and • Double its agri-food exports.    The summit also celebrated the contributions of local producers to the overall success of the agri-food sector.

The Premier presented the Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence to Monforte Dairy of Stratford, Ontario. Monforte Dairy implemented a Community Shared Agriculture micro-financing model to raise capital to build a new plant. The Foreign Affair Winery  of Vineland, Ontario received the Minister's Award, for re-engineering air flows to their vineyard to apply the Italian "appassimento" method of wine-making to Ontario-grown grapes. The Premier presented the Leaders in Innovation awards to: • Geissberger Farmhouse Cider Inc., Hampton, Ontario for their mobile mill that brings the cidermaking experience to Ontario orchards. • Thompson's Maple Products, Hilton Beach, Ontario for developing "Tap Track," a wireless monitoring system that improves quality, efficiency, and reduces costs for maple producers.

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• Y U Ranch, Tillsonburg, Ontario for their hybrid gas/electric freezer delivery mini-van known as the "Farmer's Market Express." Supporting a strong and innovative agri-food industry is part of the government's three-part economic plan to invest in people, invest in infrastructure and help businesses grow and create jobs. Quick Facts • The agri-food sector has grown more than 10 per cent since 2002. • Ontario’s agri-food sector contributes approximately $34 billion to the province’s economy and supports more than 740,000 jobs across Ontario. • Food exports hit a record high of $10.8 billion last year. • A total of 50 regional agri-food innovations will be recognized under the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence program.

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contingent upon having access to reliable resources - one such resource is farm business advisors. Advisors can help you identify new opportunities and develop creative strategies for management challenges. Farm advisors are an integral part of a successful management team. Farmers, start searching for an advisor that meets your needs today! Access resources to enhance

your understanding of farm advisory services and choose the advisor that best suits your operation. A comprehensive list of farm business advisory associations and organizations along with a glossary of acronyms accompany the database, providing additional information on farm advisory services in Canada. www.fmc-gac.com/advisory-services

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 23


NOVEMBER 11, 2013

Take time to attend one of the many services throughout St. Thomas and Elgin, and invoke a time of silence at 11:00 a.m.

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae, a Canadian physician who died of pneumonia while on active duty in 1918 In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.

Anthem for Doomed Youth

REMEMBERING

by Wilfred Owen, a leading British poet of the First World War What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle Can patter out their hasty orisons. No mockeries for them; no prayers nor bells, Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells; And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

All Soldiers Past and Present

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What candles may be held to speed them all? Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes. The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall; Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds, And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

On November 11th

REMEMBER We We honour honour those those who who have have given given their their lives lives to to defend defend our our freedom. freedom.

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Royal Royal Canadian Canadian Legion, Legion, Branch Branch 41 41 24 24 John John St. St. St.Thomas St.Thomas 519-631-9840 519-631-9840

ON NOVEMBER 11th Please remember those who gave their lives and those who continue to serve our Country.

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ELGIN-MIDDLESEX-LONDON

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Monday-Friday 10am-4:30pm 750 Talbot St., (CASO Station Suite 201) St. Thomas, ON N5P 1E2 519-631-0666 email: jeff.yurekco@pc.ola.org www.jeffyurekmpp.com

November, 2013

ELGIN THIS MONTH

24


Homestyle Decorating

Small spaces can FEEL big! (Part 3)

by Renée Carpenter

If you’ve missed Part 1 and 2, it’s a ‘must read’ to catch up with all the amazing ways you can make that small space visually look and feel BIG! As we continue … Go wide! Visually expand a small room’s width by wrapping the walls with wide horizontal stripes. This can be done with a monochromatic stripe to not overpower the room. The rough texture of planks with the unfinished side facing out can lend a light and airy washed finish to a soft wall colour. Or paint horizontal stripes on plain walls, using light colours to maintain an open scheme so as not to visually break up the space. Gain more function out of small spaces by strategically selecting pieces of furniture. A tall table designed for an entry hall or foyer provides a touch of sophisticated storage in a cozy bathroom. By having a table with height and long legs, you’ve added to the room’s vertical dimension. Open space beneath it and an open vanity console would contribute to the room’s airiness. Mix storage with style to cut clutter and decorate at the same time. You can do this with floating shelves to show off a collection. Stagger the shelves for a unique look. Basic shelves serve as a strong basis for rotating displays and go with almost anything. This allows you to change the

look of the vignette, leaving the shelves in place and avoid making any more hoes in your walls. Knocking down walls that separate a number of rooms create a more open living concept, making several rooms one large one. This works well if a) privacy isn’t a requirement, or b) the function is better utilized by having the all open space. Unnecessary walls, though, can be a major visual

...stagger the shelves for a unique look... block. Simply by removing a wall, a new world has been created. Defining space within this open space for multi-purposes can be another hurdle to overcome IF multi-functions are required. If not, this is your best kept secret! Timber!! Repurpose a room! If the den is larger than the dining room, and you need more dining space, then switch the rooms! Make the den the dining room and the dining room the den. If the guest bedroom wall can be knocked down, and it is remotely close to the kitchen area, make it the

dining room and close off the dining room for a guest bedroom – or create a den with a sofa bed which now gives you two rooms. Think of the amount of time you spend entertaining versus the amount of house guests you may or may not have and it makes it easier to prioritize a room's use. Let there be light! By adding lots of light to a small space, you remove the dark corners that ultimately make a space look and feel smaller. Reflect the light with mirrors add more warm lamp light, while removing window coverings to allow sunlight to stream in. Extend an existing space by adding a screenedin sun porch and patio! Turn the entire wall of a small run into a window with a French door and extend it out with a sun porch and even further with a patio! The options are endless in creating the feeling of more space. Use one or add them all together to maximize from every angle! Renée Carpenter owns Jennings Furniture & Design & Stage It With Jennings in St. Thomas.

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 25


Company Christmas Party Three hostess gifts that can change the world (NC) You arrive at the party and look from guest to guest. One brought a bottle of expensive wine, another brought a wheel of stilton cheese. Someone else has a model of the Eifel tower made out of gingerbread. You look down at the box of stale crackers in your hands and feel embarrassed. When we want our hostess gift to be fun, meaningful and unique, it's pretty disheartening to be the stale crackers person. So why not give the ultimate honour with a gift that makes the world a better place? To find such a hostess gift, look no further than your friendly neighbourhood charity. For example, a respected organization called cbm (ranked as one of Money Sense's top 10 Canadian charities) gives us these three suggestions from their Christmas Gift Guide: Give the gift of “It's good to see you.” One of the best parts of holiday parties is seeing people face to face. You can celebrate that by giving

someone who is blind and living in poverty the ability to see. Give the gift of conversation. What better way to celebrate an evening of soul-stirring conversation than by giving someone else the ability to speak? Sign language lessons let someone who is deaf communicate with the people around them. Gifts par egg-celence. Whether it's wings or devilled eggs or Cornish hens – chickens are often central to Christmas cookery. Celebrate your host's holiday menu by sending some festive fowl to a family in need. You can find these gifts (and more) at www.givejoy.ca – and be sure to give this information to the person sulking in the corner with a box of saltines. www.newscanada.com

Frugal gift wrapping idea Holiday shoppers spend billions of dollars each year on gifts for friends, family and coworkers. But holiday shoppers also spend substantial amounts of money dressing up those gifts with bows and wrapping paper. Shoppers may not want to spend much more on wrapping paper, bags and other ways to dress-up their gifts, and by employing a few tricks of the gift wrapping trade, they may not have to. The following are some frugal, yet flashy, ways to wrap presents this holiday season. * Children's artwork: Over the course of a school year parents can accumulate dozens of original pieces of art from their children's time in the classroom. Instead of relegating those pictures to a memory box or temporary glory on the refrigerator, turn them into unique gift wrap. Pair these pieces of art with colored ribbon, and everyone who gets a unique masterpiece will feel special. * Newspaper: Recycle newsprint and comics into wrapping paper. Encourage everyone to wrap in newspaper for a cohesive look come Christmas

morning. * Cloth: Leftover cloth from Halloween or cloth purchased to create homemade curtains can be turned into giftwrap for awkwardshaped gifts. Use decorative ribbon to seal the bundle shut. * Brown paper: Brown paper tied with twine or ribbon is inexpensive and can easily be recycled after use. Use a marker to put the names of gift recipients on each package to save on gift tags as well. * Glass jars: Use mason jars when wrapping smaller gifts, including gift cards, to give them an arts-and-crafts feel. * Fabric gift bags: If you're handy with a needle and thread, sew sacks out of leftover fabric to make gift bags of various sizes. * Cookie tins: Find unique cookie tins from yard sales or leftover tins from holidays past and use them as gift boxes. * Recipes: If you will be giving a cookbook or

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food-themed gifts, print recipes that can be used as gift wrap and then later used to make certain dishes. * Baby linens: From blankets to wash cloths, use baby linens to wrap infant-themed gifts for new parents. * Baskets: Wicker baskets are available in various shapes and sizes. They can be used to make a gift collection and then reused over and over again. There are many creative and inexpensive ways to wrap gifts this year instead of relying on preprinted and often expensive wrapping paper.

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 26


Dining & Entertainment FOOD & WINE

Harvest 2013: Quick glance at a challenging vintage by Jamie Quai

Exactly two years ago, I used November’s col- rot a major concern in Bordeaux, and the official umn to give you all a quick snapshot of the vin- wine bodies in France are predicting almost 20% tage of 2011. Most of the lower end wines from yield loss over last harvest. this vintage have worked their way through the Australia and New Zealand, by most reports, pipeline, with the higher quality wines set to make have had decent vintages. There are intermittent their first appearances in the coming months. The reports of wildfires and hotter than usual tem2013 year has certainly presented its fair share of peratures across Australia, but nothing I’ve read challenges to worldwide growers, and so I’ve cho- has indicated that overall production has been sen to devote this column to a quick summary tempered. Australia, especially, is currently workof some of the highs and lows that could affect ing through a huge surplus of grape production what you experience with some and this is putting added presof your favourite wines in the sure on producers who are still coming years. looking for viable outlets to It is important to bear in “the days of finding sell this excess. As discussed in mind these are general regional hidden gems ... have previous articles, high currency summaries and actual results all but disappeared” value is hampering most exporttend to vary widely between ers’ profits. producers within a region. Latin America has had an France has had quite a tough year. Everything overall decent growing season in 2013, consistent started off smoothly, but by midsummer had with the past few vintages. An excess in producfallen apart rather markedly. The cores of the tion is a very real concern as acreage has been inproblem are in Burgundy and Bordeaux, two of creasing over the past decade. The growth in popthe biggest regions in terms of image, quality and ularity of red wines from Argentina like Malbec, quantity. In August, a series of devastating hail and Carmenere from Chile, is seemingly creating and rainstorms ripped through the regions leaving an economic bubble. enormous swaths of vineyards stripped of leaves, Most wine professionals are beginning to noand fruit. Burgundy was hit especially hard. This tice that the days of finding hidden gems that is a region that has now had two relatively low are a tremendous value for money have all but yield vintages and a third consecutively poor sea- disappeared. Bottle prices are rising regardless of son will likely put serious financial pressure on the demand and the surpluses of production both small producers. As of last month, a rather sus- regions have amassed. This price hype may be extained month of cool and wet weather is making asperated by the biggest threat to the future har-

vest, 2014, in Chile. In late September a series of hard spring frosts wreaked havoc causing an estimate of over 1 billion dollars of immediate damage to all fruit crops. Some agricultural regions have already been declared emergency zones. It’s not all sour news, however. California, after three really tough harvests, has had a really great season. Every report I’ve seen says it’s better than anyone had hoped both in terms of quality and quantity. British Columbia has had a strong vintage. Here in Ontario, after a slow start to spring and a somewhat mediocre summer in terms of heat accumulation, we’ve experienced a warm and relatively dry fall that has allowed most of the fruit to hit its delicate balance of flavour, ripeness and structure. Additionally, the yields in Ontario are much higher than anyone seemed to have forecast. This means that what is turning out to be a decent vintage will be readily available for all to savour at your nearest wine retail shop in the near future. Jamie Quai is head winemaker at Quai du Vin Estate Winery in Elgin County

Canadian founder of van Gogh collection empowers DIYers by Terry Carroll

Bobbie Robinson (left) welcomes Kathy van Gogh to a van Gogh Chalk Paint Collection Meet and Greet at Stan Portley’s in Port Stanley. November, 2013

“We sell empowerment,” says Kathy van Gogh, the founder of the van Gogh Chalk Paint Collection. At a Meet and Greet at Stan Portley’s in Port Stanley on October 2, Kathy said that her made-in-Canada paints “empower people to recreate.” Since the interior chalk paint products involve “No sanding, priming … no kidding” they give people a lot of latitude in their creativity, she says. Since starting the van Gogh line from British Columbia about 18 months ago, Kathy has added some 75 Canadian and American retailers (known as “paintologists” in the van Gogh world), and her philosophy has been to work and grow with them. She notes that Stan Portley’s owners John and Bobbie Robinson are among her best paintologists because of their strong retail background, and, in particular, John’s commitment to the van Gogh line. “We call John the Professor of Paintology,” she says. Kathy van Gogh had a strong background as a decorative artist before launching the new line. The collection includes Chalk Paint, Beeswax Natural Finish, and even Van Gogh Furniture Makeup. “The do-it-yourselfer and the professional can create their own artistic pieces with confidence and ease,” John Robinson said prior to the Meet and Greet. Bobbie adds that the van Gogh network has been very supportive. “We help each other and we share ideas. It’s a very collaborative team.” As to the other big question, Kathy van Gogh says she comes by her interest in paint honestly. She is a descendant of Vincent.

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Healthy Living Everday Health

Patellofemoral syndrome Your knees can be a pain

by Dr. Greg Johnston B.H.K., B.Ed., D.C.

Knee pain is a very common presenting complaint in a chiropractic office. Patellofemoral syndrome is one of the more common reasons. With this condition patients will often complain of a dull, achy, diffuse pain in the front of the knee around the knee cap. The condition usually becomes worse with prolonged weight bearing and activity. Stairs are often painful with going down the stairs worse than going up. This is also a condition commonly found with runners. Several biomechanical factors can be responsible for the development of patellofemoral syndrome. It is important to note that this is a condition that will develop gradually over time, and therefore there is no quick fix for the condition but it can be successfully treated. The most common theory of the cause of patellofemoral syndrome is that biomechanical factors lead to the patella (kneecap) shifting laterally or being pulled to the outside of the leg. This has been attributed to weakness of the vastus medialis obliquus muscle (VMO) which is the inside muscle at the front of the leg and an increased Q angle which is the angle created between the hip and the knee. This is why this condition may be more common in women than in men. More recent research on the condition contradicts this theory and points toward abnormal motion of the femur (upper leg bone) as the cause. In summary, rather than the patella shifting into the femur, in fact, the patella remains stable and the femur rotates abnormally into the patella. In the past, treatment has included taping to stabilize the patella, prescription of medial quadriceps strengthening exercises and even bracing. These treatments have met with variable results. In light of the newest theory regarding patellofemoral syndrome, attention has now been directed at hip weakness as a more likely cause and therefore attention to strengthening the muscles around the hips has become the emphasis. One particular study showed very clearer that runners with weak hip abductors had abnormal ranges of internal femoral rotation during the stance phase of gait and that this internal rotation also in-

creased with fatigue. One of the clinic tests used to determine if there is weakness in the hip abductors is the dynamic single leg squat test. As the name implies, the patient balances on one leg and then attempts to perform a single leg squat. The test is considered positive if the knee moves medially (inwardly) excessively indicating weakness in the hip muscles. It is difficult to perform this test accurately on your own but one might attempt to observe oneself in a full length mirror or have a partner watch as the test is attempted. If excessive inward movement of the knee is observed, then weakness of the hip abductors could be a contributing factor for existing knee pain or equally important indicate a predisposition for developing the condition. Several exercises are effective for strengthening the muscles in question. These include the “clam shell” exercise, squats and lunges. When I suggest squats and lunges to patients with knee pain, I am commonly confronted with the comment that they can’t do them because they cause knee pain. Therein lies the problem. These are normal important movement patterns that normally healthy individuals should be able to do. If one can’t do them it is because there is a weakness and they need to be taught to do the exercise properly. When properly performed, these exercises should be possible even for those with knee pain, pro-

vided that they are at the appropriate stage of rehabilitation. For those in doubt, please note that many of these exercises are the very same exercises given to those after knee surgery for rehabilitation. If they are appropriate in that circumstance, then they are more than likely appropriate in less severe injuries. The important point is that the exercises must be done correctly. In many cases, consulting with a chiropractor, physiotherapist or other musculoskeletal expert is advisable. These professionals can properly diagnose and treat the problem. Dr. Greg Johnston is a Chiropractor and partner in Family Health Options Treatment & Resources Centre in St.Thomas

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 28


Bathrooms can be dangerous places

Healthy Living Everday Health

by Kathy Nesbitt, RN, BScN and Dorothy Gotzmeister, OTReg (Ont)

Are you over 65 years of age? Would it be dif- simple, economical change that can have a posificult for you to buy or correctly install grab bars tive impact on reducing fall rates in older adults. The absence of grab bars in the bathtub and/or in your bathroom? If you answered yes to these two questions, then shower area of the home is one of the most prevalent indoor environyou may be at risk of having a fall, and mental hazards. Those you may be eligible for the Gift A Grab without grab bars have Bar program. “free grab bars are a 3.7 times increased The Gift A Grab Bar program was launched by the Elgin Safety Team for funded by United Way” risk of falling in the tub compared to those Adults at the Seniors’ Picnic in the Park with a grab bar. Of in July 2013. The free grab bars are funded by United Way St. Thomas and the instal- those without a grab bar, a third report a fear of falling while bathing. 89% of the seniors who had lation is provided free by Yurek Pharmacy. In 2009, there were 835 visits to an emergency access to grab bars used them on a regular basis. department by Elgin County residents aged 65 Grab bars help seniors live well as they live longer. If you are 65 or older and can’t afford to puryears and older as a result of falling. That’s almost three people a day! Of these falls, 52% occurred chase or install a grab bar, call the Gift A Grab Bar in the home. It is estimated that 15% of all falls occur in the bathroom. Falls are a significant issue across the lifespan; however the risk of serious fall injury is nine times greater for those over 65 years of age. A fall for a senior can mean disability, change in level of function, loss of independence, change in living arrangements or even death. Falls are also a predictor for an older adult to move into long term care. It is estimated that one in three seniors is likely to fall at least once per year. For those over 85 years of age, the numbers are increased. Due to increases in life expectancies, Canada will see a tripling of those over 85 years of age, the age group that is at the highest risk for falls and requiring increased assistance to complete daily tasks such as bathing. Reductions in the number and rate of falls can have a significant impact on the health care system. Fortunately, falls can be prevented, increasing the quality of life for seniors so that they can remain active, independent and age at home as well as alleviating the burden on the health care system. Improving bathroom safety is one

program at 519-631-3764 Ext. 247. If you would like to donate to Gift A Grab Bar, call The United Way St. Thomas at 519-6313171. It is never too late to prevent falls by making the needed adjustments to your home and by making sure you eat well and stay fit. Your independence and well being are at stake. Act on it. For more information on resources, check out elginhealth.on.ca/fallsprevention Or contact Elgin St Thomas Public Health at 519-631-9900 (ext. 1254) or 1-800-922-0096. Kathy Nesbitt is with the Injury Prevention Team, Elgin St. Thomas Public Health. Dorothy Gotzmeister is Client Services Supervisor, Closing The Gap Healthcare Group.

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 29


LIFESTYLE TIME ON MY HANDS

Dad’s advice to his third world backpacker On beggars, whims, and the magic question by Duncan Watterworth

I’m a dad. My job is to pass my hard-won wisdom to the next generation. Ad nauseam. But if I overdo it, my 22 year-old daughter lets me know pretty quick. So I sometimes struggled to hold my tongue as she planned her backpacking adventure through Europe, and then around South East Asia. What I did say wasn’t all fatherly safety stuff. It was also about squeezing the most out of her travels. For example: - Eat weird stuff. Whether it flies, swims, wriggles or barks, if the locals eat it, try it. That’s the point of travel: to stretch your experience. - Be ready to change your plans on a whim. The best travel experiences are often totally unforeseen. Let serendipity be your guide. - Visit Myanmar (formerly Burma). After decades shut off by its military dictators, the door is

just starting to open for travelers. Be among the guidebooks apart, and just take the pages you first – a rare opportunity. need. Use a kitchen scale to aid packing decisions. - Don’t skip around a country hitting only the - Safety assumptions you grew up with no longer highlights. The most frequent mistake of inex- apply. The policeman might not be your friend. perienced travelers, says the Vehicles are unsafe. Driving rules are travel book “The Practical ignored. Roads contain cows and cow...some will Nomad,” is “planning to do sized potholes. Building safety codes play on your too much in too little time.” are ignored. Medicines in stores have It recommends: “visit fewer expired dates. Your safety is your reguilt... places more slowly.” sponsibility, at every moment. - Make the effort to get - Your greatest danger? Vehicle acciout of the pretty, wealthy, dents: taxis, buses, bikes, livestock. and touristy areas, and into the real world. Even - Most people will help you out. Don’t be shy backpackers often just see the tourist attractions. about asking. But be wary of the hustlers who apGet to the poor areas, the villages, the rural areas. proach you. Some will play on your guilt when That’s where the traditional culture is. you brush them off. - Ask locals the magic question: “What’s inter-Don’t put your pack in the trunk of a taxi, out esting here that tourists don’t usually see?” of your control. Keep it on the seat with you. - Don’t be afraid to - Devote your full attention to the journey. Be give money to beggars. where you’re at. High tech travelers with frequent A small amount is fine, “links to family, friends and work colleagues … not a week’s wages. seem only partially abroad,” observes travel writer - Don’t be afraid not Paul Theroux. And travel for yourself, not a home to give to beggars. Some audience. • (Larger vehicles extra). are cons. Some should - Of course, that last point doesn’t apply to • Vehicles with pet hair/extra be in school. mom and dad. We don’t need to hear much, but dirty-additional charge. - Pack light. I mean we need it regularly. To make it easy, here’s a temseriously. The third time plate: “I’m still alive. I am in … Next, I’m going I gently mentioned this to … Thanks for the advice. You were right.” to my daughter, she cut Other Services: Inside Shampooing, me off. But shouldering Leather Cleaning & Conditioning, Glass Treatment & Fabric Protection her pack was still like waltzing with the Hulk. Duncan Watterworth is a I hope she doesn’t have retired lawyer whose mind to run for a bus, or her tends to wander. 160 Burwell Road, St. Thomas life. You can buy local clothes and other stuff 519-631-5502 Car Wash & Auto Detailing as you go. Rip your

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LIFESTYLE THAT’S LIFE

Eating and writing your way to a successful conclusion by Elizabeth VanHooren

The only thing that stood between me meeting both stalemates. I offered my son ketchup to mask sat across from him with a pad of paper and a the deadline for my next column was a stubborn the unsightly pasta. I tried to get the idea pump pencil. Writing. Crossing out. Re-writing. Until three year-old who decided that under no circum- primed and started to write anything that came to suddenly he blurted out, “I’m done Mom. Can I mind on a pad of paper. get down now?” stances was he about to eat a I reminded my son that if he finished With some patience we did it; one bite and one bowl of “worms” for supper. supper he could have ice cream for word at a time. Every mother has had to stare dessert. Rewards work often. I could down a picky eater at one time watch at least one episode of my faor another. But I had to rectify vourite television drama if I wrote a supper blockade on the same Elizabeth VanHooren is column before 9 p.m. night I was wrestling with the General Manager The scene played out. My son sat in terrifying monster known as of Kettle Creek his chair with a bowl of spaghetti. I writer’s block. Conservation Authority I had no idea for a column. And I couldn’t come up with an idea until the house was quiet. The house is never completely quiet until my sons have eaten supper, had a bath, read a story and are tucked into bed. Tonight, my youngest son had declared war. According to him, his bowl of spaghetti looked like worms, smelled like worms and tasted like worms. “It’s gross Mom,” he said as he pushed the bowl of repulsive supper off his place mat. Crossing his arms • Inspector Chris • Michelle Good • Jeff Smith over his chest and bowing his head Herridge • Jackie Hamilton • Tony Bendel in a sulk, my son assumed the “I’m • Karen McCaw • Andrew Pepping • Mark Kasubeck not eating it no matter what you say” stance. • Dr. Gregory Johnson • Father Mark Poulin • Donna Riddell It’s not like I had left my column to • Michelle Denniss • Peggie McArthur • Fire Chief Rob the last minute hoping for divine intervention, or the word fairy to drop • Jeff Yurek, MPP • Aylmer Chief Broadbent in with an idea. I had tried. I com• Patricia Riddell Andre Reymer • Dave Warden mitted to writing on Friday night, Laemers • Chris Holder • Rob Redman but my husband was watching the new Star Trek movie. He wouldn’t turn the volume down so I joined Thank you to Thank you to our judges: him on the couch. Tim Hortons On Saturday, I had to get groceries Ken Verrell for supplying in the morning. The weather foreand cast changed from rainy – perfect for coffee and timbits. Al Hughson inspired writing – to sunny for the afternoon. Seeing as we wouldn’t be getting many more fair weather days this year, I headed outside with the family. We got a head start on winterizing the gardens. On Saturday night, my sister called – she provided no inspiration but we did plan our next shopping spree. Sunday came, which meant church in the morning, and an afternoon nap – to prep for a late night of writing. By Sunday evening, the whole weekend had passed and I was no further ahead. Even if I could get supper out of the way, I literally couldn’t get started because I had no idea what to write about. I was stopped before I could even get started. I tried to come up with ideas for

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E L G I N T H I S M O N T H 32

November 2013  

Elgin This Month