Volume 5 No. 4 December 2014
• Dr. Greg Johnston Chiropractic saves Santa, Vol. V Page 23 • Elizabeth VanHooren Floored by the 8th anniversary Page 29 • Duncan Watterworth United Church minister disembarks Page 30 Also Inside: Aylmer & Area Chamber of Commerce Pages 18 and 19
Scott McRae and Michael VandenBoom From St. Thomas to the world Cover story: Page 3
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From St. Thomas to the world
Foundry owners committed to business excellence, their employees and the environment London is often referred to as “The Forest City” so the move by Forest City Castings to “The Railway Capital of Canada” (aka St. Thomas) in 2012 represented a bit of a marketing challenge. But it’s the kind of challenge owners Michael VandenBoom and Scott McRae look forward to tackling, and tackle it, they did. Instead of changing the name of the business, they planted a small forest of 3,500 trees on the new property with the assistance of Kettle Creek Conservation Authority. The planting of those trees also reflects the environmental commitment of the owners and staff of this privately held company. It’s essentially a foundry. Workers are pouring hot liquid zinc or aluminum into molds to make castings for, well, all kinds of customers around the world. It’s hot metal, but the environmental consciousness of everyone is so strong that the air is clean and easy to breathe inside this foundry. Work areas and floors are uncontaminated, and water is recovered and cleaned, to be used again. Everything that can be reused or recycled is reused or recycled. Forest City Castings is in the business of producing high quality aluminum and zinc castings for electrical, mechanical hardware, medical, transportation, high tech communications, nautical applications and the list goes on from there. The company began in London 10 years ago last March, when Michael VandenBoom and Scott McRae took the big plunge and opened their own foundry with three employees and 6,000 sq. ft. of rented industrial space. McRae’s wife, Erin, is a registered nurse and McRae had taken social work in school. “It was never my goal to own my own business,” he says. When he was young, he played hockey at the Junior B and Senior A levels. When his wife was expecting their son, Devin, in 1985, he decided to get a “real job” in a foundry. An old gentleman at that foundry, who heated his tea and soup on the open flame every day to eat with his sandwich, told McRae, “Once you get foundry blood in you, you’ll never get it out.” McRae proved to be one of those people. “I love it,” he says. He was fasci-
nated by the idea that every day, you can take “a hunk of this and turn it into a hunk of that.” From their experience in the field, McRae and VandenBoom knew there was what Scott McRae calls “an underserviced market.” That market was a niche, made possible by graphite permanent mold technology (GPMT) which began in the late 1970s, a process some members of the FCC professional team have been working with since 1984. With this expertise, Forest City Castings can provide a raw casting from a 3D electronic file in as little as two weeks. The graphite molding system eliminates the expense of metal tooling. Tooling is computer generated and fed directly to high speed CNC mills, where the graphite tool is cut. The speed in which graphite can be machined allows for rapid engineering changes, often in hours or days, as opposed to the weeks or months some alternative methods require. These features allow the graphite system to exceed the potential of sand casting and to produce parts that rival those produced in a die-casting mold for only a fraction of the tooling price. GPMT technology allows Forest City Castings to produce parts with runs as low as five pieces, or as high as 10,000, with an average job in the 750 to 1,000 range. The underserviced market proved to be far more underserviced than the owners realized when they went out on their own in 2004. Not that any of this was easy. In the early days, it was common for McRae and VandenBoom to work 20 to 22 hours a day. “We had everything on the line. Mike and I didn’t draw a salary for the first year and a half,” McRae says. But they had their first purchase order before they had their original building lined up in London. Their five-year revenue targets were met in the first year. Over 10 years, they went from three employees and 6,000 sq. ft. in London to 82 employees and 114,000 sq. ft. in St. Thomas. In 2014, they invested about $750,000 in new equipment and technology. Sales grew by $1.5 million last year and are anticipated to grow
Elgin This Month Manager Linda Axelson Section Editor Business Beat – Bob Hammersley Regional Sales Manager Nelson Parreira
by another $2 million next year. FCC adds almost $3 million in wages to the local economy, and the owners are constantly on the lookout for good workers to join the firm. As the company has grown, the owners have introduced benefits and, more recently, profit sharing. “Our books are open,” McRae says. Trust is everything to him … trust and his people. He expresses this as follows, “If you empty the building of people, all I’ve got left is a lot of debt.” As he walks through the Forest City Castings building, McRae calls his employees by name (and has a remarkable grasp of the almost 300 different orders they have on the go, what the part is, and where it’s going). Continued on Page 5 Cover photo by Philip Bell, Shutter Studios
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Elgin This Month is a monthly magazine focusing on business and lifestyle issues and includes Business Beat, the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce newsletter. The publication is available for pickup at no charge at news stands and other locations around Elgin County, as well as distribution to businesses and selected households.
Published monthly by Metroland Media Group Ltd., 15 St. Catharine Street, St. Thomas, ON N5P 2V7 519-633-1640 www.theweeklynews.ca/etm December, 2014
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INNES As I see It
Over-analyzing and constantly processing is bad for your health Some suggestions for those who over-think everything by Jim Innes Do you think too much? Do you over-analyze and process incessantly? Studies out of the University of California reveal that people who think too much risk high blood pressure, weaker immune systems, and increase chances for depression. Studies out of the UK linked over-thinking to memory loss. And there is good evidence (Watkins, Psychology Today, 2012) that trying to think yourself through a particular mood actually increases that moods intensity. Timeless spiritual wisdom (from many traditions and schools of thought) promotes the idea that the mind (in its tendency to over-think) gets in the way of true peace and happiness. Christian scripture says that ‘except you turn and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven’ (Mt 18:3 ERV). The minds of healthy children are not trapped in overthinking. Children are, for the most part, living in the moment with enthusiasm and heart; receptive to all the joy available in any given moment; both delighted, and hurt, with vulnerable openness. At
least, that is, until we fill them with anxious con- not so much to be consoled as to console. Another cerns about meeting the grade. Or, daresay, they point of reference is a spiraling into negativity or anxiety, often experienced as a “cascading of racexperience violence or trauma. Over-thinkers tend to be harnessed to certain ing thoughts” (Dr. Kelly Neff, Ph.D.). When we become aware of these reference fear-based expectations that narrow their view of the world; setting up landscapes which they ex- points, it is best for us to step back, talk less, perience as a challenge; creating bigger problems breathe deeply, and remind ourselves that we crethan really exist. Some experts believe our brains ate our own reality by the values we hold dearest. are hardwired to make this over-thinking response And, it is important to note here, that if our values are in any manner fear-based, then a natural tendency. chronic over-thinking (and all the In my experience as a ...always pain and suffering that causes) will pastor and counsellor, be an inevitable part of one’s life. much of our over-thinkpreoccupied with For many of us, over-thinking ing focuses on our wants, me, me, me... and the need to process inceswishes, and needs. The santly, is a temporary situation why of this would reremedied by the steps mentioned. quire an in-depth study However, for others, especially of human conditioning, and is, for this short article, less important than those overwhelmed by fear, or whose value system the outcome. And this outcome is well stated in hinges on controlling their environment, overthe words of Dan Millman (author of the book, thinking becomes a way of living that cycles in The Way of the Peaceful Warrior). He writes, “… on itself. And when this happens, over-thinking while trying to make becomes a chronic habit, almost impossible to everything in the world stop by oneself. As I see it, in my role as a pastor, and a chronic work out for me, I keep getting sucked back into processor myself, over-thinking (and all of its pain my own mind, always and confusion) is managed best by a trust in the preoccupied with me, goodness of the created order. This includes acknowledging the inherent goodness present in me, me.” Even though the brain each and every one of us, and the belief that our might be hardwired to ultimate survival depends more on what we can respond to stimulus in a do for others, than by how we successfully macertain, perhaps reactive nipulate the world to meet our own needs. manner, we can begin to resolve over-thinking with self-awareness. Jim Innes is a clinically A preoccupation with trained therapist and “me “ is one such point a priest at St. John’s of reference, at least this Anglican Church is so for those who believe that we are called
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BUSINESS & COMMUNITY COVER STORY Continued from Page 3 He and VandenBoom run it like a family business, with employee lunches at least once a quarter, and they try very hard to never raise their voices with employees, although they may sometimes have discussions. One advantage for foundry workers is that the jobs are changing constantly – with an average of 15 to 20 setups at any given time. The constant change stimulates the brain. People can leave after a shift feeling they’ve accomplished something and made a difference. FCC introduced a community garden on the property with 25 plots for employees and their families, part of the company’s ongoing commitment to the environment. Next year, the owners plan to work with Kettle Creek Conservation Authority to create a butterfly habitat on five acres of land to the north of the Forest
City Castings building. Both VandenBoom and McRae drive 100 percent electric cars, for the environmental benefits and because they’ve made parts for these cars. McRae says it now costs him only a few dollars a month to commute to work, and they encourage their employees to consider electric vehicles. At any given time, FCC may have as many
wouldn’t miss his shift. FCC moved from London because the former Lear seating plant had lots of electrical capacity, gas and water. Taxes were more favourable than in London, and the economic development people in St. Thomas were cooperative. Using graphite permanent mold technology, the plant is shipping molded parts from St. Thomas around the world. But perhaps the single most interesting thing about a visit to FCC is the dogs. Three friendly dogs greet visitors at the front entrance, living proof that this million-dollar business is still running like a family business.
as 15 apprentices working in the foundry, including high school students on co-op programs. Students are exposed to a wide variety of work at FCC. “They do not sweep the floors,” McRae says. “And they go to their department of choice in the last two weeks.” Some students quickly develop a love of the work. He recounts the story of one co-op student found sleeping beside hydro boxes so he
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from Board & Staff at the Elgin Business Resource Centre Stop by one of our three offices in either Dutton, St. Thomas or Aylmer to receive information on any of our programs such as Loans, Business Counselling, Innovation Centre for Entrepreneurs and the Ontario Self Employment Benefit Program. 516 John St., N., Aylmer
300 Edgeware Rd., St. Thomas
199 Currie Rd., Dutton
Our goal is to see businesses thrive and local economies boom. .elginbusinessresourcecentre.com www.elginbusinessresourcecentre.com Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario Agence fédérale de développement économique pour le Sud de l’ Ontario
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LIFESTYLE Our Heritage
Mix of historical and modern attractions in Aylmer With files from the Town of Aylmer website The Town of Aylmer has many attractions to visit from parks, to the East Elgin Community Complex, main-street shops, and of course the historical sector including heritage homes, heritage buildings, and the museum. Aylmer Parks Beautiful large old trees, and a bubbling creek set the tone for beautiful Aylmer parks. Enjoy your lunch in one of the picnic areas, or on a bench by the creek. Go for your morning run along one of the paved or unpaved trails. Bring the little ones to feed the ducks or play on a creative play structure. Aylmer-Malahide Museum Celebrating its 35th anniversary, Aylmer-Malahide Museum is located on 14 East Street in Aylmer, 519.773.9723. Hours are Tuesday to Friday 9-5 and Saturday 11-4. Public Access to Museum Archives is by appointment or by chance. Non-members access fee is $10. American residents access fee $15. Visitor parking is available across from the museum, compliments of Duff's Garage Hike or Bike Heritage Aylmer This self-guided tour highlights the heritage of the Town of Aylmer by focusing on homes, businesses, and places of worship that have been recognized by the Aylmer Heritage Committee. Enjoy your ambles through Aylmer. Downtown Aylmer As you come to the Town of Aylmer’s corridor of colour on John Street, you can indulge yourself with a stroll along Mainstreet. Visit a shopping mecca of quaint boutiques, antique shops, fragrant bakeries, and unique gift and souvenir stores. Visit the murals that illustrate our history, then stop at one of our fine restaurants to complete your experience in Aylmer.
Aylmer Sales Arena Tuesday is Market Day in Aylmer and has been for decades at the Aylmer Sales Arena. The combination of flea market and farmer’s market, features the very popular Mennonite baked goods and farm produce of the area. Hundreds of vendors make the Sales Arena one of the most popular markets in Southwestern Ontario.
The beautifully restored Aylmer Old Town Hall Photo courtesy of The County of Elgin
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Aylmer’s Old Town Hall – A focal point for the performing arts
LIFESTYLE Our Heritage
by Katherine Thompson
The Old Town Hall is a cherished, historical gem in the heart of downtown Aylmer. Built in the Italianate architectural style with arcaded brickwork, a boldly-modelled cornice and Florentine windows, the Old Town Hall is a perfect example of a mid-Victorian opera house. It was in 1873 that a group of Aylmer residents voted to proceed with the plans for a new village hall. Architects George Watson and Son, Contractor John H. Arkell, and Construction Inspector Harrison Maw were selected to design and construct the facility in 1874. Over the past 140 years, the building has served many purposes
including, but not limited to, the town hall, the police station, and the fire hall. The upper level of the building is home to a beautiful opera house with perfect acoustics and a Union Jack painted on the ceiling – the Union Jack was widely used in Canada from the time of Confederation until the current national flag was adopted in 1965. Local talent was abundant and organizations used the opera house for concerts, plays, church services, meetings and lectures. Over the years, a number of famous faces graced the stage at the Aylmer Old Town Hall including Ireland’s “Grand Star” opera Singer Rosa d’Erina in 1880, Canadian poetess Pauline Johnson in 1882, and Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, in 1886. In the 1970s the building had fallen into disrepair and its fate was uncertain; however, a group of local heritage enthusiasts were able to garner support for extensive renovations. The Old Town Hall was des-
ignated a heritage structure under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1980 and reopened to the public as a fully-restored facility in 1988. Today, the lower level of the building is home to the Aylmer Branch of the Elgin County Library while the upper level is still dedicated to live performance. Community groups, bands, and local arts organizations fill the building with music and laughter year-round. The building hosts the Aylmer Community Theatre (www.aylmertheatre.ca), a talented group of local amateur performers, that present three community theatre offerings each season. The Aylmer Performing Arts Council (www.artsinaylmer.ca) also uses the building to attract Juno and Grammy Award winning musical performers to the Aylmer stage throughout the year. For more information about heritage buildings in Elgin County visit www.elgintourist.com/ Heritage. Katherine Thompson is Marketing & Communications Coordinator with The County of Elgin
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BUSINESS & COMMUNITY Leadership
Self-leadership: Responding to the Invitation by Cheryl Lester
To be an effective leader of others, one has first to be an effective leader of self. Self-leadership involves being responsible, being intentional, having a vision, and taking ownership of how you show up. It thrives through an understanding about what fulfillment, effectiveness, and well-being is for YOU. The thoughts of self-leadership may trigger fear, excitement, cynicism, or curiosity. In my role as a Leadership and Relationship Coach, I help leaders gain inner awareness that increases outer effectiveness. An individual who has never explored or understood his or her own inner landscape — strengths AND weaknesses — is hindered from fulfilling the greatest potential as a leader. In whatever way you say it, the Universe, God, Allah, a power greater than ourselves, the Divine Energy, Source, Self, or circumstance sometimes sends a ‘special invitation’ to get up close and personal with ourselves, i.e. to do our inner work. We are invited to deeply consider the ‘why’ of our existence and make course corrections where necessary. The special ‘invitation’ is an opportunity to engage in self-leadership and do the right thing. In leading others, effective leaders make decisions — some easy, some difficult. They take risks. They take responsibility. They chart the way to a better future and success. They do the right
things. Self-leadership is no different. Being self-led you make decisions—some easy, some difficult. You take risks, and responsibility for your future. You choose actions that empower you to serve both self AND others. Being a self-leader doesn’t mean that you have to do or know it all yourself, though. Just as wise and successful leaders of others know that success is best achieved through effective engagement of the people and resources needed to fill gaps, provide expert skills, and keep things on track, so it is with self-leadership. Here are some points for you to reflect on as you strengthen your self-leadership capacity: 1. Trust that you have what I refer to as “Soul DNA,” unique combination of natural skills, abilities, intelligences and energies that are just as much a part of you as your natural eye or skin colour. 2. Open yourself to the ‘deeper gifts’ in the good, the bad, and the ugly of the relationships, circumstances, education and experiences you’ve had along the way. 3. Risk going deep to explore the contents of that inner locker into which you’ve stashed the characteristics, skills, personas, dreams, experiences, hurts, fears, etc. that you felt were not wanted, or not safe to show to your outer world of life, work and relationships.
4. Enlist the support and expertise of a coach or counsellor who can provide a safe, non-judgmental and accountable space in which you can explore, confront, affirm, develop and self-lead the full spectrum of inner resources available to you. As you interact with others in your life, work or relationships, start to notice some things, i.e., how you give away your power; where you take direction more from others than from your inner wisdom; and who you think you need to be or do to be acceptable or successful. Just as importantly, notice when your body, mind or spirit feels enlivened, and when you’re experiencing the positive energy of feeling fulfilled, self-confident or joyful. Accept the invitation. Embark on the journey. Embrace the learning. Enjoy the ways that selfleadership will strengthen your capacity to more effectively lead others.
Cheryl Lester, Eagle Tree Leadership, is an international leadership coach known for her ability to help people improve their performance and effectiveness.
Making the holiday season brighter Enjoy your time with family and friends this festive season. Happy Holidays!
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brighter under the sun 8
• December 2014 •
Jennings Furniture owner Renee Carpenter (left) presents Barb Matthews, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Thomas-Elgin, with a $1,000 Christmas tree – the main prize draw at the November Business After 5 hosted by Jennings.
December Business After 5 Wednesday December 3
St. Anne’s Centre, 20 Morrison Drive 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Prizes and presentations at 6:30 p.m. It’s the Chamber’s annual preHoliday gathering. 12 great door prizes “The 12 Gifts of Christmas” Free admission to all personnel from any business or organization that is a Member of the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce.
Planning tomorrow today Since 2009, the St. market and pay close atThomas & District tention to needs, trends Chamber has been an and opportunities. active and regular parOn November 14 we ticipant in what we see began work on a new as a valuable resource labour force strategy by in community progwelcoming employers ress and development. and community partners Along with 10 other to a 4-hour session at area services and agenthe Keystone Complex cies, we form the Elgin in Shedden. If you’re Workforce Developone of the folks who ment Committee. responded to the open This group isn’t high invitation we posted in visibility, and goes the Chamber’s weekly about its tasks in a quiGreen Mail newsletter, et and methodical way. The Elgin Workforce Planning Committee welcomed over 40 repre- we say a big THANKS. And it doesn’t surprise sentatives of business, government and community services in a work- Collecting evidence, and any of us at the table shop session November 14 at Shedden’s Keystone Complex. Information noting issues and action when people admit to on the session outcome and plans for action will follow next month. priorities were the focus never having heard of of our day, and we exlocal as our immediate St. Thomas – the group or how we contribute to Elgin area, but always watch neigh- pect to release findings in January. today’s local economy and provide bouring territory given the economic The St. Thomas & District Chamber resources for business that make a connections. We measure and moni- of Commerce is committed to shardifference. tor business concerns about skills, ing what we learn and will do so in The Elgin Workforce Planning and what is often called the ‘skills publications such as this one, via the Committee has a mission to help gap’ in the local workforce. We chart Chamber website, and in our weekly boost the quality, and sometimes the the strengths and weaknesses of our email newsletter. quantity, of local workers. We define
New Member gets in the spirit Ken Hoose, new owner of the Domino’s Pizza franchise in St. Thomas, is introduced to other Chamber Members at the November Business After 5 at Jennings Furniture. For more about Ken and other new Chamber Members, see page 16.
The Board of Directors, Management and Staff of the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce wish you and yours the Best of The Season!
Healthy Lifestyles for the New Year
Business Beat Table of Contents Safety blitz ................ Page 10 Ireland anyone?......... Page 11 Hearing hearing ........ Page 12 Sales reluctance......... Page 13 Aviation fuel ............. Page 14 Winter driving ........... Page 15 New Members........... Page 16 December, 2014
A special feature in the January edition of Elgin This Month To take advantage of excellent advertising opportunities like this, give me a call at 519-633-1640 (ext. 22) Greg Minnema, Advertising Sales
or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org January Edition Advertising Deadline is December 10th
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Viewpoint Events and News of Interest to our Members
MOL machine safety blitz underway
…Seven ways to avoid interruption to your operations People are hard-wired to get the job done. To do that, some will go so far as to take shortcuts or jury-rig repairs to hazardous machinery. Members of the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce will understand how human nature intersects with the risks inherent in industrial machine shops, and the imperative of implementing machine guarding controls to keep our people safe from harm. The Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) understands these points of intersection, too. That’s why the Ministry has scheduled a Health and Safety Blitz on machine safety in the workplace from now through December 14, 2014. Given the nature of our local industry, there’s a good chance an inspector will show up at your door. If they find guarding violations, they could write orders with a short compliance deadline, or even shut down equipment or machinery until the problem is resolved. Here are seven ways you can avoid interruption to your operations. 1. Inspect your own workplace before anyone else does. Being proactive is in your best interests. Conduct a proper hazard identification and risk assessment. Priori-
tize your hazards, and prepare and execute a plan. 2. Give yourself time. Safeguarding a machine means setting aside the duct tape and giving yourself time to do it properly. You may need to design and fabricate an effective guard, conduct a pre-start health and safety review, or seek approval from management for additional resources. 3. Document, document, document. Supervisors should document any real or suspected guarding issues: a critical first step before seeking management’s support to implement the necessary controls. Complying with your legal responsibilities as outlined under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) is critical, and involves not only acting in a healthy and safe manner, but formalizing your program in writing. ...be well 4. Be well ininformed; formed. Know your options. Stay on know your top of guarding deoptions... velopments and solutions. Take courses. Visit machine guarding exhibitors at trade shows and speak with manufacturers and experts. In the realm of safeguarding, you’re rarely limited to just one solution. Choose the one most appropriate for your workplace. 5. Observe your workers. Supervisors need to spend time on the floor, observing what workers are actually doing. Understand the requirements of the job better than your workers do. What hazards are they
exposed to? Are workers following the rules and using the right personal protective equipment, or are they bypassing safeguard and, if so, why? 6. Open your toolbox. Sometimes safety messages are drowned out in the din of other workplace imperatives. Don’t let that happen. You can ignite an ongoing focus on injury prevention through many different means: toolbox talks, joint walk-arounds, pay cheque messages, signs, contests, one-on-one coaching, asking questions and listening, and more. 7. Make this blitz your call to action. Boost interest in machine guarding by alerting everyone at your workplace—workers, supervisors, plant managers, employer—to the upcoming blitz. Ask for ideas on how to improve safety. Check that all issues and concerns are on the table. Emphasize the underlying rationale for diligence: we don’t want anyone to get hurt. For more information: Look for simple, easy-to-use resources provided at no cost by our trusted health and safety advisor, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS), at www.wsps.ca. Search on “safeguarding and lockout” for applicable legislation, consulting, public training, self-paced training, pre-recorded webinars and downloads. View the WSPS webinar on the Machine Guarding Blitz co-presented by the Ministry of Labour at http://www.wsps.ca/Shop/Training/Webinars/ MOL-Machine-Guarding-Blitz.aspx”
Business Beat Published by Metroland Media Group Ltd., and delivered to businesses in St. Thomas and Elgin Country For complete information on the St. Thomas and District Chamber of Commerce, reach us at: 115-300 South Edgeware Rd., St. Thomas, Ontario N5P 4L1 Telephone: 519-631-1981 Fax: 519-631-0466 E-Mail: email@example.com Website: www.stthomaschamber.on.ca President & CEO Bob Hammersley Accounting Coordinator Susan Munday Member Services Warren Allen
247-450 Sunset Drive, St. Thomas, ON 519-637-0181 x204 1-888-877-2119 www.ArcBenefits.ca
Stability & Predictability for Small Businesses
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St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce 2014 Board of Directors Chair: Laura Woermke St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre Vice-Chair: Ross Fair Fanshawe College Vice-Chair: Dan Kelly Dowler-Karn Ltd. Treasurer: Mark Lassam CPA, CA Lassam & Co. Past Chair: Jason White Steelway Building Systems Director: Sean Dyke
St. Thomas Economic Development Corp. Director: Monty Fordham Fordham Brightling & Associates Lawyers Director: Brian Helmer Reith & Associates Insurance & Financial Director: Jeff Kohler City of St. Thomas Director: Phil Mauer Phil Mauer & Associates Inc. Director: Ginette Minor Alexelle Slipcovers & Décor Director: Rob Mise myFM 94.1 Director: Allan Weatherall Elgin Military Museum – Project Ojibwa
Member News Events and News of Interest to our Members
Last call for Uncorked … almost! Tickets for the Chamber’s 3rd annual “St. Thomas Uncorked” event have been selling quickly and, with Christmas fast approaching, it’s likely there will be few or no tickets left once January gets here. Uncorked is our annual wine-tasting event mixed with some art appreciation in the comfortable setting of the St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre. The date is Saturday January 24, 7 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Tickets are $40 per person and include 5
wine-sampling tickets plus unlimited opportunities for food samples that complement the 20 wines to be featured this year. More event details and ordering information are in the Events listing on the Chamber website at www.stthomaschamber.on.ca or you can call the Chamber of Commerce office and speak with any staff member at 519631-1981. Uncorked is made possible by several sponsors. Our 2015 main sponsor, TD; the Real Canadian
Superstore, our providers of delicious foods for this event; and our Serving Table sponsors such as Alexelle Slipcovers & Décor, Photos by MG, myFM 94.1 Radio, and Financial Advisor Ray Bosveld
Join us in Ireland? Spring in Ireland? Be part of the Chamber’s next tour group and join us in Dublin, Limerick, Kilkenny and Galway. We’re departing Toronto’s Pearson Airport on May 13 and have a scenic and fun-filled itinerary planned. You can view and/or download full details now on the Chamber’s website at www.stthomaschamber.on.ca Elgin Travel & Cruises in Elgin Mall is our local agent for the trip and is handling all bookings. A $400 deposit guarantees your seat. Payment in full must be complete by February 12, 90-days prior to departure. For additional information, call Elgin Travel at 519-633-6300 or contact the Chamber of Commerce office at 519-631-1981. This beautiful shot comes from Galway, one of the stops we’re making when the Chamber’s next tour group travels to southern Ireland May 13 – 21.
Our Residents and Staff
Let’s Help Families in Need This Holiday Season
would like to wish you
Please donate to Christmas Care with Toys and Non-perishable food items
Don’t be weather bound. Come join old friends and new where the weather is always sunny!
at our office at 115 Curtis St., St. Thomas
Six month winter stay’s also available. Full Range of Accounting Services Auditing • Accounting • Taxation
Business Plans • Management Consulting Small Business Services • Bookkeeping Services Estate and Trust Returns Business Succession Planning
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115 Curtis Street, St. Thomas 519-631-1631 firstname.lastname@example.org December, 2014
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ELGIN THIS MONTH
Legal Business Events and News of Interest to our Members
Eh? What’d ya say? The Hearing Clinic hearing by Monty Fordham
cision: “Leave an untruthful man in the witness box long enough and he will reveal himself to the We don’t normally turn to world.” the Superior Court of Ontario Justice Quinn’s decision is certainly a page-turnfor our daily dose of humour. er (all 320 of them) and his findings of credibility Most court decisions, particuor lack thereof in the case are both acerlarly those dealing with issues of bic and insightful. As Justice Quinn commercial law are dry indeed. Monty Fordham laments, “The trial began, quite However, a recent decision of unremarkably, on a sunny sumHis Honour Justice Quinn in the case of the Hearmer day in July, 2011. Storm ing Clinic (Niagara Falls) Inc. V. 866073 Ontario clouds were not long in arInc. may have changed all that. riving and we never saw In 2006, a Company owned by one Stefan the sun again.” The anticFridrikksen purchased an audiology clinic from ipated length of the trial a company owned by people named Lewis. The was three weeks; it ended purchase price was one million dollars, and, on up taking 72 days … but the face of it, there didn’t seem to be anything over three years. particularly complicated about the transaction. The first witness, SteHowever, after the deal closed, the purchaser sued fan Fridrikksen, in the the seller for damages in the amount of roughly words of Justice Quinn, $750,000, arising out of alleged misrepresenta“sublet the witness box tions made by the seller as to the state of affairs for 26 days.” Justice Quinn of the business. goes on to describe his tesJustice Quinn, in his introduction to the decitimony: “He entered the box sion, outlines the challenges a judge faces in asas an articulate professional sessing credibility between witnesses. It is often with impressive academic credena daunting task. The first witness in this case, tials, displaying what appeared to however, seems to have inadvertently made his be sound and comprehensive recollecjob much easier. One gets the idea where all this tion of events. When he stepped down, is headed from the opening sentence of the deafter more than 14 days of withering crossexamination, he was noticeably dazed, his credibility was reduced to existential confetti and he even appeared to be physically shorter...” In describing Mr. Fridrikksen’s testimony, Justice Quinn says, “Rarely exclusively for members of the has a witness offered up St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce so many reasons to be disbelieved. (He was) an evidentiary gift who kept on giving.” The Judge thereupon invites the hapless reader to “come with me now on
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Lawyer Monty Fordham prepares this monthly column for the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce and our Members. Monty is also a volunteer serving on the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Questions, comments and suggestions for future columns are welcomed by Monty at his office: Fordham & Brightling Associates – Lawyers, 4 Elgin Street, St. Thomas. Telephone 519-633-4000, FAX 519-633-1371 or e-mail: email@example.com
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115 - 300 South Edgeware Road, St. Thomas Phone: 519-631-1981 Fax: 519-631-0466 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.stthomaschamber.on.ca
a visit to the phantasmagorical world of Fridrikksen. Pack lightly.” It might be noted that during the course of the decision, the witness devolves from “Dr.” to “Mr.” and finally to just “Fridrikksen.” The judge then proceeds to pretty much dismantle the entire case of the plaintiff. Sooo, you would naturally think the judge would simply dismiss the law suit with costs to the defendant. Not so fast. In fact, Justice Quinn actually found partially in favour of the plaintiff. The amount of damages: $423.20. Now for the issue of costs. From the outset of the case Justice Quinn warned the parties, “Whatever damages were at issue in the trial would be swamped by the tsunami of costs that was approaching.” He finally estimated the probable lawyer costs for each party at one million dollars. The parties were invited to make written submissions on costs. Finally, to complicate matters further, the Supreme Court of Canada just now released a groundbreaking decision in the area of contract law, the very area of law the Hearing Clinic case was dealing with. This latter decision could potentially turn the decision of Justice Quinn, ahem, on its ear. More on that next year. On behalf of the lawyers and staff at Fordham and Brightling, I wish you all a safe Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
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Viewpoint Events and News of Interest to our Members
The reluctant seller make a couple of calls. Then, it’s lunch time! I might as well go home for lunch. Oh, yeah. Better stop at the cleaners and … is that new store finally open? Shopping here is fun. Oh, no! What time is it? What happened to the time? I’d better hurry back to the office. Darn … I forgot to ask anybody at that store if they use any of the stuff we sell. Oh, well. I’ll do it later. Man, it’s already two in the afternoon. I’d better get back and crank out some computer-generated propos- ings. Teach your team to avoid negative self-talk. als for clients. The clients won’t understand them, Warn new sellers to avoid gossipers and whiners. but these are really for the boss. The boss has been Work with your sellers one-on-one and help them on me lately because my billing is down and sud- customize a more structured day. Challenge every denly she needs to see proof that I’m really work- objection or excuse for not making calls. Teach ing. It’s not my fault the economy is down. Ooh, your team new headlines they can use to get apa message from that furniture store client. Says it’s pointments with decision-makers. Advise salesimportant. Better call him back. No, that would people who are burned out to take a few days of be a bad idea. He’s mad at me because I didn’t vacation. Openly confront and correct attitudinal call him yesterday. If I call him now he’ll probably problems that result in not making calls. cancel his order. I’ll call him tomorrow. Better Do the math to show your team why it’s in start shutting it down for the day. Don’t want to their best interest to make more calls. What is the miss Happy Hour.” seller’s average order amount when he/she does Lesson: Don’t confuse effort with production. make a sale? What is the commission on that sale? Call-reluctance is perhaps the single-biggest is- What is that seller’s true closing ratio? Divide the sue confronting sales managers. Our job is first closing ratio into the commission from an averto acknowledge that reluctance is real. Once we age sale and show the salesperson that every call is admit its existence within our ranks, we take im- like putting “X” amount of dollars into his or her mediate action to limit its damage. pocket. “How much money do you want to make Some salespeople have a personality issue and today? Get out there and make the calls.” just don’t like meeting new people. Many fear rejection. Some sellers are intimidated by their clients because secretly they are afraid that they don’t know what they’re doing. Some people are Our Partners and Staff would like to easily distracted or have poor work habits. And wish you and yours a Merry Christmas, sometimes salespeople just get burned out. filled with the warmth of friends and What can we do to loved ones, and with the promise battle call reluctance? Confront the problem of a prosperous new year. openly. Bring up the issue in your sales meetSt. Thomas and Aylmer Partners:
Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Rob Mise, General Manager at myFM Radio and Chair of the Chamber’s Member Services Committee, for sharing this story about sales and success – or lack of it. Rob had it sent to him by a colleague. The original author is unknown. One Tuesday afternoon I was leaving a lunch meeting with a client. As we walked toward the parking lot I saw one of my salespeople exiting a movie theatre. Surprised, I said, “What are you doing at the movies?” And, equally surprised, he answered, “Hiding from you.” I took the client back to his office and drove back to mine. The entire drive time back, I just couldn’t shake the image of that employee spending a couple of hours at a movie. I had never done that before. Why would he, especially now as he had failed to meet his numbers for the third month in a row? This guy was usually a real gogetter. It made me angry. I depended on him and he was “hiding from me.” When I returned, I called him into my office. “Your billing is down. Why were you at the movies instead of calling on clients?” I asked. He sighed and said he just felt worn out and unmotivated. “Nobody wants to buy in a recession. Our numbers are weak and it’s hard to justify buying from us so I just needed a break,” he said. I sensed the diagnosis as what we call reluctance. It happens to virtually everyone at some point. As a seller I never went to the movies, but I know that sometimes I did other things to avoid making calls and I could always find a way to rationalize my behaviour, just like this seller was trying to do. Consider this sales-call reluctance scenario: “I get to the office at 8 or 8:30 … okay 9. It’s not my fault I’m late. The traffic is terrible. First I go to the coffee machine. I can’t work without my coffee. I run into a coworker. We discuss the game on TV last night. After coffee I go to the restroom and then go back to the break room for another cup. A couple of more conversations with coworkers. Hey, it’s time for a cigarette break, and Bill and Susan are out there. Okay, time to check my Facebook page. I make a few obligatory client phone calls. Have to. The boss wants us to
Season’s Greetings Best Wishes for the Holiday Season From all the staff at Bowsher and Bowsher
Bill Graham John Scott
Al Enns Mike Stover
Garth Howes Rob Foster
Bill Luyks Betty Gropp
Jim Frederick Mike MacKinnon
St. Thomas, Ontario • (519) 633-3301 www.bowsherandbowsher.com
St.Thomas 519-633-0700 Aylmer 519-773-9265 www.grahamscottenns.com
ELGIN THIS MONTH
Viewpoint Events and News of Interest to our Members
Taxes drive us elsewhere On November 4, Chamber representatives from across southwestern Ontario met with senior management personnel from Air Canada along with a representative from the National Airlines Council of Canada. A number of business personnel from London International Airport and local enterprises that regularly depend on air travel also attended. As a result of our meeting, Chamber President & CEO Bob Hammersley sent the letter below to MPP Jeff Yurek with copies to the Premier of Ontario, senior cabinet officials and senior local government representatives. Please consider our position by reading the communication below, and please consider joining with us to suggest another approach to what we see as a tax that will, literally, make us drive elsewhere.
creation, economic growth, trade and the development of Ontario’s vital travel and tourism sectors. The St. Thomas & District Chamber is specifically concerned over the impact this tax change has at local and regional levels. We need and want to see business and industrial traffic grow at our own St. Thomas Municipal Airport, regional passenger traffic grow at the London International Airport, and we want to stem the flow of thousands of people in the St. Thomas/London region heading to Detroit and Buffalo over price issues. A recent conversation I had with a major local travel agent confirms that 90% of vacation and business travelers here will choose Detroit departures over Toronto and that, while flying from home is a noble goal, the price breaks the deal much too often. We stand with businesses, municipalities, chambers of November 10, 2014 commerce, airport authorities, tourism operators, and MPP Jeff Yurek, consumer organizations from across the province in opConstituency Office posing this massive increase in the aviation fuel tax. It via email: email@example.com is out of step with most of Ontario’s provincial counterparts and neighbouring U.S. states. Dear Jeff, Is there an option? Is there a better way? Please conOn behalf of the St. Thomas & District Chamber of sider what has happened recently in British Columbia. Commerce, I am writing to express our serious concern In 2012, the Government of British Columbia, as part with the Government of Ontario’s move in Budget 2014 of its Jobs Action Plan, eliminated the province’s aviato phase in a 148 per cent increase to the province’s avia- tion fuel tax for international flights in recognition of tion fuel tax over the next four years. The first of four the value of the aviation industry as an economic engine one-cent increases took place on September 1, 2014. and an enabler of trade, travel and tourism. Since then, The move to increase the aviation fuel tax is inconsis- it is reported that 22 airlines have added flights to Vantent with the interests of Ontarians as it will hinder job couver, each of which brings new jobs and economic activity. In fact, the BC Government has indicated that the initial $12 million loss of revenue has been significantly superseded by an estimated $20 million in new payroll and consumption taxes in the first year. These are the types of forward looking policies we need in Ontario to create jobs and keep Ontario’s recovery on course. A new Tis the Season to start thinking about your Accounting report by Fred Lazar of the and Tax needs before Christmas is upon us. We are Schulich School of Business proud to have Laura DeVrieze as a partner, and have at York University finds that increasing the aviation fuel changed our name to Kee, Perry & DeVrieze. Wishing tax in Ontario by 148 per you a Happy Holiday Season and a Joyous Jump on cent could mean a loss of personal tax season. nearly 3,000 jobs, decrease • Accounting • Management Consulting provincial GDP between by almost $100 million annu• Auditing • Small Business Services ally and drive 400,000 air • Tax Services • Bookkeeping Services travelers out of Ontario. At Kee, Perry & DeVrieze we ensure our clients recieve The study projects that, over the long-term, the the service and expertise they need to succeed. catalytic effect of increasPlease make a call to our office your first step on the ing the aviation fuel tax by road to success. 4 cents per litre could cost the province up to $1 billion in lost GDP by 2030. Raising the aviation fuel tax will mean lost opportuni15 Barrie Boulevard ties for Ontario. Already, jobs and dollars are being St. Thomas, ON lost because of the 3 million 519-631-6360 • www.kpdcpa.ca Ontario travellers and more
Merry Chri Happy Nsetmas and w Ye ar from our
Partners and Staff
ELGIN THIS MONTH
than 5 million Canadians who choose to drive across the border to fly out of U.S. airports. Looking beyond the daily examples we see of people heading to Detroit, we also find Canadians make up almost 40 per cent of passengers at Buffalo Airport and up to 70 per cent of passengers at the Niagara Falls Airport. Increasing the fuel tax will only exacerbate the leakage of jobs and economy-stimulating spending to the U.S. We believe the case is clear that increasing the aviation fuel tax by 148 per cent is inconsistent with the interests of Ontarians as it will hinder job creation and economic growth. As such, we are respectfully asking the Government of Ontario to defer any further aviation fuel tax increases until a full study of its economic impacts can be completed with meaningful input from Ontario municipalities, consumer organizations, airports, tourism operators, airlines and other affected parties. Sincerely, THE ST. THOMAS & DISTRICT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE R. W. (Bob) Hammersley President & CEO Copies to: firstname.lastname@example.org The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, MPP Premier of Ontario Legislative Building, Room 281 Queen's Park Toronto, ON M7A 1A1 Charles.email@example.com The Honourable Charles Sousa, MPP Minister of Finance Frost Building S, 7th Floor 7 Queen's Park Crescent Toronto, ON M7A 1Y7 Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org The Honourable Michael Coteau, MPP Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Hearst Block, 9th Floor 900 Bay Street Toronto, ON M7A 2E1 Steven.email@example.com The Honourable Steven Del Duca, MPP Minister of Transportation Ferguson Block, 3rd Floor 77 Wellesley Street West Toronto, ON M7A 1Z8 firstname.lastname@example.org The Honourable Brad Duguid, MPP Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure Hearst Block, 8th Floor 900 Bay Street Toronto, ON M7A 2E1 email@example.com Mayor Heather Jackson, City of St. Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org Sean Dyke, St. Thomas Economic Development Corporation email@example.com Alan Smith, County of Elgin 14
Pro Text Events and News of Interest to our Members
Snow? No, thanks! by Crystal Underhill
It was early November. I was outside with my son waiting for the bus when I saw the first snowflakes of the year. While I was yelling in my head “NO! It’s too soon!”, my seven year old was yelling “YES!!!”, and the magical look of amazement in his eyes of another season approaching was priceless. So as the weather outside is getting frightful and, to me, the world inside seems delightful, I am not one of the people singing “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow” – mainly because I always have some place to go. Winter driving can be stressful, and while it is often best to stay at home as the roads worsen, there will be many times in the weeks ahead that
all of us must venture out into 3. Be prepared in case you the wintery weather. With a few have an emergency; have your ...better to be helpful and key tips, we can look cell phone charged, carry an 15 minutes late at making winter driving safer emergency kit, keep your gas and less stressful. tank topped up, have snow than not arrive 1. The number one safety tip is pants, boots, mitts and a hat at all... driving according to the adverse in the vehicle. If you are inconditions of the road. I personvolved in a situation that may ally see, far too often, people require you to wait or get asdriving too fast for the conditions. Ensure that sistance, you will have the necessary tools to wait you take extra time to get to your destinations so safely and be warm at the same time. adjust your schedule accordingly. This will allow 4. Fully clean off your vehicle before heading you to drive slower, safer and to get to your de- out on the roads! I am sure you have seen the vesired location on time. And if road the conditions hicle covered in two feet of snow with a little hole deteriorate while you’re on the road, slow down. to see out of right in front of the steering wheel. It’s better to be 15 minutes late than not arrive This is very dangerous for the driver as they are at all. not able to properly see all obstacles and dangers 2. Installation of snow tires on all four that may be around them. wheels is imperative for safe winter drivBy following the winter driving safety tips we ing. I will admit there was a time in my can all get to our intended destinations, and, just life I didn’t think that snow tires made a maybe, more of us can start to look at winter as difference. Then I had a child become a the magical time we see in the eyes of children. regular passenger, and saw responsibility This column appears regularly in Business Beat and common sense come together. Going and has been submitted by Crystal Underhill, RIB from a vehicle with all-season tires to one (Ont), CIP, a Broker/Advisor with Reith & Associwith winter tires is one of the best invest- ates Insurance and Financial Services Limited, 462 ments I have made. They really do make Talbot Street, St. Thomas. Questions and comments a difference in helping you not to slide or on this column are welcomed by the writer at assist in stopping with the extra traction 519-631-3862 or via e-mail: provided. firstname.lastname@example.org
Merry Christmas from all the staff at Ron’s Auto 225 Edward Street, St. Thomas 519-633-6130
ELGIN THIS MONTH
Member News Events and News of Interest to our Members
New Members The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce proudly welcomes the following businesses and individuals as our newest Members. Those listed below were accepted as registered Members to November 15, 2014. Once an organization registers with the Chamber, all personnel (owners/managers/staff) within the organization have full access to all Chamber programs, projects, events and services. Domino’s Pizza 999 Talbot St East St Thomas, ON N5P 1G1 Phone: 519-633-3123 Email: email@example.com Website: www.dominosstthomas.ca Contact: Ken Hoose, Owner/Operator Buyers Guide Categories: Restaurants; Catering Products & Services: Domino’s St Thomas location is under new ownership. Ken Hoose and has family own and operate a Domino’s franchise in Strathroy and have just expanded to add the St. Thomas location. Part of the internationally-recognized chain of restaurants, Domino’s is a spe-
cialist in making pizza, chicken dishes including wings, and their custom cheesy bread. For groups of any size, including schools and for business functions, Domino’s in St. Thomas can also cater for you. Delivery service is available in St Thomas from 11:00 a.m. until close. For their full menu, hours and more, check their website. J. R. Huber Professional Corporation 2 Princess Avenue St. Thomas, ON N5R 3V2 Phone: 519-631-3355 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.huberlaw.ca Buyers Guide Categories: Lawyers; Paralegal Services Contacts: Jack Huber, Barrister & Solicitor Andrew Huber, Paralegal Products & Services: This is a full-service law office specializing in criminal law, family law, civil litigation and wills/estates. With a staff of six professionals, the father and son team of Jack and Andrew have a strong interest in community service and support.
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My Bookkeeper 36466 Scotch Line Port Stanley, ON N5L 1J1 Phone: 519-769-2654 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.kellybookkeeper.ca Contact: Kelly Ryan, Owner Buyers Guide Category: Accounting Services Products & Services: My Bookkeeper provides a wide range of bookkeeping services including payroll, accounts payable/receivable, government remittances, monthly financial statements, financial preparations for year-end and annual tax returns, WSIB payments, and bank account reconciliation. The company slogan says “Let My Bookkeeper look after your books while you look after your business.” Off Road Addiction 45025 Talbot Line St. Thomas, ON N5P 3S7 Phone: 519-451-6076 Toll Free: 1-877-3097623 Email: email@example.com Web: www.offroad-addiction.com Online Store: www.4wdaddiction. com Contact: Ryan Stoangi Buyers Guide Categories: Auto Parts, Auto Repair, Auto Services, Auto Dealers, Tires- Sales & Service Products & Services: Off Road Addiction has recently relocated to St. Thomas from London. Their new location, on the St. Thomas Airport grounds, strives for excellence in customer satisfaction, sales, service, installation, and technical advice. Services include general maintenance, installation, rebuilds – motors/transmissions/ transfer cases/axles, tires and rims, paint and body work, custom exhaust, restorations, resto-mods, alignments, and much more. Off Road Addiction cares passionately about their contribution to the 4WD community and building lifelong relationships with their customers and surrounding communities.
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ELGIN THIS MONTH
Ray Jenken – Agent 150 John St. N., Aylmer
Aylmer & Area Chamber of Commerce
Aylmer Christmas Lighting Committee members have been working hard to decorate the parks in downtown Aylmer for the holiday season. MainStreet Aylmer, Aylmer Area Community Foundation and community members have been working long hours to hang lights, paint cartoon figurines, display ornaments and create displays of greenery. The public is invited to stroll through Palmer Park and the parkette beside the Old Town Hall through the month of December. There are new displays where families can take their photographs measuring the children's height and make snowman faces. Brightly coloured lights are throughout the parks and will captivate those young and old. Thank you to MainStreet Aylmer, downtown merchants and the Aylmer Area Community Foundation for their support.
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Healthy Living SELF DISCOVERY
It is just a conversation
Taking some of the angst out of the interview process by Anouschka Van den Bosch
My stomach is in knots. I try to remember to breathe. I’ve been here before, and I can do this! But it’s 10 minutes before my interview, and I’m a bundle of nerves. “You’ll be fine” I remind myself. “Just be yourself.” And so I walk into my interview, ready to meet the potential new boss. Although I’ve been on both sides of the interview process, it’s still a nerve-wrecking experience
every time I walk into a meeting room or office for another one. But I’ve learned a few things from being on both sides of the table, and I thought I’d share some with you. My number one recommendation is to be yourself. Don’t sound like the sentences you’ve read online on “How to ace your behavioural interview questions.” Any interviewer can read right through that, and you’ll lose credibility very quickly.
“this doesn’t have to be a rigid process” My best interviews have been conversations, starting with questions by the interviewers. As I respond, other questions come up or I inquire as to how they would handle something in their organization. I share what my experience was, and before you know it, we’re having a great conversation. During this process, they learn about me, and I find out a little more about them. As an HR professional, I understand the importance of asking certain types of questions and asking them of all the candidates so there is consistency. However, this doesn’t have to be a rigid process; it can be fluid and open.
When I’m interviewing a candidate, I look for questions where I can dig a little deeper. Allowing for authentic responses gives a better perspective of the candidate and how he or she might fit in an organization. As an interviewee, I want to leave feeling confident I’ve told my story, and the interview panel was able to see if I’d be a fit for the organization. Another suggestion: Get to know as much as possible about an organization. Has it been in the news lately? What new products or services are being offered? Check out websites. Talk to people who work there now or have worked there in the past, if possible. This information may be a good conversation starter, or an opportunity to ask questions. It will show the interviewer that you have an interest in the organization and you have done your homework. Once I know who is interviewing me, I’ll check his or her LinkedIn profile, and again I’ll use what I’ve learned during the interview process. Whether I’m interviewing or being interviewed, every interview is different. What I never lose sight of, in either instance, is the fact that it’s about the fit for the organization, for the candidate or myself. If I can’t see myself working there, I will know that after the first interview and will probably not accept a second interview, if asked. The interview process is just a conversation about who you are in your career and where you see yourself over the next few years. Knowing who you are and what you want out of your career is the key to being yourself, being authentic and potentially starting your new job in the New Year. Cheers! Anouschka Van den Bosch is a Human Resources Professional and Certified Life and Career Coach.
MERRY CHRISTMAS WE HAVE IT ALL.
Mayor Heather Jackson & the members of St. Thomas City Council would like to take this opportunity to extend warm greetings for the season, and wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year City Hall will close on Monday, December 23 at 4:30p.m. and re-open January 2 at 8:30a.m. 545 Talbot St., St. Thomas 519-631-1680 December, 2014
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Growing your business by Brian Vine
Business & Community LEADERSHIP
add an ongoing marketing process to your business. Again, marketing is nothing more than understanding the needs of your customers and then communicating to them the superior advantages / benefits they can derive by doing business with you. Think of marketing as ongoing education. You are educating customers, prospects, and referral sources why it’s in their best interest to do business with your company. There are only five ways to grow your business: 1. Keep the customers you have, 2. Bring in more customers, 3. Increase the average transaction size (unit sale), 4. Increase the frequency of purchases, and 5. Say “no” to bad customers / prospects. In short, keep what you have, bring in more customers, sell larger amounts to them, and sell to them more often. Do one of these ways and your business grows. Do two or more of these well, and your business can grow by quantum leaps and bounds, geometric growth instead of mere linear growth.
What is marketing? First, it’s about understanding deeply the needs and wants of your customers and providing them with greater value. You must clearly identify the demand in the marketplace. At a minimum, most businesses can improve significantly in this area. However, the real power and leverage of marketing comes from the next level of influence, communicating convincingly your unique and superior value proposition. Marketing is about communicating with and educating your customers, prospects, and referral sources why it’s in their best interest to do business with your company. It’s about educating the right target audience on the unique and superior advantages, benefits, value and results you can provide and sharing the credible evidence / reasons that support and back-up such promises. In short, marketing is about educating your target market on the advantages of doing business with you and the reasons why they should trust you to deliver on your promises. Instead of impacting one prospect at a time (i.e. direct selling), marketing allows you to communicate with, educate and influence many buyers at once. In a sense, marketing is a one-to-many selling system. Marketing allows you to target and influence large groups of customers, prospects, alliances, referral sources, reporters, etc. in a December, 2014
single action. Bryan Vine is a business coach Unfortunately, most business ownin St. Thomas and Southwesters mistakenly try to tackle most ern Ontario. goals (i.e. growing sales) with a oneto-one, single weapon, combat mentality. For example, instead of considering the leverage of marketing (i.e. strategic alliances, referral systems, direct mail, telemarketing, etc.) to grow sales, many owners remain in the same comfort zone and deadly rut of using a single weapon like direct selling. They miss the chance to use air support (marketing) to vastly aid their ground war (selling). They fail to Joyce Wilson, Shawn Jackson, Myra Pettit consider and try new opTerry Lanning, Ron Fish, Greg Machan, tions, new approaches, Dave Somerville, David Pettit and new strategies. While all businesses have a selling process (converting leads to customers), most do not have a legitimate marketing process (generating qualified leads). As such, they miss out on tremendous leverage and 31 Elgin St., St. Thomas opportunities. 519-631-0570 Your goal should be to
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BUSINESS & COMMUNITY CAREER CHOICES
Teach your child the value of a dollar
A friend recently commented on how refreshing it was to see parents who don't sucDo you ever find yourself saying, “It’s easier cumb to this media hype or the standards that to just do it myself than teach someone else.” have been set by our culture to give a child a cell Or maybe you think, “They will learn it on phone at a certain age, or have the latest game their own. Why rush it?” Or maybe you keep system, or even give children each a separate procrastinating and say, “I know I need to do room in a big house. We both shared rooms this, but not right now.” As we ramp up for with our siblings and learned valuable life skills the Holiday Season, young people are mak- in the process. Who says what the right thing to ing their ‘must have’ lists and the number of do is and what’s not? Maybe it’s time to check new and wonderful items are plentiful. Youth in with your own values and standards. and parents alike are bombarded with media We're actually doing youth a disservice by not presenting images of the happiness that a new teaching them how money works, how hard cell phone, video game, name you have to work for it and the brand clothing or big and anxiety spending money can beautifully decorated homes “we’re actually doing have on relationships, families will bring. youth a disservice by and your work. Recent studies It's not hard to get caught have indicated that there is a up in all the hype. But taking not teaching them how significant gap between youth's money works” the time to have a conversaexpectation of their income tion with your kids about upon graduation and the realwhat a budget is, and why it’s ity. In fact, the average debit important, might be just what this time of year upon graduation is about $30,000. Many are requires. Young or older, let your child know simply unprepared to manage a budget and not that "stuff" not only has a cost to it, but has an equipped to make decisions about a need versus impact far beyond the cost. Teach them to pri- a want, and what is in line with their values and oritize their wants and plan for when they can what contravenes them. In fact, when’s the last have them. You don't have to give your child time they had a discussion about their values? everything on their list at once. Some special By understanding their values, decisions about items might be for the spending money become much clearer. Holidays, others might So, when you’re feeling stressed or guilty wait for a birthday or ac- about your Holiday budget, stop, take a breath complishing challenging and reflect on what the this time of year is really goals. And then there are about … showing your love can happen in so some things that your many other ways other than buying gifts. And child may pay for partially when you decide not to buy that item your or fully themselves, using child really wants, pat yourself on the back for their allowance money or giving a skill that will last a lifetime. money they make doing odd jobs or working. by Laura Pavilonis and Nancy Annett
Thank You St. Thomas! In keeping with The Co-operators tradition of giving back to our communities, this year, Debbie Hamilton & Associates Ltd., has made donations to various charities in lieu of Christmas cards. St Thomas, you have supported us this year, and now it is our pleasure to give back to you!
Nancy Annett, MBA, CHRP owns Ignite Career Life Solutions, and Laura Pavilonis, MBA, CHRP owns Reach Beyond Limits. Together, they form Rock Your Career Club.
From our families to yours, Happy Holidays and all the best for 2015
SCOTT LEWIS AUTO Debbie Hamilton & Associates Ltd. 555 Talbot Street, St. Thomas · 519-633-3600 Unit 1 - 17 King Street, Aylmer · 519-765-3636
www.cooperators.ca December, 2014
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How chiropractic saved Christmas, Part V by Dr. Greg Johnston B.H.K., B.Ed., D.C.
Regular readers of this column will know that he had previously experienced. Santa Claus has been a regular visitor to our clinic Santa reported that the pain had begun insidiover the years. Thankfully, we have been able to ous shortly after his run on Christmas Eve and help him with bouts of back and neck pain, inju- had become progressively worse. He was having ries from a vehicular collision with the sleigh and difficulty sleeping, going up and down stairs had even helped him with a workplace injury with one become increasingly difficult, and he was having of the elves. In each case, his ability to make his increasing difficulty lifting his leg to put on his annual trip around the world was threatened, and pants and boots. The worst movement, however, if not for the benefits of chiropractic care, he may was getting in and out of the sleigh. Something not have been able to complete his route. Well, as about the sideways shift required to get out of the the title suggests, this year was no exception. sleigh seemed to really aggravate the pain in the Santa visited my office shortly after the holiday groin area. season last year with a chief complaint of lower I completed a careful and thorough examination back pain. In this case the back of Santa and determined that this pain seemed similar to what he particular episode seemed to be a had previously experienced, with little different from his previous “the worst movement episodes of lower back pain. His the exception that the was getting in and out lower back range of motion was pain now seemed to radiate into actually pretty good and many of the sleigh” his right buttock of the tests that usually are posiarea, part way tive for lower back pain did not down the back of produce the expected result. Testhis leg and into ing around the right hip joint however did seem the right groin to reproduce the symptoms that Santa was expearea. He asriencing and so I became increasingly suspicious sumed that it that Santa’s problem may be coming from his hip was just a rejoint and not his back at all. This is a common o c c u r re n c e occurrence as symptoms of osteoarthritis of the of the similar hip may initially be mechanical thought to be arisback pain that ing from mechanical lower back pain. Due to my suspicion, we performed a radiological examination of Santa’s hip and lower back. Sure enough, the x-ray revealed typical x-ray findings of hip joint arthritis. I discussed the findings with Santa and explained to him that in my opinion he had a severely arthritic hip and I felt that a
referral to an orthopedic surgeon to investigate a possible hip replacement was appropriate. Santa understood and agreed especially since if this were the case then the timeline would be tight to be recovered enough for next Christmas. I drafted a clinical note to send to Santa’s General Physician (G.P.) which included a brief description of our findings as well as my suggestion that a referral to a specialist seemed to be in order. We faxed this note to Santa’s doctor and I also provided a copy to Santa. Santa then proceeded to arrange for an appointment with his G.P. In summary, Santa did indeed need a hip replacement which was successfully performed in late spring. He worked hard on his rehabilitative exercise program and thankfully will able to once again make his annual toy run this year. Thanks again to the ability of chiropractic to properly assess, diagnose and in this case make the appropriate referral, Christmas will be saved yet again this year. Dr. Greg Johnston is a Chiropractor and partner in Family Health Options Treatment & Resources Centre in St.Thomas
Give Generously to Christmas Care and the Salvation Army this Holiday Season.
Let’s make sure everyone has a Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Gift Certificates Available. Makes a Great Stocking Stuffer!!
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Craig Harwood David Gifford Licensed Funeral Director Licensed Funeral Director
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Dining & Entertainment FOOD & WINE
Air or err:
What does aerating do to wine? by Jamie Quai
I’m often asked about using aerators or decanters. The most common question I get is not how they work but whether they are worth using. The answer is most definitely – sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t. This month’s article will discuss adding air to wine and the tools we use to do it. A little wine speak terminology: Aeration is the process of adding air to the wine. The verb is to aerate. The tool to aerate is an aerator. Decanting is the process of gently removing or pouring wine off of sediment. The vessel the wine is poured into is called a decanter. Oxidizing is a chemical process that usually removes protons from compounds in wine which have two wine related effects – they make the new compounds more stable, but often less desirable. Reducing is the chemical opposite of oxidizing. Reduction, if well used, will preserve the wine, but excessive reduction will ruin a wine. The balance between the wines ability to oxidize and reduce is called redox. Winemakers who knows their wines will fundamentally understand each wine’s individual redox balance. Here’s where it gets tricky: When you decant a wine off of its sediment into a decanter you are
aerating the wine and that act of aerating the wine is in fact a process of oxidation. Pouring a glass of wine for yourself is aerating, and your glass can be the decanter. Going back to the original question … when people ask me about aerators they are often talking about devices of various levels of complexity that will introduce vast quantities of oxygen to the wine very quickly. These type of aerators hyperoxdize the wine. The flavours in wine that we most often associate with fresh fruit like strawberry, raspberry, peach have very little ability to resist being oxidized to something less desirable. Compounds in wine that are most often associated with texture or structure, like tannins are very good at binding the oxygen without deleterious effects on the wine. Preservatives like vitamin C and sulfites are also good at binding the oxygen without spoiling the wine. When wines are being fermented they are in a very strong reductive position. They crave oxygen to allow the flavours to properly develop. After the fermentation, the wine’s ability to bind up the oxygen begins to diminish. Skilled vintners will tailor the care they provide to the wine using their senses and a gentle hand to guide the wine to a place of balance between a wine’s need for oxygen to develop the flavour profile and the amount of oxygen present in the wine. When wines are finally bottled, they go into a sealed container (no new oxygen) where the redox balance is tested over the effective lifetime of the wine. So why do aerators work sometimes and not work other times? If there was too little oxygen in the wine
when it was bottled, and the tannins are not fully developed, an aerator will be helpful when the bottle is opened. The wine after aeration will have a much smoother texture. Wines may appear fruitier after an aeration but my experience (and chemistry degree) tell me that the increased fruitiness is a function of the decreased tannin intensity, and the fact flavours are essentially shaken out of the wine. It’s a fleeting experience. Aerating a fruity white wine may lift the fruity characters but the wines will fall apart much sooner than if the glass was casually swirled when it was being enjoyed. Most wines on the shelves now, that are not meant to be aged, will see very little meaningful benefit to being put through an aerator. The winemaker has gotten the wine to an ideal point for your enjoyment. I very seldom use aerators in my personal wine experiences. I find the act of decanting the wine into a glass and swirling it is sufficient aeration in most cases. Aerators are more often part of my professional wine experience. They serve as tools to better understand where the wines in my cellar are in their journey to redox balance before bottling. Jamie Quai is head winemaker at Quai du Vin Estate Winery in Elgin County
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Christmas napkin ideas by Renée Carpenter
'Tis the season for entertaining in a way like no other time of year! We gather around the table on other occasions of celebration but at no time of year do we decorate the entire house to sparkle with fun and cheer like at Christmas. One of the simplest ways to jazz up a table setting is with clever napkin folds and usage. Whether you are celebrating in a casual or formal manner, napkins are still a must. I’ve seen cleverly folded pocket napkin used at picnics and formal affairs. For this season, stuff the pocket with a sprig of evergreen. Place it on the center of the plate and artfully arrange your silverware on top of it. Warm up white china with touches of gold (gold is IN in a BIG way now!). Place a gold fork in the center of a folded white napkin, and then add a gold napkin wring to secure it into place. Look for shapely napkin rings at a Christmas supply store or make your own by hot gluing a snowflake charm to the center of a plain napkin ring. This, too, should be placed in the center of the plate of set of plates and charger. This idea will make your Christmas table pop! Top a formal-looking charger with a cheeky polka-dotted plate. Roll a red cloth napkin and cinch with silver jingle bells at both top and bottom to look like a Christmas cracker. I love this one! Mimic the gifts under your tree by wrapping your Christmas table setting like a present. Layer a white cloth napkin between your favourite china dishes, wrap the place setting with a complementary ribbon, and tie a loopy bow in the center. This is a simple classic. Top the napkin at each place setting with a spring of greenery and a petite ball ornament for beyond easy. Cinch the napkin with sheer colorful ribbon to hold the branch and ornament. Set off white plates with napkin rings made from graphic drink coasters. Punch a hole in a paper coaster, thread metallic cord through, and tie around a napkin, adding jingle bells for sparkle. A sprig of winter greenery adds a touch of nature. Write guests’ names on the drink coasters for easyto-make place cards. Create a regal setting by placing a deep-coloured
cloth napkin between a neutral-tablecloth or place mat and dinnerware, allowing extra material to drape off the table. Turn your table French chic by wrapping a red toile napkin with a thick satin ribbon. Lay a small twig with berries on top for a refined look. Burlap is HUGE in the world of trends at this time. Fashion a charming no-sew napkin ring by gluing together the short ends of a frayed strip of burlap. Tie a single thread of burlap through the buttonhole of a large button; then glue the button in place. Who needs napkin rings? Fold the napkin into a square instead of a rectangle for a twist on the traditional and place it in the center of the plate. Set a simple ornament atop a fragrant evergreen sprig on top of the square napkin at each place setting. A miniature belt fashioned from a thin velvet ribbon and jeweled buckle purchased at your local crafts or hobby store – Santastyle – keeps a crisp monogrammed napkin neatly rolled. Use a napkin to enclose a small gift or party favour. Simply tie a festive red napkin around a tiny box, then add a sparkling beaded trim to the corner. An elegant velvet napkin ring instantly adds glam to a plain table
Renée Carpenter owns Jennings Furniture & Design & Stage It With Jennings in St. Thomas.
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setting. To get the look, fold the napkin in fourths, press and unfold. Fold the top of the napkin to the three/fourths line. Fold the bottom up at the crease; turn the napkin over. Fold the napkin vertically into thirds. Embellish by wrapping the napkin with a blue velvet ribbon. Spell out your monogram (or use as place cards by spelling out guests’ names) with letter stickers. Dress up a cheery red napkin with plaid and velvet ribbons and a Christmas light. To make, take a 1-inch section of cardboard tubing and hot-glue ribbons around it, folding raw edges underneath at the back. Next, hot-glue a ribbon bow and sprig of greenery to a large colored Christmas light bulb (or ornament) to accent it before gluing it to the top of the ring.
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Business & Community Fundraising
United approach to this year’s campaign by Melissa Schneider Elgin-St. Thomas United Way Campaign and Communications Coordinator
Have you ever seen that email? I’m sure you have. My mom forwarded it to me just the other day. It’s the one that lists the American branches of your favourite Canadian charities, then tells donors how much the charity’s CEO is paid. Somewhere in the United States, there is one person working for United Way who makes more than $350,000 a year. I can guarantee you no one here makes that much. Last year, money raised through our campaign
helped 16 agencies touch the lives of over 23,000 people in Elgin County. Contributions to our campaign came from a wide variety of sources. Twenty-nine per cent came from individual donations, 20 per cent came from our In its 20th year, GKN Sinter Metals Poor Boy’s Luncheon is one of the many ways this local company donates to Elgin-St. Thomas United Way. Plant Production Operator Cathy Rozell, left, and HR Administrative Assistant Anne Cummings serve up some of their delicious chili and hot dogs to a packed lunch room. corporations, 13 per cent came from governments and municipalities, 12 per cent came from the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board, eight per cent came from foundations and our agencies, four per cent came from banks and the rest from the special events we run throughout the year. For this year’s campaign we have gone back to our roots, with multiple mailers to both businesses and personal donors. Please forgive us if you get the same letter twice, in our attempts to make sure we covered Elgin County, there is always the chance we accidentally mailed you twice. Think of it as another opportunity to donate. Continued on page 27
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Business & Community Fundraising Continued from page 26 If you’re not able to donate money, consider donating your time. We are trying to build volunteer committees in each location to take on roles in event planning and management. Our Aylmer and St. Thomas committees each currently have five members, and we would like to build a committee in Port Stanley, Belmont and Dutton/Dunwich. Interested volunteers can call our office at 519-631-3171. Monthly meetings promise to be on the short side, and total community involvement hours will typically range between 3-10 hours per month.
Along with the many agencies we support, we also sit on a wide-variety of community committees such as Volunteer Elgin, and Bridges Out of Poverty to name a few. We are also active in community events, taking first place (Judge’s Choice Award) at the Talbot Teen Centre’s Chili Cook-Off this November, and helping with outside United Way events like the Rodney LCBO yard sale. Our community contributions include the annual Betty Want scholarship. This affords graduating high school students the opportunity to apply for the $1,000 scholarship. Donations can be made either in person, by
Staff and students at Monsignor Morrison Catholic School in St. Thomas climb the hill at Waterworks Park in support of the annual Stair Climb event.
mail, online through the Canada Helps website - Direct link: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/ charities/elgin-st-thomas-united-way-services Our office is now located at Suite 103, 10 Mondamin St., St. Thomas, ON. N5P 2V1 Each donation is important to the overall health of our campaign. Without your support, the capacity for our agencies to provide their programs will diminish significantly. When you think about making a charitable contribution this year, please think of Elgin-St. Thomas United Way.
Elgin-St. Thomas United Way Board of Directors President James Todd awards Lorraine Plaunt, Activity Aid with Port Stanley Extendicare the Gold Ladle People’s Choice award during the first ever Supreme Soup Challenge campaign kick-off event. Extendicare’s winning soup was a creamy cheddar and ale.
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BUSINESS & COMMUNITY FINANCIAL PLANNING
Reflecting on the past year ganizations bringing support to their many worthy causes. And although not everyone will answer this call, the good news is, there are still many, many people who do. They quietly work their magic to
by Stephanie Farrow
In wealth management we deal with money. We help people to save it, grow it, manage it. People work very hard to earn and save money. On the flip side, I also find many people quite willing to donate and share their money where needed. Despite the fact it can be challenging to meet financial goals, it seems most people I meet do not lose sight of the importance of giving back. I have met amazing people who donate their time and money to their “there are countless community, school, church, charity, medical or social cause. ways to make a Reflecting on giving back comes to difference” the forefront once again this time of year. We all know there are people in need everywhere, and so many or-
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make a difference in many ways the majority will never see. I find most people, at their core, to be very generous. One only needs to work on a committee to get an inside view of what so many people do to make amazing things happen. So many people dedicate their time, reviewing late night emails, organizing and planning for their cause after their full day at work and evening of family activities. A donation of time is so valuable when we never seem to have enough of it. There are also so many people donating their money to various causes, supporting different initiatives, fundraisers, etc. As humans we really know how to pull together when it counts. We share a commonality to pitch in and help out when needed. I have met so many people volunteering for what they are
passionate about. The same goes for business as individuals. We see many business owners making countless donations and sponsorships to their community and causes without a second thought. There are countless ways to make a difference and give back. No contribution is too small. Give money. Give time. Give expertise. Give blood. Become an organ donor. Donate used toys and clothes. Share your gifts with the world. We can each make a difference in the lives of others in a way that matters. It’s a part of our culture to give back, and we need to keep working together to continue to make us stronger. At any given point in time, many people are struggling with different challenges in their lives and sometimes that little bit of help goes such a long way. It might be you today or me tomorrow, or maybe neither of us for a while. It might be your brother, your friend, or your friend’s friend. Or it might be one of those anonymous individuals whom you will never meet. Giving back is so important. What have you done to make a contribution to your community or a cause over the past year? Reflection is good for us. Let’s continue to work together, and help in whatever small ways we can to make the world a better place for all. Stephanie Farrow, B.A., C.F.P., is a Certified Financial Planner and co-owner of Farrow Financial Services Inc., in Belmont
Jeff Yurek, Jenn and Maggie wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. JEFF YUREK, MPP
Monday-Friday 10am-4:30pm 750 Talbot St., (CASO Station Suite 201) St. Thomas, ON N5P 1E2 519-631-0666 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.jeffyurekmpp.com
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Bronze or pottery may be traditional 8th anniversary gifts
LIFESTYLE THAT’S LIFE
But some milestones are better celebrated with wood by Elizabeth VanHooren
Bronze or pottery are the traditional 8th anniversary gifts. My husband and I celebrated the milestone with wood … that is, a new hardwood floor. We didn’t even exchange cards this year –
agreeing that $16 of Hallmark cardstock was unnecessary. No, a new wood floor is just about where we are at after eight years of wedded bliss. I did manage to surprise my husband with the new flooring. You see a couple of months ago he explained that the only reason he wasn’t “getting around” to painting my dining room was all the “stuff” that was packed into my buffet and hutch. So when he left early one Saturday morning for work I set myself to the task. I carefully unpacked all my treasured china, crystal wine glasses and porcelain figurines and dispersed them throughout the rest of the house. Challenge accepted and accomplished. I think the ability for any couple to compromise through a major household renovation is a true testament to their relationship. With the dining room empty of its contents, we both looked at the room and its possibilities: green or beige for paint colour, dark hard wood or light for the floor, painted or stained trim? Inevitably we each had our own distinct choices. He liked green walls, dark floor and painted white trim. I liked green walls, medium to light floor and stained trim. We started with the common like of green walls and worked from there.
After eight years of marriage we know each other’s buttons. For instance, I know he doesn’t like it when I stand in the middle of the renovation and wave my arm as if I have a wand that will magically create the built-in bookcases and fireplace my heart desires. I simply don’t like how long it takes for him to get it all done. Today, one month before Christmas, my husband has vowed that I will celebrate Christmas dinner in my newly renovated dining room with green walls, medium wood floors and stained trim. Yes, my husband compromised on all of his choices for the room. You see he has learned that a happy marriage starts with a happy wife. And I am (well, save and except this column) upholding my end of the bargain as well. The walls are painted, the flooring is in; I just have to wait patiently for the trim. So I am waiting patiently, for a very belated, but appreciated anniversary present. Elizabeth VanHooren is General Manager of Kettle Creek Conservation Authority
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LIFESTYLE Time On my Hands
Christian columnist loses faith in God
Will former Rev. Bob Ripley still have the write stuff? by Duncan Watterworth
I’m retired; I love my morning coffee and newspapers. Each Saturday, I look forward to the Spirituality and Ethics page in the London Free Press. I read the column of the naïve young Pentecostal pastor, try to fathom the logic of “London spiritual advisor” Bruce Tallman, and carefully consider the occasional Muslim musings. I have always enjoyed the columns of retired United Church Reverend
a public figure and communicator. Bob Ripley. Ripley said he received over 150 emails in the But a few Saturdays ago, Ripley dropped a bombshell: he wrote that he no longer believes days after his column, most “seasoned with laud in God, and he now thinks all religion is “man- and gratitude.” Letters to the newspaper have run the gamut from accusations of “robbing Chrismade.” Ripley, an ordained minister for over thirty tians of hope” to “I am tired of crybaby Chrisyears, has been writing his syndicated religion tians.” A spirited debate has ensued. He has been accused of “masquerading as a mincolumn for twenty-five years. He had risen to senior minister at Metropolitan United Church ister of faith” by continuing to write his column in downtown London and retired five years ago throughout his long transformation. Should he (sooner than he had intended because he have kept us current with a weekly account of escalating doubt, soul-searching, and existential was having a crisis in faith). I have found Ripley’s columns to be angst? I would have read that. Perhaps for him the time was like a crumbling marthoughtful and thought riage, when one tries to keep up provoking. To me, he ...a spirited appearances until the walls come made more sense than debate has tumbling down. However, I’ve the other religious colnever seen a marriage hold on unumnists. There was alensued... til the book was done. ways a Christian comRipley cops to a period of “clasponent, though often sic cognitive dissonance” – holdtacked tenuously on ing contradictory ideas at the the end. Readers occasionally wrote to complain that he wasn’t same time. Some letters to the editor called for Ripley to be Christian enough. I should have known something was banished from the Spirituality and Ethics page. One writer seemed to think that the page should fishy. Ripley’s “big-time change of mind” be- be reserved for a weekly Christian pep talk, algan, he says, over seven years ago, and though there are plenty of big, pointy buildings involved a closer reading of the Bible, for that. There is a natural human impulse to shoot the developing an interest in the insights of science, and reading atheist authors. He messenger, or at least shut him up, whenever we experienced “epiphanies that propelled disagree. That’s when we must take a few deep breaths and remember that we want a free and me toward atheism.” In the same bombshell column, Ripley open society. The page should welcome disparate announced the release of his new book, views. I hope Ripley finds peace and meaning in a life Life Beyond Belief: A Preacher’s Deconversion. And as a marketer, he hit the without gods, and I hope he can write thoughtground running with a press release, You- fully about that every week. He might find a new Tube trailer, book website, book signings, and growing congregation. and a public lecture sponsored by the Humanist Association of London. Duncan Watterworth is a Although coupling his book release with lifelong resident of Elgin his atheism announcement might have County, and a retired raised eyebrows, I don’t begrudge Ripley lawyer. for flogging the book. He has always been
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Alderman defends St. Thomas visionaries
BUSINESS & COMMUNITY Politics
Gord Campbell leaves politics after nearly 30 years
Retiring St. Thomas alderman Gord Campbell pus. Campbell was amazed in particular by the bristles at allegations that the City of St. Thomas creative thinking shown by Maurice Beaudry in has never had a common vision. That challenge, St. Thomas economic development. He was also as well as an accusation of corruption, was issued amused to remember one of his own contribuby another alderman seeking re-election in Oc- tions to the discussion. Campbell was convinced tober. While the accusing alderman later apolo- the old St. Joseph’s High School had to go, if for gized, Campbell was not ready to let this go on no other reason than to better showcase the archiNovember 17, the day after his last council meet- tecture of Holy Angels’ Church on Talbot Street. ing. He laughed when he recalled saying, “If you need “I’ve been privileged to somebody to kick out the first work with some of the greatbrick, I’m your man.” ...you’re there est people on council,” CampCampbell is leaving municipal bell said. “And I served with politics after serving for almost to serve a bigger people who had vision.” 30 years as alderman. He was purpose... His favourite example is first elected in 1981 for the term from the mid- to late-90s starting in 1982, was defeated when he met with people like for one term in 2003 and came Maurice Beaudry, Doug Tarback in 2006 to serve from then ry, Ken Couchman and Michael O’Dea in brain- until 2014. The incoming council is made up of storming sessions that led to what is now the Doug an experienced mayor, one experienced alderman Tarry Complex and the combined Fanshawe Col- and six new faces. Campbell thinks the greatest lege and St. Joseph’s Catholic High School cam- lesson for this council is to try to work together.
Retiring St. Thomas alderman Gord Campbell “Go in without an agenda. Don’t go in to represent yourself or your friends. You’re there to serve a bigger purpose.” He would like to see a return to the older committee system, where issues were thoroughly hammered out in committees before coming to the council chambers. “There were always tough battles … But we walked out of the meeting as friends.” Campbell said November 17, his last council meeting, was also his wife Marlene’s birthday. The best present for her was the stopping of the endless telephone calls from people needing to speak to Alderman Gord Campbell. He was happy to serve, but it was time to move on.
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