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February, 2013







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ELGIN THIS MONTH February, 2013

Church camp and retreat centre means business

by Terry Carroll

The full name of the organization is quite a handle – Pearce Williams United Church Christian Centre. Locally, people usually shorten it to Pearce Williams Christian Centre, or most commonly, Pearce Williams. Under the leadership of executive director Joe Richards and the Board of Directors, Pearce Williams has developed a reputation not only for summer camps but also as a retreat facility. The organization serves upwards of 10,000 people a year. That puts it solidly in league with other social enterprises, where business goals and social or spiritual objectives meet. It’s never just about the money, but it also has to be about the money, or the organization will not survive. Interestingly enough, at Pearce Williams, they don’t just want to survive; they have developed an ambitious plan to thrive. After going through a planning process that included a feasibility study, Pearce Williams launched a $4.5 million capital campaign in 2012 to re-

furbish and make better use of existing buildings, redo some of the infrastructure and grow the summer camps and retreat facility from there. It’s all being handled in a fiscally responsible manner, the heritage of the camp in recent years. When Joe Richards was hired at Pearce Williams in 2005, he brought with him a solid background in private youth camps. “The Board was very clear about fiscal responsibility,” he says. “They wanted to be sure we didn’t lose money, and one of my jobs was to get the finances under control.” That spirit is being continued with the fundraising campaign. “Our policy is that no money gets spent on a project until all the money comes in for that project.” Some of the early projects in the $4.5 million campaign include $200,000 on improvements to current buildings to bring them up to code and make them more efficient, and another $200,000 on two cabins to winterize them for year-round use and increase their revenue-generating potential. An additional $650,000 needs to go into basic infrastructure, including septic systems, water lines, data lines and telephone lines for a modern, interconnected camp. The leadership at Pearce Williams realizes that the campers who came in droves in the 1980s and 1990s were the children of Baby Boomers. It’s a demographic cycle that is not likely to repeat itself. While Joe and the Board have “grown the business,” one driving question for the adults who loved the camp in the 1900s and 90s was, “Do you want it to be around when your kids are ready to come?” The answer was “Yes.” From that point on, people began reimagining the camp and retreat centre for the 21st century. Along the way, Joe developed a job description, striking in its simplicity, for everyone who works at Pearce Williams camps:

Elgin This Month General Manager Terry Carroll Section Editor Business Beat – Bob Hammersley

“To do what needs to be done to show the campers the most amazing camp experience.” That philosophy spills over to the retreat centre. The $4.5 million campaign is dedicated to a beautifully designed and maintained facility that will keep people coming back while attracting new customers. As Joe points out, the camp and retreat centre on the Iona Road in Dutton Dunwich is “within a three hour drive of a quarter of the population of Canada.” Its clientele is 70 percent from outside Elgin and 50 percent from Toronto. A remarkably diverse cross-section of people of many faiths (or none) experience Pearce Williams without batting an eye over its religious affiliation. The fact that a Christian connection is stated front and centre may actually contribute to the success of the operation on the 180-acre site in the west part of Elgin. Everybody should have some idea of what to expect. But Pearce Williams is clearly not “in your face” about religion. The Ontario Trillium Foundation, for example, has responded to its inclusive nature by providing funding for a site audit. The mission of Pearce Williams Christian Centre is “to welcome all who come, to teach all those who wish to learn, and to serve God in all we do.” Three main programs will inform the “future of summer camps as an industry,” Joe says. Farm camp program will help people to learn to grow their own food, and to see how easy it can be. Environmental change program will help people to move beyond the general awareness of the importance and fragility of the environment so they can bring environmental change home with them and do something. And world camp program is designed to teach participants about poverty and increase cultural awareness. For example, certain buildings or structures may be modeled after others from around the world: Mozambique, Peru, Nepal, anywhere. “The idea is that you could do a mission trip without the expense of a mission trip,” Joe says. The fundraising campaign, still in its infancy, has raised just under $200,000 in gifts and pledges. Conversations are happening with donors at all levels, from under $1,000 to $50,000 or half a million. The Board of Directors is expanding, and there is room on the Board or the fundraising side for committed people in Elgin and St. Thomas to join. Interested? Give them a call at (519) 7642317. They “welcome all who come.”

Graphic Design / Production Jim McHarg Sales Representative Greg Minnema Office Manager Laura Bart

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 February, 2013




Washing away the blues

Reflections during a trip to the Falls by Jim Innes It was my third trip to Niagara Falls in the last few months. This time it was for my son’s hockey tournament. As I took yet another cold walk alongside the falls, I noticed, for the first time, the flight of the many seagulls. Over and again they circled ahead of the icy mist drifting off the pounding waterfalls. Deftly they glided deep into the brisk gusts, entering and then reentering the fray. They were blown about excitedly. It seemed a very intentional merriment, like a playful dance to a tune only the birds could hear. Their dripping wet festivities were mesmerizing to watch; and, for me, on that particular day, a cause to pause. It reminded me of the book Jonathon Livingston Seagull. An excellent coming of age story about a gull that passionately sought to fly further, higher and faster then he was told he could (by the elder gulls that gave leadership to his flock). I imagined that the birds I was watching by the falls were consciously challenging themselves to an ever deepening lark into the mist. Of course, and unfortunately, reality is much less romantic then the adventures of Jonathon Seagull. Consequently, I drifted into the question of what might prompt the gulls to frolic in the falls. Given what we know of animal psychology, we can, at the very least, assume a bird’s flight behaviour is a visible expression of a genetic predisposition. However that


info doesn’t explain the triggers behind those behaviours nor explain how many predisposed behaviours a bird may have. For example, one might ask (as I do) that knowing birds will naturally seek food, could they also be predisposed to seek the physiological stimulations triggered through pleasures and challenges, such as flying into the fray of a waterfall’s spray? I’m sure that a behavioural ecologist or a biologist may throw some light on these questions. However, standing alongside the falls (without Google), I instead enjoyed the thought that all creatures, great or small, have in their genes a passion for adventure and fun. Not only do these activities stimulate pleasure, but when we are engaged in an enjoyable activity our need for food and drink diminishes and time gets lost.


Our central nervous system thrives on these moments of refreshment. When these moments are lacking, we are prone to seek replacement stimulation such as the overuse of alcohol and drugs. Interestingly, an increasing number of young people (and many middle age seekers) are turning to ‘extreme’ sports. I would think that for these folk it feels better to jump off a cliff wearing man-made wings (a new form of BASE jumping) than to suffer the intense emotive behaviors connected with an under-stimulated and overly taxed central nervous system. A search on Google helped me to appreciate that BASE jumping (and other such excursions) produces endorphins (which produce a feeling of well being) and the most common endorphin produced in our bodies is many times more powerful (and more addictive) than any drug. If all creatures have in their genes a passion for adventure and fun, then is it not in our bodies, minds and hearts to naturally seek activity that stimulates . . . and to do it with intentionality? We may not be face-diving into a cold spray of windswept mist, but we can seek out challenging amusement. We may not be BASE jumping off a cliff with coattails open but we can seek out less dangerous, yet still exciting, activities. This may very well be our predisposed (natural) method by which to wash away our blues.

February, 2013


Where are you heading? Four main elements of leadership, and seven questions by Shane Wyler There are four main elements that I rely on regularly to direct me and help me lead those I am responsible for in my leadership. I’d like to share those with you today. In staying with my usual style, let’s explore these elements with seven questions. Question One: What is your vision? The vision is a guiding light for any leadership or organization that anchors you and your team. The vision must clearly describe why the organization exists. To do this is a process, but one that need not be complicated. To start, you must define the need you are out to meet in those you serve. To do this, I use this simple question: What need do you recognize in others? In this, I work with our clients to answer this question in one word. Not easy, but simple. If no need exists, there is no need for your organization. Question Two: Where are you needed and wanted? If a need exists, then the next question must help you determine where the opportunities are to help answer that need. An opportunity as we define it at Seven, is anywhere you are needed and wanted. There are people that need you, but don’t want you.  Likewise there are people that want you, but don’t need you. The challenge is to always be where you are needed and wanted. Question Three: How do you go about meeting that need? At the heart of this question is your mission. The mission is how you go about meeting

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that need you recognize in others. For example, I see a need for direction. So by asking the right questions, I help to bring order and clarity to those in need of direction.  Your mission must point to the process you use to answer the need you recognize, making your difference in the lives of those you serve. Question Four: Where are you heading? As we began above, to know where you are heading, requires you to understand the need you answer and how you answer it.  Once you understand this, you can then start to set goals to help move you forward. Goals are meant to be firm not rigid.  Firm enough on which to stand, but flexible enough to change when needed.  For example,  I may set a goal to help five people a day realize their value.  In this, I can measure my progress and with the right tools be able to determine if the people I serve have realized their value.  In setting this goal, it gets me out, interacting, making my difference in the lives of those I encounter that day.  As well, it opens up a conversation to determine what tools, either products, services, processes, procedures, policies or systems I need to meet the need for direction I recognize in others. Question Five: Why there? I suggest that the reason to go anywhere is because of an opportunity, where you are needed and wanted, to make your difference in the lives of those you will encounter.

Shane Wyler, CEO of Seven, clarifies your direction by asking the right questions.

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Question Six: What are you doing along the way? The simple answer here is that you would be fulfilling your vision. Question Seven: What do you use to do that? In order to fulfill your vision, you need tools that empower and enable you to do what you have promised to do. For example, if I say that I am here to help clarify your direction, I need the right tools to be able to do that. These tools are the products, services, systems, programs, processes, policies and  procedures used to fulfill your vision and realize the answer to the need you recognize in others. The four main elements I rely on then are clearly: 1. Vision 2. Mission 3. Goals 4. Tools With these four elements, one is able to see where they are going, why they are going there, how they are getting there and what they are using along the way to impact the lives they encounter to make their difference and answer the need they recognize in others.

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Indoor heroes That plant on your desk is doing more for the environment than just looking nice.

by Dorothy Gebert

In early December 2012, the Toronto Star reported that the Mississauga office of Bell Canada had banned poinsettias from its buildings because a recently transferred employee had an allergy towards these holiday plants. In response to the story, newspapers and television newscasters interviewed allergists, who said that it was highly unlikely that any contact would result in anaphylactic shock, and Bell Canada was widely criticized as over-reacting to the situation. However, the office memorandum didn’t just include poinsettias. It said, “Please make sure all personal plants on desks and other office areas are also removed.” I realize Bell Canada was banning poinsettias to avoid the possibility of an adverse reaction by the affected employee and thereby to limit liability, but it seemed to me that by removing all plants, the company was putting its other employees at risk too. Indoor plants provide benefits to the environment beyond just looking nice. When I worked at an interior landscaping firm that maintained indoor plants for businesses, I learned that people placed them in their offices because plants act as biologic air filters and contribute to a healthier environment, thus increasing worker productivity. Indoor pollution problems occur because chemicals such as benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde are off-gassed by electronics, copiers, synthetic fabrics, plywood, paints and other substances. The vapours cannot escape because tightly insulated buildings don’t allow for ventilation or the exchange of outside air. This can lead to a toxic environment with adverse effects on human health. And, because forced air heating systems remove humidity and create drier air, the possibility of respiratory illness also increases.

This situation reminded me of a book I read many years ago called Eco-Friendly House Plants by B.C. Wolverton (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1996). In it the author describes how NASA tested hundreds of plants in hopes of improving the air quality on spacecraft. The agency discovered many species that removed over 300 volatile organic chemicals from the air and, through transpiration, put back water back into the air. Your home or office may not be a hermetically sealed spacecraft but, considering that in the winter we spend more time in our homes and offices, the quality of the indoor air can be just as toxic. This makes having plants a necessity, not a luxury. So what plants benefit the interior environment the most? Wolverton suggests 50 indoor plants that do the job, but here are just a few. The areca palm, bamboo palm, lady palm and dwarf date palm are rated as the best overall plants for removing chemical vapours, are the easiest to grow and maintain, are most resistant to insect infestation and have the highest transpiration rate. The rubber plant, ficus alii and weeping fig tree are all very good at removing formaldehyde (from adhesives, caulking, ceiling tiles, draperies and floor coverings). Dracaenas do well in dimly lit interiors and therefore are the plant of choice for many offices. These include the dragon tree, corn plant, and dracaena “Janet Craig” or “Warneckei.” Other beneficial plants include the Boston fern, spider plant and peace lily, as well as vines such as English ivy, pothos and heartleaf philodendron. If you crave more colour than just green, try flowers such as the gerbera daisy, wax begonia, cyclamen, tulip, moth orchid and kalanchoe. And yes, (Bell Canada take note), the poinsettia appears on Wolverton’s list too.


Spider plants are very good at removing chemical vapours from the air. Pothos vines tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions, especially low light.

Norfolk Island pines are easy to grow and are resistant to insect infestation.

(Photos by Dorothy Gebert)

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February, 2013

Little Red Mitten

Fibre art with a modern twist

by Katherine Thompson

LIFESTYLES Elgin Arts Trail No longer seen as an old-fashioned pursuit, fibre art is gaining popularity among people from all walks of life. This artistic outlet allows for variations in texture, design, and colour offering endless creative possibilities. Little Red Mitten is a haven for those longing to rediscover the lost arts of knitting, sewing, quilting, embroidery and weaving with an added modern twist. To meet the needs of their internet savvy customers The Little Red Mitten offers an attractive website, a regularly updated blog and a monthly e-newsletter. Owner Joan Janes has been interested in fibre arts since she was a child. As a teenager, she worked at the St. Thomas Parkspin Mill, an opportunity that ignited her passion for the peacefulness of spinning at a wheel. An avid knitter for many years, Janes completed courses for the Master Knitting program from The Knitting Guild of America and is a certified Knitting Teacher with the Craft Yarn Council of America. After nearly 30 years away, Joan returned to her hometown of St. Thomas to open Little Red Mitten. Situated in one of St. Thomas’s most historic neighbourhoods, the store occupies a spacious and well-maintained 1842 home. The store offers customers yarns from around the world and a variety of fibres including; cottons, wools, alpaca, and silk. Fibre artists from beginner to enthusiast can take advantage of the best selection of knitting tools around. Visitors are invited to choose from a wide variety of fibre art classes, join a knitting group, or try a new knitting pattern created by the owner herself. Look, touch, and be Cutline for above left photo and photo at left if required.

enticed. Little Red Mitten is a woolly inspiring place! For more information about Little Red Mitten or the Elgin Arts Trail please visit

The Parade of Elephants is a travelling exhibition of one-of a-kind elephant sculptures created by artists on the Elgin Arts Trail in partnership with the St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre. Every month the elephants will travel to a new location and at each location a new elephant will be added to the collection. The next exhibit will be on display at: Elgin - St. Thomas Tourism Office 450 Sunset Dr., St. Thomas (1st floor) Feb 1 – Feb 26, 2013 For a complete list of exhibit locations visit

The Elgin Arts Trail is a program with a goal to promote and enhance arts tourism in Elgin County and St. Thomas. The trail is a route through Elgin County that visits some of the best galleries, studios and artisans in Elgin and St. Thomas. For full trail information visit www.elginartstrail. ca or find us on Facebook Katherine Thompson is Marketing & Communications Coordinator with The County of Elgin

Achieve Your True Potential in Business and in Life Strategic Manager Workshops Tues, Jan 15/13 – YOUR PATH TO GREATER FREEDOM AND FORTUNE Tues, Feb 12/13 - LEADERSHIP Tues, Mar 12/13 - PEOPLE MANAGEMENT Sat, Mar 23/13 - GUEST SPEAKER Tues, Apr 16/13 - STRATEGIC PLANNING DIRECTION Tues, May 14/13 - POWER OF MARKETING Tues, June 11/13 - LEARNING TO LET GO Sat, June 22/13 - GUEST SPEAKER AND PRESENTATION OF CERTIFICATES Tuesdays are 7pm to 9pm, Saturdays are 9am to noon. 41 Mondamin St, Unit #3 – Upstairs Limited Availability $299 + HST Contact Gordon or Bryan for more details February, 2013 Each office is independently owned and operated

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BUSINESS & COMMUNITY Working In St. Thomas

Quite different paths converge in St. Thomas / Elgin

by Shelley Harris

If you ever need to find someone who knows how to adjust to new and, at times challenging, social, economic, cultural, and religious environments, you do not need to go very far. Right here in St. Thomas and Elgin, there are several experts who can provide you with many wise lessons they have learned – and continue to learn – by living in different cultures. Prepare to be inspired! Dharmishtha Patel, a microbiologist who came to Canada just 5 months ago from India, has already been a speaker for a Networking Conference for professionals in St. Thomas and Elgin and is presently a member of the St. Thomas-Elgin Cultural Diversity Committee. Dharmishtha attends English classes at the YWCA and considers her classmates and staff at the YWCA a source of great support to achieve her dream: To get her Microbiology and Biotechnology studies at a Canadian university and obtain professional accreditation. Dharmishtha has begun her journey to integration by taking the right steps towards her goal. By engaging in community work, she is gaining knowledge and skills related to the Canadian culture, workplace culture and systems, building networks and improving professional and labour market access.

Iffat Farooqui’s life trajectory took her on a different path. Iffat was born in England to parents from India, and since her birth, she has been living in different parts of the world. Iffat completed her elementary education in Kuwait, her secondary education in New Brunswick, and completed her studies in Physiotherapy in Pakistan. Soon after completing her studies, she got married and came to live in St. Thomas.

newcomers have a supportive community Through her extensive experiences, Iffat has been inspired to work with others so that newcomers have a supportive community where they can meaningfully integrate. Iffat’s involvement in the community is known to many. She is the Chair at St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School Council, and one of the main organizers of the University/College Information night for students and parents. In addition, she is a member of the Special Events Committee of The Elgin Community Nutrition Partnership which helped organize the “Heels for Meals” Fashion Show. Recently, she became a member of the St. Thomas-

Elgin Cultural Diversity Committee, an initiative of the St. Thomas-Elgin Local Immigration Partnership (ST-ELIP). The ST-ELIP was established in 2011 as a follow-up to The Elgin St. Thomas Labour Force Development 2010 Strategy. This collaborative community initiative is designed to strengthen the role of local agencies, stakeholders and service provider organizations in serving and integrating newcomers in St. Thomas and Elgin. Although Dharmishtha and Iffat came to Canada at different times, separated by 25 years, these two exemplary women share a very significant similarity: their commitment to build welcoming, caring and inclusive communities. It is no surprise, then, to find them both volunteering their time and energies at the St. Thomas-Elgin Cultural Diversity Committee. To celebrate and learn more of the achievements and ongoing work of the ST-ELIP and the network of newcomers in the community, everyone is invited to “Moving Forward: Building Welcoming, Caring and Inclusive Communities” on February 26, 2013 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the CASO Station in St. Thomas. Shelley Harris is the manager of Education and Employment at YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin.

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February, 2013

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• February 2013 •

Lucky winner

St. Thomas RBC manager Mike Cole (left) accepts Classic Touch gift certificates from Chamber CEO Bob Hammersley and Jeff Sheridan in Chamber Member Services at the monthly Business After 5 at The Roadhouse in St. Thomas January 16. More photos inside.

Business Beat Table of Contents Business awards to the next level................... Page 10 Thinking about visiting China?........... Page 11 Legal Business with Monty Fordham......... Page 12 Uncorked and web weaving..................... Page 13 Social media marketing .................................. Page 14 A 2013 crystal ball..... Page 15 Welcome new Members .................................. Page 16

Wednesday February 13 Boston Pizza, 860 Talbot Street

The mayors are coming! The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Food service will include a “bistro” lunch Each Mayor will Commerce will host St. Thomas Mayor placed at each table with assorted sandhave 10 minutes wiches and salad plus hot/cold beverages. Heather Jackson, Central Elgin Mayor of individual Bill Walters, and Southwold Mayor Jim Some might refer to it as a ‘working lunch’ speaking time to as attendees will be invited to enjoy their McIntyre in an event we’re billing as our “State of the Municipalities” luncheon on comment on plans meal while our local Mayors speak. Wednesday February 20. Each Mayor will have 10 minutes of indiand projects in This annual event is always well-attended, their municipality vidual speaking time to comment on plans and one that our Members continue to rate and projects in their municipality for the for the year ahead. year ahead. Once their remarks conclude, highly in our post-event evaluations. Later this spring, we will also bring tothe focus turns to questions from the audigether our Elgin MP & MPP in a similar luncheon fo- ence. Anyone purchasing a ticket to attend is welcome rum. to submit a question or questions to the Chamber office Our February 20 event will be held at St. Anne’s Centre, in advance of the event (email us at events@stthomas11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are available by advance We will also entertain questions from sale only from the Chamber office at $25 per person. the floor as the event proceeds. Reserved seating will be provided for anyone placing a The State of the Municipalities luncheon is made possingle order of four tickets or more. Until February 8, sible through the generous support of sponsors. Steelway tickets to this event will be available exclusively to people Building Systems, the Elgin Business Resource Centre from businesses and organizations that are Members of & ICE (Innovation Centre for Entrepreneurs), and the the St. Thomas & District Chamber. Remaining tickets, Workforce Planning and Development Board are our if any, will be available to the public February 9 to 15. main sponsors.

St. Thomas Mayor Heather Jackson

Sponsored jointly by The Great Lakes International Air Show and Boston Pizza Doors open at 5:00 p.m. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres plus your favourite refreshments. Great door prize draws, too!

February, 2013

Southwold Mayor James McIntyre

Central Elgin Mayor Bill Walters

Take part in our feature on Income Tax In the March 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 March Edition Advertising Deadline is February 13th



Chamber News Events and News of Interest to our Members

A new celebration of excellence There’s a change coming in the way we recognize success and excellence in business. In December, the Boards of Directors of the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce and the Elgin Business Resource Centre agreed to combine resources and review how our organizations recognize success. Instead of multiple organizations running different programs on a variety of days over the calendar, the new St. Thomas – Elgin Business Awards program will bring it all together. More details on the format and agenda of the program will be released over the next few weeks. And please keep this date open: Thursday April 25. From a Chamber perspective, our annual Free Enterprise Awards remain as they have in the past. Calling for Nominations The Free Enterprise Awards are the cornerstone of the Chamber’s work to celebrate success. Each year since the 1970s, we have welcomed nominations of businesses, organizations and individuals who deserved to be recognized for their excellence in business and community service. There are three award categories.

Chair’s Awards This presentation reflects service and contributions, including volunteer activities, that have assisted the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce. Presented at the discretion of the Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors when events or circumstances reflect service or contributions of an extraordinary nature. Free Enterprise Award of Merit Recognition of those businesses and/or individuals whose recent or specific accomplishments are significant. There is no limit to the number of times that an individual or business might receive a Merit Award. Entrepreneurial success is the primary focus of the Merit Awards with consideration of other desirables reflecting on community, civic and/or social betterment. No more than three winners may be named in any year. Free Enterprise Master Awards Our major award. This honour recognizes businesses and individuals making significant, all-encompassing contributions within St. Thomas, Central Elgin and/or Southwold. The recipients are proven leaders, as

evidenced by repeated success in endeavours that relate to entrepreneurship along with community spirit and social well-being. No more than three winners may be named in any year. As mentioned above, the awards will become part of a larger county-wide program called the St. Thomas – Elgin Business Awards with presentations to be made on Thursday April 25 at St. Anne’s Centre in St. Thomas. Submit a nomination? Success, innovation, leadership, community betterment and concern for social issues are all attributes of our award winners in every category. Choose from the three categories described above and tell us why your nominee should be selected. Our Awards & Recognition Committee, under the leadership of the Immediate Past Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, will review all submissions. Chamber staff may conduct additional research. Self-nominations are welcome. Individuals and businesses nominated must be active in serving the communities of the City of St. Thomas, Municipality of Central Elgin, and/or the Township of Southwold 2013 nominations close Friday March 8, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. For additional information, contact Bob Hammersley at the Chamber office at 519-631-1981 Ext. 524, or send your nomination to us: St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce 115 – 300 South Edgeware Road St. Thomas, ON N5P 4L1 CALL: 519-631-1981 FAX: 519-631-0466 E-mail:

Published by Metroland Media Group Ltd., and delivered to businesses in St. Thomas and Elgin County For complete information on the St.Thomas and District Chamber of Commerce, reach us at: 115-300 South Edgeware Rd., St. Thomas, Ontario N5P 4L1 Telephone: 519-631-1981 Fax: 519-631-0466 E-Mail: Website:

2013 Board of Directors Chair: John Regan Elgin Business Resource Centre 1st Vice-Chair: Laura Woermke St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre Treasurer: Mark Lassam, CA CA Key, Perry & Lassam Chartered Accountants Past Chair: Jason White Steelway Building Systems Director: Beth Burns Director: Renee Carpenter Director: Monty Fordham

Accounting Coordinator

Susan Munday

Director: Jeff Kohler Director: Rob Mise Director: Debra Mountenay

Member Services

Linda Crawford

Member Services

Jeff Sheridan

Director: Darren Reith

President & CEO


The following points and questions may be helpful in writing a nomination: • Describe the nominee’s relationships with staff, clients, suppliers, etc. • Growth, changes or improvements that have enhanced performance? • Are there any innovation, trailblazing or risk-taking initiatives and strategies that have been developed or undertaken? • Describe any situation where the nominee has created new jobs or successfully fought to sustain jobs in our market. • Describe successes and achievements in community service, work with civic or charitable/non-profit agencies, or volunteer activities • Has the nominee utilized conservation and stewardship techniques, advanced technologies, or developed programs to save, protect or enhance or environment? • Name something that makes this nominee stand out above all others. • Describe the time, energy, resources dedicated to professional growth and continuous learning. • Details on measurement, practices and internal processes for customer service. • Coaching, mentoring, assistance to other businesses, individuals or organizations? • How has new technology helped? • Marketing successes and strategy? • Growth beyond local service to regional, national and/or international levels?


Bob Hammersley

Director: Allan Weatherall

K & K Locksmiths Jennings Furniture Fordham Brightling & Associates, Lawyers Presstran Industries myFM 94.1 Workforce Planning & Development Board Reith and Associates Insurance & Financial Elgin Military Museum – Project Ojibwa

February, 2013

Chamber News Events and News of Interest to our Members

Business mission & tour to The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce will be among dozens of Chambers across Canada offering a very unique and special opportunity to our Members and our community this year – a group tour to China for eleven days, October 23 to November 2. Our plans will be of interest to Members looking at business opportunities, and to anyone interested in seeing and learning more about this fascinating destination.

Our travel package is exclusively offered across the Chamber network through Citslinc International, based in Monterey Park, California. Locally, our plans are being developed in a partnership with our neighbours at the Strathroy & District Chamber. Our itinerary includes visits to Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou and accommodation exclusively in 4 & 5-star hotels. All airfare, tours, food, land transfers and taxes are included in one exceptional pack-

age price of $2,399 per person for Members, or $2,599 per person for people not affiliated with the Chamber through a Member business or organization. Elgin Travel & Cruises is our exclusive local travel agent for the tour and will handle all arrangements in co-operation with Citslinc. Find out more in a special information presentation we are hosting on Thursday February 28. Citslinc International’s President, Leo Liu, will be our guest to answer questions and

provide complete information on this exclusive and unique opportunity. Admission is free, but advance registration is required. Our presentation will be held at the Elgin Business Resource Centre, 300 South Edgeware Road on February 28 starting at 5:30 p.m. To register, use the events calendar on the Chamber website at www. or call us during business hours at 519-631-1981.

Happy guy

[Left] Brad Bedford of Bedford Financial roars with laughter when he learns he’s the winner of a new iPad presented by Chamber CEO Bob Hammersley at January’s Business After 5. The winning ticket was drawn by Roadhouse owner Sam Aboumourad, Special thanks to Staples’s St. Thomas location for providing support on our prize offerings at this event!

Full house at The Roadhouse

[Bottom, left] January’s Business After 5 at The Roadhouse Bar & Grill brought a large crowd to meet the Roadhouse’ new owners, brothers Sam and Dan Aboumourad. Sam and Dan were raised in St. Thomas and attended Central Elgin Collegiate. Sam is also known to dozens of local folks as a former teacher at Southwold Public School. The pair has returned to St. Thomas to invest here and became owners of The Roadhouse last fall.

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519-631-7960 ELGIN THIS MONTH 11

Legal Business Legal News and Issues for Business

Willing and able by Monty Fordham I have noticed it has been more common lately for increasingly younger people to have their wills and powers of attorney prepared, and I suspect this is, in part, due to the greater sophistication of consumers in general. I cannot emphasize the importance of an up-to-date will. For while dying without a will does not carry the dire consequences some would have you believe, the lack of guidance to family members and friends at a time of such emotional turmoil can be devastating. A common misconception is that if a person dies without a will their estate somehow passes to the government. It does not, except in the case of a deceased with absolutely no living relatives. There are what are called the rules of intestacy which provide that certain people within certain parameters receive the estate of a person who dies without a will. For example, the spouse of such a person receives a “preferential share” amounting to the first $200,000 of the estate. He/she is also entitled to a proportional share

in the balance of the estate, assuming there are children. However, this division may not be what the deceased wanted, and, moreover, it may create serious legal and practical problems in administering the estate depending on the size and composition of the estate. When drawing a will, you choose who will handle your affairs when you are gone. The choice of an “Estate Trustee” (formerly an Executor) is extremely important. The Estate Trustee must be an individual who is trustworthy, organized and intelligent. The work of the trustee is onerous and sometimes complex. They must be able to work with accountants, bankers, investment advisors and, yes, lawyers. It also helps if they are familiar with the estate as a whole, as well as the beneficiaries of the estate. Some people, particularly with large estates choose an institutional trustee such as a bank, brokerage or trust company. In any event, the trustee is entitled to compensation for their work, the amount of which is subject to review of the court. If you have younger children you

must consider the appointment of guardians for them in the event both you and your spouse die before they are old enough to conduct their own affairs. The guardians can be, but don’t necessarily have to be, the same people as the trustees. The roles are quite different, and a person with outstanding parenting skills may not possess the business acumen required of a trustee. Within your will, you can designate certain persons to receive monetary gifts. Examples of such beneficiaries include grandchildren, favourite neighbours, charities or other organizations. These “legacies” are paid out first by the Estate Trustee after debts and expenses are paid. As well, many people designate beneficiaries

of personal items such as family heirlooms. (For example: My mechanics tools to my daughter Mary; my Royal Doulton collection to my son Harry). These types of “bequests” can be made within the will or by reference in the will to a separate list or memorandum. The very act of instructing and drawing a will involves a thorough review of your assets, liabilities and long term obligations. In many cases, personal planning tools can be set in place to minimize Income Tax consequences, Probate fees and legal costs. These include, in larger estates, the use of primary and secondary wills, (to be more thoroughly discussed in a future column), the establishment of holding companies and family trusts. In more modest estates, assets may be placed in joint ownership with children, although this must be carefully structured in most cases. In some cases, gifts may be made of personal items and evidenced by documentation, while the item remains in the possession of the testator. Whether we like it or not our lives are finite; the clearer the instructions we leave to our loved ones, the easier it will be for them to get through the difficult times.

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February, 2013

Member News Events and News of Interest to our Members

Web weaving We’re always interested in seeing and hearing the progress of our Members in developing and designing online and electronic marketing tools, including websites. Over the past month, several Members have drawn our attention to new and 2nd or 3rd generation websites developed on fresh understandings of customer needs and expectations. Here are some of the latest we recommend for a look:

A sell-out!!!

The Chamber, and all of the volunteers on our Member Services Committee, extend huge thanks to everyone who attended and supported our sold-out “St. Thomas Uncorked”

Genuine Stitches Reith & Associates Insurance and Financial Services

Special thanks to our event sponsors: TD Canada Trust P.J. Smith & Associates Jennings Furniture Talbot Promo MyFM 94.1 St. Thomas – Elgin Public Art Gallery

Allsource Depot Elgin Transmission While we’re on the subject of websites, some news from the Chamber about our site, too. A reminder that our events calendar has been expanded and that many of our events listings now have online booking capacity to reserve seats or order and pay for tickets. Whenever you’re curious about a Chamber event, or a function we’re a partner to, check our listings for location, date, time and all event information.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 is...

Make the world a little better kind act at a time

We live in a truly amazing community where so much kindness happens every day. Let’s take a moment to recognize when someone does something nice for us. In return, do something nice for them, not just for one day, but every day of the year. - Co-chair Al Hughson For more details, see the back page of this magazine Share your story on The Weekly News Facebook Wall: or email it to or

wine taste/art appreciation event Saturday, January 26. Your support and interest guarantee that we will explore similar events in the months ahead.

Our food sponsors & contributors: Braxton’s Tap & Grill Farmgate Markets Deli & Fresh Meat Briwood Farm Market

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West Elgin Support Services 160 Main St., West Lorne P: 519-768-0020 Mon.-Fri 9am-5pm

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Randy Gordon

February, 2013


Pro Text Business Management News & Issues

The risks of social media:

How third party marketers can pose a liability* by Dan Reith Brand promotion and customer development are becoming ever more reliant on social media. Companies and not-for-profit organizations are learning to embrace this marketing tool as a necessity and not just a passing fancy. Many organizations, however, lack the requisite resources to build an audience of followers on Facebook and Twitter. Enter the third party marketing agency to provide this service. As evidenced in recent legal headlines, the liability for passing off this responsibility can be enormous. A recent article in the International Business Times cited the case of a nonprofit organization that used a third party marketing agency to establish and maintain the nonprofit’s social media presence. When the nonprofit was late on a payment to the agency, it found that the passwords to the nonprofit’s Facebook and Twitter account had been changed. It was a simple message: if you don’t pay up, you lose your account. Further, there are several examples of third party marketing agencies not complying with laws and regulations regarding advertising, yet the legal responsibility falls back on the organization that hires them. When considering the inherent legal risks associated with marketing through social media and the utilization of a third party marketing agency to carry out this work for your business or not-for-profit, it is necessary to ensure



certain arrangements are made and that the marketing company is positioned to protect your interests ahead of theirs. Companies that have relationships with third-party affiliate marketers should ensure that those affiliates comply with advertising and marketing laws in marketing the companies’ products or services through social media. Businesses should have agreements with affiliates requiring the affiliates to comply with all applicable federal, provincial and local laws. It may be prudent to include specific representations and warranties by the affiliate with respect to compliance, with specific references to significant laws. The agreements should also have a provision whereby the affiliate agrees to indemnify the company (either through a mutual indemnification or otherwise) from liability arising out of the affiliate’s conduct – preferably with a provision requiring that the affiliate carry sufficient insurance to fund the indemnification should it be triggered. On a related note, confidentiality provisions and related provisions ensuring data security have become increasingly important in the current legal environment, particularly in agreements involving cross-border activities where consumer personal information is collected online. Additionally, businesses should, to the extent it is feasible, monitor the advertising and marketing practices of affiliates and review their marketing materials before they are disseminated. A company should take similar measures with respect to third parties who market through social media outlets operated by the company. Further, social media marketing risks can be found in-house, too. Take the case of blogger Noah Kravitz and the tech blog named PhoneDog. When Kravitz began work at PhoneDog, he created a Twitter handle, @Phonedog_ Noah, which eventually amassed 17,000 followers. Kravitz left PhoneDog on good terms in 2010, changing his handle to @NoahKravitz but keeping the password and, hence, his followers. Things turned ugly when he filed suit over back pay. PhoneDog then countersued, claiming the followers of @Phonedog_Noah make up, essentially, a corporate customer list — their corporate customer list. In a remarkable move, they also demanded $2.50 for each of the followers over an eight-month period, which adds up to $340,000. The PhoneDog v. Kravitz case ended in negotiation in early December. So, without a legal ruling on this modern matter, we are still left with the question of who actually owns certain Twitter accounts. That’s a question will undoubtedly be answered in the future. But for now, during this legal limbo of social media laws, there is a large amount of helpful information on the web that companies can use to analyze social media marketing and create their own social media policy, such as, which offers a section with 218 different social media policies. But the most important things to remember when putting your company’s social media marketing efforts in the hands of someone else, either in-house or outsourced, are: 1. Will the third party/employee do a better job than your staff/yourself? 2. Does the outsourcing company/employee understand your brand completely? 3. Do you have a thorough and specific contract in place? One other point to note is that any action brought against your company or not-for-profit can draw in the directors and officers of the organization for their tacit approval of the hiring and use of outside marketing agencies. Here is where these individuals can be held liable, jointly, severally and personally. Here is a clear reason for the directors’ This column appears regularly in and officers’ insurance. Business Beat and has been submitWhen developing your social media ted by Dan Reith BA (Hons) CAIB, policy, include your insurance pro- a principal of Reith and Associates vider in the conversation to ensure the Insurance and Financial Services, insurance program developed for your 462 TalbotStreet, St. Thomas. organization meets the inherent risks Questions and com-ments on this associated with modern activities such column are welcomed by the writer as social media advertising. at 519-631-3862 or via e-mail: *Some content material provided by: Risk Management Monitor, December 2012 edition


February, 2013

ViewPoint Events and News of Interest to our Members

What are we looking at for 2013? Chamber President & CEO Bob Hammersley takes a look at two industries

2013 Auto Sales Predicted to Climb Good news in the auto industry is something everyone in the St. Thomas area has been looking for, and it appears 2013 might see our wish come true. On January 3, the Toronto Star published an article suggesting a healthier economy and more new model introductions should push Canadian and U.S. auto sales toward the 17 million mark this year. The Star quoted auto industry expert Dennis DesRosiers as saying “The Canadian market still hasn’t reached its potential.” Auto industry research and analysis firms have reported that 2012 finished as the second-best on record for new vehicle sales in Canada with 1.67 million new cars and trucks on the road, an increase of 5.7 per cent over 2011. 2013 sales could climb within reach of the record 1.7 million units sold in 2002. In late December, the Detroit News reported The Polk research firm projecting U.S. auto sales should continue to lead that country’s economic recovery, rising nearly 7 percent over 2012 to 15.3 million new vehicle registrations. Polk expects 43 new models to be introduced this year, up 50 percent from last year. New models usually boost sales. The company also predicts a rebound in sales of large pickups and midsize cars. Polk predicts a handful of other trends for 2013. Sales will grow for big pickups, which are very profitable for automakers. Demand has been depressed for five years due to the weak economy, but should get a lift in 2013 thanks to redesigned trucks from GM, Toyota and Ford. Polk also said the midsize sedan segment will continue to lead the industry. It’s now at 18.5 percent of the U.S. market, 2 percentage points larger than any other type of segment. U.S. auto sales peaked at about 17 million in 2005, but dropped to 10.4 million in 2009, the lowest level in more than three decades. Hospitality predictions When it comes to conversation topics, food ranks right up there with the weather for most Canadians. That fact, along with new market research revealing that 2 of every 5 consumers want to spend more time dining out in 2013, suggests you might find a recent report from Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) to be as interesting as we do. NRN is a US-based publishing & information company established in 1967. On December 28, it released a collection of opinions and predictions about what 2013 will see as trends in dining and hospitality service. Here are some excerpts from their findings: Locavore concepts: We’ll see rising numbers of farm-to-fork concepts that offer regional craft beers and wines and regularly changing menus of upscale comfort foods made with local produce and culinary customs in mind. Restaurant nutrition:  Growth in menu labeling will increase nutrition awareness among many restaurant users, compelling some operators to add

vegetable entrees and appetizers; expand their use of whole grains, such as buckwheat and quinoa; or use salts less for cooking and more as dish-finishing components or customer-applied garnishes. Meal time: The growth in snacking will continue as around-the-clock dining moves closer to the mainstream and operators look for ways to meet Millennials’ hunger for group grazing. Customer expectations: In 2013, as in 2012, customers aren’t just going to go for the cheapest thing. They’re going to judge “value” as the best quality they can get for their money, meaning that consumers will expect to get what they pay for. Successful restaurants will be the ones that can provide quality food to consumers at affordable prices. Consumer demographics: A lot of restaurants have been focusing on marketing to Millenials, but it’s those younger folks who have cut back on visiting restaurants. Restaurants would be wise to begin marketing more heavily to Baby Boomers in 2013 since they’re continuing to work longer, aren’t cutting back as much and have a greater need for convenience than ever before. Restaurant sales: There is substantial pent-up demand for restaurant services, with two out of five consumers saying they are not using restaurants as often as they would like. Continued growth in employment and consumers’ disposable income in 2013 is likely to turn that demand into sales. Customer-facing technology:  Technology is becoming an expectation rather than a novelty. Consumer interest in technology remains strong and will keep growing, spurring restaurant operators to dedicate more resources to customer-facing technology such as smartphone apps, ordering kiosks and mobile payment options. Menu trends: A couple of burgeoning food trends will have an increasing impact on restaurant menus throughout the next year. Greek cuisine is coming into its own in the mass market, with the extraordinary success of Greek yogurt opening the door to wider experimentation. Feta cheese, tzatziki and lamb will get more play. Salads will get a new lease on life as consumers seek healthful foods that are tasty and attractive. The use of kale will increase by leaps and bounds, along with specialty grains as salad toppers.

DON FERGUSON • Real Estate • Corporate Law • Commercial Law • Wills and Estates SANDRA DIMEO • Motor Vehicle Accidents • Slip and Falls • Wrongful Dismissal • Contract Disputes




The Smart Way To Get Things Done.

Canada Southern Railway Station 750 Talbot Street, Suite 211 St. Thomas, Ontario t 519-633-8838 • f 519-633-9361

February, 2013


Chamber News Events and News of Interest to our Members The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce is pleased to welcome the following businesses and individuals as our newest Members. The staff and management of the organizations shown below were accepted as registered Members from December 16, 2012 to January 15, 2013. Algoma University 50 Wellington Street St. Thomas, ON N5R 2P8 Phone: 519-633-6501 Fax: 519-633-0795 Email: Website: Contact: Donna Rankin, Support Services Co-ordinator Buyer’s Guide Categories: Education Products & Services: Algoma University is offering programming in St. Thomas and the surrounding area from the new Wellington Street facilities. Algoma at St. Thomas is an opportunity for

students to earn their first two years of university while living at home, without incurring the extra cost of student housing. Algoma University is excited to offer students in St. Thomas a unique educational experience like no other in Ontario. Students benefit from a more focused and engaged curriculum, they call Block Learning. Once students have completed the program at St. Thomas, they have the opportunity to continue their education at Algoma University`s main campus in Sault Ste. Marie. Van Pelt’s Print Plus 800 Talbot Street St. Thomas, ON N5P 1E2 Phone: 519-631-4407 Fax: 519-631-4281 Email: Website: Contacts: Michael Van Pelt, CEO and Sarah Van Pelt, CEO Buyer’s Guide Categories: Printers & Publishing, Graphic Design, Mailing/Shipping Services, Photocopying, Postal Services, and Promo-

Save 3.5¢/litre Chamber members qualify for Esso’s Direct Billing Program; you pay 3.5¢ off the posted retail pump price whenever you fuel up. You may also get a convenient, detailed monthly invoice and also qualify for Speedpass®. For an application, contact:

Lynhurst ESSO & Variety 16

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tional Products Products & Services: The next phase is about to begin as Van Pelt’s transitions to the third generation. Floyd Van Pelt is stepping down to allow his children to assume new roles. The brother/ sister team of Michael Van Pelt and Sarah Van Pelt are spinning off the service part of the operation and will be running a separate business under the name Van Pelt’s Print Plus. Both Michael and Sarah have strong backgrounds in printing and finishing services and have been part of the family business for many years. Van Pelt’s Print Plus services a large and diverse customer base. Print orders are shipped from coast to coast, and even to some international customers. Van Pelt’s Design Plus 800 Talbot Street St. Thomas, ON N5P 1E2 Phone: 519-631-4407 Fax: 519-631-4281 Email:


Use Vacuum


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Website: Contact: Sarah Van Pelt, CEO Buyer’s Guide Categories: Graphic Design, Advertising/Promotion, Photocopying, Printers & Publishing, Promotional Products, Web Design Services Products & Services: Sarah is passionate about art and design and has built a solid reputation in the commercial design world. Experienced in branding, logo design, web design, marketing and variable data printing, Sarah’s team is currently serving customers across Canada. With over a decade in design experience, she’s excited to now learn the ropes about running the design and printing businesses with her brother Michael. Van Pelt’s Safety Plus 800 Talbot Street St. Thomas, ON N5P 1E2 Phone: 519-631-4048 Fax: 519-631-4281 Email: Website: Contacts: David Van Pelt, CEO and Ryan Van Pelt, Sales Buyer’s Guide Categories: Safety Products, Building Products & Supplies, Business Equipment & Supplies, Cleaning Products & Supplies, Fire Protection Equipment - Sales & Service, First Aid Supplies, Industrial Equipment & Supplies, Office Furnishings & Supplies, Transportation Services, Welding Services & Supplies Products & Services: Safety Plus has many different product offerings in the safety industry. Ryan and David are happy to help out with any safety related items you need, from first aid kits, eye/face protection, fall protection, hearing protection, janitorial/sanitization, protective clothing, respiratory & gas monitors, welding safety, and much more.

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February, 2013

Map out your retirement goals Direction can be invaluable when preparing for the journey

by Raymond Bosveld

A map can be invaluable when you’re preparing for a journey, especially one you’ve never taken before. It can help you avoid wrong turns that can cost precious time and cause needless headaches. This common-sense approach to travel also applies to planning your retirement – which itself is quite the journey. Although the word “retirement” may mean something different to everyone, the better the road map, or strategy, the more likely you can live the retirement lifestyle you’ve dreamed of. As a starting point, you might want to write down answers to two basic questions that will underpin your strategy: What do I want in retirement? And how will I pay for it? In answering the first question, you need to take a careful look at not just the day-to-day expenses you expect to incur, but other retirement goals you may have, such as funding your grandchildren’s education, helping support other family members or paying for a long vacation or a second home. Then you need to see if your finances will get you where you want to go. It helps to detail all your sources of income, including government retirement benefits, pensions and annuities. You also need to consider whatever part-time employment income you may expect to earn. And of course, you’ll have to tally up your assets. This encompasses all of your savings and investments, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds and GICs, within both your registered and non-registered accounts. Then you need to itemize your retirement expenses. These can be broken down into two categories: necessities and discretionary expenses. Necessities include your mortgage, utilities, groceries and taxes, while travel and entertainment are considered discretionary. This analysis can help determine if your sources of income can cover your retirement needs or whether there are shortfalls that must be addressed. For example, you may deFebruary, 2013

termine that you can pay for your necessities with outside sources of income, such as pensions, which might give you more flexibility with discretionary items. On the other hand, you might determine that working part time or delaying retirement is needed to boost your income so you can pay for those discretionary expenses while in retirement. Remember, if you don’t know where you’re going, you could end

up going nowhere or, even worse, heading in the wrong direction. A written strategy can start your retirement on the right path and help keep you there. Speak with your financial advisor for help in crafting your retirement strategy and to see if everything is

on track, or whether you should consider taking some actions now before it’s too late. Raymond Bosveld is a financial planner at Edward Jones in St. Thomas.

Dreaming Up

the Ideal Retirement Is Your Job. Helping You Get There Is Ours. Maybe your idea of retirement is having a second career or working part time, volunteering or indulging in your favourite hobbies. Doing the things you want to do is what retirement should be about.

Before you make your retirement investment decision this year, let’s talk about: đ Whether you’re saving enough đ Whether your retirement plan needs some adjustments to help you reach your retirement goals đ How much you want to spend in retirement đ How you can reduce your taxes* *Edward Jones, its employees and Edward Jones advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Review your situation with your tax advisor or legal professional for information regarding, or issues concerning, the tax implications of making a particular investment or taking any other action.

To see if your retirement plan matches your idea of retirement, call for a personal retirement review. Kelly Ruddock 584 Talbot St., St. Thomas 519-633-7824

Kelvin Saarloos 310 Wellington St., Unit 5, St. Thomas 519-637-0305

Scott Carrie 534 Elm St., St. Thomas 519-631-4282

Ray Bosveld 300 S. Edgeware Unit 2, St. Thomas 519-633-4334

Paul Bode 287 Talbot St. W., Aylmer 519-773-8226 Member – Canadian Investor Protection Fund



by Peter Atkinson

Last month I wrote about e-books and how they’re redefining what a book means. When a book can include photos, video and music, is it still a book? The different types of media blend into one. And this is just one area where the digital monkey wrench is getting thrown into

the physical works. I keep catching myself thinking of things in ways that are limited by their physicality: I have it so you can’t; it’s here so it can’t be there. But these limitations don’t exist in the digital world. If you have an image or document on your computer, you can make unlimited copies. The library’s e-books can be downloaded multiple times to multiple devices

PLAN THE RETIREMENT YOU WANT. Start with professional advice. A professional Advisor can help you understand today’s market and provide the tools and information you need to successfully plan the retirement you want. DWM Securities Dundee Private Inc. Investors Inc. 519-631-4088 519-631-4724 130 Centre Street St. Thomas, ON N5R 2Z9

by the same person. And portable devices like tablets and smartphones mean that you’re never without it; you can access and store copies on the device or free up space and use a cloud storage system like Sugar Sync or Dropbox. If you’re really stuck, you can access your data on your home computer from another device using remote access tools like, LogMeIn or TeamViewer. Things are now portable and customizable. And reproducible. Not just images and documents, but things. Optical scanners convert a physical object to a set of instructions. Upload those instructions to a 3-D printer like Printrbot or Cube and you can reproduce the object anywhere. So why make, store and ship physical goods when you can just sell the instructions? Someday you’ll be customizing and downloading the data to make your purchases instead of trying to fit one more box into the trunk of your car. So how do we think of this digital world? There have been studies claiming that ‘the Internet is making us dumber.’ While 20 minutes surfing YouTube may support this claim, I think that we’re learning what’s important and not wasting mental energy remembering the line-up of the ’94 Maple Leafs or the lyrics to ‘Werewolves of London.’ It’s all just a couple of clicks away. The only phone numbers in my phone’s contact list are the ones that I really need, because all the others are a Google search or a Yellow Page app away. Interestingly, I actually could store the phone number of every person and business in Elgin County if I wanted. It wouldn’t cost me anything and the information is easily searchable. The traditional

barriers to information, and lots of it, crumble in the digital world. From social media helping to organize revolutions to a proposal for new point values for scrabble tiles based on modern day word frequency, information is available and digestible like never before. And so Big Data – massive amounts of detailed information on everything from consumer behaviour to traffic patterns – is a big thing in business as a result. Not only can we easily store lots of information, but we can sort through it to analyze it and improve. Statwing is a site that lets you easily upload a data set and use its own algorithms to sort through. How empowering is that? And more and more governments are moving towards Open Data, posting, (non-personal), information for their citizens to mine through. That openness is part of what the digital world brings: the value of information is no longer in being locked away for a select few; it’s in sharing it for others to enrich and improve. That’s a very different way to think not just about information, but about how we work, manage, govern and play in this world. We can certainly fight it, focusing on the sometimes painful changes, or we can embrace it and learn how to use it to make our lives and our communities better. As with any technology, we have a choice to make.

Peter Atkinson is E-Services Consultant at the St. Thomas Public Library

Everyone’s Investment Plan is a unique, individual puzzle

Call us today to learn more about how we can help you reach your financial goals. 18

...there have been studies claiming that ‘the Internet is making us dumber...


Your RRSP investment for your 2012 tax return can be designed to maximize your tax deduction?

Properity Coach for Your Business and You • 300 South Edgeware Rd., St. Thomas, ON N5P 4L1 519-633-7597 (ext.405) cell # 226-236-2321

February, 2013

Ways to protect investments Plus leave a legacy for your family

by Brian R. Wilson

Investing and keeping your money invested today has become quite the challenge. All the turbulence we have had to endure over the past decade has left investors facing many hurdles and pondering several questions. It began just after Y2K, then 911, followed by the economic meltdown of 2008 only to be told that all of our current financial troubles are because of the financial situation in Europe and expanding to China. It’s as if the world has the financial flu. Unfortunately rest and plenty of fluids won’t take the pain away. Frankly speaking it has not been a fair shake for any of us. Especial-

Start the year right Develop a knockout business plan

(NC)—Operating a business without a well-structured plan is like skydiving without a proper parachute. Knowing where to find valuable resources is challenging for entrepreneurs, but free tools like the Canadian Youth Business Foundation’s new interactive Business Plan Writer at can help you get started on the right track. Take a look at this snapshot: Solid foundations are essential • A business plan guides your entire path to success, from concept to start-up and even expansion, by clearly outlining vital details and the direction you wish to take. It helps you budget appropriately and identify potential risks you may not have otherwise considered. Details interest funders • A solid business plan is a great presentation and communication tool – showing funders, suppliers, customers and others, that you’ve done your research and understand your business. Investors won’t take a risk on your business if you don’t have a credible plan. Managing becomes easier • It saves you time. Your crucial tasks can be managed more effectively and you can account for long-term goals. Robust plans also keep you on track for meeting your current obligations to funders, suppliers, etc. Use the online resources available to you to clearly state your path and guide you, rather than gamble with your future. February, 2013

ly those who have been relying on their investments as income. Retirees’ accounts have plummeted, and their incomes may have dropped as much as half or even worse. Many retirees have been forced back into the workplace to put food on their tables. There are ways to protect your investments, and your income, and still enable you to ensure growth and a legacy for your families. More and more people are attracted to the kind of rock solid guarantees that life insurance companies can offer. When there are financial downturns, the financial institutions

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• If you or your spouse or common-law partner has a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions and meets certain conditions, you might be eligible for the disability tax credit. • If you care for a spouse or other family member who has a physical or mental illness that makes them dependent on you for care, the new family caregiver amount could save you money. • If you receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement or Allowance benefits under the Old Age Security program, you can usually renew your benefit simply by filing your return by April 30. If you choose not to file a return, you will have to complete a renewal form. This form is available from Service Canada. • Applying for the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit helps to offset all or part of the GST or HST that you pay. Other helpful tax-time information for seniors can be found on the Canada Revenue Agency website at To make it easy on yourself this year, why not consider filing online? It’s simple, secure and will save you time. Information to get you started is available at getready.

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income, the amount that you need to start putting away to retire with a golden nest egg later in life may be smaller than you realize,” says John Tracy, a senior vice president at TD Canada Trust. Tracy provides his top tips on how to get you on your way to retiring comfortably - and maybe It may be easier than you think even a millionaire: (NC)—Reaching retirement with $1 million Start now –The biggest advantages you have in your RSP portfolio is not just for the wealthy. when you are young are time and the power of The reality is that if you are decades away from re- long–term growth potential and compound intirement and have good discipline, with the right terest. When combined with the tax-deferred financial plan and smart investments, retiring a growth within an RSP, these are effective wealth millionaire can be an achievable goal.1/19/11 8:54 building tools. Mary Gillick_4x5.4_Ad_0111 PM Page 1 “For young people with a steady and growing Make saving regularly a habit – It can be

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withdraw RSP funds to purchase your the TFSA at any time, for any purpose a few years when you could benefit first home and then re-deposit the tax free. from a higher tax break? Let’s take a 23-year-old, who has fin- funds back into your RSP over a 15 • There are no tax deductions for Everyone’s personal situation is ished her education, and started a job year period. TFSA contributions; however, many unique so it is important to consider in the workforce. She probably doesn’t Over the years, the HBP has found young people are in a low tax bracket. your own variables before you make have any savings to date, and will like- its way into the financial plans of A low income means your RSP con- any firm financial decisions, but for ly have a low income in the early years many young people, and though it tribution results in a lower tax refund. young people looking to save a down as her career gets started. She is proba- has worked for many people, it comes Similarly, a high income means your payment for their first home, I would bly looking to start saving for a home. with a series of rules, qualification cri- RSP contribution results in a higher certainly urge them to consider the Most of us probably know someone teria, payback schedules, and possible refund. Why not save your refund for benefits of saving inside a TFSA. in this situation. What advice would tax implications for failing to meet the you give her? What’s the best way to 15-year minimum repayment schedsave a down payment for a home? I ule. would argue that Actually, I have now a TFSA (Tax Free never been a fan of Savings Account) is HBP for a variGross income have $25,500 of the an ideal fit for this ety of reasons and $28,440 cumulative room... in my experience, scenario. Four identical Many young peoI have probably ple gravitate to an steered more young (self contained) RSP for their early people away from two bedroom units. savings and towards it than towards it. Adequate parking the HBP (Home And now, with a Great long term investment Buyers Plan) for a few years under plus garage. only down payment, but since TFSAs en- its belt, and cumulative contribution tered the financial scene in 2009, we room on the rise, the TFSA emerges 527 Talbot Call/Text have reason to look in another direc- as a more flexible solution for the first StreetVisscher Nick tion. time home buyer. 519-933-4714 Broker of Record St. Thomas, The annual TFSA limit for 2013 A few TFSA considerations for a Real Estate Brokerage 519-637-2300 has just been raised to $5,500. This young home buyer saving for their Bernie Sheridan Andy Sheridan Nick Visscher 527 Talbot Street, St. Thomas, means, if you have never opened down payment are: 519-637-2300 a TFSA and you were at least 18 in • The TFSA offers not 2009, you now have $25,500 of cu- available in the HBP because of the mulative room in your TFSA. HBP rules around withdrawal limiThe young individual in the scenario tations and payback rules. With the above has $25,500 of available TFSA TFSA, there are no payback requireroom, which in 2013 has now sur- ments and no limit on the amount passed the $25,000 withdrawal limit you withdraw from your TFSA. in the HBP and comes with far fewer • There are no rules to be deemed an strings attached. The HBP, if you are eligible “first time homebuyer” for a Kee, Perry & Lassam offers a full unfamiliar with it, is a program to TFSA. In practice, you can withdraw range of public accounting services. Our chartered accountants and staff have the experience, Stephanie Farrow, B.A., C.F.P., is a training and skills to deal with your Certified Financial Planner and co-owner of Farrow Financial business needs. Services Inc., in Belmont

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Exciting times for local Junior Achievement Thirty-two teens are operating two companies

by Terry Carroll

A remarkably diverse group of 32 teenagers has formed two companies this season in the Junior Achievement (JA) program in St. Thomas. That’s right – they’ve created not just one, but two businesses. One is called Simple Fortunes, and the directors are producing and selling Designer Duct Tape Wallets. These wallets have been designed for, and manufactured completely from, duct tape, which comes in different colours. I was offered a choice between Radical Red and Purple Fusion. I chose the purple. The other company is called Fescura, and these teens are manufacturing and selling Jabreezy, an air and fabric freshener. It’s an easier to manufacture than duct tape wallets, since Jabreezy is produced by mixing three ingredients, and then bottling, labeling and selling it. But that doesn’t mean the company is a complete breeze. Much work still has to be done . . . marketing and selling a product at $5 can be a lot of work.

Junior Achievement literature is very clear on one point. “All decisions affecting the operation of the company are made by the students. As a result, the participants in the JA program have an opportunity to fail.”

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Of course, success is very much on the minds of the adults who mentor the program: Gene Ryan, Barry Fitzgerald, Scott Patterson, Tara McCaulley, Brandon deVries and Dan Kelly. The Monday evening I attended a working session of the two companies, Barry and Dan delivered a well-reasoned wake-up call message to the directors of the Fescura company. A few problems with bottling needed to be addressed. There was a lot of product that needed to be marketed and sold to make this a success. Some directors of the company were wandering around, if they perceived that there wasn’t a direct task to be done. The message from Barry and Dan? Everyone in Junior Achievement is a business owner, and wandering around doesn’t work for a business owner. Directors who found themselves without much to do should check in with the man-

Adult mentor Dan Kelly (left) assists Deirdre Nudds, Casey Murphy and Brad Wright with the financials for Frescura, a Junior Achievement company producing Jabreezy.

agement team. The message seemed to be well received . . . from what I could tell, kids went to work with renewed dedication. Participants in the program are at the high school level. They meet Monday nights at Elgin Business Resource Centre in St. Thomas from October until April. Directors put in $10 to purchase shares in the company, they work on the product and are paid 50 cents an hour. The management team consists of a president and vice presidents of areas such as production, sales, marketing, finance and so on. Management team members are paid two Continued on next page


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(Clockwise from left) Rhiann Fleming, Branden Miller, Tyler Whitney, Calvin Huybers and Curtis Rohl take a break from the production of Designer Duct Tape Wallets at Simply Fortunes, a Junior Achievement company. Continued from previous page

dollars for their Monday evening work. At least at the one company, participants receive 10 percent commission on sales. Tyler Whitney from Arthur Voaden Secondary School is the president of Simple Fortunes. It was a little overwhelming for him at first, he said. This is his first year in JA, and he found himself in the position of boss after he made an impressive

speech at the start of Junior Achievement in October. He quickly discovered that he “definitely had to delegate the work.” He adds, “And don’t put too much pressure on yourself.” In the ensuing months, he learned the value of good communication. Without that communication, orders slow down, quality suffers and confusion begins to take over. Now, Simple Fortunes is aggressively

marketing and selling their wallets. Their goal? They’d like to sell a little over 200 units. If they do, the directors will achieve a final share value of $25 on their $10 investment. Paolo Santiago, in Grade 10 at Central Elgin Collegiate Institute and a first-timer with JA, says he has learned a lot as a director working with Fescura on the Jabreezy product. He spoke with me as he was la-

beling bottles for sale. “I’ve learned a lot about the financial side. And JA also teaches you responsibilities. You’ve got to be here every week, and you have to do the job you’re given.” He agreed with Tyler that learning people and communication skills was very important. Jade Lynch, also in her first year with JA, told me she became involved after a school presentation. She’s in Grade 10 at Voaden. Junior Achievement is currently working with the Chamber of Commerce, inviting business people to attend an elementary school for a day to introduce kids to business basics. Of course, some of these young students may be attracted to JA once they reach high school. Curtis Rohl, in Grade 12 at Voaden, is vice president of sales for Simple Fortunes. His sales training includes the advice to “not go into cold calls thinking the sale is lost.” And he recommends persistence, but not to the point of being abrasive. Are there long-term benefits of all this Junior Achievement effort? Apparently so. Tyler Whitney has applied to business and commerce programs next year, and he’s hoping to go to Queen’s. “It’s a big, exciting world to me,” he said.

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A dry lake and the end of cheap wine

by Jamie Quai

I found myself at a wine and grape growing conference back in 2005 where the keynote speaker, an icon of modern wine research and policy, told the crowd in attendance that the global wine overproduction was in the order of ten to fifteen percent above demand. There was a figurative lake of wine out in the world. Jump ahead to present day, and most world wine observers agree: the lake has dried up. 2012 was, by volume, the lowest harvest in over three and a half decades. This loss of potential volume comes on the heels of several lacklustre vintages in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and California. These places represent the largest producers in the world. So what does this mean for the average wine drinkers? As any economist will tell you: when demand continues to rise and supply does not keep pace, prices will rise. The most price-sensitive part of the wine market is the lower end of the spectrum. This includes the generic bulk wines, and the concentrates used in most wine kits. It is all but a foregone conclusion that the prices

will have to rise rather substantially. The vineyard acreage that would have been needed to compensate for the potential increases in demand was never planted because of the recession. The past year and a half has seen a resumption of new plantings but they are still several years away from bearing any substantial fruit. The vineyards that supply grapes for the lower end of the wine world are also farmed to their limits. Often vines are pushed to produce the maximum volume, even if it means a loss of potential wine character. The point is – the current deficit cannot be fixed by simply pushing the vines

to produce more grapes. What most wine lovers do not realize about their choice beverage is that big bulk wine is a commodity that is traded in global markets. While there isn’t a Bay St. or Wall St. of wine, there are brokers and wholesalers who derive their livelihood from moving vast volumes around the world at the lowest prices possible. As the wine lake dried up this past year, brokers began to scrambling to secure supply in order to satisfy their buyers. The prices have inched up accordingly. There is speculation that the wine lake will stay dry until about 2018. I have heard stories of brokers hold-

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ing off on the sale of volumes of high demand varietals like Malbec and Muscat until the price for bulk wine jumps. Big wine corporations make their money from moving bottles en mass. A price increase on their bulk wine often puts the company into a financial loss situation with every bottle they sell. Because cheap wine market is truly global some of your favourite big name wines are loaded onto freighters in their home country, shipped across the ocean, and bottled very close to where you buy it. It’s actually one of the most cost effective ways to move wine. This is one of the most common ways to save money in production in an effort to keep prices down. Australia, a country that has tried very hard in the last decade to shake its cheap/value wine image actually crossed a milestone in 2012. More wine was exported in freight container than as bottled wine. The reason is two-fold: even with huge improvements in changing consumer perception of Aussie wine, the vast majority of their wines are competing in the lower end of the spectrum, and with the rising costs from supply shortages, savings had to be found in packaging. Additionally, the Australian dollar is currently trading above parity with the United States dollar and a lot of bulk wine producers only see profit in the favourable exchange rates of yesteryear (when it was closer to sixty cents on the dollar). The price of cheap wines has to rise. You may never have heard of the company Casella Wines but no doubt you’ve tried their flagship brand – Yellowtail. It has been widely reported that Casella posted losses of almost 30 million dollars this past year. Casella produces almost 15 million cases of wine annually in the generic wine category. They are so price sensitive that the increased costs of production and poor exchange rates have forced them into the red for the foreseeable future. They are reluctant to raise their prices because of a fear they will lose critical market share. This is a scary position to be in but I would venture that Casella is the first of a lot of big producers who, very soon, will have to act and raise their prices to save their enterprises. As long as the wine lake is dry, we are looking at the end of cheap wine. Jamie Quai is head winemaker at Quai du Vin Estate Winery in Elgin County February, 2013


Faith and Courage when facing a health crisis

A teenager’s struggle to get well again

by Sharon Lechner

Thomas Palmer is an eighteen-yearold high school student who attends Parkside Collegiate. In May 2011, while attending a school assembly, Thomas, an otherwise healthy and active teen, suddenly felt weak, dizzy and nauseous. He collapsed and was unconscious for approximately 30 seconds. This event began a series of medical appointments which left Thomas and his mother Debbie frustrated at doctors’ inability to diagnose what was wrong with Thomas. He continued to be plagued with symptoms, with the most consistent being a feeling of fuzziness in the forehead area accompanied by numbness of the hands and feet and ongoing panic attacks. After many appointments, there was no clear diagnosis. Several doctors told Thomas that there was nothing wrong with him. On June 23, 2012, Debbie arose one morning and went downstairs where her little dog seemed to be upset by something. A few minutes later, she heard Thomas calling for her and discovered him on the bathroom floor unable to move his arms or legs. 911 was called and Thomas was taken to the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital and subsequently transferred to University Hospital where they discovered one of his four ventricles was filled with blood. It was here that Thomas was diagnosed with Arteriovenous Malformation or AVM, a sometimes fatal condition which involves a tangle of abnormal and poorly formed blood vessels. Essentially it is one little vein that doesn’t lead anywhere located in your brain. While people who have this condition can remain asymptomatic all of their lives, in Thomas’s case, the vessel had broken. After an eight-day stay in the hospital, Thomas was sent home to rest and regain his strength. On October 31, surgery was scheduled to embolize the vessel, located

deep within Thomas’s brain. Debbie was informed that there was a 20 percent chance once they got into the brain that there might be nothing they could do to correct the condition or that Thomas would be permanently disabled. At one point Thomas told his mom, “If I lose my mind, I want you to know how much I love you.” Two days after the surgery, Thomas was sent home from the hospital to begin a lengthy recovery. He sometimes slept 20 hours per day. He suffered from excruciating headaches, but close to Christmas, Debbie finally saw the glimmer return to her son’s eyes. On January 2, she felt positive he was back to normal. I asked Debbie what she would recommend to anyone experiencing a health crisis, and she recommended the following three things: 1. Don’t give up. Keep pushing forward and question doctors and test results. 2. Don’t lose faith. Pray for guidance and strength. 3. Educate yourself. Find other people who have gone through the same thing you are going through. Debbie credits her ability to get through this situation largely to being able to connect on the internet with other people who have survived AVM. On February 1, the date this article will be released, Thomas Palmer turns 19. He looks forward to a bright future including a college education. Just before I submitted this article on January 14, I received a call from Debbie Palmer telling me that she had received the results of Thomas’s final MRI. Based on his experience, the doctor felt that Thomas had made a full recovery. Debbie told me she was going to celebrate by taking a long nap, the first sleep in the past 20 months she planned to enjoy without fear.

Sharon Lechner is a certified master life coach and owner of Reach for the Stars Empowerment in St. Thomas February, 2013


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HOMESTYLE Decorating

Part 1 of 3 by Renée Carpenter

Colour made easy Colour is king in any décor and is usually the first thing someone thinks about when redecorating. Yet pulling together the right colours can be challenging for most. If you are beginning with a clean slate, the options are limitless. But if there are existing pieces already in the room, you are obligated to work within the boundaries of what you have. This doesn’t have to be boring or even difficult as there are so many colours to coordinate and pull out. My personal decorating style involves bold versus subtle. Think of paint as a complementary background instead of what knocks you down upon entering a room. I want fabrics and furniture to be the stars and the wall colour to quietly tie it all together. Everyone thinks of walls first when they think of colour. But using colour in furniture and accessories -- rugs, pillows, art – makes an amazing impression without going crazy on the walls. Consider the big picture to give a home flow. Weave the same colours throughout main spaces, but make the dominate colour in one room an accent in another. You’ll be surprised at how different the rooms will look, yet how easily they flow. Think of hallways as palate cleansers – the sorbet that’s served before diving in to the next course. Keeping them neu-

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tral allows you to branch into any colour in rooms that flow off them. Failing to think of wood as a colour can ruin an otherwise thought-out scheme. Oaks and rusty oranges can look too similar, and mahogany can make a dark room even darker. Break up a room of matchy-matchy wood furniture with one painted piece. It doesn’t have to be a bold colour. I like to combine natural wood tones with black. Choosing the right colour combination is an art. The key here is samples, samples, samples! Even the most skilled designers often need several tries to find the perfect shade. Always test paint colours before diving in. Paint large sample swatches by the window, next to the trim, in the darkest corner, in the lightest corner. Let the samples dry and give them a second coat so you can accurately assess the colour. Place paint samples at least three feet away from each other when you are testing them on a wall. The farther apart, the better so your eyes don’t blend the colours together. Paint colours will look darker on the walls than they do in the can. When debating colour on colour chips, focus on the less-saturated colours. The muted version – one that looks almost too muted on a chip – usually will work best on your walls. To tell if a colour has a pinkish, grayish, bluish, greenish cast, look at similar colour swatches side by side. It’s all about comparison. Give yourself permission to use lots of samples and even make a mess of your walls until you find the perfect colour! When putting it together, remember the Rule of Three. When you pick a colour, use it at least three times in a room. When spreading colour around a room, think about proportion. If you’re using three colours, try a 70/20/10 distribution: Use the lightest colour for 70% of the room’s décor, the second lightest for 20%, and the boldest for 10%. For two colours, go with 70/30. Watch for Part 2 next month.

Call Marilyn: 519 633 7597 ext 327


Renée Carpenter is the Owner of Jennings Furniture & Design in St. Thomas


February, 2013

HEALTHY LIVING Everyday Health

Supplementing for your heart Heart and stroke are still the biggest killers

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

February is “Heart and Stroke” month. There are many important health issues, but it is important to remember that heart disease and stroke are still the biggest killers in our society. Especially during this month but also during the rest of the year be sure to remember how important it is to keep your heart and cardiovascular system healthy. In consideration of this topic, I thought it would be important to introduce people to an important heart healthy supplement called Coenzyme Q10. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated improvements in heart function in patients with congestive heart failure and other heart related issues after supplementation with Coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is also known as Ubiquinone. It is a naturally occurring compound found in every cell in the body. It plays a key role in energy production in the mitochondria. If you remember back to high school biology class, you may recall that the mitochondria is the cellular organelle responsible for energy production. Due to this important role, there has been research that indicates that coenzyme Q10 may be helpful in the treatment of many conditions including heart failure, cardiomyopathy, heart attack prevention and recovery, high blood pressure, diabetes, gum disease, kidney failure, Parkinson’s disease and in counteracting the side effects of certain prescription drugs. With regard to heart and cardiovascular issues, people with heart failure have been found to have lower levels of CoQ10. Over the past several years, several research studies have found that supplementing with CoQ10 can be very beneficial for patients with heart conditions. The findings included a reduction in symptoms like shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping and swelling. CoQ10 is thought to help increase energy production in the heart thereby increasing the heart’s ability to pump blood. One of the interesting discoveries to come out of the research on Coenzyme Q10 involves so called Statin drugs. Statin drugs are a class of drugs

used to lower cholesterol and are also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. Some research indicates that these drugs may actually interfere with the body’s production of CoQ10. Since many patients with heart conditions will usually be prescribed cholesterol lowering medication, the effect of decreased CoQ10 production from the medication may have negative effects on the heart muscle. It is becoming more common for patients being directed to take Statin drugs to also be directed to supplement with Coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 is available in a supplement form so it can be taken like a vitamin. There are also natural sources of CoQ10 that we can obtain in our diet. Cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines are all good sources of the nutrient. These foods also are good sources of essentially fatty acids that are extremely beneficial as well. Lower amounts of CoQ10 can also be obtained in foods such as beef, chicken, peanuts, broccoli and spinach. Soybean and canola oil also contain CoQ10. As with any supplement or medication one must always be concerned with the possibility of side effects and interactions. Everyone taking other medications should always discuss this possibility with their medical doctor and/or pharmacist. There are some circumstances where Coenzyme Q10 might decrease the effectiveness of some medications. It also may actually decrease blood pressure so those already on hypertensive medications may have their blood pressure drop too low. There is some indication that CoQ10 might also increase blood clotting which might be of concern in some individuals. Coenzyme Q10 can be an important supplement for a variety of health conditions including heart and cardiovascular disease. People with these conditions should be encouraged to investigate the many options that are available that might prove beneficial. As always, people with known conditions who are already undergoing treatment should first discuss any nutrition or supplement changes with their doctor and specialist as well as their pharmacist.

Dr. Greg Johnston is a Chiropractor and partner in Family Health Options Treatment & Resources Centre in St.Thomas February, 2013



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Moon landings and winter outing There is a scene in the classic movie “A Christmas Story” where Ralphie’s little brother Randy, after being bundled by his mom, in sweaters, a snow suit, two hats and a scarf, cries out frantically, “I can’t put my arms down!” I think of this scene every time I dress my two-year-old son for any winter excursion. There is, after all, a fine line between appropriate winter protection for children and sending them out looking like astronauts on their first moon landing. All in all, winter is a frustrating season for toddlers and their mothers. Before we can even head outside, I have to convince my youngest son to go to the bathroom – a necessary first step before dressing him in the required layers. In the midst of toilet training, this is interpreted as an unscheduled and therefore, unfair demand. His whimpering, only briefly silenced after the bathroom negotiations, resurfaces when he faces the mound of bulky clothes he knows I am going to wrestle him into. A neck warmer, a hat and then the snow pants which rob him of any sensation in his legs. By now, a complete melt-down is just a moment away; because after the third attempt, his thumb still isn’t in the right hole in his mitten, and, with all the added layers on him and my frustration, we are

by Elizabeth VanHooren

both overheating. A quilted jacket and big black boots finally tip the scales, and his winter attire has now doubled his body weight. Even at two years old, I can sense his embarrassment at having his mother lift him down the back steps and outside. I try to convince him to stay in the snowplowed driveway where

it would be easier to walk. But, eager to gain some distance from his mother, he strikes out to the backyard. He rounds the corner of the house and pauses seemingly surprised by the drifts of snow meandering across the yard like waves. It’s a long walk. With his arms stuck straight out trying to maintain his balance, and unable to lift his feet more than an inch off the ground, it’s not long before his feet become locked in the snow. He falls, in slow motion, to his knees. In a logical attempt to push himself up, he plunges his hands down into the snowdrift expecting to find the resistance of hard ground. Instead he loses his arms in the white stuff, and I know by the startled cry his nose has touched the drift’s icy surface. Now, unable to push himself up with his arms he does the next best thing and rolls over to his back. He looks like a kid making a snow angel. Except his arms and legs aren’t moving and this angel is sobbing, “Mom. Mommm. Help.” Yes, winter is a season better enjoyed when your knees are higher than most snow drifts, your body weight is greater than the gear needed to protect you from the elements, and you don’t need your mother to carry you across the backyard.

Elizabeth VanHooren is General Manager of Kettle Creek Conservation Authority



February, 2013

HEALTHY LIVING Everyday Health

Effects of second-hand and third-hand smoke Protect your entire family

by Jessica Lang

The New Year is often a time when people start thinking about changing their lifestyle habits, one of those being quitting smoking. Smoker or nonsmoker, by now you have likely heard about the harmful consequences of exposure to second-hand smoke and the 4,000+ toxins that exist within that smoke. Second-hand smoke can cause the following symptoms: • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat • Feeling dizzy • Headache • Nausea (feeling like you might throw up) • Trouble with mental focus • Increased heart rate • An irregular heart beat Long-term exposure can lead to more serious health effects such as heart disease and COPD and even death. Children and adults can both be affected by secondhand smoke; however children are more vulnerable to the effects because they are still growing and they take in more air for their body weight. The effects of secondhand smoke exposure are likely not new information to you, but have you heard about third-hand smoke? Third- hand smoke is the off-gassing and residue left by second-hand smoke and can last up to weeks or even months after active smoking ceases. It can penetrate or embed into upholstery, carpet, walls, clothing, hair, skin, toys and even dust. Babies and young children who crawl on the ground

and put objects such as toys into their mouths can actually ingest third-hand smoke. For these reasons, it is important for parents to strongly consider making their homes and vehicles smoke-free. Doing so will protect the whole family from exposure to both second-hand and third-hand smoke. With Family Day approaching on Monday February 18, why not do something meaningful that will help protect the health of your family? Make your home and vehicle 100% smoke-free. Discuss the importance of this with your family and friends. Ask visitors to take the smoke outside. It may prevent your child from starting to smoke or having future health problems related to second or third-hand smoke.

If you are a smoker who is interested in quitting, there are resources available to help you quit. Contact Elgin St. Thomas Public Health at 519-631-9900 or email to book an appointment for one-to-one counselling. Subsidized nicotine replacement therapy is available. The Smokers’ Helpline is another resource available free of charge from the comfort of your home. Just call 1-877-513-5333 or connect online at www. Quit Specialists are ready to assist you!

Jessica Lang is a Health Promoter for Elgin St. Thomas Public Health, coordinating the Smoke Free Ontario Strategy.


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February, 2013




Yoga – the third leg of fitness Can we also find bliss in the long stretch?

by Duncan Watterworth

About 30 years ago I bought – for laughs – a picture book on yoga. It was full of photos of a skinny, old, Indian contortionist demonstrating poses. His long hair and beard reminded me of the Sadhus – Hindu holy men – I have seen on the banks of the Ganges River in India. In the back of the book were some startling photos – cleansing activities like swallowing a fifteen foot strip of cloth and pulling it back up, or running a string into a nostril and out the mouth. I never imagined that one day I would be trying to mimic that Indian (the poses, not the cleansing), and envying his abilities. But now I have joined the yoga craze, doing the warrior poses, the downward dog, and all sorts of delicious limb-twisters. The roots of yoga go back 5,000 years in India. The initial goals were mostly spiritual: maximizing the flow of prana – the universal life force – within the body, or even achieving the bliss of Samadhi. But modern Western yoga leans heavily toward Hatha yoga, which focuses on the physical practice – flexibility, balance and muscle tone – perhaps more than the spiritual side. Anything 5,000 years old, and Hindu, is bound to have had a few reincarnations. Recently, yoga has received the full free-enterprise makeover, with franchises, celebrities, designer fashions, and over-priced water bottles. Most of the gurus today are marketing gurus. In addition to the physical and spiritual benefits, yoga is touted for stress relief, medical cures, removal of those nefarious toxins, and pretty much everything else.

But none of that is yoga’s fault. I need regular stretching to maintain joint flexibility as I get older, and also balancing exercises. As I mentioned in a previous column, flexibility is the third leg of the fitness stool, together with cardio exercise (like running), and weight training to keep muscles, bones and joints strong. I thought yoga could fit the bill. So when my wife and our neighbour, Connie, signed up for a “core yoga” series of classes at the Enjoy the Journey Yoga Studio in town, I tagged along. The studio is sparsely adorned with two Buddhas, some unlit candles, an amethyst crystal, and a small statue of – if I am correct – the Hindu god Shiva the Cosmic Dancer. “Love and Light,” says a wall plaque. Brenda welcomes us with a warm Namaste – a greeting honouring the divinity within each of us. We are then guided through a series of poses, arms and legs going in all directions. They range from easy, to strenuous, to tippy. We stretch in ways I had never imagined. Brenda somehow seems to know just when to remind us to “smile”, and “breathe.” And since it is a yoga + core class, we do abdominal exercises. When the work is done, we clear our minds by lying in the dark on our backs, bathed in soft music. The class ends with a communal chant of Ommmm, to connect with the primordial sound of the universe, and there are smiles all around. Now, I’m a fan of yoga. I’m getting the stretching and balance Duncan Watterworth is I need, it’s fun, and recently a retiree and empty-nester it feels good. And if I in St. Thomas achieve the bliss of a Sadhu – bonus!

Old Town Hall is a magic building And Aylmer offers much more than theatre

lmer Community Theatre. I have ascended into the theatre on a few occasions and have been delighted to see that performers from several other amateur compa by Ric Wellwood nies have come to Aylmer to share their talents. Players from Ingersoll, St. Thomas and Because of its location in East Elgin, the even London have taken the short trip for a Town of Aylmer experiences sunrise a bit ear- series of rehearsals and performances. Veteran lier than St. Thomas, and I think it’s that early Aylmer actor/director Barbara Warnock has start that gives the residents of Aylmer a bit of been joined on several occasions by long-time a head start on the rest of the county. With a thespian Ron Sawyer and the wildly comic Anpopulation of a bit more than seven thousand, drew Gibbes. Theatre has been such a success Aylmer is a hive of activity on all levels, with that they produced a Mystery Dinner Theatre many heritage buildings, a good experience and moved it to the Lemuseum and the East Elgin Comgion Hall for the sit-down dinner munity Complex, which is home ...a hive of and show. This cross-pollination to all levels of hockey and other activity on all infuses the kind of energy that has gatherings. brought this group to the Western levels... As a theatre critic, I was drawn Ontario Drama League in competo the happenings in the Old tition with other groups. Town Hall, a magic building that The performing arts are not the was erected in 1874 and began its only special thing about Aylmer. Several art vital connections to the community with an galleries are within a short distance, and a appearance from our first Prime Minister, Sir number of potters deliver merchandise of high John A. MacDonald and the famous poet/per- quality. The town has one of the best bakeries former Pauline Johnson. There has always been in Ontario, and residents have dedicated such something happening there, even after the city energy to their gardening that Aylmer has won administration left the building for new quar- top honours from Communities in Bloom. Its ters on Talbot Street. Now, a good library is on service clubs are highly committed to the town the ground floor and the upper level is given and its needs. With its variety of shops, and over to a lively selection of concerts chosen by its flourishing Mennonite population, Aylmer Aylmer Performing Arts Council, and by three remains one of Canada’s most pleasant places. or four annual plays presented by the lively Ay30


February, 2013

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013 is...

Make the world a little better kind act at a time Ways that you can get involved! • Send an e-card to your employees letting them know how much you appreciate them. • Share your “to die for” chocolate chip cookies with co-workers. • Offer to make the morning coffee run for everyone. • Make a point of thanking a co-worker for their help on a recent project. • Gather up your gently used clothes, toys, furniture, and books and donate them to the appropriate organization. • Carry groceries to the car and return the cart for a parent with a child, or a senior, etc. • Say something nice to everyone you meet.

We live in a truly amazing community where so much kindness happens every day. Let’s take a moment to recognize when someone does something nice for us. In return, do something nice for them, not just for one day, but every day of the year. - Co-chair Al Hughson

Random Acts of Kindness cards will be available at Tim Hortons in St. Thomas, or cut out this Weekly News/ myFM “Pay It Forward” Card, do a good deed and give it to the recipient on February 6

Share your story on The Weekly News Facebook Wall: or email it to or Brought to you by:

Randy Gordon 32


February, 2013

February, 2013 Issue  

Your Business. Your Community. Incorporating St.Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce Business Beat.

February, 2013 Issue  

Your Business. Your Community. Incorporating St.Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce Business Beat.