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G R A N D B E N D ’S F R E E C O M M U N I T Y N E W S P A P E R

Vol. 1, No. 18

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Grand Bend






Wed. March 12 to April 15, 2008




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LET IT SNOW Mairead O’Rourke, Victoria Webber and teacher Paul Colbourne join the rest of South Huron DHS in a day outside - p. 12 INSIDE: MARY WALKER-THIEL, DAVID BANNISTER, AND THE BEND’S LATIN LADIES Mom’s Advice p. - Keeping the Peace p. - Living in Balance p. - To Do List p. 



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2 •

Strip Thoughts

How will you be remembered? It’s easy to take life for granted as we rush through our daily routine. My week includes driving back and forth to Humber College in Toronto, and often to London to spend the day at school with Anjhela. I’ve done a lot of traveling over the years and often had some very close calls. The thing I fear most is the reality for the family of Mary Walker-Thiel, who was killed last month on her way home from Toronto. Her husband Hub survived, and he says that’s the way God wanted it. I don’t envy what he’s going through right now, but I do envy his strength in being able to trust that Mary is in a better place. Someone I’ve known for many years died mysteriously last week after travelling to the Caribbean. Don Fahner is a good friend of my brother’s, and so far there’s been no explanation about why he died; he was sick since returning from his vacation, and died at work. Our thoughts are with his family. We all take big chances when we travel, whether it be around the corner or around the world. We can’t predict what will happen along the way, good or bad. The good does happen, and it has happened to Anabel Salas and Carmen Rivera, two young Mexican women who discovered they are both living in Grand Bend. Now they’re roommates and having an adventure together. That’s the way it should be. We need to take advantage of the life we have and enjoy every minute. Spend time with the people you love and make sure they know you care. That’s how Mary Thiel will be remembered, and not just by her husband. It’s going to take many people a long time to forget the impact she has had on her community. How will you be remembered?

If someone says “I love you,” what do you say back? To the Editor: We thoroughly enjoyed the article of Lloyd and Leona (Steinberg, January 23). Sending our congrats and God’s blessings on their 60 years together! We wish to know: after Lloyd shares his “I love you” for nearly 40 times a day, how does Leona reply? Signed, Michigan readers married 6 years! Janet and John Ovcjak Michigan P.S. we truly look forward to reading your paper when we visit GB!!! Ed.: The Strip wanted to know, too, so the call went out to Leona. Her response? “I love you, too, Dad. That’s how I do it.”

Rita Lessard April 5

To the Editor:

By Casey Lessard

Phone: (519) 614-3614 Fax: 1 (866) 753-2781

Happy Birthday Mom!

Ontario’s budget woes won’t be helped by McGuinty budgeting

View from the Strip

Grand Bend Strip P.O. Box 218 Grand Bend, Ontario N0M 1T0 CANADA

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Publisher: Casey Lessard Editor: Casey Lessard Editorial Assistant: Anjhela Michielsen Proofreader: Carmen Kinniburgh Advertising Sales & Design: Casey Lessard Chief Photographer: Casey Lessard Contributors: Rita Lessard - my mom Tom Lessard - my dad Jenipher Appleton - nature/birding Jeff Reaburn - SHDHS principal James Eddington - Eddingtons of Exeter Distribution: Casey Lessard, Rita Lessard & Joan McCullough

Readers would not normally sift through the details of the provincial government budget. That’s a shame, because if they did, they’d discover why our province remains headed down a path of financial imprudence: our taxes are too high. They discourage investment at a time when we need all the investment we can get. Sadly this tax-and-spend habit was never debated much in the 2007 election, and the media gave it little attention. During his first four-year term in office, Premier Dalton McGuinty had a couple of finance ministers, but the thrust was the same. Use tax dollars for all sorts of programmes, be they genuine needs or goofy whims. The sum total is that he ran a deficit budget in each of his first three years, and - what a surprise - a balanced budget with a good surplus for election year (2007). The government’s recent economic statement for Ontario shows that the government’s budget is now set to have the smallest of surpluses (just barely in the black ink), despite healthy projected increases for its own revenues. And on top of that sad state of affairs, the provincial debt is projected to increase each year by $2-billion, even though 10 cents of every Ontario revenue dollar already goes towards paying the interest on that debt. The debt now stands at $142 billion, and by the time of the next election in 2011, will be about $150-billion, by Liberal projections. Imagine if those $9-billion could be pumped into health care and education each year. Our debt could be retired in a disciplined way for the benefit of all Ontarians and all future governments. But that is not something that wins votes. So instead, McGuinty has committed $94.25 billion in new spending for the 2007/08 budget year, a substanGrand Bend Strip is printed once a month in the winter (middle Wednesday); 4340 copies are delivered free to all homes and businesses in Grand Bend, Zurich, Dashwood and Port Franks using Canada Post. An additional 1100 copies are available to other residents and visitors at local stores and restaurants.

tial jump over the $88.12 billion of the year before (when he ran a $2.1 billion surplus). This seven per cent spending jump is not financially healthy. The following year, Queen’s Park expects an economic slowdown, and the year after that, even more spending as things improve. Already, Ontario’s manufacturers are hurting, with 100,000 job losses over the past 12 months alone. Government can’t afford to do everything for everyone. They must get used to doing things in a regular fashion (barring catastrophes, of course). Regular annual budget increases should be kept to the rate of inflation. Ministries will always be able to spend every penny they are given. Government must constrain spending to what is essential, plus a few promising initiatives which might improve and economize the way services are delivered. Only in this fashion can we reform our tax environment to generate jobs for Ontarians. Reform’s draft budget for 2007/08 called for increases in line with inflation. Our 2.5 per cent increase is not only more reasonable, it is sustainable in the long-term, and allows ministries to plan for the future. We call for the bulk of the surplus (about $4 billion) to start paying off the province’s net debt. This twopronged approach to budgeting will allow us to continue to deliver services without cutting out essential programmes. And it will allow us to grab the debt-tiger by the tail and wrestle it to the ground, lopping off $4 billion or so annually and then redirecting each year’s interest payment savings directly into health care, our biggest financial challenge. Brad Harness Leader, Reform Party of Ontario

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 • 3

God and family were everything to Mary Hub Thiel reflects on Mary’s life, his luck, and their love Mary Walker-Thiel and Hub Thiel, 2007

Mary Simmons Walker-Thiel was born in Woodstock in 1954. The Zurich resident lost two children in infancy, and her first husband Rick Walker and their son Evan were killed in a car crash in 1989. Mary later married Hub Thiel, soon after his f irst wife – also named Mary – died, forming a family with two children each, and adding two more together. Mary Walker-Thiel died February 19 in a head-on crash with a transport truck on Thames Road east of Exeter. Hub was driving their 15passenger van, and survived the crash.

As told to Casey Lessard Hub Thiel: I’d hate to be alive if I didn’t know she was in heaven. Mary had a heart of gold. I don’t know why she ever fell for a guy like me. I guess I talked her ear off and got lucky as heck. Only a fool wouldn’t have grabbed her hard and hung on. Mar y was working at Merr ymount Children’s Home in London when her roommate met a man from Zurich, and through them she met Rick Walker. I worked with Rick’s mother at General Coach, so I knew Mary a long time before I met her. I would see her at church, and we became friends. My wife and her were friends, too. Rick and Evan and my first cousin’s son Samuel Thiel were killed on the May long weekend in 1989. It just totally rocked this community. He was a young guy with two little kids in the car, and Rick and Evan were killed instantly. Samuel lived for a few days until after his mother returned from a trip to

Arizona. Mary lived alone with her girls in Centralia until 1995. When my wife died that year, she was there and was a strong support. She was just this angel who would help everybody and anybody. I needed help and she had gone through things, so she was just like one of the thousand people who were helping. We were both involved in youth council at church. We spent time planning a trip and a while after we returned we got closer. It was easy being together. It just seemed like it was meant to be. Family was the number one thing. Mary would drop anything for the kids. That’s the way she was. It wasn’t just grandkids; it didn’t matter who it was. She would be there. She was always late. But that’s because she took the time. Then she’d realize she was supposed to be somewhere else and she was talking as she’s driving out the laneway. That was her heart.

Road warrior We had a 15-passenger van, and we didn’t need a 15-passenger van here anymore than a hole in the head; the gas consumption’s kind of stupid. But I’d just drive it to work, which is just a couple of clicks. The price of the van was good and I’m really cheap. Mary liked the van because she could pile people in. If you needed a ride somewhere, Mary would take you. If your kid needed a ride somewhere, Mary would take you. It was a perfect vehicle for her. She was a bus driver and I’m a truck driver, so we could both handle the big vehicle. It was important to her to be able to take as many people anywhere they needed to go. That was her heart. Mary loved shopping. She’d take a couple women with her and go to Costco, filling the van up. She’d take the kids and push them in the carts, and love them right up. She had to go anyway, so why not take the van and take them, too?

The last day Jennette and Sarah Walker with mom on a Brownies excursion

Mary’s daughter Sarah is a world traveler.

She’s a nurse and has been to Europe several times and she did a term in Africa. When she was in Europe, she met a group from Australia who said, Come to Australia. Sarah set up a trip for four months to go to Australia and we were taking Sarah to Toronto airport. We went around by grandma Simmons’, we had a wonderful visit with Mary’s mother and took Sarah to the airport. We had a wonderful time saying goodbye to her, joking around and it was nice. On the way home, we stopped at Milton and had a coffee. After leaving Milton, we had one of the nicest drives we ever had. Mary had to come home to be at the church council meeting and I had to come home to take the kids to figure skating. We were late, but the road was snowcovered, so I wasn’t going very fast. All of a sudden, as we approached Exeter, the van veered over the centre line and into the opposite lane. The last word I said to Mary was no, and the last word said to me was Hub. I don’t remember the impact at all. I woke up spitting this crap out from my mouth, which was from the airbag.

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4 •

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The family, 2007 Damion and Janet with Olivia, Ethan and Ashton; Katherine, Sarah, Matthew; Meaghan and Michael; Jennette; Mary and Hub

I turned to my right where Mary should have been sitting, and the wheel of the truck was within three inches of my right shoulder. Mary’s body was driven right back behind the seat behind me. When I crawled out of the van, there was an Exeter firefighter there right away, and other people. The ambulance came and a police officer told me Mary had passed away. I was devastated. Completely devastated. I was driving the van and it’s very hard on a guy because I thought, I should have maybe been able to do something. I’m not beating myself up. It’s not going to bring her back. Being a truck driver, I know he had no chance of avoiding us. If we only had 10 or 20 seconds more either way, I could have been in the ditch in front of him or behind him.

Lean on me The community support has been so unreal. I’ve never seen so many flowers in my life. I have dishes here I’m not even sure who owns them. We have to go on. If the things like Heartto-Heart and the Zurich Bible School, which were both very important to her, keep going, that’s going to be her legacy more than anything.

We live in the best community in the world and it’s because of people like Mary. Someone’s got to help carry on. All six of my kids are level-headed people. We mourn at the times we mourn, but we are happy at the happy times. We have a good handle on mourning. People think we’re steady as a rock. You can be when you have faith and you have a good handle on what is going on. I have to be strong for my kids, but I also have to be strong for the handicapped kids she worked with. She never saw their handicap; she always saw their potential. She made me, Katherine and Matthew see the same thing. It was a joy to have them in our house, and they brought a lot of love in. I’m calling some of them to encourage them to come visit because it’s important for us to continue on together. The most important thing was her faith in God. Right now, she’s in heaven, cooking, rocking Evan, she’s got my little son who was five weeks old when he died, and two children who were stillborn. Her father’s there playing harmonica and Mary’s doing a little dance. She’s taking care of everybody and having a good time. Going to heaven’s going to be easier because Home on the Range, 2007 we know she’s there. Wayne Walper and Mary Walker-Thiel at Home on the Range ranch

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Grand Bend Strip

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 • 5

You think this winter’s bad! Watch what comes out of Remember 1971? (and goes into) your mouth Keeping the Peace By Tom Lessard, C.D. For some reason, I had driven myself to work at Wolseley Barracks in London instead of travelling with my normal carpool (five of us from Huron Park usually rode together). It started to snow in the morning and by noon, reports coming from the radio indicated the weather was going to get worse. I told my boss I was going home early, and Highway 4 at #22 was still open, so I headed out. The wind and snow were getting worse as I passed Arva and reached open country, but I persevered. By the time I reached Ilderton Road, the drifting and blowing were causing whiteouts and building up so much that I had to plow through some of them. By the time I got to the north end of Birr I could go no further. The road was blocked such that I couldn’t go back or forward and had to abandon my car. In those days, we carried our winter gear with us so I put mine on and left the car in the middle of the road and headed back into Birr. I didn’t have far to go before I noticed – through the blinding snow – the Birr meat shop. Reaching the shop I found that there were already a number of people stranded. The shop was warm and had plenty of coffee brewing. There was also a radio on with the weather report repeating regularly. It was then I discovered that the OPP had closed Highway 4 about 10 minutes after I left London. The meat shop was not very big. To try to make ourselves comfortable, we used what furniture was there and emptied some of the shelving to enable ourselves to lie down; we figured we would be stranded there for quite some time. The next morning word got through that

the army was sending armoured personnel carriers loaded with blankets and bedding for all the people stranded at St. Patrick’s school between Elginfield and Lucan. I dressed as warmly as I could in my winter gear and went out to the road to await them; I waved them down and climbed aboard. After unloading at the school, I was informed that they were not allowed to go any further north, so I asked them to drop me off at the restaurant in Elginfield. The place was packed. There were a couple of other soldiers in the crowd. We were told that the water pipe was frozen, so we volunteered to melt snow and make soup. Supplies were running out and a call for help went out to the Shillelagh bar and restaurant; they sent skidoos with milk and bread. Later that day, a tracked 16-passenger military vehicle – on loan to the OPP – arrived heading north, and took a few of us to the Legion in Lucan. The fellow operating the hall and bar wanted to go home but couldn’t without someone taking his place. I was working part-time at the Dufferin Hotel in Centralia at the time, so I contacted my boss Scott McNair, and asked him to track down Carl Stuckless, who managed the Lucan Legion. Soon after, Carl called to say I could take charge and keep the hall and bar open. I ran tabs for all the stranded – most of whom were from Centralia and Huron Park – and Scott promised to guarantee the tabs, saying he would collect the money we owed. It was several days before the weather cleared, and we were all transported home. It was quite the adventure, but I arrived to find I wasn’t the only one who had a story to tell. Our oldest boys, Tom and Glen, had spent five days with Marlene Jeromkin because they couldn’t get home from Mount Carmel school. It was quite a storm! Do you have a tale to tell? There are plenty of stories out there. Don’t be shy! Send stories to

SHDHS bands heading to national MusicFest Three South Huron District High School bands have been invited to play at the national MusicFest in Ottawa in May. The senior band, wind ensemble and percussion ensemble qualified for the nationals with strong performances at the

Think Spring

Advice from mom By Rita Lessard Brr! It’s been a long time since we’ve had a winter this cold. Perhaps that accounts for the bad mood many people have been in. It seems people have more to complain about when the weather is so nasty. My mother never appreciated our foul moods or our whining and complaining. I can still hear her saying, “Quit your crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.” Then came the Whack! I was smart; I learned to be the most cheerful of my mother’s children. My sister’s mother in-law didn’t like people complaining, either. Her son – my brotherin-law – was a hard man to please, so he always had something to whine about. While he was still living at home and working, his mother would pack him a lunch every day. He especially liked bologna, but sometimes his mother had to give him something different when she ran out of that staple. Of course, whenever she put something different in his sandwich, she knew she was in for a hard time and a scream-fest. One day, without bologna for his sandwich, she decided enough was enough; she would

Curves food drive a win-win for all Curves for Women is offering area women a chance to get into shape while helping others. Its annual food drive runs until the end of March, and supports the Exeter and Zurich food banks. Curves waives the $199 start-up fee for new members who bring in a bag of groceries; current members earn Curves cash for each donation. The gym will also offer different draws, prizes, games and activities this month.

London MusicFest March 4. Music teacher Isaac Moore heads the new wind ensemble, which performed a challenging program and earned a silver award with an invitation to the nationals. Matthew Weston’s intermediate band performed later that morning, receiving a silver award. That afternoon, Moore’s senior band - one of the largest

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Donors should bring non-perishable foods, with baby food and healthy lunch snack items very popular. “Food banks need the support and this is a good way to be a citizen of the community,” says Curves owner Ann Barteaux. “This club has done really well. We were over 2500 lbs. last year and 3000 lbs. the year before.” The food drive occurs across North America.

concert bands at the festival - performed well enough to earn a silver-plus rating, qualifying for the nationals as well. The last SHDHS group to perform was the percussion ensemble led by Moore and David Robilliard. An enthusiastic and curious audience appreciated the challenging program, which overwhelmed adjudicators to earn a gold award. The Black Jazz band is awaiting a snow date.

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put his whining to an end. Blessed with a fine sense of humour, she grabbed a powder puff (those beige, rubbery makeup sponges) and put it between two slices of bread with all the dressings, and packed it with the rest of his lunch. I can only imagine his surprise and aggravation when he tried to sink his teeth into that lunch. That’s a good time to start making your own lunch! While I’m on the subject, my sister had a co-worker who was a bit of a lunch thief, especially when it came to sweets. Whenever one of the girls brought sweets into work, the goodies would disappear. They couldn’t prove who was taking them, so they set a trap for the culprit. The night before, one of the girls baked a bunch of brownies and used chocolate ExLax for the icing sugar on the ones they were setting as a trap. The next day, sure enough, the fellow took the bait and grabbed all the goodies. After the Ex-Lax kicked in, he was mysteriously absent from work for a day or two. The “treat” either cleaned up him or cleaned his behaviour of stealing other people’s goodies. Soon Easter will be here and I will have completed my Lenten fast of refraining from sweets. Yes! (Ed.: now I have an idea for a sweet “treat”) Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Easter to all.

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6 •

Strip Feature

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Taking pride in the watershed ABCF Conservation Dinner featured artist David Bannister’s art shows love for the area’s water ABCF CONSERVATION DINNER Thursday, April  - : p.m. South Huron Recreation Centre Tickets:  each Contact: --, --- or

Story and portrait by Casey Lessard Paintings by David Bannister “I’ve noticed that water features in my work about 80 per cent of the time,” says David Bannister, “whether it’s the river or a lake scene. I think the quality of the water around here is probably more important to me than I even realize.” Bannister is the Ausable Bay field Conservation Foundation’s featured artist for its 19th annual Conservation Dinner to be held April 17. “It’s an event that supports many different conservation activities,” says ABCA’s Tim Cumming, “including accessible trails, conservation education, fish stocking in the Morrison reservoir, and commemorative woods tree plantings.” “When I was asked to do this,” Bannister says, “I was really pleased to help out. I’m very attracted to landscapes that involve farmland and water - rivers and things like that. It still strikes a chord with me from my youth being raised on a farm. I think you quite often see the management and the boards of the conservation authorities tend to be farmers. It’s really a way of making sure the land and the farms and the rivers that connect the rural and urban areas are healthy for all concerned. The

Morning, Ausable - this 16”x20” oil painting was completed especially for the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation’s auction.

conservation authority plays a vital role in the environment. They were environmentalists before the rest of us even heard the word. “Having grown up on a farm, we always felt the water you grew up next to was important

Pinery Wetlands - a small watercolour was made along the banks of the old Ausable river.

to the farm operation. I think it’s important to all of our lives. You realize you have to be stewards of the water, that there are people living downstream, that your livestock may depend on that source of water being relative-

ly clean. You have to keep it free of pollutants, and we’ve all seen what happens when those things fail and the consequences.” And water continues to be important for his life in Grand Bend.

Cows - (acrylic on canvas) Seen in front of a farmhouse just north of Grand Bend.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Strip Feature • 7

98 Ontario Street South, Grand Bend kraft cracker barrel

cheese selected varieties

Conservation dinner artist David Bannister “People are attracted to the water,” Bannister says. “I can’t imagine not living next to it anymore. In terms of tourism and attracting people to the community, water is a key part of that. The health of that watershed and the lake water is vital to maintaining both a tourism and living environment. As the lake comes increasingly under threat from septic tanks, farm runoff, or high E. coli for whatever reason, it’s important that those of us who already live here do what we can to protect the water and in some cases improve it. “I keep a sailboat in the cut off the Ausable, and in the summer particularly, six days out of seven I’m on the river at some point. Certainly the quality of the water and the fact that it’s lively and active with fish you can see, it’s a reflection of the water quality for the community and the ability to attract tourism. It’s integral to our lives more than we realize.” Bannister does a lot of photography in the watershed’s conservation areas, particularly Rock Glen in Arkona. His paintings are heavily influenced by the local environs, including

Morning, Ausable, the painting he donated for the dinner’s auction. “The subject matter is dear to my heart because it’s both the Grand Bend Yacht Club, where I keep my boat in the summer, and the building that the River Road art gallery is in, and those are two areas in my life that are important to me. It’s actually painted from a photograph that I took very early in the morning a number of years ago, and it’s just bathed in a nice warm light. It has a soft yellow feeling about the whole scene.” The painting is among the many items available at the event, which features a live auction, silent auction, general and special raffles, and door prizes. Seating opens at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. Cumming says most people arrive early so they can get a good seat. This year’s master of ceremonies will be Scott Miller of A-Channel. “It’s a lot of fun,” Cumming adds. “The community comes out and it’s a dress-up event, there’s a buzz, an excitement, and it’s a great night all around.”



red or green

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russet potatoes

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8 •

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Livin’ la vida in Grand Bend

Anabel Salas (left and driving the snowmobile at centre) and Carmen Rivera (right and the passenger) are both from Mexico and have lived in Grand Bend since October. Portraits by Casey Lessard.

Mexicans Anabel Salas, 18, of Torreón Coahuila and Carmen Rivera, 25, of Taxco both came to Canada in October to learn English. But it wasn’t until an email came through to Anabel’s adopted aunt Doris Becker that they realized the two were living only moments away in the same village. Now, they share a home with Becker in Grand Cove.

As told to Casey Lessard Anabel: I wanted to learn English and I tried to come to a high school, but it’s so expensive because you need to be a Canadian. The paperwork is so complicated, and it’s as expensive as university. Doris told my dad, “She can come with me and find a baby-sitting job or something like that.” I am here, and I volunteer at her school – she’s a French teacher (at Usborne Public School). I read with the kids and help with the computers. I help in the kindergarten because there’s only one teacher and she needs help. I love the kids. They’re so cute and funny. The kids help me to read. I don’t have good pronunciation, and the kids laugh and tell me, you need to read like this. The kids are so nice. Carmen: I had two Canadian friends, and they told me Canada is awesome. I love to

paint, and they told me the landscape is beautiful, especially in autumn when the trees change colour. Now that it’s winter, there’s a lot of snow, and I like that. When I was looking on the Internet, I saw the pictures of the beach and thought, it’s almost like Acapulco (laughs). The weather is too cold, but it’s okay. I like it. I went through an Internet au pair agency. I got a family (the Gaukrogers) in Grand Bend, but they don’t need me anymore, so I decided to move here. Generally I came here to improve my English, but actually I’m a Spanish teacher in Mexico. I love to travel. The last year I was an assistant teacher in France and I was travelling a bit around Europe, too. The idea is to live with a family so you learn the culture and you can go to the school. But here it was not the same because I didn’t take English lessons. As a nanny, you don’t get too much money. It’s good to learn the language, though. Anabel: Doris came to Mexico when she was 18 (through Rotary), and she went to high school there and lived with my family. My father came to Canada to do the same, but he lived in Guelph. He stayed in Canada one year, too. Doris considers my family as

Huron SPCA launches 2008 Animal House dinner auction The Huron SPCA is preparing for its 2008 dinner auction, which will be held Friday, May 30 at Exeter’s South Huron Recreation Centre. Donations and tickets sales for the annual fundraiser have brought in $166,000 for the animal shelter over the past three years. The SPCA’s new shelter location has helped adoptions tri-

her family. Doris told me, “It’s a little town.” But I said, no, it’s not possible to be so little. When I got here, I realized it’s a little town. I like Grand Bend. It’s so pretty. It’s different because I live in a big city. Here it’s so small and so quiet. I miss the weather. I don’t like the cold. I don’t like the snow except when we are playing in it. I miss my climate so much. I live in the desert - right now it’s 45ºC there. I had only seen snow one time, but it only stayed one day. I’d like to come back in the summer or in another year in June. I am not going to miss this weather. I don’t like wearing many layers. I feel I can’t move and I fall down because the ground is frozen. Where I live it’s really warm. When it’s winter, in the night you need to wear a long T-shirt sometimes. But when I come here, I need three jackets and a scarf, two mittens. Carmen: I love the weather. The snow, the landscape. Last week we went snowmobiling with a friend from Bikini Bob’s. It was awesome! I like it! Anabel: It was like when you are driving a motorcycle. It’s so fun. We went by the drivein. We went along the road and between the

ple and reports of cruelty have multiplied, allowing the SPCA to help more neglected, abused and abandoned animals than ever before. Event co-chair Kate McKenzie expects the dinner will sell out by April, so if you want to attend you should buy your tickets soon. They’re available at Baillie’s Picture Framing in Grand Bend, Exeter Animal Hospital, the SPCA shelter in Goderich, or by contacting McKenzie at 519-236-4044. “This event is crucial for the survival of the animal shelter in Huron County,” says branch coordinator and agent Wendy Reid. “The SPCA does not receive any government funding for our shelters and in spite of the generosity of the local

trees. I’d like to go skiing. I went skiing with the kids from the school. I tried snowboarding, but I fell down many times and then I tried the skis and I like it. It’s fun, but it’s difficult. Carmen: I like to watch, but I don’t want to try. Two years ago I was in Switzerland, and I hurt myself (almost breaking her arm) sledding. Anabel: When Doris went to Mexico, they asked her if she lived in an igloo. She’d tell them, no, I have a house. Carmen: I think people don’t know too much about Mexico. People think we are so poor. Obviously there are poor people and rich people. Here it’s easier to make money than in Mexico, but we are not so poor. People think we are ignorant and that we don’t know too much about culture or other things. I don’t like that. Sometimes people ask me, do you know pasta? I say, of course! Anabel: I am going to miss my friends, the family, Doris. The kids from the school; they’re so friendly and they give me hugs and kisses. Carmen: I’ll miss the people. People here are very friendly. Especially here in Grand Cove. They say hi when you walk down the street.

veterinary clinics, our veterinary bills alone total over $40,000 annually. Any money we raise in Huron County stays here to help the neglected, abandoned and abused animals in this area.” The event committee is also seeking volunteers. “We need people to assist us to get donations for the Live and Silent Auction,” says event co-chair Liam Brennan. “Closer to the event, we need workers to help with set-up and work the night of the event. This is a great opportunity for students to get community hours.” Volunteers should contact Kate McKenzie at 519-236-4044. For more information, visit

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Grand Bend Strip

Belles of the ball By Tyler Kula Special to the Grand Bend Strip Standing between pink-draped tables in the hotel ballroom, a woman chats with her daughter-in-law. She is wearing the same wedding dress as she wore almost 40 years ago, and she smiles and glances around the room while her daughter-in-law sips champagne. The younger woman is also wearing a wedding dress. And they’re not the only ones. This is, after all, the Bride’s Ball, and the women – Hessenland Country Inn owners Christa and Liz Ihrig - are among more than 100 people attending the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation fundraiser at London’s Lamplighter Inn. Besides raising money for a good cause, the February 29th event was an opportunity for women to don their wedding dresses again. “When I put it on, it made me think back when I got ready in our farmhouse with my mom and my sister,” Ihrig said, recalling her wedding in Germany. “It was a very hot day,” she added. “It was in the summer.” She remembers her father bringing her down the stairs of their house to the guests waiting below, and to the man she was about to marry. “It’s different in Germany. You walk together to the church and down the aisle with your husband to be.” The Ihrigs have hosted many weddings at Hessenland over the past 24 years; the inn opened a year after Christa and Ernst moved to Canada with their sons Eric and Frank. Frank’s wife Liz is the inn’s wedding coordinator. One of the reasons the Ihrigs attended the ball was to see the different dresses and how styles have changed through the years. They also came to support the cause. “[CBCF] is a charity that basically every single person can say that they’re touched by,” said Brides’ Ball co-producer Lori Eldridge of Timeless, Elegant and Professional Events. “We thought it would be a good one to showcase for the very first event.” This was the first year for the Brides’ Ball, with another held in Kitchener the week before. Organizers plan to take the event to other places in Ontario. “We’re probably going to expand it into other cities — for instance, into Toronto • 9

April bridal shows in Exeter Getting married soon? There are many people in this area who can help you plan and prepare for your big day. Two bridal shows in April will show what wedding vendors in South Huron and Lambton Shores have to offer. Here are the details:

Liz Ihrig at the Bride’s Ball. Photo: Sandra Regier.

sometime in the fall,” said Eldridge. “But, it will definitely be annual in London.” Fundraisers included the $85 ticket, 50/50 draws and raffles for various prizes. A selection of tiaras was also available, with proceeds going to the charity. One unique fundraiser was the pink wall, a wall plastered with more than 80 pink envelopes. Participants paid $20 for the chance to open one envelope, and each one has a minimum prize value of $20 with the chance for more valuable prizes inside. Prizes included spa packages and jewelry donated by various sponsors. Sarnia resident Wendy Blacklock late husband lost his mother to breast cancer. “I always support fundraisers for that,” she said. But it’s more about “a fun getaway to have some girl time. “Girls are a weird bunch,” she added. “Any excuse to get dressed up.” Blacklock’s friend Dawn Potter also lost someone to breast cancer. “My boyfriend’s mom just passed away in November,” she said. “So I’m doing this for Dorothy.” She wore the same dress she did for her wedding 23 years ago, but there wasn’t any meaning to it, she said, because she’s long since divorced. “It’s just a howl that I can still fit into this thing,” she said. For more information, visit http://www.

The South Huron/Lambton Shores and Goderich branches of the Welcome Wagon are hosting their annual Bridal Showcase Tuesday, April 1 at the South Huron Recreation Centre in Exeter. The event features door prizes, a fashion show, vendor displays, and gift bags for each bride. The grand prize is a pair of matching diamond wedding bands supplied by Bakelaar Jewellers in Exeter. Admission is free, but pre-registration is required by calling Brenda at 519-229-8176 or Faye at 519-228-7053. For more information, visit

Billed as an interactive and hands-on bridal event, Exeter gown shop Bridal Elegance is hosting the first “To Have and To Hold” at Ironwood Golf Club Friday, April 4 at 7 p.m. The event features demonstrations, giveaways, a fashion show, hors d’oeuvres, and take home gift boxes for brides inspired by Oprah. “It’s going to be a little more active, a little more interactive, a little more fun, a little more laid back, but elegant at the same time,” says Wilma Truemner. “We’re one-on-one people; we like to get to know our clients on a one-to-one basis and we don’t mind sharing certain names because we feel very strongly about them.” Bridal Elegance selectively invited vendors they recommend. Brides need to pre-register, and only a few tickets remain. The $5 admission will be donated to the Cancer Society. For more information or for tickets, call Bridal Elegance at 519-235-0858.

Dreaming of the Future Photo by Sandra Regier

Congratulations are due to Zurich photographer Sandra Regier, who is spending this week in Las Vegas as a finalist in the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International awards competition. This photograph of Lesley Latam of Calgary was taken in Cuba in January, and is called “Dreaming of the Future.” It was chosen from 469 as one of the top ten in the portrait category. Regier will find out Friday whether she has won the Grand Prize of a Fuji S5 professional camera. To see the other finalists, visit or Sandra’s website,

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Strip Outside

10 •

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The crimson majesty of the Northern cardinal Living in Balance By Jenipher Appleton

Bird songs tell of spring Imagine this photo in colour!

Yes, that’s a cardinal, and yes, it should be red. Photo by Tom Appleton

males aborted his effort, leaving the couple to pursue their mating ritual. Fergus sat attentively observing the cycle of nature unfolding before us.

Food, territorial males and good parents Food choices for cardinals include insects, seeds, grains, fruits and snails. They drink sap from holes drilled by sapsuckers and enjoy cracked corn and sunflower seeds at feeders. The male cardinal is willing to fight other birds to defend his territory and has been known to attack his own reflection in windows, car mirrors or other shiny surfaces. This behaviour has caused the deaths of many territorial males. More than once I have scooped up the sad remains of a brilliant male cardinal beneath the drive shed window. Northern cardinals are monogamous and the male feeds the female while she is incubating the eggs. The fledglings are fed by both sexes. The male will continue to feed and tend the original brood while the female begins the incubation of a second clutch. The cardinal is often host to the hatchlings of the cowbird who has the nasty habit of laying its eggs in the nests of other birds (the height of laziness). All members of the cowbird family are classed as ‘brood parasites’ and the female lays between 10 and 36 eggs per year. That’s a lot of giving up for adoption. The cardinal proceeds to diligently raise its own young along with those of the cowbird. Any predictions as to which offspring wins the fledgling beauty contest?

stin hri e’




We find ourselves in that lovely transition between late winter and early spring, when the sun feels strong yet the nights remain frigid. Stepping outside in the morning yields a diversity of bird songs, whose performers are more actively communicating in response to the imminent spring. A most noticeable song comes from one of our non-migratory birds – the Northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). The sound has changed from ‘what cheer, what cheer,’ to a more compelling ‘birdy birdy.’ Regular visitors to the feeder all year long, the cardinals seem extra hungry in the month of March. The male’s brilliant red plumage with his accentuated crest makes a striking contrast to the verdant boughs of a lofty spruce. He sports a black mask and beard with a triangular reddish bill. An official appointed by the Pope to his council is also called a cardinal. He adorns his robe with a bright red cummerbund. It is likely that the bird is named for the esteemed official, rather than the reverse. Otherwise very similar to the male, the female has olive beige upper parts and buff brown under parts. Both genders are 19-23 cm long. On a recent late afternoon walk with Fergus, our yellow lab puppy, I spied a male cardinal high in the branches of a sugar maple. He would call ‘birdy birdy’ or ‘teacher teacher.’ This melodic tirade was followed up with a spring variation; a low trill or purring. I soon detected a well-camouflaged female on a lower branch, coyly facing away from the wooing male. Shortly, another male landed on a higher branch from a tree about 50m away. The two males proceeded to make several calls and flitted about the branches, vying for the affection of the female, who remained patiently on her branch. Suddenly one of the



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Tundra Swans expected soon It’s Tundra Swan time again! The birds are expected to arrive close to March 20, but it’s really up to them when they arrive. The Lambton Heritage Museum and Pinery Provincial Park host the Return of the Swans festival until March 30. Information from Friends of Pinery Park website: These beautiful snow white creatures make the 6,000 km round trip journey each year beginning in early March in Chesapeake Bay and arriving in the Arctic by early May. Tundra Swans are attracted to the long summer Arctic days. Plants and insects are favourite foods of the swans, and summer is when plant growth is abundant and insect activity is high in the Arctic. The birds nest on the Arctic islands; nests consist of a mound of moss and grass 30-60 cm high and 60-90 cm wide. Four or five eggs are laid in late May and hatch in a little over a month. Newborn tundra swans sport a dusk gray colour and don’t receive their full white plumage until the second summer. The chicks fly by 11 weeks of age when they must be ready for the late September voyage back to Chesapeake Bay.


Often mistaken for the larger Trumpeter Swan, the Tundra Swan can be distinguished by it’s mellow high pitched hoo-ho-hoo call, which is somewhat similar to that of the Canada Goose. The Tundra Swan is also a much smaller bird than the Trumpeter Swan. Adults have a small, yellow dot below the eye. The express route from Chesapeake Bay to Pinery takes about 24 hours. It is the first stop on the 3,000 km journey to the Arctic, which will take three months to complete. The swans arrive at Pinery in early March and will stay anywhere from three to 14 days depending on the weather, food supply and flooding. As many as 10,000 swans can be seen at one time if the conditions are favorable. To see the swans, visit the “Old Thedford Bog,” which consist the fields behind the Lambton County Heritage Museum. This staging area gives the swans a place to rest and eat on their journey North. Crop residues and flooded fields keep the swans in the Grand Bend area for weeks. In previous years Tundra Swans have been seen as early as February 16 and have still been spotted as late as mid April.

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Hall rentals - contact Sharon (519) 238-6865

March 15 - Mike Fagan March 29 - Bob Finlay April 12 - J Mack

Fun Darts Mondays @ 7 p.m. Bingo Tuesdays @ 7 p.m. Meat Draws Fridays @ 5 p.m.

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To Do List

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

To Do: March 12 to April 15



 a.m. - Grand Bend Legion  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Grand Bend Men’s Probus Meeting. Live music with Bob Finlay Topic: Apple Winery/Thedford. Speakers Mark and Mike Vansteenkiste. Everyone MONDAY, MARCH 31 welcome! : p.m. - Grand Bend Youth Centre Scrapbooking. $2. Bring your own sup p.m. - Grand Bend Legion plies. Contact Kim Widdis: 519-238-6390. Bingo UNTIL MARCH 30  p.m. - South Huron District High  a.m. to  p.m. daily - Lambton School library Heritage Museum FRIDAY, MARCH 21 Community Forum - naturopathic mediPaint Ontario - 12th annual juried art  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion cine, acupuncture, food & nutrition. Dr. competition, exhibition and sale of repreMeat draw Heather Wolfe will speak on the following sentational art. For more information, visit topics: naturopathic medicine; acupuncture; MONDAY, MARCH 24 food & nutrition. : p.m. - Grand Bend Youth Centre Scrapbooking. $2. Bring your own supUNTIL APRIL  p.m - Grand Bend Legion plies. Contact Kim Widdis: 519-238-6390. Greenway Road east of Hwy  Getting off pesticides. Grand Bend and Start by visiting Pinery Provincial Area Horticultural Society. Ray Letheren Park visitor’s centre TUESDAY, MARCH 25 explains how to go green and save the planReturn of the Swans. See page 10.  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion et. Bingo


 a.m. to  p.m. - Grand Bend CHC WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26 Recipe Exchange. Come celebrate March  a.m. to  p.m. - Grand Bend CHC is Nutrition Month. Topic: “Spotlight on Men Can Cook Class. Join our dietitian Food and Nutrition” Bring in your healthy Miranda as novice chefs learn the basics of recipes to exchange. Enjoy tasty recipes cooking. Call 519-238-1556 ext 222. available for sampling! Pick up some healthy eating tips from our dietitians. Call 519: p.m. - Grand Cove clubhouse 238-1556 ext 222 for more details. No cost! Huron County Ladies Playhouse Guild meeting. Catered by F.I.N.E. Guests and new members welcome. For further info FRIDAY, MARCH 14 please call Mary at 519-238-5640. : a.m. to  p.m. - Grand Bend Public School Picky Eaters. The Early Years program T HURSDAY, MARCH 27 and the GBACHC dietitian will provide : to  a.m. - Sobey’s you answers about common feeding issues Grocery Store Tour. Please meet Grand and ways to encourage healthy eating among Bend Area CHC Dietitian Miranda Burgess young children. Parents with children 0-6 at Sobey’s for this fun hands-on educationyears welcome to attend this free fun ses- al program that shows you how to select sion. healthier food choices.  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Meat draw

SATURDAY, MARCH 15  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Live music with Mike Fagan



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MONDAY, APRIL 7 : p.m. - Grand Bend Youth Centre Scrapbooking. $2. Bring your own supplies. Contact Kim Widdis: 519-238-6390.

TUESDAY, APRIL 8 : a.m. - Grand Bend Legion Women’s Probus Club. Kinfolk Finders with speaker David Elliott. Retired and semi-retired women welcome. Contact Maxine Eveland at 519-238-2274  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Bingo

FRIDAY, APRIL 11  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Meat draw

SATURDAY, APRIL 12  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Live music with J Mack


 to  p.m. - Lucan Bowling Lanes : p.m. - Grand Bend Youth Centre The Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Scrapbooking. $2. Bring your own supHuron 28th Annual Bowl for Kids. Make a plies. Contact Kim Widdis: 519-238-6390. donation, or gather pledges and knock a few pins down. TUESDAY, APRIL 15 This year’s theme is ‘Summer Days,’ so  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion dress up in your beach gear and strike it big Bingo at the lanes for a chance to win prizes and to raise money for a great cause. Just by spending some fun time bowling, you’ll ensure that Little Brothers and Sisters who desperately need a mentor and a friend will have someone they can count on. Snow date April 6. Team bowling is available throughout March; call 519-235-3307 to book time for your team. Information and pledge sheets are available on line at, or by calling our office at 519-235-3307. Saturday and Sunday March 22 & 23

Book your family Easter Dinner now!

 to  p.m. - Grand Bend CHC Diabetes Support Program The Diabetes TUESDAY, APRIL 1 support group meets the last Thursday of  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion every month. Please bring a diabetes friendBingo ly pot-luck dish with you to share. Contact Aileen Knip Diabetes Educator for details FRIDAY, APRIL 4 519-238-1556 ext 226.  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Meat draw

: p.m. - Grand Bend Youth Centre FRIDAY, MARCH 28 Scrapbooking. $2. Bring your own sup to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion plies. Contact Kim Widdis: 519-238-6390. Meat draw • 11

SATURDAY, APRIL 5  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Horse races

Oven-Roasted Maple-Glazed Ham with Scalloped Potatoes and Baked Beans Served with soup or salad, freshly baked dinner roll, vegetable and banana split cake

135 Ontario St. S., Grand Bend - 519-238-6786 Beside the Bluewater Motel

Happy 40th Anniversary Ray & Sylvia Beierling March 16th Love the kids

Read the Grand Bend Strip online (back issues, too)

12 •

Strip at School

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

South Huron DHS students spent February 28 outside for a PAWS (Panther Active Winter Sports) day. Above: Seth Weber leads Beth Jantzi’s Grade 12 team in tug-of-war.

Taking a snow day - at school Photos by Casey Lessard

Grade 9s Taryn Dougall, Charlotte McEwan and Riley Taylor try to solve a jigsaw puzzle.

Dianne Heatherington’s Grade 10 French class members (called Les Terminateurs) Teri Stuckless, Sheldon Clausius, Mike Lachance and Jay Hebert try to walk in tandem to Mandy Eveland’s instructions.

Marieke Bertens and Carrington Regan, both in Grade 11, try to carry a ball together.

Vol. 1 #18 Grand Bend Strip, March 12, 2008  

March 12, 2008 edition of Grand Bend Strip community newspaper

Vol. 1 #18 Grand Bend Strip, March 12, 2008  

March 12, 2008 edition of Grand Bend Strip community newspaper