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Vol. 2, No. 8

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2 • Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Strip Tribute: Jule Kovar, 1993-2007

June 2001 - Jule Kovar, 8, plays in the waves at Pinery Provincial Park

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August 2007 - At the Robinson tournament days before her death. Courtesy Port Huron Times-Herald

“The house is so quiet without Jule” Although he is a neurologist and she is an attorney, Dr. Richard and Anna Kovar live a modest life in a home in Fort Gratiot, Michigan, a borough of Port Huron, just over the bridge from Sarnia. Their daughter Jule drowned August 8, 2007 just north of the pier at Grand Bend beach. Casey Lessard traveled to Fort Gratiot the day before the one year anniversary of her death. “I lived with her every day,” Jule’s brother Russell says. “I’d come home and she was here. I woke up and she was here. The thing I notice the most is when I wake up and go downstairs, and I pass her door. I think what’s there and what used to be there.”

As told to Casey Lessard Richard Kovar: It was a beautiful, blissful, carefree summer. All the girls were looking forward to ninth grade, going into high school. Everybody was focused on that and enjoying the summer while we still had it. Anna Kovar: This stopped everybody and everything and brought everybody into a state of shock. The house is so quiet without Jule. She was so bubbly and effervescent. She couldn’t be here without you knowing she was here. Everything is so sedate and quiet now. It’s not the same house anymore. Anna: She was a very easy birth. The thing I remember about her from her birth until the time she died, she was a happy, happy girl. She woke up every morning with a smile on her face; a big, bright smile. Good morning, mama. Happy. Singing. She would come out of bed singing and dancing and jumping and leaping. I think what everyone will say that when she was in a room, she was just energy. She was like glitter. She was always there. She had so much energy and happiness. We moved to Port Huron when Jule was a year and a half, and Russell was three. We avoided buying several of the houses we

looked at because they were on water and I didn’t want the kids to drown. Because we lived in a town where there was a lot of water, my husband and I wanted to make sure they were good swimmers, so we took them to the YMCA every year and had them take swim classes until they were really strong. And Jule had tremendous upper body strength. She used to do the monkey bars and try to see how many times she could go back and forth without stopping. It was an incredible amount of times. Richard: That came from wrestling with her brother, I think. They were very physical. The usual. They loved each other; they were best of friends and worst of enemies sometimes. Anna: They were both tall and athletic. Jule was 5’8 1/2” and she wasn’t done growing yet. She was an excellent tennis player, as is Russell. She played volleyball, and played travel soccer when she was younger. Richard: At school, she was smart when she worked at it, and when she was distracted, which was frequently, she had to be kept to task. Anna: She was a very creative person. If you have ever known people that creative, sometimes it was so easy for her to get distracted by this thing or that thing. She went to Montessori for preschool, and I remember one time I came to pick her up when she was four years old. They used to make these world maps where they would cut out the continents with pins and then paste them on this map and label the continents and oceans. The teacher met me at the door and said, ‘I can’t believe what your daughter did today.’ She started at the beginning and her goal was to finish her world map. She didn’t talk to anybody, she didn’t go to the washroom, she didn’t eat her snack. That was very unusual because she was a social butterfly. Richard: But she was a detail person at the same time. She used to come up to me with an envelope filled with paper that she had cut

into tiny, tiny pieces. She’d look at me really proud. ‘Dad, look what I did!’ Anna: She wanted to be a fashion designer. She had little drawings of fashion design and she was going to start a fashion design company with her friends. She redid her room. I had given her a bedroom set, which was my dream because I grew up poor; it was this antique bedroom set with a white sleigh bed, and she said, ‘Mom, I’m not like that. I’m modern.’ So she redesigned her room with one wall yellow, one wall apricot orange, one wall lime green and the last pink. At first we thought, ugh. But it looks fabulous. She picked out her furniture, which was very modern. She had a great sense of style and she was always dressed in her sense of style, which was always really cool. Richard: I thought she had a great sense of style. She would dress me. Anna: She was an artist as well. When she was in 5th grade, she joined an art club and did these detailed drawings of animals, and the art teacher was so impressed with her, she said ‘I would really like to do a summer study with her because she has a lot of talent.’ Richard: I was looking forward to seeing her develop as a person. With all of the creative ideas that she had, we had a hard time containing her creativity and diversity without suppressing her. Anna: She was an extremely talented tennis player and we were looking forward to her going to high school because the tennis coach promised her a spot on the varsity tennis team. Russell is a state doubles tennis champ, so that’s something we were all excited about.

Typical summer

Richard: She used to tell me, Dad, I live to socialize. That’s what she did. She played volleyball with her friends. She had just finished playing tennis in the Robinson, a big tournament here. Anna: She was supposed to play in a tournament here the week she went to Grand

Bend, but she didn’t want to because her friend, who lives in Sarnia and who she ended up going on this trip with, wanted to do a social thing. Her mother was going to take them shopping in Grand Bend, and so, being a softie mother, I let her get out of the tournament. Richard: It was just a sleepover. She left Tuesday, slept over in Sarnia and then Wednesday they went to Grand Bend swimming and having fun on the town. They played mini-golf and went back to the beach after.

Waiting for a call

Anna: There was a change in our plans and her friend Lindsey was coming over to stay, so I had to let Jule know that no matter what time she got back Wednesday night, I was going to pick her up from Sarnia. I called and the father was home at five o’clock after work, and he said he didn’t have anyway of getting in touch with them because they didn’t have cell phones. He said they might stay late at the beach, but he would tell them to call when they got home, no matter how late. I was up waiting for the call when the policeman came knocking on the door. I was the only one home. The police officer came to the door with my neighbour and I could tell from the look on my neighbour’s face that something really awful had happened. The first thought was that my son was in some mischief, but he was at someone’s house, so I thought that’s not possible. Then they told me. My first thought was, not Jule; anything but that. I spent an hour trying to locate Richard. Richard: I was just in my office working late and it was close to 10:30. Anna: I didn’t look for you there because you’re never there that late. Richard: I get a page from the hospital emergency department. I called home and I talked to the officer who answered the phone. He said, just come home. So I was thinking


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Strip Tribute: Jule Kovar, 1993-2007

Jule Kovar, approximately aged 3, playing in couch cushions.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 • 3

July 2007 - Dr. Richard, Russell, Anna and Jule Kovar on a family trip to Virginia.

to see Jule. She was already stiff. You want to hug her, and her body was cold and stiff. It was so horrible to be in that situation. What happened after we got back was the most amazing thing. The entire house was full of people and food and flowers. The funeral director, who’s been doing this his entire life, said he’d never seen anything like it. There were hundreds of people. The whole funeral home was full of flowers. Over 800 people came to the funeral home and the church service. We kept receiving cards from people for months. Richard: I think the community had not experienced something like that for a while. It was a shock. Just tragic.

the same thing, it’s Russell. Anna: And he’s never been in trouble! Richard: I was just crazy by the time I got home. He met me in the driveway and told me… Anna: This entire town stopped. Within half an hour, all of my friends were here. I was paralyzed. My friend Lori stayed at my side for a week. My friends were helping me do whatever I needed to do. We ended up driving to the hospital in Exeter. Richard: We had to see her. We couldn’t just believe somebody that she was dead. We talked to the ER doctor and Officer Finch, who was on duty at the time. Anna: The mother who was with them was so horribly devastated. Here you are, responsible for someone’s kids and something like this happens. She was in an emotional state that was near hysteria. She was still in her bathing suit at midnight. They didn’t know what our response would be, like would we blame them? It was just something horrible having

to him, but we can’t find the number anymore. Officer Finch told me that she started to get in trouble and Richie was with his date on the pier. He asked her, Do you need help? Are you in trouble? She said no, and then said, Yes! I could see her doing that because she wouldn’t want to cause a problem. He jumped in to try to help her and the waves were too much. (He had to be rescued himself ). Anna: I’m pretty sure she and her friend started playing in the waves further down where it was safer. We come from Long Island where there’s an ocean, so we know what this is about and she didn’t. The waves kept pushing her closer and closer to the corner. Richard: Closer and closer to the sea wall. There were 3’ waves, we heard. I went out Understanding the tragedy Anna: I’ve never had a chance to talk to there on a calm day, waded up to my waist in the sand bar, and I started walking down anyone who was there. Richard: We called Richie Laflamme a few to the pier. As I got about 15’ from the pier, times but he wasn’t there. We still want to talk all of a sudden, it got deeper and deeper until there was nothing under my feet. I started swimming toward the pier and I felt this cold sensation. I tried touching the bottom and couldn’t at that point. I went over to the pier and there were a couple of ladders, but they were very difficult to pick out because they’re rusted like the sea wall. I ended up climbing out using one of the ladders.

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She wanted to make everybody laugh and make sure everyone was comfortable. It’s so hard that we have to keep going without her.

As a grandma, I was allowed to do stuff mothers don’t have time to do. I miss Jule as a presence in my life, and I miss her terribly. We had fun together.

We’d sit and talk, and no matter what we were talking about, she would put me in a good mood.

She was part of us. If she wasn’t there, we wanted her there. I see a piece of her in all of us.

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have. Do you think it’s a coincidence that every year, someone drowns when the lifeguards are offduty? Richard: Absolutely not. This is a totally preventable death. Even something as simple as a life ring could have saved our daughter. It’s obvious there’s a strong current there. It’s a highly dangerous spot. Anna: I think the thing that’s disturbing is that it’s not a danger that you can see. Richard: It was a warm, beautiful night, and was so inviting. I can totally understand why Jule was attracted to the area, and going out and swimming there. It’s not apparent, On the beach Anna: I think there’s a need for lifesav- and there are no signs that explain how daning equipment on the pier and on the beach gerous it is there. all the time, and I think during the summer tourist months, there should be lifeguards Life without Jule longer hours because kids love to swim. It was Anna: She was my future. I was looking still very warm in the evening when she was forward to living the rest of my life with my swimming. Also, there should be some sort of daughter. I miss her happiness. She was like alarm system so that when someone drowns, the sunshine in my life. people respond. I understand there weren’t a Richard: I’ll miss talking with her and havlot of people there, and the people who were ing fun with her. There’s just a black hole in there would have gladly helped if they could my heart that will never heal.

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Strip Thoughts

4 • Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How much is your child’s life worth? View from the Strip By Casey Lessard I didn’t ask Richard and Anna Kovar how much they would be willing to pay to bring their daughter Jule back to life; instead, I’ll put the question to you. If you were able to give money to revive your child, would you pay $20,000, $50,000, $100,000, $1 million? This is not a budgetary issue, as Lambton Shores CAO John Byrne says (see following interview). If the budget were your family’s, you would find the money, right? And you would find it right now instead of thinking about it and waiting for someone to tell you it’s the right thing to do. So why is it, then, that Lambton Shores continues to wait for a report from a professional body analyzing the situation at Grand Bend beach before it makes a real move to secure the safety of swimmers at the beach? I’m sorry, but a few life rings are not enough. The fact is, a life ring is useless if there is no one on the beach to throw it to a person who is drowning. Like the saying about a tree falling in the forest, if someone drowns when the beach is empty, does anybody see? I’m surprised that no one has the foresight to say, until a report is done this fall, that we will go above and beyond the minimum (life rings) to make sure our residents and guests are safe. I use the word guest because that’s what a tourist is. They’re not strangers who don’t deserve our attention. They are guests whose money we want, yet whose safety we cannot ensure. Worse yet, the guests who we fail the most are those who are most vulnerable: young people like Elizabeth Tse, 20, Jule Kovar, 14, and Ryan Albrecht, 17. What is the best we can do until the report comes in? In a 2001 United States report called Lifeguard Effectiveness: A Report of the Working Group, commissioned by the National Center for Injury Prevention and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found that the chance of drowning at a beach patrolled by lifeguards is less than one

in 18 million per year. In one example, the study - compiled using statistics from the U.S. Lifesaving Association - noted that in 1990, five people drowned on Memorial Day at American Beach in Nassau County, Florida, one year after lifeguards were removed because of budgetary restraints. A short time later, lifeguards returned and the number of drownings dropped to zero for the eight years leading up to the report’s release. Grand Bend’s lifeguards are on duty five hours a day during the week and seven hours a day on weekends (12 noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday and holiday Mondays). Friday morning, when our cover shot was taken, there were still none on the beach at 9:20, and there were people swimming in very rough conditions. Among them were Jacey Gardner (on cover) and her friend Breanne Johnston, both 14, of Windsor. They were attracted to the waves for “the rush,” Johnston said. “It’s fun because it makes for bigger waves,” Gardner added. Where would those girls be if Stephanie Donaldson and I were not meeting there that morning? And they weren’t the only ones swimming in the 3’-4’ waves; we also saw a woman with her two young children and a man with his toddler. Lifeguards are more than rescuers. In fact, their most important role may be to prevent swimmers from putting themselves in danger in the first place. Why do people keep drowning here? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the last three victims have drowned after lifeguards go off duty. With a season that runs from the end of June to Labour Day in September, the beach patrol costs the municipality $48,000 per year. That’s not much when you consider that the town brings in $350,000 annually from its parking lots. Even a round-the-clock patrol wouldn’t equal the income from people visiting Grand Bend. If stores were being robbed on Main Street, or pedestrians being stabbed, would the police put a set of handcuffs on the station wall after hours? Surely someone would see a trend and step up patrols. Don’t our beachgoers deserve the same treatment? The Kovars are waiting for an answer.

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Distribution: Joan McCullough, Rita Lessard and Casey Lessard Contributors: Tom Lessard - my dad Rita Lessard - my mom Anjhela Michielsen Jenipher Appleton - nature/birding Tamara Nicola - VisitGrandBend.com Cameron Rankin - Sand Hills Golf Resort

View from Lambton Shores CL: In terms of lifeguards, what is the view If it is foreseeable, it is preventable. - Lifesaving Society Canada, Ontario Branch of whether they should be working longer? JB: That ’s all part and parcel of the This is the third year in a row someone has Lifesaving Society. What we’ve done in terms drowned at Grand Bend, and each drowning of a protocol was just follow what preexisted happened after lifeguards went off duty. To help pre-amalgamation, and what was going on prevent deaths in the future, Lambton Shores last previously in Grand Bend, and carried that fall commissioned a Lifesaving Society report, on. We always interview and talk to the lifeand recently purchased life rings, a measure wit- guards before and after seasons to figure out nesses believe could have helped save at least one what can we do different, and that’s why we’re of the victims. The Lifesaving Society has audited changing lifeguard stands and we provided the facility, will review policies and procedures, new surfboard equipment and so on and so and will interview staff. Their report is due this forth. The frustrating thing is that everybody fall. Typically they recommend lifeguards or rescue can come in after the fact and suggest this, equipment. The Grand Bend Strip spoke with that and the other thing. As I said, that’s why Lambton Shores Chief Administrative Off icer we wanted this done professionally by the Lifesaving Society and we’re going to go from John Byrne about the situation. there. Casey Lessard: I understand you are buying CL: So, do you see it as a coincidence that life rings for the beach. What is the status of each of the last three years, somebody has died that? John Byrne: They went up last Friday (Aug. after the lifeguards have gone off-duty. JB: Again, let me ask you the question, 1). There are four stations, and we bought a dozen of them in anticipation that some of what time should they be on in your mind? CL: My attitude is, if there are people on them will be stolen, and one was stolen that very evening. We’re just replacing them to the beach in a strong enough mass of numkeep them stocked until we get the report bers… JB: What’s that number for you? Again, from the Lifesaving Society and can plan for this for future years. It’s an interim measure at these are all subjective things. It’s easy to say, but you come down there, you look around this point. They’re about $100 a piece. The Lifesaving Society was seen as a mea- and see that there are no lifeguards sitting in sure of saying, Okay, let’s do this thoroughly the lifeguard stands. Does that register with and have professionals come in and objec- you that maybe there are no lifeguards on tively look at this and see what can we do to duty, number one. You look at the water conimprove things. They were also asked, Look, ditions, the high wave activity going, Gee, I’m if there are things that are obvious to you and not sure that’s the safest place to go swimthat we should be doing immediately, please ming. Or do you just throw caution to the let us know and we’ll do those; don’t wait for wind and go running into the lake saying, the final report. As it turns out, there was a Let’s see what will happen? CL: But a lot of people will swim until suntragic event in tragic circumstances. Certainly a life ring is something people can go to. It’s a down, and I think sundown is a reasonable… JB: This isn’t a budgetary thing at all as lot more difficult than what meets the eye in turns of running to get a life ring and tossing some people have implied. It’s based on what it in time to get it to somebody. I don’t want has happened before. For most people, famito say it’s to pacify anybody, but it’s certainly lies and so forth, that’s the dinner hour and there and we’re going to see if the Lifesaving they’re less likely to access the beach after Society recommends more, less, or different hours. deployment of those or what.

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http://www.GrandBendStrip.com CL: The Lifesaving Society has said they leave it up to the municipality based on the statistics they have… JB: I haven’t read the report. I haven’t seen the report. I haven’t talked to them either. We’re leaving them free to interview us and I haven’t heard a thing from them in terms of what they’re recommending. CL: They allow the municipality to decide based on statistics you collect on how much your beach is used, so do you keep track of those stats based on the number of people who are using the parking lots or the number of people that come to the town? JB: The lifeguards make assessments all the time. That’s why they expand or shrink their coverage areas, and they notify people to move in and deploy their lifeguards accordingly. There’s a certain deployment during the week and at weekends and holiday weekends they ramp up their lifeguard decisions they make. We don’t interfere with how they’re going to be doing it. If the lifeguards came back to us and said, We need to be on until 9 o’clock, we’d present that to council and see whether we can do it. CL: So what is the turnaround time on that? If they want to be on beyond 5 o’clock any day, do they have to come to council and wait for a council meeting to decide that, or do they have the authority to do that? JB: Well, again, I couldn’t answer that. You have to think about that. Are you suggesting that we give total attitude to lifeguards to determine their hours of deployment? They try to work with us…

Strip Thoughts CL: You just said you give them discretion to decide what their deployment is. Who’s deciding their deployment then? JB: They decide their deployment meaning where they’re dispersed on the beach. CL: My point is, if there are still 10,000 people on the beach at 5 o’clock, do the lifeguards leave? JB: The lifeguards will announce on the PA system that they’re done. There are different hours for the weekend. You could fence the beach off. Tell everybody to get off the beach, lock the gates and walk away. Do you think somebody’s not going to climb that fence after hours and go in swimming? And are we responsible for that? So should we have 24-hour surveillance and security people around there? This is why we’re trying to figure out what’s the reasonable thing to do. Let’s get it right, let’s not fly by the seat of our pants and react to things. Let’s figure out from the professionals what we should be doing. CL: So what is the municipality’s measure of liability when drownings happen in Lambton Shores water? JB: There’s always a liability… again… you know, we don’t determine where liability comes. If people want to sue the municipality for something that has occurred, that is their right to do. The courts will sort out and attribute liability. That’s not something we assess. We’re not making decisions based on that. It’s, Are we doing the right things? We think based on past experience, past discussions

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 • 5

with lifeguards, the response has been reasonable. You get extreme circumstances. Do the municipality and the council feel terrible about a drowning on the beach? What do you think? (pause) What do you think? CL: You can tell me. JB: (sighs) Okay. CL: I used to be a lifeguard at a pool and we were always on until 8 o’clock. JB: And what happens if someone climbs the fence at 8:30? We’ve had people drown at pools, too. They jump the fence after hours and so forth. There’s no easy answers to this. There’s no perfect solution. That’s why we’re working with professionals. We’ll see what the report says, and we’re going to implement their recommendations. CL: Does it not seem like a little too much time goes by between commissioning a report last November and getting a report after this summer? JB: Does council wish it could be faster? Sure. CL: You were saying earlier that it’s not a budgetary issue… JB: It’s not a budgetary issue. This is not a matter where we’re putting people at risk for the sake of the limited amount of dollars that we’re spending on this thing. That’s foolish. Council’s never made such a decision to say, Let’s risk this and cut it back here. They’ve always followed through and that’s why we have these reports from the lifeguards about what’s going on and what we can do to improve.

While Byrne did not have f igures on hand, we followed up with an email asking for specif ics, and received these responses: 1) Lifeguard hours during the week and on weekends/holiday weekends? Noon to 5 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fri, Sat, & Sun and holiday Mondays. 2) Start and end date for lifeguard season? Lifeguards start the 2nd last Friday of June till Labour Day Monday. 3) Peak number of vehicles parked in beachfront lots this summer or last, during lifeguard hours and during off-duty hours? No data available. 4) Average pay per hour for a lifeguard at Grand Bend? Wages for lifeguards range between $15.00 to $18.00 per hour. 5) Total income from beachfront parking lots for the year? We generate approximately $350,000.00 from the parking lots each year depending on weather, but it must be kept in mind that these revenues are not necessarily beach specific as they serve the downtown commercial areas as well. The monies generated go to offset operating costs and retiring of capital debt for the Beach House etc. 6) Current budget for lifeguards per year? The Beach Patrol Budget is about $48,000.00 annually.

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Strip in the Water

6 • Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Helping Grand Bend pass the test Story and photo by Casey Lessard Three years into the Clean Water Now project, Rotary club volunteers and the municipality of Lambton Shores continue to work to make Lake Huron water cleaner. “We were concerned about pollution and the number of beach postings (due to high bacteria),” says Ron Hunt, chair of the Rotary clean water committee. “We thought, what can we do to ensure fewer postings? We also wanted a cleaner Grand Bend beach.” The Rotary set aside $5,000 for each of five years, and the Community Health Foundation matched that figure. The municipality of Lambton Shores matched both, so the total figure is $20,000 per year designated for the project. “We’ve given a lot of that back to Lambton Shores in a number of ways,” Hunt says, including a water measuring device off shore in f ront of the beachhouse. The equipment measures wave height, water turbidity, temperature, sunlight, and other condi-

tions throughout the day. The information is transmitted to shore and directly to Lambton Shores offices. Health unit staff and Rotary volunteers do the testing daily, and send water samples to be tested for E. coli. Results come back several days later, so they’re unreliable to make beach-posting decisions, but will be used to predict E. coli levels based on weather and wave conditions. Project funding also goes to the Ausable-Bayfield Conservation Authority to do testing at about 20 sites that feed into the lake. “They’re still gathering this data,” Hunt says, “and hopefully we can have a model within the next year or so,” to allow decision makers to make the call on whether the water is safe. The information will also help determine why E. coli levels are high and where the bacteria is coming from. “What will make it worthy,” says volunteer Stephanie Donaldson, “is when we can compile the statistics for the summer and look at three months of daily water testing. That’s

Volunteer Stephanie Donaldson braves high waves to test water quality at Grand Bend beach. Volunteers test five sites five days a week. Donaldson was later told she shouldn’t have been out this day.

when it will come to play. Some days you can look at it and it looks worse than it is.” “Our objective is to make sure the Grand Bend beach is safe to swim, and keeping it that way. We’ve also been a big promoter of Blue Flag, and we were the ones who recommended the municipality apply for Blue Flag

status. Meeting provincial standards 80 per cent of the time is one of the criteria. Last year we met that level, and we don’t know how it will go this year. We’re trying to do the testing and if something needs to be done, we’re going to do it.”

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008 • 7

The Life Aquatic with Skip Izon have a medal with it, too. I’m not sure what other countries use it. Silken Laumann and her sister Daniele used it, as did Marnie McBean and Kathleen Heddle. Marnie and I worked at the Ceeps together before she started rowing. I was a waiter and she was a busgirl. She was a great girl; lots of fun to work with. She originally got into rowing as an exercise thing and just was taken with it and took it to the Olympics. She’s an amazing girl. She didn’t know that I designed her boat until years later when Discovery TV did a thing. It kind of came full circle.

Skip Izon has been building boats since 1973; the first boat he built was a houseboat built while a student at the University of Western Ontario. He read every book and magazine he could get his hands on and took a three-year correspondence course in yacht design from Stamford, Connecticut. He’s been building boats since, and now specializes in high-end, top-quality canoes, kayaks and rowboats; their prices range from $5000 to $7500. Raised in Port Credit, his shop is located on Highway 21 north of Grand Bend.

As told to Casey Lessard My name is Skipper. I come from a family of sailors. I had my own sailboat when I was four years old. I’ve always loved the water and boats. That’s what I do. I worked at the Ceeps and The Spoke and Rim at Western and we’d heard about Grand Bend. We wanted to work in bars in the summer and be near the water, so we came up to the Bend. We were thinking of renting a cottage, but then I thought I could build a little houseboat. It would be cheaper and more fun. I drew it up. We built it in our driveway in a townhouse development, and we got in a bit of trouble there. They came down and laid down the law. I said we’d be gone in a week and it was. We brought it up and moved onto it. I lived in houseboats for about twenty summers and worked the bars. There were usually about three or four of us living on the houseboat. It’s kind of halfway between camping and living in a cottage. We worked the bars and during the days I would do my boatbuilding and designing, learning that end of things. After I started working at Sanders, there was a band called Busker, and for fun they used to get other musician friends of theirs and get on top of the houseboat and play Herb Alpert Tijuana music. I’m not a musician, so I drove the boat. We’d go up and down the river and past the visiting boats. There were a lot of American boats; they just loved the brass music. We’d go by the yacht club and they’d think it was great. People would hand us cases of beer, and say “Just keep playing.” As long as the beer was flowing, the band would keep playing. Then we would go out past the end of the pier. We’d shut the band down as we went along the pier and when we’d get around the end of the pier, they would play a song called The Lonely Bull. It begins with a long trumpet solo. We had a gentleman who was very good on the trumpet and he would do this trumpet solo and everybody on the beach would just stop. It was an odd looking boat to begin with, and you’ve got this band on. When the solo was finished the rest of the band would kick in. We would go towards Oakwood and turn around and come back and just anchor in the shallows right in front of the beach. People would be dancing on the beach in the shallows and the band would just keep playing for the afternoon. You couldn’t get away with something like that these days. My first kind of professional boat, and the most notable, is the Olympic rowing shells. This is old news that goes back to the early 80s. A gentleman by the name of Jackson Coughlan of Hudson Boat Works had taken lines, which is a visual

description of a hull, off a German boat and Swiss boat, which at the time were the two fastest racing shells for doubles rowing in the world. I analyzed those lines. I worked back through the mathematics, and I could describe the performance of these two boats from the mathematics. The description I came up with was the same as what he had seen. Stability, initial stability, secondary stability, acceleration speed, tracking all these things; no turning in racing shells. What I saw in the mathematics agreed with what he saw in the water. You can’t have everything, so you have to decide what’s most important. He came out with a set of criteria for a Canadian boat. I worked back through the mathematics and came up with a hull shape that fit that description and Jack built it. At first no one liked it; it was kind of tippy. People would try it, but it just hung in the boathouses because people would try it and people didn’t like it. Eventually a crew was stuck for a boat and they had to use this Hudson that nobody liked and they went out and they won. It was finicky, but it was fast. Since then it’s brought back three Olympic medals over the years. I think it’s been tweaked and modified since. The basic boat is my design, but I can’t really call it my design now because it has been modified. But the basic boat is in Beijing. We’ll have dinner when Jack comes back and I’ll find out how the boat did. The Canadians use it and the Americans

I’ve got three new designs this year. One’s an 18’ traditional looking canoe; it’s a pretty canoe. It has Ojibwa ends. It’s a very well performing canoe. The part of the boat that’s in the water I’d put up against anything on the market right now for all the different performance things. It has stability, tracking, turning, acceleration, top speed. The first one was launched a couple weeks ago up in Muskoka. The second boat is a rowing boat. It’s kind of an exercise/ courting rowboat that you can take out by yourself for the exercise part of it. It’s 16’ long. It also has a passenger seat, so you can go out for a nice row along the shore with your mate and enjoy being on the water. I’m just finishing up the first one of those, and then it’s on its way to Cobourg. The third one I call The Little Tripper. It’s a 12.5’ open kayak, like a little canoe, but you use a double-bladed kayak paddle. You’re out in the open, so you’re out in the sun. You’ve got access to all your stuff, same as a canoe, but it’s light and fast like a kayak. So I’m trying to get the best of both worlds. The first one is nearly finished and I just got an order for a second one even though the first one has never been in the water. They are all based on boats I’ve done before, so I don’t expect any problems. I have to find a customer that will buy one of these boats before I even design it because I can’t afford to just do stuff on spec. I’ve been very lucky running into people at boat shows, and through word of mouth and past customers. I tell them what I want to do and they say, yeah, build me one. It’s a real show of faith on the customer’s part to buy an expensive little boat that’s never been in the water, but it’s happened over and over again. I’m very, very lucky that way. I have a piece of property for sale in Grand Bend that will clear all debts and put me in a good financial footing. I’d like to take some molds off of some of my favourite designs and see if I can build a more inexpensive, semi-production boats that would be more available to more people not just those with lots of money. It’s a dream of mine to see more of my boats out there on the water and being used. I always say that the boat I’m working on today is the culmination of everything I’ve done before. What I learned designing the Olympic rowing shells goes into the rowing boats, canoes and kayaks that I do today. They just keep getting better, faster and better performing. This little business is not driven by money. It’s driven by just trying to build the best boats possible.

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Strip on the Water

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A life working on the water William Jeremiah Purdy founded Purdy’s fisheries in 1900 with two hoop nets and a dream. The dream is now an important part of Grand Bend and Sarnia’s history. The technology, however, has changed little; today, Purdy’s fishermen use trap nets, which are similar to hoop nets, with both trapping fish alive after they have entered a one-way gate. This is the account of one day on a boat with three members of current owner Milford Purdy’s crew.

Photos and story by Casey Lessard

The boat leaves the dock at Purdy’s in Sarnia at 7:30 a.m. Deckhand Chris Dewey, 21, overslept, but is able to catch the boat before captain Derek Jennings, 24, of Forest embarks. Before untying, Dewey helps gas up the boat with Dustin Johnston, a 29-year-old originally from Prince Edward Island, and Jennings checks the transmission on the Mary Jane, a boat that resembles a long flatbed pickup truck. We will be pulling fish out of trap nets, which are underwater cages made of rope, while fishermen on Purdy’s other boats will be using gill nets

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Chris Dewey catches a fish the hard way.


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Strip on the Water

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 • 9

Dustin Johnston pauses before the work begins.

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today. The crew of the Mary Jane unties and we head north into Lake Huron. Pulling up to our first catch of the day, Jennings slows down as he struggles to see through the bright reflection of the early morning summer sun. As we navigate over the first of 12 nets we will be checking, Dewey hooks the buoys along the port side as Johnston hooks the rope at the starboard stern corner of the boat. Once hooked, Jennings reverses and halts the boat while the two deckhands pull the rope out of the water and above crates – some empty and some filled with ice – and to the middle of the boat. In a feat of science that every boat operator must understand, but which is hard to explain to the layman, Jennings unties this rope, ties some of his own to one end while Johnston ties the other end to the starboard side of the boat, and Jennings gets the submerged net to rise. There are pulleys underwater, and the rope apparently goes down, but there must be an engine driving the process because when Jennings hits a lever, the boat shimmies and grinds (likely controlling the speed of the net’s ascension until the net rises to the surface. After securing the net to the boat – the

equipment looks much the same as you might expect from fishing boats of long ago, with wood the dominant element – the three men work together to pull the net up and see today’s catch. Not a lot, but I’m told in the spring the catch can be in the thousands of pounds, a multiple of the few pounds caught so far. Of course, the day is still young. Among the catch, about ten silver bass, a dozen perch and about the same number of pickerel. Sheephead, redfin and all sport fish (other than the silver bass) are thrown overboard. “If we get sturgeon, we’ll keep them,” Jennings says, but none today. “In the spring we’ll get tonnes.” He points out that there are marks on their sorting tray that mark how long they want the fish to be. He and Dewey sort the fish that Johnston pulls in with a net on a pole. The men sort fast. The silver bass, perch and pickerel land with a piercing thud in empty blue trays on the boat’s floor. They quiver as they try to remain alive, and they will for a while. Johnston shovels ice into the blue trays so the fish stay alive as long as possible so they are fresh when they arrive at market. (Continued on page 10)

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10 • Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Strip on the Water

“Perch and pickerel are the two people like the best,” Jennings says. Perch is most popular, but “the pickerel we’ve been catching this year have been exceptional for some reason.” On the third net, though, “I wrote zero on that one,” he says. “Not one fish.” At 24, it may sound unusual for his coworkers to call Jennings master, but that’s the title Johnston says he was told to call his boat captain; he learned this at a recent commercial boat safety course. Jennings takes it in stride. He is, of course, in charge today, and he shows his mastery of the boat and his job. He’s also patient, friendly and hard working, and treats his coworkers and guests with a relaxed kindness. It’s clear he’s comfortable with his work and is happy to be leading the charge. One time, on the seventh net, he gets mildly frustrated when Johnston makes a mistake because he is distracted, talking about NASCAR. Instead of pulling a knot loop that unties the net, he pulls a single line that tightens it. Jennings tells him to move out and he bans him from talking NASCAR again. “I do it (mess up the loop) once or twice a day,” Johnston replies, “even though I’ve been doing this for three years.” Jennings asks Johnston to grab a needle and after a few minutes is able to untie the knot. They’re back in business. A couple of nets later, captain Jennings turns, shaking his head. Missed. throws a buoy line out while pulling the net “Figured we would,” Jennings says. He turns in and it snags on the net. the boat around, and the crew successfully “Way to go, NASCAR,” jokes Chris Dewey. hooks it. Luckily, the captain doesn’t have to go in for a swim to unsnag the rope, which unsnags itself. Singing a song about loving someone for their money, Jennings tells the guys that he Now shirtless as the heat sinks in, Jennings’ jokes with his girlfriend that he’s dating her physical condition is apparent. Johnston casu- for her money. ally remarks that there are three perks to the [Are you?] “No. She doesn’t have money, job. but her parents do.” Allison is still in Thunder “Most people pay to tan, swim and get in Bay. “I don’t think she’ll let me do this anothshape,” he says. “I get paid to do all three. My er summer.” [What does your work think?] friends don’t believe me, but I weigh 225.” “They know it’s coming.” By next summer, Jennings will be qualified to teach; his major is physics. He’ll still need 10th net “We might not be able to get this one,” to work next summer, but “there’s plenty of work in Thunder Bay. Jennings says after driving past the buoy. “My girlfriend works for the health unit Dewey runs with the hook, but stops and

After an order for live catfish is cancelled, Dewey returns the fish to the lake.

and it pays well. My money goes to school. She pays when we go out because she wants me to save for a ring. I will (buy one). Not now, but…” Jennings teases that when he was in second-year university, two girls pulled him on stage at a bar, stripped him to his boxers, and oiled him up. The prize? He was named sexiest man on campus. But his heart is true to his girlfriend. “I may flirt,” he says, “but I would never break her heart. She’s too good. She has a good heart.” “Do you?” asks Johnston. “Yeah, that’s why I’d never hurt her.”

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“There may be fish out there, but where, God only knows.” The men prepare to release the net after counting their catch. Dewey sits on the ledge while Jennings brings the slack rope back in. The net’s rope comes aboard and is released from the slack. Dewey pulls this rope end over to Johnston’s side and the ropes are tied together again. Jennings gives some gas and slowly moves the boat as the deckhands hold the rope aloft to release the net. On to the next one and once again, the winds make it hard to navigate the boat into a good position so Dewey can hook the net line. “Try it at the back of the boat,” Jennings urges Dewey. It’s been a low catch day Success. Two more nets to haul before day’s Jennings sings Billy Joel’s Downeaster Alexa, emphasizing for his comrades the line, end. It’s now 12:30.


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Strip on the Water

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 • 11

Johnston, Jennings and Dewey head home after a day of fishing.

The fish have been in the nets for up to a week. “When were we last out?” Jennings asks. “Tuesday? The fish can survive for a while without eating. As long as they have room to swim around, minnows will come in.” The fish enter the net after following a lead that’s about 600’-800’ long and funnels them into the cage, which is about 13’ by 20’. “We have to come out here once a week,” Jennings notes, “even if it’s only to clean out the traps. We could keep them alive in there for a couple of weeks, but they longer they’re in there, the worse it is for them.” What do you do outside of work? I ask deckhand Chris Dewey, whose grandfather worked on Purdy’s boats for 45 years. “Not much,” he says. “Play sports any chance I get. I like hockey.” Do you have a girlfriend? “No,” he replies. A boyfriend? “No. Dustin’s my boyfriend,” he says, as the three men laugh. “We always walk the last net off because it’s usually the one we get caught in.” Getting the boat’s propeller caught in the net is a mess. If it happens, someone has

to get in the water to release the boat from underneath. Easy if it’s out of gear, but if it’s in gear, it’s a tense situation. “Today was a good day,” Jennings says. “I always figure if everyone comes home unscathed, it’s a good day.” Back at the shop, operations manager Mike Hopko tells the men they can head home without running the fish through the processors that remove scales and fillet them. They are processed the next day, and by Wednesday, are delivered to Grand Bend for sale and cooking at Purdy’s at the Bend. “No one has higher standards than Milford Purdy for quality, consistency and cleanliness,” says assistant manager Al Duffy. “Trust me. No one. “What makes Purdy’s so unique is they control their product from catching it to cooking it.” To try the fish (fresh or with chips) for yourself, visit Purdy’s on River Road. Fresh fish includes pickerel, perch, whitefish, and lake trout, as well as imported Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout. The shop is open Wed. and Thurs. from 4 to 8 p.m., and Fri. to Sun. from 12 to 8 p.m. The season runs from Victoria Day to Labour Day.

Al Duffy shows off the catch at the store in Grand Bend.

Operations manager Mike Hopko puts the catch on ice.

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A day at the beach Keeping the Peace By Tom Lessard, C.D. Hey kids, who wants to go to the beach? That was a stupid question to ask on a hot summer’s day. I ended up with nine kids loaded into my good-sized car. I put some pieces of cardboard in the trunk for the sand dunes and off we went. In those days, there were no restrictions on seatbelts or number of people in a car. We arrived at McPherson’s corner and turned west. Just behind the restaurant there’s this huge dune, where we pulled over. The kids jumped out, grabbed the cardboard and climbed the hill. Going down is fast and easy. There should be a skilift erected to take you back up. The kids don’t mind the climb, but I did it once and quit. After they had worn themselves out, it was back in the car and off to the beach. Someone spotted a store in Port Franks, so we had to buy popsicles. You have to keep kids happy, and the popsicles kept them quiet for a little while. At the beach I gave them all instructions about staying close together and keeping close to shore. I stood at the edge of the water and kept counting one to nine continuously so I

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Strip Thoughts

12 • Wednesday, August 13, 2008

didn’t lose anyone. An hour or so of swimming and it was back to the dune for another hour or so, then back to the beach. I must have ended up with enough sand in my car to fill a sandbox. We had a great day and all arrived home safe and sound. Kids aren’t the only ones who like to play in the water. The Optimist Club of Huron Park periodically held dances in the rec centre on the industrial side. One night in particular, we had a good crowd and everything was proceeding well until time to close. As a member of the setup and cleanup committee, I looked around for my helpers. Most of them had disappeared. I did a lot of cursing, but it didn’t bring them around. Finally they began to show up. It seems they had slipped through the side door, gone into the dressing room to strip, and then went skinny dipping. One person kept a lookout while the rest had a good time. I found out that this had been going on for some time. Be sure to get your tickets for the Crediton Community Centre building fund draw. You could win $5200 worth of gas. Watch for sellers in your area. Plus: Remember to purchase your tickets for the Crediton Roast Beef Dinner held on August 19th –5:15-7:15 at the Recreation Hall in Exeter.

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A lesson in dishwashing etiquette Advice from mom By Rita Lessard I know we have had a bit of rain in the past couple of weeks, but when it’s sunny and warm after the rain, it is quite wonderful. And although we complain about the rain, my view is, at least we can take consolation in the fact that we don’t have to shovel that stuff. As everyone knows, we are truly blessed to have so much clean and safe water. I remember when I was young, we were very fortunate to have running hot water. For some reason, though, we didn’t have a sink in our kitchen, so when we washed the dishes we had to get the hot water from the bathroom tap, put it in a basin and then we’d get down to doing that dreaded task. My sister Carol liked watching TV at that hour, so she chose to dry the dishes, which she could do when the commercials were on. I was okay with this plan. One night I decided to play a trick on Carol. As soon as she left the room for the umpteenth time, I started to take the clean dishes out of the cupboard and dip them in the water and put them on the rack for her to dry. This went on for a while, and because she was so engrossed in her show, she didn’t take notice of what I was doing. Finally when she came to her senses she said, “Gosh. It seems

like there’s no end to these darn dishes.” I just smiled and shrugged and said, “Oh well, it’s our job, so we may just as well get it over with.” Naturally, I’m thinking how much longer can I keep up with this farce! Well, I was soon to find out. I didn’t realize her TV show was over and she had come back into the kitchen. There I was doing the dirty deed and she caught me red-handed taking the clean dishes out of the cupboard. “Aha,” she says, “so this is what you’ve been doing!” I kind of grinned and did the shrug thing again and said, “Whoops!” Well, you can imagine that she was thoroughly ticked. “That’s okay,” she says. She took the remaining dishes out of the basin, put them on the drain rack and then to my utter shock, she picked up the basin of dirty, soapy water and ceremoniously dumped it over my head. From that day forward, I convinced my mother that it might be a better idea if we all take turns doing the supper dishes – alone. This trick taught me a good lesson because when my sons grew up and were able to do the dishes, they each had their own night to do the dishes, but definitely solo. I guess my sister didn’t appreciate my sense of humour, but what the heck, if you don’t have a sense of humour, it’s quite likely you don’t have much sense at all. Enjoy the water and keep safe this summer. Happy 50th anniversary to Bill and Mae Brennan, who celebrated this past weekend with family and friends.

A Funny Thing happening at Playhouse Drayton Entertainment heads back to Roman times for its next musical comedy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, running August 13 to 30 at the Huron Country Playhouse. “It’s high, high comedy with songs,” says director Rona Waddington. “The story is about a Roman slave who makes a deal with his master that if he can win for his master the heart of the woman that his master loves, then he’ll gain his freedom.” Stratford veteran Steve Ross is the slave, while former Canadian Idol star Elena Juatco is the love interest. Theatre legend Doug Chamberlain is the slave master.

“It’s a very enjoyable play,” Waddington says. “It’s funny, upbeat and high-spirited. What’s interesting about this play, is that it’s very dependent on the audience, which plays much more of a role in the show.” Sometimes, too big of a role. “We had an audience member come in the other day, and I guess they knew the whole show somehow. They literally sang along with every song from the audience. That was a bit of a surprise for the cast. It was unusual. It was kind of funny, but it’s got to be unsettling for the audience around them.” If you want to sing along or just enjoy it, tickets are available by calling 519-238-6000.

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Strip on Stage

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and the follow through should also remain on the same angle till the ball has long gone. Remember you didn’t lift your head, your spinal angle changed! By Cameron Rankin Your posture is the key to success with this Sand Hills Golf Resort swing tip- slight leg flex at address, pelvic tilt, get your spine close to a 45 degree angle to Maintain your spine angle during your the ground, keeping your spine as straight as swing. The correct posture and proper spine possible, and have your arms hang straight down from your shoulders. angle are the keys to more consistent play. Pivot around your spine on the backswing For more tips on your game contact your local (close to 45 degrees) maintaining the same angle during it. Your downswing to impact CPGA Professional.

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Strip Outside

14 • Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Eastern kingbird can be a real tyrant Current Backyard Sightings

Living in Balance

We have been enjoying a tremendous number of rose-breasted grosbeaks in the yard this summer. Throughout the day you can count ten or more members of this beautiful species on the feeders. The spring fledgling males are in their immature phase of plumage. The breast is rusty in colour with multiple streaks, and the distinctive red triangular patch is not yet developed. Other common species noted are house finches, downy woodpeckers, whitebreasted nuthatches and the very friendly chickadees. We continue feeding all summer. Don’t forget to keep the birdbath full of fresh water.

By Jenipher Appleton Family TYRANNIDAE, scientific name Tyrannus tyrannus. Sounds like some type of dinosaur, doesn’t it? It is not what you might expect; this scientific name is that of the Eastern kingbird. You will commonly spot this handsome bird perched on a wire, or high up on a tree or weed stalk catching insects. This 22 cm-long bird has a black cap, forehead, cheeks and bill. White throat, charcoal gray back, white under parts, and black tail with a white terminal band are other distinguishing marks. The Latin name means “king of the tyrants”. This aggressive bird, when defending its nest, will be seen chasing and pestering larger species like hawks, crows, and turkey vultures. Extremely agile in its attacks, the kingbird will pull out the other birds’ feathers

and generally make their lives miserable. According to Fred J. Alsop III, PhD in Ornithology, the Eastern kingbird winters in South America where its diet becomes mostly berries. The male performs erratic courtship flights, circling, hovering and tumbling with tail spread. This bird is monogamous and a

solitary nester. Young are fed by both parents for 16-18 days. Your chances of spotting a member of this distinctive species are extremely good, as its population is common and widespread. Watch out for them along the roadside, perched on fences, utility wires, shrubs or posts.

We have also had a green heron visit our water garden on several occasions. Less than half the size of the great blue heron, this individual is fairly young and the plumage on its head is quite fluffy. He is a deep shade of green with distinctive yellow legs, and does not spook easily when we approach the water garden. However, the frog population appears to have diminished.

Head back to school – online Technically Speaking By Tamara Nicola http://www.VisitGrandBend.com

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Over the past few years, the number of colleges and universities offering classes and degree programs online has soared. With rising gas prices and the rural nature of much of Canada, an online education is increasingly becoming an acceptable method of learning for many. Online learning offers the convenience of classroom accessibility 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from virtually anywhere in the world. Because you do all your classroom work when it is convenient for you, your schedule is very flexible. You simply access your virtual

classroom through the Web. You will need to go through the same application process as you would with any degree program. Once you’ve been accepted and your coursework begins, you’ll likely receive an online syllabus outlining the course. For your online coursework, you’ll likely have weekly assignments due and regular tests. Much like in the regular classroom, an online school holds students to the same standards as a traditional classroom. But the added flexibility of being able to work around your work schedule and other life commitments makes getting an online degree particularly appealing to adults who are already employed. The University of Western Ontario (UWO), Fanshawe College and Lambton Collage all offer online classes. The content of distance learning programs can cover a wide range. If you aren’t sure about full-time online

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learning, many institutions such as UWO offer hybrid degrees, where students can learn online and also in a traditional class setting at the same time. Athabasca University is Canada’s leading distance-education and online university. They are experiencing rapid growth and currently serve about 37,000 students per year. Another rising star is Baker College Online, which is accredited and based in the US. Baker College is known as an affordable solution at only $170 per credit hour for undergraduate programs. The University of Phoenix, which pioneered online learning, continues to be a leader in North America but take note: a single credit hour will set you back over $500. Many colleges throughout Canada also offer online career training and individual courses for those wanting to learn a new skill.

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Online learning isn’t just for college students. People who have interests in a subject outside of work often take classes in that subject for fun and enjoyment. Lambton College even offers a senior discount on all of their online offerings. If you are up for a challenge this fall, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers 1700 courses online, free of charge. They are one of many universities that are now part of an open courseware community. Check out www.ocw.mit.edu for more information. Whether you are interested in a degree program, professional development or personal growth, you will want to register soon for the fall semester. This year many expect the virtual classrooms to be overflowing and the possibly of being waitlisted is greater than ever due to the pain at the gas pump.

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To Do List

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 • 15

Things to Do

Canada’s Wonderland! Call 519-238-1155 12 & under, free for preschoolers. Contact to register. Morley at 519-294-6758 or Ron at 519-294- T HURSDAY, AUGUST 21 6564. Community/Charity  a.m. - Parkhill Community Centre Parkhill Leisure Club Euchrama, proWEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13 ceeds to the Medical Centre. EVERY TUESDAY  a.m. to  p.m. - Gill St. parking lot, TUESDAY, AUGUST 19 TO 21 Grand Bend  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Grand Bend Youth Centre Grand Bend Farmers’ Market Bingo The Grand Finale. Join us as we explore SUNDAY, AUGUST 24 different cultures games, foods and crafts.  a.m. Bring your dancing shoes as we try out our VON Great Community Walk more info EVERY FRIDAY SATURDAY, AUGUST 16 Dance Revolution game. We end the sum- 1-800-561-1555.  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion  a.m. - Parkhill Coronation Park Meat Draw Parkhill Optimist Car Show, Flea Market mer with Carnival Day on Thursday! Call 519-238-1155 to register. and Dinner. Contact 519-294-0214. MONDAY, AUGUST 25 TUESDAY, AUGUST 12 TO 14 Port Blake Park Grand Bend Horticultural Society awards Grand Bend Youth Centre SUNDAY, AUGUST 17 WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 20 assembly. Contact Liz at 519-236-7884 for Thrill and Chills Week. Come join us for  to  p.m. - Corbett Community Ctr.  a.m. to  p.m. - Gill St. parking lot, more information. some cool science experiments, help create Fish Fry Dinner by Bluewater Shrine Fire Grand Bend a haunted house and then we head off to Brigade. $10 advance, $12 at door, $6 for Grand Bend Farmers’ Market

Arts & Entertainment WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13

: a.m. -  p.m. - Pinery Flea Market Live Music with Brian Dale

to August  - Huron Country  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Art Centre, Playhouse  River Road A Funny Thing Happened On The Way Open House Weekend. Pick up your To The Forum. For tickets, call 1-888-449- new fall schedule. Displays, info, samples, demos. Draw for a free workshop. 4463. to August  - Huron Country SATURDAY, AUGUST 23 Playhouse II  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Live Music with John McCarthur For tickets, call 1-888-449-4463.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 14

SUNDAY, AUGUST 24

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Grand Bend Art Centre Shoot like a Pro! workshop - with Mary Lynn Fluter. Call 519-238-8978 or 519-2386874 or email grbartcentre@hay.net.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 15

: a.m. -  p.m. - Pinery Flea Market Live Music with Brian Dale

Health & Fitness MONDAYS

 to  a.m. - Lions’ Pavilion, G.B. Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for  a.m. to  p.m. - Grand Bend Art spouses and students. Centre,  River Road Painting People in Watercolour workshop - with Mary Abma. Call 519-238-8978  to  p.m. - McNaughton Park, Exeter or 519-238-6874 or email grbartcentre@hay. Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for net. spouses and students.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 16

WEDNESDAYS

 to  p.m. - Grand Bend Art Centre,  to  a.m. - Lions’ Pavilion, G.B.  River Road Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for Open House Weekend. Pick up your spouses and students. new fall schedule. Displays, info, samples, demos. Draw for a free workshop.  to  p.m. - McNaughton Park, Exeter Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion spouses and students. Live Music with The Persuaders

SUNDAY, AUGUST 17

FRIDAYS

 to  a.m. - Lions’ Pavilion, G.B.

Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for spouses and students. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27  a.m. to  p.m. - Grand Bend CHC Men Can Cook. Advance your cooking WEDNESDAY, JULY 30 skills and enjoy a healthy, yummy meal. : to : p.m. or  to : p.m. Contact Dietitian Miranda Burgess at 519– Grand Bend CHC Mental Health Education and Support 238-1556 ext 222 Group. Monthly group support for family and friends that provides tool, strategies and : to : p.m. or  to : p.m. ongoing educational opportunities. Contact Grand Bend CHC social workers Lise Callahan 238-1556 ext Mental Health Education and Support 230 or Mickey Gurbin ext. 223 for details. Group. Monthly support group for family and friends that provides tools and strategies along with ongoing educational informaTHURSDAY, JULY 31 tion. Contact social workers Mickey Gurbin  to  p.m. – Grand Bend CHC (Adult or Lise Callahan at 519-238-1556 ext. 223 or Day wing) Community Blood Pressure Clinic. 230 for details. Ever yone welcome. Have your blood  p.m. - Grand Bend CHC pressure checked by one of our Nurse Grand Bend Area Community Health Practitioners receive health info. No Centre Strategic Plan. We welcome particiappointment necessary. pants from our focus groups and the general public as we unveil our Strategic Plan for THURSDAY, AUGUST 21 the Health Centre to the Community.  p.m. - Blessings Community Store, Zurich Cooking out of the Box. Taste test and get T HURSDAY, AUGUST ideas for yummy, low-cost, healthy recipes. 28 Contact Grand Bend Area CHC Dietitian  to  p.m. - Grand Miranda Burgess at 519-238-1556 ext 222 Bend CHC adult for details. centre wing Community Blood Pressure Clinic. TUESDAY, AUGUST 26 Ever yone welcome.  p.m. - St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Internet Have your blood presZurich Zurich Community Kitchen. Come make sure checked by one of Access Points low cost nutritious meals to take home! our Nurse Practitioners. Main Street, Grand Bend Brought to you by Contact Grand Bend Area Community No appointment necesHay Communications Health Centre Dietitian Miranda Burgess sary. www.hay.net at 519-238-1556 ext.222 for details 519-236-4333

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Strip in the Studio

16 • Wednesday, August 13, 2008

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The Emerald City, Sarah Kane

Escapism is Bliss Story by Casey Lessard If you’re looking for an escape from reality, stop by Sarah Kane’s solo retrospective at Bliss Studio in Port Franks, running August 11 to September 7. Twenty-five year old Kane, originally of London, sets up dreamscapes involving real people and transforms them through Photoshop before using graphite or acrylic to make art that bears her brand of escapism. “It’s a literary term that’s been used a lot,” she says, “but it’s a form of art where you create a fantasy world to lose yourself in. When people come and see my show, because I create a

Heartstring Bliss, Sarah Kane

theme for them to come and see, they enter a different world and it’s a new take on reality. The images aren’t so farfetched that you wouldn’t see it, but they’re a more beautiful and idealized version of what we see every day.” Kane buys props and costumes to build her imaginary world, and often uses her younger sisters as models. Her art is beautiful and unsettling, and has matured into a solid enough body of work that at 25, she can have a retrospective show, a feat normally reserved for much more seasoned artists. “I create a lot of art fairly fast. I do it full time, so I produce enough work to do two full out solo shows per year.” Launching a full-time art career two years ago “was kind of a gamble because my boyfriend was in school,” Kane says, “so we took the chance and surprisingly I have been making money at it. I’m surprised at the response I’ve been getting. Everyone told me you can’t make it as a full-time freelance artist. I was uninspired by that and have never been interested in having a part-time job or in teaching, so I immersed myself in it. So far I’ve been able to make money off it to keep it going and it’s been rewarding so far.” Bliss Studio is a sort of home for Kane, whose first group show was at the Port Franks studio. “Usually we don’t do very many solo shows,” says owner Tony Miller. “But we’ve seen how hard Sarah’s been working and we thought it would be good for us and for her.” “A lot of galleries are only interested in people that have already have been successful because they’re looking at the monetary factors. Who are they and can they sell? A lot of galleries are not willing to show up and coming artists, even if they think the art is visually appealing.” Unlike many other galleries, Bliss enables young artists by charging a smaller percentage, and no hanging fee. It’s a bigger risk to take, but in the long run, Miller and Thomson think it’s worthwhile. “No matter where she goes,” says owner Lorraine Thomson, “and I hope it’s to the top, I hope she see this as a home base.”

7 o’clock, Sarah Kane

The Jack of Spades, Sarah Kane


Vol. 2 #8 Grand Bend Strip, August 13, 2008