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Vol. 2, No. 14


Dec. 11, 2008 to Jan 14, 2009

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“It all happened so fast” How a day at the beach changed Reagen Robinson’s life Exeter toddler Reagen Robinson’s life will never be the same after an outing to a private beach near Grand Bend in August. Soon after arriving at the beach with his parents Brad and Katrina and brother Jordon, Reagen ran toward an extinguished, but still hot, f irepit and suffered third degree burns to his hands and second degree burns to parts of his legs.

As told to Casey Lessard Katrina Robinson: We’re lake people. It’s nice to live next door to one of the most beautiful places in the world, and we take advantage of it. We have two small kids and two dogs who enjoy to swim. We’re beachgoers. It’s a fun, inexpensive day to have family time. It was a Friday afternoon, and after Brad finished work we decided to go to the beach. We were at a private beach. We had just sat down and I noticed he went toward the fire pit and I literally just about had him. I couldn’t catch him fast enough. He fell into a fire pit full of ashes that were still fairly warm. I picked him up and threw him in the water with me. I didn’t know what else to do. Brad came down and took one look at him and said we had to go to the hospital. It all happened so fast. It seemed like we got there one minute, and the next we were driving back down the road with a screaming baby. Shock took over. Usually I’m a very queasy person, but for some reason I was the pillar of strength. I carried him into Exeter hospital and they took him from me so I could give them information. I went back and all you could see was his skin was charred. It was all grey. I don’t know how else to describe it because I try not to think about it; it’s so horrific. I remember having to stand in the hospital room and hold cold cloths of saline solution over top of him. They explained what they were going to do and gave him a drug called ketamine to knock him out. Before I knew it, he was being taken to Victoria Hospital. We dropped Jordon off at Brad’s parents’ house in Ailsa Craig, and it felt like forever to get from Ailsa Craig to London. We got lost and finally found where we were supposed to be.

I don’t think the severity of it sunk in until the next morning, Saturday. Having been brought up to speed by his team, the plastic surgeon came in and had a look and said flat out that Reagen had to have skin grafting. He said he would wait until his normal surgery days, which were Wednesday and Thursday, but then he came back and changed his mind. He said if it was okay with us, he would do it the next day, Sunday. On his first surgery, they skin-grafted up his forearms, the back of his hands and the fronts of his fingers. They placed pins in his fingers to keep them straight so he didn’t move any of the skin grafting. It takes between three and seven days for the skin grafts to be fully attached. Originally they thought they would have to skin graft his palms, a spot on his knees and a spot on his toe. But after two hours, the surgeon came to us and was excited, saying he didn’t think his knee or his palms needed the surgery. We were in the hospital for four weeks. They were shocked at how fast he healed, and Dr. Scilley was calling him his Superhealer. They were pleased enough to let us go home, but reminded us that we would have to have home care come in every day because he had sores that would need dressings. We went home with some dressing instructions and we were to wrap Cobans (a type of compression bandage) to add some tension into form before we got into gloves. We were home doing that for about a week before we had to go see Dr. Scilley. The Coban, because it wasn’t wrapped properly, started to cut into the bases of the fingers and added new wounds. Unfortunately, because of the way the health system works, no one from the hospital could come out and teach our home care workers how to use them properly, and you have to be a pro at it for it to work properly. The physical therapist, surgeon and a couple of nurses went to a conference in Montreal, and discovered gloves that had some tension in them with silver to help the healing. These were eventually replaced by the full pressure gloves he uses now. Continued on page 4

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Reagen Robinson suffered third degree burns to his hands and arms after falling into a beach firepit.

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4 • Thursday, December 11, 2008

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When you have a burn, you have a burn for life. - reagen robinson’s mother, katrina (Continued from page 3) His left hand was burned worse than his right hand; he has about 95 per cent use of his right hand, and we’ve had issues with his left hand. His web spaces grew in a bit and the gloves are cutting into the web space. We’re trying to get it to heal, but you need pressure on it to keep it functional. It’s just getting better now. The body is still trying to repair its own skin because it doesn’t understand skin grafting. The blood vessels are still up at the surface, so if he were to pick his finger, it would bleed like crazy. The gloves help put pressure on his blood vessels and add form to his fingers. His fingers will never look like yours and mine, but he’ll be able to bend them. With the home care workers, I hold on to him and we go through six exercises to bend his joints and stretch the skin to its maximum potential. Even in a 24-hour period, you can have a lot of contraction, so you have to manipulate it while it’s still not completely healed.

Inflicting pain daily They’re hopeful that he will have full mobility. With his left hand, he doesn’t do a whole lot because it’s still sore. He favours his right hand, and we hope the mobility’s there in his left hand, but he can’t talk so we don’t know. It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s not an easy thing to watch a child go through pain. There isn’t a day that goes

by that I don’t have to assist in inflicting pain on him. I honestly thought when they first taught me how to do the exercises in the hospital that it would get easier. It doesn’t. In fact, it gets worse because it’s been four or five months continuous. When you have a burn, you have a burn for life. He will require surgeries until he is fully grown because his fingers and arms will grow but his skin won’t grow with them. It has its downfalls for being as young as he was, but it has its upside, too. He’ll never remember what happened, and he’ll never know any different. He’ll just have to adapt. It’s life. You can’t go back and it’s never going to get any worse than it was that day. We just have to teach him that everyone is different, and you can do anything you want as long as you set your mind to it.

Left: Reagen has an easy smile that belies the painful manipulations of his fingers he must experience every day. Below: Reagen enjoys lunch with his brother Jordon.

A November fundraiser in Parkhill raised almost $20,000 to offset the medical costs. Reagen needs gloves, which are covered 75 per cent by OHIP every six months, but the family has to pay for any additional gloves in the interim. Medical supplies and other expenses, such as parking for regular visits to the hospital, also come out of their pocket. Donations are still being accepted. Cheques made out to the “Parkhill Lions Club in trust to Reagen Robinson” can be sent to the club at P.O. Box 207 Parkhill, ON N0M 2K0. Tax receipts will be issued.

Looking to the end of the road(work) By Casey Lessard

Jordy’s Gas Bar owner Diane Faubert is thankful local residents have continued to shop with her, despite access issues caused by bridge repairs that are expected to finish in January. The county and the contractors have also shown their support, but the service station and variety has been struggling for the past three years as through traffic diminished because of sewer installation work.

The end is near for Crediton’s only retailer, and its owners hope that end refers to construction on the town’s only bridge and main road, not the end of their 15-year business. “There are no guarantees,” says Diane Faubert when asked if the business will survive to the January bridge repair completion date. “We don’t know. We’re going to try.” Jordy’s Gas Bar, one of the few businesses in the village, has been hit hard by three years of road construction caused by sewer installation; this year’s discovery that the bridge had a crack was the straw that threatens to break Jordy’s back. “I’ve taken a leave of absence from my bus,” Faubert says, “I’ve laid off my (three parttime) employees, I’ve unplugged a couple of fridges and freezers to cut back. We’ve cut back our hours because there just isn’t enough business. It’s pretty tough.” “We became aware in late 2006 that it’s the same type of bridge that collapsed in Laval, Quebec,” says Acting Director of Public Works Dave Laurie, who notes they’ve been keeping tabs on the bridge since then. Repairing the bridge was Huron County’s least expensive option, estimated at $430,000. “The bridge was built in the mid-50s, and it was a design that was popular, the cantilever

beam design. We had done some repairs earlier in 2006 to address other issues, and early this summer realized there’s a crack in one of the beams critical to supporting the bridge. It probably was a flaw in the bridge from the time it was built. Luckily it’s the only one of that type we have in Huron County.” Traffic is rerouted around Crediton at Parr Line until next month. Consolidated Sign & Lighting is at the Parr Line end of Crediton’s main street, and its lit sign is visible from the detour. “It’s not an issue for us,” says Consolidated’s Larry Eveland. “I’d rather see it happening rather than not happening. “We’re just lucky our bridge isn’t the one that collapsed and killed somebody. It had to be fixed before someone got hurt.” The discovery of the crack is important to public safety, but an unlucky case of bad timing for Faubert, whose business has already suffered from construction that deters traffic en route to Grand Bend and the Motorplex. ““We used to get a lot of Motorplex traffic, but they don’t want to go over rough roads,” Faubert says. “After three years of this, I don’t have any financial savings or extra money to tie me through. I have another month and a half to go. I’m taking it day by day and hoping that I’ll survive this.”

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Thursday, December 11, 2008 • 5

The butler didn’t do it. So who did? Exeter writer Rick Hundey set his f irst novel Death at the Bend in Grand Bend. It was released in November by Faux Pop of Goderich.

As told to Casey Lessard I’ve been playing around with writing for years. I didn’t get serious about it until about six or seven years ago. I joined a writers’ group and we would share our writings and critique. I sent short stories to various contests, and I finally won one in the summer of 2005, and that was the Alice Munro writers’ festival and short story contest. It made me feel I was on to something. I had been working as a management consultant and had enough contracts to keep me going, and I had some wonderful clients, but I wasn’t as interested in what I was doing as I should have been. I was working on manuscripts, and I got to the point where if I got a phone call from a client while I was working on a manuscript, I saw it as an interruption. That’s when I thought it was time to get at it full-time. That was a year and a half ago, when I was in the first draft of Death at the Bend. I worked at it quite steadily and did seven or eight major rewrites; some authors do 20. Realistically it was two major rewrites with the rest fine-tuning. The last few drafts were the result of the review process I went through with a couple of people in the writers’ group, a friend of mine who judges short story contests, and a couple of author friends. Then I linked up with Faux Pop in Goderich and decided to go with it. In a nutshell, it’s about a coffee shop owner in Grand Bend who used to be the town’s police chief. I know they haven’t had one in recent memory, but I made up an amalgamation story where he turns down a job offer with the OPP and decides to put up his shingle to run a small consulting business and buying a small Main Street coffee shop with his girlfriend. An ex-girlfriend reappears and she was a major problem in his life; yet here she is, needing help, having been charged with the murder of her spouse.


I found that the characters would end up telling me what was next. I always knew the ending and the main events, but the shifts along the way added more suspense. I’ve read a fair number of books on writing, and these people tell you that this happens to you. One writer in particular said to write biographies of your main characters. I did, and they’re fairly detailed biographies. You find yourself getting to a point where you know what your plot outline says but you ask yourself, what would he do? If he did this, what would happen? I was done in the early summer and I was hoping to have something by the end of the summer, in time to catch the Grand Bend cottagers. I discovered that my expectations were unreasonable. There’s a copy editing process where revisions can affect other parts of the book. There was also a fair amount of work regarding decisions about the cover. We weren’t ready for a launch until three weeks ago, and we’re thinking for our first stage that we’ll print three blocks of 300, and two-thirds of that first block are spoken for. That part has gone pretty well when you think that it’s only been two or three weeks. Most of the sales have been by word of mouth or through library readings. After this stage we want to go to independent bookstores and possibly the chains. I think this is the more common approach than it used to be. This is fun. Especially the writing part, and I really enjoy interacting with people at readings. If you’re a painter, you either sell your painting or you hang it on your wall. Either way people are going to look at it, and that’s your goal. When you write a book, it’s not just for you. Your only proof of its merit is that people buy it and tell you that it’s good. It will make a little bit of money, but that’s not the goal; if that’s your goal, there are better ways to do it. For more, visit:

Hone your skills

I now think it’s more a skill than a talent. There are a lot of good books out there, and good courses. I took a fantastic course at I was writing when I was working full- Fanshawe with Susan Regier, who is this sistime. This is as much a lifestyle decision as ter of our fire chief John Morgan. anything else. If you can write short stories with success, then you can do it part-time Find others and it’s a great leisure pastime. I don’t think It also helps to get in with some people that working on it full-time is required. write. Talk to them, and exchange your work.

Just do it

Above: Author Rick Hundey at his Exeter home. Hundey’s first novel, Death at the Bend, is now available through the author and online at his publisher’s website (see left)

Write, write, write The other thing you have to do is write a lot. If this was the old days, I would have a cedar chest full of manuscripts. My computer’s full of stuff. Just write and keep trying. Throw stuff out that doesn’t work or that you’re not happy with. Favourite authors: Walter Mosley, Robert Crais, Tony Hillerman, and Elmore Leonard

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Strip Thoughts

6 • Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jack and Gilles went up the hill By Casey Lessard What a rollercoaster ride of emotions Canadians have been on this month. The scene in Ottawa has polarized the nation, with the Governor-General putting the brakes on a government takeover bid by a Liberal-NDP coalition (let’s be honest, the Bloc is in there, too, even if no one will admit it; however, I think they have less power than the Conservatives want us to believe). Post-crisis polls say Stephen Harper has more support than he did in October. Personally, the prospect of Stephen Harper winning a majority scares the heck out of me; right now, it’s a real possibility. Conservative supporters paint the Prime Minister as the victim in this battle, but his economic statement was tailor made to start a fight: he planned to drop the $1.95 voter subsidy, attack labour unions, and eliminate gender pay equity. Coming into a confidence vote armed with an economic statement no one in opposition could support only weeks after the election, Harper seemed genuinely surprised that anyone would stand up to him, especially Stéphane Dion, whose Liberals let him pick on them for the past two years. I can’t understand when people call the

coalition a team of schoolyard bullies. It’s more realistic to call them the victims, and Harper the bully who has been pushing them around for too long. Nothing has changed because he ran to the teacher, who tells them all to cool it. It seems as if the coalition is doomed, but we’ll see if that’s true. Harper’s support has grown only because Dion’s has dropped (dramatically), and with him out of the way, it will be new ball game come January. Time will tell whether the coalition will emerge stronger or weaker after the prorogation period ends six weeks from now. More importantly, time will tell whether Canadians will realize that more of us voted for a party other than the Conservatives, which means that if they work together they have the right to run the government. That’s how it works here. At least this crisis has helped make one thing happen: Canadians are certainly more engaged in politics than they were a month ago. Perhaps next time there is an election, more of us will stand up and be counted. We got ourselves into this mess, after all.

Casey, We really enjoyed the article about Paul Cuifo. He is such a nice guy, and he is a wonderful worker in this community (as well as a good playwright). Keep up the good work. We enjoy your in depth interviews with local people very much. Anne Wilson

Road Race held on October 19th, 2008. The money will be used to enhance and promote Natural Heritage Education Projects and programs within Pinery Provincial Park. Special thanks to 104.9 the Beach, title race sponsor of this year’s fundraiser. Thank you to all the local sponsors who generously donated to make this event possible. To register for next years run, Sunday, More than 300 runners and walkers helped October 18, 2009, log on to http://www. raise $3000 for Friends of Pinery Park or http://www. through the annual Pinery Provincial Park for race information. Publisher/Editor: Casey Lessard Advertising Sales: Casey Lessard Chief Photographer: Casey Lessard

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

Perfect propaganda Alternative View By Lance Crossley

View from the Strip

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

Distribution: Joan McCullough, Rita Lessard and Casey Lessard Contributors: Tom Lessard - my dad Rita Lessard - my mom Anjhela Michielsen - social justice Jenipher Appleton - nature/birding Lance Crossley - national affairs Lorette Mawson - interior design James Eddington - fine dining

One of the most intriguing aspects of the recent struggle for power on Parliament Hill was the propaganda war. Nowadays we call it public relations, but it still amounts to the same thing: the conscious and intelligent manipulation of public opinion. In the dramatic lead up to the GovernorGeneral approving Stephen Harper’s request to prorogue Parliament – thereby saving his political career – the country witnessed an ugly battle for the hearts and minds of Canadians. The anti-coalition propaganda was particularly disgraceful. The source of this propaganda came primarily from two very well oiled machines: the Harper government and big business. Let’s start with the Harper government. It is to be expected that politicians with power will try every means to keep it, but the Conservatives resorted to outright lies to prevent the fall of their government. They relentlessly repeated that this was a separatist coalition (it’s actually an NDPLiberal coalition that has the Bloc’s blessing) and shamelessly implied this was a coup d’etat (when in fact it is perfectly democratic – Canadians elect a Parliament, not a government). The problem with the Conservative propaganda is that it is manufacturing a national unity crisis and spreading ignorance as to the kind of democratic system we have. Big business was also against the coalition, although for a different reason: the fear of a government friendly to progressive labour policies. This view was reflected in the corporate-friendly editorial boards at most of the major newspapers. The Globe and Mail said it was “dangerous” to have members of a

“left-wing, labour-beholden party” in cabinet. It even demanded Harper resign just to avoid this scenario, even though it endorsed him for leader during the recent election campaign. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC), a huge business advocacy group, originally criticized Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s pathetic economic statement, saying it lacked a real economic stimulus plan. But the powerful lobby group was clearly more worried about the prospect of a coalition. The reason was plainly stated by its president, Perrin Beatty, during an interview with CBC Newsworld where he brought up Bill C-257: a private member’s bill put forth earlier this year by the Bloc Quebecois that would have strengthened Canada’s labour rights. The bill failed but the fact that Beatty used it to explain his opposition to a coalition accurately revealed his motives. Conversely, it also explains why the coalition was so heavily endorsed by the Canadian Labour Congress and so many unions. Even the Liberals were aware of big business’s opposition, as they went out of their way to tell corporate Canada the NDP would have no significant financial role in a coalition government. The first casualty in public relations is truth. All the fear mongering by powerful interests prevents Canadians from acting in their own interest. It’s not that everyone has to agree on the idea of a coalition, but the winning idea should not belong to those with the biggest propaganda machine. Lance Crossley is an award-winning journalist who has worked for The Ottawa Citizen, The Haliburton Echo, and The Prague Post.

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Advertising is accepted on condition that, in the event of an error, the portion of the ad occupied by the error will not be charged for, but the balance will be paid at the usual rate. It is the responsibility of the advertiser to check their ads on first publication, and the publisher accepts no responsibility for errors in multiple insertions. The Grand Bend Strip reserves the right to reject or edit any advertisement likely to offend community standards and/or the law. All material herein, including advertising design, is copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any form.

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Strip Photo Classes

Thursday, December 11, 2008 • 7

STAR SHOOTERS The best shots from Casey Lessard’s photo class students

Darlene O’Rourke is a talented portrait photographer now earning a part-time income from her work. Here, she shot Greg and Suzanne McCarthey’s family at Bob Hamather’s farm in Zurich. Twenty amateur and semi-pro photographers responded to a call for photography lessons from Grand Bend Strip publisher Casey Lessard, hosted at the Grand Bend Art Centre. The weekly challenges helped the students learn their equipment and composition techniques, and the photographers delivered with the results seen on these pages.

Jenn Moxham took this photo of her seven-month-old son Grayson discovering new flavours.

Lea James spotted this knotty detail at the Port Franks harbour.

Strip Photo Classes

8 • Thursday, December 11, 2008







Strip Photo Classes

á Want to take better pictures? By Casey Lessard

Capture action Like our cover photographer Kelsey Brand’s photo of her sister Logan, your photos will be better if you capture life in action. Experiment with fast shutter speeds (like the cover) or slow ones, in which case you should move with the subject or stay perfectly still (i.e. use a tripod).

Find a great venue Darlene O’Rourke’s photo of the McCarthy family shows that sometimes a portrait is as much about the venue as it is the people. Build a database of great places to take photos, remember when the light is good there, and bring your subjects when the time is right.


Thursday, December 11, 2008 • 9

à you can. You may need to use a night setting balance, rule of thirds, dominant colour, leador bulb depending on your camera. Make sure ing lines. Wondering what these are? Visit Great moments like Jenn Moxham’s photo the flash is off. of her son Grayson aren’t waiting for you to pull out your camera. Have it ready, then Use existing light Don’t be afraid of people shoot until you get the picture you want. It Andra Brand’s photo of her daughter Logan Karen Brown’s photo of the South Huron might take one shot, or it might take 50. (#2) looks great because she’s using the light senior concert band in action (#5) requires the Don’t let your guard down if your instinct tells from the Christmas tree. You could use win- photographer to overcome the fear of being you something great is going to happen. dow lighting or really any light, even a street embarrassed by getting close to the action. If light. Just watch your white balance setting to you get a good photo, and the subject is okay make sure the colour looks the way you want. with it, it’s usually a good idea. See also Jane Look around Miklovic’s photo to its right (#6). Lea James’ detail of a knot is one of those shots you don’t see every day, yet it’s there Bring in several layers every day for you to see it. Look up, look Thinking of shooting another sunset? The Macro for flowers and bugs down, look around. Often the best photos are reason Lynn Wilbur’s sunset (#3) is so beautiShooting flowers? Find the macro setting, the ones you can’t see because you’re too busy ful is that she brought in several layers: a fore- which looks like a flower. Use it for bugs, too. looking at something else. ground (sand), middle ground (water), and Maggie Brennan used it for both (#7). background (sun). Try looking for those three elements, and then incorporate people. Change your schedule Frame within a frame Want to get a photo like Brenda Parsons’ Look for opportunities to shoot people of the wind turbines near Ipperwash (#1)? Composition rules framed by an object such as a window or Brenda was up at 5 a.m. Now that’s taking Emily Marks’ photo of two people walking other frame, like Anita Deline did (#8). The photography seriously. By the way, bring your down a wooded road (#4) takes advantage of frame acts as a foreground element, as distripod and leave the shutter open as long as one of several composition rules, including cussed earlier.

Be ready


10 • Thursday, December 11, 2008

Strip Photo Classes

Mies Vandeleygraaf caught this moody photo in her backyard while burning some leaves.

Make your subject comfy

Look for abstract details

Once your subject is comfortable with you Vreni Beeler was carving a pumpkin when photographing them, interesting things hap- she looked closer. She’s glad she did (#10). pen, as Judy Jewell discovered (#9). Just tell The closer you get, the more abstract everyday people to pretend you’re not there, and act as objects become. comfortable as you want them to act. It takes a few photos for people to do that, but keep Use your tools shooting and don’t draw attention to yourself. Mies Vandeleygraaf ’s photo of sunbeams

Martin Page caught this raccoon having lunch at the Pinery (before the classes began).

through smoke (this page) incorporates sev- To learn more, call Casey Lessard eral of these lessons. The more you bring at 519-614-3614 or visit together, the better your photos will be. Future classes will also be posted Keep your sense of humour on this website. Special thanks to Martin Page’s raccoon photo and Paul the Grand Bend Art Centre and Maguire’s photo of his granddaughter share a to the students who shared their sense of fun that forces the viewer to smile. work with the Strip.

Why shoot sunsets? Paul Maguire shot this moon, courtesy of 18 month old Charlotte Maguire.

Strip Thoughts

Another year older Keeping the Peace By Tom Lessard, C.D. On the 16th of December, 1974, at the South Huron Hospital maternity ward, a cute little guy named Casey Kyle Baxter Lessard was brought into this world. In those days the mother and baby stayed in the hospital for a few days. In the interim, Father Moody visited Rita and Casey and inquired as to his names. Rita told him and his reply was, “They aren’t saints’ names!” “No,” said Rita, “but we are going to baptize him with the name John,” to which the good Father asked, “Which Saint John?” “Why Saint John the Baptist,” replied mom. This pleased the priest very much because that was the name of the saint from which his name was derived. I went to pick up Rita and Casey on the fourth day. We bundled into the car for the trip home. There was a detour along the way because I had promised the staff and customers at the Club Albatross that I would stop in on my way home. Well, they were ecstatic at seeing mom and baby. I believe it was Alice who suggested that someone phone in the birth announcement to the Times-Advocate newspaper. When asked

what the baby’s name was, she gave a list of all the staff and patrons’ names. The girl at the T-A said she couldn’t print that many names for a baby, so we settled on his given ones. This boy grew up quickly with a super personality and a quick and generous smile. His brothers Tom, Glenn, Mike and Bill were very good to Casey and helped us much in teaching him all he needed to know. Following grade school at Mount Carmel and high school in Exeter, he entered the University of Western Ontario. While there he became interested in radio, television and journalism. Moving on to study journalism at Fanshawe College, he started developing his interest in photography. A few years later, he returned to school for photojournalism at Loyalist College in Belleville. His last job as an employee was with the Haliburton and Minden newspapers, at which he was praised for his professionalism. “Enough of working for someone else,” he said, and set up a small business of his own, which everyone now knows as the Grand Bend Strip. I hope you will all join me and my family in wishing Casey a very happy, prosperous 34th birthday and future. Keep up the good work, and as Santa would say, Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. P.S. that includes you, too, Anjhela. Love Tom and Rita.

Thursday, December 11, 2008 • 11

The season for shopping Advice from Mom By Rita Lessard Since I won’t be writing another column until the New Year, let me take this opportunity to wish all my friends and relatives a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year. Also thanks for your support to Casey’s Grand Bend Strip. I’m sure this has been a very challenging 20 months for Casey but in the long run, quite rewarding. I hope next year we’ll continue providing fun news that will entertain you and make your days lighter and brighter. As I venture out to do my Christmas shopping, I have to stop and wonder why some mothers insist on taking their young children shopping with them. These little darlings don’t seem to like these excursions too well, or at least that’s the impression I get when I hear these kids crying and rubbing their eyes. Whatever they want, they have to wait for Christmas to come. If they stop their crying, they may get it, but if they keep driving their mothers nuts, perhaps they’ll get something they don’t want. And what’s up with these mini shopping carts for the kids? Here the little ankle biters have a vehicle to ram into the backs of your legs. And then the screaming and the crying

starts again, only this time, it’s the mothers doing the screeching. I recall when I would go shopping with my mother, and sure enough she’d bravely lead the way while I pursued her with that big shopping cart. You can bet I never missed an opportunity to get her in the legs. The funny thing was, it always seemed to be her bad leg. I guess I wasn’t smart enough to do it on her good leg. For some reason, I was the only one that went shopping with her. I’m sure I don’t know why I was the chosen one. Then again, nobody said you had to be smart to be in my family; I guess my brothers and sisters knew better. For the longest time, I truly wondered if I was “The Chosen One” because every time my mother was upset, she’d call me “Jesus Rita”. Like the time she tripped and fell on her long fur coat and I had a tough time helping her up. She said, “Jesus Rita, would you stop your laughing and help me up?” A Catholic woman and all! Whew! I can see where one would get confused with their names. When Casey was young and I got annoyed or excited with him, I said, “Oh Casey! What are you doing?” I guess I called him Oh Casey quite often. One time Casey’s friend Tracy Price came calling on him, and when I answered the doorbell, Tracy said, “Hi Mrs. Lessard, can Oh Casey come out to play?” And like a dummy, I didn’t correct her. I just said, “Oh Casey, Tracy’s here for you.” Happy birthday Casey on December 16, and Merry Christmas to one and all.

THANK YOU! SPONSORS OF THE PINERY PROVINCIAL ROAD RACE 104.9 The Beach Accents Hair & Gifts Studio All Seasons Trophies, Sarnia Aunt Gussie’s, Grand Bend Brentwood on the Beach Canada Trust, Grand Bend Drayton Entertainment Forager Foods, Bayfield Friends of Pinery Park Godbolt Ciufo Insurance and Financial Services Inc. Grand Bend Fitness Centre Grand Bend Motorplex Grand Bend & Area Chamber of Commerce Grand Bend Strip Newspaper Hay Communications International Measurement for the Americas Kause for Kids Motorcycle Parade, Grand Bend Lakeshore Advance, Grand Bend Lambton Shores Municipality Mike & Terri’s No Frills, Grand Bend Micro Age, Goderich New Balance, London New Era Grafix, London New Orleans Pizza, Grand Bend Ontario Parks Pinery Provincial Park Rotary Club of Grand Bend Runners Choice of London Runpiker Series Smartcraft Homes, Grand Bend Sobey’s, Grand Bend Sport Med, Grand Bend Tim Horton’s, Grand Bend Track 21 Graphix A Printing Company, Mt Carmel

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135 Ontario St. S., Grand Bend Beside the Bluewater Motel

Strip in the Kitchen

12 • Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sweets to warm and soothe

Survival Tips for Yuletide Eating

December is a festive but busy month as warm your spirit and soothe the mind. Very we begin the holiday season. Crowded stores, easy and great to share with Christmas guests shorter tempers and just a lot to get done in or alone, just to take the edge off. one month. Let’s not forget that December Cheers, is a month to celebrate with friends and famJames Eddington, Eddington’s of Exeter ily and remember what we are thankful for. 527 Main St S., Exeter - 519-235-3030 These two recipes work great together to help “ Your Christmas headquarters”

Pistachio Shortbread By James Eddington, Eddington’s of Exeter 1 cup 2/3 cup 1/2 tsp 2 1/4 cups

softened butter granulated sugar almond flavouring flour

1 cup 1/2 tsp

shelled pistachios ground cardamom or cinnamon

(Note: Food color can be added to first step for Christmas theme or melted white or dark chocolate can be drizzled over cookies at the end.) Mix softened butter and sugar in large bowl. Add almond flavouring. Stir. Add flour, cinnamon/cardamom and 1/2 cup pistachios. Dough will be dry; mix with hands until flour is blended. Pack and form into 2 rolls, each about 1-2” in diameter. Spread 1/2 cup pistachios over wax paper. Roll dough in pistachios to coat completely. Wrap in wax paper. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill for a min of 4 hours. Cut into 1/4” slices. Arrange on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake on centre rack in 350F oven for approx. 10-15 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Let stand five minutes then remove onto open racks to cool.

Living in Balance By Jenipher Appleton We are all too familiar with holiday feasting and what it can do to our waistlines (let alone our cholesterol levels). After the holiday season we begin to see the ads for fitness and weight loss programs: “Lose 20 pounds for 20 bucks” – or something like that. Many of us make stringent New Year’s resolutions only to break them before January is out. However, there are some ways to survive the party food season without putting on an extra five or ten pounds.

Pace Yourself It is well known in nutrition circles that the more slowly one eats, the less food you will consume. This applies to everyday meal consumption, but even more so when at a social gathering. It is so easy to eat quickly, gulping delicious morsels while talking to friends, co-workers, or other acquaintances. The best approach is to slow everything down; inhale deeply, be calm, and savour every bite (which should be small). Chew slowly and you’ll be surprised at how much better the food tastes.

in your face with the next hot hors d’oeuvre, stop and think about what pleases your palate most. Don’t have some of everything; instead, choose the things you love. For me it would have to be the mushroom tart, the barbecued shrimp skewer, or the garlic bruschetta. It is all about priorities. Don’t just eat something because it is in front of you. Make sure it is so appealing to you that it is worth the fat and calories. Again…eat oh so slowly.

The 80/20 Rule This is a rule I learned in a nutrition class at Fanshawe College. Eighty per cent of the time you should eat a really healthy, balanced diet with lots of good fats (not trans or saturated) and whole grains. Twenty per cent of the time you can treat yourself to the less healthy foods with minimal nutritional value or ‘empty calories’. I actually prefer changing it to the 90/10 rule but have been known to bend it during the party season.

So, good luck this Christmas. Enjoy the festivities but don’t overdo it. Go for lots of walks outside. You’ll be thankful on January Prioritize When faced with platter upon platter of 1st you do! tempting, fattening foods, or catering staff

Apple Spice Tea By James Eddington, Eddington’s of Exeter

4 cups natural pressed apple juice 1 large cinnamon stick

1 tsp sugar (honey can be substituted) 2 bags Orange Pekoe tea

Orange Gingerbread Combine apple juice, cinnamon and sugar in pot. Bring to boil and remove from heat. Add tea bags and cover. Steep for seven minutes. Remove tea bags. Strain liquid into coffee mugs or decorative glasses. Serve with orange slice and garnish. Enjoy with your shortbread.


The following is a recipe for a relatively nutritious Christmas treat. Recipe by Jenipher Appleton 1/3 cup 1 cup 1 1/4 cup 1 tbsp 2 1/2 cups

canola oil dark molasses orange juice grated orange peel whole wheat flour

1 tsp 1 tsp 2 tsp 1/2 tsp 1/2 cup

baking soda ground cinnamon ground ginger salt raisins

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix wet ingredients together in a large bowl. Sift dry ingredients together into a medium bowl. Add raisins. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. Pour into a greased 9” x 13” pan and bake 40 minutes. Be sure not to over bake. Gingerbread will be moist.




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Cornerback Harold Mutobola shares his skills.

Strip at School

Candace Maslen throws a football during a visit by the UWO Mustangs football team.

Thursday, December 11, 2008 • 13

Linebacker Conor Elliott started the program.

Schoolyard champs Story and Photos by Casey Lessard They may not have won the national championship Vanier Cup, but the University of Western Ontario Mustangs football team continues to win the hearts of boys and girls at East Williams Public School in Nairn. Several of the team’s players are taking part in a mentorship program to help the children improve their literacy while learning the fundamentals of football. “One of our students wrote in his journal about his love for football,” says principal Vivienne Bell-McKaig, who spearheaded the program last year.

“We asked if he would like to meet (a player), and he was quite excited about that opportunity. So we wrote a letter inviting the Stangs to our school, and this has grown from a one-buddy opportunity to a whole school mentorship program.” “It started off small with a couple of guys,” says linebacker and long snapper Conor Elliott, who is a friend of Bell-McKaig’s daughter and leads the program. “It’s blown up and been going strong ever since. “I love it. I love seeing the kids. Their reading has gone up. It brings you back to why you’re doing what you’re doing. It makes you work harder and when you see how well

Brianna Costello runs drills organized by linebacking coach/recruiting coordinator Mickey Donovan.

they’re doing. I’d always wanted to pursue education, but this made it clear in my mind.” Inspired by Elliott’s commitment to education, left guard Matt Norman is now interested in pursuing education as a career. “I love helping them learn and it’s a great pleasure,” Norman says. “These kids really look up to us, and I was taken by surprise how they welcome us. It’s a great feeling.” And it’s a great feeling for McKaig, who has seen progress already. “There is a gender gap in learning and it really shows in the Grades 4-6 age groups,” she says. “This shows that boys, and even football

players, like to read. We already have seen big, big improvement in our reading and writing scores since these guys have been coming out. It’s improved the motivation and purpose for reading and writing.” Plus, it brings a smile to the faces of the students. “It’s really fun,” says Grade 5 student Adam Galloway, “because they’re really smart and it’s fun to play with them and read with them.” The program also reminds the players of the importance of school. “It makes us realize we have to buckle down at school,” Elliott says. “It’s a good reality check.”

Zanth Jarvis reads to East Williams students Madison Esseltine, Braydon Kaufman, and Scott Constantine

To Do List

14 • Thursday, December 11, 2008

Things to Do



 a.m. - Grand Bend Legion Grand Bend Men’s Probus C lub. M.A.D.D. speaker John Reurink.

Community/Charity EVERY TUESDAY  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Bingo


 to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Live music with Ben Shane & Bobby K


: to  a.m. - Grand Bend Legion T.G.I.F. (Thank God I’m Fit) exercise class with Elinor Clarke 519-294-6499. $3 per week; all fees go to charity

 to : a.m. - Grand Bend Legion  p.m. - Thomas Hall, Thedford Arena Line Dancing Thedford Spirit Club presents “New Year’s Eve Dance”. Cost is $15 per person or $25 per couple. For more information call 519- T HURSDAYS 296-4994.  a.m. – Port Franks Comm. Centre Healthy Lifestyle Exercise Program.  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Program includes warm up, low impact New Year’s Eve Celebration with Midlife aerobic workout, strength work and Crisis stretching. Sponsored in part by Healthy Living Lambton. Cost: Free!! Everyone welcome. Contact Cindy Maxfield, Health SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20 THURSDAY, JANUARY 1 Promoter at the GBACHC, 519-238-1556  to  p.m. - Grog’s Pub & Grill  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion ext 6 to register. Optimist Club of Ausable Port Franks New Year’s Levee with Midlife Crisis meat raffle  to  p.m. - South Huron Golf & Health & Fitness Fitness Centre, Exeter SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21 Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for  to  p.m. - GB Youth Centre MONDAYS gym members, spouses and students. Call Youth Centre Family Christmas Party. We  to  a.m. - Southcott Clubhouse are traveling by bus to Goderich for bowling Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for Beth Sweeney, (519) 238-5555. and swimming! Pre registration is required spouses and students. Call Beth Sweeney, and the cost is $5/person including trans- (519) 238-5555. FRIDAYS portation. Pre-registration is required by  to  a.m. - Southcott Clubhouse December 10. Call 519-238-1155. : to  a.m. - Grand Bend Legion Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for T.G.I.F. (Thank God I’m Fit) exercise spouses and students. Call Beth Sweeney, class with Elinor Clarke 519-294-6499. $3 (519) 238-5555. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31 per week; all fees go to charity  p.m. - Grand Bend Youth Centre : to  a.m. - Grand Bend Legion New Year’s Afternoon Party. We are travelT.G.I.F. (Thank God I’m Fit) exercise ing by bus to Flagswipe Paintball in London TUESDAYS class with Elinor Clarke 519-294-6499. $3 for an afternoon of paintballing. Pre-regis a.m. – Port Franks Comm. Centre tration by December 10 is required and the Healthy Lifestyle Exercise Program. per week; all fees go to charity cost is $20/person including transportation. Program includes warm up, low impact Departure at 12 p.m. from the centre and aerobic workout, strength work and T HURSDAY, DECEMBER 18 returning by 5:30 p.m. Ages 10-adult. Call stretching. Sponsored in part by Healthy Blessings Community Store, Zurich 519-238-1155. Living Lambton. Cost: Free!! Everyone Cooking Outside of the Box. Drop in and welcome. Contact Cindy Maxfield at the taste test great recipe ideas for yummy low GBACHC, 519-238-1556 ext 6 to register. cost meals. Call Miranda Burgess Grand Arts & Entertainment Bend CHC dietitian 519-238-1556 ext.222  to  p.m. - South Huron Golf & THURSDAYS Fitness Centre, Exeter  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Art Centre WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31 Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for Open Painting. Cost is $10 - bring a proj:-: p.m. or -: p.m. – Grand ect and materials and paint with various gym members, spouses and students. Call Bend CHC Beth Sweeney, (519) 238-5555. artists. Mental Health Education and Support Group. Monthly support group for family and friends that provides tools and strategies FRIDAYS WEDNESDAYS along with ongoing educational informa: to : p.m. - GB Youth Centre  to  a.m. - Southcott Clubhouse Grand Bend Drum Circle. Contact Anita Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for tion. Contact Social Worker Lise Callahan at the Youth Centre or call 519-238-8759. spouses and students. Call Beth Sweeney, at 519-238-1556 ext. 230 for details. (519) 238-5555.

: to : p.m. - GB Youth Centre Christmas baking with Aggie. Enjoy a night of baking Christmas cookies with EVERY OTHER T HURSDAY Schoolhouse Restaurant, Grand Bend Aggie and friends. Learn a variety of techSocrates Café. An informal discussion niques, recipes and cookies to take home group. For more information contact Dinah and enjoy for the holidays! Cost $15/child Taylor, 519-238-1114 or Ian Young, 519- and pre registration is required. Ages 5 - 13. Call 519-238-1155. 238-5335.

EVERY FRIDAY  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Meat Draw

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11 : p.m. - St. John’s Anglican Church Grand Bend Diners Program. Second and four th T hursday of the month. Transportation is available along with take out. Cost $9/person, entertainment and social time. Contact Town & Country Support Services at 519-235-0258.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12 After school, GB Youth Centre Slumber Party at the Centre. Come after school and stay until 10:30 p.m.. Let your parents get their Christmas shopping done and know you are having fun at the same time. Cost is: $5/person and includes a pizza dinner and snacks. We will make a Christmas craft, play games, and watch a movie. Pre-registration is required for this activity. Ages 5-13. Call 519-238-1155 for information and to register.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14  a.m. to  p.m. - Port Franks Community Centre Optimist Club of Ausable Port Franks Breakfast with Santa. Cost: $6 adults, $3 ages 5-12, free ages 4 and under. Call 519243-1515 for details.

 to  p.m. - Zurich fairgrounds Come celebrate the heart of Christmas at the live nativity in Zurich. There will be live actors, animals, songs and more to warm you and your heart. Gather at the shelter behind SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13 the ball diamond in Zurich’s fairgrounds.  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Hosted by the churches of Zurich. Horse Races

TWO BARBERS - HOT TOWEL SHAVES Otterbein’s Barbershop Men’s & Ladies’

Grand Bend

Join us New Year’s Eve 9pm & New Year’s Day 12pm

(519) 238-2120

394 Main Street, Exeter


THANK YOU! To all of our clients for your continued support in 2008 UP TO

LIVE MUSIC! SAT. 3-6 PM Dec. 13 - Horse Races Dec. 20 - Ben Shane & Bobby K




Fun Darts Mondays @ 7 p.m. Bingo Tuesdays @ 7 p.m. Meat Draws Fridays @ 5 p.m. Hall rentals - contact Sharon (519) 238-6865




565 Elginfi Elginfield eld Road, Thedford


The Friends of Pinery Park - Holiday Sale

Ends December 31. 519-243-1521

Strip Around the House

Thursday, December 11, 2008 • 15

Amateur decorators got a chance to see the insides of some of the Parkhill area’s best dressed homes on November’s home tour.

Dawn Robertson of Strathroy returned to Grand Cove to say Merry Christmas to old friends, and to buy jewellery from Juanita Spears. The Grand Cove bake sale and craft sale raises funds for local charities.

St. Boniface school in Zurich hosted a One Stop Shopping fundraiser. Above, products from Lynne Dixon of Clinton (wreath) and Lakewood Garden Centre in St. Joseph (snowman).

Last minute gift suggestions Eye for Design By Lorette Mawson Well here we are drawing close to that magical day. But in today’s busy world, it seems increasingly harder to get prepared for this beautiful time of year. Here are a few suggestions for last minute gift ideas and decorating.

Personalized gift-giving Let’s start with the gifts, especially for the hard to buy for whom we seem to leave until

inexpensive solution is the easy to find pinecone. Put a bunch of pinecones in a basket, with a ribbon tied on. Or put pinecones in Christmas mugs in a row of three or five on your mantle or table. You can also make a wreath out of pinecones, again topped with a beautiful bow. I also recommend filling glass containers with pinecones, ornaments, or Christmas candy or candy canes. Really, you do not need to spend a lot of money. With some imagination, you can achieve beauty in your home for the holidays without breaking the budget. Remember that the time you spend together is what makes Simple decorating When it comes to decorating, one easy and the season magical. last. Perhaps the best answer is something homemade; everyone has a talent of some sort, and it is also rewarding to give a gift your personal touch. Are you a baker? Present your treats on a Christmas plate or in a Christmas tin, or wrapped in cellophane with a bow and possibly an ornament. If flower arranging is more your talent, how about a centerpiece? You could use Christmas mugs or bowls; use your imagination! For knitters, your handiwork always makes an excellent gift.

Every Friday

All U Can Eat Fish ‘n’ Chips FOR RESERVATIONS OR TAKE-OUT, CALL: 519-238-6786 - 135 Ontario St. S., Grand Bend Beside the Bluewater Motel

Strip in Concert

16 • Thursday, December 11, 2008

Right: Grade 2 pianist Gord Britton gives kudos to his teacher. Far right: Roberta Walker, who is studying theory music writing performs her original song Gingerbread Memories.

Christmas tune-up Students of Grand Bend musician and music teacher Pedro Quintana performed a Christmas concert November 23 at Southcott Pines clubhouse. Ten students and Pedro Quintana performed a range of traditional, Christmas and original music to a full house of family and friends. For more about Quintana’s classes, visit

Photos by Casey Lessard

Emily Meldrum of Port Franks is a Grade 2 piano student, seen here with teacher Pedro Quintana.

Burhard Spangenberg of Crediton shows his vocal talents. He also sings with London Fanshawe choir.

Third year student Maggie Ainslie of Exeter performs her original composition Broken Glass.

Jonathan Gill of Dashwood plays guitar as well as piano, bass guitar, drums and trombone.

Vol. 2 #14 Grand Bend Strip, December 11, 2008  

Award winning journalism from Grand Bend. Inside: how a beach firepit changed a life, Death at the Bend, and Jordy's nears the end of the ro...

Vol. 2 #14 Grand Bend Strip, December 11, 2008  

Award winning journalism from Grand Bend. Inside: how a beach firepit changed a life, Death at the Bend, and Jordy's nears the end of the ro...