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Vol. 2, No. 15


Jan. 15 to Feb. 11, 2009

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PUT ME IN, COACH How our man in Washington created a sports media frenzy and almost tied an NHL record in the process - p. 2




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2 • Thursday, January 15, 2009

Our boy almost played in the big league The ultimate benchwarmer, Brett Leonhardt of Grand Bend lived a dream and almost became tallest NHL goalie here until just after 7:00 and I would have to be on the bench for warmup and for maybe the whole first period.

The son of “Hardt of Huron” bed and breakfast owners Brian and Karen Leonhardt, Brett Leonhardt moved to the United States after receiving a hockey scholarship at NCAA Division III SUNY Oswego in upstate New York, where he majored in communications and media arts. His background made him the perfect candidate when the Washington Capitals made a push to improve their web presence last season. Now living in Washington, DC with his girlfriend Logan Kapinus, Brett Leonhardt made international headlines December 12 when his job put him in the right place at the right time.

No. 80 When they have rookie camp every year, they make a jersey for everyone there. On the depth chart of the team, I guess I was the 80th guy, so they made me number 80. When I got there at 5 o’clock, I went back into the trainer’s room to get some socks because I only had dress socks on, and I there was the trainer sewing the letters into the back of my jersey. That was pretty cool. Warmup was the thing I was most nervous about. People are watching to see if you’ll make saves, and you’re skating around seeing Spezza and Alfredsson across the red line. I just did my thing from college, recreating my routine like where I stretch on the ice. I just tried to stop everything and look like I belonged. It was pretty cool. It’s so bright out there and to have an NHL jersey with your name on the back is pretty incredible. It was one of the greatest moments of my life.

As told to Casey Lessard My parents got me into Learn to Skate when I was four years old, and I started playing tyke hockey when I was five. At six or seven I started liking goaltending. My older brother was a goaltender so it was natural for me to want to do it and I never looked back. I was invited to Kitchener Rangers camp, and I was there two or three weeks and it was down to three goalies. I played in an exhibition game, and that year they had two goalies that were drafted higher than me, so I just went down and played Junior ‘B’ in Cambridge and kept my college eligibility. Getting a scholarship was a goal of mine. I did well in high school and was definitely going to university afterward. I applied to Laurier, Waterloo, and U of T, but if I didn’t get a scholarship I was definitely going to go to university in Canada. I got a scholarship to SUNY Oswego, and after two years transferred to Neumann College near Philadelphia, about two hours from Washington. My girlfriend graduated the year before I did and took a job in D.C., so when I graduated, I looked for a job here in Washington. I called the Capitals, and from what I did in college and my résumé, the perfect job opened up. I went for two interviews and got the job.

Dream job There are two things I love doing. One is video and film, and the other is hockey. Not only at college, but after graduation, to be able to have the job I have is a dream come true. A lot of people forget that there a lot of people behind the scenes that keep everything going in the office other than what’s on the ice. You take away the fact that there is a pro hockey team playing, and it’s run just like any corporation. There are so many different departments: sales, marketing, and communications, which is on the rise right now. I do most of the video on the website and that’s something the NHL started last season. That was when my job opened up. Our owner was one of the founders of AOL (America Online), and everyone tells us that we have the best website in the league. We track our views and people are starting to

Game time

Washington Capitals web producer Brett Leonhardt of Grand Bend warms up December 12 before joining the team on the bench for ten minutes of their game against Ottawa. Had he faced game action, Brian and Karen Leonhardt’s 6’7” son would have tied the record for tallest NHL goalie. Photo by Mitchell Layton.

rely on us for our video work. Whenever there’s an event, I cover it with video; our team writer is my boss and I try to include him as a personality in my videos so he is with us in this transition from the written word to video.

Special qualifications When I got the job, the sports information director at Oswego knew a guy named Nate, the director of media relations here. They went to school together and Nate told him that he had a guy from Oswego who had just gotten a job here. “What’s his name?” “Brett Leonhardt.” “Oh, he’s a good kid, a good goalie.” Nate was talking to our goalie coach and told him that a college goalie had just got a job if he ever needed anyone for practice, but he was just joking around. That’s when Olaf Kolzig, who was our goalie last year, started taking morning skates off; he was older and felt more energized when he didn’t skate the morning of a game. So last year, the goalie coach came up to me and asked if I wanted to go home and get my gear to practice with the team. I was floored. It happened once every few weeks and rolled into this season. It was crazy (facing NHL players). It was a huge jump. They shoot so hard and so accurate. The skating and shooting, everything is so fast. Everyone is so big and so good. You

naturally just find a way to play better, so I started making saves and did what I knew what to do, and started to fit right in.

The fateful week Brent Johnson was a little sore after a game, and our coach was asked in a post-game press conference, “Johnson looked a little sore; what are you going to do?” He was like, “I’ll give him the day off. Our practice goalie is right beside you,” and they all looked at me and had a chuckle. That was Wednesday night. Friday morning, the goalie coach called me in my cubicle and said our other goalie, Jose Theodore had been nursing an injury, and that I should come down and take some shots. I knew something was up but they wouldn’t tell me. I ran down, and they still had my equipment from the day before, so I suited up two practices in a row. I showered and went back to work, editing the video of what the coach had to say at practice. The general manager, George McPhee, came up and put his arm around me and told me they were calling up a goalie, Simeon Varlamov. “Theodore cannot dress and cannot play, and the backup might not get here in time. Make sure your equipment’s ready because you might have to dress.” I had to sign a one-day emergency tryout contract and fax it to the league. At 3:30 they called to tell me that Varlamov couldn’t get

I had a pretty good warmup and coming back out to the bench, it was dark with no lights on. The fans were going nuts. Sitting there on the bench, it just felt like college again. You hear the guys talking, like “I need tape; my skates aren’t sharp.” The coaches saying, “Come on, let’s go.” I was on the bench when we scored a goal so the guys came down the bench giving high fives and they treated me like I was one of them. I later found out that Ottawa knew what was going on because we had three goalies on the lineup when you’re only allowed two. I wasn’t too sure how they were going to take it. Johnson would make a crazy save from outside, and Alfreddson would come in way after the whistle and bump into him. It started a couple of scrimmages and there were two goaltending interference calls. People were trying to say that it was something to do with me, but I just think there was some bad blood between the teams from previous games. During warmup, no one looked at me or stared at me; they just acted as if it was business as usual. People asked me if I was nervous when that was happening, and I can’t lie; I definitely was. I knew Johnson was sore earlier in the week, but he looked good in warmup. At around the 10:00 mark, Simeon Varlamov arrived; it was the first NHL game that he dressed for, too, and he was a first round draft pick. He walked down the tunnel and the trainer hit me and we just switched positions. I was a bit relieved because these guys are professional athletes and I’d been out of the game for more than a year. I’m not saying that I didn’t deserve to be there or belong there, but it was definitely right to see an NHL player replace me.

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Brett Leonhardt prepares to warm up. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Washington Capitals.

Post-game The local cable network always does one interview during the break, so when I came back into the room, they grabbed me and did an interview there. The VP of communications said to me, “You’re not going to believe this, but you’re the top story on ESPN, TSN, and SportsNet, so be ready when your equipment is off.” I got showered and put my suit on. Usually I do a lot of pre-game and post-game videos, but during the game I sit in the press box and watch so I know what to ask after the game. I went to the press box and our media relations officer said, “Everyone wants to talk to you. Let’s do one big scrum.” I did a quick interview with our radio guy and did the scrum. It

was pretty crazy. Everyone had the story: our local NBC, Fox, and I even saw it on ESPN and CNN Headline News the next day. (Sports Illustrated later ran a brief on his appearance.) I never thought it would be this big.

Perfect storm We always joked that for this to ever happen, we’d have to have the perfect storm. A guy would have to get hurt the day of the game, and both of our farm teams, Hershey and South Carolina, would have to be in the middle of nowhere on the road in a small market. We always joked that someday it might happen. My parents are just floored. My dad was

Thursday, January 15, 2009 • 3

Leonhardt and his girlfriend Logan Kapinus hope to retire in Grand Bend. Photo courtesy Brett Leonhardt.

pretty happy when he found out that I got to practice with the team, so he couldn’t believe it. They were speechless. That’s the first time in my life I’ve seen them like that. I got all these emails and letters mailed into the office, like “You’re my hero,” and “You give regular guys a chance.” Around the rink I’ve seen three or four of my jerseys on people I don’t even know. I made sure my family all got one for Christmas for sure. I love being around the sport every day. No one likes getting up Monday morning and going to work. It’s my dream job. I wouldn’t change it for anything. No matter how many days in a row you work or how many nights you’re out late after a game working, the next

day it’s right back to hockey. I can look out of my office, and there’s Alex Ovechkin skating on the ice. I just love that I’m doing something that I’ve been passionate about since I’ve was so young. Grand Bend holds a special place in Leonhardt’s heart. Growing up, the family spent summers here, and now that the Leonhardts are based in St. Joseph, Brett visits when he comes home. “I still have my membership at the Grand Bend Fitness Centre and I’d always work out there. Every time I come home, it’s Tim Horton’s, the gym and Sea Jewels. Our whole apartment in D.C. is decked out in Sea Jewels stuff.” He says he and Logan would like to move back to the area when they retire.

Brett Leonhardt’s family got Washington Capitals jerseys for Christmas. Here, his girlfriend Logan, mom Karen, nephew Bryce and dad Brian model theirs when Washington hosted and beat Toronto 4-1 December 28.

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4 • Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hockey Night in Zurich Draft makes beer league thrive “112 leagues below the NHL” Story and Photos by Casey Lessard It doesn’t draw the crowds like Toronto or Detroit, but the Zurich Recreational Hockey League, or ZRHL, certainly draws the players. “We have a waiting list of sometimes 20 players waiting to get in,” says convener Jason Schilbe. “We have guys coming from London, Clinton, St. Marys, Exeter.” The league draws them in because they know they have a chance to win in any given year. Unique to beer leagues in the area, the ZRHL operates a draft every year where two captains from each of eight teams pick players from the pool. No two years are identical, and that keeps everyone on their toes. “The draft means you’re with different guys every year,” says Jamie Rader of Zurich. “Any team can win on a given night. Seems to work well.” The draft has helped Zurich’s league stay alive while others have faltered. “A couple leagues in Exeter tried it where you picked your own team,” Schilbe says. “The same team won every year so it faded out. This league has been around for 52 years, I think.”

The league started after the junior team left town, leaving young men with nowhere to play. It started out with two teams and now has eight. “The idea is to pick a goalie first,” he says, explaining how to succeed as a captain. “If you have a good goalie, you’re all set, so usually the goalies go first.” One other twist was introduced a couple of years ago when the NHL did the same: shootouts to resolve ties. “You always have a winner,” Schilbe says. “When the NHL went to it, everyone saw it and liked the idea.” Varna’s Mark Buruma is impressed with his experience. This is his second year playing in ZRHL. “It’s probably the most organized rec league around,” he says. “It’s all about the beer. This is a beer league.” Brent Durand of Zurich concurs. “I’m a lifer. Love of the game and playing with friends. Plus the arena’s beside the beer store.” Then there’s the allure of winning it all in the league self-described as 112 leagues below the NHL. “I actually scored the overtime goal to clinch the championship one year,” says Bryan Denomme of Exeter. “We went undefeated that season.” Nevin Hodgins, a five-year veteran, hasn’t been so lucky. “I haven’t. This could be the year. It would be the dream of a lifetime.” Playoffs start this week with the Devils and Bruins leading their respective divisions. “Playoffs are best of five, so each team is guaranteed two rounds,” Schilbe says. “The season runs 17 regular season games, and up to 15 playoff games. It’s a long season.” Almost as long as the NHL’s.

Mark Buruma of Varna has some downtime during an intermission.

For game times or more information, visit

Brent Durand of Zurich has been playing in the league five years. “I’m a lifer,” he says.

Chris Gingerich can’t stop Bryan Denomme of Exeter, who comes in to score.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009 • 5

Chad Ramer of Zurich tries to get the puck into the Bruins end. The North Stars were trailing 4-1 and pulled out a 5-4 win with moments remaining. “It was a Team Canada comeback,” said Jamie Ramer. “Anyone can win on any given night,” he said. The draft “makes it more even.”

Two of Varna resident Ralph Stephenson’s grandsons play in the league. He was out to see them playing against each other. “When I played,” he says, “it was open air. That’s going back to the late 30s, early 40s.”

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6 • Thursday, January 15, 2009

Above: Zurich’s Chris Gingerich controls the puck away from Kris McKinnon

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Above: Convener Jason Schilbe discusses a rare shootout.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009 • 7

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The Band in You Music School Arena staff member Melvin Jewell cleans the ice between periods.

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Jeremy Scherle and Bob Stephenson of Clinton leave after a long night. Their Devils, for which Scherle is the goalie, head into the playoffs at number one overall. Games start this week at the Zurich arena; schedules are available at

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8 • Thursday, January 15, 2009

Strip Feature

Inspired by life in the woods Grand Bend artist Josy Britton was recently honoured with entry into the Society of Canadian Artists. For each submission, the society’s jury looks at five paintings made within the last two years, examines the artist’s résumé and determines which would be a good representative of current art in Canada.

At told to Casey Lessard We lived in Freelton and had 10 acres of maple trees. Gord’s work got transferred to Sarnia, and we were looking for a place there. Then Gord worked at the Bruce nuclear station and had to drive to his office in Sarnia. He had to pass through Grand Bend, and knew I had camped for years at the Pinery, so he timed how long it took to get from here to Sarnia. He blindfolded me and brought me to what I thought was one of the houses in Sarnia. We stopped here on this lot and took off the blindfold with me looking up, and all I could see was this canopy of trees. He said, “Could you be happy here?” That’s how we ended up living here. I have to live in a forest because I like feeling like I’m part of nature, and I think people can live in harmony with nature. I love every day looking outside when I wake up and seeing what kind of day it is. Right now I’m working on a series of water paintings. I find it an exciting subject because water doesn’t stay still. The movement is fun to create. My calling is to paint and I find it really easy to paint, but the other part of being an artist is the promotional part, which doesn’t come naturally to me. I’ve had shows in Toronto, but I don’t have a gallery that represents me there. I think the next time I approach galleries, this will help give legitimacy to my request. My long-term goal is to have work in the National Gallery or the Art Gallery of Ontario. This is a vote of confidence from my peers that my work deserves to be there. That’s what I’m hoping.

Paintings by Josy Britton Email:

Trinity, Josy Britton

Watercolour on Yupo

Gentle Waves, Josy Britton

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Thursday, January 15, 2009 • 9

Autumn Tango, Josy Britton

Oil on canvas


Ripples, Josy Britton

Watercolour on Yupo

Strip Thoughts

10 • Thursday, January 15, 2009

Winds of change What’s really wrong with the economy

View from the Strip By Casey Lessard It’s going to be an exciting month, even though it’s already half over. January will see the changing of the guard in Washington, and possibly in Ottawa, too. While the former is much more of a guarantee than the latter, it’ll certainly be interesting to watch history unfold in both cities. Some of my students are heading to Washington for Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration, and I have to admit that I’m jealous. While it’s unlikely they’ll get to see anything among the crowd, being present for an historic moment like that is unforgettable. I was shocked when none of them wanted to go to Chicago for election night; when I was a journalism student, everyone wanted to go to protests and anything else of such interest just to be there and be part of history. Something as big as Obama’s win will rarely be repeated in our lifetime. Then there’s Ottawa, where things have

certainly changed since our last issue. With Michael Ignatieff in charge of the Liberals, the party now has more support than the Conservatives, according to a Nanos poll conducted last week. Will Stephen Harper have the courage to bring his own government down with more maneuvering, or will he try to hold on to power and resist forcing Ignatieff ’s hand? Interesting times indeed. Here at home, the annual winter carnival is coming next month, and I hope to see you out at the community events. It’s been a tough, cold winter and we need something to loosen up our backs from shoveling. I realize this is not the place to advertise, but I’ve been keeping busy working on a new project (above and beyond the paper and school). I’d love for you to visit my new blog, if you have a chance. Comments are appreciated! See you soon.

Partners launches film group Partners in Learning, which is launching a new session this month (see p 13), has a new spin-off group that is planning to show feature films once a month. The group, called Sunset Cinema, will air its first film, Big Fish, January 22 at 7 p.m. at the Grand Bend CHC. Future films will show the first Thursday of each month from September to May. Jane St. Laurent, Jackie Southcott and Dinah Taylor are the current film selection committee, and have only decided on the first film but are already planning for the future. “We’re hoping to show films that are not readily available in our community,” Taylor says. “We get a lot of the blockbusters in London, but there are a lot of others that never get here. We’re looking at films from

the last 10 years and hopefully newer ones.” The group has no budget, and can’t charge admission; donations are welcome to help afford movies that incur a cost. While there is no specific theme to the programming, the group is leaning away from overtly violent or sexual films, but 14A-rated films such as Paul Haggis’ Crash are being considered. The group wants films to generate discussion, which will take place after the films for those who wish to stay; the discussions are optional as the film presentations are also intended for entertainment purposes. For more information about the films, watch for posters or call Dinah Taylor at 519238-1114.

Publisher/Editor: Casey Lessard Advertising Sales: Casey Lessard Chief Photographer: Casey Lessard Grand Bend Strip P.O. Box 218 Grand Bend, Ontario N0M 1T0 CANADA Phone: (519) 614-3614 Fax: 1 (866) 753-2781

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

Alternative View By Lance Crossley It can get confusing listening to the various media pundits and experts talk about what’s wrong with the economy. You hear a lot of talk about “subprime loans”, the “credit crunch”, and “market confidence”. All this is true, but for me, there is no clearer illustration of what ails the economy than this startling fact: On the morning of January 2, at precisely 9:04 a.m., the country’s highest paid 100 CEOs had already earned what the average Canadian earns in an entire year. That means that before these CEOs had barely recovered from their New Year’s hangover, they had “earned” $40,237. This shocking fact was recently published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which analyzed the earnings of Canada’s best-paid CEOs for 2007. The study’s author, Hugh MacKenzie, puts it like this: “If you made what most would consider a substantial salary – say, the $100,000 a year that gets you on the so-called ‘sunshine list’ in some provinces – the highest paid 100 CEOs would have pocketed your annual earning by the end of lunch hour on January 5.” This perverse gap between the rich and poor is one reason it is going to be very difficult to get out of this deepening recession. In the last five years, hundreds of thousands of well-paying manufacturing jobs have evaporated into thin air. Workers are left to scrounge for lowpaying jobs, which doesn’t help in a country where not a single province has a minimum wage even close to the poverty line. In fact, Canada has the second highest percentage of low-paid workers in the developed world.

(Only the United States is worse). Meanwhile, household debt in Canada is at a record high; as the recession worsens, a lot of Canadians simply won’t be able to keep up. Those relying on their home equity to bail them out of debt are in trouble too, as the Bank of Canada says that “a severe economic downturn could result in a substantial increase in default rates on household debt.” In other words, brace yourself for a housing crisis of our own. In the last 30 years corporate profits have soared while workers’ wages in real dollars have either stagnated or declined. According to Canadian Business magazine, the country’s 46 billionaires are worth more than the total assets of the bottom 14 million Canadians. This ever-widening gap is finally catching up to the greedy few at the top. Why? Because no one has any money to buy the things they’re selling. In 1914, Henry Ford announced he would pay his employees five dollars a day for their work. This was unheard of at the time, as most industrial workers were only making 11 dollars a week. He did so because he wanted his workers to be able to buy his cars. He realized that if citizens don’t get a fair share of the pie, then the economy cannot grow because capitalism relies on people buying things. Ford’s philosophy helped build North America into an economic giant. Now the giant has grown top-heavy. Unfortunately, it’s the ones on the bottom who are going to suffer when it falls.

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Strip Thoughts

Thursday, January 15, 2009 • 11

Windsor’s good eats Casual dress code Keeping the Peace

Advice from Mom

By Tom Lessard, C.D.

By Rita Lessard

I was born in Windsor, Ontario in 1937, the seventh child. I had three brothers and three sisters. My mother was very handy with the sewing machine and needle and thread. She would get hold of Maple Leaf flour bags, take the stitching out, bleach the bags and then join them and make pillow cases, sheets, underwear and curtains. A lot of the time, the bleaching wouldn’t remove all the wording, so the shorts would have the Maple Leaf logo still visible. My father was a tool and die maker and a part-time car racer at Detroit and Port Huron tracks. He built a house on Riberdy Road, out by the airport in Sandwich East. It was a twostorey building with a semi-detached garage and a good-sized Victory garden. Everyone was urged to have their own garden during the war. In the summer, as the crops ripened, I’d take a salt shaker and start at one end of the cucumber row, pick a cuke, wipe off the prickers and eat and eat until I was full. When the tomatoes were ready, I’d take on the task of wiping them on my pants or shirt, lick them, add salt and enjoy the taste of fresh vegetables. My sister dug into the onions, which she loved and I didn’t. Wartime meant rationing. Every family or eligible person received a ration book and coupons with which to purchase meat, butter, gasoline, tires, etc. Every Sunday, my dad would have his bacon and eggs for breakfast. If we were lucky, we’d get the drippings, in which we’d fry bread. It was a real treat. Butter was in very short supply so we’d use lard on our bread. My grandfather, who had a house across the street, would invite one or two of us over for breakfast. It consisted of porridge with ice cream on it. Mmm good. In the back of our property, there was a huge farm owned by the Walker family, on which they grew acres and acres of cattle corn. When the corn was still edible, we’d pick a few dozen and set up a table on Walker

Road (the main street leading to downtown Windsor) and sell it. We’d tell everyone that it was Golden Bantam corn. I understand that one of our customers was Mr. Walker himself. When there was no corn in the fields, we were able to witness the coming and going of military aircraft of all shapes and sizes either in training or heading to the war zones. Once in a while the “air raid” sirens would go off and we’d have to pull all the blinds down and turn off all unnecessary lights until the “all clear” sounded. Our home was about five miles from the Detroit river, where there was a 30-foot diving tower and a beach. I remember my oldest sister telling me about the time she and my second oldest brother had 26¢ between them to get there and back and to have a treat. The bus to the beach cost 5¢ each to get there, and 5¢ each to get back. That left a nickel for popcorn. When they reached their destination and were walking out to the pier, a lifeguard stopped them and asked where they thought they were going. “To the diving tower,” they replied. He pointed to a spot in the river and told them that if they could swim there and back, they could go to the diving tower. They were about 10 and eight years old at the time. Well, they were good swimmers and had no trouble completing the task, so he allowed them to continue to the tower. When it was time to go home, instead of taking the bus they spent the fare on food and walked the five miles home. It was late when they arrived and my worried parents asked why they were so late. They replied, “You always tell us to take our time getting home.” To the Crediton Community Centre committee: Thanks for all the work you’ve done and for a great effort in raising the money required to renovate the hall! Jim: Hope you get well soon!

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Finally, the old year of 2008 is gone and we welcome in the New Year of 2009. I certainly hope the old year was pleasant enough for everyone and hopefully 2009 will bring much happiness. As we all realize with every passing year that we are getting older, it seems at times things don’t really change. For instance, with clothing, history has a way of repeating itself. I remember years ago when my kids were young and I was a stayat-home mom, I didn’t get out of my pyjamas until at least nine o’clock in the morning. As a matter of fact, after the kids went off to school I would scoot over to my friend Joanne’s place for tea, stay a while, and didn’t get dressed until I was ready to do my housework. Looking back on this habit I can appreciate it when the young people stay in their pyjamas all day; they even go to school, do their shopping and all their other fun activities dressed this way. I must admit I was never that bold, but one has to give the kids credit; they don’t seem to worry how they dress, whatever is the fashion: pyjamas, low rise pants, pretty underwear and short- or halfshirts. I really do worry about their cheeks and backs being exposed to the elements. Like I say, times don’t really change that

much. I recall my mother harping on me about always dressing warmly and she was always going on about wearing a hat in the winter time. As she said, heat rises so if you wore a hat, you certainly wouldn’t be cold. When I thought about it I decided to say to her, “So ma, if I wear a hat I could go out without my pants and I’d be perfectly fine.” Not so. I got a good clout for that comment. Kids, I recommend you get those hats on, especially if you don’t cover the rest of your assets. I also worry about the cats and dogs out in the cold of winter. At this time of year, cats like to snuggle up in a warm place such as a car engine. You might save a cat’s life by honking your horn before starting your car. My friend Tanya was concerned with her cat’s hair balls; someone told me if she added a teaspoon of vegetable oil to her cat’s daily meal, this would help prevent the situation. Happy birthday Michael Lessard on January 24. P.S. I apologize to Mae and Bill Brennan, who last week were forced to witness me putting my garbage out in my pyjamas. Force of habit. All the best in the New Year.


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Happy New Year! Say hello if you see me at the Grand Bend Winter Carnival!

12 • Thursday, January 15, 2009

Strip Events

Renowned hoop dancer headlines World Religion Day World Religion Day SUNDAY, JANUARY 18  to  p.m. – Grand Bend Legion Featuring Lakota hoop dancer Kevin Locke and the London Unity Choir. Clergy of local churches will offer readings and prayers for world peace. Refreshments served. Everyone welcome.

Kevin Locke Photos courtesy

Gord and Josy Britton wouldn’t miss World Religion Day for anything. Currently in Ethiopia singing with Van Gilmer’s Bahá’í House of Worship Gospel Choir, the Brittons will return home just in time to celebrate the event’s fifth year in Grand Bend. “Every year we’ve had participation from the Grand Bend United Church, the Anglican church, the Catholic church, the Presbyterian church in St. Joseph, and the United church in Dashwood,” says Josy. “We’ve had representatives of the Muslim and Jewish c o m m u n i t i e s . To cover other religions, we’ve had to invite people from outside the area. The last two years we’ve had the princess from Kettle Point come and do a native prayer.” This year, organizers are especially proud to have Amer ic an L akota hoop dancer Kevin Locke as the guest of honour. “He’s an amazing individual,” Gord says. “He has such skill. His hoop dancing is unbelievable. What adds to its beauty is its symbolism.” “His hoops are in four colours: black, white, red and yellow,” Josy adds. “They represent the four races, four directions, four winds. He uses 28 hoops to show all sorts of symbols of renewal. He makes them into birds, butterflies, eagles, sun, moon, and stars. He shows changing seasons through the dance. He shows that everyone is each other’s brother and there can be unity.” Promoting unity is the main goal of the event, an initiative of the Bahá’í faith. The Brittons are members of this faith, and one of its principles is to build a peaceful world through the unity of mankind. “We have to start understanding and celebrating our diversity,” Gord says, “and World Religion Day promotes that unity in diversity.

All these faiths and non-faith groups come together to celebrate in unity. “All of these religions share a golden rule, stated in different ways. Live together, respect each other and treat your neighbour as yourself. You don’t bomb your brother if you believe the world is one country and we are one human race.” The Brittons faced concern when they converted to the Bahá’í faith, but have found the community more welcoming as time has passed. “Some of our friends were worried that it was a cult or something,” Josy says. “There isn’t any fear anymore. People are surprised at how few Bahá’ís there are here because we’re quite an active group.” “We often focus on the divisions,” Gord notes, “but all the world religions come from the same source, and that’s God. God wouldn’t create competing religions. If they look closely enough, they’ll find a great deal of commonality in the spiritual teachings, but where the differences lie are in the social teachings. Social conditions change. We shouldn’t be judging religions on the social differences.” Ultimately, the Brittons believe we are all the same and looking for the same things in life. The key is to work to understand other cultures and religions, and events like World Religion Day help achieve that goal. “Understanding isn’t tolerance. It’s celebrating the fact that there’s something that connects us all. We’ve traveled to Israel, India, Africa, and elsewhere, and families are families. People wake up and care about their children and want to get on with their lives in a peaceful way. It’s not going to happen by accident, but by deliberate planning.” The event is free, and people of all beliefs are welcome to attend.

Strip Thoughts

Thursday, January 15, 2009 • 13

Why do they call them Counting Crows? Living in Balance By Jenipher Appleton Indeed the crow is common, but never underestimate its abilities. The correct name is American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), and it is entirely black except for its brown eyes. Studies of these very intelligent birds show that they can actually count, solve simple puzzles, learn symbols and retain information. They also hoard treasures like shells, coloured pebbles and shiny objects. They enjoy eating snails and cleverly break the mollusks’ shells by dropping them on rocks from above. Ernest Thompson Seton wrote an amazing, true tale about a crow named ‘Silverspot’ in his anthology, “Wild Animals I Have Known”. In the late 19th century, Silverspot (so named for a nickel-sized white patch on one cheek) resided on a pine-clad hill near Toronto’s Castle Frank for more than twenty years! According to Seton, the crow was ‘always on duty’ and ‘ready for the attack’. One day the author was out walking along the railroad track when he noticed an approaching flock of crows, with Silverspot in the lead. When they were quite near, Seton raised his closed umbrella slightly. Silverspot

gave a quick “Caw!” and the flock rose immediately out of gun range. This scene was repeated on several occasions. Soon the crows were wise to the trick and began to ignore Seton. However, when he changed the umbrella to a rifle, the effect was instant as the flock swooped to greater heights. Seton states that a crow can tell who is more dangerous; the farmer’s son or his daughter. Obviously, the son is more likely to be wielding a gun. Crows take great pleasure in harassing large predators like hawks and owls. A lead crow will call gangs together, sometimes numbering up to two hundred, to chase and pester the larger birds, subsequently driving them from their own territory. Fergus the yellow Labrador and I were on an early morning meander at the back of our property during the Christmas holidays. From the edge of the deciduous forest I heard a raucous low-pitched “caw!” immediately followed by a higher-pitched “caw, caw-caw!” from some distance away. Then I spotted the red-tailed hawk, minding his own business as he soared loftily over our heads. He was likely hunting for mice or bunnies. Suddenly one of the marauding crows came in from behind like a jet fighter zeroing in on its target. The second attacker plummeted from above, causing the hawk to dodge and weave to escape the two pests, who had obviously planned their little game at the expense of the

Photo by Benedict Francis, used under creative commons license.

unsuspecting raptor. The last I saw of them was three tiny specks disappearing into the distance at the horizon. Night brings a new threat to the crow. They do not see well in the dark and can fall prey to the sharp-eyed owl. Ernest Thompson Seton knew old Silverspot for twenty years. His clever feathered friend came to a sad end

one night when a great-horned owl dragged him off his perch as he slept. Seton found the bloody remains the next morning. He knew it was Silverspot when he turned over the head to reveal the white patch on the cheek. The tell-tale double-toed tracks of a great-horned owl were scattered in the turf.

Selling your home? Spruce it up! Eye for Design

Education is the best provision for old age

By Lorette Mawson Depending on your situation, getting your home ready for the buyers’ market can be a daunting task. The job can range from small touches to quite a makeover. To begin the process of selling your home, I suggest starting at the point where a potential buyer drives in your laneway. For me, the front door has to be your focal point drawing buyers in. I suggest painting your door an eye-catching but pleasing colour. Also, if the hardware on your door is outdated, you should consider changing it. My next step would be to take a walk around the property and fix anything broken, such as railings, fences, laneway cracks, peeling paint, etc. As we approach the indoors, the most important steps are to clean and declutter. Put away seasonal items such as decor and clothing; you may have to rent storage or find a friend who will lend you a spare room. Next fix anything broken inside, including taps, lights and railings. Outdated items such as cupboards can be transformed with some paint and new hardware. When giving your

Winter Session walls a fresh coat of paint, keep the colour fairly neutral to appeal to more buyers. Colour can be added through art and accessories. Window treatments that are outdated can be replaced inexpensively with a bamboo or vinyl blind, making it clean and simple. You may also want to store some of your furniture pieces if your rooms are too cluttered. Sometimes moving items to another room or changing an item’s colour or hardware can give a new perspective. Try to make the sprucing up experience enjoyable by having a painting party; inviting friends to help seems to make things like less work. A home stager may help, although I find the television shows on home staging a little unrealistic; after all, people still have to live in these homes while selling them, and with busy lives, children and jobs, the showcase look can be hard to maintain. Once you get your updating done, the key is to try keep it as clean and clutter-free as you can, and hopefully the right buyer will walk through that eye-catching front door.

Four five-week sessions on Wednesdays Southcott Pines Clubhouse, lower level

January 21 to February 18

10 a.m. to noon - Space, the Final Frontier Moderator: Mike Ash 2 to 4 p.m. - Disasters of the World Moderator: Don Santor

March 4 to April 1

10 a.m. to noon - Psychology of Self Moderator: Molly Russell 2 to 4 p.m. - Three Histories of Grand Bend Moderator: Robert Tremaine

Need a sitter?

We’re your pet’s home away from home.

North Fork

Socrates Café Thursdays 2 to 4 p.m. February 5 &19, March 5 & 19 Schoolhouse Restaurant lower level Structured discussion about topics of interest chosen by the group

Kennel & Grooming



Grand Bend Library, Grand Bend CHC, Post Offi Office, ce, Southcott Pines Clubhouse 519-238-5337 / 2237 / 1114


Strip Events

14 • Thursday, January 15, 2009

Benguin goes to Hollywood Grand Bend Winter Carnival Events Guide First Weekend FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6  to  p.m. - GB Legion Meat Draws : - Paddingtons Hollywood High Rollers Gala. Glitz and Glimmer! Call 238-5788.

 to  p.m. - Gables Karaoke with Fat Kat. Prizes. Age of Majority.  to  p.m. - GB Legion Troop Morale Spaghetti Dinner

 to  p.m. - Paddington’s  p.m. - Oakwood clubhouse Hollywood Hall of Fame with Games night. Teams of 6-8 compete at stations. $10 per person - paparazzi and beverage with inclusion in Paddington’s celebrity hall register your team today. of fame.  p.m. - Colonial  to  p.m. - skateboard park Fat Kat karaoke with Bobbi behind Legion Carnival Fireworks Competition.  p.m. - Oakwood clubhouse M s . / M r. W i n t e r C a r n i v a l Donations accepted at entrance. Pageant. Prizes for 1st, 2nd & Hot chocolate and hot dogs for 3rd. Call Diana at 519-238-2324 sale at Youth Centre garage. for details. 9 p.m. Must be 18 + to  p.m. (after fireworks) enter. Oakwood clubhouse Chili and specialty coffee. $15.  p.m. - Gables Entertainment. Live music with 88s


 p.m. - Riverbend Karaoke. Age of Majority.

Saturday and Sunday, both  p.m. - Gables weekends Live music with 88s Lions Park behind Legion Gables-Co-ed Snowpitch Tournament. Contact Jane or John Musser at 238-6690. SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 8 Saturday and Sunday, both  a.m. to  p.m. - Oakwood weekends clubhouse Lions Park behind Legion Snowgolf. Cost: $15 p. p. incl. Gables-Co-ed Snowpitch golf (club &ball), chili with bun. Tournament. Contact Jane or John Call 519-238-2324. Musser at 238-6690.  a.m. to  p.m. - Pine Dale  a.m. to noon - Oakwood Motor Inn Bavarian Room dining room Lynn Wllbur will be holding her Breakfast with the Stars. Buffet Creative Memories Scrapbooking breakfast. Call for reservations 519-238-2324. Fun for the entire  to  p.m. - Riverbend family. Olympics. Register 519-238-6919.

Second Weekend FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13 Gables Bring Your Own Meat BBQ. Reserve early - 519-238-2371. Age of majority.

For the kids Phil Sloan’s Vintage Moments FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6 (formally Magic Moments). Bring  to  p.m. - Grand Bend your honey and dance the night school gym away. Call for details. 519-238Sobeys Drive In. 12 and under 2324.

 p.m. or  p.m. seatings Colonial Rod and Gun SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 7 Paddington’s Lounge  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Candlelit Valentines Dinner. Live music with Murray Andrews school gym Call for details 519-238-5788 featuring his Dirtyman Show Mad Science plus crafts, sports and a movie. Call 519-238-1155. Colonial  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Live music with Murray Legion  to  p.m. - Skateboard park Andrews Special Meat Draw beside Legion Winter Carnival fireworks. Hot  p.m. - Oakwood clubhouse  p.m. to  a.m. - Gables chocolate and hot dogs on sale. Live music with Brian Dale. Live music with Rumblefish. Age of majority.  p.m. to close - Riverbend SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 8 Karaoke Contest. Age of majorYouth Centre ity. Road Hockey Tournament. Ages SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14 10+. Chili and hot chocolate. $5  a.m. to  p.m. - Pine Dale  p.m. to  a.m. - Gables includes lunch. Sign up by calling Motor Inn Live music with Rumblefish - 519-238-1155. Health and Wellness Craft Sale. Everyone welcome. Vendors please Age of majority. book a table. Call 519-238-2231.  to : a.m. - Grand Bend Legion Register for youth darts. Call  a.m. SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 15 519-243-2452 or 519-786-4959 for Chamber of Commerce parade  to  a.m. - behind Bank of details. Montreal : a.m. - United Church Grand Bend Firemen’s Breakfast  to  p.m. - Oakwood U.C.W. Lunch. $6 for 13+, $3 for clubhouse children. Hot dogs available for  a.m. - Grand Bend Legion Tobogganing, & Hot Chocolate children. Veteran’s Memorial Mixed Dart Tournament. Registration at 11 FREE – children to be supervised by parents or guardians Hill at  p.m. - Former Bernie Greens a.m. Doubles and Teams. Hole #8 parking lot (beside No Frills) Winter Carnival and 104.9 the  p.m. - Colonial parking lot Beach presents ‘The Wedding’. Waiters’ Race. Live music with Everyone is welcome to watch the Lance Bedard SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14 ceremony.  a.m.  p.m. - Oakwood Terrace Chamber of Commerce-Rotary  to  p.m. - Gables Room Parade Search for Talent Contest. Age Grand Bend Winter Carnival of Majority event. presents the Academy Awards. Formal Dress. The paparazzi will SUNDAY FEB 15  to  p.m. - GB Legion be present. Dress as your favor to  p.m. - Oakwood Steak BBQ. Tickets will be ite movie star or just come out in Clubhouse available at Legion. 519-238-2120. glitz and glitter. Nomination forms Kids’ Talent Show. Register at throughout the village. Tickets Guest Services before February 3. on sale Jan. 20. Cocktails 6 p.m. Sing, dance, play – bring your origOakwood Terrace Room Valentine’s dinner and dance. Awards 7 p.m. inal ideas to win prizes! Prizes for 1st, 2nd, & 3rd. Register at 519238-2324. (17 years and under.)

2009 Playhouse lineup includes Evita, Oliver!, Camelot Drayton Entertainment announced its 2009 lineup Monday, with the Huron Country Playhouse hosting a Dickens’ classic, a big musical, a 40s music romp, and a medieval tale. The season starts with Oliver!, the Broadway classic, June 2 to 20. Blue Champagne, which weaves 65 timeless songs from the 1940s, runs June 24 to July 4. Lerner and Loewe’s tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round

Table follows July 8 to 25. The season ends with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s epic, Evita, the tale of Argentina’s Eva Peron. It runs August 12 to 29. Over at Playhouse II, two pianists tickle the ivories while striving for fame in 2 Pianos 4 Hands, which runs July 15 to August 29. With tickets already selling to members and groups, Drayton has booked more than 65,000

seats in its theatres for the 2009 season. Tickets are now available to the general public. Individual theatre tickets are $38.00 for adults; $20.00 for youth 18 and under, and $31.00 for preview performances. To receive a complimentary 2009 Theatre Guide, call the Huron Country Playhouse Box Office at (519) 238-6000 or 1-888-449-4463 or visit www.

 to  p.m. - Oakwood Clubhouse Bring the family for a free swim. Special Kids menu begins at 4 p.m.

MONDAY FEB. 16  to  p.m. - Oakwood Clubhouse Bring the family for a free swim. Special Kids menu begins at 4 p.m.

To Do List

Things to Do

Arts & Entertainment THURSDAYS

Thursday, January 15, 2009 • 15

gym members, spouses and students. Call Beth Sweeney, (519) 238-5555.

 to  p.m. - Grand Bend Art Centre WEDNESDAYS Open Painting. Cost is $10 - bring a proj to  a.m. - Southcott Pines ect and materials and paint with various Clubhouse EVERY TUESDAY artists. Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion spouses and students. Call Beth Sweeney, Bingo (519) 238-5555. FRIDAYS EVERY OTHER T HURSDAY : to : p.m. - GB Youth Centre : to  a.m. - Grand Bend Legion Grand Bend Drum Circle. Contact Anita Schoolhouse Restaurant, Grand Bend T.G.I.F. (Thank God I’m Fit) exercise Socrates Café. An informal discussion at the Youth Centre or call 519-238-8759. class with Elinor Clarke 519-294-6499. $3 group. For more information contact Dinah per week; all fees go to charity Taylor, 519-238-1114 or Ian Young, 519- SATURDAY, JANUARY 17 238-5335.  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion  to : a.m. - Grand Bend Legion Horse Races Line Dancing EVERY FRIDAY  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion SATURDAY, JANUARY 24  to  p.m. - Parkhill Leisure Club Meat Draw  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Anne’s Yoga Works. For info and registraLive music with Don Harvey tion call Anne Chute 519-243-3552. TUESDAY, JANUARY 20  a.m. - Grand Bend Legion Health & Fitness Grand Bend Men’s Probus Club. Speaker THURSDAYS Paul Seagrave, topic South Africa. Everyone MONDAYS  a.m. – Port Franks Comm Centre welcome. Healthy Lifestyle Exercise Program.  to  a.m. - Southcott Pines Program includes warm up, low impact Clubhouse Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for aerobic workout, strength work and THURSDAY, JANUARY 22 spouses and students. Call Beth Sweeney, stretching. Sponsored in part by Healthy Grand Bend CHC Living Lambton. Cost: Free!! Everyone Grand Bend Social Film Club launch (519) 238-5555. welcome. Contact Cindy Maxfield, Health night! Want to come out and enjoy a good Promoter at the GBACHC, 519-238-1556 movie with others? Then join us at the : to  a.m. - Grand Bend Legion Grand Bend Area CHC as we have our first T.G.I.F. (Thank God I’m Fit) exercise ext 6 to register. film night featuring the film “Big Fish”. class with Elinor Clarke 519-294-6499. $3  to  p.m. - South Huron Golf & This fun free event will be held monthly per week; all fees go to charity Fitness Centre, Exeter after the launch date on the first Thursday of Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for the month. A questionnaire will be handed : to  p.m. gym members, spouses and students. Call out to help determine the selection of films Anne’s Yoga Works studio, Port Franks. for each month. After the movie people Yoga. For info and registration call Anne Beth Sweeney, (519) 238-5555. are welcome to participate in a discussion Chute 519-243-3552. group. Resources related to the topics in FRIDAYS the films will be made available. Call Dinah : to  p.m.  to  a.m. - Southcott Pines Taylor at 519-238-1114. Anne’s Yoga Works studio, Port Franks. Clubhouse Yoga. For info and registration call Anne Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for Chute 519-243-3552. spouses and students. Call Beth Sweeney, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28 (519) 238-5555. F.I.N.E. A Restaurant Huron County Playhouse Guild monthly TUESDAYS : to  a.m. - Grand Bend Legion luncheon meeting. Speaker Mickey Gurbin  a.m. – Port Franks Comm. Centre T.G.I.F. (Thank God I’m Fit) exercise Social Worker from the Grand Bend Area Healthy Lifestyle Exercise Program. CHC will speak on Seasonal Affective Program includes warm up, low impact class with Elinor Clarke 519-294-6499. $3 Disorder. Everyone welcome call Mary 519- aerobic workout, strength work and per week; all fees go to charity 238-5640 for details stretching. Sponsored in part by Healthy Living Lambton. Cost: Free!! Everyone T HURSDAY, JANUARY 22 welcome. Contact Cindy Maxfield, Health SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 7 Blessings Community Store Zurich. Promoter at the GBACHC, 519-238-1556 Cooking Outside of the Box. Drop in and  to  p.m. - Grand Bend Legion taste test great recipe ideas for yummy low Troop Morale Fund spaghetti dinner. ext 6 to register. cost meals. Call Miranda Burgess Grand Tickets by donation only. Everyone wel to  p.m. - South Huron Golf & Bend CHC dietitian 519-238-1556 ext.222 come. Fitness Centre, Exeter Workout for Your Life. $8 per class; $5 for


Grand Bend photo lessons returning soon! Interested? Email

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

394 Main Street, Exeter


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: to : p.m. - Grand Bend CHC Beat the Winter Blues Session. Winter weather getting you down? This session with social worker Mickey Gurbin looks at strategies that will reenergize you and help to get rid of “the blues”. Call 238-1556 ext. 223

MONDAY, JANUARY 26  to  p.m. - Grand Bend CHC Alzheimer Caregiver Connections. Are you caring for someone with memory loss? Do you feel overwhelmed, alone or angry? Join the Huron County Alzheimer Society as they present an educational session. Topics include an overview of dementia, the progression and stages of the disease and avoiding caregiver burnout. : to : p.m. - Grand Bend CHC Heart Health Class. Contact Patricia Baker RD.CDE, at 519-238-1556 ext. 235 for more information.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 27 : to : p.m. or  to : p.m. Grand Bend CHC Stop Smoking Program. Please join us for this four-week FREE program that will look at the reasons why you smoke and assist you with strategies that will help you to reduce the amount you smoke and eventually quit smoking. Contact Health Promoter Cindy Maxfield 519-238-1556 ext 231. : to : p.m. - Grand Bend CHC Healthy Eating In Store For You Label Reading Program. Contact Patricia Baker RD, CDE at 519-238-1556 ext 235 to register

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28 : to : p.m. or  to : p.m. Grand Bend CHC Mental Health Education and Support Group. Monthly support group for family and friends that provides tools and strategies along with ongoing educational information. Contact Social Worker Lise Callahan at 519-238-1556 ext. 230 for details.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 29  to  p.m. - Grand Bend CHC Community Blood Pressure Clinic in the Adult Centre Wing. Everyone welcome. Have your blood pressure checked by a Health Professional. No appointment necessary.

Grand Bend

Grand Bend’s Best Kept Secret (519) 238-2120

JOIN US SATURDAYS 3-6 PM Jan. 17 - Horse Races Jan. 24 - Don Harvey

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

16 • Thursday, January 15, 2009


365 .COM

A creativity development project by Strip photographer Casey Lessard Now seeking collaborators (models, hair, makeup, props, locations, etc.) Send info to

Vol. 2 #15 Grand Bend Strip, January 15, 2009  

Award winning journalism from Grand Bend. Our boy almost played in the big league - Brett Leonhardt's rise to fame as part of the Washington...

Vol. 2 #15 Grand Bend Strip, January 15, 2009  

Award winning journalism from Grand Bend. Our boy almost played in the big league - Brett Leonhardt's rise to fame as part of the Washington...