AWARD WINNING JOURNALISM FROM GRAND BEND
Vol. 3, No. 10
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Thursday, November 19, 2009
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Strip Feature: Lambton Shores Sewers
2 • Thursday, November 19, 2009
“We have to go ahead.” Lambton Shores mayor wants low-pressure sewers before infrastructure funding runs dry The Lambton Shores sewage treatment plant and Zone 3 sewer network could be the last project mayor Gord Minielly is involved in before he retires.Casey Lessard sat down with the mayor to discuss the projects. Why is this project necessary now?
We just spent a big chunk of money on our beach, and any day you have a beach closing, it’s a negative for us. The Blue Flag designation will put up with two or three per summer. Our water comes south from Bluewater. If we can get them on sewers along with South Huron and us, we’re not going to be affecting the quality of the water in the Grand Bend area. It makes it safer for our visitors and our residents, and gives us a positive over some other areas in Ontario that are having more pollution days. We were lucky last year and had very few, but if you look a few years ago, we were closed many days. Whether it was our fault or animal runoff, we don’t know. If we can take care of our part, then we’ll know. Where are you at today?
I’ve asked Maria (Van Bommel, LambtonKent-Middlesex MPP) to set up a meeting with the infrastructure minister for us to firm up whether there’s going to be two-thirds funding for us. When we met with David Caplan, he thought it was a great idea; “Do the plant first and come on back.” We’re going back to see if we can get that two-thirds funding, and if we do, Caplan told us 2014 was the cutoff. I would hope we can get some funding by 2012 and be completed along with Bluewater and South Huron by 2014. There are effects going on in the water table that are not positive. I know people in Grand Bend are environmentally friendly, so I think we will get this done to the liking of the majority. Right now it doesn’t seem that popular, but the reality is, we are treating that water in a negative way. The lake water and the groundwater levels are the same, so it’s flowing into the lake. If we clean up our act, we can’t be blamed any more when there’s high E. coli; it’s got to be coming from runoff or something else.
One of the main reasons you feel you need to do this now is because of the money, right?
That’s the sewage processing plant, as much overall or per house? which is quite a big project in itself. I think it’s an overall view. Where I live, my But that’s a separate project. sewer is 17’ down. When you excavate that far
Two-thirds funding is not going to be here long. I suspect based on the deficits the province and Canada are going to have, there won’t be any money past 2014 while they try to clean up their debt. I think now is the most financially possible time to do it. If we can get two-thirds funding, it’s not going to be a burden. If we can spread it over 12-15 years, I think it will be doable for most people.
We got $15 million of infrastructure funding, and we have to add in another $5-7 million depending on how the tenders come in. But we have additional funding for energy efficiencies like solar panels. And you do have that money secured?
Yes, we have $17 million of the total cost, so we’re well on our way to having that looked after. When that’s done, we hope to have the I was reading in the tri-municipal collection system ready to go if not in the meeting minutes (where the three process already. municipalities are discussing plans to build a shared treatment plant) that Do you think that South Huron CAO Roy Hardy had whether South Huron spoken to someone who said there that you will go ahead was no money. We’re definitely going
I was at the same meeting that Roy was at, and I didn’t hear that. He was talking to people who were nervous about the downturn in the economy, but I have spoken with some of the ministers and as far as I know the stimulus package is going to continue because the economy is still in a trough, and they plan on doing what they planned in the beginning, which is going to 2014 and spending that money. Roy has his opinion about many things, and we don’t often see eye-to-eye, but the fact that we’re on track to get an appointment with the minister tells me they’re willing to talk to us; they must think this is going to continue on. Is that the stumbling block from South Huron’s perspective? Is it the money or something else?
The gravity system construction would regardless of also take the roads from having a comes on board cottage feel to having new roads like downtown, right? with it?
to build the plant. We have the funding, and it’s needed. We have no capacity for development, they have no capacity for development. Certainly Bluewater wants to get in there so they can clean up their beach-front. So for me, we have to go ahead. There’s no debate.
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People like it that way (narrower roads) because it forces people to drive slow. Fix them up and put them in (to standard) and they’ll be like speedways. Walking to the beach will be more scary than it is today. But the fact is it’s much more expensive.
You spoke of development at the You’ve said changes are “coming down meeting. What is the vision for how the pike”. What did you mean by that? these communities should look in the I’ve chatted with people from the ministry, future? Should they always have the and you can see that in Bruce they’re doing style of roads they have now or should mandatory inspections of septics, and if your they be at today’s standards?
septic isn’t working, then you’re being forced to upgrade. The upgrades are not typically the normal. A gentleman told me the other day that he paid $18,000 for one that he had to redo. Would you rather do that and have something that will last 15-20 years or a permanent collection system you can depend on? The question of whether it’s low-pressure or gravity is still being debated. Maybe we can do a combination. I know in Bayfield they have several low pressure tanks operating for the last 10 years with no maintenance. Maybe in the less dense areas we can use those and in the more dense areas, we can use gravity. But it’s twice as expensive, so it’s a debate that hasn’t been completed.
I have no idea. If you read the Lakeshore Advance, I made the comment that I thought we had a deal. Mayor Oke commented that he thought we had a deal but it wasn’t in the minutes. Mayor Oke didn’t come to the next meeting and it was in the minutes. It’s ready to be signed and we’ve invited them to come to a meeting in a couple of weeks and Bluewater and South Huron will hopefully sign along with us and then move on to the collection system. I’ve seen the numbers; will it be twice
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down, you have to have a much wider hole. In places like Beach o’ Pines, we’d have to excavate the road and probably damage many trees trying to get down so you do have a flow. We have to look long and hard. Doing gravity feed is not environmentally friendly; if you have a greenfield site, it’s not bad, but when you have a woodfield like that, it’s pretty bad for devastation. Then you have to rebuild all those roads and it’s part of the cost. The lowpressure system is less intrusive.
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Any new development will have 66’ roads with proper sewer lines. Southcott Pines and those subdivisions built them purposely (narrow) because they don’t want visitors coming in and out. Unless their board makes a decision, the roads will be like that until they change. They were designed that way and will stay that way. (But with gravity) there certainly would be a lot of damage. I suspect they would have to be (restored to the new standard). Of the three options – gravity, lowpressure, and septic tanks – which one makes the most sense to you?
In my opinion, in the areas along the lake, the low-pressure is the least intrusive, the least expensive, and based on what I know
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about those pumps, should be as good as the gravity feed. The issue with no power, I don’t know how many of the folks in there have generators, but I suspect it’s a lot. Our power grid around here is not what it used to be, and when you’re out for 24 hours, especially when it’s cold, you either have to move or have some form of heat. Especially along the lake in the gated communities, the low-pressure makes the most sense. In new developments, the gravity feed makes sense. It makes lots more expensive because the contractor is responsible for that cost. I don’t know if we can do this one way and the other. That’s why it’s hard to answer questions because we don’t have the answers. Hopefully by this time next year, we’ll have a plan in place they can go forward with. When I look at the numbers of people affected by this, the count I saw was 1500 homes in Lambton Shores that don’t have sewers. How many people are there year round?
I don’t know. In Beach O’ Pines, it’s likely the majority (that aren’t there). That’s changing. If I look down the road 15 years, I see Grand Bend having two-storey buildings all along Main Street with business on the main floor and apartments above. How important is it to have services like this?
I’ve moved around Ontario and I always tried to find places that had sewers. I’m sure the tiles in Huron Woods are being filled with tree roots. A sealed low-pressure system doesn’t allow roots in, while a gravity feed does.
Strip Feature: Lambton Shores Sewers
I suspect that probably by spring, we should have those numbers down. We have to go to the ministry with firm numbers. I’d like to get them done sooner, but there are some decisions we have to make first. If your septic system is five years old, how long will you be grandfathered? If you grandfather nobody, there’s more people to pay for what you’re doing. If someone put one in yesterday and spent $20,000, it’s hard to ask them to cough up another $12,000-15,000. The other thing we have to do is, if someone wants to build tomorrow, do they put in something less expensive than a whole septic system? If the province and federal government do not have the money for this project, will it happen?
What is the timeline on this decision?
We’re trying to get a meeting for midDecember with Gerry (Phillips, infrastructure minister), and if we get some positive news there, I suspect we’d talk to him at the OGRA (Ontario Good Roads Association) convention in February, give him an update on numbers. The environmental assessment in Bluewater and South Huron, so they should have good numbers by then. I emailed them to say we were arranging this meeting and to ask if they’d be interested in coming. I got an immediate response from Bluewater and I’m still waiting for
Thursday, November 19, 2009 • 3
South Huron because they don’t want to play with us. Hopefully they come around. We’re meeting in Varna again and hopefully they’ll be there and sign the agreement so we can go to Toronto. When do you think you’ll have something to tell people in the community?
At the latest in May, and at the earliest before we go to Toronto in February. I don’t think we need to have a meeting. We’ll put it out at a council meeting and I’m sure everyone will hear very quickly. Toronto and Ottawa have treated us very well, and other municipalities are jealous of the success we’ve had. I don’t think there will be money after 2014 for a long time.
I guess I could answer that by saying I won’t be the mayor when that decision is made. Depending on the council of the day, and how much they think this is important, they will make that decision. Personally, I think there’s a 50-50 chance we will get funding. We have a good argument to make: we have a great beach, we’re trying to be as environmentally friendly as we can, and we need their help in getting us there. Tourism has been down in Ontario, but we are a destination and they know that. I have a good feeling we’re going to get some funding. I said that about the plant and it came through, and I hope it carries on. We’ve been very fortunate.
What is your current feeling about what people think about what you’re proposing?
I’ve been elected one way or another, sometimes in and sometimes out, over the last 30 years. Change doesn’t come easily to the average person. Here in Forest, the fire hall had been let go and we decided to build a new one. People threatened us and we had public meeting where people yelled at us. Carnegie Library wasn’t wheelchair accessible and we built a new library; I lost an election over that because I was the chairman of the committee that put it together. But the reality is that once it’s done, people go on with their lives and say, “Isn’t that a lovely library? What a beautiful fire hall.” People have difficulty with change and if it hurts them in the pocketbook, they have greater difficulty. What is the actual cost per household expected for the sewer project?
We haven’t figured out the final numbers.
Lambton Shores mayor Gord Minielly in 2007
Strip Feature: Lambton Shores Sewers
4 • Thursday, November 19, 2009
“Stop the sewage plant and stop the sewers” Southcott Pines resident Dr. Carl Belke retired from Brandon University after 31 years teaching chemistry. Dick Matzka has cottaged in Southcott for 58 years. Neither is in favour of the sewer project proposed. What are your concerns?
Dick: There are two major concerns. One is the expenditure the township plans on making. Two is that they keep telling people they’re going to get financial support from the province. A letter from the tri-municipal meeting says the province is not going to be able to assist them. Apparently there’s $8 million in the Build Canada fund, and it’s going to go to major metropolitan areas (Mayor Gord Minielly’s disputes this). Carl: I’m concerned that they present the numbers correctly. Let the people decide if there’s a problem or if there isn’t a problem. How big of a problem is it and is it worth spending the money on a sewer system? They mentioned nitrates at the meeting as being a concern. How do nitrates become part of the ecosystem as a result of human activity?
Belke: Our elimination process puts out ammonia and nitrogen products from the metabolism. The bacteria found in most systems are aerobic, which means ammonia gets converted to nitrate. Nitrate is very soluble. It’s an excellent fertilizer and plants require it. Nitrates can cause algae in the lake, but it’s good for plants. If you give nitrate anaerobic bacteria, that turns it into nitrogen gas, and our atmosphere is mostly nitrogen. The limit for nitrates in drinking water is 10 parts per million. If you look at Pinery Park, the level is 0.2 ppm. If you look at Southcott, the average here is 3.1 ppm. If you compare that to what the river is putting into the lake – mostly from farmers’ fields – they’re about the same as what we’re doing. Golder says we’re polluting the water, but who knows what the level was before we were here in the 1950s. We have geese here that contribute a lot of waste and that contributes to the nitrates. Dick: They’re going to build a sewage plant and they don’t have to. The plant is going to pump more nitrate into the river than they allow.
Is the plant necessary?
Carl: Yes, in one respect. The Clean Water Act says any new development will have to have both municipal drinking water and municipal sewers. In 2006, Dillon recommended a plant that would cost $13 million and a sewage collection system that would cost $40 million. Fast forward to 2009, the plant will cost $23 million. At the meeting the man from Dillon said the cost had gone up by 25 per cent. But it’s gone up 73 per cent. What’s the collection system going to cost? Sixty-eight million (based on extrapolating the numbers by 73 per cent)? Dick: And they’re not finished with the plan. We’re only talking about 1500 homes in Lambton Shores. This town operates full bore for three months. For nine months it’s low key and casual. We’re spending a tremendous amount of money for a project that’s not necessary. Carl, you hoped to speak at the meeting. What did you want to present?
Carl: I wanted to present the analytical data on the water wells in a normal light. They directed it to one parameter and ignored everything else to scare people that everything is bad. Maybe it is bad, but is it as bad as they say? Since no one in the area is on well, no one is directly affected by the drinking water. You’re saying it’s still bad. What do we do to fix that?
Carl: Have better septic systems, I guess. The problem is, none of the septic systems here are inspected. Everyone waits until there’s a problem. There are three choices: low-pressure, gravity and septic tanks. What is the most logical or best situation?
Carl: If they were honest with the numbers, the best we can do is let the people decide. I don’t think there is a pollution problem, and we’re not going to be growing in this neck of the woods (Southcott Pines). Dick: I firmly believe that septics have done the job over the last 50-70 years. We should stop the sewage plant, grow the lagoons, and stop the sewers in the dunes area completely.
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Strip Feature: Lambton Shores Sewers
Thursday, November 19, 2009 • 5
Richard Webb: Low-pressure should be the last choice Industry professional thinks septic tanks are fine, gravity next best option Richard Webb of Stewart Webb & Sons has been installing, repairing and replacing septic tanks and sewer line connections for more than 20 years. His family has been in the excavating business for more than 75 years. The Strip asked the Southcott Pines resident for his expert advice about the sewer project plans.
As told to Casey Lessard It would greatly benefit us, but I don’t see the benefit of spending the money if it’s not necessary. Certainly if it can be proven that huge of a negative effect on the environment, but we’ve done all we can to protect the environment. The septic systems here work properly. There’s thousands and thousands of dollars that we would earn if sewers went ahead. For the amount of repairs that we do in septic systems, we might do 10-15 installs a year. If the sewers went ahead, our company would have work unlimited for 10 years. Then there’s the repair work after. For the people in this area right now, private septic systems are the way to go. If they’re going to force us to go to sewers, a shallow-dug gravity system, meaning 5-6’ deep along the road with pumps in our basements would be my choice. A low-pressure system would be my last choice. If they’re going to force people to put in sewers, don’t do low-pressure systems. From a maintenance standpoint, with pump cham-
have a certain number of homes using this system. I’m a big advocate of future development. But here in Southcott, in VanDongen, in Beach O’ Pines, we all sit on good soil for private septic systems. There’s more than enough area and the load rates are acceptable to have private septic systems on these lots. Before they considered the water quality, they had a signed, sealed and delivered deal that everyone was going to be on sewers. We convinced them to come back with some data, and the highest readings that came back were from the oldest area in Southcott and the highest load areas; the highest readings were 5.5 ppm, and the acceptable limits for drinking water are 10 ppm. We take sand from excavations here, take it back from the site and reuse it in septic systems to the north in the clay. We know the sand has a T time (percolation rate) from 3 to 6 minutes per centimetre. That’s the time the I feel they’re trying to fund this sewage water takes to pass through the material. We lagoon expansion project and they need to know that’s an acceptable rate. bers, they’re just a maintenance nightmare. If you’re going to install sewers, make sure they’re gravity fed. The low-pressure system is not commonly used. It’s not a preferred method. Let’s say there are 20 houses on a street and 18 of them are owned by people who only come to Grand Bend in the summer time. The remaining two pumps have to push your effluent down the street to a central boosting area. When the system was designed, it was built so 12-13 pumps were kicking in. What’s it going to work like? That’s what the engineers are going to have to answer. They’re trying to put in low-pressure sewers with as little disturbance as possible, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it. Why not pump the sewage from several main pumps instead of pumps on each individual property?
In Bluewater, they need sewers. The lots are too small and the clay conditions are too heavy to make a septic system work properly. In clay, they have a T time of greater than 50 min/cm. It needs to be lower than that, so we bring sand in and put it in the septic bed. Here, we don’t need to do that. An engineer from Golder got up and said we were sitting on soil that was unacceptable, but any indication that we have, the soil is more than acceptable, and in fact is ideal. In Southcott Pines, I have a contact area of 300 square feet because the soil absorbs the water at a good rate. We need a council that will take a hard look at whether this is necessary or not. I’d like to see all the associations that fall within this area stand up and say no to this. I’m hoping they will stick with their word and let the new council decide, which will give us enough time to put in a council that will do what’s right for the people in this area.
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6 • Thursday, November 19, 2009
Strip with Friends
Decadence for a good cause About 140 people raised more than $6,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society at Friday’s Grand Dessert Night at the Grand Bend Legion. From top middle: Julie Ciufo and Sandra Gumb of Grand Bend serve a treat to Kim McGill. Ellen Holland, Diane Stewart, Shelley Van Osch, Stephanie VanDenEynden, Kim Hammond, Sandra Smith, and Lisa Corsaut-Kurobasa brought more than the requisite two desserts (plus lots of wine) Rosemary Bedard’s dessert goes from a pie to a crumble. Right: Randi Ivey enjoys a bite at her French themed table.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009 • 7
Hit the pavement Almost 400 runners ran the annual Pinery Road Race October 18 at the Pinery park. Right: Dave Vickers of Dorchester placed 3rd in the men’s 35-39 category of the 5km race.
THANK YOU! To all who supported and attended the 1st annual
BIKES FOR TYKES Hundreds of Children’s Aid Crown ward children will receive gifts this Christmas thanks to your generosity. A special thanks to the following businesses and people who went out of their way (with very short notice!) to help me pull together this event.
Ashley Cornelissen of Watford and Chris Caddey of Dorchester lead the pack out of the starting gate.
Brad Scott Mike Flick Jim Dekker of Nelson Desjardine Denny’s Shanahan Realty Pinedale Motor Inn Sarnia Harley-Davidson Helga Otton (Sunset Arts) Friends of the Royal Canadian Legion Pinery Walk/Run Grand Bend Strip Lakeshore Advance Paddington’s staff as well as Sharon, Wayne, Billy, Paul, Gary & student volunteers Sincerely, Jen Gaukroger on behalf of The Children’s Aid Christmas Bureau
Karen Timmermans of Parkhill ran the 5K race.
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8 • Thursday, November 19, 2009
Work-life balance key to entrepreneurial success The Grand Bend Chamber of Commerce named its 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year and Business of the Year at its annual general meeting November 12. Colonial and Gables won the business award, while Paddington’s Pub owner Jen Gaukroger won the entrepreneur honour.
Interview and photo by Casey Lessard What makes you successful as an entrepreneur?
I’m trying desperately to get business owners in Grand Bend to work together. When I first came to Grand Bend, I met so many nice people and I was surprised at how they weren’t supportive of each other. I’ve designed this logo and program called the Grand Bend Dining District. I’m trying to say to the restaurants, we’re all very diverse, we all have different things to offer. If you have regulars, and we all do, they don’t want to sit in the same restaurant every time. And instead of tourists going to the first place they see, how can we give them to the type of restaurant they want? The municipality supports the idea of a sign with a You Are Here locator that has all the restaurants on it. I’d really like everyone to pay into a pot so we can all advertise as a group and cut down on our marketing costs. If we all work together, we can do more. For the Winter Carnival, this being the Olympic year, I’ve designed a passport with each page representing a country, and each page would be dedicated to one business. Instead of buying a ticket to be entered into the cash draw at the end of it all, each page would be a ticket and as soon as you redeem your coupons, you get a ticket into the draw. Up to 40 businesses can be involved. It’s about trying to get more people and more businesses involved. You have all these ideas about marketing Grand Bend and the business community here. Why do you care?
People ask me why I bother. But it’s what this town needs. Why would a clothing shop downtown say they don’t know that there’s a pub down the street? I’d like to be in this town long-term. A lot of restaurants pop up and leave, and I don’t want to be one of them. I want to stay and sustain here. I don’t like the idea of having to move my daughter. I like it here and I’d like to see it grow. But I’m very anti-franchise; big box stores hurt little businesses. How did you get into this business?
I was in radio for nine years, and I loved that but it became very corporate. At my first station, I worked with an owner whose office was in the building so we did some cool stuff. We threw pumpkins off a firefighter training tower for Smashing Pumpkins concert tickets; as creative as you could be, you could do it. As these stations were bought by bigger
companies, with liability and corporate policies, all the fun went out of my marketing job. I was living in Grand Bend and commuting to London. I got the opportunity to open a restaurant for a silent owner, and that was fun, and then I thought, why not do it on my own? It’s quite a risk to take to do this on your own. Tell me about that decision.
My first thought was I didn’t want to do it because of the risk and start-up money it takes to do it. But if you want to live in Grand Bend, you need to either make yourself a job or travel outside the area to work, which is too bad. We shoestring-budgeted the little place and it was two solid months of 12 hour days of dealing with Alcohol and Gaming, and building code. In England, people go to pubs like we go to coffee shops. It’s very social. Here, I’m trying to create that, but Canadians associate that lounging around with coffee. In England, people bring their kids and partners to the pub. If you don’t have good food, you’re sunk. Pubs in England can be anything from a hole in the wall, beer only joint, to a fancy pub. I wanted it to be somewhere in the middle. Grand Bend had a variety of places to eat, but they were either burgers and wings on one end or very fine dining on the other. There wasn’t anything middle range. I knew I wanted to find that middle range before I knew it would be an English pub. The beer is my favourite part. We carry 50 at any given time. We carry a lot of wine, too. We’re going to start promoting a wine luncheon that is social and laid back. We also have 30 types of tea if alcohol is not your thing. You’re the Chamber’s Entrepreneur of the Year. Do you have any advice for people considering starting their own business?
I really believe you need to have the funds behind you. The first few years are really tough. You have to love what you’re doing; otherwise, it’s not going to last. You have to love every aspect of it, including cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming the floors. There is a not-so-glamourous side to it. I live on life balance. If I wasn’t a parent, I don’t think I’d ever leave work. My daughter keeps life in balance. You don’t want to work too much, party too much or parent too much. You have to get it all in there.
Thursday, November 19, 2009 • 9
Dashwood firefighter carries a flame for Olympic spirit Darlene O’Rourke taking part in torch relay Story and photo by Casey Lessard This is one flame Dashwood firefighter Darlene O’Rourke won’t want to put out. O’Rourke is on her way to Summerside, PEI this week to take part in the 2010 Winter Olympic torch relay. She will run the torch November 22 at approximately 5:56 p.m. O’Rourke won the chance to be part of the run after submitting an entry each day through the Vancouver 2010 website sponsored by Coca-Cola and RBC. She was asked to submit a choice of three cities, and her choices were London, Vancouver and Summerside. She passed into the second round and was asked to submit a 200 word essay about how she lives an active lifestyle and inspires others to do the same. July 30, she was notified that she was being considered, as long as she passed legal muster, and was notified October 2 that she would be carrying the torch. “Being a part of the torch relay is very important to me,” O’Rourke says. “I have
competed in world championships for tugof-war and won a bronze medal and know how proud it makes you feel to represent your country in such an event. Words can not describe how great this opportunity is to be a part of the Olympics in your country.” It’s taken more than a ballot to make this happen. O’Rourke has to cover the cost of travel and accommodations in Summerside, and has received support from friends, family and neighbours. She gets to keep her torch bearer uniform, and thanks to a $350 contribution from her work, Hayter’s Turkey Products, she will also get to bring home the torch she will be carrying. To follow her progress, you can visit iCoke. ca, CTV.ca, or her blog, which she will start posting Friday: darleneorourketorchrelay.blogspot.com Locally, the torch comes through the LondonStrathroy area December 27.
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10 • Thursday, November 19, 2009
A tough decision View from the Strip
When will our bubble burst? Alternative View By Lance Crossley
By Casey Lessard I’m sure Gord Minielly is ready to let someone else be the front man (or woman) for the municipality after last month’s meeting to discuss the Lambton Shores sewer project. It’s a tough job and he has to do it. You can imagine why his health has suffered; more than 300 people attended the meeting, with most ready to fight him to the death over the project (only a slight exaggeration). So what should residents do? It’s not for me to say. But I think the decision can only be made after the final numbers come out. If it’s more affordable than septic, doesn’t it make sense to share the burden among your neighbours? Sewers make a home more attractive
to buyers, and housing prices go up as a result. I do understand Dick Matzka’s point about the cost of living pushing people out of the market here; I know I’ll likely never be able to afford a house here. But when the provincial and federal governments are willing to invest in your community, it’s hard to say no. They sent money for the beach and money for the main street. If the money’s still there, it seems foolish to turn it down. But someone has to make the decision on how to spend it. Let’s make sure it’s an informed council. Election day, as Minielly reminded the crowd, is set for October 25, 2010.
Here in Canada, we seem to think we are entire GDP. If there is a northern version of immune to a housing bubble, so it was inter- “too big to fail”, the CMHC is it. esting to see the Globe and Mail – usually a real estate cheerleader – at least question An untold story the logic of why we continue to experience The National Post’s Diane Francis, the a booming housing sector amid the greatest only mainstream journalist I know to call economic crisis since the Great Depression. out the CMHC, warns that “Ottawa’s smugIn an Oct. 30 article, the Globe wrote, ness about its superior regulatory regime and “Canadians are in the midst of a mortgage Canadian banking conservatism” is an accibinge, taking out home loans at a pace that’s dent waiting to happen. nearly eight per cent faster than a year Jonathan Tonge: “Even at the zenith ago…housing prices don’t usually survive of the US housing bubble, prices recessions.” W hile peaked around $230,000 US while the article correctly points to the Bank incomes were around $47,000 US. of Canada’s record low interest rates In Canada, incomes are $44,000 and as a primary culprit prices are now at $326,613.” for the buying spree, nowhere in the article does it mention the “It’s a mortgage slush fund which distorts other major culprit: the Canada Mortgage the market,” Francis writes. “It allows banks and Housing Corporation. to lend recklessly without consequences and pushes up the price of housing for everyone.”
Too big to fail?
Pay to play
The Royal Canadian Legion donated $5,000 to the Grand Bend Public School’s playground committee, joining Grand Bend Lioness, Jennison Construction and Tony & Fran Relouw as recent large donors. Fundraising is now at $37,000, or about half of the project’s needs. Left: Kaydence Matheson, Amy Wiseman, legion vice president Doreen Chester and president Mike Tieman
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 email@example.com http://www.grandbendstrip.com
Distribution: Joan McCullough, Rita Lessard and Casey Lessard Contributors: Rita Lessard - my mom Tom Lessard - my dad Anjhela Michielsen - social justice Jenipher Appleton - nature/birding Lance Crossley - national affairs James Eddington - fine dining Lorette Mawson - interior design Yvonne Passmore - pet training
The CMHC provides insurance to the banks for the entire amount of any mortgage when the purchaser has less than a 20 per cent down payment. This is another way of saying that they insure virtually all mortgages, since the average down payment of Canadians who buy a home is only about six percent. With this CMHC guarantee, the banks have no risk when they issue mortgages. If the homeowner defaults, it is the taxpayer who is on the hook. We don’t have a name for “subprime” here in Canada because we don’t need one – the CMHC makes almost everyone a worthy borrower. Some are starting to call the CMHC the northern version of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. By the end of 2009, the CMHC says it plans to insure a staggering $813 billion worth of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities. That is well over half of Canada’s
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.
Worse than America One of the most astute observers of this quiet Canadian housing bubble is blogger Jonathan Tonge (www.americacanada. blogspot.com). Here s what he has to say: “Even at the zenith of the US housing bubble, prices peaked around $230,000 US while incomes were around $47,000 US. In Canada, incomes are $44,000 and prices are now at $326,613. If I have evidenced to you at this point how risky our lending has been, how are we so different than America? One might even say that we are much worse.” The voices that recognize we are indeed in a housing bubble are few and far between. It won’t be long before the rest of the public catches on. Story ideas, questions, and comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thursday, November 19, 2009 • 11
A few surprises Deserving tributes Keeping the Peace
Advice from Mom
By Tom Lessard, C.D.
By Rita Lessard My wonderful sister Joan treated Tom and I to Remembrance Day dinner at the Grand Bend Legion November 7. We had a great time and the meal was, as usual, superb. Thanks, Joan. On Wednesday November 11th, Tom and I were out again to celebrate Remembrance Day. This is such a solemn occasion and I always get teary-eyed when I hear the sorrowful sound of the bagpipes and when I sing ‘O Canada’. After the ceremony, we enjoyed some fellowship and a great luncheon provided by the hardworking Legion staff. Thank you so much. It was just swell.
in, the privates open the door. “Hi,” says the man, “where do you want the blinds?”
On a more serious note, if you travel or commute in the winter, it is worth taking a little extra time and make sure you have an emergency kit in the trunk. You might want to include the following things: • a good scraper; • snow brush; • blanket; • hats & mitts; • matches and candles; • canned fruits and nuts, and a can opener; • traction mats; A free lunch • small shovel; On the lighter side, I heard this veteran • help sign and Call Police sign; telling a story while on leave after a year-long • and jumper cables. tour of duty in Korea. He said that his first craving when he got home to Canada was a Now would be a good time to do this, while meal at McDonald’s. Much to his surprise, the cashier took on look at his uniform and the weather is still nice. refused his money. “Thanks,” he said. “Sure,” she replied, “we never charge bus drivers.” Bumper stumpers When I was in a variety store a while back, I saw some bumper stickers. I’ll share them Blind man’s bluff I’m not sure whether his second story was with you. • I have good brakes. Do you have good true or not, but you can be the judge: Two female privates are ordered to paint insurance? • I may be slow, I’m ahead of you. the general’s office. They are warned not to • If you can read this, I’ve lost my trailer. get paint on their uniforms, so they lock the • Out of my mind - Back in five minutes. door, strip off their clothes and get to work. An hour later, there’s a knock at the door. “Blind man.” Seeing no harm in allowing him Happy Birthday to Bill and Katie Lessard.
I was privileged to attend the Grand Bend Legion’s Remembrance Day dinner on Saturday November 7. My first order of business was to purchase a nice cold beer at the bar. Next was to find where Rita was sitting. My sister-in-law Joan, who volunteers at all of the occasions, directed me to the table, which was right in front of the head table. I’m usually the type who goes to church and sits at the back, so I felt hemmed in sitting in the front: too far from the bar. I felt embarrassed getting up and walking down the middle aisle for refreshments and back up to my seat with all the people eyeing me, so I didn’t. One beer to last me all through the evening? I don’t think so. Anyway, after the guest pastor said grace, we made our way to the food tables. Legion members and guests are always so friendly and laid back at these functions. Even though everyone is hungry, no one pushes or complains if things don’t go as smoothly as they would like. Once the super volunteer ladies had everything in place, the lines began to move. Plates were filled - some with lots of food and others with less, depending on the individual. I just said, “Keep it coming,” because I didn’t have to cook it. The beef was cooked like no restaurant can do it. These ladies - God bless them - know how to put on a meal that has no equal. After we were filled with food we were treated with the guest speakers thanking the veterans and those who never made it back to Canada. One speaker made reference to a Canadian who had travelled to France and at immigration he was asked for his passport. Fumbling for it in his pocket, the French
officer said, “Don’t you Canadians know that you have to have your passports ready when you come to France?” The Canadian replied, “The last time I was in France was at Dieppe in 1944 and none of you Frenchmen stayed around to check my passport.” The guest of honour was a young RCR corporal who had recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. This soldier did himself proud in his presentation. He shows us slides depicting the environment in which he served: pretty desolate. The conditions reminded me of my tour in the Gaza Strip in 1957. He spoke of the living conditions his unit was forced to put up with. The temperature change between day and night can be very disturbing. The ground does not absorb the heat like it does in Canada and therefore, it can drop from 50 C at noon to 15 C at 4 a.m.. He stressed that he and his comrades try very hard to represent Canada well to the locals, sometimes succeeding and sometimes not. They do think that they are making a difference. Every year the Legion is making improvements to educate Canadians of the importance of remembering those who have and still do give their lives for all of us. I witnessed this in the number of school children attending the cenotaph ceremony on Wednesday. I have one request: one of my uncles was torpedoed twice in the North Atlantic while working as a boiler man in a convoy heading for England. He was a civilian, but was never recognized by the government. We need to consider changing the rules for how civilians serving in the theatre of war are recognized for their contributions.
Everything old is new again Fido... Come... Sit By Yvonne Passmore http://www.FidoComeSit.com Of our three dogs, Viva is the oldest. She’s just approaching nine years old and is a great little Golden Retriever. From that first day driving her home in the car, she had a strange confidence. She calmly looked out the window without a whimper and without much excitement. She walked into our home, where two other dogs lived with us at the time, and just took over. Here was this adorable golden and fluffy puppy that did not blink an eye as she stole all the toys available on the floor in front of these two large older dogs and calmly placed her loot in her crate. I think the other dogs were as baffled and awed by her cockiness as we were. I usually spend the first night or two with a new puppy on
the couch. I take that time to bond with the puppy and to provide comfort and company. This girl would have none of that. She wasn’t interested in sleeping and snuggling with me and was happier on the floor next to the couch. Again, I found that strange but was impressed by her calm independence. She learned well and won all the awards available in obedience classes. She was never an obnoxious dog so we never really had to deal with bad habits. She’s quiet with people and wonderful with young children. We can take her anywhere and she’ll be quiet and mindful. She’s a fantastic dog. Everyone says so, but... The words ‘warm fuzzies’ and ‘Viva’ never belonged in the same sentence. From the beginning, she quietly ruled the other dogs and acted as if she had no use for us. Viva never showed a desire to be petted and would actually leave us when we would try. She was never a lap dog or a snuggler. She didn’t need or want a best friend, human or otherwise. There have been many times that I wasn’t even sure if she was still in the house because she would never seek me out to say hi. We used
to say that she was still waiting for her real owners because she sure didn’t act like we were who she wanted. Now my husband believes I should take her to the vet because she is acting strange. She’s playing with the other dogs. She actually laid on my lap twice last week. Every evening she lays at our feet with her head on our legs waiting to be petted. She sleeps on our bed and doesn’t leave when we pet her or when we touch her by accident. This is not the dog we’ve known for the last nine years, but it is the dog that we were hoping for nine years ago. Maybe dementia is catching up to her. Maybe she’s finally realized the owners she’s been waiting for aren’t coming and she’ll have to settle for us. For some reason she’s finally appreciating and liking us. I think I’ll just treat my old dog like a new dog. I’m going to feel foolish telling the vet that there’s something wrong with my dog when the only symptom is that she finally likes me. Visit www.f idocomesit.com for column suggestions, training help and book info.
12 • Thursday, November 19, 2009
Grand Bend Strip
Grayson Homuth plays one of the new trumpets; below, Taylor Marriage with a new clarinet.
Investing in high school music SHDHS receives $10,000 CARAS instrument grant Story and photos by Casey Lessard Music students at South Huron District High School are blowing new horns after the school’s music program received a $10,000 equipment grant from the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS). “You’d be surprised how much equipment costs,” says music director Isaac Moore. “We were able to refresh every section a little bit and that helps us out in terms of the longevity of the program’s equipment in general. We got three flutes, three clarinets, three trumpets, three trombones, one new baritone, one tenor sax and two alto saxes.” Close to 70 senior band members use a school instrument, and the intermediate band adds more users, so the need for decent equipment is high. “Having one that works well makes a huge difference,” says saxophonist Trish Pavjeke, who uses her own instrument. “Some of the older saxophones are gross. They’ve been
Sandra Regier steps up her business Zurich photographer opens shop in Exeter above Village Vines Story and photo by Casey Lessard One of our favourite area photographers, Sandra Regier, opened a studio and office above Village Vines in Exeter in July. Regier hosted an open house Friday to show the new place, which is a photographer’s dream. The former apartment has two floors: the floor above the flower shop is her office, and the top floor is a wide open loft ideal for studio portraits and classes. “I wanted to separate my work and family life,” Regier says, noting she was previously running the business from her home. “I got busy a lot faster than I thought I would. When I was at home, I was always working. Part of it was to separate that. I also wanted to show people that it is my business and I take it seriously. I love doing it, but it’s not
just a hobby.” Now that digital photography has made photography a hobby anyone can do, it seems like many are trying to also make it a business. The Strip asked Regier what she thought of the trend. “For me, it’s making sure the images last a lifetime and are well taken care of,” she says. “I also want to make sure your children and grandchildren have pictures to look at. It’s not just about having pictures on a disc, but also prints that can become family heirlooms. Digital is really easy, it seems, but if you never make a print or album, there’s nothing for people to look at. It’s important to me that you have something that has lasting power.” To get a sense of Sandra’s work, visit http://www.sandraregier.com or stop by her studio at 391 Main Street in Exeter.
used for 100 years. The keys stick and the necks swivel back and forth. I’ve tried the new ones and they’re really nice. They work perfectly.” While Pavjeke’s 100 year estimate is a bit off, former music teacher Bob Robilliard says some of the equipment was due. “When I first came here, the equipment was one year old,” Robilliard says, noting the program started in 1986. “Most of that equipment is still here and still being used. Most school line equipment has a life of 25 years. It gets a lot of use.” CARAS issued 60 MusiCounts Band Aid grants across Canada in 2009, and South Huron is one of the only rural schools in Ontario receiving the grant. Letters of support from the community were key to getting the grant on the first attempt, Moore says, noting some schools try many times unsuccessfully. “It came around at a nice time for us,” he says. “The instruments have been heavily used. I wasn’t sure how we would pay for new ones. Having good equipment for the kids to play is really motivating. Without this, I’d have to build a case to the board, which has been very supportive of us, but its budget is finite like ours.” As a result of the grant, some of the school’s older equipment will be transferred to another school in the board. The band showed off the equipment for the first time at this weekend’s school concert, but Moore suggests the audience may not see a noticeable difference in sound, but it certainly makes playing easier. “It’s like buying a new car. It’s not like it takes you anywhere faster, but it’s a more enjoyable experience and lasts longer. Eventually things need to be replaced. Plus, the older it is, the more you have to put into repair, so that will save us a lot.” And while the actual sound may be the same, music council president Joe Pavjeke thinks the musicians will sound better because they’ll have more confidence. “It’s like we’re getting recognized for our work. The students notice that. It shows that what we’re doing is a big deal.”
Thursday, November 19, 2009 • 13
Not so Mean Streets Paddington’s owner Jen Gaukroger (above right) resurrected an annual tradition, now called Bikes for Tykes. Motorcycle enthusiasts hit the streets of Grand Bend November 7 and donated toys for Children’s Aid Crown ward children. Photos by Casey Lessard
American woodcock: unique woodland species Living in Balance By Jenipher Appleton The back section of our three-acre property is an expanse of wonderful thickets, shrubs, and hedgerows. In late October, while walking just before dusk, Fergus the Lab managed to flush up a stocky, short-bodied bird with a very long beak. I knew immediately that it must be an American woodcock (Scolopax minor). It flew about 100 meters and landed in the dense brush. A little research renewed my knowledge of and interest in this most unique of game birds. The American woodcock is nicknamed the timberdoodle. It is very similar to the common snipe, which is also classed as a game bird. I would think that there would be some very slim pickin’s if you wanted to make a meal of one of these birds, which weigh in at well under half a pound. The woodcock’s population is relatively common and its behaviour migratory.
in the horizontal plane and 180 degrees in the vertical plane. It is certainly adapted to seeing predators coming from overhead.
Breeding During courtship, the male will circle in flight as high as 90 meters, hovering, chirping and then gliding in a zigzag pattern toward earth. The feathers make a sort of whistling sound during this courtship display. The woodcock female lays a clutch of one to four eggs, which are creamy buff with brown spots. The nest is on the ground (similar to the killdeer) in an open wooded location. Also like the killdeer, the young are precocial, which means they are fully fledged and ready to leave the nest almost immediately. They are dependent on the mother for the first week for food and begin probing for worms after three or four days.
A strange perambulation
The American woodcock has a short, dumpy body, is short-tailed and robin-sized. The plumage is a patterned cinnamon on top and on its back, beautifully camouflaging it against the dead leaves of the forest floor. It is brown underneath and has black and brown barring on the crown of the head. The legs are short and pinkish and the bill is very long and also pinkish. Its eyes are located high in the head, affording it a visual field of 360 degrees
When I was in grade school back in the ’60s, my father was the local public school inspector. A few times a year he would end up in my classroom to ‘inspect’ what the teacher and students were up to; much to the chagrin of the teacher. Usually I was delighted by his entertaining visits, but one visit sticks out in my mind as simply mortifying. Dad was a naturalist and birder, and on this particular day he was talking about the
Walk the talk
You won’t see Jenipher Appleton or this carving walking like Jenipher’s father did when she was a child (see story).
American woodcock. He took it upon himself to demonstrate the unusual walk of the stocky little bird. My father would plant one foot firmly on the floor ahead of him at the front of the classroom, and then proceed to bend his knees and wiggle himself forward and backward. He would then proceed to do it all over again with the other leg in the forward position. He looked completely ridiculous up there in his three piece suit demonstrating the American woodcock’s silly antics. My classmates found it hilarious as I was trying to slide myself under my desk and out of sight. However, I have learned through my current research the reason why the woodcock elicits this behaviour.
A feeding strategy The woodcock eats mainly earthworms and arthropods, and sometimes plant material. Its long bill is somewhat flexible and acts like a pair of tweezers. In order to procure its meal of earthworms, the woodcock will step heavily on the ground with one foot forward (possibly causing earthworms to move). It then rocks its body back and forth without moving its head. This may make the worms move around in the soil and make it easier for the bird to probe around and catch the worms in its tweezer-like bill. So the antics of the woodcock (and my father) have a purpose after all. Watch for this interesting bird at dawn or dusk near thickets and young forests.
To Do List
14 • Thursday, November 19, 2009
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Send your holiday wishes (up to 50 words) to P.O. Box 218, Grand Bend, N0M 1T0 We’ll publish them in our next issue (space permitting). Must be received by Dec. 10 to be considered.
Be sure to include your name, phone number (for our use only), and your greeting!
Community/Charity THURSDAYS Grand Bend Nursery School is now offering 5 sessions a week of the Early Learning Program…a FREE high quality program designed to help prepare young children for school. If you have children 2.5 to 4 years old and reside in Lambton County call Grand Bend Nursery School at 519-238-8514
TUESDAYS 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Port Franks Community Ctr. Kids Matter every Tuesday. Join us as we crochet sleeping mats out of milk bags to send to the children in Africa and South America. Bring your lunch, scissors and a #7 crochet hook. Call Peggy Smith at 519-2965834 for details. 7 p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Bingo
FRIDAYS 5 to 7 p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Meat Draw
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19
1 to 4 p.m. - Pt. Franks Comm. Ctr. Shuffleboard 1 to 3 p.m. - Grand Bend CHC Golden Agers Shuffleboard 7:30 p.m. - Pt. Franks Comm. Ctr. Cards
FRIDAYS 10 a.m. - Port Franks Comm. Ctr. Badminton 1 p.m. - Port Franks Comm. Ctr. Bridge 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. - Grand Bend Youth Centre Grand Bend Drum Circle. Contact Anita at the Youth Centre or call 519-238-8759. 7 p.m. - Port Franks Comm. Ctr. Dunes Duplicate Bridge
Health & Fitness MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS AND FRIDAYS
1:30 p.m. - Grand Bend CHC 8 to 9 a.m. - Southcott Pines Grand Bend Women’s Institute Meeting. Clubhouse The Currant Organic General Store – Workout for your Life. To learn more, call Angie Richter. Everyone welcome! Beth Sweeney at 519-238-5555
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25
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MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS AND FRIDAYS
1 to 3 p.m. - Southcott Pines 8:45 to 10 a.m. (Mon/Fri), (to 9 a.m. clubhouse Wed.) – Grand Bend Legion Huron Country Playhouse Guild Annual TGIF Exercise classes with Elinor Clarke. Christmas Wassail $3/week - all proceeds to charity. Please come out and join in for a fun afternoon. Guests and new members wel- MONDAYS AND WEDNESDAYS come. Call Mary at 519-238-5640. 6 to 7 p.m. - Precious Blood Catholic School gym Workout for your Life. To learn more, call MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30 Shelley Van Osch at 519-234-6253. 7 p.m. - Grand Bend Legion (check to be sure) Grand Bend Horticultural Society. MONDAYS Annual Meeting and Pot Luck Dinner. 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. - Pt. Franks studio Flower show – format to be announced. Gentle Yoga to November 9th - 8 weeks. Anne Chute 519-243-3552 www. annesyogaworks.com TUESDAY, DECEMBER 8 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. - Grand Bend Legion 6:45 to 8 p.m. - Pt. Franks studio Women’s Probus, Grand Bend. Anyone Gentle Yoga to November 9th - 8 interested in joining is asked to call membership chair, Susan Trumper, at 519-238- weeks. Anne Chute 519-243-3552 www. annesyogaworks.com 5516
1 to 3 p.m. - Grand Bend CHC Golden Agers Shuffleboard 7 p.m. - Port Franks Comm. Ctr. Dunes Duplicate Bridge
TUESDAYS 1 p.m. - Port Franks Comm. Ctr. Bridge
TUESDAYS AND THURSDAYS 9 a.m. – Port Franks Community Centre Healthy Lifestyle Exercise Program. Program includes warm up, low impact aerobic workout, strength work and stretching. Sponsored in part by Healthy Living Lambton. Cost: Free!! Everyone welcome. Contact Cindy Maxfield, Health Promoter at the GBACHC, 519-238-1556 ext 6 to register.
WEDNESDAYS WEDNESDAYS 7 p.m. - Port Franks Comm. Ctr. Dunes Duplicate Bridge
7 to 8 p.m. - St. Francis Advocates Building, Arkona Yoga to November 4 – 8 weeks. Anne
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http://www.GrandBendStrip.com Chute 519-243-3552 works.com
Thursday, November 19, 2009 • 15
Wilkey as they discuss how aging can change our interaction with others and how to enhance and improve our relationships.
Wilkey as they discuss how aging can change our interaction with others and how to enhance and improve our relationships.
7 to 8:30 p.m. - Grand Bend CHC Healthy A g ing Seminar - Present Changing Relationships. Join Social Worker Mickey Gurbin and N.P. Lynda
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Grand Bend CHC Men Can Cook. Advance your cooking skills and enjoy a tasty healthy lunch for $5. Contact Miranda at 519-238-1556 ext 222.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. - Grand Bend CHC Healthy A g ing Seminar - Present Changing Relationships. Join Social Worker Mickey Gurbin and N.P. Lynda
Advertise Across Ontario or Across the Country!
10 a.m. to 12 p.m. - Grand Bend CHC Mental Health Support Group. Please note new time. Contact Social Worker Lise Callahan at 519-238-1556 ext 230 for more info.
For more information contact Your local (519) newspaper Casey Lessard: 614-3614
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16 • Thursday, November 19, 2009
Strip in the Kitchen
Restaurant style French onion soup Recipes by James Eddington Eddington’s of Exeter 527 Main Street, Exeter, 519-235-3030 http://www.eddingtons.ca
Photo by Casey Lessard For more of James’ recipes, look for In The Kitchen under Lifestyle at: http://www.grandbendstrip.com You may have heard that onions can kill the H1N1 virus, but that’s just a myth. Still, a warm soup like this is good medicine for your body and soul during cold and flu season...
Caramelized onions (This is the base for the soup.) 4 tbsp 4 tbsp 6 8 drops 4 tbsp 1 splash 1 cup
butter vegetable oil large Spanish onions, peeled & thinly sliced Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce brown sugar water red wine (just open a bottle)
In large pot, sauté onions in butter and oil on low to medium heat for approx. 30 minutes, stirring periodically. The slower and longer you sauté your onions, the more flavor and sweetness will be present. Once onions have softened, add Worcestershire sauce, splash of water and brown sugar. Turn to high heat and let caramelize. Once color is slightly darkened, add approx. 1 cup of red wine to deglaze pot.
French onion soup 2 cups 4 4 cups 2 cups 1 clove 4 slices 2 cups
red wine bay leaves beef stock chicken stock (or more beef stock) salt and pepper garlic, finely chopped old bread, toasted and cut to fit bowl cheese (your choice; I like a blend of cheddar, smoked gouda and Swiss)
Once you deglaze the caramelized onions add all ingredients (other than bread and cheese) to same pot. Bring to Boil and then reduce heat to medium simmer. Let simmer for one hour. The longer you simmer and reduce your soup, the more flavours you will have. Preheat your oven’s broiler. Ladle soup into four French onion soup bowls and place fitted toast into each bowl. If you slightly dunk the bread to ensure it is moist, this will reduce any chance of burning under the broiler. Sprinkle cheese evenly on toasted tops and place bowls onto baking sheet. Place under broiler until cheese has melted golden brown. Your soup should be bubbling through and around the cheese. Caution: although tasty, it will be hot, so let rest for at least two minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Award winning journalism from Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada. Inside: The contentious Lambton Shores Zone 3 (dunes) sewer debate, Chamber of Co...