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AWARD WINNING JOURNALISM FROM GRAND BEND

Vol. 3, No. 11

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Five months after a hit and run near Grand Bend Motorplex, Jason Pearson’s death remains unsolved.

DO YOU KNOW

WHO KILLED

JASON? COVER PHOTO COURTESY ERIN JOBIDON

ADVICE FROM MOM & KEEPING THE PEACE P.11 - FIDO... COME... SIT P.14 - JAMES EDDINGTON P. 16 - TO DO LIST P. 12

Give the gift of photography Gift certificates available for Casey Lessard’s photo classes. Beginner photography starting January 9, with Photoshop and more classes in the works.

To register, call 519-614-3614 or visit www.GrandBendPhoto.com/contact


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2 • Thursday, December 17, 2009

I M P O R TA N T I N F O R M AT I O N

“I encourage every Canadian to get the H1N1 flu vaccine.” Dr. David Butler-Jones Chief Public Health Officer of Canada vaccinated is a safe and

Getting effective way to protect yourself and others against the H1N1 flu virus. has enough vaccine

Canada for everyone.

For information on flu clinics throughout your province go to www.ontario.ca/flu or call the ServiceOntario INFOline at 1-800-476-9708.

For more information about the H1N1 flu vaccine visit www.fightflu.ca or call 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232) TTY 1-800-926-9105


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Strip Special: Jason Pearson Remembered

Thursday, December 17, 2009 • 3

Jason Pearson and Erin Jobidon were engaged to be married, and shared a life together in Waterloo. Now Erin is alone after a hit-and-run July 26 in front of Grand Bend Motorplex took Jason’s life.

“Someone knows something.” Police seek driver, family seeks closure after Jason Pearson’s death near Grand Bend during Not So Pro volleyball weekend Originally from Regina, Saskatchewan, Jason Pearson of Waterloo was an avid volleyball player, and serious about taking part in Grand Bend’s Not So Pro tournament each year. After the f irst day of competition at this year’s event, Pearson was killed while walking back to his campsite at the Grand Bend Motorplex when a truck hit him at 5 a.m. July 26. The vehicle and its driver are still at large. Days after what would have been Pearson’s 32nd birthday (November 29), Casey Lessard visited Waterloo to speak with his f iancée Erin Jobidon and their friend Drew Neath. Erin: We hit it off right away. He just glowed. He drew everyone into him. He’d go out of his way to do whatever he could for you. He was always up for something new and was good at everything he did. I came here to go to the University of Waterloo, and I met Jay at the Boa Nova, a Portuguese-style high-class restaurant. I was

working there with Drew’s ex-girlfriend and Jason’s roommate. I was serving and bartending, and he was working there as well; he had a share in the restaurant. I was getting a tour of the restaurant after getting hired, and he was working in the back. I think even then, there was a sparkle in his eye that caught my attention. We did everything. Skied, kayaked, fished, played volleyball, traveled, you name it. He got into horses with me. Name a sport, he was probably into it and good at it. Drew: The first time I ever heard about Jason was from my ex-girlfriend. He was looking for people to play volleyball with him, but I had to try out because he would only play with people who were good. We ended up playing together at the pickup courts at University of Waterloo. I still have a lot of close friends from elementary school, and Jay was one of my first friends outside of that group of friends, and I’ve gotten to know a lot

of people through Jay. Erin: We moved in together after a year of dating because we were at each other’s house every night anyway. We lived in a house for a year and a half after that. He made a point of bringing me everywhere. He was like that with his friends, too. He had five groups of friends that co-mingled. We lived together almost two years. He was great to live with. We had talked about getting married, but we had a mutual agreement that nothing would happen until I finished school. We went away to Kicking Horse, where his brother has a condo, and he proposed without a ring, but our intentions were known to his family. Our long-term goal was to have a farm for our horses. This house was our first step toward that. Drew: I remember him saying the weekend in Grand Bend, “Save up your money, because when we get married, we’re going to go away somewhere.”

Erin: We were going to go somewhere warm and have a wedding. He traveled way more than me. I had never really gone anywhere before I met him, and he used to go to Europe every year. He lived there for a year and played football. His family’s out west, he went out east every year, he went to Europe every year. Just a busybody. We had known each other three months and he asked me if I wanted to go on a cruise to Greece in November. I said sure, but thought it would never pan out. But November came and we planned a trip. We stayed in Paris for three days and he knew every corner. It was crazy. The Greek cruise cost him $80. He could get anything for a deal. Anything. He wouldn’t tell anyone how he did it. Tickets for plays and concerts. He had connections everywhere. Drew: For example, we went to last year’s Stanley Cup finals. His brother got us tickets and we all went down. (Cont’d on page 4)


4 • Thursday, December 17, 2009

Close with his family, including brother Dallas (middle), Jason (left) loved to travel and enjoyed any sport he could participate in.

He always wanted to win. In Grand Bend, (Cont’d from page 3) He told me two days before the game and we just packed up and we played intermediate because the competiwent down to Detroit for the night. I think tive teams were fours, and he wanted everybody to play, so we played the intermediwe paid $230 US, and we were very close. ate sixes. It was still really competitive, and this year we probably would have won if this For the love of the game Erin: His friends were his life. His friends hadn’t happened. The year before we got third and volleyball. I wasn’t allowed to play on his and second in the two tournaments I played in. volleyball team. I wasn’t good enough. Drew: Jay was always the team captain. If The fateful weekend someone was playing badly, he was the one to Drew: I got to Grand Bend two hours late. get them going. He’d have everyone’s spirits as Jay saw me and looked at my girlfriend. He high as could be so they could play well. We was about to say something, but he said the followed the Not So Pro tour. Hang and Bang look on her face was so bad that he couldn’t was our team name most of the time. get mad.

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Strip Special: Jason Pearson Remembered

Jason took up Erin’s love of horses. Together, they were saving money to buy a horse farm.

(At the end of the day,) we sat in the beer tent for a bit, and there was a girl trying to learn how to jump serve, so we stayed a while teaching her how to do it. We went back to the campsite and started partying. Erin: I got there later. I had to work the Saturday night and I got there at midnight. We went to Gables and were there until close. Jay and I got into an argument hanging around the bar waiting to go back to the campsite at the Motorplex. One of the girls we were with hadn’t been drinking, so she was going to drive my car. There were four of us, and Jay was being stubborn as usual. He said he was going to walk and stormed off.

There’s no arguing with him when he’s like that. And it’s not unusual for him – he walked everywhere. In the morning, he still wasn’t back, which was kind of weird, but he’s slept in bushes before. I was just going to head home for the day, and I saw there was an emergency road closure. I went back and started getting a little worried. There was a rumour that a girl had been hit. I kind of brushed it off but I had a bad feeling. I drove into town because, with volleyball starting in half an hour, I knew he wouldn’t be late for that. He still didn’t show up, so I drove back to the roadblock and the officer wouldn’t say anything.

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Strip Special: Jason Pearson Remembered

Thursday, December 17, 2009 • 5

Drew Neath (left in both photos) became close friends with Jason (recognizable by his dark beard) after joining Pearson’s volleyball team. Pearson took his sports seriously, but it was also a way to keep friends close. He was also good at getting access to concert and game tickets and trip deals to share with his friends.

One of the girls went back to the campsite to see if he went back there. She ended up talking to the investigator, and she said it sounded like it was him. She came back to the beach. I remember sitting with Drew’s girlfriend watching them play a game and I saw Sarah, the girl who went back to the campsite, walking with the police officer, and my heart sank. I just remember looking at both of them and no one would say anything to me. They just stared blankly. I knew. I fell. Drew: I remember driving and saying to my girlfriend, if he’s not at the courts, something’s happened. As soon as I saw her, she said yeah, and I collapsed. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say. We just sat around waiting for the officers to do what they needed. We stuck around for interviews and headed home after that.

The aftermath

Erin: I waited in Grand Bend for my mom to come so I didn’t have to drive home. By the time I got home, everyone was calling. They all knew. It traveled so fast, and everyone was horrified. It seemed unreal and still does. For me, one of my biggest fears was getting in a fight with someone and something

happening. That’s how you ended it. That’s something I’ve always been terrified of. But it doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. A little fight is nothing. I know he still loved me. The officers said they’re shocked nothing has come out yet. They interviewed hundreds of people. From what I know, they looked through the list of everyone registered at the Motorplex. They highlighted everyone who they think might have been leaving that evening. Their vehicle of interest is the truck with the trailer. But that could be from anywhere in Ontario or the States. We don’t know. They did a reconstruction, and they think he was on the west side of the road walking back, and then may have been crossing the road. He was 100 meters from the Motorplex, and was hit at a low speed by a vehicle heading toward Grand Bend. It happened between 4 and 5 a.m. To their knowledge, they found him within 15 minutes. It was not very long. I think about it and wonder why I torture myself. I hope it was someone who was driving and didn’t see him, and then freaked out. Drew: They obviously didn’t stop. If they’d known, I’d hope they would have been nice enough to stop and get help, but from the

sounds of it, they didn’t do anything.

Moving forward

Erin: I didn’t even know where to begin. I stayed with my mom for a week and then went to a friend’s house and stayed with her. We went out to Regina for the funeral and stayed with his family for a while. It was really important for me to be up there. When I came back to reality, it was a huge slap in the face. We were living here, and I thought about moving out of this place, but I finally clued in that that’s not the way to deal with it. This is where there are memories and I want to hold on to that. Remember good things and try not to run away from thinking about it. Drew: He was just a really good guy. The Monday after Jay died, a bunch of us gathered and everyone realized none of us had each other’s numbers because he was the one who got everyone together. He was that kind of person. Erin: Our group of friends isn’t going to be the same. He always managed to get people together for something all the time. It’s causing ripples in his family, for sure. His mom and sister are in horrible shape. His brother is super strong, and he’s held the

Const. Joanna Van Mierlo Media Relations and Community Services officer for Huron OPP

The vehicle of interest in this case looks like this long-cab pickup truck, and it was pulling a trailer like this one.

START NOW Be prepared for April 30, 2010

It is a challenging investigation. In this case, we’re following every lead that we can because we want to locate the responsible driver.

In hopes of encouraging information that leads to the case being solved, Pearson’s parents posted a $25,000 reward, which was recently bumped to $35,000. Any information is welcome; you can call Huron OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

We have canvassed nearly 500 people, many of them patrons of the Motorplex and area businesses. We have a vehicle of interest and are following up on that. But at this point, we don’t know who struck him. All we can say with certainty is he was struck by a northbound vehicle. He was located, just after he

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family together while working full-time as a doctor. For me, I do what I can to keep myself busy so I don’t have to think about it all the time. I’m not sure that’s a good thing. I work full-time and go to school full-time, and he’s on my mind every minute of every day. I can’t imagine moving on. I can’t imagine his clothes not being in the closet and his pictures not being on the wall. But I know that will happen one day. For me, I didn’t think it would make a difference if we found someone. But I want to know what happened. He was always with people, and I just feel terrible that he was alone. As Jason’s dad, Carl, says, “Someone knows something.” I can’t imagine being that person. I can’t imagine knowing something that horrible and not feeling the need to say anything.

was struck, by our initial witness who saw the vehicle of interest in that area. We’re quite certain that the vehicle of interest – minimally – saw him on the road, but the only person who knows is the driver. If anyone has any information, please call Huron OPP or CrimeStoppers.

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6 • Thursday, December 17, 2009

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Grand Bend Strip

The fight to save Zurich Public School Accommodation Review Committee community representative Tom Roes tells Casey Lessard that Zurich Public School should stay open. And that Hensall and Usborne should, too. Will the school board listen?

Recognizing declining enrolment in area schools, Avon-Maitland District School Board is currently reviewing the need to close schools, including Usborne Public School near Exeter, and Zurich and Hensall Public Schools. To make such a decision, the board is required to collect public input through an Accommodation Review Committee, or ARC. Tom Roes, who home-schools his children, is the community repre-

sentative for Zurich Public School, which is being considered for closure. The committee also consists of the parents’ council chair, and a representative of Bluewater and South Huron municipal councils. A meeting scheduled for December 10 would have been the second in the ARC process, but it is now scheduled for January 7 at Usborne Public School. A further meeting is January 14 at Stephen Central Public School.

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As told to Casey Lessard At the beginning of the process, the board staff presents their preferred option. Staff don’t decide; trustees do. The board’s preferred option has three parts: take all of the Grade 7 and 8s and put them in the high school; part two is to close Usborne; and part three is to close either Zurich or Hensall. Ultimately, they want to close two schools. It would be a devastating blow to lose either school. Zurich is full of young families, and to lose a school would be like ripping the heart out of the community. The students at Zurich feel very safe at their school, they have excellent relationships with their teachers, and the teachers have a good relationship with the parents. Zurich has some of the EQAO results in the entire board. Zurich is at capacity. Zurich has among the best teacher retention rates of any school in the board. I think the main rationale behind closing Zurich is that it is one of the smallest capacity schools in the board. We have a lot of splits and some triple-splits. But they haven’t proven that splits are bad for students. I think Hensall should stay open as well. It has special education classes, and a move to Exeter would be hugely problematic for those kids. They just moved from McCurdy a few years ago and they’ve just recovered from that. One idea that has been thrown out by the Hensall people is the idea of closing Exeter Public School and renovating or adding to the high school to have an elementary school attached to the high school. That would open up green space for those kids, they’d be going to school in their own town, it would solve vacancy rates, and solve the empty space

issue at the high school. At this point, I don’t support any schools or sending Grades 7 and 8 to high school. The board hasn’t taken into account the effects of such a decision. The board hasn’t explored other options other than closing schools. They haven’t considered sharing space with other boards. Similar to what they did in Stratford between the public and Catholic high schools; they share facilities. It bothers me that, ultimately, we have no power in this decision. The board has the decision making power over the schools. We can only make suggestions. The Community School Alliance has been fighting with the ministry for a few years now trying to get them to call for a moratorium on closing schools where the closure is in dispute (such as is the case here). The minister refuses to do that. According to the policy that rules the ARCs, the highest priority is supposed to be the value of the school to the students. If you look at what they’re doing, the highest value is clearly the bottom line. Avon Maitland is running a balanced budget, so that shouldn’t be a factor. There’s a lot of skepticism that the board has already made their decision and this is a rubber stamp process they have to go through. There’s some evidence to support this. The ARC they did last year, they did five meetings to review one school, and they’re asking us to do the same type of review for five schools in the same number of meetings. Some other boards, including Simcoe and Peel, did ARCs reviewing four to six schools and had up to 26 meetings.

What do you think? To have your say, Roes recommends you attend one of the meetings, write your MPP or school trustee, or tell the trustee what you think by talking with your votes.


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Strip at Christmas

Thursday, December 17, 2009 • 7

Here he comes to save the day! Parkhill hosted its annual nighttime Santa Claus parade on a rainy Sunday evening, November 29. Santa Claus (right) was the guest of honour, but others helped parade him through the town. Wayne Fisher of the Forest Pipe Band (above), the Mocha Oriental Shrine Band (below) gave him his entry music, and Andrea Sierra of Win-Mar was sweet to Strathroy’s Cayla and Jordan Meers.

Photos by Casey Lessard

“We extend our best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season...” Wendy & Mark, Prosper & Cyrilla, Ashley, Rich & Gerhard

Fleas Navidog! We want to wish you a Merry Christmas Casey, Anjhela, Toffee, Shay-Z, and the rest of the Strip family

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8 • Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hawaiian hoe-down Grand Bend Public School pupils brought the beach inside for a dance party November 27. The kids were getting down for a good cause, raising $3,000 for their school’s wheelchair accessible playground. Above: Sophie Hemsley shows off her moves. Above right: Chloe Nardi and Leandra Gumb create an arch. Right: Ashley Parkinson and Taylor Atchison take each other for a spin.

Photos by Casey Lessard

Strip Feature

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Strip Feature

Thursday, December 17, 2009 • 9 Emma Maguire and Anna Rood take centre stage on the dance floor.

Cameron Schram and David Norris were eager to show their winter allegiances, despite the summer theme.

Mr. Redmond and Ms Siddall say Conga, conga, conga!


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Strip Thoughts

10 • Thursday, December 17, 2009

Grateful for 2009 Happy, uh, New Year View from the Strip

Alternative View

By Casey Lessard

By Lance Crossley

With the mediocre weather and mediocre economy we experienced this year, it’s tough not to feel glum. I’m happy, though, (for the most part) with how 2009 went here. No health problems this year. Missed the swine flu this time around. Anjhela is almost done school. Well, for now, anyway. We got a new little dog, and she is delightful. A true joy, minus her piercing barks. Made inroads on improving myself, creating new photographs for almost 300 days in a row. Too bad the project was supposed to last 365. Oh, well. Perhaps I should stop tempering all the positives with a negative. So, here are some truly good things I’m thankful for: Got more hours working at Humber College. My car is still kicking at 340,000 km. My parents still want to do their articles. James, Lance, Jenipher, and Yvonne have really helped give some needed breadth to the paper. My photo project forced me to take my work more seriously. You, the reader, responded to keep this paper going, and for that, I am truly grateful.

My wife always makes fun of me after read- Canadians banks sidestepped the 2008 crash ing my columns because, as she says, “they are was because of a stealth government bailalways such downers”. I can’t really argue with out of $114 billion. It wasn’t called a bailout, her on that one. But in my defence, I really of course; it was merely a “liquidity injecam trying to call it as I see it. Anyway, she’s tion” courtesy of the Canada Mortgage and going to love this one. So without further ado, Housing Corporation ($65 billion), the Bank of Canada ($45 billion), and the Canada allow me to make my predictions for 2010. My 2010 predictions can be summed up in Pension Plan ($4 billion). Apparently all it one word: “insolvency”. To be insolvent is to takes to sedate the Canadian population is be unable to pay one’s debt obligations. In my to change the terminology, or in the case of view, this trend will only get stronger on the CPP, bury it on page 32 of your investment board’s 2009 annual report. individual, institutional, and state level. Many countries are in serious finan- Canadians banks sidestepped the cial trouble. Ireland’s 2008 crash was because of a stealth public services have b e e n d r a s t i c a l l y government bail-out of $114 billion. slashed with emer- It wasn’t called a bailout, of course; gency budgets in an it was merely a “liquidity injection” effort to pay its bills. Credit-rating agen- courtesy of the Canada Mortgage and For you, I hope you can savour the joys, find cies recently down- Housing Corporation, the Bank of shelter from the storms (they’re coming), and graded the creditCanada, and the Canada Pension Plan. see the light in the darkness. Just keep push- worthiness of Greece ing and I’ll see you next year! and Dubai. The U.S. So the situation is risky even if you take and the U.K. have been warned of possible their financial statements at face value. The future downgrades. The individual level is no better. In the problem is their financial statements, at U.S., bankruptcies are up by over 30 per cent least in the U.S. and Europe, are effectively so far in 2009. A similar story is emerging in “cooked”. The bank failures happening in the United States are quite revealing in this Canada, albeit not as drastic. My main concern, however, is with the respect. Take the recent failure of AmTrust banks. Western banks are so highly leveraged Bank, for example. It reported assets of $12 you can almost hear their top-heavy structures billion against deposits of $8 billion – not I support: beginning to creak and crack. In the United highly leveraged at all. Yet the government States, over 130 banks have gone bankrupt in had to cough up $2 billion (25 percent) to 3 - Gravity-fed sewers 2009. The top five Canadian banks are even cover people’s bank deposits. In other words, 9 - Low-pressure system more highly leveraged than the big banks a large portion of their so-called “assets” were in the states. According to a Sprott Asset phony. This story is playing out again and Management report, these Canadian banks again south of the border. 27 - Septic tanks Whether the insolvency story is kicked furare leveraged at an average of 31:1, meaning a mere drop in their tangible assets of three per ther down the road or explodes in 2010 is anyone’s guess. But it is certainly something cent would effectively wipe out their worth. The Sprott report suggests the only reason to watch out for. Happy New Year! So, what about 2010? I’m interested in seeing how things pan out. In Grand Bend, there’s the promise of the new Main Street, which some argue is too thin for traffic. They’re probably right, and we’ll measure it before the summer to see. There’s the prospect of sewers, and most of you affected by this – according to our small survey – are opposed to the project. For you, there is a municipal election to anticipate. From a personal level, I’m looking into returning to school part-time, and looking at ways to improve both my photography and the paper. Do readers want a heavier web presence at the expense of the print product? It’s a prospect we all face in the media industry, and I’m going to push that way very soon. I’d also like to spend some time (if I can find it) actually getting some exercise. Another new year’s resolution.

The big question

Do unserviced areas need sewers or not? Survey results (online and mail-in):

I live in: 32 - Lambton Shores 2

- Bluewater

6

- South Huron

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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

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.

Grand Bend Strip is printed every other Wednesday in the summer and monthly in the winter. For this edition, 1000 were printed with more than 600 sent directly to subscribers in the Grand Bend area, and across North America. To subscribe, use PayPal online or send a cheque: $24/year, $12 July-Oct/Nov-June Alert the Grand Bend Strip of any address changes, and to let us know if you should be but are not receiving your copy of the paper.

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2nd place Feature Series 3rd place Rural Reporting Business Writing Arts Coverage In House Ad Campaign

1st place Outstanding Reporter Initiative (Circulation up to 9,999)


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Strip Thoughts

Thursday, December 17, 2009 • 11

Dung on twigs, etc. Lighten Advice from Mom

Keeping the Peace

By Rita Lessard Merry Christmas to one and all. This is Apparently the tradition of midnight mass on one of my favourite times of the year. Most Christmas originated in the belief that the Christ people are happy and cheerful at this time as child was born at the stroke of midnight. they enjoy the company and goodness of their family and friends. At this time, I would like These trying times to share some Christmas trivia with you. Christmas can be frustrating sometimes. My greatest frustration was hiding the gifts I’m sure most people are familiar with the so my kids would be surprised on Christmas traditional 12 days of Christmas. The Aussies Day. This, I’m sure, didn’t happen as long interpret the song differently; here is the final as Mike was around. It was amazing how verse: he knew exactly what everyone was getting. On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true Believe mem, I would wrap everything and love gave to me, code it some way or other, and that didn’t Twelve goanna goin, matter. I almost think he unwrapped and Eleven snakes a-sliding, rewrapped everything. Since I’m not the Ten dingoes dashing, sharpest knife in the drawer at this busy time Ni ne wombats waddling, of year, he got away with it for years until one Eight koalas clinging, day the cat was let out of the bag and I found Seven emus running, out. From then, I took all the gifts to a neighSix ‘roos a-jumping, bour’s house and didn’t bring them home Five opals black, until Christmas Eve. Four great galahs, If you have this problem and you don’t want Three parakeets, to store your stuff at a neighbour’s, you might Two cockatoos, want to try this: use different wrapping paper And a kookaburra up a gum tree. for each member of the family. Gifts can be left in plain sight under the tree and no one I’m not familiar with some of these words; will know which is theirs until it comes time sorry, I’m from Montreal, so I don’t profess to to open them. No gift tags necessary! know everything. Some people think that Christmas is like a Let’s kiss under the what??? day in the office: you do all the work and the Did you know that the word mistletoe is an fat guy in the suit gets all the credit. Anglo-Saxon word meaning dung on a twig? Happy birthday to my brother Richard (27th) Apparently it was thought that life could spring spontaneously from dung. Mistletoe and my son Casey (16th), and happy anniversary groups on tree branches, and since bird drop- to Bill and Christine (15th). pings are commonly found on tree limbs, the Overheard (as told by my friend Frank): words mistel (meaning dung) and tan (meaning twig) thus blend to give you dung on a Things are still bad in the banking industry. The other day, a lady went to the bank and tree. True story. Hey, it’s not as if you’re eating the stuff, just asked the teller to check her balance, so he reached over and gave her a push. kissing under it, for heaven’s sake.

From all of us at Aunt Gussie’s, we wish you a safe and happy Christmas and all the best in 2010! FOR RESERVATIONS, CALL:

519-238-6786 - 135 Ontario St. S., Grand Bend

up, Tom!

The Olympic Torch will be coming through Forest, Strathroy and London December 24. Visit: vancouver2010.com for details.

By Tom Lessard, C.D. It all began about the middle of November. The weather was perfect for the harvesting of corn and beans, and the planting of winter wheat. Also, it was ideal for the installation of Christmas decorations. Dark evenings became brighter and brighter. First, one resident put up a couple of lights. His neighbour then, not to be outdone, put up a few more. Just like clockwork, the fellow across the street sees his chance to outdo the Joneses and erects lights and blown-up Santas or Scrooges. Sure enough, everyone gets in on the game and pretty soon we don’t require street lights. The majority of the houses have been well laid out, but as is to be expected, some go way overboard. I would imagine this lighting will take a downturn when the so-called “smart meters” come into use.

Electrical problems II I looked forward to attending the annual lighting of the park in Exeter on a nice evening at the end of November; last year’s lighting was cancelled because of snow. It was disappointing, then, that it wasn’t better organized this year. The donated hot chocolate from Tim Horton’s must have been picked up too early because it was lukewarm, but it was appreciated and polished off nonetheless. The entertainment had a rough time getting the sound to work and so were set back half an hour. When they were able to get started, the countdown to the lighting began, 5-4-32-1. Nothing. Soon, the lights did come on. Actually, half of them lit and were followed by a loud bang. Eventually all came on, prompt-

ing oohs and ahhs from the kids. We couldn’t sing the two songs that followed because we didn’t know the words. Before the scheduled end time, I followed a large number of revelers to our cars.

The fix is in This week, we were visited at our old municipal offices by a large delegation of electrical contractors. Maybe the work on our new community centre will begin soon. I’m looking forward to the completion of our recreational facilities in about 2011. If it turns out the way it’s planned, it will give Crediton and area residents something to cheer, deservedly after the mess we put up with these past few years. I was hoping the new sewers would end the smells that sometimes permeate my house and those of my neighbours, but it seems that someone is still sending paint thinners and sewage into the storm drains. The smell of the thinner was so strong that I called the South Huron offices to send someone out. A man arrived, checked my house and basement, and went out front and lifted the manhole cover. He sniffed and said, “Yep, that’s paint thinner.” I asked him what I could do about it, and he told me to shove a rag into the drain hole, which I did. After a couple of days, the odour was gone. We still get occasional sewage stink through the house, but I’ve never heard back from South Huron. I don’t expect I ever will. Maybe when everyone west of me is hooked up, I won’t have that problem. Merry Christmas!

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To Do List

12 • Thursday, December 17, 2009

Community/Charity FRIDAYS 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 G.B. Nursery School at 519-238-8514

TUESDAYS

10 a.m. - Port Franks Comm. Ctr. Badminton 1 p.m. - Port Franks Comm. Ctr. Bridge 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. - GB Youth Centre Grand Bend Drum Circle. Contact Anita at the Youth Centre or call 519-238-8759.

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Port Franks Community Ctr. 7 p.m. - Port Franks Comm. Ctr. Kids Matter every Tuesday. Join us as we Dunes Duplicate Bridge crochet sleeping mats out of milk bags to send to the children in Africa and South SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19 America. Bring your lunch, scissors and a #7 3 to 6 p.m. - Grand Bend Legion crochet hook. Call Peggy Smith at 519-296Horse Races 5834 for details.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31 7 p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Bingo

FRIDAYS 5 to 7 p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Meat Draw

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18

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9 p.m. - Grand Bend Legion New Year’s Eve Party with Midlife Crisis

FRIDAY, JANUARY 1 12 p.m. - Grand Bend Legion New Year’s Levee with Midlife Crisis

SATURDAY, JANUARY 16

1:30 to 3:30 p.m. - Grand Bend CHC 3 to 6 p.m. - Grand Bend Legion Grand Bend Area Community Health Live Music by Bob Finlay Centre Volunteer Appreciation Drop In. Please join us in the Community room so we can say thank you and serve you some Health & Fitness refreshments. Call Cindy 519-238-1556 ext 231 for details. MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS AND FRIDAYS 8 to 9 a.m. - Southcott Pines Clubhouse SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20 Workout for your Life. To learn more, call 7 to 8 p.m. - Zurich Fair shelter Come celebrate the heart of Christmas Beth Sweeney at 519-238-5555 at the Living Nativity in Zurich. There will be live actors, animals, song and more to 8:45 to 10 a.m. (Mon/Fri), (to 9 a.m. warm you as we reconnect to the centre and Wed.) – Grand Bend Legion meaning of Christmas. Gather at the shelter TGIF Exercise classes with Elinor Clarke. behind the ball diamond in Zurich’s Fair $3/week - all proceeds to charity. Grounds. Hosted by Churches of Zurich.

MONDAYS AND WEDNESDAYS

Arts & Entertainment MONDAYS 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

WEDNESDAYS 7 p.m. - Port Franks Comm. Ctr. Dunes Duplicate Bridge

6 to 7 p.m. - Precious Blood Catholic School gym Workout for your Life. To learn more, call Shelley Van Osch at 519-234-6253. Various times at three locations Yoga and Pilates, Jan. 4 to Feb. 26 - 8 weeks. Anne Chute 519-243-3552 www. annesyogaworks.com

TUESDAYS AND THURSDAYS 9 a.m. – Port Franks Community Centre Cost: Free!! Everyone welcome. Contact Cindy Maxfield, Health Promoter at the GBACHC, 519-238-1556 ext 6 to register.

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THURSDAYS 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

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Grand Bend CHC Men Can Cook. $5. Contact Miranda at 519-238-1556 ext 222.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 23 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Grand Bend CHC Mental Health Support Group. Contact Social Worker Lise Callahan at 519-2381556 ext 230 for more info.


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Strip Thoughts

Thursday, December 17, 2009 • 13

Let’s start a national debate Public policy and regulation among subjects of winter Partners in Learning discussions The winter season of Partners in Learning, a discussion group that meets at the Southcott Pines clubhouse, runs Wednesdays from Jan. 13 to Feb. 10 and then March 3 to 31. This season’s topics include Science, Serving the Public Interest?; Has Big Brother Gone Too Far?; Theatre, Behind the Scenes; and The World of Books. Socrates Café runs Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. every other week from Feb. 4 to April 1.

“Has Big Brother Gone Too Far” Molly Russell, moderator I find that hardly a day goes by that I don’t hear on the news that there is some law being instituted to “protect” the public. I think these laws have gotten out of hand. That’s the premise of my course. Give me some examples.

would agree that seat belts are probably a good thing, and they have saved lives. My mother was in a car crash, and in those days (1952), they didn’t require seatbelts. My dad was saved because he had the steering wheel. But my mother was tossed from the car and she died. So seatbelts are at least rational for most people. Another one: people were in a boat, and had lifejackets in the boat. The boat capsized and they weren’t wearing them, and one of them drowned. So now in a boat you have to wear a jacket at all times. How are you going to get a suntan or swim off the boat in your bikini, etc.? To protect us, they put laws in, but they base it on a small part of the population. What are they really afraid of ? I think people are afraid of being sued. (Demonstrating a coffee cup cardboard sleeve) This is from VIA Rail. They decided they had to do this to protect people from the heat of the cup. Is this really necessary? It’s very costly.

For instance, when the actress went skiing in Quebec and died of a head injury, they wanted to bring in a law that said everyone has to wear a ski helmet all of the time. And But laws are made by people. How do people are saying, come on, that’s too much. these laws come into place if people Seat belts are another example. Most people don’t think they’re a good idea? I disagree with that statement. Laws are not made by people; laws are made by politicians. And politicians wish to be reelected. They get on bandwagons and lose the rationality that’s really behind a lot of human behaviour. Most people would say there is too much regulation because we are not making these laws, but are subject to these laws. So what would you like to see? What is the solution?

I’m going to throw that out to the participants. I think there are two things: one, the politician thing; and two, people protecting themselves from being sued. Should we have people sign a waiver saying, if they get hit by a car and they’re not wearing a helmet, that they can’t sue? The problem lies where laws infringe upon my freedom. Human beings are individuals. Every one is different. You can’t do a blanket law and treat everyone the same. I feel we need more examples of people taking responsibility for their actions, and not having Big Brother telling them what to do.

Grand Bend

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Science, Serving the Public Interest? Mike Ash, moderator It’s exploring whether science supports or doesn’t support the benefit of society. And how that connects with public policy because public policy gets formulated by interest groups and input from the public, but also hard information – let’s call that science. How do those things all connect? What are some issues you are looking at that are hot topics influenced by public policy?

With the Copenhagen conference going on, what is science telling us about the future of the environment and sustainability? This is probably one of the areas we will explore. For 20 years, scientists have been warning us about global warning, but why hasn’t this translated into public opinion and public policy action to make a change and an improvement? What’s the problem there? How is science providing information to predicting the future or the formulation of public policy that supports the public interest? How well can we predict the future? Do we believe these predictions? Does the public understand what science is telling them? How good is science at communicating that to the public? Why are there contradictions in scientific evidence, for example when one group says one thing and another says the opposite? Why is this topic important right now in Grand Bend?

the welfare of individuals and special interest groups and society overall. How does that translate into the best solutions and policies overall? Today, public input seems to be dominated by opinion and communication through social networking tools. Fact based decisions are less, rather than more, common at all levels of society. Today, with the Internet, anyone can put out information and sway the public without any basis in fact.

I think probably because there’s so much conflicting information out there and I think there might be a perception that science isn’t held in the esteem it once was. Why is that? We need to know why we can’t have fact based, research based decision making for the betterment of society. I know people think that happens a lot, but I’m not sure society is taking full advantage of scientific information. Certainly locally, there are some issues to It’s a challenging and demanding topic, talk about. Wind energy; are there really and I think it will be very interesting for the health issues related to wind energy? One interesting topic might be whether group. public opinion and public interest are one in To register, visit partnersinlearning.ca the same. This comes across in the balance of

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Strip Outside

14 • Thursday, December 17, 2009

Some choice four-letter words Fido... Come... Sit By Yvonne Passmore http://www.FidoComeSit.com At this time of year I have a few: C-O-L-D, S-N-O-W, D-A-R-K, W-I-N-D, W-A-L-K. The more miserable the weather gets, the happier my dogs become. I love the mildness of the summer. It’s warm, the sun is shining and my dogs are lazy. The older I get, the more I appreciate lazy dogs. When the seasons turn from mild to wild,

so do my dogs. I guess I have only myself to blame. My dogs are physically strong and in good shape. They get exercised in every type of weather. They’re either running and swimming in the rivers and lakes or running and jumping through the snowbanks that are to come. The colder air makes their fitness levels evident. Most dogs are made for cooler climates while I am not. I don’t really mind the cold and the snow but I do mind the inconvenience of it all. Extra layers of clothing make it more difficult for me to walk as quickly as the dogs love to. The layers of ice on the roads

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make it almost impossible. I find my daily wardrobe is geared only towards comfortable and easy walking. I wear coats with bulk and lots of pockets for poop bags and tennis balls. I wear boots with the thickest tread that I can. I am far from a glamourous creature in my utilitarian get up while the dogs look lovely with their extra fur to keep them warm. I have to take baby steps, picking through the ice and snow spots to find safe asphalt to walk on. I’m sure I look lost and confused to anyone spying on me through their frosted windows. My dogs look prancy and surefooted. They love the cold. They can go forever and try to. In the milder weather, a three mile walk, along with a generous run and a round of fetch would more than satisfy them for the day. They would be exhausted, happy to languish and pant on the floor. Now, with the cooler temperatures, they require an extra walk and an after dinner wrestle on the floor (in front of the TV of course) like a class of

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five-year-old children on a sugar high. Baby, it’s cold outside, and they’re loving it. There are times when I am glad I have dogs that force me to go outside when I wouldn’t otherwise. During these times, I can really appreciate and be awed by the ferocity of a snow squall, the quietness of a fresh snowfall, the beauty of iced over trees in the morning ice mist. These things I wouldn’t see or notice if my dogs didn’t require more exercise in the winter. There will be times when I’ll thank my dogs for forcing me to appreciate some of the beauty of winter. That thanks will be quiet and under my breath. The complaining that I do – about my dogs forcing me to be outside when I really don’t want to be – will be loud enough for all to hear. To all of you dog lovers, thank you and Merry Christmas! Visit www.fidocomesit.com for column suggestions, training and book info.

For more information contact Your local(519) newspaper Casey Lessard: 614-3614

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Strip in Concert

Above, Jerry Selinger of Forest performs Silver Bells.

Right: Rosa Snopko plays Largo and Aria for Trumpet.

A Christmas song and more Baritone Frank Loscombe (above) sings his favourite Christmas tunes as part of Pedro Quintana’s annual concert featuring his music students. Right, Roberta Walker sings her self-penned Gingerbread Memories. Fourteen students sang and performed to family and friends at the concert, held November 22 at the Southcott Pines clubhouse. Photos by Casey Lessard

Thursday, December 17, 2009 • 15


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Strip in the Kitchen

16 • Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Christmas meal they’ll never forget Yes, this year you will actually roast chestnuts on an open fire, and then create a delicious soup

Oven-roasted salmon with a zesty mustard and herb glaze 6 1 2 2 sprigs 1 tbsp 4 tbsp

Chestnut soup 4 cups 3/4 cup 6 cups 1 cup 2 tbsp 2 tsbp pinch pinch pinch

Combine garlic and herbs in a food processor. Blend for 30 seconds, then add wine, oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Blend for another 15 seconds. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Use baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Arrange salmon on sheet and spoon mustard mixture over the fillets evenly. Bake for approx. 15 minutes until salmon are done. Note: many people are nervous when it comes to cooking fish. Do not overcook fish; cook until texture is slightly firm; no more. The centre of the fish should be hot, but retain its moisture.

chestnuts, peeled and skinned equal parts diced celery, carrots and onions chicken stock heavy cream olive oil butter garlic allspice cinnamon Salt and pepper to taste

Boursin crab stuffed potato

Preheat stock pot on medium heat, add butter and olive oil and sauté until semi-soft. If you want to reduce heat and slow cook, this will draw more flavour. Add roasted chestnut and chicken stock, bring to boil for approx. 15 min. or until chestnuts are soft. Now add 1 cup of heavy cream, garlic, cinnamon, all spice and salt and pepper. Use a hand blender and pureé soup until smooth. If still chunky, boil for another 5 min. and reblend. Feel free to be creative in garnishing this soup. For example, whisky-soaked cranberries or apricots are a nice touch; shaved roasted parsnips or caramelized bacon and onions would complement this soup.

Note: roasting chestnuts Preheat oven to 425˚F. (The following is NOT fun, but worth it in the end:) Use a sharp knife to cut an X into one side of the chestnut to allow the steam caused by roasting to escape; if you don’t do this, the chestnut will explode. Place each chestnut with the cuts facing up onto cookie sheet. Roast 20-30 minutes or until chestnuts are tender, easy to peel, golden brown in color, and the shells are beginning to open. Peel nuts when they are cool enough to handle.

salmon fillets OR fresh side of salmon cloves of garlic fresh chopped rosemary and thyme splash of white wine olive oil grainy Dijon mustard salt and pepper, to taste fresh lemon

(A great little side) In a mixing bowl, combine a wheel of boursin cheese, 1 cup of crabmeat, a pinch of salt and pepper, 2 tbsp of breadcrumbs, and a squeeze of lemon. Mix together. Cook potatoes. You can used baked, a mini, or a red, whatever. Once cooked and cooled, cut potato in half, hollow out centre, and add boursin mixture. To make it more dense, add potato flesh that was removed to the cheese mixture. This can be made a day ahead; to reheat, place in oven on baking sheet eight minutes prior to salmon.

Chocolate, Bailey’s & Tia Maria café au lait 1 cup 3 oz 3 oz Pinch 1/2 cup 1/2 cup 2 cups 1/4 cup

whole milk Bailey’s Tia Maria cinnamon stick ground cloves sugar unsweetened cocoa powder brewed strong coffee heavy cream cinnamon, icing sugar and cocoa for garnish

In medium sized saucepan, whisk together milk, sugar and cocoa until smooth. Bring mixture to a simmer. Add cinnamon stick, pinch of cloves, Bailey’s and Tia Maria. Simmer for approx. four minutes, then reduce heat to low setting and let steep for 10 minutes. In a mixing bowl, whip heavy cream and add pinch of sugar. (Feel free to add a hint of vanilla.) Strain mixture into another pot and add coffee. Bring back up to temperature. Serve immediately and garnish with a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!

Recipes by James Eddington Eddington’s of Exeter 527 Main Street, Exeter 519-235-3030 http://www.eddingtons.ca

Photos by Casey Lessard For more of James’ recipes, look for In The Kitchen under Lifestyle at: http://www.grandbendstrip.com

Vol. 3 #11 - December 17, 2009 Grand Bend Strip  

Award winning journalism from Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada. Inside: Who killed Jason Pearson?, the fight to keep Zurich Public School open, a...

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