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AWARD WINNING JOURNALISM FROM GRAND BEND

Vol. 3, No. 12

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

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Lannette Bye of Hensall and friends head for the hills at the Pinery Provincial Park. More photos on p. 8-9. COVER PHOTO BY CASEY LESSARD

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2 • Thursday, January 21, 2010

Strip Special: Public School Accommodation Review

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“We will not make everyone happy.” Avon-Maitland District School Board superintendent of operations Mike Ash is the chair of the Accommodation Review Committee examining which schools should close in South Huron and Bluewater. The contentious decision will be made this summer, and may see one or more local communities lose their schools. The committee, consisting of school and community representatives, meets every few weeks to discuss the options and present their suggestions.

As told to Casey Lessard Any accommodation review is a difficult process for the community. It’s also difficult for the trustees and the board staff as we consider these decisions. At the end of the day, we as a board have to be able to demonstrate that we are using the tax dollars we receive in a fiscally responsible fashion. If there are ways we can use the grant dollars we get, we need to do that. Duplication between schools can be questioned as an effective use of revenue. More important to us, though, is being able to provide an effective quality program. Our belief based on our experiences is that we need to have a sufficient number of students in a building to allow us to prevent triplegrade classes as a minimum. This can also allow us flexibility in timetabling to minimize the number of double-grade classes, and provide options to students to be in a straight-grade class or a split-grade class. We also believe that there should be a sufficient number of classes so that you have more than one teacher in a particular division so those teachers can collaborate and learn from each other in terms of best teaching practices and improve the learning environment. As schools get smaller, it becomes more difficult, if not impossible, to achieve that level of staffing to allow for that dialogue to occur or to provide that flexibility in terms of timetabling. Based on enrolment projections, the board has done some difficult work to consolidate the schools so we will have a stable, viable school system going forward. The enrolment in our area is projected to plateau and then rise a little bit. That increase in school age children will be very small. If we can come up with a consolidated group of schools in South Huron now, that will serve the needs of students for 10-15 years, if not longer. Last year, we did a formal accommodation review with the Usborne school committee. At the end of that process, the trustees deferred a decision on the future of Usborne Central PS pending a review of all of the schools in the South Huron area. The five elementary schools that feed into South Huron District High School were identified as having about 400 empty spaces in their schools. In addition to that, we have a couple of schools that have fewer than 150 students. The combination of the empty spaces, plus a significant number of spaces in SHDHS has prompted the staff to recommend that we look at the accommodation in that area.

Any changes in the Staff and the c o m m u n i t y h a v e 2008-09 school populations location of where those students would presented a numSource: AMDSB.ca attend in the case ber of options. The Zurich – 148 (110% of capacity of 135) of Usborne would preferred option Exeter – 303 (74% of capacity of 409) actually reduce the from the board staff Stephen – 171 (68% of capacity of 250) bus ride for those inc ludes both the Hensall – 152 (58% of capacity of 262) students because closure of Usborne Usborne – 117 (52% of capacity of 227) the buses are run in Central PS and either conjunction with the Hensall PS or Zurich PS, and then the redistribution of students secondary school and they stop there before from those schools to the remaining schools. going to Usborne. If the Usborne students At the last two meetings, we’ve also presented were relocated to Exeter, they would have a and discussed the closure of Stephen Central shorter bus ride. If Hensall were to close, we PS, and a configuration that would see two would be putting a group of students who of the five schools close with the remaining do not currently ride the bus, depending on schools operating as K-8. In the other sce- where they live, on a bus ride ranging between narios, we were presenting Grades 7 and 8 at 30 and 60 minutes per day. It’s a similar situathe high school. Friends of Hensall PS have tion in Zurich. We do take that into account, presented the idea of closing Exeter PS and and as we plan our bus routes, we make them merging it with the high school through an an hour or less wherever possible. addition to create a K-12 school. That would It is not a done deal (i.e. the end result is address excess capacity, but it wouldn’t address program delivery issues that would be present not predetermined). The trustees make the at the other schools that have small popula- decision. Staff and the ARC make recommendations; staff need to make their rections and small staffs. Closing Exeter is a viable option for discus- ommendations based on the ARC’s recomsion. The concern with that is: where do the mendations, so until they make that decision, capital dollars come from to build the addi- the staff is listening. Then the trustees will tion onto South Huron DHS? That money consider all of the information and make a ultimately has to come from the Ministry of decision in June. Education of the Province of Ontario. In our dialogue with the ministry financial folks, they only become interested in capital funding when it meets certain criteria. At this point in time, those criteria would require the closure of at least three schools to create a school in the order of at least 500 students. Any plan would have to include the use of any other excess capacity in the area under review, so that would include the secondary school. The ministry probably won’t provide capital to the board unless the community is on side with how that capital will be used. The reality is that schools that are smaller than 500 aren’t self-sustainable in terms of the funding mechanism that is currently in place. In a district like ours, the schools that are 350 or 400 students are actually subsidizing the smaller schools. When a trustee looks at the equitable distribution of funding across the board, that is a concern. Should the smaller schools be subsidized by larger classes in larger schools? Certainly the board trustees and staff are aware that closing a school is traumatic and has an effect on the community. Unfortunately, when we start weighing that impact, which is speculative, with the reality that we have to provide a program for our students today and balance our budget today, the program issues and the board’s financial picture will carry more weight than the impact on the community. Ultimately, we are charged with providing a quality education for our students, and their needs come first. Quality of life is also a concern. Usborne and Stephen Central are both fully bused now.

The timeframe for the ARC deliberations has been sufficient based on others in the past. One of the challenges for the members of the ARC is to keep focused on their mandate. The recommendations to the trustees don’t have to be accurate to the penny in terms of potential capital costs or changes in costs for the board, but they do have to give trustees a picture of what the community would like to see in terms of a school configuration for the next 10-15 years. We know that when we go into this process that we will not make everyone happy. We focus on the core issues. For the school board, they are the delivery of program and ensuring we’re using our financial resources most efficiently and effectively. At the same time, we want to wherever possible address the concerns of the community while ensuring a quality program. The next public meeting is at Hensall PS February 4, followed by one at Stephen Central PS February 25. The ARC will make its recommendations at a meeting March 4. Staff will report in April, and the trustees are currently scheduled to decide at a meeting June 22. The board typically ensures at least one year for transition, so changes would not be implemented until September 2011.

Mike Ash is the superintendent of operations for Avon-Maitland District School Board and the chair of the Accommodation Review Committee.


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Strip Special: Public School Accommodation Review

Thursday, January 21, 2010 • 3

Hensall rep: “I don’t want to ship my kids to Exeter.” Joan Bradley is the vice-chair of the Hensall Public School parent council. All three of her daughters attend the school.

As told to Casey Lessard With my children, part of the deal when we moved here was that they did not want somewhere they would have to ride the bus. They wanted to have a school close by and that was part of our decision to move to Hensall. The board proposal was to close Usborne and either Hensall or Zurich, and move the 7s and 8s into the high school from all feeder schools. I’m opposed to putting the 7s and 8s into the high school. I understand some of the philosophy behind it, but the places where it has been done (Goderich and Stratford) are urban schools. In Goderich, the students can go over to the public school to walk home younger siblings. Here, we’ll be losing before and after school child care, and it leaves a big hole for us. No community wants to lose their school. It’s so detrimental to the community. Part of the detriment is that Hensall has some great affordable housing. Young families won’t choose to move to Hensall if there isn’t a school. I don’t want to ship my children to Exeter. It’s an older facility, it has issues with bus loading and unloading, there’s no parking, there’s very little playground space, it’s not an accessible building, there are security issues because the office doesn’t face the front door.

Working hard to make and keep friends, the ARC tours Exeter Public School.

ARC members toured South Huron District High School last week to see the condition of the school as an option for consolidation as a 7-12 school with all 7s and 8s from the region, or a K-12 school with all of the students from Exeter Public School.

Why close a good facility with room for expansion to put children in a school that is 70-plus years old and has seven or eight additions to it? It’s still a lovely school and well-maintained, but it’s so close to the high school, why not make the high school into a K-12 school? It’s the right thing to do as far as taxpayer dollars go. If we’re having declining enrolment at the elementary schools, it’s going to hit the high school eventually. We’re not always going to be able to save these rural schools, but closing them and shoving the students in a facility that’s in worse shape than the one they’re coming from is not a good solution. A K-12 school at the high school is the standard practice that seems to be going on in Ontario right now. We just have to find a way to get the capital ($2 million). The board tells us we would have to close at least three schools to get any capital from the Ministry of Education. The projections for South Huron District High School are

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attendance of 455 by 2018, so eight years from now. My question is, what is the cutoff to make a viable high school? I think we need to figure out how to get some capital into this game. I haven’t crunched the numbers, but I think there’s a way we can get some funding. We need to build a good enough business case about making that a K-12 school to keep some long-term stability in the community. Closing one of these schools and pumping more into Exeter, only to have a school 20 years from now that is impossible to repair, how does that show foresight on our part?

in Wingham, and they ended up splitting the town so that half of the students go to Hullett and half go to Wingham. Blyth ended up feeling ripped off because they lost their school and don’t get to take advantage of a new facility.

We want to make sure we have a recommendation that accurately reflects what the community’s wills and wishes are and viable enough that the board will go ahead and accept it. If we’re not thorough enough, what we put forward may be revised slightly so they end up with an issue like they have in Blyth. They put forward a recommendation that all schools converge into one super school

It’s a lengthy, complicated process. There are a lot of things to take into consideration: how to best educate the children in the area, maintain things in the community, and make sure we’re spending our tax dollars wisely. It’s not an easy committee to be on. We’ve been inundated with copious amounts of material to try to get through and figure stuff out. It’s extremely challenging.

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I don’t believe the decision has been made. The proposal in St. Marys is not what happened. The proposal in Wingham is not what happened. Our trustee Randy Wagler has been fairly responsive. I do think they’re trying to listen. It’s our job to make our wills and wishes heard.

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4 • Thursday, January 21, 2010

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Strip Special: Public School Accommodation Review

“Closing Exeter PS is an option.” Laurie Russell is the chair of the Exeter Public School parent council.

As told to Casey Lessard Emotions are running rampant. No one wants their school closed. The reality is one or two schools have to close. It’s just the reality. To come up with a decision that everyone agrees with is not an easy process. In Hensall and Zurich, if one or both close, it will have a huge impact. Why would new families come into that community if there isn’t a school available to them? They won’t move there. I understand everyone’s putting proposals forward to make it fair, to make everyone involved. At first, Exeter and Stephen Central were not on the chopping block, even though they would be involved. The other night in Exeter, they brought up the option again that the Hensall community came up with of closing Exeter Public School and putting a K-8 school in the high school. The board came back and said that’s really not an option for funds. They said the ministry wouldn’t consider offering the money without closing three schools.

Closing Exeter is an option. Exeter Public School is not greatly represented at these meetings. The Exeter PS community seems to feel they are not affected. Exeter PS may not close, but it will be affected. I have put a plea out to the parents and guardians of the children and explained the options and telling them that we will be affected. Unfortunately we only had a handful out to the meeting the other night, one other representative at the Usborne meeting, and no one at the Zurich meeting. I understand everyone’s concern about the age of Exeter PS. Personally, I think it’s in great shape, but I’m obviously biased. The age is one of the main arguments, but everything has been kept up to date. Everyone has cosmetic issues with their school. I don’t think it’s a hazard to anyone’s health to send their children there.

but it has worked in other areas. It just happened in North Huron with the same amount of time and number of schools. We’ve had some unofficial meetings outside of the official ARC meetings. I think we should have more time, but… I don’t think it ’s predetermined. (The I don’t think there is enough time (given to board) have their ideas, but truthfully, they the committee to make recommendations), are open to what we recommend. We do have

a voice and they will consider what we come up with. There is not a solution that everyone will be happy with. In the long run, people may come to think this was the best decision, but right now, there is not a solution where everyone will be happy. Unless this all went away and we all kept our schools.

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Strip Special: Public School Accommodation Review

Thursday, January 21, 2010 • 5

“I will go for the best education for students.” Trustee Randy Wagler has unenviable task of deciding schools’ fate Randy Wagler is one of nine trustees who will make the f inal decision about which school(s) to close. He is a chemical engineer and product manager for Honeywell, and his f ive children attended Exeter PS and South Huron DHS. As told to Casey Lessard I haven’t made up my mind. It’s early. We’re hearing the concerns, and there’s lots of time for more input. In the end, the goal is to provide the best education we can for students. The best thing for communities is to have the best education for students. Sometimes, it may not be to have it in the particular setting people would like. There are a number of criteria we consider. The first thing we look at is the impact on students. That has to do with the resources they have. If teachers can collaborate, that will affect their education. We do look at the financial implications because if we don’t have the right finances, that costs students as well. It’s not one or the other. They’re linked. It makes a community strong when kids get the best education. I realize it’s a challenge, but I will go for the best education for students. If money were not an issue, we might not be doing this. But even then, it’s better when we can put more teachers grouped together to collaborate to improve education. I think people are now at the point where they’re ready to give some input. It is a difficult process because it may mean some change, which is always a challenge for people. Some of the municipal councils have tried to stop the process or delay it, but the trustees believe the time frame for getting input is reasonable. The committee will be finished its work in March, and they’re ready to start sifting through the information and analyze and give input about the different scenarios. Some solutions will result in more savings or less savings. There are lots of empty spaces,

Trustee Randy Wagler listens to Hensall resident Mike Graham express his concerns about the possible closure of Hensall Public School at a meeting at Usborne Central PS in early January.

so that costs us money to keep those spaces open. We don’t have any indication that the ministry will give us any money for capital changes. There’s no influx of money. Given that, the lowest capital options are probably favoured, but we have to look at how it affects students. I would like a long-term solution so we don’t have to review this within the next 10 years, and one that results in improving education for the students in our area. We have strong communities. There are lots of communities around that are strong but don’t necessarily have a school in their town, Bayfield as one example. I don’t think it’s the only prerequisite for a strong town. Hopefully people see that, and rally around the quality of education for their students.

Bunks in a classroom at Exeter Public School, one of the schools considered for closure.

Which school should the Avon-Maitland DSB close? Tell us at grandbendstrip.com or send us a letter by mail to: PO Box 218, Grand Bend N0M 1T0

Future ARC meetings: February 4 Hensall Public School February 25 Stephen Central Public School March 4 ARC makes recommendations to board

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Read Zurich’s perspective in our December edition or on our website


6 • Thursday, January 21, 2010

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Giving women a better future Summer resident Carla Johnston set to spend winter, spring in central India A summer resident of Grand Bend, Carla person as a noble being lacking some capabilities do gardening work because they are self-sufJohnston is known to many in the area as the that they have the capacity to learn. Local people ficient, so everything they need they grow, except for rice. The gardens are extensive, so daughter of Chris Bregman, manager of the teach local people. It’s peer mentoring. When a woman is not educated, they’re told all of the trainees – the women who come to Grand Bend Chamber of Commerce. Johnston is f inishing her last semester at F.E. Madill what to do by their fathers, brothers, husbands, the institute – work in the gardens, and I’ll Secondary School in Wingham before flying and the local village leaders. The women have get to help out with that. February 1 to Indore, in the state of Madhya no power to make any decisions whatsoever. Indore is in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Pradesh in central India. There, she will vol- They literally don’t know how to make a decision in central India, and it’s one of the poorest unteer until June 8 at the Barli Development because they don’t need to make any. “(At Barli) they’re taught is to speak the states in India. Indore is a city about the size Institute for Rural Women, a vocational and residential school for rural, tribal and village national language, Hindi, and then they’re of Toronto. It’s not very well known because women to learn basic domestic, literacy and taught to read and write Hindi. These women it doesn’t have any tourist attractions. It’s a job skills. The trip was suggested by Grand go back and transform their families. A liter- relatively poor city because Madhya is so poor. Bend’s Gord Britton, who visited the institute ate woman will educate her kids. An illiterate It has a very low education rate in that area. in December after several years of interest in woman will not. The cycle of poverty stops by One in 100 girls who start high school gradusimply focusing on women, on mothers.” ate. In India, the national average is 14 out of their project. 100. “So much of social and economic development Women are in this situation because of does not hit the mark,” Britton says. “The West As told to Casey Lessard the social issues that have always been there tends to see social and economic development Portrait by Casey Lessard related to the social inequality of men and delivering a package from developed countries India photos courtesy Gord Britton women, the historical prejudices of what a to undeveloped countries. We’ve been doing this since the mid-20th century and the formation of Even though I live in a small area, I’ve woman’s role is supposed to be there. They’re the United Nations in 1948. The greatest minds always wanted to learn about other cultures. not supposed to be the head of the household, came together to solve global poverty, and all Small town life is great, but I’ve always want- and that’s why they don’t get an education these NGOs started. The United Nations con- ed to see more and see the world. I’ve always and further themselves. The institute was started 25 years ago by tracted a study in 1968, and it showed to every- wanted to break away from the small town, one’s dismay and complete surprise that poverty but I know I’ll probably get into the big city Dr. Janak McGilligan, who is a Baha’i interStory and file photo by Casey Lessard got worse in those 20 years. Ten years later, they and find out that I want to go back to my ested in doing something good for India. It did another study and got the same results. small town. I’ve always wanted to bring some started as a three-month program and turned into a six-month program. The women come Economic development is not about delivering sort of positive social change to the world. Canadian Poker Tour champion Richard I will be working in the office and I will from all over India, but most from Madhya Webb will retain his crown after winning a package, but rather developing the capacities the championship this weekend in Calgary, of the people themselves. This institute views the also be helping teach a computer class. They Pradesh. Alberta. The Grand Bend resident beat the tour’s 50 best players, and wins a second $100,000 contract that pays for his travel and entry fees to tournaments around the world. “I think I’m happier the second time,” Webb said in a phone interview from Calgary. “It was a tougher field this time with even better players.” In addition to the $100,000 contract, Webb took $120,000 in winnings from the tournaments he entered last year on behalf of the Canadian Poker Tour, among them a win at the Regina Harvest Poker Classic and a second place finish at the Barcelona Open, a stop on the European Poker Tour. The Canadian Poker Tour takes 20 per cent of his winnings, and he donates an additional 10 per cent to charities, including the Grand Bend Public School playground and Grand Bend Rotary. Considering he spent 90 days on the road this year, he is thankful for his brother and staff for keeping the family business running. One of the highlights of his year was traveling with his wife, Jackie Stenhouse, and their daughter Sarah. This week’s he’s off to join Jackie in Phoenix, Arizona before tournaments in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. In addition to visions of Germany and Greece, a trip to compete in the EPT event at San Remo, Italy, is one he’d like to repeat. “I love the place. The country is wonderful, the city is wonderful, and we’re going to go back there.” Webb’s win will be available for viewing at canadianchampionshippoker.com soon. His 2009 win continues to air on The Score. Trainees at the Barli Institute learn literacy skills, job skills and domestic skills to improve their lives on a daily basis.

Our poker king retains his crown Richard Webb wins second Canadian Poker Tour title


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Thursday, January 21, 2010 • 7

They learn domestic skills, job skills and social and community skills to build their communities and the people around them. They give them job skills, but simple job skills. They give them domestic skills, like sewing and cooking. Things that they can bring back to the community that are modest in the amount they’re moving forward. They give them skills that wouldn’t isolate the women from the community. They want them to be a special part of the community to help it develop. Most communities are actually very welcoming to it. There have been some communities where the men try to sabotage the institute representatives going in to talk to women. They’ll say you have to pay to go to the institute when it’s actually free, they’ll make up rumours that they teach evil things or will make havoc for the community. There are some men who aren’t happy with this, but most communities are happy because the women don’t just develop themselves; they’re learning skills to help that whole community to come out of their poverty. They have prejudices that women should have certain skills and a certain place in the community, and that they should stay in that place. The families that send the women to the Barli Institute are very supportive. They want the women to go there because they want them to develop and be a strong part of the community. It’s usually other community members who are holding them back. One woman, before she went to the Barli Institute, couldn’t read or write and one day, a group of men came to her door and told her she had to sign a contract. She didn’t know what it was about, and they told her it was a building contract. Later, she learned she was signing off on a loan that was very substantial with interest rates that she couldn’t afford. After the Barli Institute, she now has her own job, she can read and write, speak a little bit of English, and she got out of the loan. She has confidence now that she doesn’t have to follow what people say; she can make her own decisions. You need to be able to make your own decisions to break out of poverty. You need the education that can get you a job to bring development to your country. We take our education for granted here in Canada. It’s the social norm to go to school. We get it and don’t realize it’s the education that has developed our country. In India, to get a simple education can bring the standards of a village up much higher. I think I’m going to learn more to appreciate education. I know that I’m very privileged living in Canada. They’re getting the simplest education they can get. I think I’m going to learn to value the education we have available to us and make that part of my life. In June, I’ll be coming home to work in Grand Bend, and then I’m off to university for International Development. I’d love to work for the UN; that’s my dream job. I’d like to do what I’m doing in India for the rest of my life.

Gord Britton took this photo of Josy and Thea with the trainees at the Barli Institute during a trip there in December. It was his idea that Carla Johnston travel to the Institute in Indore, India when she was considering an exchange.

Carla Johnston


8 • Thursday, January 21, 2010

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Strip on the Slopes

The hill was packed at the Pinery Provincial Park as tobogganers enjoyed a cool but sunny weekend with plenty of snow.

Jacks and Jills went up the hill Scenes from the Pinery Provincial Park toboggan hill January 10. Photos by Casey Lessard

Maria-Luisa Martinez hits a bump and wipes out.

Chase Warwick of Camlachie climbs the icy hill again, and again.


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Strip on the Slopes

Thursday, January 21, 2010 • 9 Emma Maguire and Anna Rood take centre stage on the dance floor.

Dean Bye of Hensall shows he has a need for speed.

Sylena Wouters of Forest hits a jump that she may regret later.


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Strip Thoughts

10 • Thursday, January 21, 2010

War is the new peace Alternative View By Lance Crossley In George Orwell’s 1984, the ruling party’s rence. He’s pointing the gun at Iran and three slogans were “War is Peace; Freedom Yemen. He continues to occupy Iraq by buildis Slavery; Ignorance is Strength.” If you ing permanent military bases in the country. need any evidence that an Orwellian world is He has tried to block court cases that challenge already upon us, you need to look no further torture and domestic spying. And he has still that the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to not closed Guantanamo Bay, as promised so US President Barack Obama – a bizarre and often during his election campaign. In light of all this, his December 10 Nobel scandalous episode that drips with irony. In the 108-year history of the Nobel acceptance speech was all the more difficult to awards, it has never gone to a leader so early stomach. On what planet can a man accepting in his tenure. So why Obama? One Nobel a peace prize get away with this: “I … reserve committee chairman defended the selection the right to act unilaterally if necessary to by saying, “Alfred Nobel wrote that the prize defend my nation.” Or how about this: “So should go to the person who has contributed yes, the instruments of war do have a role to most to the development of peace in the pre- play in preserving the peace.” Or this: “War is vious year. Who has done more for that than sometimes necessary.” One observer astutely called it “an infomercial Barack Obama?” Let us run through all the remarkable con- for war”. International security analyst Kaan tributions President Obama has made to the Kutlu Atac said the president used the word cause of peace. He has expanded the war in “war” 44 times, the word “kill” five times and Afghanistan, poetically adding 30,000 troops “peace” 31 times. It seems peace is losing ground. Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize is perhaps the to the area just a few days before his accepsince her father’s death five years ago, and tance speech. He authorized the war to expand most striking symbolic event of 2009. An is cutting them off to raise money for the into Pakistan, where the killing of innocent event that only makes sense in a world where Mission. Jessica is hoping to raise $5,000 to Pakistani civilians has become a regular occur- people truly believe war is peace. be matched by the Canadian government; the first 50 donors of $100 are free to cut one of 50 Jessica’s dreadlocks. Anjhela and I are in, and so is my mom. Donations of $10 or more are receiptable. Visit the The House That Jack Built facebook page to request a dreadlock, and donate by sending your cheque before February 12 to: Survey results (online votes): The House that Jack Built fundraiser Baptist Haiti Mission Canada 21% - More (6 votes) P.O. Box 11 602 Wellington Ave. 43% - Less (12 votes) Wallaceburg, ON. N8A 4L5 32% - About the same (9 votes) Another way to do that is through your local credit union. The United Communities 4% - I don’t celebrate Christmas (1 vote) Credit Union has a list of locations where you can donate (with matching funds from the Canadian government) on its website at myunited.ca.

Restoring Haiti View from the Strip By Casey Lessard As someone who has been to Haiti, it is hard to sit here in Canada and watch television reports of the devastation caused by last week’s earthquake. Anjhela and I traveled there in 2005 with her uncle and cousins, who run the Canadian branch of the Baptist Haiti Mission, which has a large base just outside Port-au-Prince. The mission’s hospital is still standing and is overflowing with survivors needing help. If you’re like me, you want to help. Anjhela’s cousin Jessica, who lives in Arkona, was planning on traveling there in March and was raising money to support The House That Jack Built, a fund started in her builder father Jack Michielsen’s honour. She has been growing her hair in dreadlocks

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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

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Strip Thoughts

Thursday, January 21, 2010 • 11

ROTF not LMAO New Year’s hangover Keeping the Peace By Tom Lessard, C.D. “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” Those were the words that came out of my mouth the day I slipped and fell on the ice next door. I had been to town in the morning and walked in and out of a number of stores with no problem. Then I went home. When I got there, I noticed that the BRA truck had come and gone, so I gathered up my blue box, threw it onto the porch. Then I reached for my neighbour’s to do the same, but walking across the driveway, I didn’t notice a small patch of ice covered with a light film of snow. Sure enough, I hit it with my prosthetic leg. Down I went, and looking back on it now, I think my leg must have landed on the cement step.

What now? I lay there contemplating what to do. Rita had worked all night, so I thought she would be upstairs in bed, but I called her name a number of times anyway. Luckily she was still up; she ran out and tried to help me up, but my stump was too sore. She ran in, got a blanket, rolled me onto it, and dragged me over to the porch, which had a railing. I still couldn’t get up, so she went inside and got my wheelchair. She laid down a rug, rolled the wheelchair onto it, and engaged the brakes. I crawled backwards and inched my way up. She pushed me to the steps and, because

we don’t have a ramp, I had to use crutches to make my way into the house while Rita brought the chair in. My stump was swelling rapidly, and I asked Rita to fetch some ice. I called Tele-Health, and the nurse said I should go to the emergency room in Exeter for an x-ray. It took us an hour to get outside, into the car and to the hospital; we arrived at 2 p.m. The waiting room was empty, so I reported to the reception. The doctors were in a meeting until 4 p.m. or so, so we waited until a new receptionist came on duty at 3 p.m. She sent a nurse out to take me into triage, where she took my blood pressure and sent me back to reception to be documented. I was wheeled into examination at 4 p.m. The doctor had a look at my knee and arranged an x-ray. After the x-ray, the doctor returned to tell me that the results were inconclusive because the swelling was too hard to see through. He was going to make arrangements at Strathroy hospital for a CAT scan as soon as possible. The next day, the orthopedic specialist’s nurse called at 10 a.m. and asked me to be at the hospital by 11:15 a.m. That was impossible because Rita wouldn’t be home until 11, and the hospital’s an hour away, so she scheduled me for 1:30 p.m. the following day. The test done, the doctor told me I have two faint cracks in my femur, put my leg in a half-cast, and sent me home. Can’t walk for three months! It’s an odd coincidence that exactly 35 years prior to the accident, Rita also spent December 16 at South Huron Hospital. It was a much happier event, though, as she was giving birth to our last child, Casey.

GBPS Wheel Chair Accessible Playground is a GO! It was one year ago this month that it was decided that the Grand Bend Home & School Association would start fundraising for a new wheelchair accessible playground for the children of Grand Bend Public School and the youth of the community. The goal was $70,000, daunting to say the least. It was through grant applications, letters to Grand Bend community organizations, H&S fundraisers and public donations that our goal was reached. There are so many people to thank, and thank you just does not seem to suffice. It is because of the people in this town that we can be so proud and that our children are being given such a great start in life. The children are so excited to be getting a new playground that all of them will be able to play on every day. There are so many organizations and individuals that I would like to thank: • The Grand Bend Rotary Club; they were the first to lend support. It shot us forward, knowing that without a doubt we would succeed. • The Grand Bend Royal Canadian Legion not only supported us, but also enjoyed party-

ing with us along the way. • The Grand Bend Lioness are a wonderful, thoughtful group who I enjoyed sharing a “spot” of tea with. • From Lakesmith Conservation I received some life lessons over coffee, tucked some future metaphors in my pocket for later use and got the biggest hugs. • Kause for Kids Easy Riders led by Nelson Desjardine donated the last of their fundraising efforts to our cause. • Thanks to Grand Bend Mariners Hockey Team, Grand Bend Women’s Institute, Sunrise Garden Centre and the Grand Bend Community Foundation. • The Million Dollar Round Table grant would not have happened if it weren’t for Mr. Brian Hall of Waypoint Financial. • Thanks to Mr. Paul Ciufo from Godbolt Ciufo Insurance & Financial Services. • Thank you to the Grand Bend Optimist Club, where I have gained many new friends. • Thanks to all of you who sacrificed the calories for our children with the yummy Smile Cookies, and Brian and Cheryl Dallner from Grand Bend Tim Horton’s. • Thank you to Jennison Construction who

Advice from Mom By Rita Lessard Christmas has come and gone and, on the whole, I imagine most people were pleased with the presents they received. Some people are hard to please, resulting in the regifting concept. Every year, my mother disliked the presents my brother Richard and I gave her, which I thought was fine because by March she would forget who gave her the gifts and would ask me to take them off her hands. Tom and I did were blessed to receive many gifts this year. There were, however, a few glitches. Tom got some underwear without a pee hole (the latest fashion, apparently) but they weren’t really for him. Nevertheless, he is keeping them, so good luck, Mr. Pee Pee Pants. Tom also got one of those hearing aids advertised on TV, but apparently it doesn’t work. I received a car starter, which was quite exciting, but I had to return it because it didn’t have all the parts to install and would take an additional $200 to get it working. The rest of our gifts were wonderful and I am thankful to have such a generous family. I had a customer tell me that the gift she gave her husband was a bit of a disappointment. She said she bought him an SUV, which made me think, Wow! That’s a great gift. That was until she said, “Yeah, Jack was a little sour with my idea. Who wouldn’t appreciate an SUV – socks, underwear and Viagra?” You can’t please everyone; try again next year. will always have a special place in my heart. • Huron Woods Inc., Hayter’s Turkeys, DJ T&A. • Thank you to Bob Uhrig of Grand Bend Sobey’s, who works well with short notice and to Mac’s Milk customers who spared their change. • Thanks to Casey from the Grand Bend Strip and Lynda from the Lakeshore Advance who did what they do best, get the word out. • Special thanks to all the Grand Bend families that supported our fundraisers throughout the year. • Thanks to ALL the children, who not only danced their way to a huge contribution, but also those who dug into their own piggy banks… honorable mentions are Paige Elliott, Hunter Penford, Aylish Betts, Ava Duffield, Bridget Donaldson and Caleb Rood. • Many people made personal donations including long time friends Cam & Randi Ivey whom I love dearly. Randi started the H&S at GBPS and also fundraised for the original playground structure at the school. Some passions never die. • Peter & Esther Warner, Tony & Fran Relouw, Richard Webb, and Stephanie Donaldson endlessly give to our community.

I don’t know why we aggravate ourselves by making New Year’s resolutions. My resolution was to abstain from making resolutions. I do better at Lent, when I give up all sweets. It’s only for 40 days, so it’s easy to manage than torturing myself for 365. Here is a New Year’s belief, Scottish or Irish. A tall, dark and handsome man brings good luck to your home, as long as he isn’t flat-footed. Similarly, the first person you meet walking down the road signifies your future. If it’s a child, you’re lucky, but if it’s a gravedigger, not so much. Since Tom fell and broke his leg last month, I won’t be going on any trips this year, which means I can put my language lessons on hold. They say that English is one of the hardest languages to learn, and these signs seem to show that’s true: In a Japanese hotel room – “Please to bathe inside the tub.” In a Finnish hostel – “If you cannot reach the fire exit, close the door and expose yourself at the window.” In a Copenhagen airport – “We take your baggage and send them in all directions.” Such honesty! Amid the holiday rush, the Christmas airline traveler was curious and asked why there was a mistletoe hanging over the baggage counter. The clerk replied, “It’s so you can kiss your luggage goodbye.” Happy birthday to Mike ( Jan. 24) and Glenn (Feb. 19). Happy anniversary to my husband of 47 years (Feb. 8). Happy New Year to my family, friends and neighbours! • Grand Bend is a community but has proven to be more than that; we are family. To our family at GBPS, teachers, staff, students and our H&S members, thank you. It has been quite a year for all of us. The glue that holds any family together are the friends you can count on to weather the ups and downs. • Special thanks to Craig Wiseman for his endless patience and I am compelled to thank my children Ridley & Aidan. Without them I would not have discovered the thrill of such an amazing event. • Thank you to Jennifer Maguire my cochair, who has been by my side from the beginning. • Susan Patton is the world’s best cheerleader. • Honorable mentions to Andrea Matheson, Erin Sageman, Kaleigh Clemens, Jennifer Blackhall, Jennifer Mossop, Julie Beattie and Kelly Stanlake for assisting in our many playground fundraisers. Thanks to Susan Manz for her continuous support to us and our children. We hope to see everyone at the unveiling of the playground in June. Heartfelt appreciation to all involved. Amy Wiseman Playground Committtee Chairwoman


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To Do List

12 • Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winter Carnival FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5 6 to 9 p.m. – GB Public School Sobey’s Drive-in Movie Night. Build your own car and come to the movies. Ages 12 and under.

3 to 6 p.m. – Grand Bend Legion Live music by The Persuaders 5 to 8 p.m. – Grand Bend Legion Steak BBQ. Limited tickets $12/person.

8 p.m. – Various Locations 9 p.m. – Riverbend Opening Ceremonies. Torch Relay beginKaraoke Contest (age of majority event). ning at Municipal Parking Lot across from FINE A Restaurant. Lighting of the Flame SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14 at Paddington’s. 8 a.m. – Grand Bend fire hall Firemen’s Breakfast. $6/person. $3/child aged 5-12. Free for children under age 5. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6 Please bring canned goods for the Food 9 a.m. – Grand Bend ball diamond Bank. Sno-Pitch Tournament 10 a.m. – Grand Bend Legion Register for Youth Dart Tournament. Free admission. Lunch provided by Legion.

11 a.m. – Oakwood Inn Snow Golf 11 a.m. – Paddington’s Children’s Piñata Party. Mexican theme. Limo contest and more. Call 519-238-5788.

2 p.m. – Colonial parking lot. Waiters’ Race. Music by Lance Bedard. TBA – Oakwood clubhouse Children’s Talent Show. Free admission. Call 519-238-7325 to register.

1 to 8 p.m. – Riverbend Riverbend Olympics 2 p.m. – Gables Fat Kat Karaoke. Win prizes.

6 p.m. – Grand Bend Legion Closing Ceremonies. Tickets $10/person. Join us as we put out the flame on another 5 to 8 p.m. – Grand Bend Legion Troop Morale Spaghetti Dinner. $8 Winter Carnival. Dress as your favourite Winter Olympic athlete. Medal presentaadults, $5 children. tions for business and community awards and snow sculptures. Carry The Torch 6 p.m. – behind Legion Passport Lottery draw at 8pm. Fireworks

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 7

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Other community events

10 a.m. – Grand Bend Legion Register for Veteran Memorial Dart MONDAY, JANUARY 25 Tournament. Mixed doubles and teams. 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. – Grand Bend CHC Contact Legion or Sam Bell (519-243-2452) Heart Health Workshop. Free program. or Bob Chapdelaine (519-238-2775) Patricia Baker 519-238-1556 ext 235.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27

Second weekend FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12 TBA – Gables Bring Your Own Meat BBQ. Age of Majority. Reserve early. Call 519-238-2371.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13

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. 10 a.m to 12 p.m. – Grand Bend CHC Mental Health Support Group. Lise Callahan 519-238-1556 ext 230.

9 a.m. – Grand Bend ball diamond Sno-Pitch Tournament

12:30 to 3 p.m. – Southcott Pines clubhouse Huron Country Playhouse Guild monthly 9 a.m. – Pine Dale Motor Inn Winter Carnival Craft Show. Vendors luncheon meeting. Mary 519-238-5640 register: call 519-238-2231.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 28

11 a.m. – Main Street Grand Bend Rotary/Chamber Parade 11:30 a.m. – GB United Church Lunch. $6/person. $3/child 12 and under. 12 to 4 p.m. – Colonial parking lot. Kids’ amusement rides 3 p.m. – Gables Search For Talent. Win prizes. Age of Majority.

2 to 4 p.m. – Grand Bend CHC Blood Pressure Clinic. Free service.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4 7 p.m. – Grand Bend CHC S u n s e t C i n e m a p r e s e n t s “A m a l ” . Admission: free.

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Strip Outside

Thursday, January 21, 2010 • 13

Poetry for the Soul Or in autumn, while in the meadow with Fergus the Lab, the ability to quote from Wilfred Campbell’s ‘Indian Summer’ adds to the tranquility of the experience. Along the line of smoky hills By Jenipher Appleton The crimson forest stands. And all the day the blue jay calls Throughout the autumn lands. What’s wrong with a little memory work anyway? In past decades, a requirement of In the depths of winter, I call upon the learning English in Canadian elementary schools was a certain amount of memory words of Robert Frost’s ‘Stopping by Woods work. It usually was in the form of poet- on a Snowy Evening’ to enhance the sensory ry. One would be asked to choose a poem experience of silent snow. Whose woods these are I think I know, and commit it to memory; the teacher would His house is in the village though. dutifully record the number of lines memoHe will not see me stopping here rized in her special record book. There was To watch his woods fill up with snow. normally a prize for the person with the most lines memorized at the end of each term. The foregoing excerpts are only a few of the It seems to me that a certain amount of rote memory exercise is helpful to the learning poems that often come to mind. Even to be able to quote a bit of process. We are, after all, still tested for some exams on our ability to recall thoughts and Shakespeare when words of wisdom are needideas. But poetry gives the memory experi- ed can be fun. Lines like “Something is rotten in the State of Denmark” (Hamlet), “Brevity ence a whole other dimension. Webster’s defines poetry as “an imaginative is the soul of wit” (Hamlet), or “Smooth runs awareness of experience, expressed through the water where the brook is deep” (Henry sounds and rhythmic language” – or – “an IV), bring metaphorical depth to certain situartistic representation of what it feels like to ations. White-breasted nuthatch experience the emotions of a human being”. courtesy Wikimedia Commons On the very day my father passed on to Robert Frost once wrote, A poem begins with a lump in the throat. Something would be eternity, Dad and I were able to recite togethHis upside’s his downside. missing in my everyday life if I could not call er our favourite lyric by Robert Frost, ‘The several minutes and subsequently found himWhile on the tree-side’s lea side to mind a few lines of poetry, memorized long Pasture’. It is a moment in time I will forever self inspired to create the following poem that He sits inverted and safe cherish. I was thankful that he had instilled in captures a beautiful snapshot of the little bird. ago, when I find myself in certain situations. From the wintery wind. me the desire to both read, appreciate, and to The Nuthatch While walking in woods on a summer’s memorize so many wonderful poems. For what he awaits By Andrew Appleton Our sons have been raised to be lifelong day, to recall the words of Joyce Kilmer’s I’m not quite sure. poem ‘Trees’ seems most uplifting. Here is an learners and have caught the same bug of But the winter is sweet Oh little Nuthatch, upon the tree using quotes in many situations. Our younger excerpt. And his heart is pure. His feathery throat ruffled by the breeze. son, Andrew, recently took it to another level I think that I shall never see A proud pointed tail and little black hood. while he was outside on a very snowy day A poem lovely as a tree Recalling and creating poetry can definitely With a slate grey back like the Maple tree’s in early January. He carefully observed the A tree that may in summer wear be ‘food for the soul’. wood. behaviour of a white-breasted nuthatch for A nest of robins in her hair.

Living in Balance

Can’t we all just get along? Fido... Come... Sit By Yvonne Passmore http://www.FidoComeSit.com Well, apparently not. O ver the holidays my youngest dog, Chiclet, had what most people would consider a bad encounter with another dog. While we were visiting with my parents, a friend stopped by with her dog. Now, I’m not sure what exactly happened to create the fireworks but there was an explosion and the fur was flying. My Mom’s friend’s dog is a lovely older dog that gets along well with people and other dogs. Chiclet generally isn’t overly interested

in dogs. She prefers to say a quick hello and then go about her business. The situation we were in, at someone’s home, didn’t allow these dogs a slow or proper introduction to each other. To prevent problems in these situations, we really need to stop thinking like people and start thinking like dogs. Close quarters offer no escape and homes may translate as turf. When most dogs meet each other, personal space is the last thing they think about. Most dogs instantly invade another dog’s space by immediately sniffing the other’s behind. In the dog world, that’s totally acceptable. What happens next will determine the type of relationship they may have. Dogs that take the next step of going in to investigate another dog’s face too soon, or the ultimate insult of putting its head or paw on another dog’s

neck or back can lead to all out war. The wrong sideways glance from either my dog or the friend’s dog resulted in snarls, growls and teeth being bared. These two dogs, both who generally get along well with other dogs, became heavyweight boxers standing on their hind legs duking it out. These things can happen so fast that no one really notices who or what started it. The one thing I know for sure is that the brawl wasn’t the dogs’ fault, but ours for taking their good natures for granted and not going through the proper procedure to help ensure a good first meeting. If we choose to meet this dog again, and I certainly would like to, it will be on neutral turf and not in such a personal ‘in-your-face’ manner. A walk together to feel each other out and then allowing them both off leash

where there is room for them to move freely would probably result in a pleasurable experience despite their initial awkward first date. I guess there’s always some embarrassment when ‘our kids’ can’t play nice with each other, but if it’s only the occasional dog that your dog doesn’t care for, does it really matter? It does if those dogs need to be in social settings together often, but if they only meet in passing in shouldn’t matter much. It’s not up to us to decide who our dogs like. We shouldn’t be so pompous to try to make that decision for them or make the assumptions that they should all just get along for our sake. No dogs were hurt in any way for the contents of this column. Visit www.fidocomesit.com for column suggestions, training help and book info.


To Do List

14 • Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winter To Do SUNDAY, JANUARY 31 1 to 3 p.m. – Morrison Dam, Exeter Winter Wonderland snowshoeing event. ABCA education staff will be leading a guided hike on snowshoes. Participants will travel by snowshoe on the South Huron Trail while learning about trees and animal life in winter. The cost is $5 per adult to join in on the guided hike and there is no charge

for children when accompanied by an adult. Please call 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888286-2610 to register for the guided hike. Anyone who wants to rent snowshoes for the event can rent them for only $3 per pair. They are available for rental starting at 1 p.m. sharp and must be returned by 3 p.m. Snowshoers are reminded to dress appropriately for being outdoors and wear comfortable, low-heeled boots. After snowshoeing, enjoy some hot chocolate (please lug-a-mug) and warm up by the fire.

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SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Sunnivue Farm 27093 New Ontario Road, between Parkhill and Ailsa Craig Winter Day. Winter activities, good food, and good conversation. Organizers are hoping for snow so participants can enjoy snowshoeing, skiing, making snowmen, snow forts or snow sculptures. There will be a hockey game and hockey stick snow-shoveling contest, so bring

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your own hockey stick either way. If snow fails to fall, there will still be a hockey game, and participants will enjoy a walk by the river or through the bush. Visit the farm’s water buffaloes, who stay close to the barn in cold weather. For lunch, the farm will provide hot apple cider, one of Ellinor’s renowned soups, bread, and wieners. Feel free to contribute additional treats. For more information, call Sunnivue Farm at 519-232-9096.

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

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http://www.GrandBendStrip.com

Strip Events: World Religion Day

Ed VanderDool of Brantford was the house band for World Religion Day, which was well attended thanks to better weather than last year.

Joceyln Kurtz sings with the London Unity Choir during World Religion Day festivities at the Grand Bend Legion January 17.

Renee Phillips and Lydia Boone join the choir.

Thursday, January 21, 2010 • 15

Persian drummer Sina Khosravi shows his fast fingers as one of the marquee performers at the event.

Rev. Harry Disher spoke of peace and unity.

Playhouse needs teens for High School Musical

Your affordable advertising solution. Visit www.grandbendstrip.com/advertising or call Casey at 519-614-3614.

Drayton Entertainment is looking for area teens to be members of the chorus for Disney’s High School Musical, which runs from May 19 to June 5 at the Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend. Open auditions will be held on Sunday, February 21 at South Huron District High School in Exeter from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for students of the Avon-Maitland, Bluewater, Huron-Perth and Lambton-Kent District

School Boards only; from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. for students of the London District and Thames Valley District School Boards only. Auditions are open exclusively to students in Grades 9 though 12. Students do not need to prepare any material for the audition; please bring a recent photo and comfortable clothes and shoes for the movement audition. Additional information is available at: draytonentertainment.com.


16 • Thursday, January 21, 2010

Strip in the Kitchen

http://www.GrandBendStrip.com

Feed a Super Bowl army with pulled pork sandwiches You don’t need much to fill their bellies with this affordable - yet gourmet - dish Recipe 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 Looking for something more romantic? Visit our website and search for “Take a flight this Valentine’s Day” from our February 2008 issue.

This recipe is intended for a slow cooker. If you do not own a slow cooker, don’t worry. It can be done in the oven; just reduce cook time by one-third and cook in covered roasting pan at 225°F. You’ll need one pork leg, butt, shoulder blade or roast. It’s your choice. I have chosen a de-boned pork leg. Note: This recipe (3 lbs) serves 8-10 people.

Ingredients 3 lb. 1 tbsp 2 tbsp 2 6 2 tbsp 1 tbsp 1 1 small can 6 oz 1 oz 355ml 1 tbsp

pork (choice of cuts above) salt and pepper vegetable oil red onions diced cloves of garlic chili powder coriander chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (Optional. This will add flavour and heat) tomato sauce smoked hickory BBQ sauce cider vinegar root beer (one bottle) brown sugar

Preparation Rub pork with salt and pepper, then sear in a large pan. Once seared, transfer pork into slow cooker. Mix all other ingredients together and pour over pork. Cover and cook on low heat 8-10 hours. Once cooked transfer pork to cutting board, tent with tin foil and let rest for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, take 2 forks and shred pork. i.e. pull pork. While pork is resting, pour remaining liquid in slow cooker into large pot. Let settle then skim fat off the top. Bring to a boil and reduce and thicken mixture, approx 15-20 minutes. Add pulled pork to mixture and you are ready to serve. Note: this can be made prior to event and reheat pulled pork in sauce. I have chosen to serve my pulled pork on a rosemary ciabatta bun with diced onions, avocado, pickled jalapenos’, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce and sour cream. Served with sweet potato fries, and beer of course. Delicious. Enjoy!

Vol. 3 #12 - January 21, 2010 Grand Bend Strip  

Award winning journalism from Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada. Inside: Who wins in ARC process?, photos from Pinery Provincial Park toboggan hil...

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