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07 | 21 | 2012 VOLUME 17 | ISSUE 32
all they are saying is give peace (camp) a chance LIVING HERE PAGE 24
COMMENT PAGE 8
Best to keep recent violence in perspective
Fire destroys woodworking facility north of Elmira Damage to Elbru Distributors pegged at $1.25 million; 60 firefighters from four Woolwich stations battle blaze COLIN DEWAR
Fire crews from across Woolwich Township were on scene at a blaze at Elbru Distributors north of Elmira on Tuesday. The fire destroyed a workshop, machinery and lumber stock, causing $1.25 million in damage. [colin dewar / the observer]
A fire that tore through a hardwood manufacturer north of Elmira Tuesday morning left behind $1.25 million in damage and exhausted firefighters from four Woolwich stations. For hours the firefighters, working in short shifts, battled the inferno that had engulfed the Elbru Distributors woodworking manufacturing operation. The fire spread quickly and before noon had destroyed most of the company’s building. Black smoke could be seen across the northern part of Woolwich Township heading east towards Guelph. The heat was severe and combined with the strong winds and humidity on Tuesday made it tough on 60 firefighters as they struggled to contain a blaze
at a lumberyard and hardwood flooring facility. Fire crews focused their attention on a silo full of sawdust in the afternoon and doused it with water as they contained the fire. “We were on scene at 10:40 a.m. and by the early afternoon we had the fire under control,” said Woolwich Township fire chief Rick Pedersen in a phone interview Wednesday. Crews remained at the scene through out the day working on spot fires within wood chips. “We got the fire knocked down around noon, it was a stubborn one,” said Pedersen. “For the rest of the day we had crews making sure no flare ups occurred and the last truck left the scene at 7:20 p.m.” Four stations – Elmira, St. Jacobs, Floradale and Conestogo – were called to fire | 5
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2 | NEWS
THE OBSERVER | SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012
Playground approved for Wellesley subdivision COLIN DEWAR Playgrounds are a place where children can be spontaneous and also learn and explore. Children living near Block 45 on Lawrence Street in Wellesley will soon be able to have those experiences closer to home as the township last week approved construction of a new playground. Both the township and the Wellesley Recreation Service Board will contribute $7,550 towards the new play centre. Township staff obtained three quotes from playground builders, with Recreation Playsystems in St. Clements offering the lowest bid with $15,100. The area near Block 45 has no playground and the town-
ship has received numerous calls over the years requesting that one be provided on the site to benefit the families and children living there. The township funding will come from the Township of Wellesley 5% Park Fund Reserve. “The park fund is for something new for an area that doesn’t have anything. It has been the township’s past practices to put money into the reserve so that we can build things like playgrounds,” said director of facilities Brad Voisin. “This kind of project is definitely what the reserve is for. It is for parks development.” The township will prep the site, but the price includes installation of the equipment, Voisin told council. The structure will be a combination of both plastic and
It's still midsummer, but WCS seeking donations for its backpack program elena maystruk
steel and will be moveable should the property become a road access for future development. The playground could be moved to another nearby location with the new developed area. “This playground project has been kicking around since I started here,” said Will McLaughlin, executive director of operations. “There have been requests for a playground in that subdivision for the last nine years. It has taken a lot to get it all in place and likely the little kids that it was initially meant for are not little kids anymore but there are always little kids and I am sure they will enjoy it.” McLaughlin said administrators hope to have something like a playground in every subdivision in township.
While kids still have a month and a half before school starts, efforts are underway to make the expensive time of the year easier on low-income families in the townships. The Woolwich Community Services (WCS) Backpack Program is already in full swing, with letters gone out to community organizations and churches asking for donations of cash and school supplies. WCS director of community support Kellie Christie said the letters of request went out in May and now volunteers are posting flyers on school property and within the community letting the public know WCS is now taking donations. Other non-profit WCS programs are year-long projects. The WCS Thrift Shop, for
WCS director of community support Kellie Christie with some of the items the agency is looking for in this year's collection drive. [elena maystruk / the observer] example, sells seasonal and school clothing for children and adults. But during the last two weeks of August, the organization opens their WCS office at 73 Arthur St. in Elmira, to children going to school in the fall. They can pick out a grade-appropriate backpack and fill it with assorted school supplies. “We give them a list of what they are going to need
and they just shop for them. We don’t fill the backpack, we like the kids to do their own shopping so they can pick out their favorite pencils, rulers, notebooks and characters,” Christie explained. Another difference between the backpack program and other WCS serbackpack | 6
New provincial stewardship program helps farmers with irrigation projects elena maystruk During an unpredictable summer growers may need all the help they can get. A new project associated with the CanadaOntario Farm Stewardship Program (COFSP) is beginning to show up on the radars of local farmers and greenhouse owners. Cost-share funding of 30 or 50 per cent is available through a program designed to improve environmental performance of commercial greenhouse, landscape nursery and veg-
etable farm operations. Though there have been a number of applicants, not all of them are eligible to receive cost share funds, program contact John Benham explains. Suitable applicants must have a current and approved third edition environmental farm plan and must own a legal farm entity with a farm business registration number. Other details on the application process can be found on the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) website.
OSCIA lists a number of best management practices supported by the current initiative, including habitat, pest and irrigation management as well as nutrient recovery for waste water and runoff control. According to Benham, there are few greenhouse operations in the Waterloo and Wellington areas, yet some major businesses are eligible for the program. Waterloo Flowers owner and applicant Ron Miziolek runs one of Breslau’s major greenhouse operations and is happy about the opportunity.
“It’s insanely helpful and I would say, yes, entirely necessary because without a driving initiative from someone and without support for it we wouldn’t be able to improve our environmental stewardship,” Miziolek said. There is a process to obtaining the programs cost share funding. Farmers must take on an approved environmental initiative and meet the pre-planned deadline for its completion. After proof of payment is provided, qualified applicants receive a
percentage of their money back. The funds have been set aside to help farmers make necessary improvements to their businesses but Benham explained that there don’t seem to be any overarching environmental issues that need to be fixed through the funding. He compares it to the environmental farm plan, which focuses on ventures such as manure storages and improving wells. Yet this money is allotted for a different purpose. “Same as the environ-
mental farm plan there is cost-share money available to help farmers improve their situations. But this other program is aimed partly at irrigation and handling water after it leaves the greenhouse so it’s not contaminating other water,” he said. The project is designed to improve and sustain. With support form the Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program (COFSP), efforts are directed towards water efficiency and the enhancement of environmental practices.
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NEWS | 3
THE OBSERVER | SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012
WCHC coordinating dental program for low-income families
Prey tell me more about those birds
Company plans to spend $2 million removing some contaminants, capping the rest on Elmira site
COLIN DEWAR Good oral health is important to a child’s overall health. However, for some lowincome families regular dental checkups may not be affordable. To that end the Ontario government, as part of its poverty reduction program, has established the Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) and is working with the Woolwich Community Health Centre (WCHC) in St. Jacobs providing free dental screenings for children under the age of 17 that come from a lowincome family whose net income is less than $20,000 per year. There are free dental checkups held weekly at the WCHC for residents of Woolwich. Anyone attending a dental screening must provide proof of their annual earnings by providing their annual Goods and Services Tax Credit Entitlement Notice or annual Canada Child Tax Benefit and Ontario Child Benefit Notice as well as a governmentissued identification like a driver’s license, health card or passport. “So many families don’t have insurance, which means that parents can’t afford to even get checkups for their children and if they let it go for too long there can be some serious tooth decay which can cause pain and then they are in an emergency situation,” said Anna Wall, program coordinator. “There can be some serious health
STEVE KANNON A remediation plan for part of the Chemtura site in Elmira contaminated by dioxins is inadequate and fails to address the potential hazards, says the head of the community watchdog group charged with monitoring the chemical plant. The company announced Tuesday it would remove some of the contaminants, capping the majority in place at the site of two former gravel pits on the east side of the property. Pronouncing himself “deeply disappointed,” Chemtura Public Advisory Committee chair Dan Holt said the move flies in the face of the company’s assurances it would remove the source of the contamination once it was identified. “We don’t feel that that’s really going to take care of it,” he said of the company’s plan. “It’s just not adequate. It’s not right.” Chemtura plans to spend about $2 million hauling off some 1,200 cubic meters of contaminated soil from what’s known as gravel pit 1 (GP1) and installing a heavy plastic barrier over it and neighbouring GP2. Work is expected to get underway in October and last two or three months. The work goes beyond the minimum of simply capping both pits recom-
Shaun Cowan of the Canadian Raptor Conservancy was at the Elmira library on Wednesday educating some 65 young children about birds of prey. Among the birds at the show were a Harris’ hawk, barn owl, American kestrel, red tail hawk and bald eagle. [colin dewar / the observer]
smile | 5
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Chemtura remediation plan inadequate, says CPAC head mended by Chemtura’s consultants, said plant manager Jozef Olejarz. “This is one of the biggest projects in recent years,” he said of Chemtura’s undertaking, noting the voluntary steps going above and beyond what was required for the site. For Holt, however, the decision does not go far enough. “Why don’t you just go ahead and remove the source?” he asked of the company’s decision. By leaving the contaminants in place, the company risks seeing dioxins and DDT one day being washed into the nearby Canagagigue Creek and the Grand River system, he argued. “It’s literally a cover-up,” said Holt of plans simply to cap the contamination. “They need to remove the source material, no ifs, ands or buts about it.” Jeff Merriman, Chemtura’s manager of environmental remediation, said he expects the measures will guard against any mobilization of the contaminants. The company will continue to watch the area. “We’ll have regular monitoring of that region of the site,” he explained, noting this project is the last in the long series of remediation efforts that have been undertaken since 1987. This work, however, is not connected to the ongoing attempts to clean up contaminated groundwater underneath Elmira. “It is important people chemtura | 4
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4 | NEWS
THE OBSERVER | SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012
Poetry meets canoes in annual trek along the Grand Fish Quill Poetry Boat Tour will be making stops in Elmira, West Montrose on a trip that begins Aug. 9 elena maystruk The Fish Quill Poetry Boat Tour is paddling back to Grand River for an encore. Five poets and one
musician will embark on a 10-day tour of the river by canoe, setting up poetry readings along the way, including stops at the West Montrose covered bridge
and in and Elmira. The tour was founded in 2010 by poets Linda Besner and Leigh Kotsilidis. “Presses don’t often tour authors to smaller com-
Chemtura's Jeff Merriman on the portion of the Elmira site slated for a $2-million remediation project in the fall.
[colin dewar / the observer]
chemtura: Company satisfied with its efforts from | 3
understand that this is unrelated to our ongoing remediation of the aquifer and that the pits in question are not an ongoing threat for off-site contamination,” said Olejarz. “We are taking these steps to ensure the long-term containment of the site and safety of the immediate area.” The company has been using a pump-and-treat process to remove a pair of toxins – NDMA (nitrosodimethylamine) and chlorobenzene – from the former drinking water aquifers underneath Elmira. Discovery in 1989 of the carcinogenic NDMA precipitated a crisis in Elmira, leading to the construction of a pipeline
from Waterloo, which supplies the town with water to this day. In that case, too, Holt argues removal of source contaminants is required. While the groundwater issue is subject to ongoing Ministry of the Environment orders because the problem has spread beyond the Chemtura site, the issues with GP1 and GP2 are limited to company property, allowing for far fewer controls. With the aquifers, CPAC is also worried Chemtura’s actions are inadequate. The company is supposed to remediate the groundwater by 2028, bringing it back to drinking water standards. It’s pledged to meet that deadline, though both CPAC and Woolwich
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Township earlier this year formally called on the province to take a tougher stance, arguing the deadline can’t be met under current conditions. On that issue, the company acknowledges there have been problems with the pump-and-treat system, but says recent pumping rates have the treatment protocol back on track. Merriman said the process will meet the 2028 target, calling for critics to wait for the latest fiveyear review of the project, expected in September, before making any judgments. “That will give us a good picture of where we stand,” he said of the review and related computer modelling data.
munities so we decided to bring poetry to people rather than having people come to the big city. We thought a canoe would be kind of a quirky way to conduct a tour. Its also the main way a lot of transportation happens in your specific part of Ontario, so its kind of nodding to the history of the area as well,” explained Kotsilidis of the event’s origins. The tour focuses on bringing contemporary art to smaller communities along the river, often overlooked by Canadian reading tours that favour major city locations. The group will launch out of Toronto on Aug. 9 and reach their first destination in Elora on Aug. 11. Altogether the tour will run for 10 days, with stops at nine locations. Much of the funding for the group comes from the publishing houses that
local writers or musicians to perform along side the troupe at each performance location. Access to campgrounds and local communities allows the poets to travel only by canoes provided to them by local sponsors, Treks in the Wild. Still, Kotsilidis explains that roughing it has its downside with food, timing and lack of privacy presenting constant challenges. Yet the convenience of the unconventional transport method is undeniable for the group. “The number of communities on the river is exceptional,” she said. Scrapping their initial idea three years ago to use horses for the tour, Kotsilidis notes that the Grand River was a perfect choice for the trip, as the river can be easily navigated by even the most inexperienced boaters.
down in the dumps over not being afloat
Elmira transfer station operators Annet Viveen (left) and Evelyn Hahn were most concerned about the gasoline pooled at the bottom of the boat after it was left for disposal Wednesday. [elena maystruck / the observer]
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handle the artists. But the tour has also gained sponsors and collaborators, the BridgeKeepers and Grand River Conservation Authority. Local environmental topics will echo through the some of the work presented on the tour, but Kotsilidis explains that the group will also cover a variety of other subjects related to sustainability and environmental awareness. “One of our poets, Darryl Whetter, his poetry tends to be ecological in theme. That’s not necessarily the focus of all of our work but we are just trying to focus on some of the environmental sustainability concerns of the local communities thorough our tour.” Each artist is allotted about seven minutes on stage to perform and at each location, the six poets invite at least two
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NEWS | 5
THE OBSERVER | SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012
Nightingale rebuild moves to final stage The reconstruction of Nightingale Crescent in Elmira moves into the final stage Monday, with the stretch between 22 Nightingale Cr. and Mockingbird Drive to be closed until approximately Aug. 31. Stage two of the project – Nightingale Crescent between Purple Martin Court and 22 Nightingale Cr. – is expected to wrap up by the end of next week, with asphalt to be applied July 25, according
to information released this week by Woolwich Township.
It’s Chemtura on the line Answered your phone to find someone asking questions about Chemtura? You’re not alone. The chemical producer is polling Elmira residents to gauge public opinion and help craft a communications strategy. It’s part of a plan to help the facility regain its Responsible Care designation from the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada. The designation
Police investigation suspicious fire at St. Teresa school in Elmira Police and Woolwich firefighters responded to a fire at St. Teresa school in Elmira about 11:10 on July 17. A portable on the school’s property was set on alight. The fire was quickly extinguished. Police are continuing to investigate the cause of the fire, which has been deemed suspicious. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Elmira detachment.
6:30 PM | A man reported his wallet missing after he had visited the St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market. Inside the wallet was a Scottish driving license. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Elmira detachment.
1:00 PM | Police were contacted about graffiti at an Isabella residence in Linwood. Black and blue paint were used and the unknown suspects left the empty spray cans behind. Police have sent the cans to the Waterloo Identification Unit for fingerprint analysis. The investigation is ongoing.
8:00 AM | A barbecue was stolen off the deck of an Isabella Street residence in Linwood by unknown suspects. The investigation continues. 4:30 PM | A youth’s bike was stolen from the bike rack at the Woolwich Memorial Centre in Elmira. The blue Avigo bike was locked to the rack at the time. Police are continuing to investigate.
Roundabout education continues Still not sure about navigating the roundabouts popping up all over Waterloo Region? There’s a video with your name on it. As part of this year’s roundabout education campaign – “Learn the Turn! ... Roundabout Essentials 2012” – the region has put together a new training video. The video entitled “How the heck do you drive in a roundabout?” instructs viewers on essential
roundabout driving skills in order to drive a roundabout properly, safely and easily. This video takes the viewer, step-bystep through rules of roundabouts and the thought processes on approaching, driving through and exiting a roundabout. It covers the basic rules of roundabouts, the meaning of roundabout signage, signaling, pedestrians, and trucks in roundabouts. The video has been distributed widely to regional libraries, high schools, driving schools, insurance companies, and local businesses. It can also be viewed in its entirety or in smaller “chapters” on the Region’s
roundabout website, www. goroundabout.ca.
CLARIFICATION Candice Grube, the subject of a story in last week’s Observer, was living with her father in Listowel at the time of the accident that claimed her life. Ambiguous information was supplied to the paper. Construction work at St. Teresa school in Elmira is being carried out by PM Contracting Ltd. Incorrect information appeared in the July 7 issue. The Observer regrets the error.
fire: Cause linked to fumes ignited by electrical equipment
6:45 PM | A Kitchener woman driving a minivan was charged with ‘pass on right not in safety’ after attempting to overtake a farm truck operated by a Clifford man on Weber Street North. She tried to pass on the right shoulder, hitting the tire guards. The truck was making a legal turn into the market when the collision occurred. No injuries were reported. The minivan sustained severe damage.
wasn’t renewed in the last review in part due to the way the company communicates with the public. Plant manager Jozef Olejarz said this week the company is committed to becoming more transparent as part of its “community outreach.” The telephone survey will help it gauge residents’ awareness of Chemtura. “It’s a helpful tool to be a better corporate citizen and a better neighbour,” he said, adding the goal is to answer a fairly basic question: “What can we do to improve communications with our neighbours?”
5:30 PM | Police and firefighters responded to a barn fire at Jesse Place in Woolwich Township. The fire was contained to the feed room and silo. Some 140 head of cattle and 500 chickens were in the barn at the time. No animals were injured. July 17
2:30 PM | Elmira firefighters were called to extinguish a mulch fire at the Foodland store. The fire was quickly dealt with. No damage was reported. 10:00 PM | A woman walking her dog along Barnswallow Drive near Porchlight Drive in Elmira reported seeing a man performing an indecent act while sitting in his oldermodel beige Dodge Caravan. The man was described as medium build with a goatee. When police arrived they could not locate the suspect.
SUNDAY NIGHT CONCERT SERIES 2012
from | cover
the scene, with a total of 60 firefighters and 13 fire trucks responding. “None of the Elbru employees were injured. They all got out quickly and unharmed,” said Pedersen. Two firefighters suffered heat exhaustion and were treated by paramedics at the scene. According to Pederson the cause of the fire was accidental, as cleaning fumes were ignited by electrical equipment. The estimated loss and damages has been determined to be $1.25 million including the lumber stock, machinery and building that were destroyed in the fire. Arthur Street North remained closed between Florapine Road and Sandy Hills Drive while fire crews fought the blaze.
Some 60 firefighters working in short shifts fought the fire at the woodworking manufacturing facility for hours on Tuesday. [colin dewar / the observer]
smile: Children eligible for for two visits to dentist each year from | 3
risks if you let it go too long.” After the initial screening and a child qualifies for the program, the agency will issue a HSO client card. The card must be presented to all dental providers at every appointment. The client card is valid only for one year but if all of the necessary documentation is provided to confirm eligibility, then children are eligible for three years with a new card issued each year.
“The initial meeting is a checkup and then we do the paperwork to see if they qualify. There are different options available: we have the basic one, which is free dental for three years, but if they have limited documentation we can offer a one-year plan,” said Wall. Children are allowed two dental visits a year as part of basic dental care. The WCHC will outline the range of dental service options available in the community and provide the card that may be taken
to a private dentist or dental hygienist who is participating in the program. “If patients don’t have a dentist then we find them a dentist. It can be difficult finding a dentist that is accepting new patients so we help them find one.” The program launched in July 2011 and the WCHC has had numerous screenings over the year. “The program has been very successful as we have a lot of people now getting free checkups and dental treatment,” said Wall. “We
have had a lot of interest from the Woolwich area as there are quite a few low-income families, most of them are Low German speaking families who don’t speak English and we are capable of helping them as we have people on site who act as interpreters.” For more information about the Healthy Smile Ontario program visit their website at www.healthysmilesontario.com or contact Anna Wall at email@example.com.
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6 | NEWS
THE OBSERVER | SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012
Junior Farmers find new life in the region COLIN DEWAR The Junior Farmers Association has been revived in Waterloo Region. After nearly eight years of inactivity a new club has formed under the watchful eye of Barclay Nap and Graham Johnston, who are both Junior Farmer alumni volunteers working with the club as mentors until the group becomes selfsufficient and understands the program. Currently the club has 12 members who meet monthly to plan their community involvement, organize monthly socials and learn about parliamentary procedures. For the next few months the club will be trying to meet the requirements to become an official club with the Junior Farmers Association of Ontario (JFAO). “There are guidelines that have to be met each year which help fulfill the mission statement of provincial junior farmers which is to build future rural leaders through self help and community betterment. The focus is on developing leadership and volunteer skills,” said Nap during a phone interview.
The club first began in the early part of the 20th century when most of Ontario was rural. Sons of farmers who didn’t have the opportunity to go to college or university were taught advancements in agriculture through universities and the provincial government. In 1914 one group of young farmers took some of the information they have learned and applied it to their community in a broader scale. This group formed into a social club and by 1944 developed into the provincial association of the JFAO. The club is open to anyone interested in joining and provides opportunities for young people age 15 to 29 of all backgrounds, but especially those in rural Ontario. Members take on the challenge of exploring their individual talents and potential to develop personally while being involved in bettering their communities and networking. “For those young men and women in Waterloo (Region) the club offers a chance to be social with other youth that have similar background and interests while being part of a
Pack to school from | 2
The Junior Farmers Association of Waterloo has been resurrected after nearly a decade of inactivity. Club members meet monthly at the New Hamburg Community Centre to organize social events and plan their community involvement. [submitted] on July 20. For the cost of group where leadership Provincially the group $20 guests will have a day and volunteering skills are is capable of participating of visiting local farm busitaught and applying those in exchanges with other nesses with each location skills in the community,” rural youth programs in on the tour showcasing the said Nap. other parts of the world. finest in agriculture across This summer members There are provincial comthe region. of the regional club have petitions that have clubs The new club meets adopted part of Nafziger competing against other on the first Sunday of the Road to clean it up and clubs in different sporting, month at the New Hamhave held a learn-tocultural and agricultural burg Community Centre. square-dance night in based competitions. For more information Winterbourne as square To display the diversity about the organization dancing is something that of agriculture in the recontact the club at wateris part of rural Ontario’s gion, the club is hosting firstname.lastname@example.org. culture, he said. a Mystery Farm Bus Tour
vices is that visitors are not required to provide verification of their income, though the agency relies on an honour system to ensure supplies go only to low-income families. While the program is called a backpack drive there are many other school supplies WCS hopes to provide; some are needed more than others. Christie noted if people are not sure what supplies to donate, cash offerings help the organization hone in on gaps in donations of specific school supplies. “Primary scissors are something that we need and of course we go through a lot of crayons and pencil crayons. Lunch bags are also something we tend to give out to the younger groups and those are things we never seem to have enough of.” The non-profit community organization relies heavily on community support to provide for children from low-income households. Christie said that thanks to dedicated contributors, the program has never had any problems meeting the yearly quota for backpacks provided to low-income households.
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Wellesley Appoints New Township Executive Director (Interim) Following the recent retirement of the Executive Director Corporate/Clerk, Susan Duke, Council of the Township of Wellesley has awarded the position of Executive Director of Corporate and Operations (Interim) to Willis McLaughlin as of July 3, 2012. McLaughlin has been employed by the Township as the Director of Public Works and Environment since August 2003, and most recently as Executive Director of Operations. He began his career in engineering in 1972 and joined the City of Kitchener as an Operations Supervisor in 1996. McLaughlin is a Certified Municipal Manager, Level 3 with management and communications certificates from Wilfred Laurier University. He is a member of OACETT, is licensed under TSSA and holds a Waste Water Certificate Level 3 from the Ministry of the Environment. During his 40 years in engineering, heavy construction and municipal operations, he has developed an extensive network of contacts at many levels of government and in the private sector. He looks forward to serving the residents of the Township of Wellesley, by meeting the present day challenges and moving forward with initiatives for the future. www.mscu.com | 519.669.1529
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THE OBSERVER | SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012
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8 | COMMENT
THE OBSERVER | SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012
JOE MERLIHAN PUBLISHER STEVE KANNON EDITOR
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Our view / editorial
The VIEW from here
No quick fix for Toronto's spate of gun violence Toronto Mayor Rob Ford wants federal and provincial help following a spate of shootings in his city, but there’s more to it than calling in reinforcements. In trying to deal with the death by gunfire of four people in three days, and the community concern that’s followed, Ford is looking for solutions in keeping with his political philosophy: more money for cops and tougher sentences for criminals who use guns. That’s understandable, but there are far more factors at play here. Ford is right in acknowledging the problem extends well beyond municipal control – from economic policies to immigration, blame for Toronto’s decline extends well beyond local government. Government policies have created this mess over a number of years, it won’t be cleaned up overnight. Still, the recent violence should be placed in context. As officials have pointed out, this is not what was dubbed the summer of the gun: in 2005, Toronto saw 24 people killed by firearms between June 12 and Sept. 16. That year, 52 people were killed by guns. So far in 2012, Toronto has seen 28 murders, 19 by guns. Statistics show violent crime has been decreasing for decades, though it’s difficult to trust in numbers with murders in the headlines. The fact is, however, that the number of murders continues to decline, even in Toronto, which actually ranked in at only 52 in last year’s Maclean’s magazine ranking of Canada’s most dangerous cities (Prince George, BC, had the dubious honour of being number one). Despite the worry that comes with this week’s shootings, homicides remain a relatively rare occurrence in Canada, according to Statistics Canada figures. In 2010, there were 554 homicides in Canada, representing less than one per cent of violent incidents reported to police, despite the fact murders are more likely than other crimes to be reported to police. Those 554 murders represent the lowest level in 2010, and a substantial decrease following a decade of relative stability, 56 fewer than the year before. The 2010 homicide rate fell to 1.62 per 100,000 population, its lowest level since 1966. To put that in perspective, recent figures put the U.S. rate at 4.8 per 100,000, much higher but nothing like the numbers seen in more volatile parts of the world such as Honduras (87), El Salvador (71), Jamaica (39) and South Africa (32). Given those numbers, events this week in Toronto shouldn’t be blown out of proportion. That doesn’t mean everything is fine. Gang violence – talked about this week and in connection to the Eaton Centre shootings, for instance – is particularly unnerving, especially when innocents get caught in the crossfire. Even in the case of gangs and organized crime, the number of murders is falling, accounting for fewer than one in five homicides in Canada each year. In 2010, 94 homicides (17 per cent) were considered by police to be gang-related. This represented a 25 per cent drop and the second annual decline, following a high in 2008 when 138 homicides were reported by police as gang-related. Victims of gang-related homicides, like persons accused in these incidents, are usually male, relatively young and are often involved in criminal activities themselves. Close to seven in 10 victims in gang-related homicides (68 per cent) had a criminal record. Victims of these homicides were also more likely to be involved in criminal activities themselves. If there’s a common thread between some of these murders, officials should identify it and then move to eliminate the causes. That’s going to take more than a short-term effort.
Looking for any chance at some much-needed rain, local farmers draw on an even older culture for a helping hand. WORLD view / GWYNNE DYER
There are varieties of nepotism to be found in the two Koreas WORLD AFFAIRS What has been happening in North Korea recently is straight out of the “Hereditary Dictatorship for Dummies” handbook. Kim Jong-un, the pudgy young heir to the leadership of one of the world’s last Communist states, is removing powerful people who were loyal to his father and replacing them with men (it’s always men) who owe their advancement only to him. Vice-Marshal Ri Yong-ho, the chief of the North Korean army until late last week, was not disloyal to the new boss. On the contrary, Ri’s support was vital in ensuring a smooth transition after the death of Kim Jong-Il, the old boss, and he gave it unstintingly. But in the end the vice-marshal didn’t owe everything to Kim Jong-un, so he had to go. In his place, Kim Jongun has promoted a man nobody had ever heard of before. His name is Hyon Yong-chol, but you don’t have to remember it un-
less you really want to. The point is that Hyon will have annoyed a lot of other generals in the army because he has been promoted over their heads, and so he is absolutely dependent on the good will of the young master. Meanwhile, the propaganda that is intended to promote Kim Jong-un to the rank of god-king pours forth. When he visited an air force training unit, the North Korean news agency reported, he “guided the flight training of pilots.” At a concert, he “gave precious teachings for the performing activities of the Korean People’s Army Military Band.” It turns out that he is an expert in pretty well everything. And just to be sure, Kim Jong-un had himself promoted to Marshal this week, so now he outranks everybody else in the armed forces. At least he hasn’t had all his brothers and half-brothers killed in order to rule out any challenges from within the family, like the Ottoman sultans used to do after they ascended the throne. So there IS progress, you see. Things are done very
differently in South Korea. There the presidents are chosen by the free vote of all the people (or at least all the ones who bother to vote). But the candidate most likely to win the presidential elections this December is the daughter of the dictator who ruled the country with an iron hand for two decades, until he was finally assassinated in 1979. There are, to be sure, some striking differences between Ms Park Geun-hye, who will probably be South Korea’s first female president, and the callow youth who is scrambling to put his stamp on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea up north. Park has earned her candidacy by a lifetime of public service, including a decade at the head of Yeungnam University and fourteen years in politics, during which she earned the nickname “Queen of Elections” for her skill in delivering the vote to her party even in the most adverse circumstances. At 60, she is more than twice Kim Jong-un’s age, and she has seen and done a lot. On the other hand, it
is very unlikely that she would have had this stellar career if she had grown up as the daughter of an army sergeant on a succession of bleak army posts. Growing up in the presidential palace, and serving as South Korea’s first lady for five years while still in her early 20s, after her mother was assassinated in 1974, was bound to produce a different outcome. It also helps with the name recognition that every politician needs. If elected, Park Geun-hye may be a very successful president. She may have the determination and the clout to take on the big industries that dominate South Korean society and deliver more security and social justice to those at the bottom. She may even manage to create an opening with North Korea if she finds a willing partner in Pyongyang. Kim Jong-un is a completely closed book. Nobody beyond his own family has the slightest idea what he thinks and intends, and maybe even they don’t. Maybe he doesn’t even know himself yet. But unlike his father and grandfaDYER | 10
COMMENT | 9
THE OBSERVER | SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012
Their view / question OF THE WEEK
What are you looking forward to in the Summer Olympics?
I’ll watch boxing and the marathons.
I hope Canada does well and hope everyone has fun.
I think it’s a great opportunity for London to showcase the city.
I’m not as excited for the Summer Olympics as I like the diving and the synchronized the Winter Olympics. Hopefully London will do swimming. a good job and we’ll see how it goes.
"Too often people purchase houses next to factories ... without thinking through how that might affect their lives." Bruce Weber | page 10 HIS view / STEVE KANNON
Politics, not economics are at the heart of Hudak's anti-union gambit EDITOR'S NOTES Stagnant middleclass wages – and the resultant decline in our standard of living – have only one way to go, according to Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak: down. In citing the case of the Electro-Motive Diesel plant in London as a rationale for his proposed right-to-work legislation in Ontario, PC leader Tim Hudak is admitting he wants to see your wages go down. That company, you may recall, closed up shop in Ontario and moved to Indiana, recently converted to a right-to-work state. U.S. giant Caterpillar, through its subsidiary Progress Rail Services, did away with some 450 jobs in London in favour of employees willing to work for half the pay. Such is the way with anti-union legislation in the U.S., where such measures have been in use since the 1940s and ‘50s, predominantly in the Southern states, as a way to deter
unionism. Under right-towork provisions, workers aren’t obliged to pay dues even in union shops, essentially creating free riders and strangling the unions economically. Often, those locales also employ measures making it difficult to unionize in the first place. What Hudak proposed earlier this month would do away with the Rand formula, the result of a 1946 ruling by Supreme Court of Canada Justice Ivan Rand that was designed to ensure an employee could not opt out of a union simply to avoid paying dues while continuing to enjoy the benefits negotiated by the union. This is a political move by Hudak, couched, as is always the case with politicians selling a bill of goods, as an economic boon. Clearly, he’s decided the public’s distaste for public sector unions is strong enough to warrant such a platform. Equally clear is Hudak’s attempt to move to the right, perhaps believing the party too centrist to budge Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals in last fall’s election.
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There’s no impact on job rates. “Clearly this is political more than economic,” he says of Hudak’s proposal. From an economic perspective, the malaise has almost nothing to do with unions, particularly in the private sector. Instead, globalization and trade agreements, the hollowing out of the manufacturing sector and high Canadian dollar, and the ascension of low-paying. part-time service sector jobs have all done far more damage to our economy. While we can’t call it causation, it’s not surprising that the postwar middleclass boom came as unionized jobs, principally in manufacturing, were at their zenith. Equally, falling union participation rates came during the neoliberal attack on the middleclass that we’ve seen over the last three decades in particular. Massive job losses in the manufacturing sector, the largest victim of globalization, have taken a toll on private-sector unions in North America. From representing more than a
third of workers in the U.S. during the 1950s, unions now include less than eight per cent of private sector employees today. According to 2010 figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18 of the 20 states with the lowest rate of unionization – from about nine per cent in North Dakota and falling to five per cent in North Carolina – are right-to-work states. The highest percentage of workers covered by collective agreements is found in New York, with 26. In Canada, the decline has been less pronounced, falling to about 30 per cent by 2005, from almost 40 per cent two decades earlier. Blue collar workers experienced the largest declines in union membership, consistent with falling numbers in the goodsproducing and distribution sectors, Statistics Canada reports. Private-sector unionization has declined by 5 points in Canada over the last 15 years, to 17 per cent in 2011. Despite being the center of Canada’s automotive industry, Ontario’s unionization rate is the
second-lowest in Canada (after Alberta): under 28 per cent in 2011, and under 15 per cent in the private sector. Right-to-work legislation would undoubtedly see those numbers fall still lower. Making union dues voluntary would be akin to making taxes voluntary: everybody would be happy to opt out ... as long as others continued to pay so that we would continue to enjoy the same level of services. Unionized employees, says Skuterud, enjoy incomes about 15 per cent higher than others in a given sector. There’s spillover effect in each sector – for instance, non-unionized Toyota offers wages in line with CAW employers, largely in order to prevent unionization – but it’s unclear just how much of an impact that has on the wider economy. One thing is certain, however: right-to-work measures aren’t likely to push our already-stagnant incomes in the right direction. “Wages aren’t going to go up. The only question is how far down will they go?”
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It’s a risky move, says University of Waterloo economist Mikal Skuterud, who studies labour issues. The bulk of Ontarians may not share Hudak’s mindset. Nor would we likely be happy with the outcome if his policies did come into play. “I’m not sure what type of support there is for that kind of legislation in Ontario,” says Skuterud, noting it would have some “huge hurdles” to clear. While it might play to the right-wing base, even employers could be wary, as such changes would fundamentally alter a longestablished framework for labour relations in this province. Proponents of anti-union measures argue they would create an environment for more jobs and growth. The data say otherwise. Skuterud notes there’s no indication unionization has any negative impact on employment. They affect how the pie is divvied up, rather than the size of the pie. “There’s some evidence what unions are doing is sharing rents (profits).
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10 | COMMENT
THE OBSERVER | SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012
THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
The most severe drought in more than half a century is threatening crops in the U.S., with prices already on the rise. Some 1,300 U.S. counties and been deemed disaster areas, and the drought extends to areas accounting for more than 75 per cent of U.S. corn and soybean crops.
"I want these people out of the city. And I’m not going to stop. Not put ’em in jail, then come back and you can live in the city. No. I want ’em out of the city. Go somewhere else. I don’t want ’em living in the city anymore."
The fifth and final Dan Snyder Memorial Golf Tournament raised $115,000 July 14, 2008. Altogether, the event raised $565,000 towards the construction of the Woolwich Memorial Centre.
»»United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
»»Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reacts to this week's gun violence in his city.
»»From the July 19, 2008 edition of the Observer.
Dyer: Fact is, it's not what
you know, it's who you know Continued from | 8
ther, he has seen something of the world (he was educated partly in Switzerland), and it may have given him ideas. The point is not that either of these people is necessarily a bad choice as president. It’s that both countries (but especially the North) are fishing in a very shallow pool. There are probably thousands of people in each country who would make better leaders, but they lack the connections and they will never be considered for the job. In fact, the same thing is true everywhere.
Your view / letter
Industry and residences not always a good mix To the Editor, In her July 14 letter, Heather Sauder validates why the OMB was correct in their ruling regarding placing residential units next to industrial land. Too often people purchase houses next to factories, farms or under
Would Hillary Clinton be the U.S. Secretary of State if her husband had not been the president? Would George W Bush ever have been considered as a possible president if his dad had not been a moderately successful one? For that matter, would Aung San Suu Kyi, runner-up to Nelson Mandela in the Global Sainthood Stakes, ever have become the voice of Burmese democracy if her father had not been the (autocratic) hero of the independence movement? Can anything be done about this? Probably not, but it is a pity.
flight paths at airports without thinking through how that might affect their lives. Somehow when the pre-existing factory/farm/ airport/etc. goes about doing what it always has been doing they are painted as the problem. When we lived on the farm I was very grateful to our neighbours who never complained about our farming practices. Clearly not all pre-existing industries are as fortunate.
Bruce Weber | Elmira
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SPORTS | 11
THE OBSERVER | SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012
SPORTS NOT SO GREAT SOCCER/ PROVINCIAL TOURNEY
OUTDOORSMAN / STEVE GALEA
Women can’t resist the lure of a successful angler OPEN COUNTRY
The Woolwich Whitehawks competed in the U17 Girls Ontario Cup provincial championship tournament at Lions Park in Elmira on July 14. The Whitehawks lost their first match against the Tecumseh Warriors 2-1. Woolwich would only win one game during the tournament against the Mississauga Panthers. Olivia Nelles (right) of Woolwich is beaten by the Warriors’ goaltender. MORE PHOTOS ON PG 12 [COLIN DEWAR / THE OBSERVER]
Golf classic an established fundraiser
Proceeds from the 18th annual Jeanne Renault Memorial go to support family violence prevention programs COLIN DEWAR
The 18th annual Jeanne Renault Memorial Golf Classic tees off on Aug. 16, with all the proceeds going to the family violence prevention program at Woolwich Community Services. The tournament is named in memory of Jeanne Renault, an Elmira resident who was a longtime supporter of issues related to women and violence in the community. She was instrumental in starting the family violence prevention program in 1990. For $125, golfers will get 18 holes at the Conestoga Golf and Country Club, dinner, and the chance to win some prizes through a raffle
and silent auction, as well as some on-course activities such as closest-to-the-pin and hole-in-one awards. The program also has a bowl-a-thon in the fall to raise funds, but WCS executive director Don Harloff said the golf tournament is the program’s major fundraiser each year, allowing the organization to continue its work in the community. The program provides education to the community on building healthy relationships, support to victims of violence and their families, information and referral to relevant services, individual and group support. Proceeds from this event will be directed to prevention initiatives, particularly towards issues of
year,” said Harloff. “We go to schools and provide educational components to classes and are trying to get kids to learn how to relate more positively with one another.” The in-class educational visits are related to the ages of the children at the schools. A child in Grade 1 will learn how to deal with peers on the playground and how to share. For children who may be entering the dating world they are told about the importance of positive dating relationships “We have been doing this for a number of years and we think it is a very effective way of getting the positive message across to young people in the community to develop healthy dating hab-
dating violence and strong relationships. “Foremost, it provides support to people who have been victims of domestic violence, or relationship violence,” said Harloff of the program. “We work with women and men directly and in groups in order to support them through the difficulties that they’re facing.” The program also supports an in-class educational component where classrooms throughout Woolwich and the north part of Wellesley see children from Grades 1 to 8 learn the importance of healthy relationships. “We use funds for a variety of things, including our prevention work we are doing in schools every
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GALEA | 12
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its in their future.” Last year 100 golfers raised approximately $14,000 and organizers are expecting the same this year. The Jeanne Renault Classic starts at 12:55 p.m. Aug. 16. It’s not too late to sign up as organizers are still accepting golfers as well as sponsors and prize donations. For more information contact WCS at (519) 6695139. Although there is no deadline for golfers to sign up to participate in the tournament, organizers are hoping to have most golfers signed up by Aug. 1. “We really encourage people to get involved as it is a lot of fun and it is for a great cause and everyone can just enjoy the day.”
“Did you see the way that woman looked at me?” I whispered to Jenn. “You mean like you didn’t exist?” she replied. “Hey,” I sputtered. “Don’t get upset. I didn’t set out to become a sex symbol. It just happened.” “What!?” she replied. “Look, there’s no use denying it; I think it’s time we face the facts,” I said. “There isn’t a woman alive who can resist a man who has recently caught a 20inch bass…. Oh, why am I telling you?” Unable to accept the bitter truth, tears soon rolled down her cheeks. Sure, she camouflaged their origins by releasing them after a prolonged belly laugh, but I knew better. The pressure of my newfound allure was getting to be too much. As if to prove it, another woman in the grocery store check out – a complete stranger who had never so much as uttered a word to me before – decided to brazenly break the ice with a clichéd line. “Will that be cash or debit?” she asked. This was getting
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12 | SPORTS
THE OBSERVER | SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012
GALEA: Women put on a good show, but we know that they just can’t resist a show of prowess FROM: 11
awkward. I smiled, pointed to Jenn and said, “Just so you know, I’m taken…” Who knows why women find highly successful bass anglers so damn attractive? Or why they outwardly pretend as if they don’t? All I know is that I’ve been through this several times before and it isn’t pleasant. It always begins the same way.
First, there’s the casual disinterest when they overhear your story on the PA system, at the bait shop or on a crowded elevator. Then, more casual disinterest, often for weeks – only this time they’re not fooling anyone. Unless, I know nothing about women, somewhere deep down they’re imagining the successful angler in question as he hoists that glistening big bass into the
live well. In fact, the allure of a giant bass is such an aphrodisiac to women that I can only assume it’s why they insist I never talk about fishing while in their presence. And now, here I am – a man who, using only a fly rod, raw nerve and a deer hair popper, has just bested a big largemouth bass. Suddenly, and through no fault of my own, I have joined the
ranks of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and Bob Izumi. I can’t help but feel a little sorry for womankind. Was I seeking this unbridled, well-hidden adulation? Of course not. When my taut arm muscles and vaguely defined two-pack first did battle with that largemouth among the lily pads, I wasn’t thinking about becoming a living, breathing
Axe commercial. For me, at that moment, it was simply a matter of survival. Who could blame me for uttering the historic words, “We’re going to need a bigger boat” when that bass first cleared the water? Was it risky that I used a fly rod? Sure, but only because of a strong crosswind. If that makes me one of those dangerous, bad boys that women on TV love, so
TOUGH WEEKEND FOR WOOLWICH GIRLS IN U17 TOURNAMENT
There was plenty of action at the U17 provincial tournament in Lions Park last weekend. Left, Olivia Nelles of Woolwich challenges a Warrior for the ball during the second half. Inset, Tianna Dupuis of Tecumseh challenges Nelles during a header. Right, Tory Kallitsis of Woolwich is stopped by the Warriors goaltender as a Warrior player jumps over her to avoid a collision. [COLIN DEWAR / THE OBSERVER]
be it. I did what I had to do. Even Jenn grudgingly admits that things have been very different since I walked into the house and showed her 30 or so assorted images of me and that fish. Even the recounting of that fateful morning causes a swell of emotions in her. In fact, this morning she admitted that every time I tell the story it drives her crazy.
SPORTS | 13
THE OBSERVER | SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012
Spectators cheered as a myriad of bronc riders, calf ropers and other rodeo performers competed in the ring with hopes of bringing home some hard-earned rodeo prize money at the annual Breslau Charity Rodeo held at Calhoun Stables on July 14 and 15. The rodeo is a fundraiser for the Canadian Diabetes Association and featured many events, including saddle bronco riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, bull riding and a half time show by Encore Presentation. [COLIN DEWAR / THE OBSERVER]
14 | SPORTS
THE OBSERVER | SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012
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Ratings of â€œGoodâ€? are the highest rating awarded for 40-mph frontal offset, 31-mph side-impact and 20-mph rear-impact crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) (www.iihs.org). A â€œGoodâ€? rating obtained in all three crash tests plus a â€œGoodâ€? rating in new roof strength testing and the availability of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) (Vehicle Dynamics Control) achieves a 2012 Top Safety Pick. XBased on ALGâ€™s 2012 Residual Value Award for Best Mainstream Brand. *MSRP of $19,995/$25,995/$26,395/$28,995 on 2012 Impreza 2.0i 4-door (CF1 BP)/Forester 2.5X (CJ1 X0)/Legacy 2.5i Convenience Package (CA2 CP)/Outback 2.5i Convenience Package (CD1 CP). Lease rate of 2.9%/1.9%/1.9%/0.9% for 48/48/48/39 months. Monthly payment is $239/$299/$299/$349 with $1,925/$2,400/$2,650/$3,195 down payment. Option to purchase at end of lease is $9,737/$11,546/$11,718/$13,731. Advertised pricing consists of MSRP plus charges for Freight/PDI ($1,595), Air Tax ($100), Tire Stewardship Levy ($29.20), OMVIC Fee ($5), Dealer Admin ($199). Freight/PDI charge includes a full tank of gas. Taxes, licence, registration and insurance are extra. $0 security deposit. Models shown: 2012 Forester 2.5XT Limited (CJ2 XTN). MSRP of $35,995. 2012 Legacy 2.5i Limited Package (CA2 LN). MSRP of $32,895. 2012 Impreza 2.0i Sport Package (CF1 SP). MSRP of $23,895. Dealers may sell or lease for less or may have to order or trade. Offers applicable on approved credit at participating dealers only. Lease based on a maximum of 20,000 km per year, with excess charged CVMO.GCUKPICPFĆ‚PCPEKPIRTQITCOUCXCKNCDNGVJTQWIJ5WDCTW(KPCPEKCN5GTXKEGUD[6%%+1VJGTNGCUGCPFĆ‚PCPEGTCVGUCPFVGTOUCXCKNCDNGFQYPRC[OGPVQTGSWKXCNGPVVTCFGKPOC[DGTGSWKTGF8GJKENGUUJQYPUQNGN[HQTRWTRQUGUQHKNNWUVTCVKQPCPFOC[PQVDGGSWKRRGFGZCEVN[CUUJQYP1HHGTUCXCKNCDNGWPVKN#WIWUV5GG[QWTNQECN5WDCTWFGCNGTHQTEQORNGVGRTQITCOFGVCKNU
Ratings of â€œGoodâ€? are the highest rating awarded for 40-mph frontal offset, 31-mph side-impact and 20-mph rear-impact crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) (www.iihs.org). A â€œGoodâ€? rating obtained in all three crash tests plus a â€œGoodâ€? rating in new roof strength testing and the availability of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) (Vehicle Dynamics Control) achieves a 2012 Top Safety Pick. Based on ALGâ€™s 2012 Studio 1 Residual Value Award for Best Mainstream Brand. *MSRP of 19,995/$25,995/$26,395/$28,995 Revisions 7 on 2012 Impreza 2.0i 4-door (CF1 BP)/Forester 2.5X (CJ1 n ",//2 34 %!34 4/2/.4/ /. #!.!$! -7 4 s 4 s &