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Distracted driving a concern for OPP and public


With the last of the summer long weekends only days away, the Ontario Provincial Police are giving advance notice that they will be honing in on distracted drivers as part of the heightened enforcement they have planned over the Labor Day weekend.     

With kids heading back to school next week, distracted driving is of particular concern to the OPP as distraction-related collision fatalities in OPP jurisdiction continue to surpass impaired driving-related deaths this year.  According to the OPP, everyone travelling on roads and highways should be equally concerned about this alarming trend.

“Most people would not get into a vehicle with an impaired driver and they are at as much risk in the presence of a distracted driver as an impaired driver,” says Chief Superintendent Don Bell, Commander of the OPP Highway Safety Division.  “If drivers do not have the good sense to stop this dangerous behaviour on their own, I encourage passengers to take responsibility for their own safety by speaking up.  If you are a passenger in a vehicle and the driver is not completely focused on driving, is talking on a cell phone or even worse – texting, remind them that they are endangering your life and that you want them to stop,” added Bell.

“So far this year, 47 of the 177 people killed in motor vehicle collisions in OPP jurisdiction involved distracted driving, compared to 32 impaired driving-related collision deaths,” said Deputy Commissioner Larry Beechey, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety and Operational Support.  “Our statistics make it clear beyond a doubt that road users need to pay greater attention to this problem and get on board with our efforts to stop it rather than wait for a devastating tragedy to occur,” added Beechey. 

Speeding and other aggressive driving behaviour, impaired driving and seat belt compliance will also be on the OPP’s radar over the long weekend.  Boaters and off-road vehicle (ORV) users should also be prepared to see a strong OPP presence on waterways and trails, with ORV fatalities up 80 per cent and marine fatalities up more than 15 per cent this year.


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Stay Clear – Stay Safe over Labour Day


Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is urging people to exercise extreme care around Ontario waterways this Labour Day long weekend, particularly on rivers and lakes near hydroelectric stations and dams. 

For many people, the Labour Day weekend is the final opportunity of the season to enjoy a boat ride or swim.  This year, cold, wet weather in much of the province has resulted in water levels and flows that are higher than average in many waterways. While it is wise to use extra caution in the water under such conditions, it is especially important at any time of the year when near hydroelectric dams and stations. Water conditions may appear to be safe, but, as the new OPG television ad says, “The Danger is Real” near a hydro station, no matter what it seems. OPG is urging people to stay clear and stay safe of hydroelectric facilities at all times of the year.

Most hydroelectric facilities are remotely controlled by operators located many kilometres away. They may open dams and start and stop generators many times throughout the day. This causes numerous and rapid changes in the water levels and flows. These changing conditions produce powerful gushes of water that create strong undertows. While the water may look calm on the surface, down below, it is extremely turbulent and very dangerous.

The Ontario Provincial Police and Ontario Power Generation have partnered to bring a new public service announcement (PSA) to warn people of the dangers near hydroelectric dams and stations.  Visit to watch, “The Danger is Real”, and to see other unique online resources that will help you and your family stay safe this fall and all year long.


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Mosquitoes test positive for the West Nile Virus


Mosquitoes in the area have tested positive for the West Nile virus. 

Although there have been no human cases reported in our region, there have been cases in the province.

“The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has been actively monitoring mosquitoes for West Nile virus” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health. 

“This finding shows that West Nile virus remains a concern in our area, even towards the end of the summer.”

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit would like to remind residents to take precautions against the virus and therefore against mosquitoes by taking the following steps:

Use federally registered personal insect repellents, such as those containing DEET. Use a light coating on exposed skin. Follow label instructions for proper application.

Wear light-coloured clothing, long sleeves, pants and socks when outside.

Avoid being outside at dusk and dawn, as mosquitoes are the most active at that time.

Ensure that all containers in or around the yard like tires, pool covers, saucers for flowerpots, wading pools and children’s toys are regularly emptied of standing water.

Ensure that screens, windows and doors are fully sealed to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house.

For more information, visit the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s website at and click on the Community Health section, or call 613-933-1375 or 1 800 267-7120 and ask for Health Line.


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Museum passes available at the library


Looking for a way to experience arts, culture, and fun with your family this summer? 

The SD&G County Library is pleased to offer new Museum Passes to Ottawa museums, including the Museum of Civilization, Canadian War Museum, Canada Science and Technology Museum, Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and Canada Agriculture Museum.

Building relationships with community organizations is part of the SD&G County Library’s strategic plan, introduced last year. 

These new Museum Passes add to the Library’s collection, which already includes passes to the Ottawa Museum Network. 

“Museum Passes are free to check out, and can be borrowed just like a book from the Library. Each pass is valid for a family of 5 to go to the Museum”, said Erika Heesen, Communications and Marketing Librarian. 

“One of the Library’s goals is to engage the community with unique services and programs, and partnership with these museums also creates the opportunity for future presentations by Museum Curators at the Library. We’re looking forward to expanding these partnerships to other local museums in the future, including the Museum of Nature”. 

If you’d like to borrow a Museum Pass, please go to your local branch of the SD&G County Library. More information can also be found by going to and clicking on “What Your Library Offers”.


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Williamsburg among four new TR Leger Campuses


The Upper Canada District School Board is opening four new TR Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education campuses next week in Williamsburg, Casselman, Hawkesbury, and Rockland.

“This is good training news for area residents,” says Diane Coombs, TR Leger manager of literacy and language services. 

“The campuses offer a doorway into a full range of training and services from grade 12, employment preparation, goal-setting workshops, and settlement services for newcomers to Canada.”

Coombs says staff members are frequently heard to say that the TR Leger system helps adults rediscover the learner inside. This is certainly true in the Adult Literacy and Employment Prep Program (ALEPP) which offers adults a chance to brush up on reading and writing skills, get hands-on with computers, and set realistic goals.

Besides goal-setting and entry to digital technology, this program offers preparation towards more than 16 jobs such as landscaping, clerical, service station attendant, daycare worker, and many more.

“For those with the Ontario Secondary School Diploma as a goal, the friendly environment allows for self-paced study with a supporting cast of adult educators – an expert team to help achieve the goal,” says Coombs.

Newcomers to Canada can make appointments with experienced Settlement Outreach Workers who will meet with clients on-site and help them with their settlement plans. 

In addition, Canadian Language Benchmark Certified English language assessors can help make language learning plans.

TR Leger Principal Geoff Trasuk says TR Leger graduates about 400 grade 12 students every year, sometimes with two or three generations of a family crossing the stage together.

“The TR Leger ALEPP, second language programs and settlement services assist well over a thousand additional adult clients each year,” Trasuk says.

To contact the TR Leger for registration and information, please call 1-877-875-3437. 


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Williamsburg Baden Powell Scouts have had a succesful year


The Senior Explorers of the 1st Williamsburg Baden Powell Scouts Council, would like to  give thanks to the community for their support of donations of time, money, supplies and food. These all helped to make this past scouting year wonderful! 

We would also like to express our need for more leaders.

We are thankful for all the people who have donated their time to help cook, supervise and participate in our events.  Without them we would not have been able to have these events.   As well, we thank all of the people who shared their skills with us, expanding our knowledge of marksmanship, radio mechanics, backpacking, map reading, and planning.  With your help we have accomplished much more than we could have ever imagined.

Thanks to everyone who attended our community fund raisers. 

In November, we volunteered to help the Morrisburg Canadian Legion sell poppies.  It was fun participating in an event planned by someone else. It definitely helped us for the months to come, when we had to plan and organize our own fund raisers.  

One of those events was the CHEO Clown Carnival, which we had to plan, decorate, advertise and run.  We held it for all of the local children, at the I.O.O.F Hall in Williamsburg, raising money for CHEO’s therapeutic clowns.

Firewood sales, Betsy Bingo and car washes are other fund raisers we have run to help raise money for our scout group.  The money raised was used for new equipment like water purifiers, and for funding camps such as our July trip to the Barron Canyon in Algonquin Park.

BP Scouts Council is not allowed to own any property, so our group relies on the support of our community to provide spaces to use like the Riverside Recreation Hall, the United Church of Williamsburg, the I.O.O.F Hall and private properties like Chateaus and Cedarwood Pond.  

For example, after hiking through beautiful swamp land, snow and ice, coming to a cabin is great!  Even if the moose we saw on the way in was pretty cool, and the dog sledding was fun, it’s always nice to have somewhere nice and warm to end up.  Getting to watch the sunset, while standing on the ice outside, is an amazing experience that wouldn’t be the same anywhere else. As well, canoes, and gear for camps have been lent to us, which helps keep costs down.  

For all of these things we thank you very much!

Thank you for all the donations of food.  We very much appreciate the delicious bacon. The food was excellent: it warmed us up on a cold morning or cooled us down on a hot afternoon.  It was easy to pack, so excellent for hiking, and filling enough for just a snack (teens are always hungry).  Thanks to Iroquois Foodland and Whitteker Meat Market.

This coming year we find ourselves short of leaders for our growing group. 

Senior Explorers, the oldest level (ages 14-18 and co-ed), are looking for a leader, preferably female, but not limited to female.  Sr. Explorers are more independent than the younger groups and plan their own camps, events and meetings. A leader would be there to help guide us and supervise us.  

A lot of our activities are outside, so a fair knowledge of outdoor safety is preferred/recommended.   Someone who can tell the weather better than our last leader, who thought tornadoes while hiking and hail while canoeing were ideal weather conditions.  

If you can tolerate: kids (teens); cold, hot, sometimes burnt food; camping; canoeing; taking pictures and having pictures taken of you, you are ideal for the position.  A sense of humour for most things is always good, and common sense (to make up for the lack of ours) are the main things we are looking for.  We can all cook well at camp, so if you show up to camps we will feed you extremely well.  We already have one experienced leader, so no experience is necessary, just enthusiasm.  

If you are interested in joining our vibrant group please contact us through our website at


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Bazaar move for Hospital Auxiliary


Planning for the upcoming WDMH Auxiliary’s Bazaar was front and centre at the August 8, meeting of the group’s board of directors.

The popular event will be held at the Joel Steele Community Centre in Winchester the year on October 19. The official opening will take place at 11 a.m. 

An elevator is available for those who would find the stairs an obstacle.

Returning features are: the bake table, produce sale, silent auction, tea room, sale of cheese and honey and a 50/50 raffle. A door prize will also be awarded and the auxiliary’s award winning Christmas Plum Puddings will be available for $12 each.

New this year will be a fashion show and sale of Jockey Ladies’ wear, and other local vendors with handmade items at reasonable prices. Everyone is welcome to attend this auxiliary fund raiser. 

Hospital CEO Cholly Boland informed the board that a five year strategic plan for the hospital has been finalized. 

It focusses on three areas: continuing the positive things being done now, working closely with the community in palliative care and care for seniors and researching ways to better serve the rural population. 

In closing, Boland expressed his sincere appreciation for all that the hospital’s volunteers do for WDMH.

The Auxiliary provided state of the art Baxter IV pumps to the hospital last year at a cost of $297,000 and has agreed to purchase several more with the cost of the additional units being $55,00.

Volunteer coordinator Alan Archer told the board that volunteers offered 925 hours of service to WDMH in July bringing the total for 2013 to 6,592. 

He emphasized that new volunteers are always needed at the hospital and anyone interested in offering a few hours each month may contact him at the hospital.

President Nancy Farley-Holmes announced that three local, longtime hospital volunteers will receive Provincial Life Membership Awards this year. 

The well-deserving recipients are Grace McAuley, Ruth Shearing and Betty Wilson. These awards  are presented at the Hospital Auxiliaries Association of Ontario convention which will be held in Toronto in November.

All members of the auxiliary are invited to attend a membership meeting on Thursday, September 12, 1:30 p.m. in room C401 at the hospital. It will include an informative and relevant presentation in the area of health care.


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New Residents at WDMH


For Dr. Maren Hamilton and Dr. Vanessa Carter, coming to Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH) is a bit like going home. 

The two new family medicine residents are both from small towns. They say they specifically chose WDMH because of its commitment to providing care close to home for local communities.

“The first month has been excellent,” notes Dr. Hamilton. “Everyone is so friendly and the learning is really hands-on.” Dr. Carter agrees: “Winchester was my first choice and I was lucky enough to get it. It’s a great learning environment and you get great exposure to rural medicine.”

Dr. Hamilton and Dr. Carter will be full-time family medicine residents at WDMH for the next two years. They will receive hands-on learning in almost every area of the hospital. They will also be paired with local family physicians in the community. “It’s a very special way to learn as the residents can follow patients through their whole health care experience,” explains Sylvie Forgues-Martel, WDMH’s Chief Liaison Officer, Office of Medical and Academic Affairs. “We are very fortunate to have such committed physicians to mentor and teach our residents.”

“We’re thrilled to welcome two new doctors to WDMH,” adds Cholly Boland, CEO. “WDMH continues to be very popular and well-respected as a rural teaching hospital.” In fact, more than 300 students from a variety of disciplines had clinical placements at the hospital last year. And 90 candidates applied for the two medical residency spots this year.

Dr. Maren Hamilton grew up in Lyndhurst, north of Kingston, in a family with five children. She completed her undergraduate degree at McMaster University and went to medical school at the University of Ottawa. She also taught English in Korea for a year. “When I was young, I couldn’t wait to go and see the world, but now I want to come back to my rural roots.”

Dr. Vanessa Carter is from Summerstown. She did her undergraduate degree at Castleton College in Vermont on an academic scholarship while playing Division 3 women’s ice hockey as the starting goaltender. She completed her medical degree at the University of Ottawa. “I’m from a family of four and had a few hospitalizations as a child, including on my birthday. I knew I wanted to be a doctor to help make sure other kids didn’t have to be in the hospital on their birthday if we could help it.”

Dr. Hamilton and Dr. Carter join Dr. Amy Commodore and Dr. Karen Li, who have just completed their first year of residency in Winchester. WDMH’s first two family residents – Dr. Tarinder Grewal and Dr. Stéphane Brassard – recently graduated from the program.


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UCDSB supplies essential supplies


Parents frantically shopping for pens, pencils, binders, back-to-school clothing and other supplies are reminded that the Upper Canada District School Board protects them from unwarranted school fees.

Under terms of Policy 452, passed in March 2012, the Board guarantees that all students have the right to attend school without payment of fees for essential learning materials, supplies, activities and textbooks. The policy applies to essential supplies required to meet the terms of the curriculum, and not materials for enhanced programs or optional programs and activities.

“The Board passed the policy last year because we believe that all our students – whatever their economic circumstances – have the right to attend school without their families having to worry about paying for materials essential to their learning,” said Director David K. Thomas, August 13. “Returning to school is a cause for celebration. It should not be a financial burden on any family.”

This means the Board will provide items such as textbooks, workbooks, and science supplies, offering parents some financial relief at a time that for many is already straining their pocketbooks, said Thomas. 

Materials used to supplement a student’s educational experience and that are not required under the core curriculum – such as expenses for yearbooks, graduation gowns, optional field trips not curricular in nature, school dances, and student recognition programs – may be subject to fees.   

Under the policy, schools are prohibited from charging:

• Registration or administrative fees for regular day school programming;

• Fees for guest speakers or presentations where material presented is a mandatory element of the subject or course;

• Extra charges for learning materials necessary for completion of the curriculum such as science supplies, lab material kits and safety goggles; and

• Fees for learning materials funded through the allocated budget of a school board and which are necessary to meet learning expectations such as computers, workbooks, textbooks, and staff development and training costs.  

Additional fees may be charged to a student if a school community wishes to offer programming and materials “beyond what is necessary to meet the learning expectations of a particular grade or course.” 

For instance, if a student is building a bench in woodworking class, and wants to use a specialized wood not supplied in the course, the student may be charged for it. However, for those students who wish to build the same bench as part of the curriculum expectations, the Board must provide necessary materials to ensure they can complete the project. 

Examples of when fees can be charged include when an activity, material, course or program is:

• Not required as part of the regular day school program;

• Voluntary, and alternatives are offered;

• Non-essential or extracurricular in nature and is not required for graduation by an individual student; or

• A voluntary upgrade or substitute of a more costly material to the material provided for course purposes. 


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Bussing info readily available


Information on bussing for the upcoming school year is just a click or a phone call away, for parents and students in Eastern Ontario.

Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario is the transportation consortium for the CDSBEO and the UCDSB. GM and CAO, Ron Cotnam, said, “STEO has developed a web site where parents and students can access important information including pickup locations and the name of the contractor serving their area.”

Parents and students can visit the STEO web site at Parents can then click on the “Find My Bus Stop” button and fill in the required fields to access individual bussing information such as pickup location and times.

The site also offers information on school locations, guidelines for parents, bus cancellations, contractor information, bell times, and frequently asked questions. STEO will also make it easier for parents and students to check on transportation information by maintaining a special bussing hotline. The number 1-866-895-8480 is active until September 30th.