Dodge Ram stolen from Bradford commuter lot

A pickup truck was stolen from a commuter lot in Bradford.

On July 30 at about 8 p.m., South Simcoe police were called after a vehicle was stolen.

A 46-year-old Bradford man said he had parked his 2014 white Dodge Ram crew cab at 5:30 a.m. in the lot, located at County Road 88 and Highway 400. When he returned from work at about 7:30 p.m., the truck was gone.

The four-door pickup truck has an Ontario license plate AJ 67065. It has a black, cloth Lund tonneau cover, tinted glass, running boards, a sport hood with two black hood scoops and a custom chrome tail light.

There were also two child seats in the back.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact South Simcoe police at , or Crime Stoppers at .

South Simcoe police want to remind residents to “lock it or lose it” and share their top 10 tips to protect your vehicle and its contents:

— Ensure doors are always locked and the key is in your pocket.

— Park in well-lit areas.

— Never leave money in plain sight.

— Always roll up your car windows.

— Put shopping bags and other parcels in the trunk.

— Ensure GPS is put in a safe, out-of-sight location.

— Keep vehicle registration certificate and proof of insurance on you.

— Take electronics, including your cellphone, with you.

— Don’t leave your car running unattended.

— If parking in the same lot often, park in different spots each day.

Innisfil dairy farmers have high standards to follow

Gilford farmer Julie Neto lives on a century farm, which has been producing milk since 1931.

She isn’t surprised to learn a recent Toronto Star study showed there’s not much difference between her cows’ milk and that collected from organic farms in Canada.

A tracked organic milk production and found it was no healthier than cheaper conventional milk.

“It’s the same with everything they buy that says organic,” Neto said. “It’s kind of an inside joke among farmers: people go organic because they have no money for spray or fertilizer. That’s what they say.”

As a conventional farmer, Neto must comply with regulations from the Dairy Farmers of Ontario — the quasi-governmental organization that controls the organic and regular milk supply — and she and husband Armenio work hard to produce good quality milk.

“To say organic is better, I don’t believe it is,” Neto said.

Many organic milk buyers believe they’re getting a purer, more natural product without additives like antibiotics or hormones. Federal law, however, prohibits antibiotics and growth hormones in all milk.

Tests done on Ontario milk by the Star found no difference in the levels of metals or healthy fats. Neither contained detectable traces of pesticides.

“The milks are the same — they are identical with respect to the testing and quality standards. There’s no added hormones. No antibiotics,” Dairy Farmers of Ontario spokesperson Graham Lloyd said.

In Ontario, every truckload of milk is tested for the presence of inhibitors, including pesticides and antibiotics.

If a cow is sick and antibiotics are needed to treat it, the milk is discarded and not included in the daily haul for at least 14 days after treatment.

For organic farmers, that milk is removed for at least 30 days after treatment, or twice the minimum required for conventional use, whichever is longer, Ottawa-based Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) director Tia Loftsgard said.

Loftsgard critiqued the Toronto Star study by saying it wasn’t a robust scientific study. She said customers who buy organic milk are concerned about their health, animal welfare and environmental benefits.

“Choosing organic milk means consumers are supporting the reduction of toxic synthetic pesticide use on pastures and cropland among many other benefits,” she said in a statement. “Choosing organic dairy products is not only about the final product, nor the farm it was made on. It is about supporting a system that is trying to do better across the supply chain.”

In Canada, farmers are also not allowed to use growth hormones.

“If we use that, our license is gone,” Neto said. “If they find any drugs in the milk, we are in major trouble, and major financial trouble, too. If you’ve contaminated a load you’re in deep (trouble).”

Neto has about 40 milking cows on her farm, but also has young heifers and rotates the ones that are milked.

She has a tie-stall operation, where the farmer moves from cow to cow to do the milking.

They are usually two-and-a-half years old when they start. A fact milk drinkers might not realize is that farmers like Neto don’t milk the cows year-round.

“You can’t milk a cow from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31,” she said. “We have heifers who are bred and you can’t milk them if they’re going to have a calf. Say she gets bred Aug. 1. She would be due around May 7. You can’t milk that cow up to May 7. For me, I try to allow a 60-day dry period (before calving) to let her have a rest and build her body back up to go through the calving process.”

Innisfil dairy farmer Barbara Kell-Rose is following in her father’s footsteps and has mostly Holsteins on her farm. She said milk consumers should know they are buying safe products at the grocery store.

“I think some of the companies market things and try to add a bit of fear to promote their own product. But as farmers, we all care about our cows and are concerned it remains a safe product for everybody,” she said. “We all drink our milk and we were pleased to see the results from this study.”

While there are only two Simcoe County farms that process their own milk — in Loretto and in Creemore — milk drinkers can support other county dairy farmers by drinking Canadian milk.

“The minute you go to the store and buy four litres of milk, you are buying local. Look for that little blue cow that says it’s 100 per cent Canadian,” Kell-Rose said. “You are buying something safe, that’s tested. But it’s not just the farmers you’re supporting. There are feed suppliers and many other small businesses involved in the farm chain.”

— With files from Torstar News Service

Barrie police searching for donation jar thief

Barrie Police Service is looking for the public’s help after a donation jar meant for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada was stolen from a Beer Store this morning.

Barrie police received an alarm call from the Blake Street store at about 5:30 a.m. July 10.

The front window of the business was smashed and video surveillance showed a man enter the store and steal a donation jar located on the counter.  The suspect quickly fled the scene with only the jar in hand, Const. Nicole Rodgers said.

Police hope someone will recognize the man and contact the investigating officer.

He is described as:

Male, white;

• 50 to 60 years old;

• Wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with red trim, light coloured jeans and possibly white gloves.

Anyone who may have information should contact Const. T. Howlett at 705-725-7025 ext. 2683 or [email protected] Any information can be provided anonymously to  at 1-800-222-TIPS or leave an anonymous tip online at 

Cannabis users will drive into murky territory when they get behind the wheel

For the millions of Canadians who use cannabis, there are just 64 days left until they can light up a joint, inhale and breathe easy knowing that they are staying comfortably within the confines of the law.

But even after Oct. 17, when cannabis becomes legal, marijuana users who get behind the wheel will find themselves veering back into murky legal territory. While there may be new drugged driving laws on the books — and saliva testing devices heading soon to a police cruiser near you — critics say the legal landscape is still hazy for marijuana users who drive, with the potential to criminalize people who are not actually impaired.

Canadian regulators have now legal limits for blood concentrations of THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana — even though researchers say there is no direct relationship between impairment and specific levels of THC in the bloodstream. Critics have also pointed to potential issues with roadside saliva testing devices, which were not designed with Canadian winters in mind and require internal temperatures of at least 4 C to work.

Civil liberties advocates now worry the government has adopted a “zero tolerance” approach based on inconclusive science. They fear that sober people will end up receiving criminal records — and those at greatest risk will be medical cannabis users and racialized communities that are already over-policed, said Rob De Luca with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

“It’s going to criminalize a host of individuals who are basically going about their day, thinking they’re doing completely legal behaviour,” said De Luca, director of the CCLA’s public safety program. “The impact of bringing the full weight of the state and the criminal justice system against someone who may not have been impaired behind the wheel — that’s a remarkable thing.”

Critics like De Luca do not question the dangers of drug-impaired driving or the importance of taking public safety into account. Studies have shown that cannabis can and organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving have come out strongly in support of Canada’s new impaired driving laws.

Studies have also shown a after cannabis use, with some papers suggesting . A recent Statistics Canada survey also found that with a driver’s licence admitted to getting behind the wheel within two hours of consuming the drug.

But regulating cannabis is a much trickier proposition than regulating alcohol, which has now been thoroughly studied for decades. Alcohol is a simple molecule that eliminates from the body at a constant rate; cannabinoids like THC have complicated metabolic pathways and get stored in fat, releasing at different rates.

Frequent, chronic users — such as medical cannabis users — can also develop tolerance. And they can test THC positive for much longer periods than occasional smokers; , which looked at 30 men who were daily cannabis smokers, found that two people were still THC-positive 30 days after their last toke, albeit at low blood concentrations.

There is plenty of evidence that a person with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.08, Canada’s legal limit, is clearly impaired. But cut-off points are harder to generalize for cannabis users because THC affects everyone so differently, depending on a variety of factors — everything from a person’s history of cannabis use to the amount of fat tissue they have in their bodies.

“It makes it very complex to evaluate what a blood concentration means in terms of someone’s performance or behaviour,” said Dayong Lee, a toxicology manager with the Houston Forensic Science Center who has studied cannabis and impairment.

But Canadian regulators have decided to impose blood concentration limits for THC, even while acknowledging that “science is unable to provide general guidance to drivers about how much cannabis should be consumed before it is unsafe to drive or before the proposed levels would be exceeded.”

It is now illegal for Canadian drivers to have blood THC concentrations of five nanograms (ng) per millilitre or more — a crime that carries mandatory penalties of $1,000 and jail time for repeat offenders. Drivers with at least 2.5 ng/ml of THC in their blood, combined with low levels of alcohol, will also be charged.

Regulators have also made it a summary offence to have concentrations of between two and five nanograms per millilitre of blood. Offenders receive a maximum fine of $1,000 and a criminal record, which they can apply to suspend only after five years.

“The government should take every public safety approach that’s appropriate, but they shouldn’t take it when the scientific foundation is not clear,” said Kyla Lee, a Vancouver lawyer who defends impaired driving cases. “Meanwhile, people (will be) getting criminal records for drugs, which will render them inadmissible to the United States and have all sorts of consequences for employment, families, life insurance, etc.”

According to Dayong Lee, the cut-off points of two and five nanograms per millilitre are based on a handful of studies in which the majority of people showed some cognitive impairment at these concentrations. But these studies are based on relatively small populations and “it’s hard to generalize” their results, she said.

“I can think of less than 10 studies that support the five nanograms being impaired,” Lee said. “It’s really critical that drug blood concentration itself is not being used solely to demonstrate that this person is impaired.”

Forensic toxicologist Marilyn Huestis agrees. During her two decades with the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, she conducted numerous studies looking at cannabis impairment and was “amazed” to find that in , she could still detect signs of impairment even three weeks after their last usage.

But she has yet to see a significant correlation between specific blood drug concentrations and impairment. “My philosophy for identifying impaired driving … the first thing is that you show the person is really impaired. Because some people might have five (nanograms) or two (nanograms) and maybe they’re not impaired,” she said. “Then you do the biological sample to point (out) which drugs are causing the impairment.”

Yet, Canadian laws do not explicitly require drivers get tested for impairment before they can be charged with drug-impaired driving.

The Canadian government is also introducing new roadside devices that act as a kind of breathalyzer exam for drugs, including THC. But instead of blowing, drivers provide saliva samples that are tested on the spot using the same immunological technology as pregnancy sticks.

These devices can reveal whether specific drugs might be present, but further tests are needed to confirm blood concentration levels. The first device being considered for Canadian approval is the Draeger DrugTest 5000, which has received early criticism for requiring an internal temperature of at least 4 C. “Lots of Canada, lots of the time, is below four degrees Celsius,” Kyla Lee said.

In an email, Draeger Canada said its technology is “well suited to Canada, with internal temperature control functionality that helps ensure optimal performance in a broad range of conditions” but was unable to respond to followup questions by press time.

Huestis said she’s tested the Draeger DrugTest 5000 and it “works very well.” The device is already in use in countries like Australia and Spain, and in Norway, police apprehensions of DUI drivers more than doubled after the device was introduced, .

But other jurisdictions have reported lacklustre experiences with the device. According to tender documents, the Irish government anticipated that 50,000 tests would be performed with the device every year. Last year, however, police only used it on 612 drivers, with 90 testing positive for drug use.

A senior police officer that the length of time required to use the device — at least 10 minutes — was a deterrent for officers, who opted to focus on alcohol detection instead. He said some officers also struggled to get usable saliva samples from nervous drivers, whose mouths would dry up.

According to a federal Department of Justice spokesperson, the Draeger DrugTest 5000 was recommended for approval by the Canadian Society of Forensic Science, which is also evaluating a number of other drug screeners. The device is now undergoing a 30-day “public comment period” that closes on Aug. 18, after which the attorney general will decide whether or not to approve it for use in Canada.

Kal Johnson — Ramara Township Ward 5

My name is Kal Johnson, I’m 61 years old and I’m running for re-election as Ward 5 councillor in Ramara. 

My wife and I have resided in Lagoon City for 24 years, been married 40 years and have three children.  After running a successful business for 28 years (400-plus employees), I decided to retire in 2011.

I was honoured to be voted councillor in 2014.  Over the course of 40 years in business and now municipal experience, I have developed a skill set of financial management, employee relations, production, and project management. I am dedicated to our town and have diligently worked these past four years to implement fresh ideas and accountability.  Your support enabled us to make Ward 5 a better place to live.  We managed to table a balanced budget, reduce debt, find greater success in weed management in our lagoons and create a dog park — all in just four years!

I actively sit on 13 boards and a variety of committees. I have a reputation of being involved, knowledgeable and approachable.  

My vision for the next four years is to continue focusing on affordability, accessibility, safety and support, and building our community. 

We can do this by:

•    Finding greater efficiency in our water and waste treatment plant;

•    Dealing with the long waits at the railroad tracks;

•    Exploring new ways to manage our lagoons;

•    Regulating short term rentals within the town.   

I publish a monthly article which keeps residents educated and informed. If you would like to receive a copy, please email me for inclusion in the email blast.  

I’m excited to serve this community for another term. If you have questions or concerns, please call or email me.

Please consider showing your support with a lawn sign.  

Do you want to help our town continue to take action?  Let’s do this together — a vote for me is a vote for action!  

Kal Johnson

Jump for Justin raising cash for Youth Haven at Innisfil’s Skydive Toronto

Janette Boyter is taking quite a plunge to honour her son.

The Barrie resident is organizing the Jump for Justin skydive fundraiser in memory of Justin Keogh, who died in a car accident in January 2013, three days before his 19th birthday. The event takes place July 14 at Skydive Toronto in Innisfil, and more than 70 jumpers have signed up so far.

All proceeds will benefit Youth Haven, which provides shelter, programs and services to homeless youngsters throughout Simcoe County.

Keogh lived in the Wasaga Beach and New Tecumseth areas. He also spent about six years in the Air Cadets, reaching the title of flight sergeant.

Youth Haven aligns with Keogh’s passions — he wanted to become a counsellor to help troubled youth.

“Justin had asked to go skydiving,” Boyter said. “It’s a way for me to be closer to Justin. One of his friends had used Youth Haven. We want to help youth; it’s what Justin believed in.”

Youth Haven representative Isabel Alonso Vilarino called the pending donation a “huge help.”

“The money’s really needed; it costs about $125 a day just to have one (youth) at our shelter,” she said.

Organizers are seeking online auction items. More details on the event can be found at .

Ken Fowler – Innisfil Ward 5

Good day residents of Innisfil,

My name is Kenneth Fowler and I am running for Ward 5 on your council. 

Why do I say your council? Because it is the job and privilege of those elected to serve your needs — To build OUR town up and have all other townships look at what we have done as a benchmark for success.

For  years I have worked on multimillion dollar projects and organized scores of people toward a common goal, even if each had a different view of how to achieve it. It is the sparks created when ideas collide that birth new fires, forging our future.

I have a background in management and have been certified in Occupational health and safety.  I also have a provincial Red Seal.  Education that allows me to see alternative perspectives.  

I have been an active member of two school councils, one of which I chaired. I have contacts at news outlets and the local paper to highlight the good our community has done. 

Council needs to LISTEN before it speaks. Only then can issues be properly addressed.

Innpower — I will look into lowering rates without sacrificing service.

Urban sprawl — I want our town to grow soundly, instead of filling space until there is nothing left. Proper planning leads to a booming town, where ease of access is a right and not a worry.

Safety in our schools — Not one but two schools this year have approached council with issues regarding the welfare of the children who walk to school. It needs to be addressed.

The above items are only a few of the things I seek to accomplish as your councillor.

Lastly, I am asking for your vote, but not your money. I am campaigning with my own funds. I believe in MY town that much.

Fighting for your rights,

Ken Fowler