Midland veteran Frank Graham dies at 95

Frank Graham, a well-known Midland veteran, died on July 13 at the age of 95.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 80 in Midland will be honouring the Second World War veteran with a special service on July 23. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. with a memorial service following at 3 p.m.

Graham was a member of the Midland Legion for 60 years, serving as president of branch 80 for a short stint during that time.

“We don’t have a lot of older vets left and it’s always a shame to see one of them pass away,” said branch 80 president Ron Adair.

 “I’ll miss his presence. Whenever Frank was around he was always straight and tall and very forthright with what he said. Our thoughts and prayers go to his family.”

Graham was 17 years old when he joined the Canadian Armed Forces and the fight against the Nazis.

He started his training with the militia in Toronto when he was a teenager, and enlisted as soon as he was old enough. After completing training, Graham was shipped overseas and spent time in Africa, France, Sicily, Italy, Germany and Holland.

He was stationed in Holland in May 1945 when Canadian troops liberated the country from four years of Nazi control.

The Dutch people never forgot what the Canadian soldiers did for them, and thanked Graham every chance they got.

“He was a very genuine, friendly and caring person,” said Midland Mayor Gord McKay. “He was also a hero with his war record and the inspiration he created, not only in the Canadian community but over in Holland and building the bonds between our two countries.”

The Canada Committee of the Netherlands over the past decade. In 2013, 2015 and 2017 residents of Markelo, Netherlands, held the Frank Graham Cycle Liberation Tour, which saw residents ride from Normandy’s Juno Beach to Markelo.

In September 2017 they unveiled the , which is red with a black centre, similar to a poppy. The small stock of tulip bulbs shipped over to Norman’s Garden Gallery in Midland quickly sold out last fall.

“As a community member, Frank was certainly recognized and regarded very highly, but Frank was a very humble person,” said McKay. “Every time you tried to point out that he was a special individual he would decline and say, ‘It’s not about me. It’s about the guys or the community.’”

In May, a small group of dignitaries came over from the Netherlands on behalf of the Canada Committee of Markelo to honour Graham with . This plaque commemorates the long-standing thanks the Dutch citizens have for the many Canadians, including Graham, who fought and were instrumental in gaining their freedom.

“We are really losing someone who was very important to our community. The good news is that his memory will be long with us and will help us all,” said McKay.

Adjala-Tos man charged for driving while drunk and drugged

A 57-year-old Adjala-Tos man has been charged for driving while impaired by drugs and alcohol.

Nottawasaga OPP officers arrested the man after stopping a pickup truck Saturday, Aug. 11 around 1:30 a.m., on County Road 13 near 5 Sideroad.

Officers determined he was impaired after speaking to him.

He was arrested and charged.

His driver’s licence has been suspended for 90 days under the Administrative Driver’s Licence Suspension (ADLS) program and his vehicle was towed and impounded for seven days.

He was released from custody and will attend a future court date at the Ontario court of justice in Bradford.

The Nottawasaga OPP would like to remind the public to call 911 if they suspect someone is driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Penetanguishene mayor takes top admin role in Wasaga Beach

Penetanguishene’s mayor has a new job in Wasaga Beach.

Gerry Marshall has been appointed the town’s chief administrative officer, replacing long-time CAO George Vadeboncoeur who announced his retirement in late July.

He is stepping down as mayor; he filed for re-election — because of the timing of the announcement his name remains on the ballot — but said he will not actively campaign. Marshall said if he is re-elected on Oct. 22, he will decline the post.

Marshall was elected Penetanguishene’s mayor in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. He has served as the warden of the County of Simcoe since 2014. The Municipal Elections Act requires that he step down from his mayoral job; as he is no longer a mayor, he is also no longer a county councillor.

Essa mayor and the county’s deputy warden, Terry Dowdall, will serve as warden until the end of the term.

“I was surprised like most people when I heard the announcement,” Dowdall wrote in an email. “We are fortunate to have great County Councillors to whom I will reach out to for assistance and extremely qualified and dedicated staff to continue moving forward with all our services.”

Marshall said he actively sought out the job after Vadeboncoeur’s announcement, and reached out to Mayor Brian Smith, Deputy Mayor Nina Bifolchi, and the town’s alternate county councillor, Coun. Bonnie Smith. He was one of two candidates presented to council by the town’s consultant on the file, Nigel Bellchamber, for consideration for the job.

He starts Aug. 23.

“I wasn’t seeking to be a CAO, or interim CAO, of any other municipality in the province,” Marshall said. “I’m here because Wasaga Beach is doing everything that excites me about the municipal world.

“They’ve got a vision for the downtown, they’ve got the beachfront, they have tourism, the town is growing. It was an excitement level for me, and that’s what attracted me,” he said. “George’s retirement opened up an opportunity that I thought I would thoroughly enjoy.”

Marshall’s contract is for six months, though he said he will pursue the role when it becomes permanent.

Marshall worked in senior management roles in the telecommunications industry for 30 years.

Mayor Brian Smith said Marshall’s business and political experience stood out to him when it came to choosing a candidate.

“Both candidates were very strong candidates … but because of my knowledge of (Marshall), I know Gerry to be a builder, I know him to be a person who acts with speed and precision,” he said. “In the last four years working with Gerry on county council, under his leadership, county council has accomplished a lot of great things.

“Gerry was much more well-rounded for me when I looked at where our community was headed. Gerry’s experience, both in municipal government and the corporate world, was a total package to me.”

Is this the alternative to smoking? Walk or Run to Quit debuts in Barrie

It’s time to butt out and get your bottom into shape.

Barrie Running Room will introduce the 10-week Walk or Run to Quit program Aug. 20. The program runs across Canada, but this is the first time it has come to the city, Running Room area manager Barry Smith said.

The program helps participants replace smoking with a healthier activity — learning to walk or run five kilometres. Research shows becoming physically active increases the chances of quitting, since exercise helps curb cravings and withdrawal symptoms, he said.

”The program is designed to allow participants to go at their own pace,” Smith said. “Not only do they have the support of the program, they also receive support from other smokers in the group who are going through similar challenges.” 

In 2017, more than half of participants interviewed reported being non-smokers six months after completing the program. Participants also continue to run, on average, three times per week, he said.

The program is a collaboration between Running Room and the Canadian Cancer Society.

“Participants (also) get quit smoking support, including a society guidebook,” society spokesperson Karen Kuzmich said.

The program starts at 6:30 p.m. and Running Room is at . For more information, or to register, visit . 

Midland, Penetanguishene released tons of sewage into Georgian Bay

In 2016, Midland and Penetanguishene discharged nearly 15 million litres of sewage into Georgian Bay. 

That is about six Olympic sized swimming pools.

The sewage being released by Midland is both untreated and partially treated, while the bypasses from Penetanguishene is fully treated effluent.

The Georgian Bay Preservation Alliance, a registered not-for-profit corporation, released a report on June 27 detailing the sewage that those municipalities have been dumping into Ontario waterways.

According to data they collected from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Town of Midland released 9.7 million litres of sewage into Georgian Bay during a number of rain storms in 2016. These discharges lasted a combined 29 hours.

Penetanguishene released over 5.2 million litres of treated sewage into the bay during a combined 31 hours and 35 minutes of discharges that same year. 

During severe storms, older municipal sanitary sewer systems get overwhelmed by the inflow of rain water, given the fact that some storm sewers and sump pumps are improperly connected to the system.

In downtown Midland, the sanitary sewer lines are cross-connected with the storm water lines. When the town receives excessive amounts of rain over a short period of time the municipal sanitary systems can’t handle the increased flow and sewage is released into Georgian Bay.

Andy Campbell, director of water and wastewater services for the Town of Midland, says that occasionally untreated and partially treated sewage gets released by the municipality. One discharge is located directly off the town dock, while another overflow release is at the sewage treatment plant.

“Our licences to operate from the Ministry of the Environment allows us to do those discharges. When these discharges happen, there is no violation of the law,” said Campbell. “When we have these, we have to notify the ministry, but we are not in violation of any rules.”

Campbell also notes that Midland’s treatment system deals with eight to nine million litres of sewage flow in an average day. During storms this can increase to as much as 20 million litres.

It would cost an estimated $4 million to fix the cross-connecting sewers downtown.

Jeff Lees, Penetanguishene CAO, say the town spent $28 million to renovate the Philip H. Jones Pollution Control Plant to mitigate the risk of significant events going into Georgian Bay and that they haven’t released anything for a number of years.

“Any bypasses that occurred were minor third-stage partial bypasses that were at the very last stage of the treatment process and all disinfected with chlorine,” said Lees.

Members of the Georgian Bay Preservation Alliance learned about this practice when it was publicized at a Midland council meeting, .

“We have quite a few members who are permanent or seasonal residents in Georgian Bay. They wanted to know if this was a common practice and why it was a practice,” said Jon Telch, a spokesperson for the Alliance.

The group decided to look into the situation and reached out to the province for data.

Bypass and overflow information is reported by municipalities to the ministry through the Spills Action Centre and then input into a database.

While information is regularly reported to the province, Telch and his colleagues believe the public needs to be notified when a municipality discharges sewage.

“Right now, there is no form of immediate reporting…something saying: ‘Hey you might not want to go swimming or canoeing today because yesterday there was a torrential rain storm and thousands of litres of sewage was dumped,’ ” said Telch. “People have the right to know when these dumps take place, for how long and how much was dumped.”

In May of 2017, Bill 141 – The Sewage Bypass Reporting Act, was introduced by Sylvia Jones an MPP for Dufferin-Caledon. This Bill would require the ministry to promptly notify the public when, where and why a sewage discharge occurred and at what time the measured volume of discharge was. The bill is still in limbo at Queen’s Park, as Jones was unable to get it passed before the recent provincial election.

As for the impact to the local water quality, there are various local organizations regularly testing and monitoring water throughout the region.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit monitors designated public beaches on a weekly basis from mid-June through Labour Day weekend.

“We take water samples from five separate points at public beaches and those samples are analyzed by our provincial laboratory for E. coli, as is it the most specific indicator of fecal pollution,” said Christina Wieder, Safe Water Program Manager with the Health Unit.

When high levels of E. coli are found, swimming advisories are put in place and swimming in not recommended.

“You could potentially get ear, eye, nose or throat infections or get a stomach illness if the water is swallowed,” said Wieder.

All swimming advisories are posted with signs at the beaches and on the .

The also tests the water at 14 different locations throughout the watershed including one location near the Midland harbour and another at the bottom of Penetanguishene Bay.

“We have a partnership with the Ministry of Environment and we send our samples for nutrient testing and heavy metals. We get algae analysis done and zooplankton counted,” said Aisha Chiandet, water scientist with the SSEA.

“Overall across 2017 the water quality hadn’t changed a whole lot compared to the long-term records.”

Editor’s note: A correction was made to this story on July 8, 2018. The story stated that Penetanguishene released over $5.2 million litres of sewage into Georgian Bay in 2016. To clarify, the town did not release any raw sewage into Georgian Bay. According to Penetanguishene CAO Jeff Lees, the bypasses that occurred were third-stage partial bypasses that were in the very last stage of the treatment process and disinfected with chlorine. Simcoe.com regrets the error.

Construction should begin on these Barrie bridge projects in the coming years

Remember the diverging diamond intersection planned for Mapleview Drive’s Highway 400 exit?

Don’t expect it to be built any time soon. The province has excluded funding for construction work on the Mapleview overpass from its 2017-2022 Southern Highways program, Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Katrina Lalor said.

“Improvements at the Mapleview interchange are not included,” she said. “Therefore, the ministry is not planning to begin construction within the time frame.”

The DDI concept has been implemented in jurisdictions across North America.

A DDI is designed to allow through traffic and left turns at the same time. This gives roadways the ability to handle traffic volume more efficiently while cutting down on potential collision points, when compared to a traditional intersection.

However, there is greater certainty on timelines for other bridgework projects within the city.

About 10 underpasses/overpasses in Barrie — excluding the municipality’s recently started Harvie Road bridge construction — need major upgrades. The ministry estimates roughly $78 million in bridge-related construction along the 400 through Barrie is required in the coming years.

Perhaps the most visible project currently underway is at Tiffin Street, which should be complete by fall 2019.

Once finished, the north and south lanes over Tiffin will be replaced, and the grading will be raised to improve sightlines in the area. Work on the northbound lanes should be complete later this year, Lalor said.

“It is expected the (northbound) work will be completed … with (northbound) traffic being shifted to the new lanes and (southbound) traffic being shifted to the old (northbound) lanes, allowing for bridge work and grade work to occur on the (southbound) lanes,” she said.

Meanwhile, the northbound bridge over the nearby Barrie Collingwood Railway line will also be replaced; the southbound bridge will be rehabilitated.

And the Dunlop Street bridge replacement and interchange reconstruction is scheduled to start sometime between 2019 and 2021. The detail design process should start this fall.

Ditto for the construction timeline on a similar project at Essa Road, though detail design is planned for early 2019.

“The Essa project includes bridge replacement and interchange reconstruction and is shown for delivery between 2019-21 in the latest (ministry) Southern Highways program,” Lalor said.

The bridgework was first recommended as part of the Highway 400 planning and preliminary design study unveiled in 2004. That document covers a 30-kilometre stretch of the 400 through Innisfil and Barrie, running between highways 89 and 11. 

A Freedom of Information request filed by Simcoe.com last year revealed the entire plan, stuck largely in preliminary stages of development for more than a decade, has a draft cost estimate of about $464.9 million, though that figure is subject to change and excludes property acquisition, legal fees and utility relocation expenses. The study calls for an expansion in the number of lanes — up to 10 from the current six — between 89 and Duckworth Street. One high occupancy vehicle lane would be included for each direction. Improvements would also be made to the interchanges at 89, Mapleview, Innisfil Beach and Bayfield streets.

Further details on the study are available at .

‘Very tragic incident’: Barrie police chief speaks out on Olando Brown investigation

Barrie police are fully co-operating with an Special Investigations Unit investigation into the death of 32-year-old Olando Brown, Chief Kimberley Greenwood said Tuesday afternoon.

In a brief statement given to a handful of local reporters June 26, Greenwood said the force is required by law to stay mum on the “events and circumstances” that lead to the death of Brown on June 22.

“This was a very tragic incident, one which touches family, friends and our whole community,” she said. “I recognize this is a very tragic incident that is difficult for our community. But legislation prevents the Barrie Police Service from speaking (about) this incident.”

Brown was arrested and arrested Friday around 2:30 p.m. Shortly after arriving at the police station, he went into medical distress. Officers provided first aid and contacted County of Simcoe paramedics.

Those paramedics took Brown to Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Greenwood said she has the “utmost trust and confidence” the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) will conduct a “thorough, timely and complete investigation”.

“Barrie Police is committed to our community and we will continue to deliver service excellence,” she said.

Greenwood directed all inquiries to the SIU before exiting the room.

A video taken by a bystander and posted on YouTube shows two officers grabbing Brown and telling him to stop resisting while they force him to the ground. The officers used “on body” Taser shots to subdue Brown. A third officer also joins in to hold him down.

The arrest took place in downtown Barrie, near the Five Points intersection.

Three SIU and two forensic investigators are assigned to the case. Three subject officers — the Barrie police officers involved in the arrest — and one witness officer have been designated.

In an interview with Simcoe.com June 24, Brown’s friend and ex-spouse Donna Dubois said she is convinced the officers used the Tasers too much, which she believes led to Brown going into cardiac arrest.

The charges that led to Brown’s arrest were not released but Dubois said they were related to a “minor domestic” incident with his girlfriend when Brown grabbed her phone.

Dubois said Brown came to Canada from Jamaica with his grandmother 18 years ago when he was 14, “to try to find a better life”. 

In a social media post Tuesday evening, Mayor Jeff Lehman admitted the lack of information surrounding the case is “frustrating”. But he also stressed the need for patience.

“The sudden death of Mr. Brown is a tragedy, for everyone involved, and most especially a family now grieving their loss,” Lehman, who sits on the police services board, said. “I understand the concerns in the community. However, the SIU must be allowed to conduct their investigation into what transpired. With the SIU investigation underway, it means I can’t comment further.”  

— With files from Rick Vanderlinde

Basil Clarke — Ramara Township mayor

Dear constituents of Ramara Township:

I have considered it a privilege to serve Ramara Township in multiple capacities over the past 18 years: two terms as councillor, two terms as Deputy Mayor and one term as mayor. I’ve chaired numerous committees, both in Ramara and at the Simcoe County level. I have a great working relationship with our surrounding municipalities and local First Nations communities. With this experience, I feel that I am the best candidate to lead council as mayor for the next four years.

I have extensive experience working with the Simcoe County Economic Development committee, in the position of chair, for three years. Working alongside the economic development committee, we have sold 23 acres of Ramara’s industrial land. The businesses are not up and running yet, but they soon will be and will provide Ramara Township with much needed commercial taxes and jobs. My goal for the next four years is to sell the remaining 22 acres.

In the term prior to my time as mayor, Ramara was cut off from all provincial grants. After numerous meetings with Municipal Affairs, I have re-established a good working relationship with the province, and Ramara has access once again to grants. Our bank account has gone from a $3 million deficit to a $2 million balance, and we have increased our reserves to $6 million. Continuing with this fiscal responsibility, I want to ensure that in the next four years, as we move forward with new projects, we never jeopardize our finances again.

We need to continue our partnerships with Simcoe County and SWIFT to bring affordable high-speed internet to Ramara. This will not happen overnight, but I have already begun this process. This will also involve creating new partnerships, one possibility being Ramara township building towers and renting space to smaller internet providers.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve this wonderful community.


Basil Clarke

How you can prepare for a blackout, according to HVAC company Reliance

Almost 15 years ago — August 14, 2003 — a widespread blackout left approximately 10 million Ontario residents without power during peak summer temperatures.  

While it’s hard to predict when or if another outage will strike, it is always good to be prepared in case of such an emergency. To help safeguard against the perils of a summer blackout, Reliance Home Comfort is pleased to offer the following household tips:

• Stop the surge: Unplug all unnecessary appliances in the event of a blackout to help guard against a surge once the power is turned back on.

• Power line protection: Stay away from any downed power lines and report them to your utility company right away.

• Fridge basics: Food can remain cool in a refrigerator for up to four hours and in a freezer for up to 48 hours if it’s fully stocked. Ensure refrigerator and freezer doors are shut tightly to prevent premature spoilage.

• Emergency essentials: Power outages are unpredictable and can sometimes drag on for days. Every home should have a fully stocked emergency kit with three days’ worth of supplies that is safely stored and easily accessible. Non-perishable food, a can opener, two litres of water per day for each family member, basic toiletries, blankets, insulated clothing, flashlights, extra batteries, garbage bags and a first aid kit should be included.

• Generator safety: Residential generators can come in very handy during a power outage but must be installed with care. Generators should only be installed outside the home to ensure proper ventilation and to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

For more about the company, visit .

Marg Sharpe – Ramara mayor

My commitment to you:

Govern with strong business ethics

Common sense decisions — what’s best for the township and the taxpayers

Accessible — listening to the concerns of our residents. Following up in a timely manner to emails and phone calls.

Visible — my only job will be to represent you as mayor — out and active in our communities, proudly representing our township.

I am in full support of our local businesses, community centre boards, library board, committees and all of our volunteers that work so hard in our communities.

My priorities for our township — “It’s Time for Change”

Roads/drainage — roads are our Township’s No. 1 asset.

Finances/taxes — Tax dollars must be spent with a proper understanding of the impact, both short and long term on the township.

Economic development — Industrial and commercial development and affordable housing.

Communication — broadband, rural high-speed internet is a must.

Contaminated soil — Fill bylaw, close loopholes.

Township Effluent Waste Facility Spray Field — ready to go when the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan comes up for review 2018/19.

Work with homeowners concerns for their lifestyle living near quarries.

OLG funding, lost revenue over the years coming into our Township. This needs to be aggressively pursued.

CN double crossing at Concession Rd. 47.

My municipal, business and community experience:


Ramara Township Councillor — four years                

Simcoe County Councillor — Alternate                

Your elected representative on numerous boards and committees


Sales/management for an international packaging company — 15 years

Program manager for a Canadian-owned national merchandising consultant company — 15 years

Managed high profile clients marketing plans, budget and submitting reports on their business performance.


Residence: Ramara Township for 13 years.  married, proud parent and grandparent

Bayshore Village Association — President for five years; vice-president for two years. 

For more information please contact me at: