Mama Milly serves up spicy jerk chicken in Innisfil

Lorna Jarrett has been sharing her love of food with the public for four years, at the Mama Milly booth at the Innisfil Farmers’ Market.

“It’s my passion. It’s my heart. When you love something that much, it’s a joy to share it with others,” she said. “When I give someone the jerk sauce to taste and I see the look on their face, I feel good because I made that.”

The company is named in honour of her mother and mother-in law, and the famous jerk sauce is a family recipe that uses natural ingredients.

The business came about after Jarrett fell on hard times and she started bottling her jerk seasoning.

Next was Jamaican patties, then oats, and now raw oatmeal cookies.

, for orders and deliveries.

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.

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.

Robert North — SCDSB trustee Adjala-Tosorontio, Clearview, CFB Borden and Essa

Thanks for the opportunity to share information about my candidacy for English Language Public School Board trustee for the municipalities of Adjala-Tosorontio, CFB Borden, Clearview and Essa.

My educational background is in building operations and I work as a facility manager for a large charity  here in Simcoe County managing a modest budget of $1 million with 15 staff. I have been a resident of Simcoe County for the past 20 years and live in Essa Township with my wife Shelly. We have two daughters who graduated from the public school system and went on to post-secondary studies.

I have had the honour of being a trustee for 13 of the last 15 years, serving as vice-chair and chair of the board, as well as numerous committees. I have a track record of championing significant capital investments in schools including Nottawasaga Pines.

I have an excellent attendance record. I come to meetings prepared and my experience gives me an advantage in understanding how funding and policy flow from the ministry to boards, and how we operate within this framework to maximize services for students. With the recent provincial election now behind us, school boards are bracing for tighter budgets and swings in provincial policy. We need to work within these constraints and make the best long-term decisions for our students and communities as these changes occur.

I would be very grateful to continue to advocate for my local municipalities. I believe we must be fiscally prudent, but not at the expense of programming. I believe we must advocate not only for our existing students, but those who will follow. I believe that we must continue to press other levels of government to recognize that our facilities and programming serve not only students, but society in general.

I can be reached via mail at 121 Raglan St., Angus, Ont., L0M 1B0, through my website at , via email at or telephone at .

Mayor Mary Small Brett is not seeking re-election in Adjala-Tos

Mary Small Brett is bidding adieu to municipal politics.

The one-term mayor of Adjala-Tosorontio, who previously served as deputy mayor and councillor, is not seeking re-election in the October municipal election.

“I believe every season has its time, and there’s times for different things in one’s life, and it’s time for me to spend more time with family,” she said. “I know it’s cliche, but it’s true. There are also health issues in my family, not me thank heavens. But I really enjoyed serving the people of Adjala-Tosorontio. So it’s sad to leave but hopefully it will be in good hands.”

She admitted the turmoil that has consumed council over the past few years was also a factor.

Council has had to deal with the controversy surrounding the CAO’s mileage payments, the gravel pit battle that led to an OMB hearing, the OPP investigation into post-retirement benefits and other enhancements and the code of conduct/harassment investigations involving two members of council, Floyd Pinto and Bob Meadows.

Pinto and Deputy Mayor Doug Little are running for mayor.

New Tecumseth Ward 8 Coun. Chris Ross, who was first elected in 2014, will also not be seeking another term.

He said he enjoyed representing the Tottenham community but has become too busy with his full-time job

“You will have noticed that I have missed some meetings during my term, and those absences were due to the travel obligations that I have as a sales representative at Knoll Inc.,” he said. “As such, I felt it best to let someone who has more time represent the constituents of Tottenham.”

There are four candidates running for Ward 8 in the upcoming election.

“I would like to thank both my supporters and non-supporters for their input over my term,” he said, adding they have helped him evaluate and consider issues over the past three and a half years.

Marc Biss, a one-term councillor for Ward 1 in Alliston, also isn’t seeking re-election.

He announced the decision in April after failing to win the nomination for the federal conservatives for Simcoe-Grey.

Three people have registered to run in Ward 1.

Essa Mayor Terry Dowdall, who won the federal conservative nomination, isn’t seeking a third term as mayor.

Dowdall was first elected mayor in 2010 and previously served as deputy mayor and councillor.

Deputy Mayor Sandie Macdonald and former mayor David Guergis are running to replace him.

Editor’s note: A correction was made to this story on Aug. 8. The original version incorrectly stated councillors Bob Meadows and Floyd Pinto were subject to conflict of interest investigations. Simcoe.com regrets the error.

Beware of scammers collecting for Terry Fox run, Barrie police say

Police are warning Barrie residents about scammers going door-to-door and asking for pledges for the annual Terry Fox run.

Barrie police received reports of individuals canvassing local neighbourhoods throughout the city, under the façade of collecting cash donations on behalf of the annual run, which raises funds for cancer research.

The suspects, described as white males, have been reported using expired health cards for identification and pledge forms downloaded from the internet.

We do not ask volunteers/participants to seek out cash donations by going door-to-door. The majority of the participants in the annual run seek pledges online or approach people they know, when seeking donations,” said Michael F. McDougall, chair of Terry Fox — Barrie. Anyone wishing to make donations to the Terry Fox Run can do so, securely, online at

Anyone who suspects they may have been a victim of fraud is asked to contact police or the at 1-888-495-8501.

Wasaga Beach deputy mayor: I went to the OPP

Wasaga Beach’s deputy mayor says she took her concerns about the direction the municipality was taking to the Ontario Provincial Police in 2016.

Nina Bifolchi also said she approached the Ontario Ombudsman.

She made the comments during a July 10 special council meeting, during discussion on the non-binding letter of intent between the town and Fram Building Group.

She said she went to the OPP out of “my concern for the taxpayers, the future of our town, and the need to share information.

“The concerns I shared with them that day, and since, are now being realized,” she said.

The OPP has not yet responded to Simcoe.com’s request for a comment.

The statement caught other councillors by surprise — with a couple of councillors demanding Bifolchi explain herself.

“Today is the first day I’ve heard the comment that the OPP anti-rackets squad has been approached … I find that quite disturbing and I’d like to get more information,” said Coun. Bill Stockwell. “I find it hard we just hear that and leave it hanging there without some further information.”

Bifolchi declined to comment further, other than to state that as a resident and a member of council, “I can go to any higher level to share concerns … I’m not accusing anybody. I took my concerns to them because I felt the need to share it with them.”

Mayor Brian Smith requested she provide “full disclosure” of her comments to the chief administrative officer “so the rest of council, staff, and the town’s legal team can review (them).

“I think it’s a very broad statement that implicates many folks, including this whole council, staff, the legal team and the developer,” he said.

Otherwise, said the mayor, comments about going to the OPP were “white noise.”

“To make an accusation that perhaps there is something underhanded happening here is quite frankly uncalled for and is irresponsible, and it is unacceptable in my personal opinion,” Smith said. “I would invite anyone to look into process to do so because I’m confident … that nothing happened (that was) underhanded. I believe wholeheartedly in what we’re doing.”

Highway 12 bridge in Midland getting rehabilitated

While Penetanguishene dollars are going into the overhaul of Main Street, and Midland is using funds to tear up Norene Street, it is the provincial government that is funding the full rehabilitation of the bridge on .

JUST THE FACTS:

• The work is taking place to the east of Wye Valley Road and west of the entrance to the Martyrs’ Shrine.

• The contract was awarded to Clearwater Structures at a value of $3.5 million and also includes the rehabilitation of the Highway 12 bridge over the Coldwater River in Coldwater.

• Crews started work this spring, and the project is expected to be completed by fall 2019.

• The work on the top of the bridge is being completed in two stages — one half at a time — to minimize the impact on traffic and allow for efficient construction operations.

• One lane in each direction will be maintained and open to the traffic at all times.

• No full closures of that section of Highway 12 are anticipated during the duration of the project.

• The Ministry of Transportation owns approximately 2,800 bridges. General maintenance inspections are conducted on all bridges at least twice a year, with a full detailed inspection mandated every two years.

• The Ontario government is funding repairs and rehabilitation work on 221 bridges across the province, between 2016 and 2020.

• In 2014-15 the Ontario government committed to spending $190 billion over 13 years to expand and renew Ontario’s infrastructure.

How Barrie and Innisfil residents have adapted to Ontario’s minimum-wage increase

Stroud’s Jess Lee didn’t have any problems finding a landscaping job this summer.

While the teenager was able to secure employment with a relative, she said there are still plenty of jobs for younger people in the Barrie and Innisfil area.

“There are a lot of good first-time jobs here and you don’t need to have any experience,” Lee said. “You have to have some motivation, which comes with getting a job, no matter what. You just have to know where to go.”

Alcona’s Marco D’Orazio found two part-time jobs this summer.

“It’s not hard to look for a job,” he said, noting plans to use his summer income to pay for gasoline and car insurance. “There are places that are always hiring.”

On Jan. 1, as part of a series of changes to the Employment Standards Act, Ontario’s minimum wage increased from $11.60 per hour to $14.

Along with a hike in the general minimum wage, the student rate jumped from $10.70 to $13.15, and the liquor servers’ wage went from $9.90 to $12.20.

Leading up to the bump, there was speculation an increase would affect the number of seasonal jobs available to students, with Ontario Convenience Stores Association CEO Dave Bryans suggesting the wage increase would “undoubtedly mean fewer retail jobs, particularly for students and other part-time workers.”

According to Statistics Canada, Ontario’s unemployment rate has remained relatively stable in recent months, climbing from 5.5 per cent in December 2017 to 5.7 per cent in June. Barrie’s has fluctuated greatly, though, going from 3.4 per cent in December to 6.9 in June, leaving the city with one of the highest unemployment rates in Canada.

However, counsellors at the Simcoe County District School Board’s Career Centre say there has been no tangible uptick in requests for service since the wage increase took effect.

“(We’re) not seeing an increase or decrease in the number of vacant postings, so no difference from the increase,” Career Centre co-ordinator Louise Woodrow said. “Employers are still hiring and, in many sectors, they are reporting struggles with getting sufficient applicants in order to fulfil their vacancies. The Career Centre can assess an employer’s eligibility to receive government-funded wage incentives for new hires. There has not been an increase in employers seeking wage incentives since the increase in the minimum wage.”

But there are indications employers aren’t hiring as many seasonal workers, and some small businesses in the food sector have laid off staff. A few retailers, specifically grocery stores, also cut back hours of operation, she said.

It seems job expectations and workloads also increased, while some positions have been consolidated, Woodrow said.

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Barrie Olive Oil owner Denise Tucker retained all 10 employees without dramatically increasing prices.

A few adjustments were made — some shifts are staggered based on peak service times, and she’s approached suppliers about more flexible payment schedules, bulk buying and better box and bottle prices — but the downtown location began operating on Sundays earlier this year. And there are plans to hire six new staffers when the company expands into Newmarket’s Upper Canada Mall this fall.

“It hasn’t changed too much for us; we had very minimal price increases, but we didn’t implement them on Jan. 1,” she said. “I started creating efficiencies in July of last year, knowing this was coming. It doesn’t matter what the government says: I would love to pay everyone twice what they’re making. But we’re a three-year-old business that’s still trying to grow. The owner does some sacrificing. I get paid what I get paid and that hasn’t changed in three years.”

Tucker said she makes less income than some of her employees and admits any expectation that people can live off minimum wage is unrealistic and “disgusting.”  

Each staffer received a pay bump this year, regardless of what they were making prior to Jan. 1. But she’s also added to their responsibilities and reduced employee incentives.

Tucker warned consumers should be prepared to pay higher prices and see reduced services at other businesses.

“You try to make decisions based on keeping your consumer and employee,” she said. “It’s a balance.”

While many businesses adjusted operations in recent months, area food banks have yet to feel the pinch.  

“When it first happened, we heard a couple of stories of people being laid off,” Barrie Food Bank community relations manager Michelle Simons said. “Whether that was because of the increase of not, we’re not sure. But since that time, we haven’t heard anything or seen differences in our numbers (compared to last year).”

Innisfil Community Church’s Rev. Howard Courtney agrees.

“We’ve been pretty consistent here,” said Courtney, who operates the food bank out of the church.

In May, the Innisfil facility provided food boxes to 62 families. In June, 61 were assisted, and the facility is aiming for the same target in July, he said.

New Midland high school won’t be ready for September

The new Georgian Bay District Secondary School will not meet its September opening.

“At this point, the target is not to move into in the fall,” said Sarah Kekewich, manager of communications for the Simcoe County District School Board.

Students will be returning to the old high school in September.

Kim Pickett, manager of design and construction for the board, said a move-in date hasn’t been finalized.

“Once it’s ready, we will make an announcement and have a move-in process. We will try to do that at a school break if it’s ahead of the end of the school year,” she said.

The move will be done all at once, rather than staggered to finished parts of the building.

“We find it less confusing that way,” said Pickett.

The new high school is being built at on what was the athletic field of the old Midland Secondary School.

The Midland school was renamed in September 2016 when students from Midland and Penetanguishene secondary schools were merged and Penetanguishene Secondary School was closed. The name Georgian Bay will stand when the new school opens.

The school will be 12,873 square metres (138,564 square feet) and will accommodate 984 students. The GBDSS website listed the population of the existing school to be 807.

The groundbreaking for the new school was held in early June, 2016 and construction started that September. It was scheduled to open September 2018.

The election of Premier Doug Ford will not affect the construction, said Pickett.

“We were fully approved and funded before we put a shovel in the ground,” she said.

Similar to other new secondary school builds, the new high school will have specialized areas for hospitality and cosmetology and have a double gym.

“It’s going to be more modern than what was there before. The design is making efficient use of space,” Pickett said.

The consulting team includes Allen and Sherriff Architects Inc., DEI & Associates Inc., Stephenson Engineering Ltd. and WMI & Associates Ltd.

Once the school is open, the old building will be demolished, said Pickett.