Cheek swab event helps identify Alzheimer’s risk for Barrie seniors

The same cheek swap to determine a person’s genetic risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease can also be used to further research into the prevention.

At a sold-out event at Barrie’s Grace United Church, more than 100 people participated in the cheek swab.

“It’s a testament to how involved people want to be in Alzheimer’s prevention,” Dr. Sharon Cohen, medical director of the Toronto Memory Program, said.

The swab is used to look for the risk factor gene, ApoE-4 (Apolipoprotein E), linked to the disease. Anyone with the identified gene is invited to join a prevention study.

Once swabbed along the inside of a person’s cheek, the swab can be run through a DNA analyzer. At the Toronto Memory Program’s clinic, it’s a Spartan Cube. Cohen said it’s the smallest device in the world able to analyze DNA. Other samples are sent off to a medical lab. The results of the Barrie event from June 26, are available in early July.

“A few years ago we didn’t have anything like this or a means to do the cheek swab,” Cohen said.

“People are always interested in learning about what’s going on in the field,” Cohen said. “And we’re in the era of trying to prevent the disease, not just play catch-up.”

By identifying the ApoE-4 gene, Cohen said, doctors can identify people who qualify for a prevention study.

“ApoE tells us how rapidly one’s symptoms evolve,” Cohen said. “Genetics play a role in many ways including response to treatment and progression of the disease.”

In Canada, about 25,000 new cases are identified annually.

While genetics play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, preventive measures such as proper diet, getting enough sleep, and maintaining physical and social activity are a factor.

“As far as lifestyle goes,” Cohen said. “The earlier one starts the better.”

While prevention studies focus on people over 60, baseline memory testing is available at any age.

Dr. Cohen will hold another cheek swab event at Grace United Church () on July 18, at 3:30 p.m.

Orillia staff to sniff around alternate sewage pumping sites

Opposition to a sewage pumping station proposed for a property near Orillia’s waterfront has prompted council to postpone a decision on the location.

The city will approach private landowners to gauge interest in a possible sale of property for an alternate pumping site, though staff warned that exploring other sites could set the project back by nearly two years and impact other work.

“If you choose an alternate site, you will have to revisit the (environmental assessment) process,” said project engineer Stan Martinello.

The pumping station proposed for municipal land directly east of Cedar Island Road is one component of a broader plan to realign Centennial Drive.

Some residents, including a number living at the nearby Elgin Bay Club, oppose the location due to its proximity to a creek that flows into Lake Couchiching.

They say leaks of sewage or fuel used to run a backup generator could pollute the lake, adding that the area in question is unstable, reclaimed land and located on a flood plain.

The new pumping station would have a two-hour reserve capacity and a diesel generator to ensure continued operation during power outages, staff said.

In the face of public opposition, council recently directed staff to report on logistics, timelines and costs of investigating alternative sites.

Exploring other locations could take 21 months, including public input, and cost $160,000.

Investigating alternate sites would additionally complicate work related to the reconstruction of the Front Street/Neywash corridor.

Staff will instead talk with landowners near the existing Elgin Street pumping station to determine if an appetite exists for the sale of private lands to accommodate a pumping station of greater capacity.

Regardless of the outcome of that work, council could still decide to erect the station on Cedar Island Road.

Were that to happen, the city should expect to face a challenge, said Tom Griffiths, a resident of the Elgin Bay Club.

“Hopefully, we don’t have to do this, but we sure as heck are prepared to do it,” said Griffiths.

Coun. Ted Emond was hesitant to delay the project, citing concerns over costs and potential impact on waterfront-area improvements.

Staff will report back Sept. 17.

Barrie fraudsters suck the cost out of Dyson vacuums

Two suspects are wanted after at least two distraction frauds at a Barrie Canadian Tire store.

Barrie police say the suspects made off with two Dyson vacuums valued at about $800 each for an incredibly low price.

The suspects were seen on surveillance camera May 22 and June 4 in the vacuum area of the Bayfield Street store.

The first male applies a sticker bar code from a cheaper item on the Dyson box. He returns the item to the shelf and leaves the store. A short time later, the second male enters and selects the incorrectly labelled Dyson. 

He goes to the cashier, where he lifts the item so it can be scanned and then distracts the cashier from looking over the item.

After reviewing the store’s inventory numbers, investigators believe the fraud has been going on for some time. A full review of video surveillance will determine how many items were taken, police say.

The first suspect is described as:

Male, white

Thin build

45 to 55-years-old

Short brown and grey hair

Wearing black jacket, blue jeans, brown shoes and black shirt

The second suspect is described as:

Male, white

Wearing brown shoes, blue jeans, blue plaid shirt, black baseball cap and black jacket

Anyone with information is asked to contact Const. Guy Peters  at 705-725-7025 ext. 2761 or [email protected] Any information can be provided anonymously to  at 1-800-222-TIPS or leave an anonymous tip online at 

Tottenham Mall renovations will be completed soon, says owner

The owner of the Tottenham Mall says the massive renovation project that started last year will be completed soon.

Property owner Justin Piersanti said the work will wrap up at the end of June or by mid-July.

The reno didn’t move as fast as he had hoped.

“It’s an old building, so when you start to substantially dig into it, you find unexpected or unforeseen things you need to deal with, and it causes delays,” he wrote.

Piersanti said the site is being transformed into a “hybrid mall/plaza,” with the LCBO, Pet Valu, the Beer Store and Pharmasave facing the street.

He said CIBC is also staying, and Pharmasave will also have a doctor’s office.

The washroom was upgraded and is accessible, and doors will be accessible once the entrances are completed, he added.

The north/south hallway was removed but the east/west one will remain.

Piersanti declined to say how much money has been spent on the renovations.

The project started early last summer after Vince’s Market announced it was moving into the old grocery store space.

The Pam Kirkpatrick branch of the New Tecumseth Public Library will leave the mall at the end of its lease this year.

The library will be relocated to a new building that has yet to be constructed at the Tottenham Community and Fitness Centre.

Ontario Parks finds no takers to build Wasaga washrooms

Ontario Parks will be back to the drawing board after a second effort to find a contractor to rebuild the washrooms at New Wasaga and Allenwood had no takers.

The province had requested bids in March; a second submission was published in May with a closing date of June 15 and a construction start date of Sept. 10.

Ontario Parks director Bruce Bateman confirmed no one responded to either bid.

“We are currently reviewing our options regarding next steps,” he stated in an email to, noting Ontario Parks has “worked collaboratively with municipal staff to develop options for improving the washroom facilities, and we are pleased that design plans have been finalized.

“Ontario Parks recognizes the importance of Wasaga Beach Provincial Park and the recreational and economic benefits it provides to the local area.”

That may not be comfort to either visitors to the beach or nearby residents, noted Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson, who promised during the provincial election campaign to make the reconstruction of the washrooms a priority.

“On muggy days, the smell is unbelievable when your cottage is literally a few yards away.

Wilson said he’s already been in the ear of the new Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Jeff Yurek, to advance the issue.

“I took five minutes to explain it to him (prior to their first cabinet meeting) and he couldn’t believe it. It’s definitely a priority,” Wilson said. “He said he’ll look into it and get back to me … I don’t understand why (a company) wouldn’t want to do this project.

“Some people think it’s funny when we mention (vault privies) down here, but it’s not funny when you’re trying to enjoy a day at the beach. It’s affecting our tourism business.”

Coun. Ron Ego, , said there may be an opportunity for the municipality and Ontario Parks to work together on seeking a contractor.

Ego said he hoped that could open the job up to a broader range of contractors — which might make it more likely that someone would submit a bid.

Orillia prof delves into the mind of Trump with provocative lecture

Is Trump a narcissistic psychopath?

The question is bound to generate lively discussion during a kickoff event for a thought-provoking lecture series aimed at residents with a thirst for lifelong learning.

“It’s not political,” said Scott Maclagan, a member of Third Age Learning (TAL) Orillia, established in partnership with Lakehead University. “It’s going to be an analytical kind of presentation.”  

The attention-grabbing topic is the focus of an Aug. 28 talk by Dr. Beth Visser, assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies and psychology at the Orillia campus.

Visser will explore all sides of the controversial U.S. president’s personality during a one-hour address in the main lecture hall starting at 7:30 p.m.

The talk will be followed by a ‘W(h)ine and Jeez’ reception in the second-floor art gallery.

Proceeds will go to support a series of stimulating talks this fall — organized under the Third Age Learning banner and aimed at the over-50 crowd.

“It is a no-credit opportunity to get some higher education,” Maclagan said. “You don’t have to write an exam.”

Tickets to the fundraiser are $20 and include the wine and cheese event.

To register, go to and look for Third Age Learning under the community engagement and lifelong learning section.

James Kowbel – Wasaga Beach councillor

A Toronto native, I have had ties with Wasaga Beach since 1961, first as a visitor and later as a full-time resident.

I have been involved in successful businesses for 37 years.  I was employed at Weston Bakeries Ltd/Ready Bake Inc. from 1980 until 1999 where I rose to the position of corporate controller. I then travelled to Calgary to invest in a Tim Hortons franchise making a success of a location that was abandoned by two other franchisees.  

It was always my dream to retire to my properties in Wasaga Beach and in 2017 I returned to stay as a permanent resident.

Although I have never held a political position I decided to run for office because of the direction some of the current council is headed – the improper vision of the hacked town website and the development proposals for Main Street and the town-owned lands on Beaches 1 & 2. 

The development plan awarded to a single developer lacks a coherent plan to continue to welcome visitors to those areas while guaranteeing a commitment for development along Main Street that is appropriate for the needs of the town.  

Wasaga needs a government licensing office, shopping and entertainment facilities and maintenance and improvement of our historical tourist attractions.  A library and sports arena would serve us better in other areas of the town.  We need to partner with developers who are committed to completing those visions, not out for their own profits.  

I have and will continue to listen to everyone involved with this great community not just the few who wish to profit from the beautiful assets that we have been blessed with.

I currently support Nina Bifolchi for mayor, Sylvia Bray for deputy mayor and Dean Robinson for councillor.

Contact information:

Facebook website:

Phone Number:

Daniel Boucher — Barrie Ward 4

My Name is Daniel Boucher, and I’m seeking your confidence in Ward 4. My life in Barrie began almost three years ago, when I met the most patient, caring and beautiful woman, whom I married just this summer in our backyard, absorbing our four children into a large, chaotic (at times) and immensely energetic family. My kids (ranging from four to eight) have tremendous impact on our views of family oriented community programming and activities. School volunteer opportunities, coaching sports and shift work consistently keep us busy.

My life as a public servant began in 2004 when I joined the Canadian Forces Reserves as a medic. I successfully challenged the Ministry of Health, AEMCA testing, certifying as a primary care paramedic following college. In 2009, I proudly donned Canada Border Services Agency blue fatigues and started a very rewarding career in law enforcement, also serving as chief union steward. I continue to serve you federally, with honour, having received numerous accolades. My work experience is extremely varied, working industrial construction, fraud restoration and even as a baker for numerous years in my youth, among other things.

My vision in regards to council is solely dependent on you. I believe in true democracy, where the quorum of the populace drives the voice of their elected representatives. My intentions are to represent the ward with ethically influenced canvassing, perpetual communication with constituents seeking feedback and ideas, and business-driving initiatives for the city that will see an increase in jobs, efficient service delivery and economic prosperity. I don’t see value in our city maintaining a deplorable unemployment rate, deficient trade skills programs for our youth and a downtown core that lacks investment into mental health, addiction and community based policing. Conversely, I’d like to see massive provincial contributions to our highway infrastructure and bypasses, keeping up-to-date with population growth, industry projections and seasonal traffic demands.

I’m Daniel Boucher, your new neighbour, a new voice for change!

Campaign office/home: 61 Barwick Dr., Barrie, Ont.






Month-long closure planned for stretch of County Road 13 near Lisle

A main road in the north end of Tosorontio will soon be closed for a month due to a construction project.

County Road 13 between Tosorontio Sideroad 17 and Tosorontio Sideroad 15 will be off-limits to nonlocal traffic from July 30 to Aug. 29.

The closure is for repairs to the Tioga Bridge over the Pine River.

The road will remain open to locals to access all residential and commercial properties.

Nonlocal traffic will be forced to use County Road 5, Concession Road 3, and Tosorontio Sideroad 17 as the detour route.

The county asks drivers to take extra precaution and to observe all detour and advisory signage during the ongoing construction activities.

For questions contact Jae Park, project engineer for the County of Simcoe, at ext. 1166 or email .

Doug Measures — Clearview mayor

Community service is in my nature. Having proudly served the citizens of Clearview Township as your Ward 1 councillor for 12 years, it has been an enriching time to see our community grow and flourish with many new businesses setting up shop and being successful. Helping small businesses, large employers and the agricultural community be successful in a globally competitive market has been a continued focus of my council work. I place great importance on finding balances within our community recreation facilities and its programming that help keep local residents active and involved.

Our township can continue to be successful if we rebuild a positive partnership with our community volunteers. The confidence in our leadership at council has been damaged this past term. It is evident in the lack of public participation in surveys or appearances at council meetings where there are opportunities to ask questions and get direct answers. I am offering a change in mindset and working environment which includes the way your council conducts your community business. It is my hope citizens will approach their mayor or councillors with ease and without hesitation to ask questions and share opinions knowing with certainty they will be heard and understood. Council makes decisions best when they are well-informed. As your mayor, I will insist that council remains engaged and informed before any direction is given to our staff.  We are well-staffed with dedicated professionals that go the extra mile for us every day. This renewed commitment to communication and improved partnerships must include you, our citizens, community volunteers, council and township staff.  

I have lived here in Clearview Township since 1977. I was in the room when Clearview was created at the first Clearview council meeting. My wife and I have two sons. I am recently retired from a 34-year career in community television production, having worked my entire time here in the South Georgian Bay Area. I have the experience, the honesty and the integrity to be your mayor and I have the passion and time needed to dedicate myself fully to serving Clearview every day. You can visit for more information or feel free to contact me directly ator . I can also be found on Facebook at