David Shanahan – The North Grenville Times http://www.ngtimes.ca The Voice of North Grenville Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:24:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 The Future http://www.ngtimes.ca/the-future/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/the-future/#respond Wed, 10 Jan 2018 19:59:06 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10467 Lots happening in North Grenville these days. The announcement of a new hotel coming to Kemptville is an exciting development for all sectors of the local economy. For quite a few years now, the need for more hotel accommodation in Kemptville has been clear, and there have been a few entrepreneurs interested in launching a […]

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Lots happening in North Grenville these days. The announcement of a new hotel coming to Kemptville is an exciting development for all sectors of the local economy. For quite a few years now, the need for more hotel accommodation in Kemptville has been clear, and there have been a few entrepreneurs interested in launching a project over those years.

The problem has always been a chicken and egg kind of thing. On the one hand, if we had a large hotel, we could attract conventions, seminars and other gatherings to places like the Municipal Centre and Kemptville College. We could also have even more sporting events, as the North Grenville Curling Club and Little League Baseball have managed to put on. Imagine, it was felt, what more we could do with our facilities here, if more people could only stay the night, instead of having to commute back and forth from Ottawa or Brockville.

There is no doubt that the number of major events which could be held in the municipality would greatly increase with a corresponding increase in accommodation. But, on the other hand, those who researched the economics of opening another hotel here found that, as it stood, there would not be enough business to keep a hotel in profit until more events could be brought in. Weekends would be fine, but the mid-week stays would not meet the minimum required to make a hotel commercially viable.

You will remember that the Holiday Inn chain had announced that they were opening a hotel on the land where Starbucks is now operating, and their sign stood in that empty field for many, many months. But no hotel arrived. So, the news that the Comfort Inn were planning to open a location in Kemptville has been met with a somewhat ambivalent response. The news is great, and the possibilities opened up by the hotel chain announcement are virtually unlimited for North Grenville. We certainly wish the parties involved all the best and would love to see them succeed.

So, also, would those people in the community who have already jumped in with ideas about how the swimming pool in the new hotel could be opened to the public, if the Municipality would get involved in some kind of deal with Comfort Inn and Suites. That, I fear, is hoping beyond what is likely, or even possible, though it would be one way to get a swimming pool in the area – possibly the only way it could happen, given the economics.

The other big news, of course, is the agreement which has, it seems, been finally signed between Ontario and North Grenville regarding the future of the Kemptville College campus. Perhaps now the taxpayers will find out precisely what the financial terms of the deal are, and will be hoping that they are as favourable as we have been led to believe.

Whatever the agreement involves, it will be of genuine importance for the economic development of North Grenville in the coming decades. The College is a prime piece of real estate, and, as with the hotel news, it holds great potential for a wide variety of agricultural, commercial, educational and social initiatives. The deal has taken three years to reach, in which time a lot has changed. The entire campus property is not included in the agreement, and what the future of the excluded property will be is of concern. Will it be sold for development of other kinds?

The farm and arena on the east side of County Road 44 is not part of the municipality’s share of the land, so that valuable asset remains outside municipal control. What the future holds for that parcel will be fascinating to see. In fact, what the Municipality does with the section they are assuming will also be a fascinating conundrum for whatever Board of Directors are appointed to run the not-for-profit body it is intended to establish to administer the property. Who will those Board members be, who will nominate and appoint them, and what role will the Municipality have in the process? What commitments have been made by the CAO and Mayor in reaching this deal with Ontario?

What are the intentions of the two French language School Boards already using buildings and facilities on campus? It is rumoured, at least, that one of them has plans to buy their section of the land and building they occupy. Will the planned school at the corner of County Road 43 and Somerville Road go ahead, or will the College become the new educational centre for french language education in the area?

Yes, there’s a lot happening in North Grenville theses days, as we enter an exciting year of elections and change. To steal and mangle a quote: Though Trump is angered and Putin is vexed, we’ll still stick around to see what happens next!

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Ferguson Forest Centre Saved http://www.ngtimes.ca/ferguson-forest-centre-saved/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/ferguson-forest-centre-saved/#respond Wed, 10 Jan 2018 19:15:09 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10464 The recent news that the Ferguson Forest Centre was threatened with closure reminded everyone how important an asset it is to this community. But this was not the first time the FFC nearly closed forever. As we mark the anniversary of amalgamations and the Common Sense Revolution of the Mike Harris Government, it’s timely also […]

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The recent news that the Ferguson Forest Centre was threatened with closure reminded everyone how important an asset it is to this community. But this was not the first time the FFC nearly closed forever. As we mark the anniversary of amalgamations and the Common Sense Revolution of the Mike Harris Government, it’s timely also to remember the events of the 1990’s and the FFC.

The announcement, when it came, was like a bolt from the blue, bringing shock and dismay to the residents of North Grenville. Of course, North Grenville didn’t yet exist, for this was October, 1995, and the Ontario Government had released their first targets for closures and cuts under the Mike Harris “Common Sense Revolution”. The G. Howard Ferguson Forest Station, covering 1,100 acres in Oxford on Rideau Township, immediately north of the Town of Kemptville, was scheduled for closure by June of the next year.

The Forest Centre had been opened in 1945, when the Province bought the old Moore farm to establish both a mixed forest for lumber and other specialist work, and, most centrally, a tree seedling nursery to produce stock for reforestation efforts in Eastern Ontario. It had been found that much of the land in the region was susceptible to devastating loss of top soil once trees were removed by farmers. Areas such as the one now covered by Limerick Forest, soon became unable to sustain farms and settlement. Other places actually became sandy deserts, as the tree cover was removed. The role of the Forest Station in Kemptville was vital in reforestation, because, as one expert put it: “Indigenous species must be grown in the proper time zone and soil conditions. Seedlings from other areas are not satisfactory and do not grow well. The difference from one area to another is highly significant.”

In addition, the closure of the Ferguson Station would mean loss of jobs and a precious asset to the Oxford-on-Rideau Township area. It all seemed so unnecessary to local residents, workers and staff at the Station, local politicians and the forestry industry. Why shut down such a valuable resource. The Ministry of Natural Resources [MNR], who operated the Station, pointed to the one million dollars they lost every year at the Station. There were serious questions in the community about the efficiency of MNR operations, however. The Government were charging ten cents per tree to buyers, when it was calculated that the market would easily pay three times that amount.

The community mobilised and a Community Consortium was formed, representing the Eastern Ontario Model Forest, Oxford Township politicians, forestry companies and the local residents, to draw up a business plan to present to the Province. But meetings with the Minister in charge, and correspondence with the Premier’s office seemed to produce no response. No matter how viable the Consortium’s business plan was, the Province seemed determined to push through with the closure of the Station. Only strong representations from MPP’s and Oxford Council delayed the removal of equipment from the Station. But the MNR’s plan was to sell off all the two and three-year old trees and plough the rest of the twelve million seedlings into the ground. As it takes three years for seedlings to become available for harvesting, this would leave any potential buyer of the Station with no crop for three years after purchase. Clearly, the Province was not interested in maintaining the Station as a tree nursery, regardless of the essential role it played in reforestation of eastern Ontario.

Once again, the community mobilised. Urgent representations were being made to Oxford-on-Rideau politicians, and, in March, 1996, the Oxford Council wrote to the MNR about buying the Station at a minimal cost. The Station closed, as planned, in June, 1996, and the MNR started the process of selling the property. A public meeting was called at the North Grenville District High School to put pressure on the Government and inform the public. But, although more than seven hundred people had signed a petition supporting the Consortium’s efforts, only about seventy turned up for the meeting. What was worse, of the nine guest speakers booked to appear, five dropped out and another one arrived but refused to speak to the meeting. It seemed that the commercial sector was losing interest in the issue. Fortunately, it was decided at the meeting that night that volunteers would be asked to come to the Station and weed and irrigate the three million seedlings in order to save the crop for at least another year.

The Province now had to dispose of the property, and under Ontario law, the right of first refusal went to the Oxford Township. In July, MNR asked Oxford if they were interested. Oxford Reeve, Don Cameron and Councillor Owen Fitz’gerald argued in favour of Oxford expressing an interest in the purchase and Council agreed unanimously with this approach. Don Cameron informed MNR of Council’s decision and added a very significant statement. Oxford would not be changing the zoning on the land, no matter who bought it. It would remain agricultural land. This would obviously make the property harder to dispose of and limit MNR’s choices in the matter. This stand may well have saved the Station.

Weeding and irrigation continued to be provided by volunteers, organised by the Consortium. Local people came to help, as did people from Ottawa and surrounding areas. Buses of Mohawks arrived from Akwesasne to help in the work, and the extent of the voluntary effort must have come as a great source of encouragement to those working to save the Station. Ontario now decided it only wanted to sell about 360 acres of the Station, the part that was cultivated. 1997 arrived without any resolution to the issue. Ontario was asking Oxford Township to pay $1.2 million for the 360 acre package (including equipment, buildings and crops). Oxford still wanted all 1,100 acres but by May, the Township had accepted that only the 360 acres were available. They made an offer of $525,000 for the land, buildings, equipment and crops, and repeated the veiled threat that the land would never be rezoned by the township.

By August, 1997, an agreement was reached between Oxford Township and the MNR, and the Township set up an Advisory Board, a group of volunteers who would oversee the newly-acquired Station and try and build a solid economic foundation for future growth. Previous customers of the Forest Station committed to buying trees from the new facility and by January, 1998, half a million trees had already been sold, about half of the available stock for that year. The Township of North Grenville, in one of its first acts, agreed to hire a Manager to take over the day-to-day operation of the facility, and with the arrival of Ed Patchell, still working there today, a new era had arrived for the Station and a tremendous asset had been acquired by the new municipality. It would take a long time to get things on a secure footing. But as the headline said in March, 1998: the “Forest Station was Back in Business Again”.

We can only hope for a similar outcome this time.

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Another year over… http://www.ngtimes.ca/another-year-over/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/another-year-over/#respond Fri, 05 Jan 2018 07:07:55 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10404 Well, that was an interesting year, wasn’t it? No matter where you focus, national, international, provincial or municipal, there was always something interesting happening. Of course, interesting is not always a good thing to be, but that’s the way it is. It was Canada’s 150th, and North Grenville celebrated that in a somewhat restrained way. […]

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Well, that was an interesting year, wasn’t it? No matter where you focus, national, international, provincial or municipal, there was always something interesting happening. Of course, interesting is not always a good thing to be, but that’s the way it is. It was Canada’s 150th, and North Grenville celebrated that in a somewhat restrained way. Unlike Kemptville’s 150th in 2007, there was no concerted effort made to make the year one of celebration by the municipality. They put the emphasis on Canada Day itself, which turned out to be an unusually wet one in 2017.

But there were plenty of other activities and events to bring out the crowds and get people involved in marking the national birthday. Kemptville Live was, once again, a huge part of the summer, putting North Grenville on the national festival map for the third year. What better way to mark Canada 150 than to have Gordon Lightfoot, Burton Cummings and Leona Boyd, legends all, on stage in our neighbourhood?

The Annual Sweetheart Brunch in February, raised over $25,000 for local charities. Throughout the Summer, fundraising events continued almost every weekend, as our community continued its fantastic tradition of compassionate fun. Kicking the Summer off, as it were, was the Kemptville Youth Centre Breakfast at the Christian Reformed Church, by which the KYC raised their goal of $4,000, the money going towards providing insurance coverage for the Centre and its many programs.

There was a BBQ in aid of the Jumpstart program at the Canadian Tire the same day, raising money to help local kids get involved in sports, providing equipment, registration and other costs for those who might otherwise lose out on sporting activities. The BBQ raised $880 plus $333 from Canadian Tire staff, making a total of $1,210. Every Dollar raised is matched by Canadian Tire. That same weekend, the Kemptville Rotary held their annual Family Duck Race, BBQ and Decoy Challenge, and there was the Hike for Hospice at the Ferguson Forest Centre, an Open House at Bayfield Manor, and Community Living North Grenville’s 50th Anniversary Gala featuring Bowser & Blue. And that was just a few of the events taking place on the first real weekend of Summer.

A great victory was achieved by this community in February, when the Ontario Government reversed its decision to close the Service Ontario office in Kemptville after a tremendous public campaign produced a petition against the closure signed by more than 10,000 residents and neighbours. The hope now is that the equally crazy decision to close Oxford-on-Rideau Public School can also be reversed.

We could fill this issue, and more, with everything that happened locally in 2017: the South Wind Brigade crisis in June, the Kemptville Legion celebrating 85 years since its charter was issued and the 60th anniversary of their building on Reuben Street; the visit of the Premier to the KYC in August; the renovations to the Armoury Building; not to mention all of the marvellous musical events put on during the year. The Sound of Music, We’ll Meet Again, and all of the Christmas season musical evenings held throughout the region.

We also lost irreplaceable parts of our community in 2017, including Terry Butler, who served on Council from 2003 until 2014 and was instrumental in ensuring the survival of the Ferguson Forest Centre. Speaking of which, news came out in November of a threat to the FFC, one which we hope will be countered in 2018.

What about 2018: is it likely to be an anticlimax after Canada 150? Definitely not. Not only does North Grenville mark its own birthday – twenty years since amalgamation of Oxford-on-Rideau, South Gower and the Town of Kemptville – and all that has led to, but we will be enjoying not one, but two elections in 2018. In June, we’ll have a provincial election, closely followed in October by our own municipal election. There will be no shortage of things to talk, write and think about in the coming year.

The New Year is always a time to reflect on the past, while looking to the future. It’s not just the twenty years of North Grenville that we remember, but also the 227 years since this land was first surveyed for settlement. Lots has happened here, enough to give us a sense of perspective and an awareness that things change, people come and go, no-one and nothing is permanent. But still, we have our part to play in this ongoing saga, our chapter to add to the shared story of what is now called North Grenville, or Merrickville-Wolford, or even Ontario, Canada. May we all play our part in honour and integrity and caring. From everyone at the Times, happy New Year to you all. It should be fun!

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Community Christmas dinner http://www.ngtimes.ca/community-christmas-dinner-2/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/community-christmas-dinner-2/#respond Thu, 04 Jan 2018 20:00:49 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10421 The third annual Community Christmas Dinner was served up between noon and 2 pm on Christmas Day at St. John’s United Church Hall. Once again, and in spite of the really bad road conditions on Christmas Day, the Hall was filled with members of our community getting together to celebrate the festive season. More than […]

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The third annual Community Christmas Dinner was served up between noon and 2 pm on Christmas Day at St. John’s United Church Hall. Once again, and in spite of the really bad road conditions on Christmas Day, the Hall was filled with members of our community getting together to celebrate the festive season. More than 100 people were served in the hall itself and another 40 meals were delivered to residents who couldn’t get out to the event. Another 50 or so meals were packed to go for people’s neighbours, or meals for later.

The food that was left over at the end of the day will not go to waste either. It will be made into meal-sized portions and frozen for distribution to people over the coming weeks.

This is a completely volunteer-driven community event, and all of the food was donated, prepared and served without cost to anyone. Considering the weather, and the new location of the Dinner, it was a great turn-out this year. Having lost Leslie Hall, the venue for the previous two Community Christmas Dinners, it was a a generous offer on the part of St. John’s to host the dinner this year. It may become repetitive to comment on the generosity and community spirit that characterises North Grenville, but events like the Community Christmas Dinner is another wonderful network of volunteers and caring businesses we have the privilege to have as neighbours. Many thanks to all involved in making this another Christmas gift to the community.

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More child care spaces in Kemptville and South Mountain http://www.ngtimes.ca/child-care-spaces-kemptville-south-mountain/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/child-care-spaces-kemptville-south-mountain/#respond Thu, 04 Jan 2018 19:54:58 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10401 The Ontario Ministry of Education has announced that the Upper Canada District School Board [UCDSB] will receive over $7 million in capital funding for early years capital construction projects. Two of the schools to receive funding for new child care spaces are Kemptville Public School and Nationview Public School in South Mountain. “We are absolutely […]

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The Ontario Ministry of Education has announced that the Upper Canada District School Board [UCDSB] will receive over $7 million in capital funding for early years capital construction projects. Two of the schools to receive funding for new child care spaces are Kemptville Public School and Nationview Public School in South Mountain.

“We are absolutely thrilled by this news of having five new capital projects (including two additions to be built) supported through this funding from the Ministry of Education,” commented UCDSB Chair Jeff McMillan. “This provincial funding will further our Board’s efforts to create and sustain the child care spaces we need that will support local families in the Rockland, Russell, South Mountain, Kemptville, and Brockville communities.”

It is believed that one of the two additions mentioned by the Chair will be at the North Grenville District High School. The child and family projects and child care projects support the government’s intention to create additional spaces and access to licensed child care across the Province of Ontario where service and program gaps may exist. The provincial government announced last week that nearly 200 schools would benefit from this funding province-wide. The announcement advised that “helping more families access quality, affordable child care is an essential part of the government’s plan for a fairer, better Ontario. It will give more children a safe, caring environment in which to learn and grow, and allow more women to go back to work and pursue their careers, which is critical to closing the gender wage gap.”

“Our school district is heavily invested in early learning at all levels,” stated UCDSB Director of Education, Stephen Sliwa. “We appreciate the Ministry of Education’s continuing support of these efforts through this recent announcement of capital funding for child care capital projects and for the child and family program projects. I can just imagine how families with young children will value this recent development.”

Overall, the UCDSB will receive from the Government of Ontario approximately $7.7 million to undertake projects including 49 total spaces; including 10 infant, 15 toddler, and 24 preschool at Kemptville Public School, which will receive $1,603,262, with additional funding for an addition to the school intended for this specific purpose, amounting to an additional $1,068,841. Nationview Public School will get 34 total spaces; including 10 infant and 24 preschool, at a cost of $524,337.

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It was 20 years ago today… http://www.ngtimes.ca/20-years-ago-today/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/20-years-ago-today/#respond Thu, 04 Jan 2018 19:50:33 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10386 Societies have always seen natural phenomena as portents, signs of good or ill, marking some major historic event. If that’s the case, then the coming into being of the Township of North Grenville (as it was called until 2003) had a most impressive event to mark its arrival on the scene. The Ice Storm of […]

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Societies have always seen natural phenomena as portents, signs of good or ill, marking some major historic event. If that’s the case, then the coming into being of the Township of North Grenville (as it was called until 2003) had a most impressive event to mark its arrival on the scene. The Ice Storm of 1998 began twenty years ago, January 4, 1998, and was one of the most serious natural disasters in Canadian History.

The story of how the Townships of Oxford-on-Rideau and South Gower were amalgamated with the Town of Kemptville on January 1, 1998 is one that will be told in this paper over the coming weeks. But the gathering of the very first meeting of the new Municipal Council of North Grenville was somewhat overshadowed by the enormity of the Ice Storm itself. In just one week that January, more than twice as much ice pellets and freezing rain arrived in our area than would normally fall in an entire year. The loss of electricity was felt right across Eastern Ontario and as far east as Montreal.

Those of us living in North Grenville at the time were among the one and a half million Canadians who found themselves in the cold and dark at the worst time of the year. Many can remember having to bed down in the W. B. George Centre for at least a few nights. For a brand new Township Council, this was a real baptism of ice, and it was long days and even weeks before people could begin to return to a normal life again.

There is to be a special gathering on Sunday, January 14, at St John’s United Church in Kemptville to share memories, mementoes and stories of those amazing weeks twenty years ago. Beginning at 2.30 pm, there will be a talk by Don Cameron, the first Mayor of the new Township of North Grenville, who was faced with the challenge of dealing with the Ice Storm in his very first days under the new amalgamation scheme. Everyone is invited to come by for an afternoon of chat and memories.

It was twenty years ago today, as someone wrote, and it is hard to believe that the years have gone by so quickly. Twenty years of North Grenville. We were part, albeit without being asked, of one of the biggest social and political changes to hit Ontario since Confederation. Between 1996 and 2001, the number of municipalities in the province dropped from 850 to 444. Communities, like South Gower, which had existed since 1799, became absorbed into the new body. The Town Hall in Oxford Mills, which had been the capital of Oxford-on-Rideau since 1857, was no longer the social centre it had been for 140 years.

This year of 2018 is an anniversary one for North Grenville and its people, but it is one that not everybody will celebrate. Perhaps it is to be expected that old loyalties and identities take time to adapt and change to new circumstances, and the manner in which amalgamation was imposed on the people of the three older municipalities did not help to create a strong new identity. But we are still here, and still adapting. The Ice Storm and the creation of North Grenville will be forever intimately connected in the minds of those who were here at the time. The storm of the Century was an impressive portent for the new Township. The effects of both are still with us.

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Reason to believe http://www.ngtimes.ca/reason-to-believe/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/reason-to-believe/#respond Thu, 04 Jan 2018 19:31:05 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10430 I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist. I mean, look around you: everywhere in the entire universe there are signs of design, elements fitting together perfectly, a mathematically exact set-up, from the cosmos to the DNA strand. For centuries, mathematicians and scientists and artists, all have pointed to what they call the Golden […]

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I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist. I mean, look around you: everywhere in the entire universe there are signs of design, elements fitting together perfectly, a mathematically exact set-up, from the cosmos to the DNA strand. For centuries, mathematicians and scientists and artists, all have pointed to what they call the Golden Ratio, the incredibly constant ratio which exists in nature, in cosmology, anatomy, everywhere you look. Even the most determined atheists have to use words like “design” when they talk about the world around us, within us, and above us. “Mother Nature”, they say, “has designed this and that to work this way”. Intelligent people have devoted their lives and careers to explaining how everything became so wonderfully designed without an actual designer (assuming they don’t believe in an actual Mother Nature, that is).

There is simply too much evidence of a pattern, a design, in what I have to call creation; so why is there such a resistance to the fact? Very strange theories have been put forward by very otherwise intelligent people to explain how it all started, how it got to where it is now, and where it’s going in the future. Some of these theories are just too unbelievable to take seriously. The universe, some say, just started. One second there was nothing there, the next second, poof! Except that seconds couldn’t exist before time, etc., so that’s another issue. Was that first “something” alive, organic, inorganic? Why did it suddenly come into being all on its own? I think it takes far, far more faith to believe that, than to believe in a Creator. Honestly.

The thing is, creation by a Creator fits the facts far better than any alternative. Otherwise, you have to believe in something out of nothing, without cause or reason. Then you have to believe that everything that exists today came from that very first popping into existence (unless you believe it happened over and over again, which just adds to the conundrum). Then, in another amazing once-in-a-trillion-billion event, somewhere on the planet (once the planet had actually formed, of course) a single cell of life appeared somehow. Of course, at some point there had to be another identical appearance of life, and somehow those two random and unbelievably rare cells, or whatever they were, had to meet up and procreate others of their kind. These, then, having found each other in the vast distances of the universe, had to survive long enough to produce future generations.

This is, perhaps, a somewhat simplistic account of the theory, but, even in its simple state (or perhaps because of its simple state), it is very hard to believe. I mean, even looking at the human race today, can we honestly think we were the “fittest to survive”, naked, without technology or strength to overcome the natural predators and environment of the planet. This takes far more faith than I can muster, I admit.

But, it may be said, this is what science tells us actually happened. Is it, really? I am a believer in science, as well as God. I resent those who abuse science by making it seem to claim more than it does. Assumptions are not science. Neither are theories that are yet unproven and untested, not to mention those theories that, by their nature, cannot be tested and proved. No matter if the universe is hundreds of thousands, or hundreds of billions years old, most of what we base our ideas on in relation to the natural world come from scientific observations and statistics that come from no more than a moment in that long story. We are letting the philosophies of recent decades influence the work we do in observing and recording what we see. This is not clever, nor is it good science.

Observation can equally tell us that there is a definite pattern to the universe, that things happen rather too smoothly for it to be just a random collection of accidental and meaningless phenomena. It is also obvious that there is something wrong also, especially in the humans of Earth. They do not do what is in their best interests: they are slowly killing the very world upon which they depend, all in the name of greed, selfishness and narrow sectional prejudices. And yet, there is something else, something inside each of us that knows that this is wrong. There is more to us than just a collection of physical and electrical impulses: we have a soul. We have the facility to recognise and appreciate beauty: in nature, in art, in music, in physical form. We know that there is good and evil in the world, and we can generally tell the difference. There is more to you and I than meets the eye.

This, whatever it is, is beyond the remit of science, because it cannot be measured, it cannot be recreated in a lab. But that does not mean it does not exist. Science cannot speak to what is outside its proper sphere of activity: but that does not mean that it is not real.

I am not talking about religion here: I’m simply pointing out certain facts and experiences which the majority of human kind has witnessed and understood to be true for as long as we have been. That kind of evidence and the testimony of what is around us in the universe, makes faith easy and rational. Denying it is neither.

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Throwback Thursday: Oxford Station Cheese Factory http://www.ngtimes.ca/throwback-thursday-oxford-station-cheese-factory/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/throwback-thursday-oxford-station-cheese-factory/#respond Thu, 28 Dec 2017 17:43:01 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10380 At the turn of the Twentieth Century, cheese factories were a major part of the Ontario economy, and North Grenville and the surrounding area was one of the largest producers of cheese in Eastern Ontario. Every community seemed to have had its own cheese factory, and the work there, and revenue from making cheese, provided important income for farm […]

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At the turn of the Twentieth Century, cheese factories were a major part of the Ontario economy, and North Grenville and the surrounding area was one of the largest producers of cheese in Eastern Ontario. Every community seemed to have had its own cheese factory, and the work there, and revenue from making cheese, provided important income for farm families during the May to November cheese-making season.

In 1904, there were twenty-six cheese factories sending their product to the Kemptville Cheese Board for sale. Each cheese weighed around 90 pounds, and the Oxford Station factory supplied 60 cheeses in one week in June, 1904. This was small in comparison with the total of 2,139 sold through the Kemptville Board that week, but its output increased enormously over the years, eventually reaching 20,000 boxes a year in the 1930’s.

The Oxford Station factory was built in 1899 by James Sanderson, a man of great vision and energy, who built the first refrigerated storage facility in Eastern Ontario. James Sanderson served on the Oxford-on-Rideau Council, was Warden of the United Counties, and was M.P.P. for the riding for thirty years, between 1907 and 1937. The Sanderson family operated the cheese factory until it burned down in 1963.

Cheese was an important export item for Canada, reaching a peak level in 1904, when 234 million pounds of cheese was exported to Great Britain, that was 95% of all the cheese imported by Britain that year. But, aside from increases during the two world wars, exports of cheese declined steadily after that. Public demand for liquid milk drew supplies away from cheese-making in the small community factories, and the introduction of large, automated facilities made the local cheese factory less and less economically viable.

But for generations of people in North Grenville and beyond, the daily run to the cheese factory was both an economic and a social occasion, and there are still a number of these buildings dotted around the municipality, reminders of a long-gone era.

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And so this is Christmas… http://www.ngtimes.ca/and-so-this-is-christmas-2/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/and-so-this-is-christmas-2/#respond Wed, 20 Dec 2017 19:57:32 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10327 Everyone has a favourite Christmas carol or two. Some are older, religious ones, like “Away in a Manger”, or “Joy to the World”. Others are secular and more recent, like “Silver Bells”, or “White Christmas”. For me, every year, when I think of songs for the season, John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” is […]

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Everyone has a favourite Christmas carol or two. Some are older, religious ones, like “Away in a Manger”, or “Joy to the World”. Others are secular and more recent, like “Silver Bells”, or “White Christmas”. For me, every year, when I think of songs for the season, John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” is what comes to my mind. I think it’s the question he asks that really speaks to me: “And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?”

I don’t take this as a threat, or a guilt thing: it just makes me think about the year that has passed and wonder what I have done with it. The years are passing more and more quickly now, and there are not as many left to me as there were, so the question becomes ever more relevant. Each of us have to answer it for ourselves, but there is something about this issue of the Times that is so encouraging for me, and, I hope, for you too.

Look at all the reports of people helping people. All of the support being given to the food banks, the service clubs, those working to make sure that as many people (and their pets) as possible have a happy Christmas. In the world in which we live, good news is sometimes hard to find. Cynicism and pessimism often seem the predominant attitudes, and there are too many times when such negativity seems justified.

Whether you are a Christian or not, Christmas is one time of the year when the negativity can be put aside for a few days or weeks. If you can ignore the commercialism and greed, not always easy to do, there is so much positivity around. People smile more, take pleasure in finding the right gifts for loved ones, and look forward to relaxing away from the day-to-day stresses of life. And that can’t be a bad thing, can it?

People like to talk and write about “the true spirit of Christmas”, but I find that not many seem to know what that is. For Christians, it is easier to define, I suppose. It means that God showed his love for us by being born into human nature and sharing our humanity in order to tell us about himself. More than that, he provided a way for each of us to know him and to discover why we are here, and what the meaning of life really is. That is quite a gift. It always amuses me to think that the birthday of Jesus is celebrated every year by other people receiving gifts. But that is God for you: wise men still seek him.

This is our last issue of the Times before the end of the year. No paper next week, I’m afraid, we’re taking a week off. The next copy will be on January 3, and will be our review of the year issue. That will be quite a job: picking out the main events of 2017, because it has been quite a year. To continue the John Lennon quote: “Another year over, and a new one just begun”. What will 2018 bring? Who could possibly guess, given what we’ve already been through? There will be a Provincial election in June and a municipal one on October 22. Campaigning for the municipal competition starts on May 1, and promises to be a fascinating contest.

I suppose we can’t escape politics, even in this Christmas season, as the articles and letters relating to the Kemptville College story in this issue can attest. After the municipality’s rather intemperate press release in response to an article in this paper about the business group interested in the project, we had to attend Council last Monday to ask for a formal apology and retraction. But the story of that fun-filled evening can wait until the new year, I think. Why spoil the holiday mood with that nonsense!

“And what have we done?” A good question. We have been through tumultuous times. Fake news. Auditor General reports. Hydro rates. Minimum wage increases promised/threatened. New schools in North Grenville. New stores in Colonnade. Businesses opening and closing. Buildings built and demolished. All the normal life of a small community going about its daily life. We have fought over issues, grieved over losses, rejoiced over successes, and celebrated festivals and accomplishments. It has ever been thus, and will, no doubt, continue to be so in the year ahead.

I hope and pray that we can continue to do so as a community, caring and compassionate usually, but angry and divided on other things. Because that is what life is, the little, day-by-day triumphs and failures. We sometimes take ourselves too seriously, and take others not seriously enough. Or vice versa, even! But, as year after year, Christmas after Christmas, goes by, maybe we can get some perspective on all of that. One day, we will have forgotten much of what we now find so important. One day, we, too, may be forgotten. So let’s not get too worked up over things and try and relax, at least for a few days over Christmas. You may not believe it, but God loves you, and time passes.

So, on behalf of all of us at the Times, may I wish you all the best and leave you for 2017 with John and Yoko’s words: “And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun. The near and the dear one, the old and the young. A very Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear”. [lyrics © Peermusic Publishing]

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Local citizens honoured in the Senate http://www.ngtimes.ca/local-citizens-honoured-senate/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/local-citizens-honoured-senate/#respond Wed, 20 Dec 2017 19:54:04 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10339 Two of North Grenville’s most illustrious residents were honoured by the presentation of the Senate of Canada’s 150th Anniversary Medal recently. Gerald Tallman and Dr. Bernie Brennan have been vital members of the North Grenville community all of their lives, and this honour is well-merited. The recipients were nominated by Bob Runciman, retired Senator, and […]

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Two of North Grenville’s most illustrious residents were honoured by the presentation of the Senate of Canada’s 150th Anniversary Medal recently. Gerald Tallman and Dr. Bernie Brennan have been vital members of the North Grenville community all of their lives, and this honour is well-merited. The recipients were nominated by Bob Runciman, retired Senator, and were presented with their awards by Senator Nancy Green.

According to the official statement by the Senate: “The Senate 150th Anniversary Medal celebrates the achievements of Canadians who have made a significant contribution to their community and commemorates the first sitting of the Canadian Senate on November 9, 1867″.

This sums up the careers of both of these gentlemen. Dr. Bernie Brennan has had
an amazing career. Raised and educated in Kemptville, he had an incredibly successful athletic record, and is an inductee in not less than three Sports Halls of Fame. As a hockey player, he won cups and was player of the year in High School and University. He was on the Grey Cup-winning Ottawa Rough Rider team in 1951, and played for the team while working as a vet in Kemptville. He managed to graduate from the Ontario Veterinary College, almost without interrupting his athletic career.

Since retiring from active professional sports in 1951, Bernie has accomplished more than most do in their lifetimes. He went to Saskatchewan in 1952 with the Canadian Department of Agriculture, fighting the hoof and mouth out break. In Illinois in 1952 and 1953 he was a state veterinarian. He opened a large animal clinic in South Mountain in 1953. He worked at Cornell University between 1953 to 1955. Back to Ottawa in 1956, Dr. Brennan opened a small animal vet clinic in Ottawa South. This developed into the Alta Vista Animal Hospital, the largest veterinary practice in Canada.

He has also been Commissioner for the Ontario Provincial Racing Commission, 2002 – 2009; Track Veterinarian from 1955 – 1962; shareholder, Director, and Board member of the Rideau Carleton Raceway. He has volunteered his time coaching high school football and hockey teams in Ottawa, raised funds for clean drinking water in African countries, and advocated for the anti-whipping rule in horse-racing events, now the rule throughout Ontario.

Gerald Tallman is a selfmade entrepreneur who started from humble beginnings but quickly rose to become sole owner of the Kemptville Truck Centre. Today his award-winning company, Tallman Group, is the largest private sector employer and job creator in North Grenville. The company has locations throughout the province and employs more than 500 people, making them the largest international truck dealer in Canada. Gerald is known for sharing his success with his neighbours through job creation and his support of numerous community events and services.

Gerald Tallman has been a gift to our community for many, many years. His generosity and commitment to his community has brought tremendous benefits to the economic, and, most importantly perhaps, the social development of North Grenville. From his early days at a gas station at Rideau and Sanders, Gerald has been part of the Kemptville scene, becoming probably the most successful entrepreneur this area has ever known. The Tallman Group was awarded the 2015 International Trucks North American dealership of the year, and Gerald received the International Trucks Lifetime Achievement award in 2006.

The prestigious award is presented to those dealers whose “consistent record of achievement and humanity throughout the course of their career has clearly provided a role model of excellence while enriching the value of the International brand among their customers and communities”. Gerry Tallman has kept his Group based in Kemptville, because, as he once said: “This town has been good to me”. Given the fact that Gerald Tallman is almost always the first person good causes look to for support, we can safely say that he has been good to North Grenville.

Congratulations to two great men: your community is proud of you, grateful to you, and celebrates this honour you have received.

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