Morning Coffee – By Aaron Hall

Weather forecast for Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Today – Periods of rain ending early this morning then mainly cloudy. Wind south 30 km/h gusting to 50 increasing to 50 gusting to 70 this morning then becoming southwest 30 gusting to 50 late this afternoon. High 8 with temperature falling to plus 2 this afternoon.

Tonight – Partly cloudy. Wind southwest 30 km/h gusting to 50. Low minus 4.

4-H Garden Club growing strong

(Submitted photo)

The 4-H Garden Club continues to grow, as members of the 2017 4-H Garden Club worked together to grow and maintain a community garden.

They harvested their produce as part of their Achievement Program and donated their fruits and vegetables to Outreach for Hunger.

Some of the crops grown included rutabaga, peppers, cantaloupe, tomatoes, potatoes, herbs, onions, broccoli and beans.

Club members each grew their own gardens as well.

Throughout the club, they learned about garden pests, fertilizers, harvesting, storage and preservation as well as how to prepare fruits and vegetables to eat.

Enjoying the harvesting were members Wyatt Ball, Beven Holdaway, Julianna Willemsma, Matthew Sterling, Mikella Caron, Emily Malott, Holly Reynolds and Hanna Willemsma.

Club leaders are Carl, Julie, Rob and Katrina Sterling.

Healthy Chestnut tree found in Strathroy


October 28, 2017 was a serendipitous Saturday morning hike for Dan Brinkman, a Land Stewardship Technician working for Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA).

“I was exploring a private woodlot near Mount Brydges when I found a sound American chestnut in perfect health, apparently free from the blight that felled 99.9% of our native chestnut trees across Southern Ontario over the past century. I was not expecting to see such a healthy 60-70 year old specimen as most of the chestnuts I find are suckers sprouting up from a stump or hybrids from American and Chinese chestnut,” he said.

Knowing the rarity of such a find, he, with the landowner’s permission, reported the find to the Canadian Chestnut Council.

On November 13, representatives from the Canadian Chestnut Council – Ron Casier and Dr. Dragan Galic, met with Dan Brinkman to examine the tree and to discuss restoration and research projects they are working on that they would like to implement in the Lower Thames watershed.

With the landowner’s permission, they will plant blight-resistant seedlings around the lone surviving mature chestnut tree in a ‘breaking isolation’ planting, as solitary trees are unable to produce offspring.

To create new stands of chestnut they will also plant chestnuts at Longwoods Road Conservation Area over the next couple of years in ‘gene conservation’ plantings.

From both of these types of plantings, seeds will be collected, once they mature in seven years and used to advance chestnut restoration efforts across their native range in Ontario.

LTVCA staff work with landowners to implement agricultural stewardship and wildlife habitat projects across the watershed and are looking forward to working with the Canadian Chestnut Council to include gene conservation plantings on suitable sites starting in spring 2018.

Free HPV vaccine for men

Guys, do you want $500 worth of free vaccine?

The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit says if you’re a man under the age of 26, find out if you could be eligible.

It’s the vaccine for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the one that protects you when you have an intimate encounter with an infected person. Hey, you don’t want cancer or warts down there, do you?

HPV is a very common virus that can be passed to another even when there are no signs or symptoms, even when you use condoms and even if you have ever only had one partner. As many as 7 out of 10 people who have ever had sex get HPV.

While consistent and correct use of latex condoms may reduce the risk of getting HPV, the virus can still be spread through skin-to-skin contact from areas that are not covered by the condom.

The HPV vaccine is given as either a two or three-dose series. The number of doses required depends on a person’s age when they receive their first dose and their medical history. In order to get full protection from this vaccine you must get all the doses that are recommended for you.

To be eligible for free vaccine, all doses must be completed before you turn 27 years of age.

Even if you’re not eligible and feel you are at risk, talk to your health care provider about getting vaccinated for HPV, some drug plans may cover this vaccine.

Cancers caused by HPV infections develop very slowly and may not be diagnosed for years or decades after a person initially gets infected. Don’t let it be you, get your free vaccine soon.

For information about eligibility call the Sexual Health Clinic at 519-355-1071 or email the Health Unit at

Wallaceburg Skating Club ‘Christmas Pop Concert’ on Thursday

The Wallaceburg Skating Club is holding their annual Christmas Pop Concert on Thursday, December 7.

The show will start at approximately 5:45 p.m. and run until 7:30 p.m.

All Wallaceburg skaters are slated to participate in the show.

Santa Claus parade and Christmas events in Dresden

The Dresden Santa Claus parade, with the theme “A Truly Canadian Christmas” is taking place on Saturday, December 9 at 6 p.m.

It will coincide with Dresden’s ‘Christmas Night Market’ running from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

There will also be ‘Breakfast with Santa’ at the Dresden Legion on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., a Christmas Craft Show from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Ontario aiming to strengthen Emergency Management Program

Ontario is making changes to its emergency management program in order to better protect public safety, and prevent and respond to existing and evolving risks.

Government officials say as part of Ontario’s new Emergency Management Action Plan, the province is investing in a Light Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team in Thunder Bay so that specialized equipment and resources can be more quickly deployed in an emergency. Work to improve the search and rescue capacity across the province will continue to address recommendations in the Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry’s report.

“The safety of the people of Ontario is our top priority, and the government must be prepared to respond to any type of emergency,” stated Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, in a press release.

“In times of crisis, rapid and effective emergency response saves lives and helps communities recover quickly. We have learned important lessons from recent emergencies in Ontario. This review and transformation will result in a better, more effective emergency management system in Ontario.”

In addition, the province will be recruiting a dedicated Chief of Emergency Management to help ensure effective oversight and governance of emergency management across Ontario.

Ontario is also taking immediate steps to:

– Enhance governance structures and implement a robust performance measurement and evaluation framework to build on lessons learned from previous incidents to support continuous improvement

– Review and update the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and the Provincial Emergency Response Plan in consultation with stakeholders so that they are consistent with national and international best practices and a modern approach to emergency management

– Release an updated Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan by the end of 2017

– Pursue expansion of emergency management capacity through agreements with neighbouring jurisdictions to share support and resources in an emergency

– Support municipalities in accessing critical supplies and resources in an emergency by improving the supply chain and logistics program, and enhance information and resource sharing among municipalities and the province by deploying emergency management software.

These actions are the first step in Ontario’s Emergency Management Action Plan. The province will continue to work with emergency management partners to build a system that is collaborative, proactive, and able to adapt to the unique circumstances of communities across the province.

Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

More details:

– In December 2016, Ontario initiated an independent review of Ontario’s emergency management system that helped inform the development of the Emergency Management Action Plan.

– The Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, 2006 and associated regulations set out mandatory basic emergency program requirements in Ontario.

– All municipalities and provincial ministries in Ontario must meet a legislated standard of emergency management, including conducting hazard and risk assessments for their areas of responsibility, developing programs and plans to address those risks, and conducting annual training exercises.

– The Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry was created on July 19, 2012 to investigate the events surrounding the Algo Centre Mall collapse, which claimed two lives and injured 19 others. Commissioner Paul Bélanger submitted his final report to the Attorney General on October 15, 2014.

– USAR brings together people with specialized rescue skills and other resources for search, medical and structural assessment. USAR teams rescue victims from major structural collapse or other entrapments due to a variety of incidents, including earthquakes, tornadoes, severe storms and explosions.

Helping survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking access affordable housing

Ontario is helping more survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking escape violence by providing faster access to housing.

Government officials say survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking will now have access to a subsidy, or portable housing benefit, that helps low-income households manage housing costs.

The subsidy gives a household the freedom to choose where to live and is not tied to a specific unit like most rent-geared-to-income social housing.

“We are committed to providing survivors of domestic violence and survivors of human trafficking with more housing options,” stated Peter Milczyn, Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy, in a press release.

“Everyone in Ontario, no matter where they live, deserves to be safe and free from harm.”

Starting January 1, 2018 survivors of human trafficking can also receive priority access to rent-geared-to-income social housing. Survivors of domestic violence currently receive priority access.

Changes to the application process will also make it faster, more culturally inclusive and recognize the cycle of abuse. This will make it easier for survivors and their families to apply for housing and help them escape abusive situations more quickly.

“Human trafficking and domestic violence are brutal and heart breaking crimes that exploit the vulnerable in our communities,” stated Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of the Status of Women, in a press release.

“It is so important to have specialized supports and services available to meet the needs of survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. This expanded portable housing benefit program ensures that survivors of violence have a safe place to go to rebuild their lives and heal.”

Ensuring everyone in Ontario has a safe and affordable place to call home is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

“Finding safe and secure housing is one of the crucial first steps towards rebuilding the life of someone who has been trafficked or has experienced domestic violence,” stated Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services, in a press release.

“It is critical that we make the portable housing benefit permanent and available to all survivors who are fleeing violence. With the additional funds to assist women and their children to obtain a new home, as well as priority access to affordable housing, there are now more options than ever before for those who have been trafficked or have experienced domestic violence.”

More details:

– The special priority policy gives survivors of domestic violence priority access to rent-geared-to-income social housing. It is being expanded to include survivors of human trafficking.

– The portable housing benefit pilot program allowed survivors of domestic violence in 22 communities to choose a portable housing benefit instead of social housing. It is now being expanded to include survivors of domestic violence and survivors of human trafficking across the province.

– The expanded portable housing benefit program will invest up to $30 million over three years and eventually support up to 3,000 survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. Starting in 2020, funding will increase to $15 million annually.

– This announcement expands on the Survivors of Domestic Violence Portable Housing Benefit pilot program announced in September 2016 and is part of the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy update. It also delivers on a commitment under Ontario’s Strategy to End Human Trafficking.

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