Thursday, 21 December 2006 07:17

The _Eavesdropper

Feature Article - December 21

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Christmas content 2006

The Eavesdropper:a tale from LanarkCounty

By Bill MacPherson


Here in LanarkCounty, folklore has it that on Christmas Eve at midnight, the cattle in the barns throughout the County, will kneel and bow their heads in respectful prayer to the birth of the Christ Child in a manger so many years ago. It is also said that for one brief evening of the year, they will be able to speak and understood by man.

But superstition has it also that ill will fall to those who dare to listen to these conversations.

A couple of years ago, Jimmy McAlister decided to test this folklore and see or hear if indeed these things happened on Christmas Eve. Jimmy has a small farm, just north of Cox’s Corners on the Buttermilk Hill Road, he and his wife, Nora, milk a few cows , ship a bit of cream , manage to keep the bills paid and the wolf away from the front door.

That Christmas Eve, as midnight approached, Jimmy snuck down to the barn and climbed into the hayloft by the outside ladder, taking his time as it was slippy with ice. He settled into the hay near the chute into the barn and waited. As sure as rain is wet, when the stroke of midnight approached, he could hear the rustling and movement by the cattle below. Were the cows kneeling in respectful prayer? But it was too dark to see.

He quietly leaned into the hay chute for a closer peek, straining his eyes in the darkness of the byre.

And then a voice he had never heard before “T’is a shame about Farmer McAlister”

Another strange voice replied “ Pray, tell us what is the shame”

The first voice answered “He will not be with us on Christmas Day”

Now Jimmy was so upset with this prediction that he rushed to the outside ladder, fearing the worst , he was intending to spend the next day safely in bed in his house, but in his haste, he forgot about the ice on the rungs. He slipped and broke his ankle and sure enough spent Christmas Day on crutches in the house. As for the cows in the byre, the neighbours being the good friends that they were, fed and milked his cows and were with them on Christmas Day.

And that is why, in LanarkCounty at least, we farmers make it a point not to eavesdrop on the cows on Christmas Eve.

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Published in 2006 Archives
Thursday, 07 December 2006 07:18


Legalese - December 7, 2006

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Legalese - December 7, 2006 Consumer Tips for Yuletide Shoppers: Part I

by Susan Irwin, LawyerRural Legal Services, Sharbot Lake

Making a list and checking it twice is good advice not only for Santa but also for the rest of us if we want to avoid impulse buying and over-spending this Christmas or “Holiday Season”. Similarly, “Buyer Beware!” and “Be Informed!” are catchy phrases that should dance in the heads of consumers all year, but especially during the countdown to Christmas as shoppers are entreated to buy! Buy! BUY! for that special someone.

For those of you who have not yet finished your Christmas shopping, we want to share with our readers some important consumer tips to help avoid unwanted surprises under the tree.

Tip 1: Returns - Ask Before You Buy

Before you purchase that perfect gift that you just “know” will be loved and treasured find out:

If the store gives full or partial refunds, exchanges or credit notesIf items can only be returned within a certain period of timeWhether special items such as lingerie, cosmetics or jewelry are excluded from the store’s refund policyIf only unopened or clearly unused merchandise can be returnedIf there is a “restocking”, or similar fee to return goods What you will need as proof of purchase (i.e. a sales slip, cancelled cheque, account bill and/or the original packaging and merchandise tags)

Many people believe that stores are required by law to take back goods, but unless it’s part of the purchase contract consumers do not have an absolute right to return “unwanted” gifts or items. Refunds and exchanges are customer service policies which are adopted by some, but not all, retailers. Consumers should keep in mind that unless asked, the retailer is under no obligation to post a sign or otherwise inform the purchaser of its “return” policy.

A similar consumer misconception arises with deposits. Many people believe that if they’ve only paid a deposit they can change their mind and not complete the purchase. However, once a person enters into a legally binding contract, he or she is responsible for paying the full amount by the agreed date. It may not be as simple a matter as forfeiting or losing your deposit!


If you don’t understand an agreement, ask the seller to explain it clearly before you buy Make sure you get all promises in writing and keep your receipts.

Tip 2: Gift Cards (unlike diamonds) May Not Last Forever

If, instead of accepting the risk and hassle of trying to exchange or return an unsuitable gift, you decide in favour of purchasing a gift card or gift certificate for your special someone, you’re not alone. It is estimated by retail consulting firm J.C. William that the gift card market in the United States will reach $70 billion in 2006 up from $45 billion in 2003 and $1 billion in 1995. With this surge in consumer demand, it is perhaps not surprising that retailers have found ways to capitalize on the popularity and convenience of this consumer trend by imposing expiry dates and/or some kind of service fee or loss of value of the gift card after a specific length of time. Often the terms and conditions associated with the gift card are not prominently displayed, putting the onus on the consumer to find out:

Whether there is an expiration date on use of the gift card (commonly 18 months or two years)Whether the value of the card will decline over time or if there is a service feeWhether there are any other limits on gift card use, such as whether certain products are exempt from purchase with a gift card, or if the gift card or its remaining balance after being used for a purchase can be redeemed for cash

In a move to regulate the gift card market, the Ontario government has introduced new consumer protection legislation that, if passed, will allow it to eliminate expiry dates and regulate the terms and conditions for gift cards. According to a government press release, the proposed legislation is intended to ensure that the consumers of Ontario “will get what they pay for” but will not apply to loyalty cards, discount coupons or promotional/charitable gift cards. This Holiday Season consumers should be aware that the proposed consumer protection legislation is not yet law and when passed is unlikely to apply to this year’s purchase of gift cards. As a consequence: Buyer Beware! Be an informed consumer and watch for our next Consumer Tips column.

Before then, if you have a consumer question, please give us a call at 613-279-3252, (toll free 1-888-777- 8916) or simply drop by. The price is right: Rural Legal Services provides legal information without charge to area residents. Alternatively, you can contact the Consumer Services Bureau of the Ministry of Government Services at 416-326-8665 or visit the Ministry website at and follow the consumer protection links.

Part II

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Published in 2006 Archives
Thursday, 22 March 2007 06:42


Feature Article - March 15, 2007

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Feature Article - March 15, 2007

Undetermined cause in 13 IslandLake house fireby Jeff Green

On March 13, a house burned down on 13 Island Lake off of the Deyo road. At the time, South Frontenac Fire Chief Rick Cheseborough said he considered the fire suspicious, partly because of some footprints in the vicinity, and partly because the fire took place at a cottage that was shut down for the winter, so it is hard to see what would have caused an accidental fire to start.

An investigation into the cause of the fire was conducted by the Fire Marshall’s office, and “it’s going to go down as an undetermined cause”, Cheseborough told the News. “The Fire Marshall took some samples for forensic analysis, and the samples were sent to Toronto. It can take up to three months or four months before they are analysed,” Cheseborough added.

Detective Constable Ouellette of the Frontenac Detachment is the investigating officer in the case. She told the News that she will be talking to the Fire Marshall and will proceed with the case from there.

Four fires have taken place in a tight circle in between Verona and Godfrey since late December. The first took place at a house on Howes Lake Lane near Desert Lake road on December 19th, and the next two on the Clow road at the southern border of Central Frontenac, one a house fire on December 29th and the other a barn fire on January 3rd. According to Central Frontenac Fire Chief Mark MacDonald, the cause of the two Clow road fires has not been determined as of yet.

Both of the houses that burned down at Christmas time were owned by people who were away over the Christmas break and no one was hurt, but several animals died in the barn fire on January 3rd.

Rick Cheseborough said that the cause of a fire that destroyed a family home north of Sydenham a week before the latest fire on 13 Island Lake was “definitely accidental”.

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Published in 2007 Archives
Thursday, 25 October 2007 13:15


Feature Article - October 25, 2007 - October 25, 2007 Christmas for Kids Gala a Great SuccessBy Inie Platenius

Suzie Ralph, ChairKudos and Huzzahs to Susie Ralph and the Christmas for Kids Committee for a spectacularly successful Christmas for Kids Gala. From the first glass of champagne (opened effortlessly by Al Parkin) to the last dance of the evening, the Lions Hall hummed with happy people, chatting, laughing, and opening their wallets to raise thousands of dollars for Christmas for Kids. Throughout the evening a crew of handsome young waiters – Lee Casement, Matt Hopkins, Rob McDougall, and Steve Ruskay served with grace and flair an array of delicious finger foods prepared in the kitchen by Joyce Casement and JoAnne Abrams of J & J Catering, Tim and Stasi Lloyd of Kelseys and Montana’s, Bev Brooks and Joan Goodwin. Meanwhile, Nicki Van Camp, Jen Bennet, and Marilyn Hopkins sold hundreds and hundreds of tickets on an array of 50/50 and raffle packages while the bidding heated up on the silent auction packages donated from near and far. A particularly inspired touch was the auction of wreaths, swags, and table arrangements by local artists and crafters. Anne Archer opened the evening as a wandering flute player, followed by Carolyn Stewart, founder and conductor of the Blue Skies and Perth Celtic Fiddle Orchestras.

As the crowd warmed up to the spirit of the evening, The Limestone Chorale – composed entirely of educators, took them to the next level with a cappella numbers ranging from jazz to Celtic. John McDougall could begin a second career as auctioneer. He kept the bids flowing fast with humour and just the right touch of coercion, so that autographed bottles of Dan Ackroyd wines, a picnic basket of expensive goodies, a five course dinner for four at Craig Trails, and other donations raised many, many hundreds of dollars. The evening heated up even further as Bill Kendall and Tom Revell took the stage as R K’d. They were soon joined by Bill Lansdell, Ryan Bowes and Kurt Campbell of Still Standin, and the dancing began in earnest. (Bill L. says that the band’s fourth member, Dennis Pachecko, was very sad to miss the event and the band sends him all its best wishes as his family deals with a major health issue).

We remember the Lions Hall in the late 60’s into the early late 70’s as the place to go for a special dress-up night. You’d get your hair done, find a lovely outfit, and head out for the Valentine or Christmas Dance. In the 80’s and 90’s as people looked more and more to Kingston for their entertainment, the hall faded as a venue for this kind of event. Part of the joy of the Christmas for Kids Gala was watching our community use that hall once again to create its own elegance in its own way. And in that vein, it is notable that at the beginning of the evening four women were called to the front of the hall. None of them knew why they were there until it was announced that they were all wearing Geoffrey Murray original dresses. So not only can we have elegance in our local hall, we can have elegance in locally created outfits. The joy of the evening, though, was that whether you were dressed in a stunning original creation or in slacks and shirt, you were made welcome as part of this caring and fun-loving community.

Published in 2007 Archives
Thursday, 13 December 2007 09:53


Feature Article - December 13, 2007 Back toHome Feature Article - December 13, 2007 Santa visits the Plevna volunteer dinner by Katie Ohlke

Photo: Santa visits the Plevna Volunteer appreciation dinner at Clar-Mill Hall last Saturday. Lea White, 92 years young, shares her wish list with Santa.

Last Saturday a group of very special people gathered at Clar-Mill Hall. They are the community volunteers who help put on events and keep the hall running smoothly for all sorts of events. At the beginning of the evening there were a few special presentations; the first from Ed Schlievert and Gertie MacDonald to the Deputy Fire Chief Norm Mills. The community raised $500 for the North Frontenac Fire Department. The second was from Pat Cavanagh, president of the Golden Friendship club, who presented a $100 cheque to Ed and Gertie on behalf of the Volunteer Group. The Seniors Group also donated two dollies to help move chairs at Clar-Mill Hall and Ompah Hall.

After the presentations, a delicious potluck dinner was eaten by the group of almost 80 volunteers gathered to enjoy the evening. Followed by a delicious dessert, the games began! Karen Hermer drew 25 names for nine prizes, allowing people to "steal" other people's winnings. After several competitive moves for the beautiful Christmas wreath, Herb Tooley won it. The tables and the hall were beautifully decorated by Lynnie Barre and Betty McKittrick, which added to the festive spirit. After the games, the group received a special visitor - Santa! Both young and old were happy to see the jolly old elf, and many kids and kids-at-heart took a turn on Santa's knee.

To round out the wonderful evening, the Over the Hill Gang entertained the crowd with some great old-time country and holiday music! Thank you to all the local volunteers and to those who put on this fabulous party!

Published in 2007 Archives
Thursday, 13 December 2007 09:53


Feature Article - December 13, 2007 Back toHome Feature Article - December 13, 2007 Luminaries within the village of Sharbot Lake

It is that time of year again and Oso Recreation Committee is soliciting for volunteers to help with the distributing, lighting and picking up of the luminaries. A work bee is planned for December 20 starting at 6PM at Oso Community Hall on Garrett Street to get the luminaries ready for Christmas Eve. So if you are able to devote just a bit of time to give us a hand, we would appreciate all the help we can get on December 20, and on Christmas Eve.

We are encouraging church groups, community groups, individuals, businesses to place the bags, light them and pick them up in front of their homes or businesses.

If you are interested or need more information please contact Anne Howes at 613-279-2573 (day) or Cathy MacMunn at 613-279-2935 (Ext: 222).

Published in 2007 Archives
Thursday, 13 December 2007 09:53


Feature Article - December 13, 2007 Back toHome Feature Article - December 13, 2007 Donna Dillman takes protest further By Jeff Green

Three weeks into her stay in Toronto, at the start of her third month without food, Donna Dillman said she was “feeling rather weak, and emotional, very emotional” when she talked to the Frontenac News over the phone from Queen's Park.

Dillman was still waiting for a response from Premier McGuinty to information she had provided to him when they met two weeks earlier about how much Canadian uranium is exported.

“He told me that we needed nuclear power, and I told him that we had enough uranium for Canadian uses and that most of what we produce is exported. He said he would look into that. But I haven't heard from him,' Dillman said. “The credibility of the premier has just gone down in my eyes,” she said.

In response to the provincial government’s silence, Donna Dillman announced over the weekend that if the government does not signal by Tuesday, (December 11) at noon that an inquiry into uranium exploration will be called, she was going to take her hunger strike to a more extreme level, and restrict her intake to water only. Until then, she had been drinking herbal teas and fruit juices as well as water.

“The government was not going to act, had not acted, despite all the evidence we've made available, and as they were going into recess this week, we were (and I was) running out of time. Even with the minimal amount of nourishment that my drinks are providing, I would not likely make it to see the Legislature resume in February, so this has to end and I have to take it all the way to water only, if the Premier does not act by Tuesday at noon,” she posted on her blog last Saturday evening.

Donna Dillman has been in attendance at the legislative gallery every day the house has been sitting has since she arrived in Toronto, and every day Peter Tabuns, the NDP environment critic, has introduced her to the house.

Last week, she was joined in the gallery by members of the Ontario Landowner's Assocation, who came to the house for the maiden speech by Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington MPP Randy Hillier. During his speech, Hiller railed against the government's record in Rural Ontario. “When will you show respect for the people of rural Ontario?” Hillier asked Premier McGuinty

In his response the premier said he found Hillier to be too negative, and he talked about what he, as a citizen of Ontario, depended on the government for. “I depend on the government for clean air and water” McGuinty concluded.

“Well, don't we all,” replied Donna Dillman.

Late last week, Dillman went to a naturopath in Toronto for a long delayed physical examination. “My blood pressure is low, but in a good range for me” she reports, “and a very minor but noticeable irregular heart beat has developed, but my organs are all in good shape.”

After the house lets out for the Christmas break, either today or tomorrow, Donna Dillman will return home to Lanark. She said she has not decided what she will do after that. One option is to maintain her hunger strike, and perhaps pressure the premier over the Christmas holidays.

“I could be outside his house as he sits down to Christmas dinner,” she said.

Published in 2007 Archives
Thursday, 27 December 2007 09:52


Christmas Edition - December 20, 2007

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Christmas Edition - December 20, 2007

Christmas Art Contest

Many thanks to all the children who entered our contest, becaus it is you whomake Christmas magical, and our time producing this chrismas issue worthwhile.

Left: Overall winner Natalie Reynolds, 8.

Ages 4-5

Above: 1st place, Jessica Wedden, 5. Right: 2nd place, Kate Osborn, 5

Ages 6-7

Above: 1st place, Jorden, 7. Above right: 2nd place, Kaitlyn Scobie, 7. Right: 3rd place, Claudia Thompson, 7

Ages 8-10

Right: 1st place, Matthew Sproule, 9. Above: 2nd place, Arizona Cormier, 9. Below right: 3rd place, Holden Cooper, 8

Ages 11 & Over

Above left: 1st place, Emily, 11. Right: 2nd place, Brandy Armstrong, 11

Published in 2007 Archives
Thursday, 27 December 2007 09:52


Feature Article - December 20, 2007

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Feature Article - December 20, 2007 Christmas Celebrations

Harrowsmith Free methodist Church held their Christmas Pageant on Dec. 15

Above: the Christmas angel announces the birth of Jesus to the shepherds. Left: Mary Joseph and the shepherds watch over baby Jesus

The 1st Cloyne Sparks, Brownies and Girl Guides entered a float in the Dec. 8 Northbrook Parade. The girls were enthusiastic, especially when it came to waving and tossing candy canes. They were excited to to learn they received a prize for best overal float, winning a trophy and a plaque.

The Sharbot Lake Legion helds its annual children's Christmas Party on Dec. 8. Left: Santa with Austin and Taylor

Hinchinbrook Christmas Party

On December 15, District #4 Recreation Committee held an action-packed afternoon of fun. Music, crafts and horse driven wagon rides to those that braved the cold to enjoy the crisp day until the horses had to venture off to find…Santa! Over 130 children took part in the afternoon of fun and friendship. Thanksto the volunteers of District #4 Recreation Committeeand countless others for thier time and support for another successful event.

Published in 2007 Archives
Thursday, 27 December 2007 09:52


Christmas Edition - December 20, 2007

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Christmas Edition - December 20, 2007 Christmas Edition

Christmas Art Contest

Have Yourself a Finnish Little Christmas

Christmas Celebrations: a Photo Gallery

Harrowsmith Festival Of Trees

Survive the Holidays: Fire Safety

Away in a Manger by Rev. Nancy MacLeod

If You had Been There by Rev. Will Keller

It's a Wrap by Inie Platenius

The Burglar by Ina Hunt Turner

Holiday Wreath How To


Legalese: A Caution to Hosts

Editorial: Christmas: A Rose by Any Name

Published in 2007 Archives

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