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Posts Tagged ‘dianne pinder-moss’

Video challenge gets students involved with Crime Stoppers

Monday, April 18, 2016 @ 11:04 AM
posted by admin

By: Dianne Pinder-Moss

The teenage girl cannot escape her cyber bullies. They harass her relentlessly through malicious and insulting texts calling her “a loser” and “disgusting,” in addition to informing her that “nobody likes u.”

While it may seem like a hopeless situation, Perth & District Collegiate Institute (PDCI) students Sarah Bell and Hayley Code say it’s not, and that is what they portrayed in their video for  Lanark County Crime Stoppers (LCCS) Youth Video Challenge contest.

Code and Bell took first prize in the challenge, winning $500 to split between the two of them.  Code said  that she hopes someone watching the approximately two-minute video clip who is being harassed will contact Crime Stoppers. Likewise, that the offenders will “take note and stop.”

“It’s a major issue these days, probably one of the most prominent issues,” Bell said of cyberbullying, adding that even if you aren’t a victim of it, most students have seen it happen to someone.

Second prize of $300 went to Benjamin Dickson-Shilling, and the $200 cash third prize was shared by Cody Pratt, and the team effort of Winston Mavraganis, Chase Warwick and Oliver Hannah-Matthews. Hannah-Matthews said of his team’s entry, “We want to show how Crime Stoppers stops bullying in a positive way.”

This was the first year that the competition was held by the LCCS. Cathie McOrmond, the public coordinator of LCCS said the video competition was inspired by a desire to involve students more in the organization. “It is a way to engage them so that they can become more familiar with what Crime Stoppers is,” she said.  

Any video projects entered into the contest had to address an issue that students might encounter. While organizers would have liked to see more entries, they were pleased with the initial response. “They were really good,” McOrmond remarked. “They certainly spoke to the criteria. They were able to convey a strong message through their videos.”

Organizers also said that they’d like to hold the contest again in the future.

Although the contest was open to all the high schools in Lanark County, including Grades 7 and 8 students, the four winning entries were from Paul Gallien’s grade 10 media arts class at PDCI.   “We would like to have all the secondary schools in the county involved in a future contest,” said Jeff Maguire, chair of the LCCS board of directors.

Both he and McOrmond appreciate Gallien’s efforts in promoting the video challenge to his students.

“I think Paul Gallien at PDCI has been supportive of our program for many years,” said Maguire. “He really made a huge effort to get [students] involved.”

In 2008, a video produced for Crime Stoppers by students in Gallien’s class on guns and crime was honoured with a special project award by the Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers.

The prize winning videos will be uploaded onto the Crime Stoppers website, as well as the PDCI Facebook page.

Tips to Crime Stoppers can be called into its tipline at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submitted online using the secure “submit a tip” button on the Crime Stoppers website at www.lccs.ca. All tipsters remain anonymous.

In 2015, LCCS received 113 tips, which resulted in six arrests. Five of the six arrests related to drugs with the other pertaining to a theft offence.

Perth Kilt Run on track to break world record

Saturday, March 12, 2016 @ 12:03 PM
posted by admin

By: Dianne Pinder-Moss

While the starting gun for the 2016 Perth Kilt Run doesn’t officially sound until June 25, the event is already on course to setting another registration record.

As of midnight Jan. 26 when the “Robbie Burns Day” early bird registration ended, there were 2,885 registered for all the race events, 1,104 more than this time last year.

With more than 100 days before registration closes, race director Terry Stewart says he’s optimistic their ambitious goal of 5,000 racers for this year’s event in celebration of Perth’s 200th anniversary can be achieved.

“With 180 registered so far in the Kilted Half Marathon and 226 registered for the ‘Royal Mile,’ these two new events are shaping up very nicely with, of course, lots of room to grow.” he said in an email to the HomeTown News, “Together with the 5 Mile race, we have the numbers now to set a new Guinness World Record, a fine legacy to help celebrate the 200th Anniversary.”

Officially known as Perth’s World Record Kilt Run, organizers will be making its third and final attempt on June 25 for the largest kilt race. The first year the race was held in 2010, there were 1,089 finishers to set an Official Guinness World Record, easily surpassing the old record of 250. The event has continued to set records in the ensuing years.

Race organizers will be watching registration results for some other communities hoping to surpass Perth’s race record. In particular, the St. Paddy’s race in Raleigh, North Carolina poses some stiff competition with  3,000 currently registered.

Along with the Kilted Half Marathon and Royal Mile being new additions to the Perth Kilt Run, the biggest new undertaking by the Perth Running Goats Club is the 200th Drummond-Perth-Tay Kilt Marathon June 26.

“The co-ordination and co-operation between all the parties on which this 42-kilometre Athletics Canada certified course traverses is an amazing accomplishment so far,” Stewart said, adding this is the first kilted marathon race in the world.

The course for the kilt marathon will see runners start on the Rideau Ferry Bridge and follow the original Settlers Trail through Perth along Christie Lake Road, finishing at the Ecotay Educational Centre on the Upper Scotch Line and Menzies Munro Road in the restored barns of the former Ritchie farm.

Registration for the inaugural event is “really going well,” with 96 people already signed up and the organizers’ dream goal of a maximum of 200 runners “not impossible,” according to Stewart.

Stewart says he’s also pleased with the amount of donations runners to the MS Society and the Canadian Cancer Society, the two charities the event supports. Individual donations have already topped $13,000. Taking into account this money and the funds that are generated within the event, the Perth Kilt Run will have raised more than $100,000 for the MS Society over its seven-year history.

As in previous years, the Perth Kilt Run will feature some great musical entertainment. This 2016 lineup will include the Mudmen, a Celtic rock band that has performed for the Queen and whose bagpipe tracks by members Rob and Sandy Campbell are featured on the new “Hockey Night in Canada” theme song. Likewise, the Canadian Haggis Hurling will be a “signature event” once again.

In January, Perth Town Council approved an exemption to the town’s Alcohol Management Policy to allow the front portion of Stewart Park to be used for post-race activities on June 25 and for the area to be licensed to enable race participants of legal drinking age “to consume their single alcoholic beverage,” a free small glass of beer provided by the Perth Brewery. There would be no alcohol sold in the park and the race committee would be responsible for fencing the area, obtaining the required liquor licence and providing security.

Stewart had appeared before the Jan. 12 Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting as a delegation to seek the exemption as it was felt that the Crystal Palace would not be able to accommodate the increased numbers anticipated for this year. While he was pleased with the motion approved by council, he said last week that, “now that we have permission to proceed, there is no requirement that we do so.”

The final decision on whether to make the change will likely depend on two factors. One, as Stewart pointed out, is whether the registration numbers ended up being large enough to justify changing. The other is “whether we can support the additional costs of the Stewart Park setup.”

“We really need another couple corporate sponsors,” he said “Staying where we were last year may be less money.”

Drawing race participants not only from across Canada and the U.S. but rom as far away as Germany, South Africa and Australia, the Perth Kilt Run has become a major event for the Town of Perth.

The positive exposure the run has provided for the community was commented on at the COW meeting. Both Mayor John Fenik and Coun. Jim Boldt made mention of how this internationally known race had put Perth “on the map.”

“It is such a great thing for the community,” Boldt said “I support the efforts to make this thing happen as easily as we can make it for you.”

Appreciative of the ongoing support from town council for the Kilt Run, Stewart says the co-operation from the Town has been “perfect from the start.”

“We would not have gone this far without the special skills and enthusiasm of each person that has dedicated their time to this project,” he said. “Nor will we get to the end of this event without an even larger volunteer support than ever. We value the effort of this group as a whole. This truly is a community effort.”

Town to look at surveillance cameras at Conlon Farm

Sunday, February 28, 2016 @ 04:02 PM
posted by admin

By: Dianne Pinder-Moss

With an eye on reducing vandalism in the Conlon Farm Recreation Area, the use of surveillance cameras is being explored by Perth Town Council.

At the Jan. 12 Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting of council, approval was given to a motion asking Shannon Baillon, the Director of Community Services, to prepare a “broadbased” report on the installation of the cameras at Conlon Farm. The report, which will be brought back to COW, will take into consideration the costs of installing the cameras, who would be responsible for monitoring them, their location and the quality of the images from the equipment. As well, input will be sought from Inspector Derek Needham, detachment commander for the Lanark County OPP, and the Crown Attorney.

The resolution was prompted by a conversation Mayor John Fenik recently had with a “concerned resident.” According to Fenik, the resident “communicated her desire” to see cameras in Conlon Farm “to deal with some of the vandalism issues there.”

The mayor made it clear, however, that once the report is completed by Baillon and its contents have been reviewed by council, there is a larger issue that would have to be discussed. And that is the use of video surveillance from a privacy perspective.

“Do we want our citizens living in a place where they are constantly under surveillance?” he asked.

That sentiment was echoed by Coun. Jim Boldt. While he expressed support for the motion in terms of gathering information about the cameras, he also said he was not too sure Perth wanted to become a town “where we have to have cameras up everywhere.”

In Fenik’s view, the most effective way of keeping properties safe is through neighbours looking out for one another.

“It is an engaged community of citizens that stand up and say we will look after each other,” he remarked.

Noting that Perth is not unique to other communities in regards to vandalism, the mayor made mention of some ways in which it is already addressed – through design, police patrols and cleaning it up as soon as possible.

“I think the community would be interested in how we deal with vandalism on a daily basis,” he stated.

Coun. Jim Graff suggested that the temporary installation of surveillance cameras might be “a good kickstart” to deterring vandalism at Conlon Farm. He added though that he “wholeheartedly” supported the premise that it was the town’s citizens “that make the biggest difference” in combatting this problem.

Deputy Mayor John Gemmell who chaired the COW meeting contended, however, that, “if you are in a public area and damage property, you are not entitled to privacy.”

In terms of the potential value of surveillance cameras, Insp. Needham stated in a telephone interview that the images produced can be used “for evidentiary purposes”. As evidence, he explained that the images can be either utilized as standalone such as when a criminal offence is committed and the suspect is clearly identified on the camera or in a supplementary way when the suspect is identified but the image is not as clear.

With people now incorporating video cameras into their home security systems, the detachment commander shared about a case recently where a break and enter was captured on the home’s video surveillance equipment.

“As long as the quality is such that some kind of evidence can be used from it, we will be using it whenever available,” he stated.

Acts of vandalism at Conlon Farm cost the Town both in labour and materials. Labour costs total less than $1,000 annually, Baillon told the HomeTown News in an email, with material costs from the four largest acts of vandalism in 2015 were kicking in the wall in the men’s washroom, $700, breaking the window of the Legion press box, $500, breaking the bleachers, $500, and damaging the Splash Pad donor sign, $800.

“We also had several complaints about patrons throwing rocks around, tipping picnic tables, tossing garbage cans, and lots of graffiti,” Baillon reported.


The motion on the preparation of the report received final approval at the regular meeting of council on Jan. 19.

Local doctor brings internationally recognized PTSD program to Perth

Saturday, February 27, 2016 @ 02:02 PM
posted by admin

By Dianne Pinder-Moss

Randy Hillier has seen firsthand how therapeutic it can be for military veterans to share with one another about their experiences.

In early 2015, the Member of Provincial Parliament for Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington was on a train ride from Toronto with his son Dillon, a Canadian Forces veteran of Afghanistan who had recently returned from fighting the Islamic State group alongside Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq.

By coincidence, the man sitting directly across from them on the train was a Canadian who had served in the Iraq war with the U.S. Marines. Another Canadian who had also served with the U.S. Marines in the Gulf War in the early 1990s was seated across the aisle.

“We ended up just having a tremendous conversation,” Hiller said in calling the train ride “the most therapeutic three-and-a-half-hours.”

Having been “enlightened” by that train trip and having other members of his extended family who have seen military service, as well as his work with constituents who have family members suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the MPP has become one of a local doctor’s biggest supporters in her efforts to bring the internationally recognized Spiritual Process and Resiliency [SPARTA] program to Canada to help military veterans and first responders dealing with PTSD.

“I just felt these people had it right,” Hillier said of the program, spearheaded by Dr. Manuela Joannou to start the first Canadian cohort.

Dr. Joannou is very much aware of PTSD, both personally and professionally.

“I would be lying if I didn’t have cases that profoundly affected me,” she says, adding this is true of any profession “bearing witness to pain and suffering and critical incidents.”

On a professional basis, the Perth area family/emergency physician is familiar with PTSD, both through the counselling she does and her interaction with her colleagues in the emergency department, in addition to first responders like police, firefighters and paramedics.

Dr. Joannou thinks of PTSD as “an operational stress injury for professionals.”

“I don’t like the idea that it is a disorder or a disease,” she said. “I think it is an injury and it needs to be looked at in a different category.”

She says those who care the most are more vulnerable to developing this type of injury.

“They really feel each other’s pain and are empathetic,” she remarked. “If we can intervene and help these people and get them back to their service, they are just such a huge asset.”

Frustrated with the treatments that were being offered, Dr. Joannou started doing research on possible alternatives.

“I felt what was missing was addressing the moral injury, the deep impact to a person’s heart and soul,” she said.

When the physician came across an interview with one of the American founders of SPARTA, “it just blew me away.”

“I realized they were doing it with great success but not a whole lot of recognition,” she said.

Having started off under the name “Save A Warrior,” it’s a very intensive five-and-a-half-day program using holistic and alternative methods.

“It is very experiential,” says Dr. Joannou who spent a week with the main program providers in Malibu in November. “They’re introduced to a lot of different concepts that really ground them and get them to connect to something greater than themselves.”

Along with group therapy discussions, SPARTA participants also engage in meditation, horse-assisted counselling and adventure programs like high ropes.

“Spending time in nature can really be a spiritual experience for anyone,” the physician commented. “With high ropes, we allow people to feel their fear in a very controlled safe environment.”

Likewise, one of the things that interests Dr. Joannou about the horse-assisted counselling component is that it incorporates the Equine Assisted Growth And Learning Association (EAGALA) model, training for which she completed 12 years ago.

“I am really excited that it is starting to get some validation and recognition,” she said.

Dr. Joannou is also excited that the first Canadian cohort of SPARTA could take place as early as this spring as she has received a commitment from the providers to come here. Currently, they are in Australia doing the first cohort there. Given the invitation for them to go to that country came from the Australian government is, she says, “just a testimonial to the fact it is being regarded as a worthwhile program.”

All the logistics have been planned out for the first cohort in Canada, which Tay River Reflections hopes to host using its new aqua facility, which is secluded from the rest of the spa and has its own parking area.

“It’s like its own microcosm,” she said. There are approximately five kilometres of walking trails just outside the door of the aqua facility.

She says her dream is to train people to have other facilities across the country.

“My vision is that the program could be adapted to any country in the world,” she said.

Dr. Joannou would also like to be able to oversee the research as to outcomes analysis.

“We would like to have the metrics to show it is a very effective treatment,” she said.

She says she’d like to work with the providers in the U.S. “to see if there are some things we need to tweak to give it a Canadian context” and ensure the curriculum meets the needs of Canadian organizations. As an example of how the program could be Canadianized, because the weather is different here than in Malibu, some winter outdoor activities could be added, she suggested.

Likewise, while SPARTA operates on a complementary and alternative medicine model in the U.S., Dr. Joannou is a strong proponent for utilizing a medical model here in Canada. That way, she says, if a person requires medication or even medical attention, that care would be available.

She says she was very encouraged by the large turnout for a full-day workshop on PTSD at Tay River Reflections on Jan. 13.

“It was just testimonial to how important people feel this topic is right now,” she stated.

For Perth town councillor Jim Graff who, along with Hillier, were among the attendees that day, the event really “opened my eyes” about PTSD.

“First of all, I don’t think society, including myself, is aware of the residual effect for first responders in working in an environment that primarily deals with tragic events,” he said in an email. “For policemen and soldiers in the course of their duty, having to take a life or be witness to indescribable horror is cavalier in the movies but not in real life.”

Having worked in the U.S. towards the end of the Vietnam War, Graff some of the returning veterans. He remembers how little of any help was available from the Department of Veterans Affairs there “and readjusting to civilian life for them was impossible.”

 

“Personally, I think we have a moral obligation to help these folks regain the quality of life that they lost in the performance of their duty,” he said “The SPARTA program I think will do that from Dr. Joannou’s presentation and a film we saw.”

 

With the progress being made in the understanding of mental health issues, Graff believes it’s “a no brainer that we should get behind physicians like Dr. Joannou and encourage government support for this SPARTA program.”

 

The estimated cost to run a cohort, taking into account the providers, lodging, food and the horse component, would be $3,000 per person.

“If we had $36,000, we could have it happen,” she said.

Ideally, Dr. Joannou would like to start off with two cohorts, one for men and one for women. Of course, everything hinges, she says, “on us being able to raise funds.” She’s currently looking at community fundraisers and corporate sponsorships to help fund the program.

The physician is appreciative of the support she’s receiving for SPARTA, particularly from Hillier. Calling the MPP “a champion” of the program, she says he has had “great ideas” and “connected us with political people to make it happen.”

“This is personal for him,” she stated. “He really cares. I just love that about him.”

For his part, Hillier says he has no doubt the SPARTA program will happen and will help out “wherever I can.”

“I think it is powerfully needed,” he said in a phone interview. He says for many with PTSD, it is not just a chemical imbalance they are suffering from that can be treated with medication.

“That’s what the SPARTA program recognizes,” Hillier said. “For many people, it is a moral injury.”

Based on his own experiences with people, the MPP believes there is a need to do something different in treating PTSD from what is currently being done.

“I have felt that what we have been doing in the past has been less than effective,” he stated. “The stats bear it out.”

In 2015, alone, 39 first responders and 12 members of the military died from suicide in Canada. Already, in the first month of this year, three more first responders have been added to those numbers.

A solemn Dr. Joannou doesn’t mince words when she talks about the sense of urgency she feels about the situation.

“I just wish we had this system in place where we could reach out to them a real solution for their suffering,” she said. “It is not a quick fix but it is a support channel to connect into a source that will lead them on the road to healing.”

To date, more than 300 people have completed the SPARTA program since it launched in 2012.

Polar Bear Dip returns to Tay River New Year’s Day

Sunday, October 18, 2015 @ 08:10 PM
posted by admin

By Terrance O’Hearn

Many of Perth’s bravest souls will be seen floating briefly inside a large hole chopped from the ice of the frigid Tay River come New Year’s morning.

Each participant must parade to the water’s edge and endure a countdown, while the crowds along the riverbank shout encouragement, catcalls, or advice. In spite of the obvious reasons not to jump, almost everyone emerges from the watery depths with a huge smile, on the occasion of the Perth Polar Bear Plunge.  

Born at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Petawawa, the event moved to Perth in 1994 with founder David Lavery, who was assisted by Stan Munro and others at the Royal Canadian Legion. Since then, more than $210,000 has been raised in support of local charities.

Lavery recalls the first Perth event in 1994: “We had the initial aim of raising awareness for our local Chapter of Crime Stoppers. I was just new into the community, and I thought that continuing the plunge in Perth would be a great thing.”  

He says finding a host in the Perth Legion proved to be a perfect fit for having the right location and support. “After our first Plunge into the Tay River, we have never looked back, and the Legion has been a great ambassador throughout all of these years, and the foundation to our traditional dip.”

The Petawawa version began in 1988, jumping off the docks at CFB Petawawa. Lavery said he has “fond memories of this crazy event, and they all started while I was serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. We were young and eager to a challenge, and it was one of those challenges in 1988 that had me make one of our early Polar Bear Plunges into the dead cold icy Ottawa River.  It was on the early morning of Jan. 1, 1988 and I have never missed a plunge since, albeit not all have been icy plunges I have to confess.”

Stan Munro, considered by many to be the unofficial Mayor of Maberly, is a long-time Legion member, and has been assisting Lavery with the Plunge since the early years, along with fellow Legion member Jeanette Buker:

“I remember around the first of December, 1993, a few of us were sitting around some tables in the Legion Lounge, and Dave (Lavery) was talking about his New Year’s Polar Bear plunges at CFB Petawawa” said Munro. “We could see the ideal spot through the windows of the Lounge – on the banks of the Tay right there at the Legion.”

He just observed and learned for the first three years in Perth, and took his first jump in 1997.

“That plunge will always stick in my memory. I had raised more than $3,000 in pledges, and even though I was sick with the flu, it would have been impossible to back out. After several hours of New Year’s celebration, my wife Maureen took me to the event. I remember listening to a speech by Mayor Lana March, and then surfacing inside the hole cut in the ice. I wondered why all those people were standing around watching me.”

Although a Polar Bear “plunge” or “dip” has become a New Year’s tradition across Canada, Perth is seen to have one of the most successful and safest true Polar Bear Plunge in Canada.  Many events are held in the province of British Columbia, and Vancouver has held an event since as early as 1920, but it can be safely said that a “dip” in the relatively balmy waters off the west coast, could not compare to a full plunge into the sub-zero Tay waters.

Great War Memorial Hospital of Perth District Foundation is the recipient for 2016, and Board Executive Director and Chair Karen Rennie is excited about the opportunity for new funding which will be directed to the Intensive Care Unit at the Perth Site.

“There are three pieces that have been identified that we need to replace,” Rennie said, “the main one being the Telemetry Unit, which can cost up to $200,000.” The telemetry unit is a place in a hospital where special machines are used to help staff closely monitor patients, and is a significant upgrade in services for the Perth Site. “Every penny counts,” she said, “It would be ideal to raise $25,000 towards this project. We hope people will join us to jump on that day. It is supporting a wonderful cause.” The Foundation will match funds raised from the Polar Bear Plunge, if necessary using monies from other fundraising such as the Black Tie Bingo.

Mayor John Gemmell, a man of many hats, began plunging at the 2015 event on behalf of Perth’s 200th Anniversary Advisory Panel. He will plunge in 2016 representing the Hospital Foundation, and could also be seen as representing the Legion as first Vice-President.

“I survived the [2015 plunge],” Gemmell said, “All money raised will be going to a great cause at our GWM Hospital Site, and I am looking forward to participating again this year. I remember thinking on my first jump that is was colder coming out that jumping in, but the community benefits, and that’s a good thing.”

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Posts Tagged ‘dianne pinder-moss’

Video challenge gets students involved with Crime Stoppers

Monday, April 18, 2016 @ 11:04 AM
posted by admin

By: Dianne Pinder-Moss

The teenage girl cannot escape her cyber bullies. They harass her relentlessly through malicious and insulting texts calling her “a loser” and “disgusting,” in addition to informing her that “nobody likes u.”

While it may seem like a hopeless situation, Perth & District Collegiate Institute (PDCI) students Sarah Bell and Hayley Code say it’s not, and that is what they portrayed in their video for  Lanark County Crime Stoppers (LCCS) Youth Video Challenge contest.

Code and Bell took first prize in the challenge, winning $500 to split between the two of them.  Code said  that she hopes someone watching the approximately two-minute video clip who is being harassed will contact Crime Stoppers. Likewise, that the offenders will “take note and stop.”

“It’s a major issue these days, probably one of the most prominent issues,” Bell said of cyberbullying, adding that even if you aren’t a victim of it, most students have seen it happen to someone.

Second prize of $300 went to Benjamin Dickson-Shilling, and the $200 cash third prize was shared by Cody Pratt, and the team effort of Winston Mavraganis, Chase Warwick and Oliver Hannah-Matthews. Hannah-Matthews said of his team’s entry, “We want to show how Crime Stoppers stops bullying in a positive way.”

This was the first year that the competition was held by the LCCS. Cathie McOrmond, the public coordinator of LCCS said the video competition was inspired by a desire to involve students more in the organization. “It is a way to engage them so that they can become more familiar with what Crime Stoppers is,” she said.  

Any video projects entered into the contest had to address an issue that students might encounter. While organizers would have liked to see more entries, they were pleased with the initial response. “They were really good,” McOrmond remarked. “They certainly spoke to the criteria. They were able to convey a strong message through their videos.”

Organizers also said that they’d like to hold the contest again in the future.

Although the contest was open to all the high schools in Lanark County, including Grades 7 and 8 students, the four winning entries were from Paul Gallien’s grade 10 media arts class at PDCI.   “We would like to have all the secondary schools in the county involved in a future contest,” said Jeff Maguire, chair of the LCCS board of directors.

Both he and McOrmond appreciate Gallien’s efforts in promoting the video challenge to his students.

“I think Paul Gallien at PDCI has been supportive of our program for many years,” said Maguire. “He really made a huge effort to get [students] involved.”

In 2008, a video produced for Crime Stoppers by students in Gallien’s class on guns and crime was honoured with a special project award by the Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers.

The prize winning videos will be uploaded onto the Crime Stoppers website, as well as the PDCI Facebook page.

Tips to Crime Stoppers can be called into its tipline at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submitted online using the secure “submit a tip” button on the Crime Stoppers website at www.lccs.ca. All tipsters remain anonymous.

In 2015, LCCS received 113 tips, which resulted in six arrests. Five of the six arrests related to drugs with the other pertaining to a theft offence.

Perth Kilt Run on track to break world record

Saturday, March 12, 2016 @ 12:03 PM
posted by admin

By: Dianne Pinder-Moss

While the starting gun for the 2016 Perth Kilt Run doesn’t officially sound until June 25, the event is already on course to setting another registration record.

As of midnight Jan. 26 when the “Robbie Burns Day” early bird registration ended, there were 2,885 registered for all the race events, 1,104 more than this time last year.

With more than 100 days before registration closes, race director Terry Stewart says he’s optimistic their ambitious goal of 5,000 racers for this year’s event in celebration of Perth’s 200th anniversary can be achieved.

“With 180 registered so far in the Kilted Half Marathon and 226 registered for the ‘Royal Mile,’ these two new events are shaping up very nicely with, of course, lots of room to grow.” he said in an email to the HomeTown News, “Together with the 5 Mile race, we have the numbers now to set a new Guinness World Record, a fine legacy to help celebrate the 200th Anniversary.”

Officially known as Perth’s World Record Kilt Run, organizers will be making its third and final attempt on June 25 for the largest kilt race. The first year the race was held in 2010, there were 1,089 finishers to set an Official Guinness World Record, easily surpassing the old record of 250. The event has continued to set records in the ensuing years.

Race organizers will be watching registration results for some other communities hoping to surpass Perth’s race record. In particular, the St. Paddy’s race in Raleigh, North Carolina poses some stiff competition with  3,000 currently registered.

Along with the Kilted Half Marathon and Royal Mile being new additions to the Perth Kilt Run, the biggest new undertaking by the Perth Running Goats Club is the 200th Drummond-Perth-Tay Kilt Marathon June 26.

“The co-ordination and co-operation between all the parties on which this 42-kilometre Athletics Canada certified course traverses is an amazing accomplishment so far,” Stewart said, adding this is the first kilted marathon race in the world.

The course for the kilt marathon will see runners start on the Rideau Ferry Bridge and follow the original Settlers Trail through Perth along Christie Lake Road, finishing at the Ecotay Educational Centre on the Upper Scotch Line and Menzies Munro Road in the restored barns of the former Ritchie farm.

Registration for the inaugural event is “really going well,” with 96 people already signed up and the organizers’ dream goal of a maximum of 200 runners “not impossible,” according to Stewart.

Stewart says he’s also pleased with the amount of donations runners to the MS Society and the Canadian Cancer Society, the two charities the event supports. Individual donations have already topped $13,000. Taking into account this money and the funds that are generated within the event, the Perth Kilt Run will have raised more than $100,000 for the MS Society over its seven-year history.

As in previous years, the Perth Kilt Run will feature some great musical entertainment. This 2016 lineup will include the Mudmen, a Celtic rock band that has performed for the Queen and whose bagpipe tracks by members Rob and Sandy Campbell are featured on the new “Hockey Night in Canada” theme song. Likewise, the Canadian Haggis Hurling will be a “signature event” once again.

In January, Perth Town Council approved an exemption to the town’s Alcohol Management Policy to allow the front portion of Stewart Park to be used for post-race activities on June 25 and for the area to be licensed to enable race participants of legal drinking age “to consume their single alcoholic beverage,” a free small glass of beer provided by the Perth Brewery. There would be no alcohol sold in the park and the race committee would be responsible for fencing the area, obtaining the required liquor licence and providing security.

Stewart had appeared before the Jan. 12 Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting as a delegation to seek the exemption as it was felt that the Crystal Palace would not be able to accommodate the increased numbers anticipated for this year. While he was pleased with the motion approved by council, he said last week that, “now that we have permission to proceed, there is no requirement that we do so.”

The final decision on whether to make the change will likely depend on two factors. One, as Stewart pointed out, is whether the registration numbers ended up being large enough to justify changing. The other is “whether we can support the additional costs of the Stewart Park setup.”

“We really need another couple corporate sponsors,” he said “Staying where we were last year may be less money.”

Drawing race participants not only from across Canada and the U.S. but rom as far away as Germany, South Africa and Australia, the Perth Kilt Run has become a major event for the Town of Perth.

The positive exposure the run has provided for the community was commented on at the COW meeting. Both Mayor John Fenik and Coun. Jim Boldt made mention of how this internationally known race had put Perth “on the map.”

“It is such a great thing for the community,” Boldt said “I support the efforts to make this thing happen as easily as we can make it for you.”

Appreciative of the ongoing support from town council for the Kilt Run, Stewart says the co-operation from the Town has been “perfect from the start.”

“We would not have gone this far without the special skills and enthusiasm of each person that has dedicated their time to this project,” he said. “Nor will we get to the end of this event without an even larger volunteer support than ever. We value the effort of this group as a whole. This truly is a community effort.”

Town to look at surveillance cameras at Conlon Farm

Sunday, February 28, 2016 @ 04:02 PM
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By: Dianne Pinder-Moss

With an eye on reducing vandalism in the Conlon Farm Recreation Area, the use of surveillance cameras is being explored by Perth Town Council.

At the Jan. 12 Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting of council, approval was given to a motion asking Shannon Baillon, the Director of Community Services, to prepare a “broadbased” report on the installation of the cameras at Conlon Farm. The report, which will be brought back to COW, will take into consideration the costs of installing the cameras, who would be responsible for monitoring them, their location and the quality of the images from the equipment. As well, input will be sought from Inspector Derek Needham, detachment commander for the Lanark County OPP, and the Crown Attorney.

The resolution was prompted by a conversation Mayor John Fenik recently had with a “concerned resident.” According to Fenik, the resident “communicated her desire” to see cameras in Conlon Farm “to deal with some of the vandalism issues there.”

The mayor made it clear, however, that once the report is completed by Baillon and its contents have been reviewed by council, there is a larger issue that would have to be discussed. And that is the use of video surveillance from a privacy perspective.

“Do we want our citizens living in a place where they are constantly under surveillance?” he asked.

That sentiment was echoed by Coun. Jim Boldt. While he expressed support for the motion in terms of gathering information about the cameras, he also said he was not too sure Perth wanted to become a town “where we have to have cameras up everywhere.”

In Fenik’s view, the most effective way of keeping properties safe is through neighbours looking out for one another.

“It is an engaged community of citizens that stand up and say we will look after each other,” he remarked.

Noting that Perth is not unique to other communities in regards to vandalism, the mayor made mention of some ways in which it is already addressed – through design, police patrols and cleaning it up as soon as possible.

“I think the community would be interested in how we deal with vandalism on a daily basis,” he stated.

Coun. Jim Graff suggested that the temporary installation of surveillance cameras might be “a good kickstart” to deterring vandalism at Conlon Farm. He added though that he “wholeheartedly” supported the premise that it was the town’s citizens “that make the biggest difference” in combatting this problem.

Deputy Mayor John Gemmell who chaired the COW meeting contended, however, that, “if you are in a public area and damage property, you are not entitled to privacy.”

In terms of the potential value of surveillance cameras, Insp. Needham stated in a telephone interview that the images produced can be used “for evidentiary purposes”. As evidence, he explained that the images can be either utilized as standalone such as when a criminal offence is committed and the suspect is clearly identified on the camera or in a supplementary way when the suspect is identified but the image is not as clear.

With people now incorporating video cameras into their home security systems, the detachment commander shared about a case recently where a break and enter was captured on the home’s video surveillance equipment.

“As long as the quality is such that some kind of evidence can be used from it, we will be using it whenever available,” he stated.

Acts of vandalism at Conlon Farm cost the Town both in labour and materials. Labour costs total less than $1,000 annually, Baillon told the HomeTown News in an email, with material costs from the four largest acts of vandalism in 2015 were kicking in the wall in the men’s washroom, $700, breaking the window of the Legion press box, $500, breaking the bleachers, $500, and damaging the Splash Pad donor sign, $800.

“We also had several complaints about patrons throwing rocks around, tipping picnic tables, tossing garbage cans, and lots of graffiti,” Baillon reported.


The motion on the preparation of the report received final approval at the regular meeting of council on Jan. 19.

Local doctor brings internationally recognized PTSD program to Perth

Saturday, February 27, 2016 @ 02:02 PM
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By Dianne Pinder-Moss

Randy Hillier has seen firsthand how therapeutic it can be for military veterans to share with one another about their experiences.

In early 2015, the Member of Provincial Parliament for Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington was on a train ride from Toronto with his son Dillon, a Canadian Forces veteran of Afghanistan who had recently returned from fighting the Islamic State group alongside Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq.

By coincidence, the man sitting directly across from them on the train was a Canadian who had served in the Iraq war with the U.S. Marines. Another Canadian who had also served with the U.S. Marines in the Gulf War in the early 1990s was seated across the aisle.

“We ended up just having a tremendous conversation,” Hiller said in calling the train ride “the most therapeutic three-and-a-half-hours.”

Having been “enlightened” by that train trip and having other members of his extended family who have seen military service, as well as his work with constituents who have family members suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the MPP has become one of a local doctor’s biggest supporters in her efforts to bring the internationally recognized Spiritual Process and Resiliency [SPARTA] program to Canada to help military veterans and first responders dealing with PTSD.

“I just felt these people had it right,” Hillier said of the program, spearheaded by Dr. Manuela Joannou to start the first Canadian cohort.

Dr. Joannou is very much aware of PTSD, both personally and professionally.

“I would be lying if I didn’t have cases that profoundly affected me,” she says, adding this is true of any profession “bearing witness to pain and suffering and critical incidents.”

On a professional basis, the Perth area family/emergency physician is familiar with PTSD, both through the counselling she does and her interaction with her colleagues in the emergency department, in addition to first responders like police, firefighters and paramedics.

Dr. Joannou thinks of PTSD as “an operational stress injury for professionals.”

“I don’t like the idea that it is a disorder or a disease,” she said. “I think it is an injury and it needs to be looked at in a different category.”

She says those who care the most are more vulnerable to developing this type of injury.

“They really feel each other’s pain and are empathetic,” she remarked. “If we can intervene and help these people and get them back to their service, they are just such a huge asset.”

Frustrated with the treatments that were being offered, Dr. Joannou started doing research on possible alternatives.

“I felt what was missing was addressing the moral injury, the deep impact to a person’s heart and soul,” she said.

When the physician came across an interview with one of the American founders of SPARTA, “it just blew me away.”

“I realized they were doing it with great success but not a whole lot of recognition,” she said.

Having started off under the name “Save A Warrior,” it’s a very intensive five-and-a-half-day program using holistic and alternative methods.

“It is very experiential,” says Dr. Joannou who spent a week with the main program providers in Malibu in November. “They’re introduced to a lot of different concepts that really ground them and get them to connect to something greater than themselves.”

Along with group therapy discussions, SPARTA participants also engage in meditation, horse-assisted counselling and adventure programs like high ropes.

“Spending time in nature can really be a spiritual experience for anyone,” the physician commented. “With high ropes, we allow people to feel their fear in a very controlled safe environment.”

Likewise, one of the things that interests Dr. Joannou about the horse-assisted counselling component is that it incorporates the Equine Assisted Growth And Learning Association (EAGALA) model, training for which she completed 12 years ago.

“I am really excited that it is starting to get some validation and recognition,” she said.

Dr. Joannou is also excited that the first Canadian cohort of SPARTA could take place as early as this spring as she has received a commitment from the providers to come here. Currently, they are in Australia doing the first cohort there. Given the invitation for them to go to that country came from the Australian government is, she says, “just a testimonial to the fact it is being regarded as a worthwhile program.”

All the logistics have been planned out for the first cohort in Canada, which Tay River Reflections hopes to host using its new aqua facility, which is secluded from the rest of the spa and has its own parking area.

“It’s like its own microcosm,” she said. There are approximately five kilometres of walking trails just outside the door of the aqua facility.

She says her dream is to train people to have other facilities across the country.

“My vision is that the program could be adapted to any country in the world,” she said.

Dr. Joannou would also like to be able to oversee the research as to outcomes analysis.

“We would like to have the metrics to show it is a very effective treatment,” she said.

She says she’d like to work with the providers in the U.S. “to see if there are some things we need to tweak to give it a Canadian context” and ensure the curriculum meets the needs of Canadian organizations. As an example of how the program could be Canadianized, because the weather is different here than in Malibu, some winter outdoor activities could be added, she suggested.

Likewise, while SPARTA operates on a complementary and alternative medicine model in the U.S., Dr. Joannou is a strong proponent for utilizing a medical model here in Canada. That way, she says, if a person requires medication or even medical attention, that care would be available.

She says she was very encouraged by the large turnout for a full-day workshop on PTSD at Tay River Reflections on Jan. 13.

“It was just testimonial to how important people feel this topic is right now,” she stated.

For Perth town councillor Jim Graff who, along with Hillier, were among the attendees that day, the event really “opened my eyes” about PTSD.

“First of all, I don’t think society, including myself, is aware of the residual effect for first responders in working in an environment that primarily deals with tragic events,” he said in an email. “For policemen and soldiers in the course of their duty, having to take a life or be witness to indescribable horror is cavalier in the movies but not in real life.”

Having worked in the U.S. towards the end of the Vietnam War, Graff some of the returning veterans. He remembers how little of any help was available from the Department of Veterans Affairs there “and readjusting to civilian life for them was impossible.”

 

“Personally, I think we have a moral obligation to help these folks regain the quality of life that they lost in the performance of their duty,” he said “The SPARTA program I think will do that from Dr. Joannou’s presentation and a film we saw.”

 

With the progress being made in the understanding of mental health issues, Graff believes it’s “a no brainer that we should get behind physicians like Dr. Joannou and encourage government support for this SPARTA program.”

 

The estimated cost to run a cohort, taking into account the providers, lodging, food and the horse component, would be $3,000 per person.

“If we had $36,000, we could have it happen,” she said.

Ideally, Dr. Joannou would like to start off with two cohorts, one for men and one for women. Of course, everything hinges, she says, “on us being able to raise funds.” She’s currently looking at community fundraisers and corporate sponsorships to help fund the program.

The physician is appreciative of the support she’s receiving for SPARTA, particularly from Hillier. Calling the MPP “a champion” of the program, she says he has had “great ideas” and “connected us with political people to make it happen.”

“This is personal for him,” she stated. “He really cares. I just love that about him.”

For his part, Hillier says he has no doubt the SPARTA program will happen and will help out “wherever I can.”

“I think it is powerfully needed,” he said in a phone interview. He says for many with PTSD, it is not just a chemical imbalance they are suffering from that can be treated with medication.

“That’s what the SPARTA program recognizes,” Hillier said. “For many people, it is a moral injury.”

Based on his own experiences with people, the MPP believes there is a need to do something different in treating PTSD from what is currently being done.

“I have felt that what we have been doing in the past has been less than effective,” he stated. “The stats bear it out.”

In 2015, alone, 39 first responders and 12 members of the military died from suicide in Canada. Already, in the first month of this year, three more first responders have been added to those numbers.

A solemn Dr. Joannou doesn’t mince words when she talks about the sense of urgency she feels about the situation.

“I just wish we had this system in place where we could reach out to them a real solution for their suffering,” she said. “It is not a quick fix but it is a support channel to connect into a source that will lead them on the road to healing.”

To date, more than 300 people have completed the SPARTA program since it launched in 2012.

Polar Bear Dip returns to Tay River New Year’s Day

Sunday, October 18, 2015 @ 08:10 PM
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By Terrance O’Hearn

Many of Perth’s bravest souls will be seen floating briefly inside a large hole chopped from the ice of the frigid Tay River come New Year’s morning.

Each participant must parade to the water’s edge and endure a countdown, while the crowds along the riverbank shout encouragement, catcalls, or advice. In spite of the obvious reasons not to jump, almost everyone emerges from the watery depths with a huge smile, on the occasion of the Perth Polar Bear Plunge.  

Born at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Petawawa, the event moved to Perth in 1994 with founder David Lavery, who was assisted by Stan Munro and others at the Royal Canadian Legion. Since then, more than $210,000 has been raised in support of local charities.

Lavery recalls the first Perth event in 1994: “We had the initial aim of raising awareness for our local Chapter of Crime Stoppers. I was just new into the community, and I thought that continuing the plunge in Perth would be a great thing.”  

He says finding a host in the Perth Legion proved to be a perfect fit for having the right location and support. “After our first Plunge into the Tay River, we have never looked back, and the Legion has been a great ambassador throughout all of these years, and the foundation to our traditional dip.”

The Petawawa version began in 1988, jumping off the docks at CFB Petawawa. Lavery said he has “fond memories of this crazy event, and they all started while I was serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. We were young and eager to a challenge, and it was one of those challenges in 1988 that had me make one of our early Polar Bear Plunges into the dead cold icy Ottawa River.  It was on the early morning of Jan. 1, 1988 and I have never missed a plunge since, albeit not all have been icy plunges I have to confess.”

Stan Munro, considered by many to be the unofficial Mayor of Maberly, is a long-time Legion member, and has been assisting Lavery with the Plunge since the early years, along with fellow Legion member Jeanette Buker:

“I remember around the first of December, 1993, a few of us were sitting around some tables in the Legion Lounge, and Dave (Lavery) was talking about his New Year’s Polar Bear plunges at CFB Petawawa” said Munro. “We could see the ideal spot through the windows of the Lounge – on the banks of the Tay right there at the Legion.”

He just observed and learned for the first three years in Perth, and took his first jump in 1997.

“That plunge will always stick in my memory. I had raised more than $3,000 in pledges, and even though I was sick with the flu, it would have been impossible to back out. After several hours of New Year’s celebration, my wife Maureen took me to the event. I remember listening to a speech by Mayor Lana March, and then surfacing inside the hole cut in the ice. I wondered why all those people were standing around watching me.”

Although a Polar Bear “plunge” or “dip” has become a New Year’s tradition across Canada, Perth is seen to have one of the most successful and safest true Polar Bear Plunge in Canada.  Many events are held in the province of British Columbia, and Vancouver has held an event since as early as 1920, but it can be safely said that a “dip” in the relatively balmy waters off the west coast, could not compare to a full plunge into the sub-zero Tay waters.

Great War Memorial Hospital of Perth District Foundation is the recipient for 2016, and Board Executive Director and Chair Karen Rennie is excited about the opportunity for new funding which will be directed to the Intensive Care Unit at the Perth Site.

“There are three pieces that have been identified that we need to replace,” Rennie said, “the main one being the Telemetry Unit, which can cost up to $200,000.” The telemetry unit is a place in a hospital where special machines are used to help staff closely monitor patients, and is a significant upgrade in services for the Perth Site. “Every penny counts,” she said, “It would be ideal to raise $25,000 towards this project. We hope people will join us to jump on that day. It is supporting a wonderful cause.” The Foundation will match funds raised from the Polar Bear Plunge, if necessary using monies from other fundraising such as the Black Tie Bingo.

Mayor John Gemmell, a man of many hats, began plunging at the 2015 event on behalf of Perth’s 200th Anniversary Advisory Panel. He will plunge in 2016 representing the Hospital Foundation, and could also be seen as representing the Legion as first Vice-President.

“I survived the [2015 plunge],” Gemmell said, “All money raised will be going to a great cause at our GWM Hospital Site, and I am looking forward to participating again this year. I remember thinking on my first jump that is was colder coming out that jumping in, but the community benefits, and that’s a good thing.”

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