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Progressive police chief sees strong community partnerships as key

in Community/Local News/Poverty Reduction/Seniors by
Kawartha Lakes Police Service Chief Mark Mitchell. Photo: Erin Smith.

Back in high school in Streetsville in the mid 1980s, Mark Mitchell’s friend wanted to fill out an application to join the local police force in Peel Region. The only thing was, his friend didn’t have a car. Fortunately, Mitchell had his parents’ car and got him there to fill out the application.

“I decided while I was there I might as well apply, too,” says Mitchell. In the end, his friend’s application was rejected while Mitchell was accepted onto the force.

What started out as perhaps an afterthought by a young man just starting out, has turned into a distinguished career. Mitchell is now Chief Mark Mitchell of the Kawartha Lakes Police Service, having officially taken on the role Aug. 31, after former Chief John Hagarty retired.

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Save community banks, save the post office: Time for postal banking in Canada

in Business/Columnists/Community/Poverty Reduction/Seniors by
The big banks are getting out of smaller communities. Is it time for postal banking?

One of the first things that the new Dominion of Canada did as a country, way back in April 1868, was create a postal bank. The idea was to create a banking system that everyday Canadians could access easily – and to serve customers that the established banks at the time showed little interest in serving. Postal banking existed in Canada until 1968.

All of the stakeholders of the postal system (Canada Post; Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association (CPAA) have examined the idea of re-establishing a postal bank. The CUPW and CPAA research relies heavily on the research of consultant John Anderson. His 82-page Why Canada Needs Postal Banking published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives contains some of the most detailed research on the topic.

Make no mistake: this is research funded by CUPW. And let’s face it: CUPW are a bit of a polarizing entity at the moment. So it’s perhaps not the most strategic time to be advocating for an increased role and more responsibilities for Canada Post — and its workers — in our life. The most recent strike no doubt rankled many of us, especially those of us waiting for Christmas gifts ordered online. And we are about to get another postage increase. On Jan. 14, 2019 a stamp bought in bulk will cost 90 cents. An individual stamp will cost us $1.05. That we can — in a time of $7 coffees — mail a letter from anywhere in Canada to anywhere in Canada for a measly $1.05 will be lost on those who use any excuse to bash Canada Post. I mean $1.05! That’s a whole nickel more than a non-existent buck-a-beer! But I digress.

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Seniors in crisis in Kawartha Lakes: Group calls on Mayor, MPP to help fill in the gaps

in Community/Health/Local News/Seniors by
Scores of seniors with some level of cognitive impairment across Kawartha Lakes are at risk of grave injury or death because there are no services for people like them.

He’s got a makeshift wood stove in a dilapidated trailer outside of town. She’s hoarding junk and debris — so much in fact that the doors to her home no longer open and parts of her floor are sagging. Another man burns flammable liquids to stay warm during the cold clutch of winter. In her postcard-perfect home, another woman constantly calls police to investigate phantom intruders.

This is but a snapshot of a growing number of seniors who are in danger in our community. They’re all over age 60 and most have lost at least some of their cognitive abilities. These are men and women who are not necessarily defined by poverty or rural postal codes. In fact, many of them live in nice homes in Lindsay or elsewhere in Kawartha Lakes and may be quite well off.

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Meals on Wheels may be the only social interaction some have on Christmas Day

in Community/Health/Poverty Reduction/Seniors by
Art Myers, left, and Len Skelton, right, volunteers for Meals on Wheels.

It’s the time of year when we look ahead just a few weeks to the Christmas season. For many people, it’s a ‘warm and fuzzy’ exercise as they anticipate family gatherings and meals accented with laughter, merriment and reflections of their blessings. It’s not necessarily so for everyone, however.

As much as the holiday season can be heartwarming and positive for some, it also a very ‘blue’ time for others who may be without family and friends. Stress of the holidays can combine with circumstances that trigger sadness and melancholy instead of happiness and positive moods. Not everybody looks forward to the holidays, especially if it means being alone.

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Born to run: In memory of Lindsay’s Crazy Jim

in Around Town/Columnists/Community/Seniors by

This article originally ran in the July, 2018 magazine edition of The Lindsay Advocate. Jim Martin passed away Dec. 6., 2018.

My wife, Glenda, has run marathons. It’s a terrible spectator sport: at the starter’s pistol she would set her pace and return three hours later. The distance she was running was the distance from Lindsay to downtown Peterborough.

Frankly, I thought she was crazy. So when Glenda talks with awe about another runner and calls him crazy, I take notice.

That’s how she talks about Jim Martin, widely-known in the local running community as “Crazy Jim,” a long-time Lindsay resident and former ultramarathoner. When I first talked to Jim, 11 years ago, Jim had twice run all 11 ultramarathons in the annual Ontario Ultramarathon Series; another year he’d run all but one.

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The thrill of the festive hunt: Your guide to bazaar season

in Around Town/Community/Local News/Seniors by

Starting in mid-November, every weekend offers you the chance to pick up unique finds that are locally made, reasonably priced and usually support a great cause. That’s the beauty of Christmas bazaar season. Watch for signs outside churches, charities and nursing homes starting in mid-November.

Pro tip: Bring several of your own reusable containers for cookies and other baking, and cloth bags for larger purchases. And remember, like any other shopping expedition, it’s easy to get carried away—there are definitely better and worse choices.

Best bets

You’re looking for things you can’t get anywhere else, or that you can’t or won’t make yourself. Keep an eye out for:

-microwaveable rice- or bean-filled neck bags. These are often available at bazaars in much cheaper and more attractive versions than you’ll find in stores.

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First council meeting goes to pot — and committee appointments

in Business/Community/Local News/Seniors by
Councillor Doug Elmslie and Councillor Emmett Yeo expressed the view that opting-in was the obvious decision.

A week after being sworn-in, City of Kawartha Lakes Council assembled around its custom-designed triangular conference table in the heart of the refurbished chambers. They gathered to hear a presentation on retail cannabis sales and to approve appointments to boards, committees and CHEST Fund disbursements.

Cannabis Retail Storefronts

By the Jan. 22 deadline set by the Province, council must make a decision on whether to opt-in or opt-out of having private recreational cannabis retail storefronts in Kawartha Lakes.

CAO Ron Taylor and Senior Licensing Officer Alix Scarr, provided a presentation that served as an overview of federal, provincial, and municipal responsibilities and powers with respect to cannabis and outlined the financial implications for the decision council will be making.

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Kinmount and Area Food Bank now open; seniors as clients on the rise in province

in Around Town/Community/Local News/Poverty Reduction/Seniors by

The Kinmount and Area Food Bank will officially open to the public Dec. 13, serving 45 families.

According to Kinmount and Area Food Bank Chair Grace MacDonald, it will be open every other Thursday, based on a schedule that alternates with the Coboconk Food Bank and will “serve 45 families who were using either the Coboconk or Minden Food Bank,” says MacDonald.

MacDonald chairs a group of volunteers that have been working over the last year to open the much needed local resource. Finding local sponsors, a location that had a health board-certified kitchen and getting police checks completed were just some of the things that MacDonald and her committee had to accomplish in order to open. In the end the group decided on the Kinmount Baptist Church (4937 Monk Rd., Kinmount.)

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Letham meets with Premier Ford, talks growth, job creation

in Around Town/Community/Local News/Seniors by

On December 10, Mayor Andy Letham was invited to meet one-on-one with Premier Doug Ford at Queen’s Park. The meeting was one of seven held with mayors of municipalities across Ontario including Mississauga, London and Guelph.

Among the themes discussed, according to a City press release, were common goals of providing efficient and effective services. The premier recognized Kawartha Lakes’ early adoption of a restructured, streamlined council size. He also expressed approval for the municipality’s long-term financial planning and ability to tackle sizable infrastructure deficits. They discussed how Kawartha Lakes is taking proactive steps to ensure sustainability of the services and amenities its residents value most, as uncovered in core service reviews.

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Extra funding to help RMH during holiday surge

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The Ross Memorial Hospital (RMH) team is getting another $1,464,000 in one-time funding from the Central East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to maintain critical system capacity during the regular holiday/flu surge.

Ross Memorial Hospital has been experiencing higher than normal patient volumes for more than 18 months. Over the Christmas holidays, it’s expected volumes will increase again, requiring the Hospital to open extra beds.

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