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2017 Year in Review: April

April 6

• As the issue surrounding the future of the Orangeville Police Service came back before Town Council, Police Chief Wayne Kalinski said this decision should be about more than just money.

“This is not all about dollars and cents. It would be pretty cut and dry if it were. This is about people,” Chief Kalinski said. “This is about the people that support our service, this is about people keeping jobs in Orangeville, working in Orangeville, living in Orangeville. Every member of Council claims to be intimately connected to the community, and being connected means knowing what your constituents think. I can tell you that your constituents love OPS, I hear it daily. I ask that you keep that in mind when considering whether or not to keep jobs in Orangeville and whether or not you want to retain the OPS.”

Currently, the OPS is made up of 42 uniformed police officers and 27 civilian staff members. Should the OPP take over, they have committed to providing the equivalent of 42.58 uniform officers, while reducing the number of civilian employees to 10, resulting in at least 17 local residents losing their jobs.

• Ontario's latest annual “Sunshine List,” which since 1996 has been showing the salaries of public servants who earned more than $100,000 in the previous year, was released last Friday. It included a record  123,410 names – up from 115,431 last year – and showed as its top earner Jeff Lyash, CEO of Ontario Power Generation, who collected  $1,155,900 in pay and $9,800 in taxable benefits.

In Dufferin County, the top earner was Orangeville's chief administrative officer (CAO), Ed Brennan, who was paid $174,027.65, up from about $163,000 he received in 2015. In all, the list included 52 other Town employees, with second place being held by Police Chief Wayne Kalinski at $155,954.30. Interestingly, the Chief's earnings were not a lot more than those of the next highest-paid member of the Orangeville Police Service, Sergeant Chris Dryden, who earned $144,727.69.

The list included 14 employees of Dufferin County, headed by CAO Sonya Pritchard at $168,674.24, and nine persons employed by the Town of Shelburne, with Police Chief Kent Moore in first place at $145,056.32, ahead of CAO John Telfer at $140,471.80. The Town of Mono had four names on the list, headed by former CAO Keith McNenly at $138,524.46

• Almost 74 years on from the Normandy landings and right on the eve of the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge and one Orangeville veteran is finally getting the recognition he deserves after fighting and valiantly serving his country during the Second World War.

100-year-old Albert Bolen Henderson, known affectionately as Bo to his friends and family, was a medic, serving in the 4th Division Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps during the Second World War. Last Thursday (March 30), a group of 50 friends and families gathered at the Orangeville Legion to watch as local MP for Dufferin-Caledon David Tilson presented Bo with an honourary 1939-1945 Victory Lapel Pin.

April 13

• This past Sunday (April 9), the Orangeville's Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 233, commemorated the 100-year anniversary of the World War 1 battle of Vimy Ridge, along with the unveiling of the new cairn outside the branch.

Members of the community, the legion, veterans, and local dignitaries all came by to commemorate this special anniversary. The commemoration began with the unveiling of the cairn, and placing wreaths and crosses in front. Chris Skalozub, legion president, said the cairn, by placing rocks together, is designed for “perpetual remembrance” to those who fought and died in battle.

The battle of Vimy Ridge took place from April 9 1917 to April 12. The objective was to capture German-held high ground along an escarpment, in Vimy, Pas-de-Calais, France. The battle, a victory for the allies, brought technical and tactical innovation, with the Canadians supported by a creeping barrage, where soldiers kept pace with artillery, giving the Germans little time to prepare for a defense. Canada though suffered over 10,000 casualties, including 3500 dead.

• It has been a week to remember for one Orangeville native as he finally realized a childhood dream in suiting up for a career-first NHL game.

Ever since he was drafted by the New Jersey Devils 96th overall in the fourth round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Ben Thomson has had but one goal on his mind – to don the famous blood-red jersey in the big leagues. Now, he's just hoping to stay there.

Turning out for the Devils' final three games of the 2016/2017 regular season – against the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings – Thomson ended his mini-NHL vacation with four penalty minutes, seven shots on goal and 32 minutes and 40 seconds of ice time playing alongside the likes of former Edmonton Oiler Luke Gazdic, Blake Coleman, Miles Wood and Joseph Blandisi on the team's fourth line.

April 20

• One of the area's oldest, most respected service clubs celebrated an incredible milestone this week, welcoming more than 200 guests from the local community to join them in doing so.

The Rotary Club of Orangeville has a distinguished record of lending a helping hand to any and all who need it that dates back to 1937. On Tuesday evening, the group, which today boasts 30 dedicated members, hosted a celebratory banquet at the Orangeville Agricultural Event Centre to reflect on 80 years of Rotary in the community.

• A fundraising campaign born out of a grandmother's love for her twin grandchildren with autism has become an annual event that is surpassing all financial targets. Deanna Avison of Shelburne teamed up with Megan Young of the Shelburne Golf and Country Club for the second year in a row, besting her goal of $7500 by raising over $9064 at the “Hearts Wide Open for Autism” murder mystery dinner and silent auction event on April 1st.

Ms. Avison says statistics show one in 68 children are diagnosed with autism, with no two children on the spectrum the same.  Autism comes in various forms, mild, moderate and severe; some children are non-verbal, leading to great communication difficulties.

April 27

• The Dufferin County Museum and Archives (DCMA) will launch a new exhibit early next month with the unprecedented spread taking an in-depth look at the past, present and future of the Headwaters region.

Appropriately named ‘True. Grit.', the exhibit features 45 individuals and 26 different themes that embody the rich history and deep sense for community that flows through Dufferin County, says museum curator Sarah Robinson.

Since taking up her position with the organization back in October of 2014, Ms. Robinson has made it a priority to put on the “most interesting and engaging” exhibits possible. On the face of things, it appears the museum has knocked it out of the park with its latest offering.

With various themes covering such professionals as doctors, police officers, photographers and teachers complementing spreads on local entrepreneurs, politicians, theatre groups and athletes, True Grit truly is a who's who and a what's what of Dufferin County.

Taking up most of the wall space in the main foyer of the museum, each theme includes photos – both old and new – as well as extensive write-ups describing the “now and then” of each feature. Various associated artifacts will also be displayed prominently in the professional display.

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