2017 Year in Review: November

January 5, 2018   ·   0 Comments

November 2

• In what is turning into a disturbing pattern locally, abuse against women is on the rise in Dufferin and Caledon, with Family Transition Place (FTP) reporting an average 10 percent increase across the board in clients served per program over the past year.

The facility provided emergency shelter for 103 women and 65 children between April 1, 2016 and April 1, 2017, while putting up 20 women and 23 children in second-stage housing. As well, 388 women signed up for woman-abuse counselling, 151 women and 22 men enrolled in sexual abuse counselling, while 318 women and five men required transitional support services. In total, FTP received 3,742 calls to its crisis and information lines.

• It’s the smallest things that can make the biggest difference and area resident Carolyn Martin is hoping to prove just that this festive period, continuing a 20-year Christmas tradition in Orangeville.

Since 1997 Operation Christmas Child has inspired thousands of local residents to dip into their pockets and put together a yuletide package for underprivileged children living in various nations across the globe. This year, kids in Chile, Senegal, Guinea, Gambia and Ivory Coast will benefit from area residents’ generosity.

Last year, Operation Christmas Child received 1,851 shoeboxes over the course of four days in Orangeville, taking the overall total in 20 years to close to 30,000.

November 9

• Orangeville Council had a change of heart Monday evening, voting in favour of hiring eight new full-time firefighters less than two weeks after turning down the request.

Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock was the swing vote in the $800,000 decision, although he requested that $300,000 of that total be taken out of the municipality’s tax rate stabilization fund in an attempt to lessen the burden on taxpayers. The end result, after Council narrowly approved its 2018 Budget, is a 3.97 percent tax increase for residential property owners. That equates to an increase of $116.70 for a property assessed at $363,000 when compared to 2017.

That is a significant jump from the previous 1.53 percent increase that was proposed on Oct. 24 and can almost single-handedly be attributed to Council’s decision to approve Fire Chief Ron Morden’s request for additional full-time support in Orangeville. The move will help ensure that Orangeville and its neighbouring communities will receive 24-hour, full-time support from its Fire Department.

• For the fourteenth year in a row, Westside Secondary School has created a sea of pink here in Orangeville.

Last Friday, Nov. 3, you may have seen some people around town wearing an excessive amount of pink. To put your curiosity to rest, those people were a part of Pink Day at Westside. This event is the biggest and the best at the high school, and everyone knows it. Everyone participates, gets involved, and most importantly, wears pink.

At the end of the assembly, it was estimated that the school rose well over $19,000, but the updated number is now over $20,000. Everyone is very proud that once again, the community has been able to achieve this amount of support for the Breast Cancer Society of Canada (BCSC) and their Dress for the Cause campaign.

• Not even icy-cold temperatures that dropped dangerously close to freezing were enough to deter approximately 400 area residents from celebrating Bonfire Night in style this past weekend.

Held at the Orangeville Agricultural Society Event Centre last Saturday (Nov. 4), the second annual event took the community by storm as local residents Sharon Edmonds and Elaine Capes planned a full afternoon’s worth of activities. Recognized as the only official event of its kind in Ontario (they do celebrate the ‘holiday’ in Atlantic Canada), Bonfire Night pays homage to the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, which saw British rebel Guy Fawkes and a group of 12 other men attempt to blow up the British Houses of Parliament and assassinate the royal family.

Much of the history surrounding the origins of the event has been lost over time and today, over in the UK, Bonfire Night is mostly seen as an occasion to get together with family and friends and enjoy a fun-filled evening. Having grown up loving Bonfire Night while living in the UK, Ms. Edmonds is eager to spread the joy in Dufferin County.

November 16

• Headwaters Health Care Centre CEO Stacey Daub was at Dufferin County Council last Thursday (Nov. 9) discussing the hospital’s need for more funding from the province.

Ms. Daub described the hospital as an “economic engine,” but warned they can’t do everything. “It’s not possible, technology is constantly changing.” She says their biggest challenge is financial, due to a model the province moved to in 2012 that aims at reflecting the needs of patients served by each hospital and its surrounding community. 

The model compensates health-care organizations based on how many patients they look after, the services they deliver, and the needs of the broader population they serve.

Ms. Daub says the new model is “quite difficult for medium-sized hospitals” like Headwaters, and is not working for them.

• Dufferin County Council has approved its 2018 budget which involves a 1.9 percent increase in the county’s portion of property tax bills. 

For the average Dufferin property assessed at $400,000, the increase equates to about $1,556 on the county portion of tax bills next year, an increase of about $29 compared to this year.

• Two Montgomery Village Public School (MVPS) teachers have been recognized at the national level for their work in bringing the revolutionary ‘GrandPals’ program to life in Orangeville.

Marc Mailhot and Lynda Brown will receive the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching in a special ceremony next Wednesday at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. The commendation will be handed out to eight teachers across Canada this year for their “exceptional commitment to sharing Canadian history in unique ways”.

• The Orangeville District Secondary School Bears junior girls basketball team are the District 10 champions after going undefeated for the season and winning the final game over John. F. Ross Collegiate Vocational Institute on Saturday, November 11. The final game was played at Guelph Collegiate.

The Bears have had an outstanding season winning all 12 regular season games en route to an impressive regional championship.

November 23

• Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS), and Family Transition Place (FTP) have come together to host Orangeville’s first Trans Day of Remembrance ceremony.

The event took place at the DCAFS office on Riddell Road Monday (Nov. 20), and saw nearly 50 people attend this special ceremony.

The Orangeville event saw various members from FTP and DCAFS, Dufferin County’s LGBTQ youth group, as well as individuals in the community, coming together to commemorate the day. There was a moment of noise to break the silence and raise awareness, with the transgender flag being raised at half-mast outside DCAFS office.

• Ontario college students experienced their second ‘back to school’ day in as many months on Tuesday after the five-week standoff between the College Employer Council and the union representing Ontario’s college faculties came to an enforced end.

Under mounting pressure from half a million students across Ontario, the provincial legislature passed back-to-work legislation on Sunday (Nov. 19) during a special weekend sitting, sending both parties to binding mediation-arbitration.

• Sometimes it’s the simplest ideas that can make the biggest difference. Those words echoed through the halls of Montgomery Village Public School (MVPS) last week as Stephany St. Louis, the driving force behind HatsOnDufferin, announced the local non-profit’s inaugural campaign had assembled 2,900 winter hats so far in 2017.

The organization has taken the community by storm since its inception a year ago. Upon learning of the growing rate of poverty in Dufferin County, Ms. St. Louis had but one goal – to ensure that every child, person and family in our community has a hat to keep them warm this winter.

HatsOnDufferin hosted 12 hat-making events over a 10-month period and partnered with over 30 local businesses, organizations and municipalities, including the County of Dufferin, Headwaters Communities in Action and Chartwell Montgomery Retirement Residence. Representatives of those organizations were in attendance this past Friday (Nov. 17) as Ms. St. Louis officially dropped off 100 homemade hats to MVPS.

All 2,900 hats have now been distributed to Dufferin’s 29 elementary and high schools. With the 2017 campaign now over, Stephany and all of her volunteers are already looking forward to next year’s initiative, which will launch in January.

November 30

• Claims of fear-mongering and ‘fake math’ rang around Town Hall Monday as Orangeville Council just barely ratified its 2018 budget, with a projected 3.63 percent tax increase for local homeowners.

The bump to municipal tax bills was down from a previously projected 3.97 percent, but that did little to pacify some members who expressed dismay at the Town’s eye-watering $62 million budget for the year.

Based on a median property assessment of $363,000 in Orangeville, taxpayers are looking at paying an average of $3,049 in taxes on the town portion of tax bills – an increase of $106.93 from last year.

• The Orangeville Police Service is looking for a suspect after a man was found with multiple gunshot wounds to his back.

On Monday night at about 9:30, police received a call from a citizen reporting what was believed to be gunshots heard in the area of Third Street and Fourth Avenue in Orangeville.

Upon arriving, police were directed to an Orange Mill Court residence where they located a male believed to be in his early 50’s, with multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to hospital by air ambulance with what were initially reported as life threatening injuries.

• The transformation is complete. After months of hard work, a longstanding festive tradition is all set to celebrate its silver anniversary in style next month as the popular Christmas in the Park returns to Orangeville for a 25th year.

Put together by the Optimist Club of Orangeville, the annual extravaganza turns Kay Cee Gardens, located between Bythia Street and John Street, into a “winter wonderland” jam-packed with various Christmas-themed displays and more than 50,000 bright Christmas lights.

Christmas in the Park will officially get under way tomorrow (Dec. 1) at 6:30 p.m. with various special events planned for its grand opening. The park will re-open nightly throughout the entire month of December, running from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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