Introducing Kyle Lucas

August 25, 2012 at 4:40 pm (Family)

Last night I was awoken just prior to midnight with a lovely phone call from my sister. In the background I could hear the cries of her newborn son, Kyle Lucas. That makes three beautiful boys for Melanie and Chad, bumping their family to five members on their fifth wedding anniversary.

I now have seven nephews and one princess of a niece, and they’re all little bundles of awesome.

Congrats, Andersons! I can’t wait to meet him!

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City council – Aug. 13

August 15, 2012 at 10:19 am (News, Politics) (, )

I take back every complaint I had about two hour council meetings.

Monday night was a marathon four hours – and that was on top of a two-hour closed meeting. Council went so long they were required to pass a special motion for discussion to continue past 11 p.m. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t meet for four or five weeks.

Here’s a quick recap of the major agenda items:

  • The city is looking at a $658,000 deficit by the end of the year, thanks to less than expected tipping fee revenue and investment interest. A couple of councillors were quite worried and pushed managers to nip and tuck to ensure a balanced bottom line by December. Others expressed confidence in staff to make up the difference, and noted the shortfall isn’t much compared to the total $155 million budget.
  • Rik Saaltink, GM of the Seaway International Bridge Corporation, laid out his case for keeping the toll booth in Cornwall once the new bridge is operational. Several councillors were pretty adamantly against the idea, though others apologized for putting Rik in the hotseat and said they understood his predicament. The company is mandated to be self-sustaining, and moving the toll to the U.S. side or removing it entirely doesn’t make fiscal sense.

Councillors listen to Saaltink’s presentation on Monday.

  • Chief building official Chris Rogers provided an update on the property standards department and the pressures from low staffing levels and high complaint volumes. He plans to ask for two positions to become full time next year during budget debate, and already council seems fully behind the idea.
  • Coun. Maurice Dupelle successfully argued for a bylaw amendment that prohibits pigeon keeping in the city’s urban areas completely. Apparently both he and Coun. Gerald Samson have been hearing plenty of complaints about the birds, mainly around the health risks they pose.
  • Council agreed to make the redevelopment of the Bob Turner their first priority when applying for a new federal grant. They’ll also put in a request for help to build soccer fields at the Benson Centre. The local curling club plans to submit an application as well, as they  want to expand their lounge.
  • The search for a new chief administrative officer has begun. Council approved a hiring committee made up of four members and the HR manager. The group will review the job description, analyze applications, and bring the top few candidates before the full council for interviews.
  • It looks the secondary wastewater treatment project will hit its budget after all. The original bid was below the $55 million plan, but staff came back to council this week to ask for some additional work to be done. The extras will bring the total right up to the cap, but $2 million of that remains dedicated as contingency in case any unexpected issues arise.

And that’s just the big items. Council also agreed to buy new radio equipment for the fire department, shot down a request from the Terry Fox run to use the bandshell free of charge, approved some job positions and passed over a dozen bylaws.

Council meets next on September 10.

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2012 Olympics: Team Canada

August 13, 2012 at 11:43 am (News, Sports and fitness) (, )

The 2012 Olympic Games wrapped up in London last night, with a three-hour closing ceremony of random guests showcasing British pop music. I was pumped to see Christine Sinclair – captain of our women’s soccer team – hoisting the maple leaf, with a huge grin on her face. She did a fantastic job and earned the honour of being our flag bearer.

Team Canada is heading home with 18 medals, only one of them goal. Though it might not be what some had hoped, I’m reminded of our incredible showing when we hosted the Olympics two years ago in Vancouver. Fourteen gold medals, the most of any country … ever. And there’s far fewer sports events (86 compared to 301), and therefore medals, in the winter Games.

So hey, we might not be quite as good at summer sports, but we can definitely hold our own. We finished 13th overall in the total medal count, well back of the three top finishers. The U.S. earned 104 medals; China had 88, and Great Britain won 65. I was pumped for them; what a great showing for the host nation. Cuba and Colombia – two of my other favourite countries in the world – finished with 14 and eight medals, respectively.

Here’s a breakdown of Canada’s hardware:

Gold

  • Rosannagh MacLennan, women’s trampoline

Silver

  • Adam van Koeverden, men’s kayak 1000m
  • Team Canada, rowing men’s eight
  • Team Canada, rowing women’s eight
  • Ryan Cochrane, men’s 1500m freestyle swim
  • Tonya Lynn Verbeek, women’s wrestling

Bronze

  • Team Canada, women’s soccer
  • Derek Drouin, men’s high jump
  • Mark de Jonge, men’s kayak 200m
  • Mark Oldershaw, men’s canoe 1000m
  • Team Canada, women’s cycling team pursuit
  • Team Canada, women’s diving 3m springboard
  • Team Canada, women’s diving 10m platform
  • Antoine Valois-Fortier, men’s judo
  • Brent Hayden, men’s 100m freestyle swim
  • Richard Weinberger, men’s 10k swim
  • Christine Girard, women’s weightlifting
  • Carol Huynh, women’s wrestling

And that’s all … until the Games in Sochi, Russia, in two years.

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2012 Olympics: best commentary ever

August 11, 2012 at 7:58 am (Sports and fitness) (, )

Man … some people are hilarious. I came across a video of some pretty entertaining commentary on a sailing event. Makes me want to try commentary for the hammer throw or something.

I can’t post the video here, but follow this link. Please excuse the language and enjoy.

As an update, we’re now at 18 medals. We won bronze in the marathon swimming event yesterday, which kind of blew my mind. I can’t imagine swimming for 10 kilometres.

Only two days left!

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2012 Olympics: soccer bronze

August 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm (News, Sports and fitness) (, )

I’m so proud of our soccer team. After a frustrating loss to the U.S., we played hard against France and won a bronze medal this morning. I think Christina Sinclair did a fantastic job leading the ladies – she did get all three goals in the semi-final – even if her comments after the game were less than Olympian. FIFA has still to rule if she’ll face disciplinary action for questioning the ref’s call.
Diana Matheson, who scored the game-winning and sole point today was a class act as she pointed to the Canadian crest on her jersey immediately after.

I’m just disappointed our very own Christine Julien was left off the roster at the last minute. As an alternate and member of Canada’s national team, she can at least be proud that she played a role in getting them where they are today. Shortly after the win, she tweeted:

Did we honestly just win a BRONZE FRIGGIN MEDAL???? This is not real life.. I WILL NVR FORGET THIS MOMENT!!!!!! THANK YOU CANADAAAAA

We’ve had plenty to celebrate so far at the 2012 Olympics. A silver and bronze in rowing, our first medal in weight-lifting, two in diving, two in wrestling, gold in trampoline, silver each in men’s and women’s rowing. In the overall medal count, we’re 12th in the world with a total of 16. Not anywhere close to sports superpowers China and the U.S., but not shabby at all.

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2012 Olympics: the happiest volunteer

July 31, 2012 at 9:15 am (Random) ()

This is too good not to share.

A volunteer outside one of the Olympic venues provided a running commentary for people milling around. It’s hilarious.

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2012 Olympics: Let the Games begin

July 27, 2012 at 9:05 am (News, Sports and fitness) ()

The 2012 Summer Olympics officially kick off tonight in London. I’m pretty pumped. I love watching all the sporting events and cheering on my favourite athletes. It brings out patriotism in us all but also gathers the world together.

Canada didn’t get off to a great start, though. Our first contest was a soccer game against Japan, which we lost 2-1. I was already bummed about this team, since Christine Julien was cut a few weeks ago – she’s from Williamstown, and this region’s only athlete who was in the race to compete for our country this year.

We have 281 representatives, with Simon Whitfield carrying the Maple Leaf in the opening ceremony tonight. I’ll be rooting for all of them … but I’ll also be supporting a couple other countries that I’m rather partial to. Colombia, for example. My home for almost a full year, I’m hoping their athletes take back some hardware.

Canada pulled in 18 medals in the last summer Olympics, held in Beijing in 2008. The most we’ve ever won was 44, when the Games were hosted by Los Angeles in 1984; our second place tally is half that, from 1996 in Atlanta. We earned a record amount in the winter Olympics held in our very own Vancouver two years ago: 26 medals, and 14 of them gold. The goal is a fourth place overall finish this year.

I’m really looking forward to the water sports … canoeing, diving, rowing. The cycling events are pretty entertaining as well. I want to catch some soccer, volleyball and running contests. There’s a blind archer from South Korea I’d like to see, and some of the gymnastics events are seriously impressive.

Ahh, I love the Olympics. GO CANADA!!

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Festivals of SD&G

July 25, 2012 at 11:15 am (Random) (, )

Excuse me while I brag on my hometown for a minute.

When I lived in Ottawa, it seemed like there was a festival every weekend throughout the entire summer. There was always something to visit, experience, watch and do. JazzFest, Chamberfest, Bluesfest, Westfest, the list goes on. I think I made it out to almost all of them at least once during my several years there. It was pretty awesome.

But I’ve realized that Cornwall and the counties are not so far off. Admittedly, the calibre of performers and range of options will never quite measure up to what the capital can present. But this region holds its own pretty well. My only real complaint is that I never have time to attend everything I’d like to.

Lift-Off

There’s the city’s signature event: Lift-Off. Three days of music, two nights of fireworks, and hot air balloons drifting over them all. It’s the only festival of its kind in Ontario, and it rocks. Then this weekend, a brand new event is being launched – Ribfest! Not going to lie, I’m pretty pumped about it. This one also includes a full line-up of (free!) entertainment along with the food vendors. Mmmm, ribs.

Next weekend is the rather spectacular Glengarry Highland Games. I covered it last year, and was thoroughly impressed. The tattoo is incredible, the competitions entertaining and the crowds hailing from far and wide. Again, a rather unique event for our area. Oh, and Waterfest is also next weekend, celebrating our jewel of a river with dragonboat races, and art and music exhibits.

Then on Aug. 10 to 12, the 200th edition of the Williamstown Fair. As the oldest annual fair in the entire country, this is another hugely important event for our region.

If those weren’t enough, there’s the tubie festival and Antiquefest – both in Morrisburg – and smaller community fairs in Chesterville, Avonmore, Newington, South Mountain, Winchester and Maxville. For those who just want to enjoy music, there’s Festival Alexandria and the Tapestry concert series. There’s the city’s free Arts in the Park events – which include music, theatre and film – all summer long. There’s also bluegrass and country music concerts from one end of our region to the other.

Don’t ever tell me there’s nothing to do around here.

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From city hall – July 18

July 18, 2012 at 11:30 am (News, Politics) (, )

Cornwall finally has a new human resources manager. It’s been seven months since their last one was dismissed from city hall, and in the meantime both the chief administrative officer and the clerk have announced their pending retirements. So, more changes are to come.

But Councillor Andre Rivette seems to think some things haven’t changed at all. He heard the topic of an interview come up in a closed council meeting last week and walked out, assuming it would be a repeat of a discussion that dissolved into a personal attack against him. He had that meeting investigated, but is now claiming the mayor and colleagues haven’t followed the resulting recommendations.

There was another in-camera meeting on Monday, prior to a 20-minute council gathering that launched the first phase of the redevelopment of the Bob Turner and construction of soccer fields at the Benson Centre. There was a planning advisory committee meeting after that, covering a new Centretown study, brownfield applications, and ways to deal with vacant gas stations.

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CrewCam

July 11, 2012 at 4:19 pm (Entertainment, Random)

My brother is super smart.

He developed an app (along with a few other people) that was recently approved for the iTunes store. It’s pretty brilliant actually – and I’m not just saying that.

The app allows users to share videos with specific groups with just a couple of clicks. So now, instead of posting clips of your dad making silly faces on your Facebook wall, where only two people are going to care, you can post it to your family group on CrewCam. That’s just one example. I’m part of crews for my church, my city, my relatives and select collections of friends. It’s a great way to communicate – and a far more compelling method of sharing stories and experiences than simply texting.

You should all go check it out. It’s already been named one of the top photo/video apps in Canada. It’s pretty much the next Instagram, which means it’s going places and you need to get on board.

Here’s a link to download the app, and here’s links to the Facebook and Twitter pages, which you should definitely check out to get updates on the awesomeness.

Ryan, you’re my hero. Remember me when you’re rich and famous, k?

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