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Stayner and Elmvale high schools threatened

DOUGLAS GLYNN

Staff recommendations override suggestions made by the 40-plus member accomodation review committee for the north and west secondary schools.

The staff report presented last night also suggests the Simcoe County District School Board's facility standing committee recommend the closing of high schools in Stayner and Elmvale as well as a third in Penetanguishene.

A new high school would be built in Wasaga Beach to serve the populations of Elmvale and area and Stayner and area, while Collingwood's secondary school would take up some of the excess.

A staff report presented last night also recommends that the board's facility standing committee recommend:

* Closing Elmvale District High School and Stayner Collegiate Institute.

* Building a new school in the Elmvale- Wasaga Beach area to serve a student population of about 1,000; and,

* Consolidating Stayner Collegiate into Collingwood Collegiate, and Penetanguishene Secondary into Midland Secondary School to give each school a population of about 1,400 students.

The staff recommendations override the suggestions made by the 40-plus member accommodation review committee (ARC) for the north and west secondary schools. The ARC's final report, presented to the board on March 25, contained three scenarios, with the majority of ARC members (more than 90 per cent) favouring keeping all five high schools operating.

"We are going to fight like hell to keep our school," said Penetanguishene Mayor Anita Dubeau, after she learned that Simcoe County District School Board staff have recommended closing Penetanguishene Secondary School in June 2010.

ARC member Ray Millar said the committee members couldn't reach unanimous agreement and had proposed three solutions, "but the strongest consensus was to keep the five schools."

Millar said it's his belief that the closing of the three schools was "a foregone conclusion; but I can't be certain."

SOME SAY BOARD'S DECISION ALREADY MADE

He said that Martin Ward, a consultant to the board, had suggested to the committee in February that its recommendations were more likely to be accepted if they were in line with the position of the facility committee.

Mayor Dubeau said the speed by which the staff recommendations followed delivery of the ARC B report "leads me to believe that what I thought was the case all along: that the decision had already been made."

LOTTERY WIN

A Collingwood man won more than a little spending money last week on a lottery ticket.

Dave Weir won $21,228 playing Pro Picks Pools. The winning ticket was purchased at Mac's located on Cameron Street in Collingwood.

WEAPON A NO-NO

WASAGA BEACH -- Huronia West OPP arrested a man for possessing a weapon in his River Road East home.

A concerned citizen called police on April 9 to complain about the man, and during an investigation, Huronia West OPP, with assistance from Southern Georgian Bay Crime Unit, central region emergency response team and the OPP tactical rescue unit, the man was arrested without incident.

The investigation is on going.

INCIDENT ENDS PEACEFULLY

A police standoff with a man barricaded inside a New Lowell home ended at around 10:30 p. m., Sunday night, following negotiations with a crisis management team.

Huronia West OPP were called to the home Sunday around 12:30 p. m. after receiving information that a man wanted by police was inside.

No details about that investigation have been released.

Police restricted traffic in the village, west of Barrie, but provincial police Const. Peter Leon said there was never a threat to public safety.

One man was taken into custody outside the residence when officers arrived in the afternoon.

Both suspects are 37 years old. They were taken to the Huronia West OPP detachment in Wasaga Beach. Charges are pending.

EROSION REPAIRS NEEDED ON GEORGIAN TRAIL

BY SAM GREENFIELD

An early estimate suggests that $55,000 worth of work could be required to repair erosion damage on the Georgian Trail.

The work will be in addition to routine maintenance scheduled to be done this year and involves fixing a section of the trail where a stream passes under it.

The stream no longer flows straight to a concrete culvert but has moved off to the side, making contact with the embankment and causing a portion of it to erode.

"Streams want to move and if things aren't stable enough they will, it's just a normal process," said John Bittorf of the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority.

Funding for the repair work will come from the Georgian Trail board of management, which represents the three municipalities that have sections of the trail.

"Every year we put away reserves to do maintenance on the trail," said Meaford Coun. Jim McPherson.

Because the money will come from reserves, McPherson said the project will have no major fiscal impact in the short term. With the added cost of the erosion repair work, this year's maintenance expenditures for the Georgian Trail could hit $150,000.

Work to repair the damage will likely be done in the summer months after the fish are done spawning.

"We were hoping to get in early May, but that's very unlikely as it's not perceived as a risk to property or people, so therefore we're being restricted to July 1 at the earliest," said McPherson.

The municipality is also getting the input of the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority on the project.

"We're just waiting on plans to come in so we can give them some guidelines. They'll have to make sure the toe of the slope is stable and then backfill in behind it and get plants growing on it again," said Bittorf.

The portion of the trail in question was scheduled for maintenance.

The Georgian Trail remains open and the damage poses no risk to the public.

DISCHARGE FOR ASSAULT

BY SCOTT DUNN

A 27-year-old man who took a "full swing" at another man and punched him in the face after police told men who were fighting to break it up received a 12-month conditional discharge.

Ryan O'Grady, 27, of Collingwood pleaded guilty to assaulting a man outside a bar in Blue Mountain's village. His lawyer said he'd been hit by three different people earlier, including the man he struck.

O'Grady caused the other man to bleed profusely near his right eye.

O'Grady, who had no record, can't drink alcohol or use other intoxicants for 12 months and can't contact the victim, whom he didn't know.

PROBATION FOR MAN'S PART IN VANDALISM SPREE

An act of mischief in Meaford that got out of hand was dealt with leniently Thursday in the Ontario Court of Justice, partly because one of the participants accepted responsibility.

Kyle Retford, 18, pleaded guilty on his first court appearance to committing mischief in Meaford Feb. 18.

He and two others entered a residence on Sykes Street about 8 p. m. when the occupants weren't home, assistant Crown attorney Peter Leger said.

The trio took toothpaste and shaving cream and smeared it over the furniture. They stabbed knives in the walls, hung toilet paper around a room and threw videos about. "Significant damage was done," Leger said.

They left and went to another residence, where one of the men bragged about what they'd just done. Police found out and Retford admitted his involvement and implicated the others, Leger said. Police found him"very remorseful."

For being forthcoming, Leger had recommended a conditional discharge, which would avoid a criminal record. But it turned out that sentencing option wasn't available for the crime.

Instead Leger recommended a suspended sentence and 12 months probation, which Justice Julia Morneau imposed.

She noted Retford had done "the honourable thing" by accepting responsibility for his actions.

While on probation, he must report to a probation officer and stay away from the victim and the co-accused other than in class at school.

He must pay $175 restitution to cover some of the damage.

Charges against one of the other accused are to be in court April 30. Information about charges against the third accused wasn't available.

MAN FINED FOR DRINKING, DRIVING

A man who was scolded for using his car "as a drinking establishment" was fined $1,500 and ordered not to drive for one year.

Donald J. Boutet, 52, of Grey Highlands pleaded guilty to driving with over the legal limit of alcohol in his blood Sept. 18 near Markdale.

Police spotted him driving while "sitting low, wearing glasses and having a beer," assistant Crown attorney Peter Leger said Thursday.

A police officer followed and saw Boutet drive along the West Back Line much slower than the limit and weaving from the shoulder to the approaching lane.

The officer pulled him over and found a partial can of Lakeport beer and four full ones on the passenger floor of Boutet's car. Tests showed Boutet had more than three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood to drive.

He made a $500 charitable donation as part of an agreement prior to sentencing, Leger said.

An impaired driving charge was withdrawn. Boutet had a related but dated record.

Morneau scolded Boutet for drinking beer behind the wheel, telling him he could have killed somebody.

"Very troubling set of facts. You don't use your car as a drinking establishment," she said.

MAN JAILED FOR BREACHES

A man of no fixed address who seven years ago stole meat from A & P and failed to comply with three court orders was sentenced to 30 days in jail on top of 12 days presentence custody.

Jeffrey McKay, 35, pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing $108.23 worth of meat from A & P and to breaching probation by drinking alcohol on March 19, 2002 and to failing to report to probation May 9 through July 18, 2002 and to failing to attend court May 30, 2002.

McKay apologized to the court. He just finished another jail sentence on

unrelated matters.

Morneau noted he has health problems

and that he was cleaning up old charges. She counted his 12 days presentence custody double, as is common.



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