A Stellar Fundraiser

Last nite was the Italian Night Spaghetti supper for  the HHHS Auxialliary.  This was their 7th supper event and, like all the others, sold out months in advance.  Judy Skinner, Suzanne Sovereign and their committee worked damn hard to put on a great evening.  I was pleased to be the MC for the evening and announce all the silent auction recipients.

Young people from the Heritage Ballent, along with Julie Barban (owner and head instructor) and David Mills of the Haliburton Lions Club helped serve and clean up for all the attendees.  The youngsters work events to raise a little cash towards their trip to Russia in the next year.  Great bunch … and they worked with great diligence.

Jane’s butterflies raised lotsa dough as usual.  Just before bidding closed on the selection, there was a crowd milling around to put their final bid on their favourite butterfly.  The auction tables were filled with wonderful items donated by businesses and individuals to raise money for the hospital auxilliary.

I was delighted that we were successful in our bidding for a woodcarving by Keith Rydberg.  I admire his work and was thrilled to add
“Going to Market”  (complete with pigs in the back of the wagon) to our home.A great night, a great cause and soooo much laughter and fun.  Congratulations to the women and men of the Haliburton Highlands Health Services Auxilliary for last night and the 40 years of service to our county and our health.

Sophie Saves A Friend

We’re very proud of our little girl today.

This morning Sophie and friends were on a pack “walk & play”.  Towards the end of the hike the four ladies realized that one of the members wasn’t with the group.  Scout, the Jack Russell was missing.  It was obvious there was a problem as she loves to be part of the team.

The search back up the ski hill, on this rather misty, drizzly morning didn’t draw forth any response despite calling and whistling.  Sophie meanwhile focused on one area of the hill – a large pile of stones. It seemed like a good idea to investigate what Sophie was signalling.

Adjacent to this mound of stones, in the midst of raspberry canes and overgrowth, the ladies discovered a large hole.  It was obviously something a gopher or medium sized animal was using as an access to an underground condominium.

Sure enough, down the hole beyond easy view, was Scout.  Stuck as good as could be.  Scout had wiggled down the hole but it was so tight she couldn’t get any purchase to back out of the hole.  Angela Bishop waded through the brambles and overgrowth and then reached down the hole to grab Scout’s tail.  With a steady pull Scout was released from the grip of this underground trap, and thankfully, no worse for wear.

If it hadn’t been for Sophie’s tracking ability and her silent communication Scout may have been there for quite a while.  She demonstrated what it is to be a good friend.

Sophie got extra cookies today.



Colourfest 2011 in Haliburton Village was a great success.  Cool winds and chilly temperatures didn’t dampen the enthusiasm last Saturday.  The features, entertainment, decorations were all excellent, and as usual the volunteers made everything tick perfectly.  The crowds were excellent and everyone appeared to have a really great time.

The day after, we were chatting about the fact that so many visitors were surprised to find the event taking place … they hadn’t heard about it.  Yesterday, in conversation with a couple of local moms, I heard again that they didn’t know it was going on.  This despite a very robust communication program that had been going on for the past few weeks.

The people coming up from the GTA and other areas tend to be focused on “their” reasons for visiting, i.e. Studio Tour, fall colours and some shopping.  Many of them don’t connect with our local media and they don’t think to check out the county website for activities.  Our local folks, particularly the young workers, are so intent on the their daily work and the press of family life that many of them don’t connect with local media.  It is a dilemma.

In the interest of the those who don’t know what’s coming up … here are some activities for the rest of October to keep in mind.  Things are hopping all over the highlands.

  Feel free to share.  And don’t say we didn’t tell you.


Haliburton County Studio Tour  Saturday October 8, 2011 to Sunday October 9, 2011
Enjoy the 24th annual Haliburton County Studio Tour featuring the work of over 28 artists and artisans featuring original and unique fine arts and crafts

Dorset Thanksgiving Arts and Crafts Show takes place on Saturday, October 8 from 10am to 3pm. This show is a wonderful celebration of all that is hand made and beautiful. A show where only hand made goods are presented by a variety of artisans from the area. Items will include paintings, hand made dolls, jewellery, puppets, knitting, stained glass, wood crafts, rock art, unique dried soup mixes and hand carved decoys to name a few.

“Leave the Cooking to Us” as the Wilberforce Agricultural Society serves their annual Thanksgiving dinner at the Lloyd Watson Community Centre in Wilberforce. A delicious turkey meal with all the trimmings and pie for dessert. Tickets sold at the door. Adults are $12, Children under 12 years are $5 and preschoolers are free. Dinner is served at 5:00 pm. Proceeds from the dinner support the 2012 Wilberforce Fair. For more information, visit the website at WilberforceFair.com or call 448-2683.

Kids & Youth

Dorset Pumpkin Carving Party October 30
Kids Pumpkin Carving Party on Sunday, October 30 starting at 6pm. Come for hot dogs for dinner and join the fun – pumpkins & tools provided but feel free to bring your own!

Dorset Rec Centre … Kids Halloween Party on Monday, October 31 from 7 to 8pm. Games, activities and treat bags

Minden Hills Museum: Hallowe’en Night at the Museum   Monday October 31  While you are out trick or treating, stop by the Minden Hills Museum grounds!

Special Events

R.D. Lawrence Place: Ron Mahler’s Book Launch – My Fanatical, Regrettable Tour Of Ministry

Saturday October 8, 201
Ron Mahler’s Book Launch – “My Fanatical, Regrettable Tour Of Ministry”. Free admission and refreshments.

CFUW October Meeting  Thursday October 20, 2011
October meeting at Fleming College at 7 pm and enjoy listening to Nancy Brownsberger of SIRCH.

Saturday October 29, 2011
Arts Exposed 2011 will be held on Saturday, October 29th at 6:00 pm at the Minden Community Centre. The $40 ticket includes a gourmet meal, prepared by Grill on the Gull, and the chance to bid on the work of local artists at auction.

Rails End Gallery: Drum Circle
Wednesday October 5, 2011 to Wednesday October 26, 2011
NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED. Are you a drummer? There’s only one way to find out!

October 21st Minden Lion’s Club Spaghetti Dinners.  All You Can Eat Spaghetti with Ceasar Salad, Garlic Bread, Desert and Beverages Adults $10, kids under 12 – $5 ea. Minden Lion’s Hall – 164 Bobcaygeon Road, Minden Doors open at 5pm to 7 pm Minden Lion’s Hall

Friends Of The Haliburton County Public Library ‘s Sixth Annual Book Gala.  Author Francis Itani will be presenting her new book “Requiem” on Sunday, October 30th, 2011 at the Minden Hills Library. Silent Auction and refreshments at 1:00 pm and author’s presentation at 2:00. Cost is $15.00/person. Call Linda at 705 457-2064 for tickets

Outdoor Events

Haliburton County Farmers’ Market’s “Harvest Happening”
Friday October 7, 2011
Don’t miss the Haliburton County Farmers’ Market’s “Harvest Happening” on Friday October 7 from 1-5 at That Place in Carnarvon restaurant, corner of Hwy’s 118 and 35!

Friends of the Rail Trail invites hikers, field naturalists or anyone wanting to go for a nice long walk, to help kick off this inaugural event. 34 km in 2 days. October 14 to 16th.  The HCRT rail bed was built in 1878 through, granite, marsh and forest. Accommodation packages available at all price ranges. Hospitality Friday evening. Hike is PWYC. Visit WebsiteHaliburton County Rail Trail (HCRT) Haliburton Village – Gelert – Kinmount   Contact: Alison Curtis Tel: 888 225-1448

Performing Arts

Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion: October Events
Saturday October 1, 2011 to Monday October 31, 2011
There are lots of exciting events happening at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion in October! Call 705-457-7751 or email northernlightstheatre@gmail.com for more details.

Zoe Chilco sings at Thanksgiving Dinner
Saturday October 8, 2011
Zoe Chilco, vocals; John Deehan, sax; and one more TBA

Rails End Gallery: Amelia and The Mayor (of Essonville, aka Albert Saxby)  Friday October 14, 2011 Amelia is a talented young woman with an amazing voice. Albert Saxby, aka The Mayor of Essonville, is a well-known composer/musician with a large body of original work.

Haliburton Concert Series: Project Aria  Saturday October 15, 2011
Final concert of the 2011 season.

Bobcaygeon Music Council presents David Murray – Six Feet of String Bass Saturday October 15.  Bobcaygeon Music Council presents:David Murray Six feet of string bass. October 15th, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. $20 adult, $5 youth, $85 for five concert series. Trinity Church; 42 William St. Bobcaygeon, On.


Sedona merchants make me happy!

When Jane and I decided to take our biennial holiday back in Sedona the natural wonders were the main attraction in our minds.  In order to make the decision to travel so far and make the significant investment there were other considerations at play.  We love the walks, the hikes and the countless photo ops that occur at each turn.  All very good reasons.  Within a few short hours of arriving we reminded of the other important consideration … virtually every person in retail in this region makes you feel welcome, and valued.  We found this in grocery stores and higher end & souvenir shops.

The most common opening line is “Hi, you folks from this area or are you visiting?”  If you say you are a visitor, the next question is “and where are you visiting from?”  These two simple questions not only open a world of conversation they also establish a “friend” relationship.  Even the checkout lady at the supermarket was pleased to have that friendly chat during the check out process.

To their credit, even when you are just browsing they are more than ready to “thank you for coming.”  What impresses you is that just about every person you meet has signed up for this “welcome visitor” attitude.  I’m not going to say every person is like that … hey, we did come across one or two who were not happy in their work and, unfortunately, the attitude carries across to customers.

How do you get an entire community/region to subscribe to this attitude?  Sure, you can attend Disney retailing rah, rah workshops and similar events but if you can’t communicate that to everyone in your place of business it won’t work.  Certainly, it starts with the hiring process.  If you’re going to put someone in front of customers you want to start with someone who likes people and finds delivering on peoples’ needs a rewarding experience.  And we’re not just talking about salary.

If a visitor thinks you are interested, engaged and having “fun” in your job they are more likely to spend additional time in your place of business and, therefore, more likely to make a purchase.  If you can’t be that sort of person at the very least be involved in their visit while they are in the store. Treating customers as they are an interference in YOUR day not only turns people off it ensures that they will likely as not tell other people about the poor experience.  To paraphrase a saying attributed to Tolstoy .. “happy businesses all look the same, but an unhappy business is unique in its own distress.”

Sedona merchants definitely contribute to making a visit a very happy holiday.  Thank you all.


Lost in a Media Miasma?


If you’re anything like I am you get a little befuddled with the growing number of social media options and how to use them most effectively to reach your objectives (social or for business).  Loran Upton is offering an opportunity, for those of us wandering around with a bit of a dazed look, to add some clarity to what we are doing.  Don’t miss out … call or email Loran today.

Colourizing our Language

For a variety reasons we love to colour our language with phrases and words the elevate the conversation we’re having, be it spoken or written.  There are some chestnuts that have been around for awhile and each year Webster and some other scoundrels introduce us to some new and fascinating opportunities to pepper our communications with lively new words.

We have all had perfect opportunities to employ some of these chestnuts rather than speaking plainly.  Here are a few that you may have embraced and spat out at some time or another.

Think outside the box….and since we’ve all been thinking outside the box it might be a novel idea to go back and think inside the box – we may find some gems that we’ve been ignoring for a while

On the runway….meaning something is imminent…. “your impending layoff is on the runway”.  Thanks anyway, I think I’ll stay at the side of the launch pad if you don’t mind.

Increasing bandwidth…this is a relatively new way of saying increasing your market share which was a fancy 80’s way of saying… sell more widgets.  I wonder how the widget market is doing these days?

Metrics….it sort of means details… “I don’t like the metrics of that proposal” … I guess since so many people don’t understand the “metric” system… they thought… well let’s just give that word a whole new meaning.

Synergy….this has been around awhile… when two companies merge to form a synergy… however we have yet to see the word morph into… synergetic or synergized…. Which is good.

Dovetail….two things meeting up and working together….. e.g. I love the way that new computer system dovetailed into our dial-up connection.

Offline….it’s something said in a meeting…. You tell someone that you’ll talk to them about that “offline” or after the meeting…. Of course the first couple of times you use it you will end up having to explain it so be prepared for that.  Better yet, don’t use it.

Brain dump…a transfer of information on a project from one person to another and not a reference to you leaving your best ideas at the local Haliburton landfill site

Going forward….which is something we should be doing because this bit is done.

And now Webster and other scurrilous sources offer these gems to tantalize our communication possibilities.

Cashtration. The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.  We’ve all lived in that house at one time or another.

Ignoranus.  A person who’s both stupid and a butthole.  Pardon my language.

Intaxicaton. Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.  Oh, how I love that feeling.  Too bad it’s a fake high.

Reintarnation. Coming back to life as a resident of Haliburton Highlands.

Bozone.  The substance surrounding dozy people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.  Entering it can happen almost unexpectedly.
Karmageddon.  It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.

Dopeler Effect. The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.  I suffer from this almost daily, and some of then are of my own creation (I say with some embarrassment.)

Coffee. The person upon whom one coughs.  Aaargh!

Flabbergasted.  An adjective used when we are appalled by discovering how much weight we have gained.  A sad moment we experience each day in front of the mirror (don’t stand sideways.)

Abdicate. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.  I believe I did that at the turn of the century.

Esplanade. To attempt an explanation to the OPP while intoxicated.

Negligent.  Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.  If you live in Eagle Lake that’s not much of problem … it’s likely a bear knocking.

Testicle. A humorous question on an exam.  This is a rare breed in that most exams are humourless, unless you are like me and find it all very funny when you don’t know any of the answers.

While most of these sparkling examples add a little zest to a conversation they can’t replace the need for clarity and precision in the communications we share with others.  One of the joys we share is our ability to present ideas, respond to ideas presented, and achieve planned objectives when we “interface” with each other.  Ooops!

Home Sweet Home!

Summer’s coming to a close. 

And it becomes more important than ever to buy locally.

Ten points to get us thinking:

  1. Significantly more money re-circulates in Haliburton County when purchases are made at locally owned businesses, rather than those which are owned outside the region: More money is kept in the community because locally owned businesses purchase from other local businesses and service providers. Furthermore, purchasing locally helps grow other businesses as well as our tax base.
  2. Most new jobs are provided by local businesses: Small local businesses are the largest employer in Canada, and in Haliburton County they provide the most new jobs for permanent residents.
  3. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of our distinctive character: The unique character of the county is what brought many people here and will keep them here. Our tourism businesses also benefit from this. When people take a holiday they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.
  4. Local business owners invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.
  5. Customer service is better: Local businesses often hire people with more specific product expertise for better customer service.
  6. Competition and diversity leads to more choices: A marketplace of numerous small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. A choice of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices. We have some great local examples.
  7. Reduced environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation. This generally means less environmental impact.
  8. Public benefits far outweigh public costs: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community (remember the Minden water tower and Canadian Tire?).
  9. When you buy locally you encourage investment in our communities: There is valid research which shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
  10.  Non-profits receive greater support: Non-profit organizations receive an average 350% greater support from local business owners than they do from non-locally owned businesses.

Our Tourism Industry

Economists claim that when a tourist spends $1,000 in a region, the local economy receives a “multiplied economic effect” of 3 to 7 times whatever was spent. While the amount of the multiplier effect is debated, economists agree that the multiplier effect is real.

We experienced this effect recently when the Ontario Senior Games Winterfest 2011 were here in Halburton County and of course we experience every year during our prime summer months when seasonal residents and tourists are so plentiful.

Commercial businesses

The “multiplier effect” applies not only to tourist dollars but also the dollars earned by our commercial businesses. For example, under the multiplier effect, for every 100 dollars outside-of-the-area businesses and industries have taken from our county, those outside communities should receive a “multiplied” economic effect equal to 300 to 700 dollars.

It’s exactly the same with purchases that our local governments might make.  If we give the contracts to businesses outside the region then we not only send the money out of the county we actually create a negative impact on the loss of economic activity at home, plus in this instance, the taxpayer funds that negative situation. Kinda like shooting yourself in the foot.

Local economic impact is important  and it suggests that price alone can’t be a deciding factor.  The multiplier effect can be very injurious to local business and to taxpayers at large.

The multiplier effect is real, and it has both a positive and an equivalent negative effect.  Our elected officials hopefully keep this in mind when considering how contracts are awarded.  Having a LEI (local economic impact) statement attached to a bid may not be a bad idea.

Distant Ownership

The problems caused by “distant” ownership are fairly easy to see, and the very same process is going on all over the world. For example, when a “big box” builds a new store in a new community, it inevitably bankrupts scores of mom-and- pop family businesses that used to sell food, home goods, hardware etc. Nobody cares. The belief is that the new business creates different employment opportunities and, after all, those mom-and-pop operations were “small time” and probably never made more than $50,000 profit a year, anyway.

Yes, it’s true.  People think they’re getting a good deal from “big box” because it brings cheaper prices and more jobs. But we ignore the fact that we’ll lose the profits (and local “multiplied” effects) that mom and pop stores used to generate. Given the multiplier effect, the $50,000 profit of each of those mom-and-pop businesses might have “multiplied” to generate the equivalent of $250,000 a year in local economic activity. So if we lose 10 mom-and-pop businesses to install one “big box”, our community may be collectively (and “invisibly”) impoverished by $2.5 million a year as former “multiplied” mom-and-pop profits are sucked out of the communities (where “mom and pop” would’ve spent them) and sent to distant corporate headquarters.  This is not to say there aren’t some very large mom and pop enterprises that are owned locally, in a franchise arrangement.  The majority of money earned on the sale of goods and services stays within the community.

But when we replace scores of local “mom and pop” stores with one super “big box”, we send all those local profits back to the distant corporate headquarters, and often the money pot ends up out of the country.  We should not discount the fact that these “branded” businesses take away from the unique nature of the local community and its business areas.

Without local ownership and local profits, unemployment and poverty persists. Along with this are the social problems (poverty, substance abuse, family abuse) that are a plague on our county.

We are coming into the seasons where it is more important than ever to shop local and do business locally.  When we do – it comes back to us many times over.  Making a commitment to buy locally is not to suggest that we shouldn’t expect quality in both product and service.  That’s a fair expectation of the local retailer, service organization or business.  The challenge for the local business owner and retailer is to ensure that their commitment to the local community and the business is clearly communicated to the staff.  It’s important that each person personify the VALUE of shopping and doing business locally.

So before you head out of the county to do some shopping, remember –  the multiplier effect is a Zero-Sum Equation. In other words, if a Haliburton shopper takes $100 out of his/her bank account and spends it outside the county, that local economy will receive a $300 to $700 benefit in terms of economic stimulation—but removing $100 from his local bank account must also cause an equivalent $300 to $700 LOSS in economic activity in our local Haliburton County economy (Ouch!)

Buy local!  Be a part of the Multiplier Effect!

Some great interviews next week

It probably shows through … I really enjoy interviewing our great Canadian musical artists.  Some are really well known, some are emerging artists.  I find their stories inspiring and intriguing.

I hope you’ll Join me next week on Canoe FM.  We have some outstanding artists who will be featured at the Forest Festival (www.theforestfestival.com) this year.  Here’s the line up.

Dave Young (Dave Young Quartet), one of the world’s great jazz musicians.  Hear his story 8.30am on Wednesday.  The great Oscar Peterson says, “David and I have worked and recorded together at earlier periods in my career.I immediately called on Dave to stand in the now empty bass position in my quartet.’ Hows that for high praise.  Wow, what a treat.

Chris McKnool of Sultans of String will join us Thursday at 8.10 am. Mike Hill, Artistic Director, Mariposa Folk Festival says “Virtuoso playing…. An exuberant and infectious sound… Powerful and moving…The Sultans are simply an awesome musical group!”  Don’t miss this interview.

Paul Neufeld joins us on Friday at 8.l0 am. Paul is a member of the Grooveyard. The band whose high energy, versatility, and musicianship has made them one of the hottest group in Toronto.  Sean Pennylegion says they are sure to shake the beams at the Logging Museum.”

Join us at http://www.canoefm.com or live at 100.9.  Without you, it ain’t radio!

Check out the full lineup of talent at http://www.theforestfestival.com


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