52WeeksNG – Too Cute to go to Jail!

Erika

The Accused.

No, it’s not one of those scammy emails about people needing your help.  This is the real deal, friends.

Honestly, it was only a matter of time before the feds caught up with me.

You might be wondering what the charge is…it’ll be splashed over the news soon enough.  I’m heading to jail for Gross Abandonment of a Blog.

Yes, I confess.  I’m guilty as charged.  Poor old 52WeeksNG has been a bit dusty of late.

Please help me make bail.  The sooner I raise $500, the sooner I can get back to profiling all the people and places that make North Grenville GREAT!!

Okay, okay, I should probably tell you that I’m taking part in the Kemptville Youth Centre‘s annual Jail and Bail event.  The Kemptville Youth Centre is a non-profit organization that offers programming and resources for local youth, as well as a fun and safe place for kids to hang out.  

Local rascals -such as myself, eek!- are raked through the coals in a kangaroo court in order to raise money for the Centre.

So what do you say – will you please help me?

Erika.

Ps: To donate online, please visit my page on the MyEvent website.  Thank you!!

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Taking a Break

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Sonja Erika Bertram (née Zeritsch) – I will miss you forever, Mummy. ❤

 

Dear Friends of 52 Weeks NG,

As you may know, my family and I are grieving the loss of my warm and vibrant Mom, Sonja Bertram.

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Birdhouse – photo by Sonja Bertram

Born in Austria, Mom moved to Canada with her parents when she was eight.  Her family settled in Ottawa and she became a fiercely patriotic Canadian.  When my brother and I were little, she and my Dad, Jim Bertram, moved from Gloucester, ON to a two-acre oasis in South Gower.  Over time, the wide open space grew populated with trees, a home-made swing set, and gardens of all kinds.

Mom loved living in Kemptville.  An unofficial tourism ambassador, Mom was always enthusiastic and generous about sharing hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems with visitors.  She was also a big fan of this blog and was probably the most prolific commenter of the bunch.  🙂

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Home, sweet home – Photo by Jim Bertram

Over the past week, we have received so many beautiful messages of love and support from our neighbours in NG.  To hear that Mom was important to so many people is a balm for my broken heart.

I will be taking a few months away from 52 Weeks NG but this passion project isn’t over!  🙂  Although I won’t be posting in this space, I will continue to collect stories and will be back in action with renewed energy on May 1.  Mark your calendars…check your inboxes!

With love and gratitude,

Erika.

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View from the family room window – Photo by Sonja Bertram

 

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Meet the Candidate: Bill Forbes

It’s election day and I’m pleased to present my final profile!  Unfortunately I was able to connect with two candidates but detailed information is available on all candidates on the NG Times website.

You can vote in person, by telephone, or online until 8:00pm today.  Check the North Grenville website for more details!

52WeeksNG: What do you love about North Grenville?

Bill ForbesBill Forbes: North Grenville has always been home for me for more than 55 years.  I have had many opportunities and career choices that would have taken me elsewhere and probably enhanced me financially but I always felt so comfortable here.  Growing up I saw the changes happen, I was part of the changes happening from when we constructed our first community center, (now the Curling Club).  As an 18 year old I was asked to start up a Summer Fun Program.  I did and surprisingly I had over 85 children show up.  It was hilarious on that first day.  I screamed for more help and the recreation director of the day saw fit for one assistant and you probably couldn’t do that today, one person looking after over 40 kids. All my family from back in the 1800’s are from rural North Grenville and primarily from Oxford Mills and Bishops Mills area.  In the late 50’s and early 60’s Friday night used to be bedlam in downtown Kemptville.  All the farmers came in and that was shopping night.  My aunts and uncles came in as well and then always came over to the house on Van Buren Street for some cards and beer.  I got to play with my cousins.  Things couldn’t be better.

North Grenville has rural history that makes it special and we can never forget that.  I have been on the inaugural Economic Committee in the late 1990’s and then again in 2005 until present.  With new committee members each election, I have seen the efforts of some to try and change our culture.  I ask them. Why did you move here?  To a person, they say the open green spaces, the schools, the friendliness of the residents.  Then I say, Why are you trying to change it?  I am the only person on that committee that has been around a really long time but sometimes I feel that I am the sheriff here in maintaining our rural heritage.  I could go on and on about North Grenville as I was on the first sports team in 1966 to win a provincial championship for North Grenville and I coached over 12 years at North Grenville High School and club teams.  Suffice to say I take North Grenville and its maturation personally.  I want it to remain in the best way possible for generations to come, just like I lived and was treated.

52WeeksNG: Can you share a hidden treasure in your corner of NG?

Bill Forbes: When I was young there were lots of them.  There are not so many hidden anymore as most are exposed.  I think if I had to point out one it would be the Rideau River.  For 3 years during the summer months I went to University, I was the co-manager at Rideau River Provincial Park just across the Ottawa border going out Hwy 44.  At that time it was run by Department of Lands & Forrest, now Ministry of Natural Resources.  The amount of fun that families have on the river is overwhelming and I think this major asset is not used enough for North Grenville.  We have excellent areas of recreation in the Burritts Rapids area right down and past the entrance from the Kemptville Creek as I used to call it.  The stretch from Manotick to Burritts Rapids is one of the longest if not the longest on the Rideau Chain.  When we had our boat we used to unload and  dock at Bridge Street & Curry Park.  We would go under the bridges and end up on the Rideau River and spend a family day, sometimes skiing, tubing,  fishing, swimming, picnicking, etc.  We can still do that with motorized or non-motorized craft.  I would love to see us take advantage of our creek and Curry Park. All these benefit enhance our quality of life for our families and  we can also look at it as a financial artery for our downtown business core

52WeeksNG: What are 3 – 5 issues that you would tackle if you were elected?

Bill Forbes: My issues are well stated at this point.  I am concerned about North Grenville’s strategic growth and the cost of it, the benefits and who is benefitting and the load that it is putting on operational costs.  In the last 10 years we experienced 11 % population growth but 153 % increase in operational costs.  We went from 7.5 million to over 19 million in ten years.This is a trend that is unsustainable without major consequences.  Along with this, we need to partner with commercial entities to increase revenues and certainly make our business practice easier and more available to some of our entrepreneurs.  We are also wagering and struggling to an extent with out debt.  We don’t have much reserve, our infrastructure badly needs repair and upgrade and we recently received a report that gave us 3 failures out of 5 categories. I believe this is unacceptable and further contributes to unsustainability and higher tax increases.  We have marketing and branding issues with North Grenville.  Our political message is always coming from North Grenville, but in so many cases our business message comes from Kemptville.  Just check where Walmart advertises they are home to.  Finally on this point, I will go back and mention our rural heritage.  We can never lose that no matter who is trying to alter it or change it.

52WeeksNG: Why is it important to vote in municipal elections?

Bill Forbes: It is a person’s right to be heard and our democratic system states that new choices are available to those citizens that wish to run for leadership positions and those citizens that determine who will represent them. I believe that if you don’t vote our rights can be compromised.

52WeeksNG: How do you like to spend your spare time?

Bill Forbes: My spare time is limited.  For the last 30 years besides being a CEO for a company with over 10 million in annual sales and later a CFP (certified financial planner) for my personal clients I coached for over 12 years at different levels, became a director with the Kemptville & District Hospital Foundation, became a director for over 10 years and currently with Kemptville & District Home Support,  committee member since 2005 with the Economic Development Committee which reports to Council and member and Treasurer of the Kemptville & District Sports Hall of Fame.  I have continually volunteered on many levels to make North Grenville a better place to live and work.  We have lived in our current location for over 20 years and I believe we have the best neighbourhoods in North Grenville. I’m sure there will be other people who would take on that challenge.  When we get away, we do get away.  We have been to Australia, Europe, Mexico and places throughout the United States many times.

52WeeksNG: What is one thing the people of NG might be surprised to learn about you?

Bill Forbes: I think before you meet me you may think that all I am is a serious business person.  However, it is opposite.  I am the most easy going person you will meet.  I think my coaching experience with over 1,000 athletes puts everything into perspective.  I have learned how to get along with just about anyone.  I have learned the art of negotiation and how to motivate people.  To have success with that, you need to be open and allow people to judge you on your actions and abilities.  Once they know what you are about they will allow you that reciprocal trust.

52WeeksNG: What would you like to say to the people of NG?

Bill Forbes: This campaign has been very enlightening for me.  I’ve met and talked with many, many people and without my decision to run for mayor, this never would have happened so for that I am grateful.  Running for mayor will be an extension for me in what I’ve already contributed to North Grenville as a volunteer, but at a much more important level.  However, overall my purpose does not change.  We require leadership and experience which we haven’t had for the last four years and it has cost our Municipality on many different levels.  Our residents want professional business practice exhibited throughout North Grenville with transparent representation.  I am able, willing and ready to provide that but I will need the support of the citizens of North Grenville to do it.
For more information, you can check out Bill’s website,  on Twitter, and his Facebook page!

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Meet the Candidate: Tim Sutton

It’s election season and the municipal campaign is in full swing!  I am pleased to present my Q&A series with our local candidates, and I hope it gives you a sense of who they are and what they stand for.  New profiles will go up every Tuesday and Thursday!

Election Day is October 27, and you can vote online or by telephone any time between October 20 at 10:00am and October 27 at 8:00pm.  Check the North Grenville website for more details!

Tim Sutton

Tim Sutton

52WeeksNG: What do you love about North Grenville?

Tim Sutton:  I love the small town charm of North Grenville. People move here to escape from the pace and closeness of the city, to be in a community where they can have close friends, enjoy the open spaces and relax and unwind. North Grenville is about family, it’s about living at your pace. North Grenville also has the unique position of being a regional shopping centre. With that you now have the combination of rural charm and urban amenities, which puts us on a whole other level from other communities in our area.

52WeeksNG: Can you share a hidden treasure in your corner of NG?

Tim Sutton: We have many “treasures” in North Grenville, and I don’t think that it’s fair to ask about just one! My choice is not a “hidden” to our residents, but I can tell you that for those who travel in to North Grenville, they cannot believe the quality and size of our soccer fields at South Gower Park. Few communities have such well-developed fields all in one place!

52WeeksNG: What are 3 – 5 issues that you would tackle if you were re-elected?

Tim Sutton:

  1. To continue with our economic development. We need to continue to work with both existing businesses and to attract new businesses to North Grenville. We also need to continue to expand our residential tax base as well. Having more people to share the load lightens the burden on all our tax payers.
  2. Work to make North Grenville economically self-sufficient. The province has cut our Operating Grant by over $400,000 over the past two years, and we expect them to continue to cut them. I would like to stay a step ahead of them in order to make sure that we do not have any surprises down the road. Continued growth as described above will assist with this goal.
  3. Work on implementation of our Trails Strategy and Riverside Park Strategy. Developing a safe, efficient trail strategy will provide residents with great benefits, from getting from point to point easier to riding to school, exercise or simply to enjoy the outdoors. I would also like to see us achieve status as a bicycle-friendly community.

52WeeksNG: Why is it important to vote in municipal elections?

Tim Sutton: It is important to vote in any election. Residents need to be engaged in what happens in their municipality and not just at election time. Being engaged helps let them know who the players are and will help make an informed decision when they cast their ballot

52WeeksNG: How do you like to spend your spare time?

Tim Sutton: Hmmm…spare time has been at a premium since being elected in 2006. What I can tell you is that politics is my hobby, so being a Councillor is more than a job to me. I spend a lot of my spare time reading and researching. But I love to spend as much time as I can with my daughters Katie and Alicia. I also love to travel and see what other communities have to offer.

52WeeksNG: What is one thing the people of NG might be surprised to learn about you?

Tim Sutton: I think that people may be surprised to know that I am named as a co-inventor in a patent for a line of fans that Canarm (my employer) developed back in the 1990’s. Variations of that fan are still in use and manufactured by Canarm today.

52WeeksNG: What would you like to say to the people of NG?

Tim Sutton: It has truly been an honour and privilege to serve on and represent you as a member of North Grenville Municipal Council for the past eight years.

I’m running again in 2014 because I remain enthusiastic about the potential for North Grenville.  It’s why I first ran in 2006 and, I’m happy to say, that two terms and eight years later, I haven’t lost any of that drive or enthusiasm. 

I came to Council in my first term in 2006 as an optimistic, can do candidate with a vision for what this municipality could be. We have accomplished many of the goals that I put forth in that campaign.

In 2010 I came forth with more ideas, and again many of those have been fulfilled over this past term. This year I put my name forward once again. I am just as bullish and enthusiastic – in fact I see even more potential for our community today and in the future.

It’s an exciting time for North Grenville, and I would like to help see our community reach its full potential – to be the best place to live, work and play in Eastern Ontario!

With two of our Councillors retiring it is important to have experience on the next council. That experience will be critical to help bring the new members up to speed. The first task of the new Council will be to tackle the 2015 Municipal Budget, and my experience and leadership will help us work through that process in an orderly manner.

I would like to take this time to ask you to place one of your four votes in the 2014 North Grenville Municipal election for me, Tim Sutton

For more information, you can check out Tim’s website!

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Meet the Candidate: Rhonda Finnerty

It’s election season and the municipal campaign is in full swing!  I am pleased to present my Q&A series with our local candidates, and I hope it gives you a sense of who they are and what they stand for.  New profiles will go up every Tuesday and Thursday!

Election Day is October 27, and you can vote online or by telephone any time between October 20 at 10:00am and October 27 at 8:00pm.  Check the North Grenville website for more details!

52WeeksNG: What do you love about North Grenville?

Rhonda Finnerty

Rhonda Finnerty

Rhonda Finnerty:  Growing up and educated in the Old Town Kemptville, with many friends on my street , I have many fond memories. I love the friendliness, the compassion, and how our families support each other in all aspects. We have many services to offer, great medical care and emergency responders. I’m blessed to have raised my family here and also to have all my families still residing in our community.

52WeeksNG: Can you share a hidden treasure in your corner of NG?

Rhonda Finnerty: I don’t believe I have any hidden treasure.  My treasure is my family and friends and home town.

52WeeksNG: What are 3 – 5 issues that you would tackle if you were elected?

Rhonda Finnerty:

  • To ensure that growth pays for itself though development charges
  • Affordable accommodations to allow our seniors economical living
  • Protect our assets and infrastructure
  • Attract business and maximize living to our downtown

52WeeksNG: Why is it important to vote in municipal elections?

Rhonda Finnerty: Voting is the one thing that is free in life.  You are given this right and it’s your that elects the persons of your choice to act as a voice for any issues facing your community.

52WeeksNG: How do you like to spend your spare time?

Rhonda Finnerty: In my spare time, I enjoy my cottage life, I play in a local baseball league, enjoy camping with family and friends, belong to the Kemptville snowmobile Klub, but most relaxing is reading and keeping up with our local events and issues.

52WeeksNG: What is one thing the people of NG might be surprised to learn about you?

Rhonda Finnerty: Over the years, many who have met me for the first time, later tell me I come across as a little stuck up — of course I find this amusing. I believe I’m shy at first, also. Possibly because I’m in the beauty industry and fussy about  my appearance.

52WeeksNG: What would you like to say to the people of NG?

Rhonda Finnerty:  I have been blessed to have grown up in a very loving family, with 3 sisters, and wonderful parents.  We were taught respect, manners, and family values. Being able to join sports, have many friends, we didn’t lack for much. After being educated in Old town Kemptville, I continued my education at Marvel beauty school in Ottawa. Gaining experience and confidence, I fulfilled my dream: to have a business in my hometown. I have owned and operated Rhonda’s Hairstyling for the past 23 years. I feel that I’m a people person.  My career has allowed me to meet people from many walks of life, to please, develop personal relationships, and true friendships. As a lifelong resident of North Grenville and as a business person, I have volunteered in the community, donated to many charities and events. I have a strong passion for North Grenville and have always been interested in our local politics. Given a chance to be your councillor, I will be your voice.

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Meet the Candidate: Frank Onasanya

It’s election season and the municipal campaign is in full swing!  I am pleased to present my Q&A series with our local candidates, and I hope it gives you a sense of who they are and what they stand for.  New profiles will go up every Tuesday and Thursday!

Election Day is October 27, and you can vote online or by telephone any time between October 20 at 10:00am and October 27 at 8:00pm.  Check the North Grenville website for more details!

52WeeksNG: What do you love about North Grenville?

Frank Onasanya

Frank Onasanya

Frank Onasanya:  Among the many, many things I love about North Grenville is our link to the natural world – this is our home where the moon, the stars, the smell of fresh air and the sound of birds comfort us. We can see the stars at night. We can hear the sounds of nature around us — and that is something that is impossible in cities. It is so important that, as we grow and develop as a community, that we preserve this magic for ourselves, for our families, and for our friends and neighbours.

52WeeksNG: Can you share a hidden treasure in your corner of NG?

Frank Onasanya: Yes of course I can share… My family and I love taking a long country drive enjoying the beauty nature presents us and the breath of fresh air coupled with the soothing musical sounds of the birds. We enjoy walking the trails holding hands and playing funny games on our walks and we also enjoy fishing off the dock at Curry Park

52WeeksNG: What are 3 – 5 issues that you would tackle if you were elected?

  1. Economic Development and Growth so our youth have jobs to stay here in their home community after they have completed their education.  This means attracting mid-size and larger companies to our community to provide well-paying, sustainable jobs.   Development and growth also includes supporting our base of community volunteers and many service organizations that support things like the Dandelion Festival, Farmers Market and Community Theatre.
  2. Promoting Healthy Living and Safety for All.  This means ensuring we have the infrastructure to suit the sports, arts, indoor, outdoor and other recreational interests of all ages – plus , for example, sidewalks where we can be encouraged to walk – and walk safely.
  3. Preserving our small-town atmosphere and links to nature.  This has to be a constant consideration when promoting economic development – and we can do both. We want to remain green while growing — and preserve our history and small-town culture.
  4. Representing the community.  I will represent our communities by listening to people and serving as their voice on Council when decisions are to be made. – and ensuring wide consultation is done before decisions are made. I will work with my fellow councillors to harness our collective energy and expertise. I will work with our community, including service clubs and volunteer groups – because the municipality can’t (and shouldn’t) try to do everything on its own. By tapping into all the energy and opportunities in our community, we can get the most accomplished.

52WeeksNG: Why is it important to vote in municipal elections?

Frank Onasanya:  Although federal and provincial elections seem to have a higher profile with so much money spent on television advertising, it’s our municipalities that really touch us the most. Our municipalities directly affect our quality of life through services such as programs and recreation, community safety, property taxes, waste disposal, libraries and so much more.

It’s important to vote in municipal elections to have a say and elect representatives that will positively impact our local quality of life. Also, because the election is about you, your family, friends, your tomorrow, your legacy, yours and your children’s future and because it’s your town and the future of your country Canada

52WeeksNG: How do you like to spend your spare time?

Frank Onasanya:  I love spending any spare time I have with my family – my wife and children doing what family do best…enjoying the company of one another, going to places like parks, museums, beach, movie theatres and visiting friends and family.  I spend a lot of time coaching soccer – teams, players of all ages.

I have spent a lot of time over the past several years preparing for this election – going to Council meetings, listening to people, and getting to know our people and community even better than I did before.

52WeeksNG: What is one thing the people of NG might be surprised to learn about you?

Frank Onasanya:  I play the percussions and drums (Maracas, Cleps, Bongo, Conga and Talking Drums). I sing and play in a Church worship team; I can play my percussions and drums to any type of music. I love my music and playing very much as it’s my escape route to a peaceful, refreshing, relaxing and meditation paradise. Nothing in the world is as peaceful to me as this.

52WeeksNG: What would you like to say to the people of NG?

Frank Onasanya:  In leading up to this election, I have spent many years coaching soccer players of all ages. I’ve been a volunteer in North Grenville schools, a volunteer in our local Kinsmen Club and a volunteer at the Kemptville Youth Centre. I have attended meetings of Municipal Council and many community meetings. My wife and I have raised our family here. We’ve shopped, gone to church and made many friends in North Grenville. I’ve talked to a lot of people to learn what works for them and what doesn’t work for them.

I know this community and I care about its future – for my family – and for you, and your families, and your friends and neighbours. I want to help make a real difference in our community – and I can do that as a member of Council

The issues are important – How do we attract our kids back to this community after they’ve completed their education? How do we support our seniors with care and dignity — and offer them the opportunity to stay active? How do we help our community to grow and develop and keep our rural roots, small-town feel and healthy lifestyle?

As your Councillor, these are what I will work for. I will be your voice at the council table. I will be available to you to hear your views — and understand your concerns and issues. I will listen so I can then act to help you. I will work hard to represent the interests of people in all our communities – whether they are from Bishop’s Mills, Burritts’ Rapids, Oxford Mills, Kemptville or any other part of North Grenville.

And I will work with my fellow Councillors because the whole of council is much more effective than any of us as individuals. For many years, sport has been one of my passions. Through coaching, I have been able to instill self-confidence and a sense of teamwork and belonging. I will bring that same collaborative and active approach to municipal politics as your North Grenville Councillor.

I am running for Council to make an effective, positive contribution to how our municipality operates. I will do this by positively influencing decisions that impact the lives of everyone in North Grenville.

For more information, you can find Frank on Facebook and follow him on Twitter!

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Meet the Candidate: John Barclay

It’s election season and the municipal campaign is in full swing!  I am pleased to present my Q&A series with our local candidates, and I hope it gives you a sense of who they are and what they stand for.  New profiles will go up every Tuesday and Thursday!

Election Day is October 27, and you can vote online or by telephone any time between October 20 at 10:00am and October 27 at 8:00pm.  Check the North Grenville website for more details!

Mark your calendars – the NG Times All-Candidates Event is taking place on October 16th from 6:30pm – 9:30pm at the North Grenville Municipal Centre {285 County Road #44, Kemptville, ON} 

John Barclay

John Barclay

52WeeksNG: What do you love about North Grenville?

John Barclay: Besides seeing the stars at night, I love the independence, self-reliance and generous spirit of the people who call North Grenville home. I love Carey’s handshake, Fran’s smile and the way Jim sighs when he’s a bit frustrated.

52WeeksNG: Can you share a hidden treasure in your corner of NG?

John Barclay: Not so much hidden, as under-utilized – Maplewood Park, Maplewood Hall and the former Oxford-on-Rideau Township Hall. They are all historic “jewels” located in Oxford Mills, the heart (and soul) of North Grenville.

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{Photo submitted by John Barclay} The 2012 Oxford Mills-Kemptville Canada Day Coordinating Committee.

52WeeksNG: What are 3 – 5 issues that you would tackle if you were elected?

John Barclay: The issues I’d like to tackle are:

  • How do we best to handle growth while maintaining a strong sense of community?
  • How do we improve fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency?
  • How can we have a stronger voice at County Council and at the other levels of government in Toronto and Ottawa?
  • How can we implement the 2013 Community Strategic Plan more effectively and on a faster timeline?
  • Finally, how do we improve job opportunities and recreational options for North Grenville’s many young families? ?

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{Photo submitted by John Barclay} John’s position as Resource Developer for the Kemtville Youth Centre is announced at KYC’s 20th Anniversary.

52WeeksNG: Why is it important to vote in municipal elections?

John Barclay: How else do you earn the right to complain?

52WeeksNG: How do you like to spend your spare time?

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{Photo submitted by John Barclay} John is a founding member of the Grenville Miltia re-enactor group, promoting education about our local history.

John Barclay: Sailing, vegetable gardening (beets for pickling), reading (non-fiction mostly) and building community through volunteering.

52WeeksNG: What is one thing the people of NG might be surprised to learn about you?

John Barclay: I’m the Producer of “Resolving Conflict Creatively” an educational video series on conflict resolution that has been acclaimed and sold worldwide to schools, libraries, college and community centres. One popular episode entitled “Healing Circles” is used as an Anti-Bullying Resource.

52WeeksNG: What would you like to say to the people of NG?

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{Photo submitted by John Barclay} John spoke about his involvement with Marketplates and the Dandelion Festival at the 2014 Grenville Community Futures Development Corporations 2014 Annual General Meeting.

John Barclay:  Economic development and social development are inextricably linked together. We need to strengthen the ties that bind us together including an appreciation and respect for nature, an interest in growing local business opportunities and support for our volunteer organizations and faith communities. I understand the economic and political realities of North Grenville – we need to maintain our infrastructure and manage growth. I’m prepared to make the difficult decisions that need to be made over the next four critical years and to communicate effectively the reasons why. I will be an effective voice for North Grenville at both the County and at Federal and Provincial levels of government.

For more information, you can visit John’s website, YouTube channel or find him on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter!

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