Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Just a few more days till Christmas

Things have been busy leading up to the holiday season here in Bracebridge. They were even busier for a group of students at St. Dominic Catholic Secondary School, who spent the past few weeks handcrafting 1,600 wooden toys for children in the community.

They gave away many of them during a Santa's Workshop event they hosted for area kids at the school.

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But because many kids from area schools couldn't make it to pick up toys due to the elementary teachers strike, the students and teacher Marty Scarlett hand delivered them to area schools the next day. Everything else left over was given to the Bracebridge Salvation Army.

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Weeks before, students at Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School walked out in support of the teachers strike.

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This was followed by a one-day strike by the elementary teachers. The teachers and their supporters picket outside of Monck P.S. in this photo.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Teachers protest in Bracebridge

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Teachers took the streets of downtown Bracebridge to voice their complaints over Bill 115 earlier this week. The surprising thing is, their students are planning to join them with a walkout on Monday.

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With the exception of one person in a passing vehicle who told them to "go back to f---ing work," most passing drivers honked their horns in a show of support.
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Generous reader helps couple with nowhere to go find a home

Are newspapers still relevant? I certainly hope they still are. Awhile ago, I wrote a story about David and Shelly Burman - two retirees who survive in a trailer home on disability payments of $1,700 per month between the both of them. David suffers from leukemia, while his wife and primary caregiver is battling depression.
Last year, when I first visited them, they lived in this modified trailer home on the banks of the Muskoka River. The Town of Bracebridge was mounting a crackdown on illegally-modified properties, telling the couple they had to tear down their home because it was situated on a flood plain and that it was in violation of the Building Code.

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For much of the past year, the Burmans have been worried the crackdown would leave them homeless by the time the snow falls. They complied with the town's demands by taking down other structures on their properties that were deemed not in compliance, but their hands were tied when it came to the main trailer they lived in.

Fortunately, on November 1, a generous reader who saw the story in the paper decided to lend a helping hand. The reader took the Burmans in as tenants, giving them a steep discount on the rent. They've since moved into a new home, and have a warm place to spend the winter.

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The town has offered some help by contacting outside organizations that may be able to tear down their trailer for free. But at the moment, the Burmans are still wrapped up in the court system over their Building Code charges.

Regardless of what happens in the new year, it's great to know there are people in Bracebridge who do have a heart, and who are willing to help their fellow citizens.