Take on the mole hills

When do you make a mountain out of a mole hill?

Every day we’re faced with situations that are wrong, appear wrong, or simply rub us the wrong way, and it’s hard to know which battles are worth waging.

One famous leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “The time is always right to do what’s right.”

I have always been a big proponent of fairness, and I like this sentiment a lot, but it introduces the concepts of “right” and of course “wrong” and context is key. There is also a well-documented gray area between black and white where legality and morality swirl about with words like just, fair, and balanced up for grabs.

Regardless, Dr. King’s words imply that we should fight the good fight all of the time. For anyone who has fought the system; has stood up for themselves, someone whom they love, or for a cause — you know that it is emotionally and physically draining to fight. Continue reading

Bike trail meeting planned

In my last column, I brought to light the issue of the proposed Fish Hatchery fence that would close off some trail access at Hiawatha. It was widely reported in local media and on the CBC. David Orazietti, our MPP and the Ministry of Natural Resources, did not release specifics about the location or cost of the proposed fence, but he did promise a public meeting, which has now been announced for this Thursday at the Watertower Inn from 7-8:30pm.

Thanks to all of the media coverage, more of the facts of the matter have become clear, but there are still some questions: Continue reading

Fencing off trails smells fishy

Why were Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) staff creeping about the forests of Hiawatha installing cameras on Sunday September 15th? Why were workers putting stakes in the ground along what appears to be a looming fence line near fifth line on Sunday the 22nd? When did Sunday became such a common government work day?

The first question led to me being approached by some residents near the Fish Hatchery and the second and third have now led to the inevitable conclusion that something very “fishy” is going on up at the hatchery. Now I’ll fill you in on the middle as best I can, because the story gets complicated by a “de-fence-ive” politician and a lot of unanswered questions. Continue reading

Mario Richard lived for earth, wind and fire

My last column, which ran on August 28th, was about my phenomenal experience tandem B.A.S.E. jumping in May with new found friends, Mario Richard and his wife Steph Davis in Moab, Utah. I didn’t know it at the time of writing, but my partner in flight caught his last air on August 19, 2013.

Mario Richard, originally of Quebec City, died during a wingsuit flight in the Italian Dolomites. He was proximity flying, and something went terribly wrong. Mario crashed and didn’t survive. Continue reading

Extreme sports, like tandem B.A.S.E. jumping off a cliff, help you enjoy life by looking death in the face

In a world of dwindling firsts, it’s always worth pausing when you capture one of them; however in this case, my first simply allowed me to reflect on what it meant to be alive.

In May, while vacationing in Moab, Utah I became one of a select few in the world, and the first person in Northern Ontario to do a tandem B.A.S.E. jump off of a cliff. It’s considered an extreme form of  skydiving.

Why? Why not?

Continue reading

What’s more strange, news or weather?

What’s more strange these days, the news or the weather?

Are you tired of people complaining about the strange weather that we’ve had so far this summer? I have the solution: read the newspaper. Why? You’ll find stories that rival the weather in their oddity. I’ve collected a few beauties for your consideration, in order to improve your water-cooler conversation.

QMI Agency recently reported that a Michigan boy found a pipe filled with marijuana in his kids’ meal box. The boy was unharmed and the employee who had stashed the pipe faces citations for drug paraphernalia, but I can’t imagine the police’s reaction when they showed up on the scene. How can you not giggle a little at the idea of Burger King combining a pipe with the fast-food. Finally a one-stop shop to get your weed and munchies taken care of! That sure was a “Happy Meal.” Continue reading

Remember, lack of attention at the wheel can be lethal

May was road-safety month, a well-intentioned attempt to remind people of the importance of the rules of the road. Less than two months later, after being cut off twice on my motorcycle and having seen some crazy mistakes, I’ll echo that safety comes from not only following rules, but avoiding distracted driving.

Distracted drivers are dangerous drivers. The Ministry of Transportation states that two seconds of inattention doubles the chance of an accident; using a cell phone quadruples the likelihood of an accident.

Distraction isn’t just multitasking behind the wheel; too many of us bring our worries behind the wheel with us. Continue reading

Share the road…It’s the law

There is a whole section in the driver’s handbook written on “sharing the road with other road users” (Section 2.3.2), and yet, I am keenly aware that it isn’t going so well out there. So far in July I’ve noticed two collisions reported in the paper between bicycles and automobiles.

In the first incident reported on July 5 by the Sault Star, a man was charged under the Highway Traffic Act for “fail to turn out to left to avoid collision.” In plain English that means that the driver is being charged for not giving the 28-year-old cyclist the room that she is allowed under the law.

From that article: ” Bicyclists are entitled to use half the curb lane, said the head of traffic services with Sault Ste. Marie Police Service. Other vehicles have to wait for them or change lanes. Motorists must go around leaving enough room for the rider. “You can’t scrunch that cyclist into the curb,” said Sgt. Ray Magnan. The cyclist was taken to hospital with major injuries.

In the second reported incident from this past week, a teenage girl was struck at the Wellington and Lake intersection by a black car. The motorist did not report the incident. Continue reading

Great way to spend Canada Day

On the heels of a mediocre year of events celebrating the Sault’s 100th birthday and the bicentennial of the War of 1812, I can confidently say that few events have wowed me lately. The Passport to Unity, Relay for Life, BonSoo Gourmet Dinner at Sault College, and Buskerfest events are truly notable; and I can now add the Canada Day Hub Trail Festival as something to look forward to, hopefully annually.

There was little fanfare leading up to it, but I did happen to see a colourful ad in the local paper that was compelling enough to clip and read. (There are advantages to getting an actual newspaper).

Billed as a free family event, Saultites and visitors alike were challenged to “go green” and discover the Hub Trail on Canada Day. From nature appreciation, fresh air, and exercise to freebies and chances to win prizes, what wasn’t to love about the event? Continue reading

Where did our vocabulary go?

What’s happened to our vocabulary? It took some comic books from the 1960s and 1970s and a Nancy Drew novel from that era to hammer home the point that in four decades we seem to have lost a huge chunk of the English language.

My daughter was home sick. Typically, she’d turn on the television and enter the monosyllabic land of children’s programming, but this day I handed her a Nancy Drew novel. As she read she started asking me questions about the words she was reading (this is a first – she typically knows every word on the page and then some in the books that she reads).

“Mommy, what is ‘a trifle dubious’?

Suddenly, I became a trifle dubious about the choice of reading material I had handed her. Was I going to be peppered with questions that I may not be able to answer? I was up for the challenge, and pleased that we were talking about words. Continue reading