Watch your waste: Fire extinguisher becomes projectile at Clearview landfill

Simcoe County waste officials are asking the public to be more cautious when sorting and dropping off their trash, after a fire extinguisher in a pile of scrap metal was sent hurtling across a landfill in Clearview. Site supervisor Susan Hunter said a contractor was picking up scrap steel to be taken away for processing, and was using an excavator with a magnetic grapple to pile material in a waiting trailer. The grapple knocked the trigger mechanism off the bottle, which was at the bottom of the pile. “It was very sudden,” she said, noting the equipment operator found himself suddenly enveloped in a white cloud of the extinguisher’s contents. “He couldn’t see where the extinguisher went. “It was a pretty scary incident for everybody.” The sudden release of pressure propelled the 15-inch-long bottle into a vehicle about 125 feet away. It continued to travel another 100 feet or so before coming to rest. The incident occurred Aug. 11 around 7:15 a.m., before the facility was open to the public. There were no injuries, but the vehicle sustained significant damage. “We continue to review and revise our safety protocols to protect our staff and customers at our facilities,” said Rob McCullough, director of solid waste management. “(This) is a reminder of what can occur when materials are not disposed of appropriately. “Though staff are vigilant, we do require the public’s assistance in informing us of all mate […]

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Customers camped out for Casino Rama opening: Gateway official

Casino Rama is doing “brisk” business following a pandemic-related shutdown that lasted more than a year, an official with Gateway Casinos and Entertainment says. “Under the circumstances, things have gone remarkably well considering we were shuttered for 16 months,” Robert Mitchell told Simcoe.com. The gaming facility east of Orillia began its phased reopening on the morning of July 29, following an easing of some COVID-19 restrictions by the province. “Some folks even camped out in the parking lot overnight,” Mitchell said. “One couple came down from Kirkland Lake and slept in their car until the doors opened.” Under current regulations, the casino is limited to 50 per cent capacity and must ensure social distancing of two metres. Even with such restrictions, “we can easily accommodate 1,000 patrons on the gaming floor with plenty of access to all levels of play,” Mitchell added. Business has remained brisk in the days that followed the casino’s opening, and customers have been “very co-operative with contact tracing — often showing up with their contact information filled out in advance of their visit,” he said. “There have been no problems with lineups at the door or gaining quick admission to the gaming floor — except for the lineup on opening morning.” Patrons were greeted by a new gaming-floor layout, the addition of electronic table games, and a variety of denominatio […]

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Fatal house fire under investigation in Ramara

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s (OFM) office has been called in to help determine the cause of a fatal house fire in Ramara Township. The fire took place early morning March 7 according to a tweet from the OFM, but the location was not specified. The OFM has assigned two investigators to work with the Ramara Fire Department and the OPP. Simcoe.com has reached out to the OFM and the local fire chief for more details.

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Ontario bureaucrat fired in the wake of alleged COVID-19 fraud sues for wrongful dismissal and seeks $5M in damages

A government computer specialist fired after an alleged $11 million COVID-19 fraud is suing the province for wrongful dismissal and seeking more than $5 million in damages, the Star has learned. Shalini Madan was sacked Nov. 23 from her $132,513-a-year management job after her husband, Sanjay Madan, who also worked at Queen’s Park, was terminated in the wake of the alleged embezzlement of pandemic relief payments. The in Ontario Superior Court filings that “some or all of” Sanjay, Shalini, their two adult sons, Chinmaya and Ujjawal, and associate, Vidhan Singh, siphoned millions in Support for Families payments to thousands of BMO, TD, RBC, Tangerine, and ICICI bank accounts last spring. “Shalini has not been unjustly enriched at all; she is a victim of identity theft by her husband,” according to her counterclaim filed Wednesday by lawyer Christopher Du Vernet, who is representing the Madan family. The 18-year veteran bureaucrat worked at Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and had nothing to do with the Support for Families program. Her spouse, Sanjay, who earned $176,608 annually, was information technology leader on the computer application for that Ministry of Education fund. Support for Families gave Ontario parents $200 per child under age 12, and $250 per child and youth under 21 with special needs for online educational expenses. Shalini’s counter claim , who worked in lower-level government IT jobs, each sued the province […]

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Firefighters extinguish straw fire in Essa Township through the night

Firefighters from Essa and Adjala-Tosorontio townships and New Tecumseth are still at the scene of a straw fire that was reported around 6:30 p.m. Aug. 20. The fire was spotted on County Road 15 in Essa Township, near County Road 21 north of Alliston. Firefighters worked through the night to control the blaze and prevent flare-ups, bringing in an excavator to help alleviate the flames. The road was closed in the area as crews worked at the scene. MORE TO COME.

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‘There has got to be a better way’: Orillia restaurant owner

Wayne Isaacs and his sister, Jacinth Taylor, looked around their empty Atherley Road restaurant and wondered what the future held. After months of drifting between openings with limited capacity to lockdowns that allow only takeout, Lickel Bickle was feeling licked. “If you can’t pay the rent, what do you do?”  Isaacs said. Opened in October 2020, Lickel Bickle specializes in Jamaican cuisine and Canadian breakfasts. While Isaacs’ Caribbean fare continues to draw customers, to-go breakfasts are a hard sell. “Nobody wants to eat eggs with takeout,” he said. When the restaurant opened, customers were seated at every other table to maintain a safe distance. A 10-person capacity limit that followed meant “we’d have more people waiting outside than we had inside,” Isaacs said. Prior to a lockdown imposed in late December, “we weren’t making any money, but we could pay the bills,” he said. “Since Christmas, we can’t pay the bills.” Aggravating matters, Isaacs had previously spent more than $1,500 on groceries, much of it for breakfasts customers weren’t buying once the lockdown was declared. Even as sales wither, expenses like utilities and lease costs continue to mount, prompting him to sell a car and other personal items to stay afloat. “Last month, we did about $3,000 (in sales) and it cost $12,000 to keep the place going,” he said, adding the business was not eligibl […]

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Cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and meth seized by Orillia OPP

Members of the Orillia OPP made a significant drug bust on Aug. 6, arresting five individuals and seizing quantities of four different illicit substances. At 11 p.m., officers on patrol on Elgin Street observed two suspicious vehicles. According to police, one of the vehicles left the area and proceeded to commit a traffic violation. Officers conducted a traffic stop and, after speaking with the driver, entered into a drug investigation. All occupants were arrested and removed from the vehicle. According to police, a search resulted in the seizure of more than 150 grams of cocaine, along with quantities of heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine, cash and a knife. As a result, a 34-year-old man, 32-year-old woman, 30-year-old man and 24-year-old woman, all from Orillia, were arrested and charged. The four accused are now facing eight possession and trafficking-related charges. All four were released from custody and are slated to appear in court on Sept. 14. The fifth occupant of the vehicle, a 29-year-old Orillia man, was arrested and charged with possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, unauthorized possession of a weapon and being the occupant of a vehicle knowing there was a prohibited or restricted weapon. The man was held for a bail hearing on Aug. 7 via video link to the Newmarket courthouse.

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Collingwood gets look at concept for water plant expansion

Collingwood got its first look at what could serve as the town’s water filtration plant for the next 25 years. Aecom associate vice-president Brian Sahely provided town councillors with a () of the plant that could grace the municipality’s shoreline. The , built in the late 1990s, is operating at more than 80 per cent capacity, and in April council implemented an interim control bylaw to put the brakes on development in order to preserve that capacity. Aecom, with local engineering company Ainley and Associates, was selected as the engineering consultant for the design of the plant in July. It will be Aecom’s job to design a plant that will go through two expansion phases: an increase in capacity from its current production of 31.1 megalitres per day, to 51.8 megalitres per day by the end of 2025; and a further increase of the plant’s capacity to 101 megalitres per day by 2044. There will also be improvements to the disinfection process, including the introduction of UV. The challenge of managing construction at the same time as the plant continues to operate makes it a “very complex project, and we have to be careful that we always supply water at all times,” Sahely said. The facility would be an education centre, be designed to withstand the effects of climate change, and be adaptable in an evolving regulatory framework. The town would also use the plant as “an opportunity to collaborate with Saugeen Ojibwe First Nation, to ensure t […]

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‘People don’t stop’: Collingwood parents fear crosswalk is ‘tragedy’ waiting to happen

A little more than a year ago, the Town of Collingwood installed a new crosswalk at the It is a crosswalk with flashing LED lights on the side, as opposed to overhead. The installation was supposed to address concerns from residents about a high volume of traffic in the area, which includes three schools; Admiral Collingwood, Cameron Street and Notre-Dame-de-la-Huronie. While the measure was initially met with optimism, resident Erik Lehmann said drivers aren’t getting the message. “People don’t stop when the lights are flashing,” said the father of two. Lehmann, whose children are nine and 11, said they use the crosswalk about four times a day, and he’s seen some close calls. “There was a mom pushing a stroller and she stepped out and almost got hit,” he said. “It’s at the point I have to tell my kids they have to wait until both sides are completely stopped, and sometimes that results in them being honked at.” Julie Kaden, the mother of a six- and a nine-year-old, has similar concerns. “It’s been a problem since before the crosswalk was installed, and it continues to be a problem,” she said. Kaden said the town and police attempted to educate drivers, but the message is not getting through and she would like to see more enforcement. The penalty for not yielding to a pedestrian at a crosswalk is up to $1,000 and four demerit points. “I don’t think motorists realize they have to stop whe […]

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