John Wilson not one to idly stand by while schools close

It’s been almost seven years since John Wilson vowed to become more active in school board issues.
In December, 2002, in his capacity as Elgin county warden, Wilson nearly blew a gasket when London trustee Joyce Bennett was re-elected as chairman of the Thames Valley District School Board.
The move effectively ended an accepted practice whereby each chairman served a one-year term and the position alternated between a London trustee and a representative from either Elgin, Oxford or Middlesex county.
“We don’t intend to stand idly by and have our communities torn apart simply because of someone who doesn’t understand what’s going on within the communities,” Wilson told the Times-Journal at the time.
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Culture Minister Aileen Carroll’s 15 months of shame

Aileen Carroll

Aileen Carroll

Posted by Bob Foster

Dear Mr.Premier,
Today marks exactly 15 months to the day that we lost beautiful & historic Alma College in St.Thomas.The Alma supporters thought our culture minister would surely step forward after the horrific fire and designate the property to protect the 2 remaining buildings and outdoor amphi-theatre,but sadly we were mistaken.Aileen Carroll has FAILED to do anything of importance,when it comes to Ontario’s built heritage.Countless buildings have been demolished on her watch,and with 14 months left before the next provincial electon,we are sure to lose many more before Ontarian’s realize what a failure this Liberal government has been,on so many fronts.Aileen Carroll was recently voted the 2nd most invisible provincial cabinet minister by the people in her own riding.Letters were sent to the editors of several newspapers by the voters in her riding,claiming she does not respond to e-mails,letters or phone messages.A spokesman for Carroll claimed she likes to work quietly behind the scene to get things done.Now that statement is laughable,Minister Carroll doesnt work quietly,in fact she doesnt work at all,at least not for the protection of built heritage.I’ve seen Minister Carroll on the evening news,at the opening of several art galleries and other regal events,but have yet to see her do anything of significant value in the area of built heritage.96 Moore Street has always been a candidate for Provincial Heritage Designation,and the Ontario Heritage Trust recommended such designation,but the ministry of culture hid the OHT report for months,letting the “demolition by neglect” to continue,until the college was burned to the ground 15 months ago.Will Minister Carroll now give 96 Moore Street the honor it so deserves,will she finally recognize the contribution Alma College made to our province for well over 100 years,or will she continue allowing historic buildings and properties to be demolished and bulldozed.The Alma supporters await designation for this historic property,anything less would be an insult to 100 years of service.We await a response,but according to voters in her own riding of Barrie,responding is not a top priority for Aileen Carroll.

Bob Foster

MacKinnon Transport acquisition of Walker Transport means jobs lost in St. Thomas

The intention is to close the Walker Group’s trucking terminal in St. Thomas and relocate those operations to MacKinnon Transport, which is headquartered on Laird Road in Guelph.

MacKinnon said Guelph operations, which will continue as MacKinnon Transport, can accommodate most Walker staff, with the anticipated loss of about 20 employees in St. Thomas.

But that means 120 more jobs in Guelph, he stressed.

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Ford to drop police car production at St. Thomas plant

crown vic
DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 28 (UPI) — U.S. auto giant Ford Motor Co. said Friday it would close out production of the Crown Victoria police car from an Ontario, Canada, plant in 2011.

Ford told members of the Canadian Auto union it had no replacement planned for the Crown Victoria, the Detroit Free Press reported Friday.

The St. Thomas Assembly Plant in Ontario also produces Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car models.

Ford spokesman Robert Parker declined to elaborate on the company’s plans for the popular police vehicle. “We expect our plans to be firmed up by the end of the year,” he said.

But Parker said building police cars “is not a business we take lightly.”

“The company is committed to it,” he said.

In the first half of 2009, Crown Victoria sales dropped 30.9 percent to 21,949 compared to the same period of 2008. Ford stopped selling the model to the public in 2007.

Ford did not confirm rumors it would replace the Crown Victoria with a police car based on the Taurus, the newspaper said.

Ford to cops: St. Thomas-built Crown Vic is out

Dearborn — In June, Ford Motor Co. invited the heads of some of the nation’s largest police fleets to Dearborn to talk about the future of police cars.

For nearly two decades, that market has belonged to Ford’s Crown Victoria — a vehicle that departments from coast to coast have come to respect for its toughness and reliability. Now the Crown Vic is running out of road.

“They told us that 2011 would be the last year they build the Crown Vic,” said Larry Tagawa, commander of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Motor Transport Division. “But Ford also made a commitment to support departments with a new vehicle.”
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Road merges for family-owned Elgin trucking firm

GUELPH, Ont. — Two of Canada’s most prominent family-owned for-hire carriers have merged.

Evan MacKinnon, president and CEO of MacKinnon Transport in Guelph, Ont. announced that his company has acquired St. Thomas, Ont.-based LE Walker Transport and its subsidiary MidAmerican Freight Systems.

Both southern Ontario carriers are major players in the cross-border dry van and flatbed markets. Walker also has a growing number of tankers and container chassis and its inroads in the intermodal sector will likely complement MacKinnon’s own intermodal transport business as well.

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Why Lake Erie ferry plan didn’t work in Elgin County

Fishing tugs in Port Stanley harbour

Fishing tugs in Port Stanley harbour

Port Stanley was the first choice for a ferry proposal that landed this week in front of Norfolk council.

Seaport Management Corporation of Jarvis wooed the lakeside community in Elgin County for several years before turning its attention elsewhere. Seaport did so because Central Elgin council decided it didn’t want a ferry operator in its harbour.

Central Elgin has been waiting patiently for Transport Canada to turn over responsibility for the harbour to the municipality. That has yet to happen because major dredging is required, among other issues.

Yesterday, Port Stanley Coun. David Marr said the Seaport Management proposal came at a bad time. Central Elgin council wants to assume ownership of the harbour with a clean slate and take the time to examine proposals so that the facility is put to its highest and best use.

Central Elgin has asked the federal government to complete the transfer within a year. The municipality’s $100,000 business plan for the harbour makes no allowance for a ferry service.
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The “silence is deafening’’ between the two sides in the Navistar labour dispute.

Chatham-Kent’s mayor is hopeful officials with CAW Local 127 and Navistar will soon return to the negotiating table.

Randy Hope said yesterday the “silence is deafening’’ between the two sides in the labour dispute.

Hope said he would be willing to convene a meeting between the two sides aimed at bringing about a resolution.

“But I’m not about to get involved in the bargaining process,’’ he said. “That is none of my business.’’

Hope said the Richmond Street truck assembly plant is the last of its kind in Canada.

“We should be doing all we can to ensure that we don’t lose this very important segment of our local business economy,’’ he said. “It’s too important to lose.’’

But Hope said the municipality would like to know what is in store for the future of the plant.
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Ethanol cooperative chair challenges report

Ethanol production has increased the availability of corn in Ontario says Tom Cox chair of the Integrated Grain Processors Cooperative, which operates an ethanol plant in Aylmer, Ontario. This, in response to a report from the George Morris Centre entitled Opening the Throttle and Applying the Brakes , which concludes it is the growth in the ethanol sector that is largely responsible for the struggles in the hog industry here in Ontario.
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