No Garden of Eden over there on Isabel Street

What a sad commentary that the crop getting the most attention in the St. Thomas Community Garden is the abundant supply of hot potatoes.

Let’s be honest here, the joy of horticulture at 26 Isabel Street has now been supplanted by the nastiest of political posturing — in the process choking out rational thought as if under siege by the most pervasive of weeds.

And, there are no winners. In fact, the city’s reputation has been the target of thousands of insults from internet eejits who couldn’t point out St. Thomas on a map, let alone Canada.

To be fair, both sides in the garden hoe-down must share responsibility for ratcheting up the rhetoric.

Organizer Brigitte Cosens emphatically told the T-J on Wednesday she had concerns about the inflammatory comments posted on YouTube over the past week.

She assured reporter Kyle Rea she would talk to the city resident who uploaded a video that has garnered thousands of views and pages of comments ranging from inane to downright insulting.

So, what does she do? Turn around and agree to appear on a second YouTube video that already has attracted a bushel load of rants.
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On second anniversary of Alma fire, it’s time for province to protect our past

Alma fire, May 28, 2008

Dear MPP’s,
Today marks 2 years to the day that we lost beautiful & historic Alma College,in St.Thomas,Ont.Sadly nothing has been done on the property to preserve and protect the 2 remaining structures and outdoor amphi-theatre.On Wed May 28th,2008 a fire brought down this magnificent structure,after former culture minister Aileen Carroll turned a blind eye to the neglect and destruction,that continued on a daily basis.
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Freedom of Information, the LHINs and the Ministry of Health

OPSEU recently submitted a number of freedom of information (FOI) requests to the Ministry of Health, one of which is still making its way through the system.

The early responses we have would suggest that “officially” little information is finding its way from the Local Health Integration Networks to the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health’s access and privacy office has told us that the only way to gather this information is to apply separately to all 14 provincial LHINs. It would be up to us to collate this information to get a provincial snapshot of what’s going on.

One has to wonder how the Ministry is making policy decisions if it doesn’t really collect such information from the LHINs?

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Union blames feds and province for Navistar plant closure

The federal and provincial governments are to blame for the closure of a local truck assembly plant by not insisting on job guarantees when they turned over millions to Navistar, says Bob Chernecki.

The top CAW official said Tuesday the two levels of government gave Chicago-based Navistar more than $63 million to keep the doors open at Chatham-Kent’s major employer but failed to ensure job guarantees as part of the deal.

Chernecki, in a telephone interview, said CAW employees at the facility also provided the company with more than $40 million in concessions.

“The company has turned around and slapped all of us in the face — CAW members, the community and the governments — by tabling a new deal that would provide less than 100 jobs in the plant,” he said.

Chernecki said the CAW and the company are at a “clear impasse.”
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‘I have tried to make St. Thomas a better place,’ — Cosens

Back in April, this corner documented a segment of an interview with popular television host Dan Reith and mayoral hopeful Mark Cosens on the fate of a $40,000 city loan. You can read the story here

After a discussion with him, City Scope is printing the following statement from Cosens as a clarification on his part.

On February 2, 2010, after much encouragement, thought and consultation with family and friends, I announced my candidacy for Mayor of the City of St. Thomas in the upcoming municipal election.

I declared my candidacy early to have plenty of time to work on my campaign, get better known throughout the community and find out from the citizens of St. Thomas how they see the future of our city unfolding. I am looking forward to working with a broad spectrum of people to make our community a better place to live and work.

I started out by talking to many people, building a campaign and raising some funds. I then released the first plank in my platform, the necessity of hiring a Chief Administrative Office to better position St. Thomas moving forward.
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Realigning Ontario’s Approach to Small and Rural Hospitals to Serve Public Values

A report released Monday by the Ontario Health Coalition appeals for equity and improved access to hospital services in rural Ontario.

The 92-page document is based on input received from more than 1,150 people who attended 12 hearings in regions across Ontario in March.

The report was written and submitted to the Ontario Health Coalition by a non-partisan panel including doctors, nurses, health professional, representatives of each region of Ontario, and representatives active in each political party.

Read the executive summary release17may2010.

Play nice and wait until everyone is in the water

It took a hot grill to fire up the St. Thomas mayoral race.
Who could have imagined the pancake breakfast at last Saturday’s opening of Horton Farmers’ Market would have such lasting impact?
While Ald. Heather Jackson-Chapman and mayoral wannabe Mark Cosens flipped flapjacks, head cook, Mayor Cliff Barwick was elsewhere and now his toque is tussled because candidates for mayor shouldn’t attend events in an official capacity as candidates until nominations close, don’t ya know.
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When the going gets tough, head out on a road trip

Last week in this very space we outlined a sweetheart lease deal offered to Elgin St. Thomas Public Health by their landlord at 99 Edward St.

That would be the County of Elgin, which is willing to cut the lease rate in half.

So how did CEO Cynthia St. John respond to this generous incentive?

On Tuesday, 11 managers trundled on up to Owen Sound to check out the spanking new building that houses Grey-Bruce Health Unit. The building has been described as, “extravagant” and OPSEU notes, “At least $20 million has been budgeted for this building, dubbed the ‘copper elephant’ by local media.”

As we understand it, that organization took on the financing of the building and we can only speculate St. John relishes the opportunity to pursue a similar financial route.
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