A fully functional downtown CCTV system helps bring public safety further into focus


city_scope_logo-cmykThe evolution began in May of last year when city council endorsed Phase 1 of a project to install eight CCTV cameras along a two-kilometre stretch of Talbot Street, from CASO Crossing to St. George Street.
The locations were selected based on 2018/19 crime-mapping data and motor vehicle collision reporting information.
But, it is not meant to be a red-light camera system to document vehicles running traffic signals.
The CCTV program was pitched to council as “a proactive, local solution modelled on successful networks in other municipalities to enhance community well-being and assist the St. Thomas Police Service with solving crime.”
A report from the service concluded,” a safe, secure and vibrant downtown will provide a canvas for economic development.”
Last month, the entire system was brought on stream and is now in full operation, according to Insp. Steve Bogart, who oversees the CCTV operation.

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Small towns contributing to their own demise


An exodus of young people seeking education, adventure and success in bigger cities, combined with economic upheaval that has left little opportunity for those who stayed behind, has resulted in a dramatic “hollowing out” of North America’s small communities. And worse, by not adapting to this new reality, small towns are playing a big part in their own demise.

Other regions and communities have created incentives designed to draw back their educated young people. Aniko Varpalotai, a professor specializing in rural education at the University of Western Ontario, says St. Thomas, the town she lives in just outside of London, Ont., has used tuition relief and housing benefits to entice several of the medical students who passed through its hospital to stay. In different areas of the U.S., Carr found free land programs, student loan forgiveness and attempts to improve cultural amenities.

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Ethanol undermines Canada hog farm rescue


WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Canada’s rescue plan of the hog industry will fail to save it because the government continues to support ethanol production, the industry’s rival for feed grain supplies, a report by an independent farm research centre said on Wednesday.

The Canadian government said on Saturday it will pay some farmers to stop raising hogs and offer loans to help others restructure. Canada’s hog industry is in crisis, with high feed prices, a buoyant Canadian dollar, fears about H1N1 flu and a U.S. food labelling law making pig farming unprofitable.

A mandate from the Canadian government, starting next year, that oil companies must market fuel with 5 percent renewable content, has spurred rapid expansion of ethanol production. That’s driving up prices of corn and feed wheat, from which ethanol is produced and which farmers feed to cattle and pigs.
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Reinventing the rural economy


An economic alliance is growing in the sandy areas of Southwestern Ontario where tobacco once reigned.

“We’re trying to reinvent the rural economy,” Aylmer Mayor Bob Habkirk said yesterday, just before Middlesex County council endorsed turning the Southern Central Ontario Region (SCOR) into an incorporated not-for-profit body.

The intent is to make sure about one million hectares of agricultural land regains its spot as one of the most fertile economic drivers in the region.

The partnership that has approved the group’s new strategic plan includes Middlesex, Norfolk, Elgin and Brant counties, with Oxford’s official endorsement expected today. All five partners have been working towards SCOR’s incorporation for a little more than a year.
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