Of Mark Twain and the London-centred school board

 city_scope_logo-cmyk“You close down a school in a small town and kids suddenly spend hours on the bus going to other communities.” That’s an observation from David Thompson, chairman of the Near North District School Board in Ontario, gleaned from a St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce news release calling for a moratorium on school closures.
At the May 6 Ontario Chamber of Commerce convention in Sarnia, member chambers adopted a resolution “supporting a moratorium on closures and for organizations including the Chamber to be engaged by the school boards to consult economic impact.”
In St. Thomas and Elgin, the Thames Valley District School board will decided later this month on a proposal to close schools in Sparta, New Sarum, South Dorchester and Springfield. Sparta would be the first to close and then be re-purposed as a second French Immersion school in Elgin.

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Utility merger could power an expanded vision for St. Thomas Elevated Park

city_scope_logo-cmykAs if playing home to this country’s first elevated park wasn’t high enough honour, St. Thomas could be one starting point for an ambitious trail project – an undertaking pinned to the pending merger of St. Thomas Energy and Entegrus, based out of Chatham-Kent.
Earlier this week Serge Lavoie, president of On Track St. Thomas, released details of what the St. Thomas Elevated Park will look like when the gate at the eastern approach swings open Aug. 27. 
When the organization acquired the former Michigan Central Railroad trestle – built in 1929 at a cost of $689,000 – the purchase included 4 km of railway right-of-way at the western end of the structure running to Lyle Road in Southwold.

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Rain on his parade? Steve dumps water on the speculation


Our MP Joe Preston waxed poetic about it in Friday’s T-J. Popular QMI Agency columnist Christina Blizzard speculated in the same paper that perhaps the 39th Ontario parliament was abruptly prorogued Wednesday, a day ahead of schedule, in order to derail plans for a fond send-off on Thursday.

The centre of all this ink-drenched attention, MPP Steve Peters — who supposedly had been critical of his own government just days previous — couldn’t help chuckling when he spoke to City Scope from his home on Friday.

“I think people are reading far too much into that,” he opined. “The (provincial) clerk actually said to me Monday morning, “We don’t have a lot to do.’ There really wasn’t a lot on the agenda.”
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Never look a gift factory in the mouth


Well, Bob Hammersley pretty much nailed it last week in this corner when he advised the news emanating out of Thursday’s media scrum would be very big.

Come to St. Thomas and you could win free digs for a year in an existing factory is the essence of the challenge announced at the CASO station.

Talk about thinking outside the box.

It’s the brainchild of STIR — St. Thomas Industrial Revolution — a consortium of local business leaders intent on cutting through the clutter in a bid to attract the biggest and brightest to the city.

With the Industrial Revolution Challenge, one lucky winner will receive up to 10,000 square feet of industrial space, rent-free for a year, donated by the Ryckman Group of St. Thomas.
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Storm warning – ‘a terrific financial crunch in the 2010 budget’

While city council dares flood-prone residents to “sue us,” officials up the road in London are stepping up a program that assists those affected by basement flooding in far more proactive fashion.
This past Monday, city staff presented an engineering report to council that addresses the impact of a June downpour that generated close to three dozen phone calls from across the city from residents who experienced an influx of water.
Getting down to the nitty-gritty, the document can best be summed up with this message to those affected – sorry about your luck.
Staff and our elected officials should take a page from the preventative strategy adopted by our northern neighbours whereby owners are urged to take advantage of city subsidies to reduce sewage backups and flooding.
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Feds, Ontario ante up for city

Two long-awaited projects in St. Thomas got a green light Friday (June 5) with Infrastructure Stimulus dollars from the federal and provincial governments.
But a new home for the St. Thomas Police Service missed out, again.
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You owe us an explanation, Joe and Steve

Posted by Ian:
In February, two levels of government doled out millions of dollars in Build Canada infrastructure funding and St. Thomas was shut out.
There was no shortage of cash to lavish on the rest of Elgin. In fact, Aylmer, Bayham, Dutton/Dunwich, Malahide, Southwold and the county itself hit paydirt on projects ranging from road and sewer maintenance to facility upgrades.
The exclusion of St. Thomas from the funding beneficiaries had council, city staff, Police Chief Bill Lynch and the rest of the St. Thomas Police Service scratching their heads.
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Provincial funding assists Elgin municipalities with water systems

A provincial government program will assist with the operation of Bayham’s water system.

Across the province, the Ontario Small Waterworks Assistance Program Part Two will assist small communities to deliver safe and clean drinking water. Elgin County municipalities will receive $182,339 from the program, and Bayham $40,020. Funding will be provided over four years.
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Rural communities get support to improve water services

Provincial government invests in Elgin and Middlesex municipalities
ST. THOMAS – Residents of six Elgin-Middlesex-London municipalities will be getting some help from the Ontario government to improve the management of the community’s drinking water system.
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