After eight years, where might the money be?


city_scope_logo-cmykComing up to three months since both sides in the Sutherland saga faced each other again at the Elgin County Courthouse. On May 27, city staff and Toronto owner David McGee – along with their legal counsel – left the fate of the 103-year-old Sutherland Press building in the hands of Justice Gorman.

Have we waited an inordinate amount of time for a decision?

Not really, suggests McGee’s lawyer Valerie M’Garry. There is a lot of supporting documents to digest she notes.

“Stacked together they would be a foot-and-a-half high,” M’Garry points out, “so for her (Justice Gorman) to go through them all, which I think she would want to do for whatever decision she is going to render.”

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A return to core business or fire sale at Ascent?


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Couldn’t help but notice this week the Ascent office/workshop on Harper Rd. was not only for sale, but now had a ‘sold’ sign out front.
Seems odd in that the media were invited out to that same location earlier this year to get a first-hand look at the projects undertaken at the former ECM Controls, purchased by St. Thomas Energy in November, 2010.
At that time, ECM Controls employed 10 people who designed and built industrial controls. As shareholder and owner of St. Thomas Holding (the parent company), city council unanimously green-lighted the move, asking no questions nor providing comment on the move.
So what happened in the intervening five years? Continue reading

Forget Rob Ford, we’ve got the real white stuff


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Down the highway in The Big Smoke, the only white stuff grabbing media attention is the cocaine being snorted by Mayor Rob Ford
Meantime, here in St. Thomas the traditional white stuff – that would be snow – has sharply divided residents into two camps: kudos to city staff for a great job versus whaddya mean two weeks to clear sidewalks.
Granted we were the recipient of a winter’s-worth of snow in one dump, however the Times-Journal has uncovered two facts worth considering.
Dave White, the city’s supervisor of roads and transportation, chose a rather untimely week to use up holiday time and one of three sidewalk plows succumbed to illness at a most inopportune moment.
Nevertheless, 80 to 90 centimetres of snow over a four-day span has taxed the city’s resources, not to mention the patience of city residents.
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Ma Ferguson offered equal justice to the little people


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A last-minute addition to the City Scope lineup this week, predicated by the death Tuesday of Edra Sanders Ferguson in her 105th year of “an overflowing life.”

The Times-Journal, and this corner in particular, championed “Ma Ferguson” as she was known for many years by Toronto lawyers.

The photo on the front page of Friday’s T-J offers a tantalizing taste of the individual who served as the first woman alderman in St. Thomas; to initiate a Red Cross Clinic in Guelph; and to be appointed the first Division Court judge in Ontario (later to become the Small Claims Court).

St. Thomas native and Order of Canada recepient Edra Ferguson, left, and Tara Muzumdar, the Belmont House Nursing Home employee who nominated her.


We will forever cherish the personal note from Edra’s nephew, St. Thomas lawyer John Sanders, sent this past June after the announcement she was to receive the Order of Canada for her contributions in the fields of law and women’s rights — the oldest person ever to receive the Order of Canada.

Better yet, today’s (Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011) Bygones photo on page 2, sent along by Gina Coady at Elgin County Archives, transports us back to 1926 and a striking Edra as a member of the Alma College debating team.
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Who wrote the book on cost of library move?


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Just how far do some people feel the pockets of taxpayers will stretch?

Well, if you’re library CEO Rudi Denham or board chairman Greg Grondin, you must think the budgets of hard-working city families are as flexible as Gumby and Pokey.

Can you believe they came to council Monday and openly admitted the costs of moving to, and relocating in, their temporary home at Elgin Mall were unanticipated and unbudgeted?

Did you expect the books, CDs and DVDs would wander over by themselves? And the good folks at the mall would let you set up shop at no cost whatsoever? Kind of an Occupy St. Thomas?
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Accessibility barriers result in feeling of isolation


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Prior to the Oct. 25 municipal vote, City Scope teamed up with accessibility advocate Ed McLachlan to expose members of council and aldermanic candidates to the frustrations encountered by city residents dealing with accessibility issues in their daily routine.

Bill Sandison, Wayne Northcott, Linda Stevenson, Rose Gibson, Joan Rymal, Ald. Dave Warden and Ald. Lori Baldwin-Sands accepted our invitation to visit municipal facilities, including city hall, the police station, Emslie Field, Pinafore Park, the Timken Centre and St. Thomas-Elgin Ontario Works to discover first-hand the obstacles faced by residents wishing to enjoy events at those venues or undertake business with staff.

Whether seated in a wheelchair or peering through vision-impairing glasses, the participants were profoundly impacted.
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