| Apr 12, 2007

Feature Article - April 5, 2007

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Feature Article - April 5, 2007

Letters to the Editor

Save a life – know the warning signs of a stroke

Last Saturday evening after a happy family Easter celebration, my 83-year-old mother suddenly had difficulty speaking – her speech momentarily became garbled. The difficulty passed within about 2 minutes, but the term “mini-stroke” did come into my mind; unfortunately, the word “act” didn’t accompany it.

My mom seemed totally fine afterwards, and because we both were in denial about the possibility of a stroke, it was 4 hours before I phoned Telehealth Ontario and was advised to take her to hospital.

When finally confronted by the crowded waiting room and the tired triage nurses, the notion of going back to a comfortable bed was briefly tempting. The good news is that hospitals take stroke symptoms very seriously. To my amazement, within 15 minutes of arriving at emergency, my mother, chatting cheerfully and the picture of health, had been whisked past other seriously injured patients who had been brought in by ambulance, and was being examined.

The diagnosis was a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) or “mini-stroke”. It is a warning sign that may precede a larger stroke. My mother will be seeing a stroke specialist, but looking back, the scariest part of the whole experience was how small the voice was that was saying, “Check this out”, and how loud the voice was that was saying – “You’re just imagining things - she’s fine – it’s midnight - everybody go to bed and get some sleep.” My delay in taking action could have had very serious consequences.


Becoming familiar with the warning signs of stroke is not difficult to do, like learning CPR - and it might prevent death or serious disability for you or someone you love. If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.

So if you, or someone you are with, has one or more of the following signs, even if only for a little while, don't delay! Immediately call 9-1-1:

Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

It is very important to take immediate action. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared – you will be asked for this information.

If you're with someone who may be having stroke symptoms, expect the person to protest—denial is common. Don't take "no" for an answer. Insist on taking prompt action and immediately call 9-1-1.

For more information visit the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation at www.heartandstroke.ca or call 1-888-473-4636.

- Jule Koch Brison

Fix our roads

I recently read the article written by the woman who complained about the state of our side roads. To be honest, I agree with her. I live in the village of Parham and often drive my husband to work on these "side roads". Not only is my car feeling the effects of all the potholes and dips and heaves in the road, but so is my wallet. Shocks, struts, tires and sometimes even rims, don't come cheap. This winter, I was driving my husband to work up Long Lake Road and spun out and hit the street sign. My car is feeling the dent, not to mention that my 1 year old was in the back seat. A road that is not in the greatest of conditions even on a bright, dry, sunny day, can become much worse in the rain.

Bell Line Road is a major issue. Every corner and straight stretch on the windy road through the landscape is constantly in need of repairs or grading. Potholes and bumps and heaves and wet muddy conditions are nothing to be "proud" of. Our township really needs to do something in order to maintain our roads. At this time, there is a Children's therapeutic children's residence on Bell Line Road that requires staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, rain or shine. I cannot count the number of times that staff and the owners have called the township to complain of the road conditions on Bell Line Road, let alone any other road in our township.

Long Lake Road is an emergency access road for all three of our emergency services. What I want to know is, that if these roads are as bad as they are, what is the township going to do about it? Our emergency vehicles, I'm sure, have a hard enough time accessing some of our roads, and yet come winter time, they are poorly maintained. It will not do anyone any good if our roads are not updated and emergency vehicles are unable to assist anyone in distress.

As I understand it, some of our issues with these roads do not always come to the attention of the appropriate person within our council. Not only is our township an unappealling one in some ways, it will not bring more businesses or new residents in unless we come into this century. I do plan on contacting our township and raising these issues at a council meeting. I hope that all who read this will open their mouths as well. This township cannot resolve our issues if they are not brought to their attention.

Just something for everyone to think about.

- Sarah Aulis.

RE: That’s the law, Jeff Green - April 5/07

While the tongue-in-cheek nature of the original article was probably well received, the ham-fisted ill-considered attempt at prolonging the humour penned by councillor Norm Guntensberger in collaboration, apparently, with Mr. Green himself, points up the lack of informed commentary and critical analysis of the ridiculous cost of these new fire halls and the misguided spending priorities of the current and previous township councils.

Almost a million dollars is being spent on two glorified garages -- a million dollars out of recent annual tax revenues of $4 million. Apparently a well-maintained road doesn’t look nearly as impressive as a great big fire hall in publicity photos or personal CV’s and those salt domes are just dog ugly.

While the root of the problem lies with the previous council and former Mayor Bill MacDonald, the new council seems bent upon continuing with this insanity. Before amalgamation, had the original townships been forced to replace their fire halls, you can be assured that much less expensive alternatives would have been found because quite simply the money to build half million dollar edifices would not have existed.

Kennebec Township built its own fire hall with local labour just before amalgamation. Granted, it doesn’t have a meeting room because the township hall, which is just down the road, is intended for that sort of activity. And it may not have ‘his & her’ handicapped washrooms (the necessity of which begs more questions) but these details don’t add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars unless graft and gouging are in play. The Kennebec Fire Hall has all the features necessary to keep the fire fighting equipment warm and dry and ready for instant use. In the event of a disaster, the township hall is available and easily equipped. I can count at least three such spaces available in Sharbot Lake, which makes the need for emergency space at that new fire hall completely redundant. As reported in this newspaper [May 18/06], the previous council was advised that North Frontenac Township built a four-bay fire hall for about $300,000 in 2006, which includes $35,000 worth of work performed by township crews, which means that their building actually cost a little more than half of what was spent in Sharbot Lake or proposed for Mountain Grove.

More to the point, a perfectly appropriate building could have been constructed in Sharbot Lake by local contractors using locally purchased materials for significantly less than the price paid. Such a building can also be constructed in Mountain Grove. There are endless statistics that show how much money spent in a community benefits that community, but instead we subsidize Belleville while our roads fill with potholes. Isn’t it curious how the township literature promotes patronizing local businesses.

But we’re only scratching the surface of this seemingly endless stupidity.

When the province mandated domes to prevent salt leaching into ground water from stock piles of winter sand, funding for four salt domes and two fire hall palaces wasn’t available so council decided to amalgamate the four existing township garages, closing Arden and Sharbot Lake, which instantly caused a significant decrease in road maintenance in Kennebec and elsewhere.

Trucks and graders now drive thousands of miles over the course of the year just to get to where they used to start from, considerably increasing operating costs, shortening the life span of the vehicles and adding endless hours of unproductive labour costs while significantly decreasing the amount of time the crews actually spend maintaining the roads. Not only that but the two remaining garages had to be extended to house the extra vehicles.

Once again our tax dollars fly away down the highway to benefit some other community.

Two multi-bay garages were abandoned year round because of salt issues four months of the year. For those affected, four months of salt issues equal 12 months of lousy roads.

While one salt dome has been constructed in Hinchinbrooke, the one slated for Mountain Grove that necessitated the closing of the Arden garage, has yet to be constructed and has, according to a report in this paper been “deferred”. The $465,000 fire hall in Mountain Grove? It’s still going ahead.

So once again the ratepayers of Kennebec, whose previous township councils were diligent enough to look after their priorities as well as their budgets, are forced to suffer year round with lousy, dangerous roads while seeing their tax dollars subsidize the profligate spending of a council whose priorities always seem to lie elsewhere.

But here’s the best part - the Sharbot Lake municipal garage now stands empty, about 100 feet away from the new $500,000 fire hall.

- Patrick Maloney

Re: Uranium mining

The Frontenac News article of April 5 contained several (unintentional, I suspect)inaccuracies. Natural Resources Canada is not a mine regulator and has no role in uranium mine development. The independent agency, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regulates very carefully all aspects of uranium mining in Canada. There is little ambiguity when the CNSC gets involved. Removal of bulk samples can bea trigger. Uranium deposits in Ontario, Bancroft andElliot Lake, are all less than 0.1% (not 1%). Uranium metal is indeed heavy, but in nature it ispresent as alighter oxide.Common chemicals are used to extract it from rock in a milling process. Most of the radioactivity remains with the residue - the tailings.

There is no record of "a series of (tailings) spills in Elliot Lake, starting in 1975" as quoted fromMining Watch. The statement that seniors in Elliot Lake would be less concerned about radiation exposure than young persons has no validity.I would expect thatpersons of all ages who live comfortably and safely in Elliot Lake may be offended by this viewpoint.

No shortage of uranium supply? In the very near future demand will far exceed current production supply, especially since there are many valid (including climate change) reasons why generation of electricity from nuclear power will significantly expand.

- Grant Feasby, Tichborne

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