Youngsters often have a lot to teach us adults about empathy. That is certainly the case of nine-year-old Brandon Heyman of Harrowsmith, whose reaction to one ginger colored horse that was bound for slaughter encouraged both him and his mother to step in.

The horse, Karazan, a 17-year-old thoroughbred former race horse, came to the attention of Brandon and his mother MJ after being listed online at a site called Need You Now Equine, (NYNE), a horse placement service that gives slaughter-bound horses one last chance at a loving home. MJ became aware of the site through a friend and of Karazan's likely fate back in August 2014, just when Brandon's ninth birthday was approaching.

After seeing the horse on the site, Brandon commented on the beauty of the mare, (who just happens to share Brandon’s hair color) and begged his mother, in lieu of a birthday gift, to put the money towards saving the horse.

He said, “I just wanted to help save the horse because no one else was doing anything, so I asked my Mom if I could use my birthday money and donate it to help to save her.”

MJ not only did that, she went one step further after realizing that no one was stepping up to purchase the horse. She put up the additional money, a total of $650, to purchase Karazan and gave her as a birthday gift to her son. Karazan arrived at their Harrowsmith home on August 22, 2014 and you can imagine Brandon's shock and surprise. “I was so excited when my Mom told me that Karazan had found a new home and was even more excited when I found out that that home was mine.” When she arrived she was lot skinnier and was a bit rough around the edges but Brandon spent hours grooming her and now she stands tall, healthy and proud.

Brandon was busy feeding Karazan carrots and apple treats when I interviewed the family last week and she was enjoying the company of four other horses and one donkey on the property, some of which were also purchased through NYNE.

Brandon, who has been riding since he was four years old and who now rides and shows competitively, regularly rides Karazan, who was formerly trained to jump and show. She was first ridden by Brandon's sister, Kristen and immediately started showing off her show riding abilities. A vet check also showed that she has a tendon issue that makes her now unable to jump.

Brandon described Karazan as “a nice horse and a real big cuddle bug. She loves her treats and is really good at riding.” Horse love goes deep in this family of six children, the older of whom own and ride their own horses. Their common desire to save sound horses from slaughter also runs deep. MJ has no doubt instilled in her children a love for animals and a desire to get involved to help them. “I want my kids to know that there are horses and other animals that need help and that they themselves can make a difference”.

Kristen, Brandon's eldest sister, bought Zaphira, a 14-year-old grey brood mare from NYNE also in August 2014. Kristen recalled writing a school project on the fate of slaughter bound horses and she continues to raise awareness about the often inhumane treatment and slaughter of these worthy animals. “It's really sad when you become aware of what happens to so many unwanted horses; horses that have been used up by their owners, who can no longer make a profit from them or just no longer have a use for them but the horses still have so much life and goodness in them.”

NYNE is a not-for-profit feedlot rescue community that was set up in December 2011 by its founder and director Tracey Hoogeveen, whose goal is to find homes for horses that are “sound, sane and offer the best chance of a useful future in a new home, and which are currently at direct risk of being shipped for slaughter.” NYNE is not run as a “rescue” operation per se; rather Tracey visits the lots where the horses are held as they await shipment to a slaughter plant and she takes down information about the animals and photographs them. She then posts those on the NYNE site. She and her crew at NYNE never actually own the horses but instead facilitate purchases directly from the dealers. To date NYNE has placed more than 500 horses in new homes. Some of us who love animals do not have the means or property to have horses, but some in the community do and may want to look into giving a new home to one of these animals. For more information visit


Linda Irish-Burns has been in the pizza business in Harrowsmith for close to 25 years and her loyal customers will be pleased to know that a recent name and location change is all that has changed at the long-time family-run business, where she works with her sons Scott and Sean.

The business changed location on February 1 after Linda purchased the former Ella's Bakery and Restaurant building, which prior to that had been Castle Coffee. Linda was looking to buy a building, build equity and the new location offered her a bigger and more pleasing space where she continues to work along with her sons and six other staff members. The new building boasts two-thirds more space than she formerly had and it allows space for additional customer seating, storage and parking.

Linda had some key renovations done in December after the purchase was final, which included modifying and opening up the service area, upgrading the plumbing and washroom facilities (one of which is wheelchair accessible), and she is pleased to announce the business is now open for business as usual under its new name, “The Pizza Place”.

Thanks to a business loan from the Frontenac Community Futures Corporation (FCFDC) located just up the road, Linda was able to purchase some new equipment she needed, including a new walk in cooler and a brand new slice oven. Since Linda was no longer associated with the franchise, she chose to change the name when she changed locations. “The new name, 'The Pizza Place' made perfect sense”, she said when I interviewed her at the new location earlier this week. “I thought, everyone has always called it “The Pizza Place”, so why not just go with that as the business's new name.”

Everything else about the business remains the same. The menu, which has kept her customers coming back, is your typical go-to pizzeria fare - subs, wings, a wide variety of pizzas, and salad. Linda said that she is hoping to eventually also offer up a selection of burgers and fries. While Linda continues to work behind the counter on Fridays and Saturdays and still manages the business end of things, (she worked for 28 years as a trust administrator at RBC), she expects that her son Scott will soon be taking over the reins by the end of the year.

Business hours have not changed. The Pizza Place, located at 4946 Road 38 in Harrowsmith, is open 7 days a week from 11 AM; Monday through Wednesday until 8 PM; Thursday until 9PM, Friday and Saturday until midnight; and Sunday until 8 PM. Hours may vary depending on customer traffic and will be extended during the summer season. Staff can deliver (for a fee), north to Westport Road, east to Perth Road, south to Unity Road and west to Yarker and Moscow. Linda is thrilled with the new name and new building and she and her sons are looking forward to serving the community for many more years to come. For more information call 613-372-5693

Wednesday, 11 March 2015 16:59

Frontenac Soccer Association

Registration is now open for Frontenac Soccer Association's (FSA) Recreational Youth Summer Soccer League. This league, offering weekly games scheduled between May 4 – July 30, 2015, is for players between the ages of 4 and 21 years. Fees for the 2015 season are $90 per player for U5 through U8 divisions and $105 per player for U10 through U21. To register and/or find out more information, please visit the FSA's website Registration is now open and a spot can be guaranteed until April 4. Registration after April 4 is on a first-come, first-served basis until we've reached capacity. Sign up early (before April 4) for the early bird discount and to avoid disappointment!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015 15:12

Country Cafe and Bakery opens in Harrowsmith

Lori Hamilton and her staff had their work cut out for them earlier this week as they were busy preparing for the unofficial opening of the Country Cafe and Bakery, which opened its doors to the public on January 10.

In November of 2014, Hamilton, who is a long-time resident of Harrowsmith, took over the lease of the business space located next door to the Harrowsmith Variety Store, just north of the intersection of Road 38 and Rutledge Road. Since then she and her husband Orville have been busy renovating the new space. The renovations have included brand new men’s and women’s washrooms, new glass display cabinets, new electrical and plumbing, and of course a fresh new coat of paint.

When I visited earlier this week, Lori and her staff were busy baking up a wide assortment of the daily fare that they will be offering their customers, including fresh-baked muffins, cookies, bars, cinnamon buns, and also a wide variety of pies and fresh-baked breads. Hamilton said that a big part of her business will be her specialty: made to order cakes, which are perfect for weddings, anniversaries and other special events, including Valentine's Day coming up in February.

The bakery that formerly occupied the space was only a take out establishment, but the new Country Cafe and Bakery is a totally separate entity from the convenience store. It offers customers five comfortable tables where they can sit down, relax and “dine in”, choosing from a full menu of breakfast and lunch entrees, all prepared fresh on site. They include hot daily soups, and a wide selection of sandwiches (roast beef, pastrami, turkey and smoked ham, to name a few), each of which comes with a choice of fresh vegetable toppings and condiments. A daily selection of home-made hot entrees including chili, lasagne, cabbage rolls, meat stews and casseroles will also be available as well. Hamilton, who worked for over three decades in the dietary departments of various nursing and retirement homes as both a cook and a server, said that she has ample experience in the fields of food preparation and customer service, which have prepared her well for this new undertaking. “I have always enjoyed cooking and baking and entertaining people and this kind of business offers me a chance to do what I love right here in the community. I am hoping that local residents will appreciate having a friendly place to enjoy a meal, and/or snack while socializing with friends, family and neighbours.” Hamilton is planning an official grand opening celebration on Saturday, February 7 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. and on that day she and her staff will be offering guests free sample goodies, beverages and door prizes from 11 a.m. –1 p.m. Hamilton, who will be cooking and serving at the bakery while also running the business, said that the challenges of opening a new business, especially the long hours, will be tough but she stressed that the benefits far outweigh the challenges. “This is a new adventure for me and a new chapter in my life and it is something that I have dreamed of doing for years so I am really excited about it.”

The Country Cafe and Bakery is located at 4937 Road 38 in Harrowsmith and is open Monday to Friday from 6 a.m.- 5 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. For more information call 613-372-5883.


Exploring Value Added Opportunities: a one day workshop for farm and rural entrepreneurs

Are you looking for or have a value-added business idea for your farm? Not sure how to make your idea a reality? Don't miss this one-day workshop for farm and rural entrepreneurs in which we cover three modules: selecting your best idea; assessing your idea’s business potential: and next steps. Benefits of participating in this workshop include:

• new ideas, inspiration and best practices for successful value added businesses;

• understanding motivations and risk tolerance;

• an assessment of what it takes to turn an idea into reality by considering production, marketing, finance and human resources; and • resources for developing a comprehensive business plan. The workshop will be held Thurs, February 5, 9 am to 4 pm at the Sydenham Public Library; cost: $25 per person includes lunch and HST. Sponsored by the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation. Space is limited to 25. For content details and registration please visit:

Thursday, 18 December 2014 00:59

Harrowsmith’s Frontenac Friesians

Those who were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the six gorgeous black horses that walked in this year’s Santa Claus parades in Sydenham and Harrowsmith (and who won “Best New to the Parade” at the Kingston parade) may be interested to know that these regal animals, the Frontenac Friesians, call Harrowsmith home.

Known for their characteristic “upright head sets, high stepping trot, shiny black coats and luscious tails and manes”, Friesians have a mystical and noble presence and have appeared in many popular films, including Ladyhawk, Zorro, and Lord of the Rings, in which they were cast as the Dark Riders.

The Frontenac Friesians have yet to star in a major Hollywood film and spend their time at a small hobby farm located on Bradford Road, where their proud owner, Debbie Givens, gives them plenty of love and attention. The horses are named Lyske, Sunday, Viktor, Joe Black, Dave and Andy and they made a memorable impression on those who saw them walking in the parades.

Givens is well versed in the art of caring for horses and previously ran a large horse boarding facility just north of Kingston. She eventually decided that the facility was too large to manage and enjoy while she was also working full time, so she decided to scale down and moved to a small hobby farm in Harrowsmith in 2008, where she resides with her husband and two daughters.

With help from her mother, Debbie was able to pursue her “bucket list dream” of acquiring the best purebred Friesian mare she could find. She did just that and the mare that she was driving carriage with at the parades is named Lyske Meintse, and came from Kettle Creek Friesians in London, Ontario. Lyske has been judged by the FPS, the Holland group that controls the integrity of purebred Friesians world-wide, as a “Star”, meaning that she is in the top 30% of the FPS's quality judged breeding mares.

Givens has since bred Lyske with two different purebred Friesians from Michigan and in 2013 she gave birth to a filly, Sunday, and in 2014 to a colt named Viktor. While there are no births on the horizon for 2015, Givens has acquired frozen semen from the Netherlands and is hoping for a purebred Friesian foal again in 2016.

She also breeds half Friesian horses and her mare Andy, which is part thoroughbred and part standard bred, was bred twice with a Friesian stallion named Jisk in Peterborough. In 2011 she birthed a half-Friesian colt named Joe Black and in 2014 birthed Dave

The Friesians’ laid back and amazing behavior at the three local parades, especially given their young ages, demonstrates that these animals are highly trainable and reliable and that they like to please.

Givens said she practiced with her horses a few times before the parades and was thrilled with their behavior, saying humbly, “I know my horses.”

When I visited at the farm, Givens was feeding the herd and said that she can’t wait to retire in 2019 so she can devote more time to the animals she loves so much. Until then she will continue to breed, ride and show them - and she may even be convinced to sell one of these majestic lovelies, though she admits that a sale might take a wee bit of arm twisting.

Givens is a member of the Ontario Friesian Horse Association and the Friesian Horse Association of North America. For more information visit the Frontenac Friesians on facebook or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


For many it is the local Santa Claus parades that mark the start of the Christmas season in these parts and the numerous parades that took place in North, South and Central Frontenac are always welcome and exciting events, especially for youngsters and the young at heart. This year's parades seemed especially festive with a plethora of colourful floats courtesy of the numerous businesses, organizations, service clubs and individuals, who despite the bustle of the holiday season took the time to put together their unique parade offerings. This year it seemed there were more colourfully clad youngsters, more live animals and more live music than in parades past. Whatever the reason, here are just a few snap shot memories from the parades that took place in Sydenham, Harrowsmith, Sharbot Lake, Tichborne/Parham, Northbrook and North Frontenac.

Sharbot Lake

14-49 parade sharbot

Elsa waves from the Northern Frontenac Community Services' Disney inspired “Frozen” float

14-49 parade denbigh


It was a crisp evening for the Santa Claus Parade in the village; even still, a good number enjoyed the lights and sights. Mr & Mrs Claus had a warm welcome for everyone at the hall, as hotdogs, hot drinks and goodies were gobbled up. The children took their turn making their requests to the Man in Red, followed by a festive program presented by the Rec. Committee. Congratulations to the LCBO on winning people's choice for favourite float with their entry decorated in gingerbread and sweets.  

 North Frontenac

14-49 parade ompah-1

The North Frontenac Christmas parade took place on November 29, starting at the township offices in Plavna and finishing at the Ompah hall.

Photos courtesy of Michelle Ross. At right: the Plevna Pioneer Club’s float proclaims “Jesus is the sweetest gift”. ton Cottages float


Aspiring entrepreneurs will be pleased to know that more money is now available to them thanks to a new partnership recently launched between the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (FCFDC) in Harrowsmith and Futurpreneur Canada.

On November 28, Lisa Boyer, the eastern Ontario business development manager with Futurpreneur, met with staff at the Frontenac CFDC to officially launch the new partnership, which will allow Futurpreneur to offer their loans and programs through the FCFDC, and in doing so will assist young local entrepreneurs to start, grow, and run their own businesses.

Boyer explained at the launch, “Basically we will be offering young entrepreneurs in the area our various entrepreneurial loans and programs, and staff at the FCFDC will be assisting by supplying applicants with the business plan building support and mentorship they need to become successful.”

Formerly known as the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF), Futurpreneur was started in 1996 and since then has funded over 7000 young entrepreneurs across Canada. They offer to young entrepreneurs aged 18-39 financing of up to $45,000 in character-based, low-interest loans made available from the Business Development Bank of Canada. They also assist them with mentoring and other business resources. “One of our biggest roles is to work with other community partners across Canada to help us support these young entrepreneurs,” Boyer said. FDFDC staff will also help to locate business mentors for the applicants from this area

Terry Romain, business development officer with the FCFDC, said, “The mentorship requirement is the added value here. In order for anyone to qualify for the funding through Futurpreneur they must have a mentor and part of Lisa's job is to match the applicant with a mentor in order to assist the new entrepreneur. The mentorship will go on for a full two years and will help new young business owners to become successful.”

Boyer said that the partnership will also help grow Futurpreneur's profile in the region. “Terry will help bring our programs to more people in this area which is also a huge benefit to us since the FCFDC is seeing the clients that we want to see but because of our huge catchment area we are often not able to connect with them.”

The benefit for the FCFDC, according to Romain, is that the partnership brings an additional pool of funding to young entrepreneurs in this area, which is great news for young people without capital who want to start a business. Romain stressed the importance of giving young entrepreneurs a boost. “One of the largest obstacles to anyone starting a business is getting access to capital. So this partnership will give young business entrepreneurs more opportunities.”

Anne Prichard, executive director of the FCFDC, said that the other benefit is that the two organizations will be able to share the risk. “If you have a young person starting up and they don't have the security for a particular loan, we together with Futurpreneur will be sharing the risk between us. We will also benefit from Futurpreneur promotions to target the youth in this area,” she said.

Young entrepreneurs will now see the Frontenac CFDC link on their website, Information about Futurpreneur programs and loans is also available on the FCFDC's website at Any successful business owners in the area who would be willing to become a mentor with Futurpreneur can contact Terry Romain at 613-372-1414 ext 202 or toll free at 1-888-372-9962.


Staff at the Frontenac OPP detachment in Hartington launched their annual Festive RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) program on November 24 and set up an inaugural RIDE stop in Harrowsmith to make drivers aware of the importance of driving sober and safe during the upcoming holiday season.

The program takes place across the province and on November 24 three staff members from the Frontenac OPP detachment in Hartington, Sergeant Jean James, and Constables Buff Chadwick and Roop Sandhu were pulling over drivers in front of St. Patrick's Catholic school in Harrowsmith for the first day of the drive, which will continue until January 2, 2015.

Staff Sergeant Sharron Brown, who spoke with press at the Hartington detachment, highlighted the aims of the program, which are primarily to focus on impaired driving but also to discourage and penalize aggressive and distracted drivers as well as those violating seat belt laws.

Sgt. Brown said that while impaired driving is down 40% from this same time last year, she believes that one impaired driver on the road is one too many. “It's heartening to see that people are getting the message that the only way to drive is to drive sober.” Community Services Officer, Constable Roop Sandhu, shared some statistics that show the fatalities resulting from impaired driving in Ontario were down from 72 in 2013 to 42 in 2014. Similarly, as of September 2014 a total of 5685 impaired driving charges were laid as compared to 6848 in that same period in 2013, a drop of 17 per cent.

While the number show improvements Sgt. Brown said that the best way to drive safe is to have a plan in place. “We at the Frontenac OPP wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season and for that to happen people need to ensure that they have a plan in place before they engage in any activities that may affect their ability to drive. They should arrange either to have a designated driver, plan to take a taxi or else make plans to stay the night,” she said. She also stressed the fact that "No amount of alcohol or drugs are a safe amount when it comes to operating a motor vehicle.”

Drivers who are found to be impaired at any of the RIDE stops, which will be taking place anywhere and at any hour, will be charged with a criminal offense and depending on the seriousness of the offense, will lose their license for a minimum of one year upon conviction. Sgt. Brown said that there have been numerous fatalities as a result of impaired driving during her 26 years on the force and she spoke of the huge ramifications of a serious accident. “In accidents that are the result of impaired driving, it is never just one single person who is involved and it is never an easy thing to have notify family members that one of their loved ones has been involved in this kind of an accident. Our goal through the Festive RIDE program is to make sure that everyone reaches their destinations safely during this holiday season.”


by the Verona and Sydenham District Lions

For the past two weeks, Lions volunteers from Sydenham and Verona have conducted the annual vision and hearing screening for approximately 200 senior kindergarten and grade one students at Harrowsmith, Loughborough, and Prince Charles public schools as well as at St. Patrick Catholic School in Harrowsmith

For young learners, it is critical that any vision and hearing problems are detected early before a child's performance at school is affected and that is why for the past seven years, the local Lions have conducted the screening program for the youngest students at the start of every school year. It is estimated that one in six children has a vision problem. The vision screening section consists of three stations that help identify children who have trouble seeing things at a distance, up close or who may have difficulty making both eyes focus together. The hearing section of the screening program is comprised of a sound test. The child wears headphones and is asked, at increasingly lower audio levels, to point to various pictures.

The results from both screening tests are sent home to the child’s parents/caregivers that same day. If the child's results fall below the prescribed level, a recommendation is also sent home asking that the child have a complete examination by a vision or hearing specialist. The screening results also remind parents that annual eye examinations are recommended and important for school-aged children and are covered by OHIP.

The vision and hearing screening program for senior kindergarten and grade one students is provided free by the local Lions Clubs and the expensive equipment used in the testing was purchased through the fund raising efforts of many local Lions clubs. At the start of every school year, local Lions clubs quickly circulate the equipment through more than 50 schools in the local and surroundings community in order to screen as many children as possible in the hopes of identifying as early as possible any vision or hearing problems.

While most of the Lions screening volunteers are retired, the younger Lions volunteers work hard to juggle their work and personal schedules so that they can be available for the school day screenings. Many volunteers are grandparents who themselves wear glasses and/or hearing aids and who have personal stories of struggling in school as a result of their own vision and hearing issues. They therefore understand first hand the importance of correcting any vision and hearing problems early so that local students can enjoy maximum learning and have basic everyday life enjoyment.


Page 7 of 9