Hundreds protest privatized physio

Frustrated hospital users spur de-amalgamation talk

Hundreds of area residents gathered on both sides of Queen Street at the Kincardine hospital entrance Thursday to protest the South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC) board's decision to privatize the physiotherapy department here, effective Aug. 18.
After that time, overnight hospital patients will still have physio covered by OHIP if they need the service. Others not staying in the hospital (out-patients) will have to pay for services out of pocket or with private insurance. Only those out-patients younger than 20, older the 64, living in a long-term care home or receiving social assistance or home care will still have government coverage.

These changes to out-patient physio were made by the Ontario government in 2005 but are only taking effect here now as hospital physio switches to the private firm PT Health. Until this point, the hospital paid for out-patient physio not covered under OHIP.


Reunion a great success, says Haight

As far as the Kincardine Old Boys and Old Girls Reunion committee is concerned, it was mission accomplished.
The committee planned five days of fun to bring Kincardine the best party it has ever seen and reunion chair Laura Haight said that's exactly what happened.

"Everyone had a good time. We really did have something for everyone," she said. "With the weather, it made it a perfect weekend."

Blue skies and high temperatures throughout the five days made Station Beach a popular destination for everyone. Haight said there were large crowds at all the events at the beach and tickets for all of the entertainment were sold out well in advance.
Haight estimated upwards of 35,000 people descended on Kincardine for the weekend. Friday nightÆs cruise night was well attended and the Saturday night pipe band parade was probably the longest ever.


Blinky under 24-hour guard

The Kincardine Old Boys and Girls Reunion committee does not want a repeat of 10 years ago.
That's why three "men in black" were accompanying the Kincardine BIA mascot, Blinky, in Saturday evening's pipe band parade.
"We have Blinky under 24-hour guard," says reunion chairperson Laura Haight.

It was 10 years ago tonight that Blinky disappeared on the eve of the 1998 reunion.
The BIA mascot was reported missing by his keeper, Julia Sandel, early on the Thursday morning,
The disappearance was treated as a major news story by the Toronto Star, Sun-Times, CBC Radio and CKNX Radio and Television.

Sandel told a television reporter that she had awakened at 5 a.m. Thursday and saw a red glove in the driveway of her Durham Market North home. She knew Blinky was gone.

While many in town took the event lightly, the authorities did not and a massive search was undertaken.
Blinky was found just in time to take his place of honour in the Callithumpian Parade of the 1998 reunion.


You need help to fight cancer

McLaughlin in Relay for Life

When Linda McLaughlin circles the Davidson Centre track during the Relay for Life, sheÆll be surrounded by her friends and family - just as sheÆs been throughout her fight with breast cancer.
McLaughlin was diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2006. This May, she had a final surgery and has officially beaten the disease.

"I feel good," she says. "Once you've been in the land of cancer, it changes you. You have to face death, so you evaluate whatÆs truly important to you."

For McLaughlin, the most important thing in her life became friends and family. She relied on her husband, Doug, and her sons Travis and Trevor for support throughout her chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

"You don't do this alone," she says. "You need support. Don't be afraid to ask. People are there and they want to help."


Kincardine soldier set for his Super Bowl

This weekend is more than just a reunion for Tom Palmer; it's a goodbye party.
The 23-year-old private, who grew up in Kincardine, is heading to Afghanistan at the end of August to fight for the Canadian Forces. He is the son of Liz and Tim.

This is his last weekend here before driving back to his Petawawa base and then to Trenton, from where he will depart.
Palmer says Afghanistan has always sat in the back of his mind since the day he stepped into a Canadian Forces recruitment office in Kitchener three years ago to enlist.

Between ordering push-ups or teaching him how to shoot a 50-calibre machine gun, Palmer says his superiors are constantly talking about Afghanistan.

"It's almost like it's about time," he says. "It's like three years of training for the Super Bowl and you finally get to play.
So...I'm really excited to go."

His army coaches have gone over every part of the game plan with his third battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment.


Doctors, board to meet Thursday

Kincardine's doctors are meeting with the South Bruce Grey Health Centre board this week in a final attempt to save the hospitalÆs physiotherapy department.

The doctors have arranged a meeting with a committee of the SBGHC board Thursday night in Walkerton. Staff from each of the four SBGHC hospitals have also been encouraged to attend.

Walkerton was suggested as the meeting site because it is the most central of the four sites and cuts down travel time for all the doctors involved.

"Our hope is to get the board feeling the same way we do," said Dr. Lisa Roth. "We're meeting to sort this out."
The doctors are meeting to protest proposed changes to Kincardine's physiotherapy clinic. The changes would mean a loss of publicly‑funded outpatient services at the hospital.

"We're hopeful (the plan will be abandoned)," Roth said. "If this doesnÆt work, we're not going away."


Vandals scratch 26 cars

Vandals caused considerable damage to 26 cars in downtown Kincardine last week.
The cars were scratched with a key or screwdriver, says the South Bruce OPP, between July 21 and July 24.
Most of the damage occurred Monday night of last week.
If anyone saw anyone hanging around downtown Monday night of last week, phone the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 .


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Olympic star enjoys Kincardine

There was a touch of gold around the greens during the Crabby Joe's first annual golf tournament Thursday morning.
Two‑time Olympic gold medallist and Canadian national womenÆs hockey team mainstay Cherie Piper was at Ainsdale Golf Club to participate in the tournament and lend her support to the fundraiser for local minor sports.
"We all grew up playing minor sports. Without it, I wouldnÆt be where I am," Piper said before her golf round. "It's so important to have the chance to play. It keeps kids healthy and out of trouble."

Piper, a 27-year-old, is no stranger to the area. Her brother, Steve, and his wife live in Kincardine and she's a frequent visitor. Piper also plays for the Kincardine Crush womenÆs softball team and says trips to Lake Huron help her get away from life in Toronto.

"It's nice to visit. It's just a different atmosphere up here," she said. "When I come here, I can relax. It's refreshing."


2008 Reunion is ready to go

With the Old Boys and Girls reunion just a week away, organizers say Kincardine is ready for the festivities.
Reunion committee chairperson Laura Haight said Friday most of the organizational work is complete. The committee is still looking for a few volunteers to fill some blank spots, but, the major preparation work is complete.
"We're very close to being ready to go" Haight said. "There are a few little things to work out, but, we're really close."
Mark Yalden started planning with Kincardine's public works department almost two years ago. He's looked after infrastructure and logistics for the reunion - including sanitation, traffic, parking and tents.

The scale of his job has been huge. Plans call for six tents throughout the downtown, 50‑60 portable washrooms, numerous road barricades and traffic signs as well as 2,500 feet of fencing. Kincardine will also be the temporary home of OntarioÆs largest tent - a 200 ft by 100 ft behemoth that will sit near Station Beach.