Home Letters Spring break.The Cedars.The Mistake…

Spring break.The Cedars.The Mistake…

Spring Break #1  by  Ed Donnelly

When spring break came, it was after those Easter Exams had been given. They would be the 2nd set of exams and the very important ones, because if you did well on these, you could be exempt from writing the finals in June. With the hope of early spring leading into a (hopefully) warm spell, your thoughts would turn to making some money somehow.  On our farm in Grenfel, we had a mixed woodlot of hardwoods on the higher part of the bush, and cedar growing on the lower part.

The Cedars

These cedar trees were of exceptionally good quality for fence posts and would sell quickly. My father had agreed to pay me and my friend Doug Harris ( of Paul Sadlon fame) who lived up the road, to cut and pile them and leave them in the bush. I do not remember how much was offered, but we gladly accepted the chance to make some money. The snow was very deep this spring and had a crust on top to almost support walking, but it did allow the toboggan to be pulled along. So we set off with the chain saw, axe, lunches, matches, gas and oil, tools for the bush. It was a long downhill walk. The toboggan pulled easily and a nice cold March day, was our starting. When we got set up and had cut our 1st tree, we then remembered that we had forgotten to bring a measuring tape. These posts were to be 8’ long and have a minimum 4” top. So to avoid walking back to get a tape, I remembered that a dollar bill was so close to 6” long that we could find 8’ exactly on our measuring stick. So that is what we done. These cedars trees would give 4 posts always, and some 5 with 4” top. All in all in was nice to work in the bush making money and with the wind blowing, it would be very comfortable amongst the cedar. The wind was calm in the bush and once you tramped the snow down it became easier. We cut down a lot of trees and piled the posts.

The Mistake

I had worked beside my dad in this same bush and remember getting 4 posts per tree and sometimes 5. But we got 3 posts per tree always and sometimes 4, with Doug and myself. But I never stopped to think as why this was. It could have been the trees were shorter here, where we were cutting, and being in a hurry to cut as many as possible in those 4 days, took my thoughts I guess.

It was later that we found out why this was. When we measured with my dollar bill principal and moving it along the number of times needed to 8’, we must have been moving and gaining because our measuring stick was almost 8’2”. Here was our mistake, and a costly one, because with measuring along to get a 4” top, the rest would be discarded and left behind. I think we would have cut 100 trees that week, and that would have been another 100 posts or close.

We thank everyone who have complimented us on the Bluebird counting game and the newspaper

Also, our thanks to John Quick who made and donated the 21 bird nests. His business card is below. If you want to buy a nest or if you want his expertise, his number is there.

  • We sent in our numbers last paper and then the grandsons counted and found more that we did.
  • Great local newspaper.
  • This was lots of fun. Thank you!
  • Wish me luck 🙂
  • Good response to the funding issue.  Keep talking about it.
  • Love receiving the Springwater News!
  • Just wanted to say how much I enjoy receiving the Springwater News!  I absolutely adore all the small quotations throughout, the fun facts and of course the local news!  Please let us know what we can do to ensure your continued publication!!  I would be happy to subscribe if that would help!
  • This is a positively brilliant idea, fun and reminds me when I was a kid.
  • Great fun and what a worthwhile idea, thank you.
  • Fun way to read the paper… with my husband!!
  • It was fun counting the boxes I even asked my husband to count them and we got different results so I had to do it again!
  • We back onto a significant sized wood lot and have not witnessed the Blue Bird yet. Plenty of Blue Jays. Putting up feeders last fall introduced us to many bird species, some unexpected (eg. Oriole, Pilated woodpeckers, etc…). For the first time recently, a mating pair of Cardinals have chosen to visit our feeders.
  • Hi I’m Piper. I’m six. I had fun finding the bluebird boxes with my grandpa.
  • On the same day I put out 3 nesting boxes and am getting my Martin house ready to put up.
  • Love reading your paper.
  • Thanks and keep up the good work!
  • Thanks for a great newspaper!
  • I enjoy reading this paper you added some extra fun thank you.
  • Love your little contest! Love your paper always.
  • Thank you so much for this fun activity. It is a great finale for my grandchildren. All winter long they have been tending to our feeders and observing the birds and squirrels.  They both have taken a true interest in the species of birds that frequent our feeders. They (ages 9 and 5) have both agreed on a number of 41 boxes in this paper.
  • Thank you and I live on a wooded lot. 
  • Thank you for both these “counting” contests…they were fun…and made you thoroughly look into your newspaper!
  • We actually have Eastern Bluebirds come to nest on our property every year. Beautiful birds and the babies are adorable.
  • My name is Angela Taylor but I am submitting the count of 42 for my nine year old daughter Grier Taylor who did the count.  She is hoping to get a Box for a Father’s Dad gift for her dad.
  • That was fun! Thanks for making my Sunday so enjoyable. Your paper makes me smile as the articles are like a glimpse of bygone days with all the interesting local news and opinions. It’s obvious you care about this community. 
  • Assuming there is no disclaimer that Family of the Editor of the Springwater News cannot enter the Bluebird Photo Contest….Please accept the following count as my entry. Look forward to collecting my prize. 
  • I read your paper religiously.  Keep up the good work
  • My grandsons and I  have our answer;  51
  • In the March 4 edition of the Springwater News,
  • Which, I must say, “I perused & perused”
  • The bluebirds I see is “53”,
  • Would love to perch a bluebird house,
  • In my backyard tree.
  • You really made us look through the paper, had to go through a few times to make tallies match.
  • Thanks, Michael … I think your contest will be educational, entertaining, and make a lot of people happy while they wait for Spring  We all win!
  • My wife followed your directions “find all the pictures” and counted 50 – not the number of individual birds.  The three birdlings/chicks/hatchlings in my business card ad are Black-capped Chickadees. John Quick

Thank you to Mr Quick! The Bluebird was my mother’s favourite bird.


No doubt we are all doing our best to research and make choices that are in alignment for ourselves in regards to our own best health. Part of this research may be in deciding whether or not to get the Covid vaccine/injection.  As part of my own research which includes both science and spiritual, I came across a quote from Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), who was an Austrian born innovative academic, philosopher and social reformer who postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world, accessible to human experience. He also formed a movement called Anthroposophy, which is a scientific approach to the study of human nature and the human being’s connection to the universe. He writes:

     “In the future, we will eliminate the soul with medicine. Under the pretext of a ‘healthy point of view,’ there will be a vaccine by which the human body will be treated as soon as possible directly at birth, so that the human being cannot develop the thought of the existence of soul and Spirit.  Materialistic doctors will be entrusted the task of removing the soul of humanity.  As today, people are vaccinated against this disease or that disease, so in the future children will be vaccinated with a substance that can be produced precisely in such a way that people, thanks to this vaccination, will be immune to being subjected to the “madness” of spiritual life. He would be extremely smart, but he would not develop a conscience, and that is the true goal of some materialistic circles… 

the vaccine becomes a kind of arymanique force; man can no longer get rid of a given materialistic feeling. He becomes materialistic of constitution and can no longer rise to the spiritual.”

Part of my scientific research brought me to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, an organization that for fifty years has been an innovative thought leader tackling the challenges, and minimizing the impact of infectious diseases on US public health.  Here I read (and copied) 10 Reasons To Get Vaccinated as follows:

  • Vaccine-preventable diseases have not gone away
  • Vaccines will help keep you healthy
  • Vaccines are as important to your overall health as diet and exercise
  • Vaccination can mean the difference between life and death
  • Vaccines are safe
  • Vaccines will not cause the diseases they are designed to prevent
  • Young and healthy people can get very sick, too
  • Vaccine-preventable disease are expensive
  • When you get sick, your children, grandchildren and parents may be at risk too
  • Your family and co-workers need you

Isn’t it interesting how differences in opinion make us uniquely human?  Aren’t we a most amazing planetary species…walking conundrums filled with our own ideas and logic on just about every topic!  I can’t begin to imagine what would become of us if we all adopted only one way of thinking.  At this most precarious time in the world, I sincerely hope we can wake up to what’s really happening around us and to make the very best decisions not only for ourselves, but for collective humanity as well.  Do we vaccinate or not?  Regardless of what we individually choose may we each do the humane thing and not shame or blame the other.  Good luck with that!

Beverley Dujay-Macdonald

Deputy Mayor Facebook Rant

I had read with interest Bill French’s comments in the March 18 edition of the Springwater News. Firstly, I would like to compliment Mr. Jacobs for his efforts to provide informative local news articles that are of interest to the residents of Springwater Township. No other County news media have shown the level of interest in our Township that Michael Jacobs has done. I commend you sir. While I do not always agree with 100% of your editorial comments, they always challenge me to think, and to refine my lines of argument, by considering the positions put forward by other readers. I am always enlightened by what others are thinking and feeling and, hopefully, gaining an understanding of why they may feel the way they do.

Now, to the matter of the comments presented on the personal Facebook Page belonging to the Deputy Mayor, Jennifer Coughlin. Please note, I do not follow Coughlin on Facebook or through social media. My commentary is based, in part, on Bill French’s analysis of Coughlin’s comments. In reviewing her Facebook Page myself, I think I may be gaining some insight into the emotions that are being openly displayed by all parties.  Firstly, I think the current situation could be broken down into two small “bites” which may assist in understanding the history of the adversaries. It might be helpful if we were to focus on “Impact”, and then separately on “Motivation”.


If the Township were to divert 50% of its existing media allocation to an outside provider such as the Barrie Advance, clearly that would have a negative impact on the Springwater News, which is a local business, possibly threatening its viability and survival.

Advantage to our local populace? Questionable. I know from personal experience that outside media are not generally interested in running editorials or letters to the editor that pertain to Springwater. On a number of occasions when I have tried to interest outside media as to events taking place in Springwater, they have openly stated that local issues are not of interest to their readers. I suppose they would be quite willing to print anything that the Township pays them to print, but where would local residents go to have their voices heard? Nowhere, except via a local media outlet, such as the Springwater News.


As the current dispute is the result of Township Councillors’ decisions which have triggered high emotions, the question arises as to motivation. While Coughlin presents the media decision as an attractive alternative to the status quo, some concern has arisen as to other possible motives. Are some Councillors being punitive toward Springwater News because it has printed critiques of Township Council? If not punitive, then is there a possible motive in knowing that an external outlet is not interested in publishing anything other than what it is paid to publish? If that outlet attracts 50% of the existing market, and that same outlet only prints what the Township pays it to print, there would be a benefit to Township Council in reducing the availability of negative press. I think this is where much of the dispute begins. There would certainly be a negative impact on a local business and on the ability of local residents to have their voices heard. Meanwhile, there might be a perceived benefit to Township Council in taking control of (or reducing/eliminating) any critical voices of opposition.

Small wonder, then, that suspicions as to motivation arise, leading to intense and sometimes emotional responses.

At this point, I confess that I have my own concerns as to the actions and motivations of some Councillors, specifically Coughlin and Allen. While Coughlin now states that it may be appropriate to consult the public in this matter, I find her suggestion to be disingenuous. Prior to her election as Deputy Mayor, she was the designated Councillor for the Ward wherein the County intends  to construct a massive garbage depot in the middle of a forest which is situated on top of the Oro Moraine, and at one time had been intended for inclusion in the Greenbelt.

Despite visible and documented opposition to that site selection, and despite the appearance of then Mayor Bill French and Deputy Mayor Don Allen at a number of functions organized by a local citizen’s group, Coughlin was nowhere to be seen. She exhibited no visible presence or support for the residents of the specific Ward she had been elected to represent.

In fact, during the run-up to the Municipal election, at her own “Meet and Greet” in Anten Mills, she answered a question as to the negative impact on adjacent residents (i.e. her own constituents) by quoting verbatim the County Warden (at that time, G. Marshall). Wasn’t it her duty to represent her Ward up to Township Council, and thereby up to County Council? Yet, instead she chose to represent the County Warden downward to her own electorate. At that time, she was not even a member of County Council. Now, she claims “I personally and professionally support our local businesses”. Yet, as indicated above, she has failed to represent her own residents in a matter which still has not been resolved.

In a chance discussion with another County Councillor, I learned that the majority of the County Councillors believe that our Township representatives on County Council (i.e. Coughlin and Allen) are supportive of using the Freele Forest as the site for the garbage depot. How do you suppose they got that idea? Perhaps it had something to do with Allen putting forward a motion at a County Meeting of the Whole on February 12, 2019, recommending that County Staff attend LPAT hearings to support the County’s continued attack on that forest. By the way, a motion that was supported by Coughlin’s vote. I remind Coughlin and Allen that 76% of the public participants in the initial series of 14 public meetings were opposed to any such usage of our forests, given that existing industrial sites were already available; this was stated by the County’s own consultant in one of its early reports to the County. I remind Coughlin and Allen that Messrs. French and Allen (yes, that very same Allen) had previously offered the County an alternate site within Springwater, already zoned commercial. They were rebuffed by Marshall. I remind Coughlin and Allen that a petition of 1,200 residents was submitted to the County opposing any such use of our forests, and many of those petitioners were from Coughlin’s own Ward.

I was one of the approximately 2,000 residents who took part in the final march to protest against the conversion of a farm property at Site 41 to a landfill site; a farm which was situated on top of an active aquifer. I don’t recall seeing Ms. Coughlin or Mr. Allen amongst the other marchers. If they were there, my apologies, I am certainly willing to admit when I’m proven wrong.

Going forward, prior to the next Municipal election, all Councillors will be judged by their deeds more so than their words. There is still an opportunity for them to do the right thing for the residents of Springwater Township, whether it be local and valued businesses such as Springwater News, or the broader group of residents who merit representation upward to County Council.

R.W. Wagner (Mr.),   Homeowner   Springwater Township

Print Communication


I do not live in Springwater but in Tiny where I look forward to receiving my copy of Springwater News in my mailbox every two weeks.  When I read “My View” by Bill French in the March 4, 2021 edition I was discouraged to see that your Council would even consider supporting Barrie Advance over your newspaper.

Step by step, when larger organizations take over “local news” I have seen local news disappear.  It is easier to learn what is happening on the other side of the world than right around the corner.  Even though I do not live in Springwater, there is enough local content in your paper to alert me to matters of interest in Tiny.  For a number of years, the Midland Mirror was distributed freely in my township——too freely!  The plastic bag full of flyers fell in every driveway year ‘round, regardless of occupancy.  The paper cooperated when I asked for no delivery because I did not want the flyers. The news I was missing was mostly Midland news, sprinkled with a little Penetanguishene and maybe Tiny. And now I do subscribe on line, but it is a Torstar account, so it is a chore to filter out the news that affects me  from Barrie, Collingwood, Alliston etc. Besides that, I much prefer holding paper in my hands, to flip back and forth without waiting on internet time frame, and cut out articles for future interest. I can’t say that I have ever seen a copy of Barrie Advance, but I suspect that as a paper located in such a large municipality and a shopping destination for many surrounding areas, it is probably not in need of advertising revenue from small communities.  If I lived in Springwater, my vote in the next municipal election would certainly be influenced by the Council meeting referred to by Bill French.

Anyway,  I just want to say how much I appreciate your publication. I enjoy the content.  I appreciate the delivery mode and lack of useless flyers.  Keep up the good work!

Hope Richards

Tiny Resident

P.S.  I also like that I can complete most of the crossword puzzles you include.  I don’t know your source, but unlike many crossword books, a Canadian is able to be familiar with the words.


I just reread the maple sap to syrup on the front page. I hope that nobody boils their sap to a temperature of 218 degrees C. That would be impossible and dangerous as the sludge would probably ignite before you reached 218 degrees celcius, The temperature for the syrup to be syrup is 218 degrees Fahrenheit. That is a big difference in temperatures.

Wayne Hutchinson,


Mea Culpa – Mae Culpa

Cultural Dynamics

While enjoying reading all of the positive comments about both you and your newspaper, I came upon this captioned article in the March 18th edition of Springwater News. While everyone is entitled to their opinions, at least at the moment, I would suggest that you should have edited this blatantly racist article. I could write a detailed rebuttal of the ‘facts’ outlined in Joffre McCleary’s letter but his last paragraph exposes him for what he truly is – a racist. Forget the fact that his ancestors were immigrants when they’re took possession of the land from the Indigenous population and ran it in their image, he wants to prevent future immigrants from exercising those same rights which he holds dear.

Frankly, as a Canadian of Jewish extraction, my family and I have had plenty of experience dealing with White Christians with a European background and, believe me, it wasn’t all good. Every Canadian deserves the same rights as all Canadians. While we did not all arrive on the same boat, most left where they were in search of a safer life and a better economic future.

Needless to say, anyone who doesn’t like it here can go elsewhere, if they can find a better elsewhere.

Joel Rubinovich   Tiny ON

Is Democracy the real victim of the virus or is it a victim of government?

Dear Editor:

Is Democracy the real victim of the virus or is it a victim of government?  That is for you and your elected officials to decide…

As of late Canadians have seen a push from government to do everything on-line.  This, unfortunately, includes “public meetings,” which are supposed to be the avenue to allow the voice of the people to be heard by our municipal elected representatives. 

In 2015 IPSOS did a poll and found that 1 out of every 10 people do not have home access to the internet.  According to this poll it states: “Those who do not subscribe to the Internet cite motivation (36%), such as not seeing the value or not liking to be on the Internet, …, while 21% cite the lack of opportunity, such as lack of access or inability to afford it, and 18% say it’s about capability, such as lacking the skills or knowledge on how to use or fully use the Internet.”[1][1](1)

Albeit this poll was done in 2015, it’s merely 6 years ago and can be challenged.  The fact remains that there are a number of Canadians who do not have internet.  So where does that leave democracy? Democracy is based on the electorate having a voice in their municipality, their province and their country.  This is to ensure that there is a balance between what the state wants and what is lawful, justified, equitable, and what is needed for the success of any area. 

That said, more and more governments are passing by-laws, legislation, etc., which do not pertain to the pandemic.  It seems they are removing their constituents’ rights with “on-line” being the only way to send/receive information. 

In this stream I received an email from an Executive Assistant to the CAO of a municipality.  “…The format is virtual, however there are options for those that do not have access to the internet or computer to call in via telephone and listen. The meeting will also be recorded and information posted online after the meeting with all the items that were discussed and responses to questions.”

If people don’t have access to computers/internet how are they to know there is a meeting?  Same follows with “information posted online.”  Now that we are in a pandemic there isn’t any need for Council/staff to be contemplating passing by-laws, which do not pertain to the pandemic, when so many aren’t informed about meetings and/or said by-laws, don’t have access to these meetings, and will not have a voice.  Are their views not as important as those who do have access?

Is Democracy the real victim of the virus or is it a victim of government?  That is for you and your elected officials to decide…

Elizabeth F. Marshall, President All Rights Research Ltd.,

Non-Partisan Advocate

Director of Research Ontario Landowners Association

Author – “Property Rights 101: 

LOVE prevails once again….Downey Tree Service to the rescue!!!

Monday morning my neighbor Ben Morgan came to tell me about two cats that where stuck up in a tree and had been there for two days. My friends Rosa Milando, Anthony Barr, Doris Neumann and I went to see how we could help.

We checked the situation and as a collective we had figured that the cats climbed up the tree to get away from their predator.  We know cats climb up and down trees all the time but knowing these cats had been up the tree for three days already, with no food or water, we felt strongly that they needed our help to come down.

We thought that maybe a tractor with a bucket and ladder might work. With thanks to Leo and Alita Moreau for their tractor and their very hard efforts, unfortunately the cats continued to climb higher out of their reach.

Tuesday Day Four: I drive a school bus. I informed the children on Bus Route 319 of what was happening. I asked them to keep the cats in their prayers and to use their powerful mind to communicate with the cats, to tell them it is safe to come down. We all have powerful minds but most children’s minds are pure and powerful. Twice a day the children and I would talk to them as we passed by the tree. When I was by myself, as I pass this tree four times a day on my bus route, I would stop and check in on them.

I called Springwater township and when they said they would connect me to Karen Jamieson I was so relieved, as I knew she would try and do what she could to help me and the cats.

Karen came with Jeff French to evaluate the situation. After a thorough evaluation they came to the conclusion the truck ladders would fall about 8 feet short. They were very sad for the cats and felt bad that they would not be able to help them. They suggested calling Minnings Electric.

Gary from Minnings Electric was very willing to help us out, but due to the half load restrictions on the fourth of Flos, this would not allow them to bring their big truck onto my road. I was sad and disappointed, but I knew I had to keep trying to find a way.

I heard on Tuesday evening that a rescue had taken place with the cats. While Thomas Kenney operated his boom, Alita Moreau went up to retrieve both cats but only was able to rescue one. The other one went higher in the tree. So grateful for the rescue of one of them as this was now day four of being in the tree without any food or water.

Wednesday Day Five: I called many places looking for someone to help us out. I felt I was failing the cats, but I wouldn’t give up as FAIL means First Attempt at Learning

– Hydro One – Jimmy was very concerned about the welfare of the cats but due to liability reasons hydro couldn’t help us.

– Midland SPCA

– Animal Control Ontario

– Tree Aborists

–  Rental places

– Wasaga Fire Dept – not allowed to  come out of their district with a truck unless it was for a fire.

I was feeling very defeated by this time. I knew I could not give up on the one cat that was left in the tree. This could not be the end as END means Effort Never Dies!

Thursday Day Six. 

In all my efforts to find someone to help, I kept getting ‘NO’ as an answer. I had to remember No means Next Opportunity.

I reached out to Elmvale Rental. Michael and Karen had agreed to lend me a 40 foot ladder. When I saw the cat that morning he had come down to the bigger part of the trunk as he had climbed up to a very thin branch.  With the rain storm coming in that would not be very safe for him so I was very happy to see this.

I told Karen I would pick the ladder up around 4:30.

As I was sitting waiting for the children to board the bus, I had a thought about contacting Janice Minnings as she rescues the feral cats in Elmvale. Janice informed me that she has never been in this situation but a friend of hers suggested Downey Tree Service.

Once again, filled with so much hope, I called them.  When I told Ryan what was happening he said of course he would try to help us.

Ryan met me at my house and the rescue started.  Ryan and his wife Victoria are cat lovers and were willing to take many risks that day to help out the one cat.  It was pretty scary at times as Ryan prevented the cat from falling from the tree, as he hung on tightly to the cat, even though the cat’s claws went through his thick leather gloves. What an amazing rescue.

We are all so grateful for Downey Tree Service for helping us to believe that there are people out there who are willing to take risks to save another Being.

Thank you to everyone that tried their best to help out with the rescue of these two beautiful young cats.

Today is Monday and the cats are on the mend.  Thanks to Alita Moreau for taking the cats in.

Being part of the cat rescue team has taught me many valuable lessons.

To never give up, never lose hope, to always keep trying, to always stay focused and to take leadership when necessary!

I am so blessed to be part of this loving community that I am surrounded with.

Bunny Murphy

Phelpston, Ontario

[1]           [1] One in Ten (9%) Canadians Do Not Have Internet Access at Home

Relevance (49%) Trumps Cost (30%), As Main Reason for Canadians Not Subscribing to Internet at