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Cobourg Police asking for help identifying suspect involved in sexual assault investigation

The Cobourg Police Service is requesting the public's assistance identifying a suspect involved in an ongoing sexual assault investigation.

On Monday, June 10, 2019 at approximately 3:45 am, a woman was walking in the area of George Street and Buck Street in the Town of Cobourg when she was confronted by an unknown man who sexually assaulted her. The man fled the area when the victim screamed.

The suspect is described as a white man, 35-40 years old, tall, slim build with red hair and a goatee.  The man was only wearing black underwear, socks and sandals and spoke with an English accent.

Police are asking area residents to check their security cameras in the event the assault as the suspect may have been captured on it.

If anyone has any additional information please contact the Cobourg Police Service at 905-372-6821 or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477.

Phenom is the word for Carl Cotton

By Cecilia Nasmith


There's a word for 14-year-old Cobourg musician Carl Cotton – phenom.

The singer-guitarist has a full summer schedule of performances (that he kicked off by entertaining at his graduation from C.R. Gummow Public School last month), as well as a resume that many musicians twice his age might envy.

“Since he was 8 years old, he has been performing at various venues in Durham Region, Northumberland County, Toronto, Montreal, Banff and Colorado,” his mother Erika listed.

“He has also performed in festivals and other events like MusicFest Canada, Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival Banff, Busker Festival Cobourg and Toronto Mac & Cheese Festival.”

Carl is also a favourite as a solo act at the Cobourg Farmers Market, where his variety continues to amaze – charming the young passers-by with pop favourites and the older browsers with Rat Pack classics.

“He adds his own style to songs, current or throwback,” Erika said.

“He can play jazz, blues, folk, pop, country and standards. He also writes and composes his original songs.”

“I feel like I was always interested in music, even from a young age,” Carl said, recalling his childhood in Whitby.

Most children enjoy nursery rhymes, whereas Carl was keenly interested in the soundtracks of his favourite movies. His mom obligingly played these for him in the car, and he would especially look forward to the music from Cars.

“It kind of grew from that. I got more interested in different types of music,” he said.

He also discovered the guitar at the age of five or six, when he was visiting his grandfather and saw one. He picked it up and banged away at it until the Christmas shortly before he turned seven – when he got one of his own.

Lessons followed, when they hired a high-school senior to come by weekly.

From the very first, his mother recalled, he just got it. The tutor agreed – when he went away to university, he offered young Carl his place with his own instructor, Larry Chown of the Strings and Fingers Studio near Courtice.

This was a great experience, Carl recalled, an opportunity to learn techniques that launched his music into another level. It was also a chance to explore different genres, as he would hear something he liked and bring it to Chown to get help in learning it for himself.

He was also fortunate enough to work with an outstanding vocal coach since he was eight years old. Roberta Michelle Quilico of Oshawa's Birdloft School of Voice has been a major player in making Carl the musician he is today.

He discovered Durham Jazz when he was in Grade 5, a community-based multi-level program designed to encourage young musicians (Grades 7 to 12) to develop their skills and share their gifts in performance. Though Carl was two years too young, Durham Jazz made an exception and took him.

Though he moved to Cobourg in 2017, Carl remains with Durham Jazz. He also polishes his own performing skills with private gigs and public performances.

Upcoming shows include:

July 18 – Artist Showcase Toronto with Naya Liviah

July 20 – Cobourg Farmers Market

July 26 – Summer Social 4 Shelter at Cobourg's Victoria Beach courtyard (in support of Cornerstone Family Violence Prevention Centre)

Aug. 10 – Cobourg Farmers Market with Naya Liviah

Aug. 17 – Cobourg Farmers Market with Thomas Steele

Sept. 14 – Cobourg Farmers Market

Oct. 5 – Cobourg Farmers Market

Any money he earns from his gigs is set aside in his Music Development Fund. He is hoping the fund might grow enough that he can travel to Boston's Berklee College of Music for their annual Aspire five-week music performance intensive program offered each summer. The minimum age is 15, Carl said, and he hopes to attend their 2021 session.

For Carl, it is a delight to pick up a guitar and perform, just to entertain or also to support a good cause. Most of all, he knows he's lucky to have the simple joy music brings.

“Music is a gateway to happiness,” he has found, and his mother agrees. Sometimes, when he's not feeling well, she said, picking up the guitar can actually be therapeutic.

She recalls last winter, when Carl had two solo ack-to-back gigs and wasn't feeling particularly well. He powered through one and grabbed the chance before the other to rest peacefully in bed – playing his guitar all the while.

Cobourg Collegiate Institute and Durham Jazz are his plans for the fall. But in the longer term, Carl expects to continue to enjoy music and hopes he has an audience to enjoy it along with him.

For a look at some of his past events, check out Carl's Facebook (www.facebook.com/carlcottonmusic) and Instragram (@carlcottonmusic) pages.

Henderson

By Robert Washburn

Cobourg Mayor John Henderson said he has nothing to apologize for when he asked the council to consider bringing in an integrity commissioner to investigate a leak following a closed-door session at a regular meeting earlier this month.

Council will vote on a request made by Henderson at its next meeting on August 12. It comes after the mayor became aware of evidence of closed-door session was being discussed in public.

"There is certain language and information out there in the populous. And, I am asking the question, after hearing certain conversations, how do you have that conversation or information because that information only shared in closed session?" the mayor said.

Closed door meeting regulated under the Municipal Act and are used to discuss legal matters, the sale or purchase of property, along with personnel matters involving an identified individual. Council cannot make any decision in closed session, only discuss items. There is also a code of conduct that governs councillors behaviour that has a section dedicated to handling confidential information.

Henderson said he chose this path because he wanted to ensure the integrity of the council rather than deal with it in private conversations or issue a warning to councillors.

"There comes a point where after what I call very adequate training, orientation, to council previewing the code of conduct, bringing our in-house lawyers as part of our orientation session. There are the learning sessions for newly elected councillors. After doing that, I came to the determination to protect council itself.," he said.

He wants the public to see the process and be transparent, showing that all members, including himself, adhere to a code of conduct.

The investigation will be carried out by the newly appointed integrity commissioner, Aird & Berlis LLP.

While there may be a perception the mayor has implicated all councillors through his actions, he said this emphasizes the importance of an investigation by an outside, third party. The integrity commissioner may find nothing wrong was done, he said. That would be a good outcome, he added.

If the motion is defeated at the next council meeting on August 12, Henderson said he is ultimate goal will still be achieved.

"At least, I hope, collectively, I sent a message (about) the importance of closed session," he said.

Cobourg Police asking for the public's assistance

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Cobourg Police Service responded to a call for a break and enter at a downtown business on July 10, 2019. The suspect(s) entered the premise and a quantity of cash, jewelry and electronic items were taken.

Today the Cobourg Police Service has obtained permission from the business owners to identify the targeted business as Greenbacks Pawn Shop located at 41 King Street, East, Cobourg.

Suspect Description:

Male white, short hair, thin to medium build, wearing dark clothing, light coloured hoodie under a jacket, white runner style shoes, dark ball cap with a logo on the front.

Female white, heavy build, dark pants, dark shoes, unique hoodie with possibly digital camouflage design on it.

Please see the attached photos (below)from surveillance footage inside the store.

If anyone has any knowledge of this incident, please contact the Cobourg Police Service at 905-372-6821 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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Roadside Drug-Testing in Cobourg

You might want to think twice if you’re planning on using cannabis and then getting behind the wheel of a car. Driving high can have similar effects on judgement, reaction time and it’s illegal. And according to the Government of Canada, in 2014 there were 149 fatally injured from drivers who tested positive for cannabis.

After passing the law to make cannabis legal in Canada, the government provided police services with a federal grant to purchase approved oral fluid drug screening devices. The Cobourg Police Service took advantage of this and purchased three Draeger DrugTest 5000 which tests for the presence of cannabis and cocaine.

Drug recognition expert, Sergeant Marc Bellemare says, “These devices are in place to encourage drivers to not drive under the influence, and to catch those that are; ultimately keeping the roads safe. They will be in our cruisers as we do traffic stops, Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (R.I.D.E.) programs, and regular patrol throughout Cobourg.”

Through the Ontario Police College, Sgt. Bellemare is a qualified trainer of the Draeger DrugTest 5000 and will train Cobourg officers and other police officers across Ontario on the use of the device. Though the Draeger is user-friendly, Sgt. Bellemare received greater knowledge of the devices and some troubleshooting which he will be able to pass on to others who train with him.

“It’s a simple test to administer. If the officer suspects the driver is under the influence of a drug through a complaint or a traffic stop investigation, the officer can demand the driver to provide a sample of their oral fluid. Once the sample has been taken, it’s placed inside the Draeger equipment and is analyzed giving a negative or positive presence of cannabis or cocaine in the subjects’ oral fluid.”

Sgt. Bellemare busts a common myth, “Despite popular belief, people do not drive better under the influence of cannabis. Your attention isn’t focused on the road, your decision-making and reaction time are not where they should be for someone getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. If you drive high, you could harm yourself, or others. And bottom-line, you will be arrested and charged. It’s just not worth the risk.”

Young entrepreneurs shine at Staples expo

By Cecilia Nasmith



Customers entering the Staples Business Depot in Cobourg Wednesday would have gotten a bonus – the chance to meet Northumberland's newest entrepreneurs at the annual Summer Company showcase coordinated by the Business and Entrepreneurship Centre Northumberland.

from left are Summer Company Program entrepreneurs Raid Hajhasan, Rohan O'Neill, Ella Scozzari and Gryphon Nixon-Briard, Northumberland County Acting Warden Bob Sanderson, Summer Company entrepreneurs Shanakay Hall, Meaghan Herrington and Alexis Needs, and Northumberland-Peterborough South MP Kim Rudd

The trade-show style event was being duplicated in communities across Ontario, youth programs coordinator Kailyn Coupland said, thanks to a partnership between the program and the Staples company.

The seven student entrepreneurs participating in the Cobourg Staples are this year's successful applicants in the Summer Company Program that is offered locally through the Business and Entrepreneurship Centre Northumberland.

It's a competition open each year to students between the ages of 15 and 29, who are invited to submit a detailed business plan to the program. If selected, they may receive up to $3,000 in grants, products, services and mentorship.

The business plan is an exercise that involves research, analysis, motivation and elbow grease, and seven students made the grade this year.

Gryphon Nixon-Briard of Port Hope has established WeeBoba Bubble Tea in the Port Hope area, offering a pop-up tea-shop experience at Northumberland festivals and events with a unique product – a flavoured tea containing tapioca pearls. It's something Gryphon enjoyed in Oshawa and Peterborough, and noted a definite absence of locally.

“I hate driving to Peterborough,” the recent Port Hope High School graduate commented.

You can catch him as a regular at the Port Hope Farmers' Markets and Movies in the Park events, or call him at 905-376-7493.

Raid Hajhasan is a student at the Centre for Individual Studies, and finds summer a perfect time for the car detailing he loves.

He has also lucked into a great Cobourg location for his new business, Rapid Raid Car Detailing, at Carstead Motor Trends on Division Street. Raid offers superior interior- and exterior-detailing services in a quick and cost-efficient manner, with packages priced to fit any budget. For more information, drop in at Carstead or call Raid at 289-829-1996.

Meaghan Herrington started the Early Morning Relief Milking & Farm Services company outside of Brighton. As the name implies, the company offers various farming tasks to assist the busy farmer such as cow clipping (including full body, head, udders and tail), barn cleaning, relief milking and help with other chores.

Meaghan certainly has the qualifications, as she has years of experience on the family dairy farm and in 4H. She hopes to pursue dairy farming as a career, though this fall she will spend her time in Grade 12 at East Northumberland Secondary School. You can reach her at 613-849-9976.

Alexis Needs has established Cobourg-based Breathe Safely, a company that provides local small businesses an opportunity to implement health and safety into work environments. For those companies that may not have HR services, Breathe Safely provides descriptive safety manuals and specific directions regarding the implementation of health and safety plans in compliance with the Health and Safety Act.

A University of Guelph student in the psychology program, Alexis was influenced to start the business by family members who were in the safety field and discussed their concerns about injured workers extensively. Her idea was to take that concern, and go proactive with manuals using her own skills. You can reach her at 705-542-4947.

Shanakay Hall has set up the S Kay Creative studio based out of Cobourg, offering web design, graphic design and e-mail marketing services to growing Northumberland businesses and entrepreneurs.

“I wanted to take what I have been working on and doing for other people and run my own business,” Shanakay said.

“I am learning a lot and looking to secure new clients,” she added, noting that the Staples exhibition had been most helpful in this regard.

Shanakay is a web-development student at Humber College, and you can reach her at 647-274-3188.

Ella Scozzari has started her neptune2earth business in Campbellford, offering Tarot and astrology readings and reports to clients (including on-line and video-based services) that provide a spiritual method of gaining insight into such areas as past, present and future relationships and one's inner self.

It's an area she's been keenly interested in for four years.

“I spent a lot of time researching it, and I feel I know it like the back of my hand,” Ella said.

“I do readings for friends who need advice and guidance, and now I am making money doing what I love.”

Ella will return to Campbellford District High School in the fall for Grade 11, and she can be reached at ella@neptune2earth.com.

Rohan O'Neill started the Baywater Forge company in Campbellford, offering high-quality hand-forged tools. These include tomahawks, knives, garden trowels, fireplace shovels and hooks, as well as specialized custom-made implements crafted with the hunter, fisher, gardener and camper in mind.

He's always been interested in crafting his own knives and swords, so he contacted a local blacksmith to see if he could take some courses. Now he knows the ins and outs, and was even able to purchase his own forge thanks to the Summer Company Program support.

Rohan was proud to show off what he's done so far.

“It's a balance of getting something that looks cool but is also utilitarian,” he said, displaying a few of his pieces.

Rohan will join Ella in Grade 11 at CDHS this fall, and you can reach him at 905-632-6735.

Northumberland director of economic development and tourism Dan Borowec was proud to escort such visitors as Northumberland-Peterborough South MP Kim Rudd to the various entrepreneur displays.

“It's a great event for young entrepreneurs, because it gives them some profile, and it's a great partnership with Staples,” Borowec said.

“In many ways, it's a very safe environment to have one-on-one conversations when asked what they do.

“It's also important for young entrepreneurs to get some recognition from those who have done that, and Kim is a good example,” he said, referring to the several successful businesses of her own that the MP had begun before going to Ottawa.

And, just to show how important entrepreneurship is to the local economy, Borowec said that 111 entrepreneurs in Northumberland began businesses last year, creating 135 good jobs.

Coupland said that the program typically gets 40 applications each year, with plans for everything from lawn care, gluten-free baking and personal fitness to hand-made clothing and jewelry making.

Since 2001, the program has seen $426,000 spent to set up 142 summer businesses.

Northumberland Paramedics team up with Wounded Warriors for wellness and help

By Cecilia Nasmith


Addressing stress and trauma as a result of the unique demands of their job will be easier for Northumberland Paramedics, thanks to a new partnership with Wounded Warriors Canada.

The announcement was made this week at the Cobourg paramedic station, with representatives from Wounded Warriors Canada – a registered charity that supports Canada's ill and injured military personnel,veterans, first responders and their family members with mental-health and wellness programming – in attendance.

This programming includes a PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) service-dog program, couples-based equine therapy, COPE (Couples Overcoming PTSD Everyday) and BOS (Before Operational Stress).

Northumberland Paramedics Chief Bill Detlor said his team is recognized for their skills and expertise as trained professionals, but they share one special characteristic.

“It's not in the nature of first responders to stop and reflect on our personal response,” Detlor said.

“We are always pressing forward. But it's important to recognize this and encourage our team members to reach out.”

They realize the importance of having a variety of resources in place for this purpose, and that's true of the culture of Northumberland County as an employer.

Only a few uniquely talented individuals can perform such a calling, and few face such on-the-job challenges, noted Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini's executive assistant Ralph Kerr. That's why it's important to honour their service with this fantastic new partnership.

Northumberland-Peterborough South MP Kim Rudd said the partnership with Wounded Warriors comes at a time when the stigma surrounding mental-health issues is declining – largely because it has touched the families of virtually everyone, including herself. And she was heartened and encouraged by the response of the professionals in her own family's time of need.

It's important that paramedics have the same support.

“You no longer have to suffer silence or suffer alone,” Rudd said.

“We all need to be there to support them with collaborations like this. They will help families, our veterans, our first responders and our community in general.”

Northumberland's paramedics responded to more than 2,700 calls last year, Acting Warden Bob Sanderson said, and each one affects each first responder in a different way.

“We all know first responders face extremely different conditions than we do day-to-day. Most of us really don't have any idea,” Sanderson said.

“Northumberland County strives to ensure proper measures are in place to represent and support any staff member experiencing mental-health challenges as a result of operational stress.”

Sanderson outlined several programs already in place, such as the Peer Support Program that ensure paramedics can be connected to innovative programming tailored to first responders.

“Furthermore, this support extends to family members – and that's important, since we know mental-health issues have implications for all around us,” Sanderson said.

“This partnership is another opportunity to get this dialogue up and running properly. Through this collaboration, a broader range of resources will be available to our first responders to safeguard their mental health.”

Though the stigma associated with mental-health issues is declining, he added, it's not gone.

“We all have to work on that,” he said.

As you would keep your body healthy, Sanderson continued, you should work on your mental wellness and resiliency in anticipation of traumatic events. This partnership gets that job started.

These partnerships are vital, Wounded Warriors executive director Scott Maxwell agreed. 
“No one service or organization, government or department will ever be 100% of the solution for mental-health issues,” he stated.

Maxwell was delighted to share some of the history of his organization, which began with the tragedy of soldiers returning from Afghanistan with devastating issues. But out of that, good things happened.

As operations wound down in Afghanistan in 2013, Maxwell said, the organization was transformed by the discussions around PTSD, the so-called invisible injury, and the realization that soldiers were succumbing to suicide more often than from action in open theatre.

They got a big boost when Lieutenant-General and retired senator Romeo Dallaire – for the first time – allowed his name to be associated with an organization. This was on the condition they would always work not only on the occupational stress of serving members of the military and first responders but also on the needs of their families.

COPE is now an international leader in this area, serving 300 couples through the work of 60 certified therapists.

This is just part of more than 2,000 people who came through their organization last year for this program and others like animal-assisted therapy and, most recently, BOS. Launched last June, Before Operational Stress is a proactive program aimed at establishing strength and resiliency before a crisis might happen.

They have realized it is incumbent upon them to help those who give their lives in service at home and abroad, no matter what uniform they wear, Maxwell said. That's why, in 2017, they expanded beyond helping veterans in acknowledgment of the effects of trauma and impact injuries first responders and their families are subject to.

The offer has been accepted by some 100 services and associations across the country, including Northumberland County.

Now a paramedic in need of any of the services they offer – from the proactive BOS resiliency programming to the COPE – can approach the organization (anonymously, if they prefer) and get help at no cost to them in their time of need.

Deputy Chief Susan Brown said the new partnership is another way to strengthen and support the system for their first responders.

“It provides paramedics and families with the information and education in response to the unique demands of our profession and recovery from the trauma we see,” Brown stated.


Logel returns from leave

By Cecilia Nasmith

The Township of Alnwick-Haldimand announces that Mayor John Logel will return from a leave of absence as of Monday, July 15.

The township announced the leave of absence June 4, citing Logel's need to focus on a personal matter. Deputy-Mayor Gail Latchford has filled in for his duties in the meantime, including emceeing the township's Canada Day celebrations and presiding over township council meetings.

At the time of the June announcement, Port Hope Mayor Bob Sanderson was named as Logel's replacement as county warden, an office he'd been elected to early in the year.

Alnwick-Haldimand chief administrative officer Robin van de Moosdyk said that Logel's return as mayor does not affect whether Sanderson steps down, as the county has its own procedures to formalize the wardenship.