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Cobourg council has special meeting Aug. 26

By Cecilia Nasmith



The Town of Cobourg has announced a special council meeting Monday, Aug. 26, at 1 p.m.

The purpose of the meeting is to hold an Integrity Commissioner education-and-training session, the press release stated, with the agenda to be published on the town's Civic Web site Thursday (https://cobourg.civicweb/net/portal).

The meeting takes place in council chambers, on the third floor east at Victoria Hall (55 King St. W.), and will also be broadcast live on the town's YouTube channel (youtube.com/user/TownCobourg).

For more information, contact municipal clerk Brent Larmer at 905-372-4301 or blarmer@cobourg.ca.


County postpones compostable collections

By Cecilia Nasmith


Though green, gray and blue bins are still being distributed to residential locations throughout Northumberland County (on a west-to-east basis), the county has announced a delay in the start of green-box pick-ups.

The green boxes are designed for food waste, the gray for paper waste and the blue for recyclables, all in a bid to divert waste from scarce landfill space. While blue and gray bins can be used (according to the material that accompanies them) as soon as they arrive, the county foresees a Dec. 2 start for green-box pick-ups as opposed to the planned date in early September.

This is due to unforeseen circumstances, the county press release said, with the collection contractor not able to offer this service as soon as originally planned. Until it begins, the three-bag maximum for trash collection remains in place.

Meanwhile, proper use of the gray and blue boxes can help divert material from the landfill. The county foresees even more benefit next fall, when the contractor will move to vehicles that further sort recyclable materials.

Warden John Logel stated in the press release that this is an unfortunate delay and thanked residents for their patience as the county works with its contractor partners to have all three programs fully implemented by year's end.

Green-bin delivery is expected to be completed by the end of the month, with blue and gray bins expected to be completely distributed by the end of October.

These programs are a vital cornerstone of the county's Long-term Waste Management Master Plan, which has a goal of diverting more than 75% of the waste generated by residents from the landfill. It is estimated that the new green-bin program will result in the diversion of more than 2,000 tonnes of food waste, with the gray and blue bins making up the Recycle Right initiative that should achieve an additional 1,000 tonnes of diversion.

For more information, visit www.Northumberland/ca/RecyclingAndWaste or call 1-866-293-8379

Cobourg Council defeats motion for investigation

The motion to investigate Cobourg council members after information from a closed session was leaked “unnecessarily damages the reputation of the town and divides council” according to Coun. Emily Chorley

On Monday night, Cobourg council brought forward a motion that called for the town’s Integrity Commissioner to launch an investigation to determine the source or sources and that the findings and recommendations for penalties be shared with council and the public. 

At the meeting Coun. Chorley shared why she would not be supporting the call for an investigation.

Coun. Adam Bureau expressed similar thoughts.

The final vote was 4-3. Mayor John Henderson, Coun. Aaron Burchart and Coun. Brian Darling were in support while Deputy Mayor Suzanne Seguin, Coun. Chorley, Coun. Bureau and Coun. Nicole Beatty were against.

The motion was defeated.

Cobourg Residents Face Drug Charges After Search Warrant

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As part of their continuing joint drug enforcement operations, officers of the Cobourg Police Service and Port Hope Police Service executed a Controlled Drugs and Substances Act search warrant overnight at a George Street residence in Cobourg.

As a result of this investigation and search, police seized over 8 kilograms of marijuana with an estimated value of $83,669. As well, over 30 ounces of fentanyl were seized, with an estimated value of $15,400.  Finally, $3,165 in cash was seized. Total value of the seizure is estimated at $102,234.

David Beesley, 48 years of age, of Cobourg is charged with:

  1. Possess Cannabis for the Purpose of selling contrary to section 10(2) of the Cannabis Act

  2. Possess schedule I for the Purpose of trafficking contrary to section 5(2) of the controlled drugs and substances act

  3. Possess proceeds of property obtained by crime under $5000 contrary to section 354(1)(a) of the Criminal Code

Fail to comply with probation contrary to section 733.1(1) of the Criminal Code Meghan Angus, 37 years of age, of Cobourg is charged with:

  1. Possess Cannabis for the Purpose of selling contrary to section 10(2) of the Cannabis Act

  2. Possess schedule I for the Purpose of trafficking contrary to section 5(2) of the controlled drugs and substances act

  3. Possess proceeds of property obtained by crime under $5000 contrary to section 354(1)(a) of the Criminal Code

  4. Possession of a weapon for a Dangerous Purpose contrary to section 88(1) of the Criminal Code

  5. Possess proceeds of property obtained by crime under $5000 contrary to section 354(1)(a) of the Criminal Code

  6. Fail to comply with probation contrary to section 733.1(1) of the Criminal Code

The Cobourg Police Service encourages everyone to report any suspicious or criminal activity. If you have information that may help with an investigation, call Cobourg Police Service: 905-372-6281 or anonymously on the Crime Stoppers "Hot Line", available to callers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If your information leads to a charge or an arrest, you may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-8477

Naloxone is now available free

By Cecilia Nasmith


Northumberland Hills Hospital has announced its emergency department is now a 24/7 access point for a free Naloxone kit in a bid to reduce harm to the community from opioid overdoses by individuals who engage in their illicit use.

NHH vice-president of patient services and chief nursing executive Susan Walsh noted that this is the latest site in a number of other access points for Naloxone, including the Community Health Centre of Northumberland, the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit – as well as some pharmacies and the staff from hospital's own Mental Health and Addiction program. It is hoped that this new 24-hours-a-day-seven-days-a-week access point will help improve the availability of Naloxone throughout the community.

“Opioid overdoses, particularly accidental opioid overdoses, are unfortunately on the rise,” Walsh added.

“If we can help just one individual, then we're making a difference.”

The emergency department will make available nasal-spray Naloxone kits, along with information on how to administer the drug and education on local resources and supports that can help with addiction recovery.

Substance-use treatment has many parts, the hospital's press release stated, of which medication is only one. Mental-health support will also be promoted through NHH resources and other partners in the community.

Education and training are being provided, both from the emergency-department staff and in the kit itself, to ensure patients have as much information as possible to make an informed decision regarding Naloxone and to be sure the appropriate process to administer is followed.

Each NHH kit contains two doses of Naloxone. Eligibility criteria have been established to enable staff to distribute more than one kit to high-risk individuals (such as those who have recently had multiple overdoses, who use high-potency opioids such as Fentanyl or heroin, or who face barriers in accessing refills in a timely manner).

Emergency department chief Dr. Peter Barnett acknowledged that users of illicit drugs are often reluctant to seek help from a health-care provider.

“Ready access to Naloxone is something that can, frankly, keep someone alive until they're connected to services and supports that can help to turn their situation around,” Dr. Barnett said.

“We need to do all we can to get Naloxone into the hands of those who need it most – individuals who choose to use illicit opioids and the family and friends who care about them.

“In cases of an overdose, timing is everything. So the easier the access, the better.”

The press release contained further information on the situation, such as when Naloxone should be administered, listing the signs of an opioid overdose – these include blue lips or nails, extreme drowsiness, choking or gurgling sounds, slow or weak breathing (or no breathing) and an inability to wake up no matter how hard that person is shaken or shouted out.

Should an individual show these signs, Naloxone should be administered immediately in needle form or in the kind of easy-to-use nasal spray NHH is making available. This temporarily reverses the effects of many opioids, helping the individual breathe normally and regain consciousness. There is still the need for emergency medical attention, but Naloxone can provide the precious moments to call 911, access that care and perhaps save a life.

The bulletin also discussed the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, which became law May 4, 2017. It provides legal protection for those who seek emergency help during an overdose, as well as for those at the scene when help arrives. This legislation is aimed at reducing the fear of police responders to overdose event by putting the focus on harm reduction. In all cases of suspected overdoses, staying at the scene is vital to saving the life of the person experiencing the overdose (and in relaying potentially critical information to emergency personnel).

For a full list of where to access Naloxone kits, visit www.ontario.ca/page/where-get-free-naloxone-kit.

Armed Robbery in Cobourg

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Officers of the Cobourg Police Service responded to a report of an armed robbery at E.B. Games, 73 Strathy Road at about 5P.M.

On arrival, Police found two staff members had been restrained, but were unharmed. They indicated that a male with a knife entered the store and restrained the employees before making off with undetermined items.

During the incident, a member of the public entered the store and was advised the store was closed. Police are looking for this witness to assist with the investigation.

The male suspect is described as:

African American descent, clean-shaven, approximately 23-27 years of age, about 5’10” in height and slender build. The male was wearing a ball cap and sunglasses. Information on a possible vehicle is unavailable at this time.

Anyone with information on this incident, or the identity and location of the suspect is asked to contact the Cobourg Police Service, Criminal Investigations Branch 905-372-6821

Arthur raises the alarm – with no hands

By Cecilia Nasmith


Baltimore resident Amy Arthur is observing an anniversary this month – one year since she got the inspiration for the Claxon.

Arthur is proud to have invented the world's first hands-free personal-safety alarm, and it was inspired by a television feature she watched while working out at the gym about the increased risks hotel employees are facing these days as they work alone.

Amy with the device threaded onto a running shoe

The result is a small plastic teardrop-shaped device not much bigger than a guitar pick. Inside are the sensors and workings that will allow the user to send out a piercing 110-decibel alert when he or she is in danger. And thanks to brackets on the back that a shoelace can be threaded through, it can be activated hands-free by a certain motion of the foot.

“You don't have to press a button, you don't have to pull anything, you don't have to find it in your purse or pocket,” Arthur said in a recent interview.

“It's the world's first hands-free personal-safety device, and it's kind of cool to have this happening in Northumberland.”

The inspiration came last August. By November, the device had a name – the Claxon – and Arthur was ready to enter the Pitch To The Chief innovation competition at Venture 13, where inventors were invited to make the case on behalf of their inventions to Cobourg Police Chief Kai Liu. The Claxon won.

Arthur has been no stranger to Venture 13 since then, with the production capacity of its microfactory and the Northumberland Maker Lab. Not only is this an invaluable resource for 3D printing, but also for the expertise of its members.

The former and present circuit boards, with Amy's fingernail providing scale - the new one is 30% smaller than the original

“You learn something new every time you go – they are so unbelievably smart,” she said.

Arthur has continued to work on refining and perfecting the Claxon. For one thing, the circuit boards she uses now are actually 30% smaller. And she is working on the algorithm associated with activating the alarm. It has to be a movement the user does not typically make (to avoid false alarms which drain the power), but also a movement that would probably not occur by accident or chance. She will be working with more and more sophisticated logarithms to get it right.

In short, the first prototype stage is done and the Claxon is a proven concept.

“We have engineered it so, when you set it in action, the alarm goes off. We have figured out the 3D printing and what it will look like,” she said with satisfaction.

Now comes the challenging process of the bigger pitch – attending other innovation competitions (in Ontario, perhaps even Canada-wide), exploring crowd-funding options, as well as making presentations to police stations, victims' services, family-violence prevention agencies and the like to see if she might work with them on some kind of pilot project.

It will be strenuous. But Arthur runs and works out and is in amazing shape, in spite of living with chronic pain for almost nine years now.

Arthur was a competitive gymnast as a teenager, so she was used to challenging her body to the max (and paying for it with the odd ache or pain). Then one day she woke up to pain that was far beyond the norm. She initially could control it to some extent with anti-inflammatories but, in the ensuing years, it has only progressed.

A gymnast expects to have occasional pain and tends to power through it. But when it all began, she recalls a longing for a role model just for her particular situation – an athlete with the same aspirations she had who went on to achieve those lofty goals in spite of chronic illness.

With no such ideal to be found, Arthur resolved to be her own role model, graduating from McMaster University with a bachelor-of-science degree and inventing devices that improve people's lives.

How brackets on the back of the Claxon allow users to thread a shoelace through it for secure attachment

“Whether you are sick or you are healthy, you have to live life – it's the only journey you have,” she stated.

“I have persevered through a lot.”

Inventing the Claxon was certainly a goal achieved, but it wasn't her first invention. That would be the blue-light glasses to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (colloquially known as the winter blues).

This evolved from a project for a neuroscience class at McMaster, and her first idea was concussion glasses. People with concussions are told to stay in a dark room, but the isolation that results can be devastating. She envisioned dark glasses with all areas around the eyes shut out to keep light from entering.

As she mapped out that one, she changed her focus to helping people with SAD. Blue-light boxes have been promising therapies, but they require users to spend 30 minutes each morning sitting next to them.

“Who has the time!” she said.

With devices that attach to the bottom of glasses frames (skate-guard-style) to emit the blue light, she figured, you could get your daily therapy on the train during your morning commute.

The process was expensive, but a wonderful learning experience in so many ways – meeting with professors, visiting the engineering school for assistance, talking with business people and lawyers.

“I had a great time,” she declared, adding that it would all pay off again two and a half years later.

Watching that feature on the hotel workers appealed to Arthur's entrepreneurial spirit. She knew the ideal alarm could not be hand-held, because their hands were occupied with work. She thought of creating a special shoe that would sound if the wearer tapped the heel to the ground, but what if the worker were not wearing that particular shoe when danger threatened.

She went back to the drawing board envisioning a device that would clip on to a shoe, then decided threading shoelaces through a bracket would be more secure.

Then she realized it's not just hotel workers – and not just women, for that matter – who face personal danger.

Making a difference in people's lives is nothing new for Arthur. She entered McMaster with the plan of becoming a doctor and, through all the courses and all the health struggles, was warmed by the thought of one day helping other people get better. Then she encountered a particular psychology professor who introduced her to forensic psychology.

“It blew my mind how fascinating the field was, always evolving with things like determining what a missing child would look like 10 years later or why a criminal did a certain crime.”

When she got the chance to tour the Millhaven correctional facility, she confessed that she almost didn't want to leave.

“I fell in love with the environment of not knowing what's around the corner – why this person who murdered two people does not have the same brain as that person who murdered five.”

With that, forensic psychology became one of the passions she hopes to pursue, alongside working on her inventions.

“I hope to pursue both,” she stressed - “not just one or the other. I have a few inventions up my sleeve still.

“My goal is to try to help just one person, save someone's life with this alarm or make someone's life better. I guess that is what I was put on this earth for.”

Arthur still makes the time to stay fit despite her busy schedule which, these days, includes tutoring data-analysis students at UOIT (“I love algebra, anything with math or sciences,” she said).

But it remains a matter of honour to her not to let her health challenges stand in her way.

“Health is not the deciding factor in whether or not you are going to have a life that is successful, and a life that you are proud of,” she said.

“Don't wait to be healed to start serving humanity.”

Rudd announces two more FedDev grants

By Cecilia Nasmith


Following Monday's announcement of support for a Welcome apiary business, Northumberland-Peterborough South MP Kim Rudd this week announced two more Rural Innovation Initiative Eastern Ontario grants through the Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation.

Rudd appeared at Graphic Packaging International in Cobourg on Thursday to announce a $50,000 investment, and at the Min-Tech company in Campbellford Friday to announce another $65,000.

This is in addition to the $65,000 announced Monday in support of the Dancing Bee Inc., which boasts an innovative extraction process that could potentially make it a top honey producer in Canada,

At Graphic Packaging, a leader in the design and manufacture of packaging for commercial food-service products, the grant will enable investment into supporting today's consumer-preference shift away from styrofoam and single-use containers into recyclable and compostable alternatives. This will position them to strengthen and diversify their product portfolio for a stronger position in terms of competing for growing market needs in both Canada and tbe US.

Min-Tech, which turns post-industrial plastic waste into new products, can now purchase state-of-the-art production technology to develop a new plywood alternative made from recycled plastic – a waterproof product that is more durable and long-lasting.

Funding for these investments by CFDC come through the RRIEO project made possible by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (also known as FedDev Ontario). Projects such as these are expected not only to support business expansions, the press release said, but also create up to 50 new full-time jobs throughout the county.

CFDC executive director Wendy Curtis offered kudos to the innovations that not only strengthen these businesses but do so in an environmentally positive manner.

Min-Tech president Dale McLellan shared his company's commitment to supporting the reduction of the carbon footprint through recycling post-industrial plastic scrap.

“This funding will allow us to introduce a brand-new product that will revolutionize the construction industry,” McLellan predicted.