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Rotary Club of Cobourg shows their support for community radio

Northumberland 89.7 FM is pleased to announce today that the Rotary Club of Cobourg has made a donation to Northumberland 89.7 to assist with the purchase of a new broadcasting console. A cheque for $5,000 was presented to Barry Walker, Chair of Northumberland 89.7 FM and Kevin Stuart, Station Manager, by Rotary’s President Don Owen and Lynda Kay.

The broadcasting console is a vital part of the studio. Everything you hear on the air coming from our station goes through this console. The existing equipment is almost six years old and has served us well. The new equipment will provide a greater capacity and flexibility that is needed, given the changing demands of today’s radio business.

Mr. Walker said “We are extremely grateful to the Rotary Club of Cobourg for this donation. Not only has this donation helped us attain our fundraising goal for the project, it also makes us proud that Northumberland 89.7 has the confidence of the Rotary Club of Cobourg to continue our work as a major source of news, information and entertainment in Northumberland County.”

Northumberland Players Believes In Truly Local Radio!

Northumberland 89.7 FM is pleased to announce today that the Northumberland Players has made a donation to Northumberland 89.7 to assist with the purchase of a new broadcasting console. A cheque for $5,000 was presented to Barry Walker, Chair of Northumberland 89.7 FM and Kevin Stuart, Station Manager, by the Northumberland Players’ President Jack Boyagian, Vice-President Valerie Russell and board member Victor Svenningson.

The broadcasting console is a vital part of the studio’s operation. Everything you hear on the air coming from our station goes through this console. The existing equipment is almost six years old and has served us well. The new equipment will provide a greater capacity and flexibility that is needed, given the changing demands of today’s radio business.

Mr. Walker said “We are extremely grateful to Northumberland Players for this donation. Not only does this help us attain our fundraising goal for the project, it also makes us proud that Northumberland 89.7 has the confidence of the Northumberland Players to continue our work as a major source of news, information and entertainment in Northumberland County.”

New Cobourg website boasts higher standard of communications and engagement.

By Cecilia Nasmith


In an age where municipal websites may be the single most important tool for citizens to find local information, the Town of Cobourg Comunications Department is pleased to announce the launch of its redesigned and improved www.cobourg.ca.

The revision process included five months of digital market research and review of hundreds of other municipal, tourism and private-sector websites for best practices, the town's press release said, as well as incorporating citizen feedback received through the Annual Corporate Communications Survey in March – 110 responses were received.

“We relied heavily on the outpouring of comments and helpful suggestions from our communications survey,” communications manager Ashley Purdy said.

“So many suggestions were immediately implemented into the new design, and I want to thank everyone who provided input.”

The redesigned site features a clean appearance, ease of navigation, improved content and functionality driven by the needs of the town's citizens.

Mayor John Henderson said the redesigned site sets a new civic standard for digital communications and engagement, and provides a platform on which the town can rapidly innovate towards its digital-strategy goals,

The town's press release highlighted some key improvements.

A new Mayor and Council web page includes contact information for mayor and council members, provides a place to request a proclamation or official greeting from the mayor, offers access to meeting agendas and minutes, sets out the mayor's calendar and gives details on how to request to speak at a council meeting.

The new Trending Services feature identifies trending services, providing direct access to content citizens are looking for. Winter months might feature road-maintenance information, for example, while summer months will bring festival news and postings of beach closures.

A new design layout for the Community News section should ensure pertinent news is not missed.

A new Council News section will offer direct access to the new Mayor and Council web page, to the CivicWeb for agendas, minutes and bylaws, and to the live broadcast of council meetings.

A free Community Events calendar is available for all community groups, clubs and organizations to submit their events free of charge.

A news ticker has been added to announce such current news as road closures and traffic detours.

Soon to come, Purdy said, will be the integration of a new Bids and Tenders platform. She is also looking forward to the integration of Bang The Table, the town's new on-line engagement platform.

The site continues to be responsive and easily readable on any type of device (including smart phones and tablets), As well, it meets provincially mandated accessibility standards, such as a screen reader ad the ability to change font size and contrast.

The town invites everyone to visit the redesigned site to stay up-to-date – and to provide continued feedback by contacting Purdy at communications@cobourg.ca.


14th annual Sandastle Festival returns Aug. 3

By Cecilia Nasmith


Twelve master sculptors from all over North America promise a maximum awe quotient Aug. 3 at Cobourg's Pinnacle Award-winning Sandcastle Festival.

The 14th annual edition is an open celebration with a live DJ on the beach from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., as well as a Kids' Zone and an inflatable Fun Park (admission to this feature is by wristband, available for $5 at the registration tent).

The master sculptors will get to work at 8 a.m. and, at 8:30 p.m., amateur competitors can start registering under the blue tent. Judging will begin at 2:30 p.m., with a 4:30 p.m. awards presentation at the DJ booth.

It's free to view these astonishing works of art all weekend, and visitors are also invited to travel a couple of blocks north of the beach to check out the Downtown Cobourg annual Sidewalk Sale, which offers great deals Aug. 1 to 4. Wristband holders who visit the Sidewalk Sale will get free access to all the inflatables at that event as well.

The waterfront fun stretches into the evening hours, when the 8:30 p.m. Movie In The Park offers the chance to enjoy Ralph Breaks The Internet as a family, followed by fireworks over the harbour at 10:30 p.m. - and both events are free.

Councillor Adam Bureau (Co-ordinator of Arts, Culture and Tourism) said the festival is a huge draw every year.

“We couldn't be more pleased to see the amazing sculptures created from both our experts and registered teams,” Bureau said.

The competition is open to aspiring artists of all skill levels. Each team gets its own flag and 20-ft-square working space, and this year's theme is Why We Love Canada. Registration (which can be done in advance at www.experiencecobourg.ca or in person at the event) is $5 per person, and each team has a chance to win cash prizes within each category (not to mention the coveted event title).

New this year, the town has partnered with Wheelchair Friendly Solutions Inc., who has graciously donated 200 extra feet of beach accessibility mats, providing easier access throughout the festival area for those with strollers, crutches, canes, walkers, wheelchairs and even bare feet. A Mobi-Chair will also be available to provide the best possible water and wheelchair experience, a beach wheelchair with floatable armrests and tires.

The Sandcastle Festival has been recognized many times as one of the province's best-known and most-respected events. It placed among this year's Top 11 Festivals and Events in Ontario, and has also been internationally recognized with the Pinnacle Award from the International Festivals and Events Association.

For ease of access, the town is offering a free shuttle service to the event from 8:30 a.m. To 11 p.m., with pick-up locations at Northumberland Mall, Cobourg Community Centre and Donegan Park. Drop-off locations will include the Cobourg beach-Victoria Park area.

The Sandcastle Festival is organized by the Town of Cobourg and proudly supported by such major sponsors as Cameco, New Amherst Homes and Thomas Pontiac Buick.

Horizons film event supports Guatemala project

By Cecilia Nasmith

Horizons of Friendship announces a July 25 screening of Ixcanul, the first-ever Guatemalan entry for an Academy Award, at The Loft Cinema in Cobourg.

Proceeds will support the Cobourg-based international development agency's Maternal, Newborn and Child Health project in Totonicapan, Guatemala.

The cast of Ixcanul features non-professional Maya actors speaking the Kaqchikel language to tell the story of the hardships and resilience of a young Indigenous woman living in the slopes of an active volcano in the Guatemalan Highlands.

Following the 6:30 p,m. screening, a brief discussion will follow on the recurring issues Indigenous Maya women and girls face in that country, and the work Horizons does to break that cycle – like the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health project.
Now in its fourth year, the $13.2-million project is helping reduce maternal and child deaths in the predominantly Maya K'iche province of Totonicapan – which has one of the highest maternal-mortality rates in Central America.

Funded by the Government of Canada, the initiative has been implemented by Horizons' local partner the Association for Health Promotion, Research and Education in close collaboration with the Totonicapan Health Directorate. It is providing culturally relevant training and equipment to more than 950 traditional Indigenous Maya K'iche midwives, building the skills of hundreds of health workers, stocking dozens of health centres (and the provincial hospital) with life-saving equipment, and implementing a province-wide education campaign.

To date, the Horizons press release stated, more than 170,000 Indigenous Maya women, children and men have directly benefited from this project,

People interested in the Ixcanul screening are asked to pay what they can for admission (with a suggested donation of $20).

The Loft is located upstairs at 201 Division St., directly above Craft Food House – which is offering a special Latin American-themed menu for this occasion at 5 p.m. for $35 per person.

Seating is limited. To secure your spot in advance, call 905-37-5483 ext. 10 or e-mail info@horizons.ca.


Councillors demand combined conferences

By Cecilia Nasmith


Northumberland County council has supported a motion by the Township of Tyendinaga calling for the Rural Ontario Municipal Association and Ontario Good Roads Association to hold one combined annual general meeting – the way it used to be.

The motion of support was made by Port Hope Mayor Bob Sanderson.

This is fairly straightforward, Sanderson said, but what's left unsaid is why the separation occurred.

“Probably for reasons we don't actually know,” Sanderson guessed - “but from a county perspective and municipal-staff perspective, we don't want to send people to two different conferences.”

Newly elected Brighton Mayor Brian Ostrander had recently had the opportunity to attend ROMA without OGRA, and doesn't like the new arrangement.

“I don't know why the divorce happened, but it was a sad divorce,” Ostrander commented,

With one conference at the end of January and the other at the end of February, Warden John Logel said, it is not an efficient use of anyone's time or money.

County supports GIS collaborations

By Cecilia Nasmith


Northumberland County council this week supported a motion that promises to maximize Geographic Information Systems and their application in the efficient delivery of services.

GIS-asset management specialist Cora Bevan delivered her report that described the significant cost pressures both the county and its members municipalities face in this area, not to mention the challenges of expensive licensing costs and limited staff resources and expertise.

Bevan said that Northumberland County and its constituent municipalities have been working collaboratively to identify and implement opportunities for shared services. In fact, in 2008, they formed a co-operative for this purpose,

“We have accomplished a number of projects since then, with municipalities and across the county,” she said.

Issues addressed include outdated data and underutilization of the technology in meeting the demands municipalities face.

Members of the Northumberland GIS co-operative, in recognition of the importance and benefits of the shared-service approach, are now exploring opportunities in terms of data collection and analysis, staff training and asset-management data support.