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News - Nov. 20 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shawn Loughlin   
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 19:03

From the snow blanketing the area earlier this week to Brussels playing host to Christmas in the Village, area residents are starting to realize that Dec. 25 isn’t too far away. St. John’s Anglican Church was the place to be on Saturday for its annual bake sale and bazaar, which, of course, had a Christmas theme to it. Here, Caitlyn Grubb, right, dresses up her friend Lexi Curran, left, for the holidays, although she may have needed some guidance in regards to sizing. (Vicky Bremner photo)

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:15
 
Central Huron's Lexi Aitken Earns Full Scholarship to TCU - Nov. 20 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shawn Loughlin   
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 18:57

Youth-Olympic-Class hurdler and St. Anne’s Secondary School student Lexi Aitken, centre, didn’t have to think long before signing her letter of intent to go to school at and compete for Texas Christian University (TCU). Aitken, along with her parents Brad, left, and Amanda, right, visited the school three weeks ago as part of a five-school tour of the United States but cancelled the rest of the trip after arriving in Fort Worth, the home of TCU because of how perfect Aitken felt it was. (Denny Scott photo)

Londesborough-area hurdler Lexi Aitken only had to visit Texas Christian University (TCU) once to know it’s where she wanted to pursue her education and her passion.
The St. Anne’s Catholic Secondary School student signed her acceptance letters, which include a full scholarship, to the U.S. school last week, a mere three weeks after her official visit.
“I said that this is it, this is the place I want to go to,” she said at a special signing session held at St. Anne’s at the start of the early signing period on Nov. 12. “It felt like home. Everything was beyond the wish list.”
While Aitken was prepared to visit five schools in total, TCU was the second in her trip, the first being Arizona State University, but she cancelled the remainder of the trip after arriving in Fort Worth, the home of TCU.
Aitken’s parents, Brad and Amanda, both said it was nice that she was so confident in her choice. Part of that confidence came from how much the school and Fort Worth remind her of the largest city in Aitken’s current neighbourhood of Southwestern Ontario: London.
“It looks like London and it feels like London and it was beautiful and warm,” Amanda said. “The teammates and coaches were so welcoming and that was good.”
Aitken, after signing the papers, said she is looking forward to TCU.
“I’m excited to be a part of the TCU family,” she said. “The girls and coaches made me feel welcome and like it was a good fit. I’ll be there for four or five years so it’s a good thing to be a part of the family.”
Brad explained he was happy with the choice because of the academic support available to students on scholarships. He explained that any help that was necessary, be it tutors or any other educational aid, was covered.
“If you want to succeed and you’re on a scholarship there, it will happen,” he said.
Aitken, who graduates from St. Anne’s this school year, hasn’t settled on a major yet, though her parents were happy to report that the school offers programs for business, kinesiology and fashion, all areas in which Aitken had expressed interest.
She said she had to thank her friends and family for the opportunities that led her there.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:20
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Locals Excel at Royal Agricultural Winter Fair - Nov. 20 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shawn Loughlin   
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 18:49

The annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto last week proved a welcoming place for Huron County residents who brought home many rewards. Among the awards was the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency Challenge Trophy which Kabrina Bishop of Bluevale, right, took home for having the Grand Champion Lamb on Saturday, Nov. 15. (Photo submitted)

Local agriculturally-inclined individuals put Huron County on the map at the annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto over the past few weeks.
The Huron County Go for the Gold Club, which consists of Wawanosh 4-H members Loretta Higgins, Maisy Jefferson, Connor Rodger, Scott Jefferson and Coaches Brent Black and Cathy Drennan finished in third place this year.
Blyth Farm Cheese swept the Class 11 or Flavoured Cheeses goat and sheep cheese class, taking the top three honours with their Blyth Smoked, Nettle Blyth and Tipsy Billy cheeses, respectively.
Sheep used for breeding instead of milking was all about the Lucknow area locally, with three names consistently showing up in the top five finals of each class.
The Todd Sheep Company out of West Wawanosh brought home awards for Grand Champion Ram, Best Get of Sire (Canadian owned), Premier Exhibitor, Premier Breeder, Levine Achievement, Supreme Slick Shorn Ram Championship (including first, second and third places).
The Lucknow-area company also earned a first place finish in the Class 1 Suffolk division of breeding sheep, a second place finish in Class 2, a third place finish in Class 4, a first and second place finish in Class 7, a third place finish in Class 11 and a fourth place finish in Class 12.
In the Southdown Breeding Sheep class, the Todd Sheep Company earned the Champion Flock, or the C.J. Brodie Trophy as well as first place in Class 1, first and third place in Class 2, first place in Class 3, second place in Class 4, first place in Class 6, first place in Class 11 and first place in Class 12.
The Todd Sheep Company also earned first place finishes in Class 9 (Slick Shorn Ram) and Champion Ram in the Any Other Breed category along with several top five finishes in the Market Lamb division including third place in Class 2, two second place and one third place finish in Class 4, a second place finish in Class 5, a second place finish in class 6 and a first place finish in Class 8.
Gary Finlay, from the Lucknow area, earned fourth and fifth place finishes in the Class 1 and Class 6 groups of the Lincoln Breeding Sheep division. He also claimed fourth place in the Southdown Class 1 Breeding Sheep group, second place in the Class 2 group and fifth place in the Class 3 group.
Finlay also earned the second place Shepherd’s Award for best display.
Finlay Southdowns, also from the Lucknow area, earned a third place finish in the Breeding Sheep - Lincoln - Class 11 grouping and a third and fourth place finish in the Breeding Sheep - Southdown Class 11 and 12 groupings respectively.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:17
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Local Chefs 'Souper' in Culinary Competition - Nov. 20 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shawn Loughlin   
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 18:41
One of the enduring images from August’s Fare on Four meal in Blyth was the two chefs, Peter Gusso and Jason Rutledge celebrating together after successfully feeding 1,419 people. The two men were once again able to celebrate together last weekend, as they jointly dominated Soup Saturday in Goderich.
The event, which was a fundraiser for the All Points: Festival City Realty Brokerage Charitable Fund, featured 15 restaurants from Huron County putting their best soup forward, all in the name of charity.
While the majority of the competitors were from Goderich, the two top prizes went to Blyth restaurants, as The Blyth Inn claimed the competition’s top prize according to the judges and the Part II Bistro claimed the competition’s people’s choice award.
Rutledge of the Blyth Inn prepared a potato bacon corn and jalapeno pepper chowder that won the hearts of the judges, while Gusso’s butternut squash, sweet potato and brie soup with rosemary-and-roasted-garlic-infused olive oil earned the most votes from the event’s patrons.
Both chefs found themselves scrambling a bit as the competition neared, as Gusso approached the day with a different idea in mind.
Initially, he said, he wanted to create a sausage gumbo for the competition, but when he saw that the soup had to be served in small glasses, he knew sausage in the soup wouldn’t work.
Similarly, Rutledge said the competition slipped his mind in the weeks leading up to it. Just days before the competition, he brainstormed the chowder.
Participating in a similar competition in Seaforth last year, Rutledge said he made a clam chowder that went over well. A potato bacon chowder, he thought, would add even more flavour and appeal to the competition’s crowd.
Gusso said he received a lot of compliments on his soup, even from people who claimed they didn’t like butternut squash, but that his soup had changed their opinion.
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Huron County Council Questions Job Loss Report - Nov. 20 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shawn Loughlin   
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 18:33
Huron County Council is second-guessing some shocking employment numbers released last week that cast a grim light on the county’s economy.
The report, released by the Four County Labour Market Planning Board, looked at the employment and workforce situations in Huron, Perth, Bruce and Grey Counties and determined that Huron County lost 617 businesses in the past year.
Central Huron Mayor Jim Ginn raised the issue at Huron County Council’s Nov. 12 committee of the whole meeting, saying that council needed to “do something” about the report.
“If we’re losing that many, then we need to interview some of the businesses that left and see what we could have done to keep them here,” Ginn said, “because it really does reflect poorly on the county.”
Ginn suggested that members of county staff should investigate the report further to both find out if the numbers are accurate and if they are, come up with a strategy to help retain businesses.
Director of Planning and Development Scott Tousaw told Ginn that further research into the report was already underway, since he also found the numbers hard to believe.
“I was surprised by the numbers too,” said Tousaw. “We contacted the Labour Market Board and they provided us with more information and there were some anomalies.”
Tousaw said that of the 617 registered businesses that were said to have left the county in the past year in the study, 420 of them were officially-registered companies, but with zero employees.
He said that with registered companies with zero listed employees accounting for 66 per cent of the aforementioned businesses, that was a factor worth investigating.
While some of them may have been legitimate businesses, Tousaw suggested that it’s very possible that many of the “companies” were simply ideas that were registered, but then de-registered when one factor or another didn’t work out.
In addition to that concern, which deals with a large portion of the study’s findings, Tousaw said he also has questions about a number of other aspects of the study’s findings.
“For example, the study says Huron County only has one employer with over 500 employees,” Tousaw said. “Well we know of three, so the numbers don’t seem quite right.”
Tousaw said that the planning department’s intention was to prepare a report on the study and its statistics and present it to the newly-formed Economic Development Board in the coming weeks.
Chief Administrative Officer Brenda Orchard echoed Tousaw’s comments, saying that once the report is completed, the Economic Development Board should be the first to see it, before it’s presented to Huron County Council at one of its meetings.
The Four County Labour Market Planning Board, represented by Executive Director Gemma Mendez-Smith, suggested a three-year workforce plan to help address the skills gap in the four counties as a result of the study.
Huron County was the biggest loser of businesses in the report, while Grey County lost 171. Perth County gained 996 businesses, while Bruce County gained 268.
In an interview with local media, Mendez-Smith called the business losses seen in Huron County “very, very significant”.
The 2014 report can be found online at www.planningboard.ca under the “reports” tab.
 
Jam Jar Pub and Eatery Opens in Brussels - Nov. 20 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shawn Loughlin   
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 18:27

Maddy, right, and Jeff Miller opened the Jam Jar Pub and Eatery last week just in time for Christmas in the Village. The owners promise great meals and a lot of nostalgia including the barber chair the duo are sitting in which is a family heirloom for Jeff. (Denny Scott photo)

Maddy and Jeff Miller, after four months of renovations, made a long-term plan a reality last week when they opened the Jam Jar Pub and Eatery.
Located on Turnberry Street in Brussels, the restaurant was something that the two of them wanted eventually, but didn’t anticipate opening so soon.
Maddy, who has worked in other local kitchens, and Jeff, who was a millwright for more than 20 years, are residents of Brussels. Maddy is originally from the area and Jeff moved to the village from Teeswater several years ago.
The couple said that they wanted to enter the service industry, but planned on doing so later in life.
I got sick of [being a millwright], though,” he said. “We had intentions of doing hospitality in the future, but not so soon. In the end, we took a leap of faith.”
The building, which is at the southeast corner of Turnberry and King streets, was one that Jeff had his eye on for some time.
“I’ve always loved this building,” he said. “When we found out it was available, and saw how beautiful it was, we jumped in feet first.”
The restaurant, which previously held a Dollar store, the Brussels 5Rs community thrift store, a mercantile store and, for decades prior to that, a five cent to a dollar store, has been used as storage for the past five to six years according to the restaurant owners and needed a lot of work before they were ready to open.
“It was a complete gutting of the interior,” Jeff said. “When we started to build, it was just a big open space.”
“We had to sandblast the brick, put in a new floor and put in new electric,” Maddy said.
Looking around the restaurant, a lot has changed from that big open space. Visitors will find staples of a restaurant and pub such as the main dining area and a bar, but will also find a lot of interesting decorations, all of which have some history behind them according to Jeff.
“Anything with history is important to me,” he said.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:19
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