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Honoring Great Philanthropists

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 09:11 -- Dan McCaffery

Had I been around to write an obituary for Maud Hanna in 1946, I might well have ended it by saying something along the lines of “her kind we won’t see again.”

It would have been a nice tribute to a great lady. It would also have been a mistake.

Don’t get me wrong -- there’s no doubt Mrs. Hanna was a remarkable woman.

She was married to W. J. Hanna, an Imperial Oil president who died in 1919, leaving family members close to $2 million. That’s a lot of money, even today. Back then, it was an enormous fortune.

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Save Jackson Pool for our kids

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 13:45 -- Dan McCaffery

It’s ironic that city council is contemplating getting rid of Jackson pool during one of the hottest summers Sarnia has endured in recent years.

The East Street facility – which is badly in need of repairs -- has been closed this year while council ponders what to do with it. As a result, there have been frustratingly long lineups at Tecumseh pool. In fact, people have had to wait an hour or more in blistering heat to take a dip in Tecumseh. Some have reportedly waited that long only to be turned away.

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The Queen has died

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 15:51 -- Dan McCaffery

I woke up in London, England one morning last month and was greeted with news that the Queen had died.

A little later, the ‘news’ was revised. It wasn’t the monarch that had passed away after all, an Internet site clarified. It was her husband, Prince Phillip, who was dead.

These tales were being spread on social media across the UK, where I was staying for most of the month of May.

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Ontario is drowning in red ink

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 12:19 -- Dan McCaffery

I have mixed feelings about the Ontario government’s new budget.

On the one hand, the Liberals say that, during the coming months, they will produce the first balanced budget in a decade. In fact, they’re projecting three straight years with no red ink.

That’s good news, and something they should get credit for, assuming they aren’t deliberately fudging the numbers.

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Next season's Sting come up short

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 10:43 -- Dan McCaffery

I fear Sarnia Sting fans are in for another long winter next year.

That’s because in an era in which big hockey players rule the roost, the Sting selected far too many little guys when the Ontario Hockey League held its annual Priority Selection draft last month.

Statistics tell the story. Of the 19 other teams in the OHL, fully 11 picked more prospects who stand at least six feet tall than did Sarnia. Three other clubs picked just as many six footers as the Sting. Only five chose fewer.

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The Knives Will Come Out For Wynne

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 11:31 -- Dan McCaffery

It’s time for the Liberal Party of Ontario to sack Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Wynne, whose public approval ratings are in the toilet, said last month she won’t resign, that she intends to lead the Grits into the 2018 provincial election.

In my opinion, if she won’t jump she’ll have to be pushed. Her ego alone is not enough reason to allow her to keep the leadership.

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Nuclear Waste vs Coal Plants

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 09:24 -- Dan McCaffery

I ate lunch in my backyard three times last month, basking in warm sunshine without wearing a winter coat or even a jacket. One day, with the temperature sitting at 19 C, I raked leaves while wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt.

This was during the middle of February. Such conditions were absolutely unheard of in Sarnia for most of my lifetime. During one winter in the 1960s, we had an outdoor skating rink on Briarfield Avenue for seven solid weeks.

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Between “the rock” and a hockey place

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 11:45 -- Dan McCaffery

I think I know an easy way for the Sarnia Legionnaires and Sarnia Sting to add considerable scoring punch to their lineups.

In fact, I believe both of our junior hockey clubs could increase home scoring by at least a goal per game by taking one simple step.

My plan would give the Sting about 34 extra goals per season. For the Legionnaires, who play a shorter schedule, it would be like securing an extra 24-goal man for the roster.

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Worst council in history

Thu, 12/29/2016 - 09:16 -- Dan McCaffery

What was the worst city council Sarnians have ever been subjected to?

I think I have a pretty good idea because a number of years ago I was involved in a 14-month project in which I wrote stories about each of our first 66 mayors. Needless to say, I became familiar with all the councils over all the years, from modern times straight back to 1853.

In fact, I read the minutes of virtually every council meetings during that 150-plus years period. And I went through newspaper microfilm decade by decade to read everything I could find about the mayors and their councils.

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The Bradley-Gate Affair

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 14:50 -- Dan McCaffery

One of the most bungled episodes in the history of Sarnia municipal politics.

That’s what the infamous ‘Bradleygate’ affair will be remembered as.

It will also be recalled as a staggeringly expensive exercise.

Consider this: The so-called ‘integrity commissioner’ who investigated Mayor Mike Bradley’s treatment of four senior bureaucrats charged the community $280 per hour for his work. The final bill came to a reported $62,000.

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