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March 12, 2012
With students out on their March break, local OPP officers will be focusing on catching speeders and distracted drivers to help keep roads safe.
“Operation Safe Break” began on March 10 and will run until March 18. Officers will have zero tolerance for those who drive distracted, aggressively or speed during the break. The aim of the operation is to help reduce injuries and deaths on the roads, trails and waterways.
Quinte Region Traffic Coalition (QRTC) is a partnership of the Hastings & Prince Edward Counties Health Unit, Belleville Police Service, Stirling-Rawdon Police Service and the OPP detachments serving Central Hastings, Quinte West, Prince Edward County and Bancroft. With this coalition, officers will be out monitoring local roads and reducing the risk of dangerous drivers according to the QRTC.
Distracted driving has been a problem in Ontario for the last few years. Cellphones and GPS units have become one of the biggest distractions for drivers young and old.
The ban on handheld devices has been in effect since Oct. 26, 2009, making it illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or e-mail using handheld communications, with the exception of emergency calls.
According to the Ministry of Transportation, studies have shown that a driver using a cellphone is four times more likely to be in a collision than a driver focused on the road.
Kaytee Townson, 25, of Trenton, was convicted of distracted driving late last year, when she was caught with her phone in hand while driving near her town home.
“I was looking for my phone because I dropped it in my car. I didn’t even see the officer parked over by a stop sign, and when I found my phone, it was in my hand and then the cop was pulling me over a minute later,” said Townson.
“I was distracted because I was bent over looking for my phone when I should have been watching the road. I will definitely pay more attention now after paying the $155 fine.”
Officers don’t need to be parked to catch people for distracted driving. Officers on duty will also catch people when they are stopped at a stoplight, or in parking lots.
“Distracted driving charges are solely based on observation. We have to see it happening. It can be tricky, but as trained police officers, keen observation is a skill of ours,” said Const. Dave Snider of Quinte West OPP.
Provincial Constable Dan Wilton has been a traffic management officer for Quinte West for 31 years, and says that with the new laser radar technology, catching people with distracted driving is becoming easier.
“With the new radars we’ve gotten, we can catch speeding motorists from over 300 metres away, and with the zoom on the scope, we can see into their vehicles and see people eating, or talking on cellphones,” said Wilton.
Cell phones and GPS units aren’t the only causes of distracted driving.
Women who apply makeup while driving, those who adjust the radio or play with CDs, eat or drink, even chat with passengers in their vehicle are distractions. Anything that takes your eyes off the road, or your hands off of the wheel, are distractions and can lead to being charged.
Wilton’s partner, Ray Lalonde, described some stories of his experience of pulling people over who were speeding and eating, applying makeup, and he even pulled over one man who was driving and doing about 115 km/h while reading a cookbook.
“It was probably one of the most bizarre scenarios I’ve ever seen. It was extremely dangerous for him to be driving at that speed and to not have his full attention on the road.” said Lalonde.
“A lot of the time, the people charged with distracted driving aren’t paying enough attention to even realize that the officer on duty is watching them commit the offence. It just proves how dangerous distracted driving can be, and how much of your attention is taken away from the road when you’re on your phone,” said Snider.
Published March 14th online at Qnetnews.ca and in print for the Pioneer Paper.
Article & Photo by Kelly Michelle Gagné
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The room is small, with a low ceiling and a yellow light hangs above a table cluttered with tools, fabrics, moccasins and dolls. The walls are all shelved, with piles of neatly folded and colourfully arranged patterned fabrics and other crafts supplies stored side by side. The room has a fuzzy feeling to it, with the scent of leather and cats.
Seated in her chair that she spends hours working in, is Narda Kathaleen Iulg. Her face is rounded with a beaming smile, and Gui Henri her “sucky-poo” of a cat, is rubbing up against her leg for affection. Iulg is a successful entrepreneur based out of her own home in Tyendinaga, where she has been making authentic native wear since 1993.
Lying on the table in front of Iulg, is her published book that she wrote called, Are you ready to mind your own Business? The book is Iulg’s guide to helping those interested in starting their own businesses, and though it was originally meant to help those interested in the aboriginal community, the book is full of information and tips that can work for anyone interested in starting an entrepreneurial business.
“Before the book was published, I actually used my ideas to teach workshops around the province for about three or four years, and then one day, one of the girls in my workshop said, ‘Narda, why don’t you turn this into a book? It’s really good.’ And I thought to myself, ‘You know, maybe I should.’ So, it took me a few months, and then I converted the workshop into what the book is now,” says Iulg.
Reaching across the table after giving Gui a nice scratch, Iulg begins to speak about her doll collections that she crafts and sells. The first collection is called “Standing Proud” a series of dolls, a grandmother and her six granddaughters, each with its own name and story, all dressed in their own unique, traditional Iroquois outfits. The second collection is called “Wrapped in Love” which has six individual dolls, each with a different name and story, all Indian baby dolls.
“It was actually a dear friend of mine, Jim, who nagged at me and nagged at me to get into doll making, until about four years ago when I actually tried to make one. I just copied a model of one that my mother had made, but instead dressed mine in traditional Mohawk clothing, and kept her face blank, like the dolls we had when I grew up, leaving it up to a child’s imagination for the faces,” says Iulg.
Setting down the “Seesfar” doll, Iulg gets up and walks over to the beautiful light brown patterned jacket hanging on the shelf, it’s the jacket she made herself years ago and it still looks as if it’s brand new.
“This is my jacket.” Iulg says with pride. “It’s gotten a lot of attention over the years, and it has definitely helped me get business just by having random people stop to ask me where I got it. They are always so surprised when I tell them I made it myself,” chuckles Iulg.
Iulg has been making jackets, ribbon shirts, casual men’s and women’s clothing and you name it, for years. Every piece of clothing that is requested online, Iulg likes to add the pieces own personal touch too, to add a one of a kind feel to it.
“I can never not add something different to a piece I craft. If someone says they want this or that from the websites pictures, I always craft exactly what they want, but add a little something extra to it, just to give it the one of a kind authenticity,” says Iulg.
Everything that Iulg crafts can be ordered and seen online on her website, www.nkjnativeoriginals.com. Iulg has had great success with the website, with customers ordering authentic native pieces from all across Europe, Canada, the States, and even a customer in Africa.
“Entrepreneurship for native people is almost an engrained skill, because we had too many years before where we sustained ourselves from the land. It almost seems to flow naturally into the fact, that if we have something that we can do, even in modern times we can turn it into some kind of a business. It’s when we have to learn how we’re going to go about offering and selling our business or services, that the stumbling blocks occur.” Says Iulg.
Gui Henri and Sir Giles Mudmore are weaving around her legs, both looking for attention as Iulg clears the table of the doll parts and clothing she has under way for a doll she is currently making. She sits up, and walks back over to the wall to hang up her favorite jacket smiling.
Article was published through www.Qnetnews.ca and The Pioneer in Print.
© Article and Photograph by: Kelly Michelle Gagné
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Two Loyalist College students say the campus’s new residence buildings should have units that are accessible to disabled students.
Loyalist College students Samantha Hobbs and Leah Bunnett, who both have cerebral palsy and need wheelchairs for mobility, said they wish they could have moved into “New Res” but can’t because it’s inaccessible. The new units designed as townhouse residences, opened last fall.
Hobbs, 25, has been taking classes at Loyalist College for thelast five years, and has lived in the older campus residence for four years inan accessible unit. She has also been a part of the Loyalist accessibility sub-committee for the last three years.
Bunnett, 21, is currently taking early childhood education at Loyalist and said she was disappointed that she could not live in the new residence.
“There was talk about the New Res buildings at the (accessibility) committee meetings and that they were going to be townhouses.They never mentioned they weren’t going to be accessible. We just assumed that they would be,” said Hobbs.
Both students said they feel they don’t have the same options as the other students.
“It’s because of all of this, why I decided to live off of campus this year. I don’t have the same rights as the other returning students,”said Hobbs.
Bill Walsh, vice-president of enrolment management and student services at Loyalist, said the college considered whether to make the new residence buildings accessible.
“We obviously had to take into consideration of whether to make the buildings accessible or not, but it would have completely changed the layout and design of these buildings, as they are just not designed to be accessible,” said Walsh.
“The college already had 20 residence rooms that were accessible and they were hardly ever all filled in a year,” he said. “We feel like we have provided a nice variety of living spaces for the students, and we do plan on refurbishing the older residences in the next few years to keep them up to date as well.”
The residence buildings are privately owned and rented out by Campus Living Centres. The college only helps the students apply to move into the buildings, and organizes living conditions for the students.
The new residence buildings are exempt from the Ontario Building Code because they are owned by a private company, not the college. According to the code, private residences are exempt from the barrier-free/accessibility requirements including all single-detached, semi-detached, duplex, triplex, row and townhouses up to three storeys in height.
Bunnett’s parents live in Belleville, but she is currently living in an older residence building on campus during the week because of the difficulty she has commuting by bus. Bunnett said she lives on campus so that she can attend classes and complete her placement on campus while living independently.
“I have friends that live in New Res and whenever we want to hang out, we either have to meet somewhere that is accessible, or they have to come over to my place,” said Bunnett.
Bunnett’s friend, Caitlin Mortorino, 19, lives in one of the new residence buildings on campus. Mortorino lived in the older residence last year as well, but was happy that in her returning year to Loyalist, she qualified to live in the new residence.
“I like New Res. It’s a good layout and it’s spacious. However,it’s really bugged me that ever since I’ve moved in, I haven’t been able to have my one friend over who is in a wheelchair. It takes a lot of planning to have her come back to my place, and unless we have people that are strong enough to lift her and her chair up the stairs, it’s impossible to get her inside,” said Mortorino.
Discloser: Leah Bunnett is a former roommate of Kelly Michelle Gagné.
Article & Photograph were published Thursday February 9, 2012 in print with the Pioneer paper and online, at Qnetnews.ca
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BELLEVILLE, ON. (11/01/12) “Max has been my baby boy and my best friend for 8 years, he has been with me through thick and thin and I never go anywhere without him. We protect each other, he’s my little man.” Says Jessica Hodder, 27, out on her walk with Max at Victoria Park. Photograph by Kelly Gagné
This was an assignment we got today where we needed to photograph a pet owner and their pet, for our Staff Class. Staff class is basically preparing me for what it will be like when I work for a Newspaper and have to deal with deadlines, editor assigns us something, we go and shoot what they want within a time limit. I did pretty good! Got this beauty of a shot within the time frame, a little bummed about the sun flares in the shots, but if I had a longer lens I wouldn’t have had the problem.
Still in love with this photo though! Jess and Max are absolutely adorable too, and it was a beautiful morning to accompany them on a walk! Their bond is absolutely amazing, makes me miss my baby girl Pico. The bonds between animals and ourselves stay with you forever, got to love being able to take these slice of life kind of photographs.
Now go hug your pet and appreciate the love you can have from them! Dogs are truly the one animal that will always love us more than themselves, so be good to them!