Saturday, March 24, 2012

Man Honouring Our Troops Told to Move His Truck

What do you think? ....  This truck has been here since our soldiers deployed overseas. Should the city make him move it? Somehow I don't see one of the quoted bylaws listed in the parking regulations in that city, Does this infringe on our freedoms? ...

As posted in The Record March 24, 2012

Man Told to Move Truck that Honours Canada’s Troops
Kitchener resident Jeff Meyer was told by the city to move his retired Canadian Armed Forces truck from his lawn. The truck is decorated as a tribute to the troops who were fighting in Afghanistan.
TRUCK Kitchener resident Jeff Meyer was told by the city to move his retired Canadian Armed Forces truck from his lawn. The truck is decorated as a tribute to the troops who were fighting in Afghanistan.
David Bebee/Record staff
KITCHENER — A man who parked a military truck on his front lawn in support of Canadian troops in Afghanistan was forced to move the vehicle because he was violating a city bylaw.
Not long after Canadian troops went to war in Afghanistan, Jeff Meyer, 49, parked the M-131 army truck on his small front lawn on Victoria Street and decorated it with yellow ribbons, flags and banners. It was a highly visible demonstration of support for the soldiers on that mission and in remembrance of the ones who died there.
“I can’t believe this is happening when the truck has been there for years,” Meyer said.
On Wednesday a city bylaw officer shut him down.
The city forbids parking on front lawns. The city also forbids parking vehicles without plates in driveways. Meyer’s army truck runs well, but it does not have plates.
“Different groups stationed in Afghanistan have photographs of that truck with their unit,” Meyer said. “People from all over the world, who are tourists, took pictures of the truck.
“Local injured soldiers’ mothers have stopped in, crying, to thank me for putting it out there.”
Meyer said he wants a compromise that would allow him to park the truck in the driveway, where it is visible to passersby.
The city’s bylaw department did nothing about the truck for years because nobody complained about it. Bylaw enforcement officers only act on complaints.
Shayne Turner, the head of bylaw enforcement, said the city is sensitive to the fact the truck and banners were a tribute to the troops in the Afghan war.
“We understand the importance and emotional attachment to military issues,” Turner said.
Licensing the vehicle and parking it in the driveway would solve the problem.
“Let’s find something that balances the needs of the property owner and the needs of the neighbourhood,” Turner said.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Welcome home Cale McDowell and our other soldiers who have returned to Canada.

Soldier embraces all Things Canadian after Nine Month Afghanistan Tour

By Jodi Lundmark,
After a nine-month tour in Afghanistan, Cale McDowell is happy to embrace everything Canadian.

“Being able to go walk outside, being able to drive a car by yourself, being able to not carry a gun on you, to relax – that was the big thing I missed was the freedom here,” McDowell said Wednesday after arriving at the Thunder Bay International Airport to a large group of family, friends and other supporters, including Mayor Keith Hobbs and members of the Thunder Bay Police Service.
Finally coming home felt like a dream for McDowell, who served in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry based out of Edmonton.
“When you first get off the plane, you start to get the shakes and then walk up and it doesn’t even feel real after so long you can come back and see your family,” he said.
McDowell’s parents, Darlene and Larry, both teared up as they waited for their son to come out of the arrival gate.
After nine months of waiting for her son to come home, Darlene said they are thrilled to know he’s home safe and sound.
No matter what job a soldier has in Afghanistan, they are in harm’s way and she was happy to hug her son, joking that he wouldn’t be allowed out of the house for the next two months.
“We’ve got 900 of our Canadians there in harm’s way every day,” she said.
“There are 900 other families across this country right now hoping to go through what we just had.”
“We’ll pray for them and hopefully they get as good an outcome as we’ve been blessed with,” she added.
The family’s plan for the rest of the evening was to go home and enjoy some of Darlene’s homemade McDowell’s famous sauce.
“All his friends are coming over and we’re going to relax and sit around the table and just hug him and enjoy him and enjoy family,” she said.
McDowell is set to retire from the military and plans to become a police officer.
 News Story click here

"Break the Silence"

Via Military Minds - a nonprofit group founded by Chris Dupee, raising awareness for PTSD, and kicking the stigma surrounding it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thank you Mayor Doug Craig for your continued support of our soldiers. ~ m.m.

Cemetery Bylaw Should be Changed, Cambridge Mayor Says
Greg Mercer, Record staff           
Tue Mar 20 2012
HESPELER — A Cambridge bylaw that forbids the iconic Canadian military headstone in city cemeteries should soon be wiped from the books, Mayor Doug Craig says.
The mayor said he’s fielded plenty of calls from citizens angered by news a Hespeler man’s wishes to be buried at New Hope cemetery with a soldier’s grave marker clashes with a bylaw that says that marker isn’t big enough.
The standard Canadian military headstone, used in cemeteries throughout Canada and the world, is three inches thick — five inches too thin for the required dimensions of the bylaw, designed to ward off vandalism.
The family of Capt. Paul “Spike” Zvaniga, who served 28 years in the Royal Canadian Air Force, found that out the hard way after he died of cancer last week.
The mayor said the bylaw — called “ridiculous” by Manon Bourbeau, a liaison to the National Military Cemetery in Ottawa — was never designed to ban soldiers’ headstones.
“There was no intention here to block anybody out. It was an oversight,” Mayor Craig said. “We’re going to correct it to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
City council plans to make an amendment to the bylaw that would allow an exemption in the case of Zvaniga, who wanted to be buried in his hometown.
They’ll also ask city staff to look into ways to change the cemetery bylaw so this problem doesn’t come up again, the mayor said.
“It became very obvious yesterday afternoon we have an issue with the bylaw. There’s an oversight there, obviously,” he said.
He also said Zvaniga’s family should not have had to deal with this added stress while preparing for a funeral.
“We all feel terribly sorry for how this has unfolded and we feel bad we’ve added more grief to this particular family,” he said.
Zvaniga’s son Eric, meanwhile, said the family is just glad the city is fixing the bylaw.
“My hope is it’s not just an exception for my father, but an amendment that allows other veterans to be buried the way they choose,” he said.
Coun. Rick Cowsill, who represents Hespeler and is a former president of the local Legion branch, said most councillors didn’t even know there was a size restriction for headstones in city cemeteries.
“It’s news to me we even had a bylaw like that, and I’m sure most members of council aren’t aware of it, either,” he said. “I think it’s probably a glitch that nobody thought of many, many years ago.”
Kitchener Record Article