Monthly Archives: March 2011

New Hamburg’s Juvenile Huskies raise OMHA champions’ trophy

The Huskies were top dogs again on March 26 when the Juvenile Reps beat Walkerton 3-1 at home to win their Ontario Minor Hockey Association finals.

This third win gives New Hamburg a hat trick of championships. The Novice Reps and Peewee AEs triumphed earlier this month.

The team showed a fighting spirit through the playoffs, as they consistently lost the first game of every series. Against Walkerton, they lost the first two games before roaring back with three straight wins.


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Students in Grandview picture identified UPDATE

Two local residents called the Independent this week to help identify the class and some of the students in a photograph of Grandview School that appeared in the March 30 edition.

The 1958 Grade 1 class of teacher Ms. Blanche, pictured above, consists of, from left in back, Gary Steffler, Dale Keller, Stephen Scherer, Rodger Steiner, Bobby Cleary, Ms. Blanche, Rodger Baechler, Tommy Pearson, Leonard Roth, Bernd Fohry and Doug Schwartzentruber.

In front, from right is Len Ziegler, Pat Eichler, Sandy Cavanaugh, Judy Roth, Linda Roth, Alberta Weicker, Carol Doering, Judy Haffner, Dennis Hofstetter and Larry Niebergall.

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New Hamburg volunteer wins award for Big Brothers Big Sisters work

New Hamburg resident Heather McKercher has won an Ontario Volunteer Service Award to recognize her work with the Stratford and District Big Brothers and Big Sisters Foundation.

The awards were handed out at a March 23 ceremony in Stratford by Ontario’s Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.

McKercher joined the Big Brothers Big Sisters board of directors in 2002 and served as the group’s treasurer. She was instrumental in moving the foundation to financial security, said Altiera Essensa, the group’s interim executive director.

“She is a great asset to us,” said Essensa, who nominated McKercher. “And [she] definitely had a big role in making sure that our association is in the financial situation we are.”

“She’s always willing to help out with anything we needed.”

Besides balancing the books, McKercher has volunteered at events for the group that matches older mentors with youth who need role models.

Since the birth of a son, McKercher has resigned her position, but is still an excellent support, Essensa said.

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New book by former Forest Glen vice principal

Two years ago, former Forest Glen vice principal Jan Hansen was looking for a story to read to his students to illustrate the reasons behind a school fundraiser.

At the time, Forest Glen was taking part in a penny drive for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, an organization that supports community based programs and organizations helping families affected by AIDS in Africa.

Knowing how young children better understand the need to help when they hear about other children dealing with loss, Hansen, already a published children’s book author, decided to focus on the African AIDS pandemic for his next book.

“I had trouble finding a book to help turn the activity into a learning experience, so I wrote one,” Hansen said while back in New Hamburg recently.

His new book, the third in a series of picture books that explore tough issues with children, was recently published by Gooseneck Press.

The story isn’t about AIDS, it’s about what happens to those who are left behind, he says.

Going on a Lion Hunt is about a group of children in Africa whose lives are similar to children in Canada despite the difficulties some of them face, particularly those whose parents are sick with AIDS.

Hansen hopes the story gets children thinking about what they can do to help other children whose parents are sick.

“As we work to make global citizens of our children, we need to empower them to realize they don’t need to wait to be leaders of tomorrow. They can make a difference right now,” Hansen said.

Hansen teamed up with Bracelet of Hope for his latest work. The non-profit organization supports efforts to combat AIDS and its effects in Lesotho, one of the hardest hit countries in Africa.

Hansen is the vice principal at Queensmount Senior Public School in Kitchener.

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Enough already! Winter roars back into the region


Evan Valenta, 14, didn't mind shoveling the driveway at his New Hamburg home this morning after learning he had a snow day. The Plattsville Christian School student was already enjoying his day off.

Up to 15 centimetres of snow and freezing rain fell across the region overnight after a spring storm blew into Ontario from the US midwest.

People across the region awoke to the miserable task of clearing snow from their cars, driveways and sidewalks before heading into work. Some kids welcomed the snow day on their third day back from March Break. Local schools that rely on buses, including Waterloo-Oxford, and Sir Adam Beck were closed for the day. Other schools remained open for business.

Wilmot public works director Gary Charbonneau said the township’s fleet of snowplows was out clearing priority streets and laying down a layer of salt to cut through thick ice on many streets.

Some roads remain treacherous and police are warning motorists to use caution. Reported accidents were few and far between as many drivers either stayed home or took it slowly. Traffic along Highway 7/8 was moving around 70 km/hour this morning.

Environment Canada warns snow will be heavy at times throughout the day today, ending around midnight. Tomorrow’s forecast calls for sun and a high of -1C. Sun is expected to continue well into next week, hopefully melting this unwelcome return to winter.

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Optimists cook up a win at New Hamburg Iron Chef contest

Stock photo

After the stoves had cooled and the food judged, the New Hamburg Optimist Club stood alone as champions of the Iron Chef contest sponsored by Puddicombe House.

They narrowly defeated the New Hamburg Lionesses on March 9 by eight points, the closest cooking match-up of the four-week contest.

The winners took home a $500 prize given by Puddicombe House for a project of the Optimists’ choosing.
Both sides created beer-marinated steak for the final showdown, said Nick Cressman, Puddicombe’s restaurant manager.

For dessert, the Lionesses made a Zabaione, mixture of sugar, eggs, and sherry. The Optimists baked an apple with beer.

“They definitely stepped up their game for the finals,” Cressman said

“The gentlemen, their steak was off the charts,” agreed Puddicombe’s chef Lance Edwards.

Each week featured a secret ingredient that had to be incorporated into the meal. First came crabapples, then Baden coffee, maple syrup and, finally, beer.

The most unique creation came from the Lionesses in an earlier week, when they sprinkled roughly-ground coffee beans onto a salad for crunch and bitterness, Edwards said.

Another memorable meal came from Genevieve Epp and Gail Steele of the Wilmot Agricultural Society. They created memorable dishes like smoked cheddar and crabapple tart, local sausage with red cabbage and crabapples, finished with a crabapple compote and chocolate cake.

“I would serve them in my restaurant. I would probably be willing to pay for what they made,” Edward said. “It was restaurant food.”

The chef admitted he was a little nervous about so many new hands in his kitchen. But the amateurs survived the heat and the sharp knives each week to make some tasty dishes in only an hour.

“We were really happy with what they came up with.”

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Magic at the Baden Library

Kids and parents came to the Baden Public Library to watch Larry the Magician’s act. The entertainer earned plenty of giggles as he escaped from handcuffs and made knotted ropes unravel.

The event on March 17 was part of the Waterloo Regional Library’s March Break schedule of fun events during the kids’ holiday from school.

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