Monthly Archives: July 2011

Young campers make art at Castle Kilbride

Hannah Todd (left) and Sydney Sharpe paint during a daycamp at Castle Kilbride July 28.

This week, Castle Kilbridge hosted a daily activities for almost 25 children. Thursday was devoted to learning about Kilbride’s different paintings. The kids then mimicked the artists’ work by creating their own masterpieces.

The daily camps for kids aged 5 to 11 continues each Wednesday in August from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Castle Kilbride has run this summer kids program for over 10 years.

A different theme each day keeps the activities fresh for the young campers. This week’s themes have been Egyptian, medieval, Wild West, and archeology.

Jonah Weber works on an art project at the camp.

Mark and Rachel Habermehl practice their paint skills.

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Contestants in ABsolute Fitness challenge prove their strength and endurance

Tina Blier prepares to take the challenge.

For the third year, ABsolute Fitness and Personal Training held its annual “How Fit Are U” event on July 16.

On a hot, sunny Saturday morning, 13 contestants completed a challenging course, which consisting of exercises set up over several stations. Contestants sprinted through the course as quickly as possible, testing their speed, agility, strength and endurance.

Despite the competitive nature of the event, every contestant was cheered on and encouraged by everyone else, adding to the fun, friendly atmosphere of the occasion. When they crossed the finish line, many athletes wore their exhaustion like a badge of honour, smiling with pride.

For the first time, this year’s event also included a bench press competition to test people’s strength. Each competitor had three attempts to lift the heaviest weight possible.

Prizes for both contests were awarded in various categories.

“How Fit Are U” Challenge winners are:

Under 25
1st Place Mike Murray
2nd Place Joey Watson
3rd Place Josh Blier

1st Place Glen Blier
1st Place Nigel Gordijk
2nd Place Jim Scott


1st Place Kristina Blier
2nd Place Nicole Larocque
3rd Place Amanda Donaldson

1st Place Angela McFalls
2nd Place Janice Harder

Bench Press Challenge

Light weight
1st Place Ben Meyer
2nd Place William Linares
3rd Place Greg Voisin

Middle weight
1st Place Mike Murray

Heavy weight
1st Place Geoffrey Parr
2nd Place Tim Bailey
3rd Place D.J. Brenneman

Mike Murray powers through a strength test.

At the bench press challenge.

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Yee-haw! New Hamburg man rides in rodeo

Pictured above is New Hamburg’s Peter Hallman, a 19-year rodeo veteran riding a bronco at last weekend’s Kitchener Rodeo in Breslau.

After competing in the local competition, Hallman spent the last week touring a different rodeo in Indiana and Ohio each day.

During the summer, he usually competes in bronc riding and bull riding at several rodeos each weekend, plus more when he’s able.

The seven standard rodeo events are Saddle Bronc Riding, Bareback Bronc Riding, Bull Riding, Tie-down Roping, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, and Ladies Barrel Racing. Optional events include Breakaway Roping, Junior Steer Riding, and Junior Barrels.

Photos courtesy of Beverley Wilhelm.

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Charity barbecue in Petersburg braves the heat to fight kids’ cancer

Burgers and sausages sizzled on a hot July 21 in Petersburg as Bechthold Home Improvement hosted its seventh annual fundraiser to fight childhood cancer.

Proceeds from the summer event will go to the London Children’s Hospital and the Optimist Club’s children’s program.

Organizer Warren Bechthold said that last year’s barbecue raised $2,800. He worried that extreme heat on barbecue day might keep some people indoors.

Besides eating lunch under the trees, donors also had a chance to win prizes provided by Bechthold. The fundraiser is a way for the business to give back to the community, the owner said.

Paul Tufford and Robert Yost (background) flip burgers and grill sausages at a barbecue to raise money for childhood cancer July 21.

Chad Dietrich and daughters Paige (left) and Grady enjoy lunch at the Petersburg barbecue.

Paul Tufford flips burgers for donors at the seventh-annual charity event at Bechthold Home Improvement.

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Kids staying cool as temperature climbs

Zoe Harrison, 7, of Rotterdam, Holland enjoys an ice cream while braving record-setting heat Thursday in New Hamburg.

It’s quiet in the streets of New Hamburg and the parks are virtually empty this afternoon. The only place with a bit of a crowd is the ice cream shop on Peel Street where a steady stream of customers are dropping by to beat the heat with a cool treat.

Zoe Harrison, 7, was enjoying a cone while in town from Rotterdam, Holland to visit her cousins Nicholas and Alex Pavlovic. The whole gang, including Kitchener friend Destiny Rettinger were braving the heat for a few minutes to get some ice cream

Environment Canada is warning area residents to stay cool as we approach a record high this afternoon.

Let us know how you’re keeping cool. Send us an EMAIL or leave a comment on this post.

Nicholas Pavlovic, 9, Destiny Rettinger, 11, and Alex Pavlovic beat the heat with some ice cream.

Tye Aicken enjoys an ice cream cone on July 21 with his grandmother Sandy Glenn.

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Exchange students from around the world visit New Hamburg

Lions Club Youth Exchange participants listen to wise words of canoeing wisdom from Doug Wilton (right) before departing on their canoeing adventure at Canoe the Nith.

Chris Thomson
For the Independent

The world was represented on Sunday at Canoe the Nith when the Lions Youth Exchange took part in a “Canadian Canoeing Experience.”

Twenty-one kids, ranging in age from 16-18, came from 13 different countries including Austria, Belgium, Mexico, Sweden, St. Martin, Poland, Slovenia, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Finland, Germany, and Czech Republic.

The exchange students are staying at 5 Oaks Campgrounds in Paris from July 16 to 26 as apart of their four-week stay in Canada.

The canoeing trip took them upstream in the morning, back to the site for lunch, downtown New Hamburg for ice cream in the afternoon, and then back to the site. This is the fourth year the group has taken part in this event.

One participant, Ida from Denmark, was familiar with the New Hamburg scenery. Kevin and Kelly Williams, of the New Hamburg Lions Club, has been her host family.

“This experience has been great,” says Ida. “The people here are all so kind. Even complete strangers are super nice.”

Deb and Dave Wilton, owners of Canoe the Nith, are very familiar with the program. Their son, DJay, is currently in Australia on the same program. Like all the participants, he had to give a presentation to the Lions Club on why he should be sponsored to take part.

“They don’t have peanut butter in Denmark,” says Callum Williams, son of Kevin and Kelly, when asked about cultural differences he’s discovered.

Chris Thomson, for the Independent


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Lots to do this weekend, including a Summer Fun Fest in St. Agatha

Damian Moore, 9, and his brother Logan, 6, of Baden, aim for the prize in a midway game at the St. Agatha Summer Fun Fest on Friday.

If you’re not headed to the Kitchener Ribfest and Craft Beer Show, and don’t think your kids will enjoy the sounds at the Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival this weekend, you might want to head to St. Agatha where the Lions Club is hosting Summer Fun Fest in the Community Centre Park.

The weekend-long event features a number of entertainers, food and midway rides through Sunday with proceeds going to support community projects and Lions Club International efforts.

Bar Code plays tonight from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and tomorrow the Newfies and Easterners are coming.

Have fun whatever you’re doing this weekend. It’s going to be a great one.

Ashlyn Witt, 5, of Tavistock, and cousin Madision McPhee-Bell, 10, of Stratford, hang out in a boat from Massel's Marine while two-year-old Gavin Witt takes the wheel. A number of boats are on display at the Fun Fest this weekend.

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Shakespeare and Wellesley tie 8-8 in local fastball action

Shakespeare's Brady Gerber delivers a pitch.

Two peewee teams played to a 8-all tie on July 12 at the Wellesley community centre. After Shakespeare built an early lead, Wellesley battled back to end the game in a deadlock.

Cohon Myers slides safely into home past Wellesley catcher Carmine Chiarello

Cole Zacher swings at an upcoming pitch.

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New Hamburg woman donates “locks of love” for fellow employee undergoing cancer treatment

Claudia Cormier cuts through one of four, 15-inch ponytails of her sister-in-law Doris Weicker's hair Thursday morning at the Maple Leaf Poultry plant in New Hamburg. The hair is going to Locks of Love to make wigs for people undergoing treatment for cancer, including a fellow employee at Maple Leaf.

Doris Weicker is often the first person to organize a card, cake, or gathering when another employee is having a birthday, retiring, getting married or having a baby.

So when a fellow employee at the New Hamburg Maple Leaf Poultry processing facility was diagnosed with cancer, Weicker immediately stepped in to offer help.

On Thursday morning she collected $850 in bids from friends and fellow employees. The highest bidder won the chance to cut her hair. Her 15-inches of shiny, auburn hair will be sent to children’s cancer support agency Locks of Love to make two wigs, one for a boy and one for Owen Bou, the co-worker Weicker has been visiting once a week as she undergoes chemotherapy.

Bou and her husband both work at Maple Leaf and in the seven months since her diagnosis and treatment, he’s taken several days off work to be by his wife’s side.

“They both had to take quite a bit of time off so this money is helping to pay the bills,” Weicker says, holding pictures of Owen in hospital. “She’s doing very good on this last treatment so we’re thinking positive.”

Helping people Weicker cares about runs in the family. Her twin, six-year-old granddaughters Amara and Jayda Primmer were there for the haircut, offering to paint anyone’s nails for a toonie donation. The twins also stuffed a jar with jellybeans and were asking for donations to guess the amount and win the jar full.

As Weicker was about to announce the winning bidder, her sister-in-law Claudia Courmier waved a $100 bill to claim the opportunity to work the scissors.

The small crowd of employees applauded and within minutes Weicker was sporting a tightly-cropped new do.

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Dry weather, dry lawns and the region’s water conservation bylaw

Sprinklers were running full tilt this morning, soaking the fresh sod at the new housing development on Captain McCallum Drive in New Hamburg. Sod and grass seed can be watered for up to 14 consecutive days after planting according to the Region of Waterloo's water conservation bylaw. A permit is required.

Although you may be tempted to set up the sprinkler to give your thirsty lawns some relief from the heat this week, you might want to consider the Region’s Water Conservation Bylaw 07-069 (and amendments), which limits outdoor water use to specific days and times. By complying with the bylaw you avoid a fine, help to reduce peak water use and limit the risk of an outdoor watering ban.

Residents are prohibited from watering their lawns outside of specific days and times based on their address. Watering of gardens, trees, shrubs and other outdoor plants; washing a car with a hose; and topping‐up of permanent residential pools is also permitted within specific time frames.

Lawn watering is permitted from 5:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

House numbers ending in 0 or 1 may be irrigated within the designated times only on Mondays; addresses ending in 2 or 3 may be irrigated within the designated times only on Tuesdays; 4 or 5 may be irrigated within the designated times only on Wednesdays;  6 or 7 may be irrigated within the designated times only on Thursdays; and 8 or 9 may be irrigated within the designated times only on Fridays.

More information is available here.

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Castle Kilbride hosts summer concert series

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Local girls help Cheer Sport Sharks win international cheerleading competition

Four students from Waterloo Oxford participated at the Future Cheer UK International competition this past weekend with the Cheer Sport Sharks and helped the Cambridge-based club win the championship.

Cassandra Detweiler, Jenna Biernaskie, Rachel Connors and Bronte Soper are still in England for their team’s big win.

Cassandra, Jenna and Bronte were also on a cheerleading team that won the Canadian National Championship back in May in Niagara Falls. Bronte also competed with another Cheersport team at the World Cheer Leading Championship at Disney World in April where they placed fifth in the world, competing against teams from many countries.

The Cheer Sport Sharks left Toronto on June 28 and spent a few days sightseeing in London before heading to Bournemouth for the competition on July 2 and are heading to Paris to sight-see and spend some time with a French team before returning home on July 8.

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First-ever Canada Day parade at Morningside a success

Doreen and Bob Brydon ride in Morningside’s first Canada Day parade.

The Morningside retirement community decided to step up its celebrations for Canada’s birthday by starting its own parade to complement New Hamburg’s bigger celebration.

About 20 golf carts were decorated with red and white maple leafs and then paraded through the neighbourhood on the morning of July 1. MP Harold Albrecht was on hand to join the parade.

Around 150 people attended a post-parade barbecue, said Shirley Koehler, who organized the event with Mike Disney.

“It just makes you happy to be a Canadian and happy to live in Morningside. It’s a pretty active community,” Koehler said. “It was truly a great success.”

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Pestell Group gives to St. Agatha girl’s haircut for cancer

The Pestell Group in New Hamburg gave $1,300 to Rebecca Vitello's cancer fundraiser last week.

After a year and a half without a haircut, Rebecca Vitello was finally ready to lose her locks.

But her hair won’t go to waste, as the Grade 8 student from St. Agatha donated the trimmings to make a wig for cancer patients.

“I’ve always had long hair,” she said. “Since it’s a lot, I thought that I could give it away.”

“I’m kind of excited and kind of scared.”

Rebecca is also collecting donations to help children in cancer treatment. She had already raised $3,000 when the Pestell Group in New Hamburg jumped onboard to help reach her goal of $5,000.

Pestell gave almost $1,300 after employees raised money through barbecues and regular $2 collections. The company then gave more money to triple the employees’ efforts.

The New Hamburg company holds fundraisers throughout the year, and always chooses local charities. Pestell doesn’t have a personal connection to the Vitellos but employees decided to help after seeing Rebecca’s newspaper advertisement.

The haircut happened on July 3, at the Petersburg Optimist Club’s Breakfast in the Park. But Rebecca is still collecting donations until the end of July.

The money raised will go to London’s Children’s Health Foundation and the Optimist Childhood Cancer Program.

Donations can be made online at or more information is available at 519-746-2251.

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The last few months were busy for Waterloo-Oxford students

Drew Bryant and Chris Thomson hosting the Crusader Choice Awards.

Year End Crusader Report

Chris Thomson
For the Independent

Well it’s over, it’s all over. This year went by fast, and that’s an understatement. It seemed like just yesterday that the grade nines were walking into the bleachers at the Welcome Back Assembly as the Rocky theme played and the other students applauded.

Now, the year-end assembly has already passed us by. The school year at Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School ended on a very good note.

The season of spring had spring sports, Spring Fling Dance, charity work, Barnyard Bash, Crusader Choice Awards, as well as trips to Italy, Hawaii, Chicago, Washington, New York, and Ottawa. Outdoor sports at W-O were very frustrating this year due to weather. Soccer had a very tough time getting in all the games needed, track and field was strenuous but managed, whereas rugby just got really muddy, but they didn’t seem to mind.

Since so many games were cancelled due to weather, many teams had their playoffs bumped to the start of June.

Trips have come to be very noteworthy events here in Crusader Country. Since the school is nonsemestered trips cause less class time to be missed.

The first out of school adventures was in March Break when the Duckies (girls field hockey team) went to Italy to compete. Next to come was the girls rugby off to compete in Hawaii (boys teams just never seem to go anywhere!) The music groups of W-O went off to Chicago to get a taste of the Windy City.

Later to come was the American History classes off to Washington. The Travel and Tourism course departed to New York shortly after, followed by Grade 10 History to Ottawa.

The Special Events department of W-O’s Student Activities Council put on yet another successful school dance.

The University of Laurier was the host to Spring Fling this year and they did a good job of containing the Crusaders. Las Vegas was the theme and the good times reflected that…just without the ‘losing tons of money gambling’ part.

Charity events were once again extremely successful this season.

Students Without Borders celebrated “5 Days for Freedom” from May 2-6. Throughout the week many performers and speakers came to W-O to preach how lucky we all have it here.

On May 17 there was a Japan Earthquake Benefit night where many talents were on display, an art auction was held, and former W-O student Mike Schroeder talked about his year in Japan before the earthquake.

The Crusader Choice Awards came around once again on May 26. Upcoming Co-Presidents Drew Bryant and Chris Thomson hosted the Hollywood themed event as many students and teachers were recognized with awards such as “Best Facial Hair”, “Cutest Couple”, “Best Ride”, “Celebrity Look-a-Like”, and “Most Involved Teacher”. “Stars” presented the awards (not really, just students pretending to be stars, but we’re trying to get the actual Rebecca Black for next year) and Drew and Chris took their much anticipated Co-Prez initiation.

This involved a strip of leg hair being waxed off and a pie getting thrown in the face at the same time! The day after was Barnyard Bash. This was an outside event taking place during an extended lunch period. The goal was to have some fun before exams and remind students that summer’s actually coming up.

It’s safe to say it did just that. There were barbequed burgers and hot dogs, human bowling, an obstacle course for the ages, watermelon eating contest, and a performance by the winners of W-O’s Got Talent, Taylor Pfaff and Ben Brenner.

After much construction throughout the year, Waterloo-Oxford became completely wheelchair accessible with the opening of their two elevators. This along with the production of an outdoor classroom mark many changing times in Crusader Country.

The end of the year also means award time at W-O. There were dozens of awards given out from athletics, to music, to much more. Performer of the Year was given to Matt McGrath for his contributions to the music department. Even though the Crusader Choice Awards had a lot of funny awards, there was however a serious one that if received demands lots of respect. Mr. Van Eek brought home Most Involved Teacher for all he does outside of the classroom.

Lastly, Helaina Shantz received female athlete of the year while Erich Woolley won the male equivalent.

Well, it’s all over. Another great year at W-O has come to an end. Everyone just has to finish up their exams and they’re off for another summer. The graduating students look back at their senior year and are either saying: “Wow, I’m going to miss this place” or “Wow, that was awesome, I’m coming back for a fifth year!”

As for all us returnees, we’re anxiously awaiting the start of school when we can applaud the Grade 9s to the Rocky theme once again.

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