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Follow Me on TwitterPhillip Blancher is a writer, web geek and communications professional by trade. He has written for a number of publications in Eastern Ontario and Northern New York State and also was a weekly morning show contributor for two area radio stations. As a resident of South Dundas for the last seven years, this long-time political buff has taken on an appreciation of small-town/rural life while also being a father of four and a soccer coach. Blancher's columns on will cover a range of his interests from politics, parenthood, local history and on his favourite NHL team, the Buffalo Sabres. If you have questions or wish to contact Phillip, you can email him at
While I was away
Phillip Blancher

While I was away
Florida Palm Trees, photographed at Fort DeSoto Park, St. Petersburg, Florida.

South Dundas - March 19, 2012 - I've been away for the last week on vacation down south and for the first vacation so far back as I can remember, I unplugged from the news back home. It was hard to get used to not having a Blackberry attached to your hip or constantly seeing Twitter updates. By day three though I was enjoying the quiet. However back to the real world and as such, back to what's going on in the world.

- I came home from vacation with two very wonderful pieces of mail. First my interim property tax bill, and second my utility bill. According to the news, the taxes in the United Counties are going up 3.1 per cent. Great, more taxes, same potholes. South Dundas is keeping things in line again reducing taxes by 3.24% (try that sometime Cornwall) but with MPAC assessments going up, we'll still pay more. More for less, the mantra of the future. I am thinking about taking up a private fund to put some sidewalks in and around Morrisburg. Seems like the last time a new sidewalk was laid here was during the Seaway Construction. My utility bill this month (Combined Water/Electricity) was $400! My household consumption is down 15% from five years ago, but my bill is almost double. If Dalton McGuinty's plan for Energy Conservation is to make enough Ontarians move out of the province to lower demand, he's a genius.

- Dalton McGuinty's idea for helping Ontario to get out of debt is to increase the places you can gamble, including a casino in Toronto and in Ottawa. Great idea. Gambling is a tax on stupidity. Since the major cities in the province are what kept McGuinty in office, let the stupid be taxed.

- Bell Canada is trying to buy Astral Media for many wheelbarrow loads of cash. For shareholders of both, this will be great; for us the end consumer of radio/television/newspapers/web it will mean more losses of a diversity of voices. Sadly there is no room in the radio/television world for independents. Lucky for us the Internet enables credible independents to thrive. Sure there will always be muckraking individuals with low moral fiber that would make William Randolph Hearst complain about ethics, but just like bullies in life, if you stop paying attention to them they eventually go away. Independent sites like and small town papers like the ones in Morrisburg, Chesterville, Maxville and Winchester are the future to providing diversity. I don't think the Bell deal with succeed without some major concessions.

- The first of four meetings is scheduled this week in Morrisburg for South Dundas' "plan for the future" plan, about a plan, to plan to make a plan. One of the great things about living in South Dundas is that we plan to never run out of things to plan for. Just in the seven years I've lived here, we've had three waterfront planning committees. I currently sit on this incarnation of the planning committee, and it's good I have no plan to run for election anytime soon as waterfront plans seem to be the undoing of those sitting on, or that have aspirations to be on, municipal council. This new planning meeting is to come up with a great vision of where we want South Dundas to be in 10 years. Something to plan for, no? I think the only thing this township could plan better, is to plan on how to keep the taxes down at the county level.

- A pleasant treat coming back from Tampa/Clearwater is the weather. Not putting the coats away yet, but my sons were all asking for their bikes this morning on the way to school. Looks like that groundhog was right for a change.

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