Canaan Connexion ~ Columns 

As seen in the
Click here to go to Vision Newspaper site

~ By Line ~
( Canaan columns appearing in the Vision )
By Patrick Meikle
Click here to read columns #1 - #66
Click here to read columns #86 - #99
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May 21, 2004  #85 - Canaan Crew cleans up road
May 21, 2004  #84 - If you live here, care for your community
Apr. 30, 2004  #83 - Rumors, reminders ‘n ruminations

( Due to other assignments, the Canaan Connexion column has been sporadic this
year. We'll do our best to add missing columns if we can. -pwm )

Jan. 16, 2004  #78 - High speed on the Net, low speed on deadlines
Nov. 14, 2003  #71 - From elections to turtles... pas mal slow
Nov. 7, 2003  #70 - November 10 and 11, two important dates
Oct. 31, 2003  #69 - Voting, Félio congratulations, Canaan lights
Oct. 24, 2003  #68 - Mea culpas to missing cats
Oct. 17, 2003  #67 - More on signs, silliness... and, dumb and dumber!
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#85 - Canaan Crew cleans up road

Part of the Canaan Road Clean-up crew enjoy rest and refreshments after a tough morning
fending off mosquitoes, black flies, dirty ditches and a few careless and speeding motorists.
The three hour job netted over 17 large garbage bags of litter. Photo - Patrick Meikle.

The 2004 Canaan Road Clean-up Day was a huge success, thanks to the 18 volunteers who showed up from the Canaan, Blue Jay Ridge and Forest Hill areas last Saturday.

“We cleaned up both sides of Canaan Road from Highway 174 south to the end of the pavement past Blue Jay Drive, picking up over 17 large garbage bags of litter,” says organizer Patrick Meikle. “Last year we had a few more volunteers and we were able to go south as far as Vinette. Next year we would like to get help to do Baseline and Joanisse as well.”

The volunteers included from Forest Hill: Brent, Jonathan and Christopher Neidy; Philip Irvin; Tony, Denis and Colin Weir; Thomas, Alexa and Justine Hermann; Morlen and Andrew Reynolds (Canaan Road); Tyler Bedell (Clarence Creek); Alex Pepper (Hammond); and from Blue Jay Ridge: Mario Lacoursiere; Austin, James, Jordan and Patrick Meikle. More...

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#84 - If you live here, care for your community
To give new readers a bit of an update, this column is an extension of a community news Internet Web site called the Canaan Connexion which focuses on the Canaan Road area, the western border between Clarence-Rockland and the City of Ottawa.
We carry news and information aimed at our local quarter, but we try to make the missives general enough so that they will be of value to all residents on both sides of Canaan Road.
Most readers offer positive feedback about our musings, some find the column provocative, while others have expressed complete disdain and called the writings offensive. In the final analysis we hope that the material will be helpful. And if readers sometime take umbrage with our remarks we hope at least that it will get them thinking. Your reaction is good because it proves that the column is being read. We don’t apologize for what we write, but in all sincerity it is not our intention to single out any one individual nor is it our intention to aggrieve or embarrass.
If we point our flaws in our community, such as the lack of stoop and scoop, or recycling, or road littering, or some of the half-witted things that some people do, it is because we care deeply about our community and the personal investment that we have made is settling here. We hope by writing about these things that it will make others concerned and aware.
We have to remember too that for the sizable percentage of us who have moved here from larger communities and cities across the country, this is not the City of Ottawa. We do not have the finances and the resources to enjoy the amenities that our big city brothers and sisters have. For many of us our homes are semi-rural and to enjoy
the privileges that we are blessed with we have to give and take and meet our city mandarins half way.
So if you live here, care for your community.

Canaan clean-up day - May 15
As reported on our Web site, the Clarence-Rockland Environmental Society (CRES) contacted us last week after they read the column. They wanted to advise that May 15 has been designated as clean-up day. The date was confirmed at this week’s City Council meeting. A rain date of May 29 was also confirmed.

So to residents of the Canaan Road area, please consider coming out on Saturday next week. This is a great community event, a chance to volunteer, to show pride in your community and an easy way to convey important values to your kids.
And remember, there will be NO spring pick up of heavy materials this year. This has been put off until September. The weekend of May 28, 29 & 30 has been designated as a free drop off time for materials to be brought to the landfill site.. More on this subject is available on our Web site.
Have you checked your gas O-rings?
A neighbour in Blue Jay Ridge has advised us that he and another resident have found O-rings on their natural gas pipe fittings to be corroded enough to create a potential hazard of gas leaking. If you have a natural gas hookup, you may want to check your gas O-rings for safety’s sake. While you are at it you may also want to check the O-rings on your gas barbecues because they also corrode with time.

Time for a community association.
A reminder that we are looking for people interested in reviving the old Blue Jay-Forest Hill Community Association. If you can help, please leave your name with Louise at: 833-3741.
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#83 - Rumors, reminders 'n ruminations
In words attributed to Mark Twain, "The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.” I have been on assignment. Sorry to disappoint those readers who have been pleased by my absence. Over the past week I have been rubbing shoulders with generals and company presidents. This morning it was back to reality, playing dolly domestic – walking the dog and washing dirty laundry.
Reminders with storms and trash pick-up
Those of us who live in one of the many Tempra homes who were affected by the overnight power failure a dozen days ago were reminded to check our water well pumps. If the electricity is off for a substantial period of time, the pumps sometimes have to be reset to start working again, otherwise we have no water. If this happens, let the water run a bit to avoid sedimentation/iron build up.
And another reminder that when there is a long weekend, the refuse pick up is delayed by one day. Over the Easter holiday, several neighbourhoods forgot, and found that a number of garbage bags were hit by flying and furry varmints, that littered laneways.
Canaan clean-up day
Thanks to the callers who have asked about the upcoming clean-up day. And no thanks to the thoughtless people who have once again littered our local roads to the point that it has prompted phone calls.
We have been waiting to see if the City would be holding a clean-up day so we could coincide ours with theirs however things may be on hold this year. There will NOT be a spring pick up. This is evidently put off until September. More on this subject on our Web site. We’ll announce our own clean-up day soon.
( Clean-up day - May 15. More... )
Time for a community association.
We mentioned this item last time and it bears repeating. Over the months, several residents of
Blue Jay and Forest Hill have expressed an interest in forming a community association. Many have genuine concerns about neighbourhood security, neighbourhood disputes, questioning City decrees, etc.
I just came off of two high-profile security conferences where one of the main themes was the importance of “Sharing of Information”. Had certain state departments shared their information, the world-changing events of 9/11 may not have happened.
Our community concerns pale by comparison but if we are in a better position to share information with each other, and community involvement will help, we can circulate news like neighbourhood street sales, events, cleanups, park supervision, block parents, neighbourhood watch, etc.
And if we “thing globally and act locally” we can culture ourselves to work together, to take on the challenges that face us as friends and neighbours. Who knows, it might rub off on others.
Good luck Jacques
Another “leaf” has been written in the Senators history book and we now know that local great, coach Jacques Martin has been fired. Too bad, nice guys deserve better. But in the world of high finances and million dollar players, the almighty buck it more important.
I for one was happy to see the series finished in the first round. Not just because I am a Leafs fan (Have they been knocked out yet'), but because the hokey hockey heckling and hounding has finally stopped. On Wednesday morning, after the Leafs final win, in spite of the strong wind, thee were more Senator flags drooping around the Canaan area than eyelids at a church sermon.
Good luck to Jacques though, he’s got lots of great teams ahead and pish on the Sens organization.
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#78 - High speed on the Net, low speed on deadlines
Today is “Hump Day”. No, Susan, it’s not what you think, so please don’t write a letter complaining to the editor.
Much to the chagrin of the editor and deadline, I usually write my columns on Wednesday. And of course if you have ever worked for any level of government, you know that Wednesday is Hump Day... the middle day of the week where we get over the hump and coast into the weekend.
This was a tough week to get going and the bitter cold and snow, which had to be cleared three times from the driveway, didn’t help. To top it off, what should have been an easy move of family furniture from Montreal to Ottawa on Tuesday, turned into a fifteen hour expedition, with lost car keys and a return trip to Laval to fetch our car, thrown in.
And though exhaustion was setting in as the job finished around midnight, a wild, white-knuckle ride home from the rental truck agency with an invincible young driver, was enough to prevent sleep with my adrenalin pumping into the wee hours. All this to say that this missive is just getting in by a whisker.
Internet availability for Canaanites
Blue Jay neighbour, Andrew was asking me last week what is available in our sector for high-speed Internet services. Like many families, as our children grow and use the Internet for home and school activities, the need for faster access becomes important.
The quick answer is that there are currently five I-net high-speed options, but they vary hugely in price and may not all be technically available to everyone. They include: Videotron cable modem (free installation and modem this month, up to $44.95 per month); Bell-Sympatico dial-up (under $50 monthly); Storm wireless ($400 hook-up, $50 monthly); and two satellite systems, Bell Direct PC, Express Vu($500-600 hookup for dish, $70 monthly, plus Internet provider charge for phone line uploading) and Linc-Sat, provided through our friends at Compufix in Rockland. The latter has a one-time dish and install charge of $1200, up to $99.95 monthly charges, but the best option if phone, cable and wireless not available in rural areas.
Bottom line is if speed is important, any of these options, if you can get them, are so much better than the current available to most of us, which is the old copper telephone lines and less than 50 per cent efficiency on a 56 K modem. More details on our Web site.
New yield to buses law
Let the bus back in. It's the law, as of January 2, 2004. For those of us who commute into the city, when you see a bus signaling to re-enter your lane from a bus stop, you must let the bus back into your lane, unless it is unsafe to do so. This has always been a courtesy. As of January 2, 2004, it is the law in Ontario. When you see the “Yield to Bus” sign on the back of the bus, it is there to remind you to let the bus back in.
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#71 - From elections to turtles... pas mal slow
It has been an interesting month so far, what with the elections finally behind us. How about those provincial Liberals, suddenly coming up with a $5.6 billion deficit? Talk about a surprise, of course they didn't know... duh! And the first thing on the agenda... our hydro bills will increase. On the local scene, Halloween is barely over and some residents are already putting up their Christmas lights. Putting up the lights is one thing, but in view of the energy crunch perhaps we can hold off turning them on at least until December.

A new face in Ward 5
Canaan Road has three wards on the Clarence-Rockland side, 1, 5 and 7. Wards 1 and 7 returned Richard Lalonde and Jean-Guy Giroux, but there's a new face for Ward 5. Congratulations to Kyle Cyr who took the seat away from Philippe Saumure with just over 85 per cent of the vote.
"Hard work paid off," said Cyr at the post election gathering at the Jean-Marc Lalonde Arena. There were two factors, "door to door seeing people" and "change... people wanted change."
Kyle Cyr's priorities include: "Being out there, keeping citizens informed, a periodical every three months, a strong voice at the table to make sure that the investments are equally dispersed between Clarence and Rockland," and a red light at Canaan and 174. "After three years I don't want to say I failed, but I'll be very disappointed.". (The full interview with Cyr and other council members is available on our Web site.)

Mayor, mayor on the wall
Who's the fairest of them all. A little play on words but we're not talking beauty here. The most surprising results of the Clarence-Rockland election was the race for the top job. There was never any doubt that his worship J.P.P. would win. What caught everyone off guard were the number of voters that his opponent was able to garner. The choice between Johnny Rock Rock and Rolly The-good were, I believe not so much a vote for the good as it was a protest against J.P.
I am neither a fan, nor a follower, but I believe "The Rock" has done a solid job (please, no phone calls!). He had to make some tough decisions that no doubt angered many constituents and spuriously swayed the electoral numbers. But come one, a loss would have set us all back immeasurably.
On the positive side, a clear message was sent to his worship and judging by the overall results, to the councillors as a whole. The people want change, the people want to be heard, and the council must communicate more effectively. So, lady and gentlemen, the writing is on the wall.

Turtle alert for volunteers
Rockland's Michele André-St. Cyr, affectionately know as the "turtle lady", tells us that her organization to preserve turtles, Turtle S.H.E.L.L. Tortue has an operational "Turtle Care Centre" at (613) 446-9927 or through:
She is putting out an urgent call for volunteers. First to assist with the care centre and secondly to gather small turtles at Petrie Island. The marsh area at the island is going to be filled in, starting this Monday, November 17. The area is inhabited by at least three species of turtles which are well into their hibernation cycle. Through a mis-communication, there was evidently no thought in trying to save this turtle population earlier in the season. While it is already late, Michele would like to gather some volunteers in an attempt to save the small turtles. If anyone can help you are urged to contact the turtle lady. More information on this subject. Click here.
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#70 - November 10 and 11, two important dates
Residents have two important dates to commemorate this coming week. The first is Municipal Election Day, Monday, November 10, the second is Remembrance Day, Tuesday, November 11. The two are closely allied, not just because one follows the other, but more importantly, if it had not been for November 11, we may not be able to participate in the election. Confusing? Let me explain.
Someone called me this week to ask if there was going to be a memorial service at the Grant Cemetery in Larose Forest. Through Internet research, I learned that there was a fascinating history about Grant and written by Cheney's own Alexandra de Quimper who in fact will be organizing their own annual Remembrance service at the Grant Cemetery. The information prompted me to remember my own November elevens.

Lest we forget
I was born during the Second World War. When I was a small boy, living in Saskatchewan, probably because the war was still fresh, Remembrance Day was greatly revered and the symbol to commemorate the occasion was the poppy. The theme was "Lest we forget".
There were poppies everywhere... poppy wreaths hung in every store window, large poppies were stuck to the insides of every automobile and we as school children were tasked with selling poppies throughout the town.
The day was a national holiday and we learned to observe it by gathering at local war memorials all around the country. In our town, the fire siren, which was also used to sound a nine o'clock curfew, blared at exactly 11 a.m. and the entire town stood still to observe the two minutes of silence to remember the fallen war dead. Almost 60 years later, I still take an hour or so to follow the remembrance practice, through the annual service which takes place at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, although I must admit I now watch it on television in the comfort and warmth of my own home.

Today, the ceremonies and remembrance are largely forgotten. Eighty-five years ago, after four years of bloody battles, the First World War drew to a close with the November 11, 1918 Armistice putting an end to the hostilities. It was on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

The Royal Canadian Legion
Remembrance is the cornerstone of The Royal Canadian Legion's work in Canada. The Poppy Campaign is a major source of funds used to assist veterans, ex-service people and their dependents. By perpetuating the memory and the deeds of the fallen, through the symbol of the poppy, the Legion preserves the records and memories in perpetuity.
By educating public opinion regarding national duties to the dead, the disabled and others who have served, as well as their dependants, the Legion strives for peace, goodwill and friendship among all nations.
This year the Legion is also commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Korean Armistice, to remember Canada's "forgotten war". You can learn more by visiting

Municipal elections
The point of my column is to remind us that if it had not been for the great sacrifices of our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers, we may have been flying the flags of other nations. We may not have had the freedom to express our opinions in writings like these. We may not have had the privilege, yes the privilege, of voting for the candidate of our choice.
So please, in the spirit of freedom and remembrance, take this great opportunity and vote. As we can now vote electronically by telephone or Internet, many of you will already have participated in your democratic rights.

Remembrance Day: Lest We Forget

Residents have two important dates to commemorate this coming week. The first is Municipal Election Day, Monday, November 10, the second is Remembrance Day, Tuesday, November 11. The two are closely allied, not just because one follows the other, but more importantly, if it had not been for November 11, we may not be able to participate in the election. More...
Indepth: Remembrance Day
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Canadians are asked to pause and remember the thousands of men and women
who sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom and democracy during the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War and during peacekeeping missions.

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#69 - Voting procedures, Félio congratulations, Canaan lights
Voting procedures mailed out
The City of Clarence-Rockland has now sent out official letters to all registered residents, informing them of how to vote in the upcoming municipal elections. You must vote either by telephone or via the Internet, using your own personal voter identification number and password.
The voting can be done anytime between 9 a.m., Wednesday, November 5 and 8 p.m., Monday, November 10, 2003. If you vote by Internet, you must have a Web browser capable of 128 bit security. If you are voting by telephone, you should not use insecure cell phones or party lines.
In the meantime, you can practice both methods. For Internet, go to:, and for telephone, go to: 1-888-401-8683. If you have any questions or need help, call the municipal office at: (613) 446-6022, ext. 287. We've included more on our Web site. Click here.

Congratulations Gabrielle Félio
Gabrielle, an eleven-year-old Canaan area homeschooler, is to be applauded for her 4th place honourable mention in a recent international essay contest. The endeavor is all the more remarkable, given there were over 5000 participants from 109 countries. Her story ran in last week's Vision, and is also carried on our Web site. Click here.

CCAAward and kudos... our councillors on anti-smoking

Our own little Canaan Connexion Appreciation Award (CCAA) (for those little acts of random kindness and good deeds that our residents perform) has to go out to the Clarence-Rockland City council members who voted on Tuesday evening in favour of passing the anti-smoking bylaws. It takes courage to vote on controversial matters that put great pressure on individuals.

The first bylaw (141 - smoking in public places) was adopted unanimously. The second bylaw (142 - smoking in workplaces) was passed with a vote of eight against one. The lone dissenter was our own councillor Philippe Saumure who also has be lauded for standing by his principles.

Canaan traffic lights and road work
What will it take to get proper traffic lights at Canaan and 174? Ottawa suggests that the traffic counts for vehicles coming off of Canaan do not warrant lights. However has the long lines of unbroken traffic traveling on 174 at rush hours been taken into consideration? It is only a matter of time before some driver's frustration is going to end in tragedy.
Coming home this week from Montreal, and turning south onto Canaan from the east, traffic was again non-stop with few openings. As we waited to turn, a driver on Canaan, trying to turn west onto 174, saw a break from the eastbound side and darted in front of us, forcing us to brake. The driver evidently did not see the oncoming westbound vehicle or did not judge its speed, because there was a near miss. The westbound car slammed on the brakes and hit the horn, and came within feet of smashing into the turning vehicle. What will it take?
Ironically, several crews complete with flag persons, warning cones and many vehicles, have been upgrading the guard rails and replacing the wood pylons with steel. How many thousands of dollars did this cost? The money would have been better spent towards lights.

Comments to the Editor?

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#68 - Mea culpas to missing cats
Apologies! Let's get this out of the way first. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! Our last column generated more calls and e-mails than any other put together. A number of people were upset at some of our musings. Thanks for your feedback, be they bricks or flowers. We would be happy to publish your opinions on our Web site, however in the spirit of editorial expression we cannot print your comments if you do not identify yourselves. Incidentally more readers agreed than those against. In fact many of the items were simply echoes of collegial sentiments. What do they say... don't shoot the messenger.
Smoke the smokers on October 28
We have spoken before about smokers density. You are not doubt aware that a motion is now before council to ban smoking in all public places in the City of Clarence-Rockland. Council should adopt this bylaw at a 7:00 p.m. Town Hall meeting next week, Tuesday, Oct. 28 in Clarence-Creek. We say should because while it looked initially as though the majority of council members would vote in favour of the bylaw, it appears that peer and public pressure from the pro-smoking advocates is causing some of the "pro" councillors to vacillate.
This is a very important decision that should not rely on politics to win or lose the day. The will of the constituents and the health of the community should be the first consideration. If this matter is important to you, you should attend the meeting to rally support in favour of the bylaw.
The "opposition" will be there in numbers. Let's butt them out. Come early to get a seat and let your councillor know how you feel. In Canaan country our representative is Philippe Saumure, (613) 488-2502. A list of all councillors and their phone numbers appears on the City's Web site.
Barrier free awareness meeting Oct.26
An equally important meeting is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. at the Grenon Independent Store in the "Upstairs" community room, which is disabled accessible. This informal gathering has been called to help interested persons develop a greater awareness for the needs of persons with disabilities in the Clarence -Rockland area and to advocate a better quality of life for them. You are encouraged to attend. For more information you can contact Rachelle Halpenny at (613) 446-4825.

CCAAward to the Cathy Cain rink rats
The Canaan Connexion Appreciation Award (CCAA) is for those little acts of random kindness and good deeds that our residents perform. Last Saturday a four or five man crew spent four hours of their own time building new boards for the skating rink at Cathy Cain Park in Forest Hill. They included "rink master" Tony Weir, Raymond Chretien, and City employees Alain Boivin and Louis Deault. Congratulations, gentlemen, our community salutes you. (Sorry I did not get the name of the others... hope to on the Web site.)

Where are those missing cats?
A resident on Joanisse who "always read your column" is a real cat lover and has been caring for and feeding many "outdoor cats" for over three years. In that time, up to five cats have disappeared. "I know we live in the country, and I know there are wild animals around... but I am just wondering if others had the same experience with cats?" Any ideas, readers?
E-mail us.
(Comments received... click here.)

Don't forget... this is "Fall Clean-up" weekend. See last week's Vox Populi.
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#67 - More on signs, silliness... and, dumb and dumber!
Ah the joys of living in the country in the fall. The explosion of colour is nothing short of spectacular. As it gets cooler gawd's little creatures are looking for warmth. Thousands of them hold conventions around our doors and windows... lady bugs, and spiders, and flies, oh my!
Halloween is in two weeks.
You can tell the homes that have children and grandchildren by the artistic designs that are going up. Check some of them out on our Web site. Last week we mentioned the full moon. It seems like the silliness continued. I'd love to know the story, uh, er, behind the ladies' black lace, gold trim thong, found on Canaan Road. The brand: 725 Originals; large; slightly stained, hmm! Just call our lost and found.
Signs not silly
Another election, a plethora of signs. Looks like some of our Clarence-Rockland councillors are going to have to "fight" to maintain their seats. Kind of a "CYA" approach says Rufus. The contests will also include the run up to mayor. We don't think J-PP will have problems shaking off the challenger, but he's putting up his signs anyway, and impressive they are.
What I find interesting about the sign on Blue Jay Drive is that there have been no apparent complaints about its position, near the intersection to Cardinal Crescent. And yet when our own tasteful and colourful "Blue Jay Ridge" sign was posted in the same general area, there was such a hue and cry from the landowners (we're told they complained to the mayor himself) that our sign was summarily removed and has never been "re-assigned".
Dumb and Dumber Award
We haven't given out the "Eh-nal Retentive" award for a few weeks and it's a toss up as to whom it should go. Perhaps readers can decide?
1. To the DDs (dumb drivers) who during the last weekend Ottawa Marathon, run through Cumberland Village, where a third of the roadway (including Old Montreal Road) was marked off to allow the hundreds of men, women and children to run, simply did not slow down, narrowly missing runners and oncoming vehicles; Duh!!
2. To the silly kids (or should it be the silly parents who allowed it) who sprayed Silly String along the sides of Cardinal Crescent and Blue Jay Drive. This stuff can corrod paint and stain clothes and is banned at summer camps. In fact one city's bylaw says: "Silly string is outlawed by city ordinance, and can ruin expensive uniforms on marchers, and damage paint on vehicles," and though it appears to be "non-toxic" it can't be that good for the environment and the many pets that sniff along the way. The Michigan Poison Control Centre has a fact sheet on the product at:
3. To the dorks (what else could you call them?) who dumped crumpled pieces of cement on driveway entrance to a farmer's field on Canaan Road. These would be the same geniuses who continue to litter our "Road" with fast food containers, liquor and pop containers, whole garbage bags, dirty diapers , tires, etc.
Rufus says there's no point in putting this in your column because these dumb rubes probably can't read anyway!
4. And what would you call the person(s) who shot up a turtle warning sign on Old Montreal Road at Beckett's Creek... not only dangerous but plain bloody stupid! Comments?
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( Patrick Meikle is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Blue Jay and operates the Canaan Connexion Web site.
If you have an opinion or comment, he can be reached at:
. )
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