AUG 2021

August newsletter

  1. Fermo writes
  2. City Councillors speak
  3. Books – WAG news
    New York Times Bestselling author guest
  4. Canadian authors I recommend
  5. Can you help us?
  6. How long are you going to live…CALCULATOR
  7. The best “RECIPES” site for home chefs
  8. Upcoming calendar


Summer’s slipping by, too quickly. The weather, agreeable. For us in southern Ontario, very nice.

Other areas of Canada, not so good. Forest fires raging around western cities and northern Ontario, deluging floods washing away their homes, their villages in China and Japan, and COVID DELTA variant just adding fuel to the fire. Almost makes news watching something to avoid.

But we have no choice but to go on, making the best of it where we live and hope and pray for those who are experiencing turmoil and destruction, that what they are experiencing will soon be behind them.

Our newsletter reflects the doldrums of midsummer, not much happening except as noted above with the destructive problems in other areas. The newsletter is available online as “AUG 2021” as found in the OPINIONS/NEWSLETTER section of the website:


  1. Fermos writes…and he’s worried

Pet owners are returning to the office as our pandemic situation improves, though that is questionable. As masters return to regular office work, pets are left home alone and this causes problems for some pets.

Pets, pandemic and pet anxiety
Be aware that pets experience emotional problems too, fear, stress, frustration and anxieties. As we begin returning back to near normal times, some pet owners may be returning to their offices. Pets, accustomed to having you around all day, may find this new separation distressing. They may display symptoms of the distress by chewing up things, scratching furniture or damaging doorways. You may even hear them vocalize their distress as you leave and close the door.

Condition your pet for separation
So consider preparing your pet for separation anxiety. Leave them at home, alone for short intervals to accustom them to your being away longer. Listen for any vocalization or activity through your door. Some pets find comfort from soft music or a talk radio station. Try it, but not too loudly. Gradually increase the time of separation assessing the reaction of your pet to each longer period of time.

Upon returning
Try to avoid over-exciting your pet, both, on departure and on return. Speak gently and comfortingly to your pet, praising it for “guarding the house; being so good; having a nice quiet time on its own.” It is surprising how some gentle talk can comfort your pet and reduce their anxiety and stress with your departure.

Avoid making mountains
If your pet shows minor or little separation anxiety, wonderful. Avoid drawing attention to that, thereby increasing the stress level. A little soft music, a bit of talk radio at low volume will do wonders to make your pet feel comfortable at being left alone. I like Richard turns on my favourite station, Zoomer radio.

For seriously separation-stressed animals
Seriously separation-stressed pets may display their anxiety in destructive ways, torn couch pillows, ripped curtains, scratched furniture, even chewed up door jams. If your conditioning attempts fail, then you may need to consult with your vet for professional advice. Some vets may prescribe low doses of tranquilizers to calm the pet and reduce its level of anxiety. However, comfort via chemicals should be a last resort. Better to try safer, more natural methods to avoid toxic harm.

Pet “separation anxiety” is a real concern
Anxiety over being separated from its master is a real emotional problem for some pets. Observe your pet as best as you can while leaving it on its own and assess if it has any problems. Some vocalization may take place, likely short lasting. Some pets will pace around the home but eventually will settle into some restful place. Make your home as comforting as possible for your pet for when you are going to be away for a longer time. Close the curtains, close doors to rooms where the pet seldom goes, turn on the radio, low volume and your pet will likely do just fine. Reassure them quietly before leaving them. But remember, when you return, avoid making a big commotion. Your pet is happy your back. Don’t make a mountain about it.

And if worse comes to worst, just give them a book to read. …ha, ha, ha…just kidding.

the Scottie


  1. City Councillors speak

Councillors are busy people working in the community, on various committees, and on the City council. We are very fortunate when they can find time to add a personal comment about the City to our newsletter.

The biggest news about Pickering is about the new City Centre Project.

We thank Councillors Brenner and Pickles for their input about the new project.

Maurice Brenner
Councillor Ward 1

City of Pickering’s biggest, most expensive infrastructure project

The City of Pickering Council will be discussing the City Centre project and its financial implications this fall.

There are 3 new buildings that are being considered:

  1. New Central Library
  2. New Senior/Older Adult and Youth Centre
  3. Performing Arts Centre.

Currently, the of this project is estimated pre-COVID-19 $188 MILLION DOLLARS.

An independent cost consultant has been retained to prepare a cost analysis based on Post COVID-19 construction estimates and potential operating costs.

Tax revenues will be insufficient
Capital cost of the buildings such as the Library and the Senior/Older Adult Youth Centre will be funded primarily from Development Charges. However, the Performing Arts Centre will require Pickering to find other funding sources which will impact tax payers through increased debt financing as well as re-prioritizing other projects.

City asks for citizen feedback
The City Centre project will be one of Pickering’s largest facility infrastructure projects in its history which is why it is important to generate your feedback. The city asks citizens to their feedback regarding the project. Should the project move forward in stages? In its entirety at one time?

Visit the City of Pickering City Centre Website Page at CITY CENTRE PAGE.

Maurice Brenner
Durham Regional Councillor Alternate
City Councillor Ward 1
City of Pickering

Dave Pickles
Councillor Ward 3

Pickering City Centre

Many residents have asked me about the new and dynamic changes coming to our downtown. While most are very excited about the plans, some understandably have questions and concerns.

Long-term area residents have seen many changes over the decades. They’ll remember the drive-ins and motels, which were followed by the construction of City Hall, Central Library and the Pickering Recreation Complex, followed by the Tridel Discovery/Casitas condo development, which remained the largest development in Pickering for decades. Some residents had concerns with these changes at the time, but the area today is one of the most urban and vibrant in Pickering.

Since then, there have been changes in the economy, demographics, climate change/environmental concerns, and community planning. The Province of Ontario directs much of the planning policy, which then gets reflected in our municipal planning. You may not be aware, but the province designated some communities, including Pickering’s downtown, as urban growth centres, which are defined as mixed-use, higher density, and public-transit-oriented developments.

As such, the Province has made significant investments in transit, including the Pickering GO station and Durham Bus Rapid Transit; requires greater densities and infilling in the surrounding areas and main transit nodes and corridors. The vision is more vibrant downtown cores, which means more transit and pedestrian-oriented developments, less dependence on cars, less use of greenfields for development, less contribution to climate change, a variety of more housing choices, more affordable housing options, and more cost-efficient services. Many communities are undergoing these transformations.

Like any municipality, as we grow, we plan for and build important municipal facilities for residents’ use such as libraries and community centres. Years before now, we determined a need for a new library and a new youth/seniors centre, and there has long been an interest in a performing arts centre. These facilities will go ahead as residents need them. Although the facilities could proceed at different time frames and separate locations, we believe that doing them together in a city centre concept would make them greater than the sum of their parts.

From here, our conversation turns to the revitalization of the Pickering downtown core. Pickering’s City Centre is undergoing a dramatic makeover, rapidly evolving into a gathering place and destination – a piazza – for residents, visitors, and businesses alike. This landmark project includes civic facilities such as the previously mentioned arts centre, a brand-new central library, a combined seniors and youth centre, and private condominium/apartment towers and businesses, all of which will be seamlessly connected via activated and pedestrian-friendly walkways. Mayor Ryan and I believe that projects like the new arts centre are a reflection of the City coming of age and embracing its full potential. The goal is to create a downtown core, which we have lacked until now, where residents come together in support and celebration for large community events and cultural festivals such as a Christmas Market, an Asian Market, and a Maple Leaf Stanley Cup victory party (one can hope!).

We are being very cautious, which is why we delayed the project during the pandemic to see the impact on the economy and revenues. For example, the delay of the opening of Pickering Casino Resort delayed revenue sharing to the City. The casino is now open and a portion of that revenue will now flow to the City.

We are getting further information, design refinements, and cost estimates to the City Centre project in order for the City staff and Council to make good financial decisions. There would also be a financial impact of not going ahead, as costs will likely increase every year we wait and residents would not be able to enjoy the facilities in the interim. These facilities have been part of our development and financial planning process for years, in our development charges studies, and we have dedicated reserve funds; we are now continuing this planning work with more detailed plans.

Ensuring residents have accurate information and input is always important. That is why we continue to engage the public. Please visit to learn more about the City Centre project and have your say.

We are receiving many inquiries and comments about the project, facilities and costs. I have heard a lot of public support and some concerns which will assist us in the decision-making process. You are welcome to contact me at or the City directly at 905.683.7575 to learn more and provide your input. This is truly an exciting time for Pickering and we want you to have an active role in our growth and maturation as a city.


Dave Pickles
City Councillor Ward 3
City of Pickering


  1. Books – WAG news

WAG Guest Speaker:

New York Times Bestselling Author:  Alka Joshi

Sept 15, 7 pm

Alka Joshi, New York Times Bestselling author of “The Secret Keeper of Jaipur,” will be guest speaker at the Sept 15, 7 pm,  ZOOM meeting of WAG (Writers Association).

You are invited to hear Ms. Joshi speak about her book and her goals in writing it.

Richard’s comments:
Ms. Joshi feels people’s lives are enriched by greater exposure and knowledge of other cultures and nationalities. One of her aims in writing “The Secret Keeper of Jaipur” was to broaden their knowledge about one of India’s cultural and historical jewels, the state of Rajasthan, with its crowning gem, the capital city of Jaipur.

Every page of her book polishes the beauty and richness of the region, its history, its societies, its traditions and its culture. She brings all this to life through a riveting tale woven with romance, suspense, danger and even eroticism.

Each page draws the reader more deeply into an already engaging story. In reading the book, one can enthusiastically support its popularity and understand why it has received acclaim as a New York Times Bestseller.

Watch for Richard’s review of “The Secret Keeper of Jaipur” soon.

To REGISTER for ZOOM invitation:
     Contact Richard at


  1. Canadian authors, I recommend

 At of sounding repetitive, but we do promote writers, mostly Canadian ones but a few International ones, please in your next book selections, please give the these Canadian authors serious consideration:

Cheryl Bristow: A Shield in the Shadows
Ruth Coghill: Unborn, Untold
Kathleen Gauer: The Wish Carvers (children)
Dennis Gazarek: Be the Awesome Man
Eva Henn: Towards the Light
Peta-Gaye Nash: Bushyhead (children)
Howard Pell: Fitness author (Financial/physical)
Rick Pyves: Midnight Madness
Sheila Tucker: Rag Dolls and Rage

The Wish Carvers
By Kathleen Gauer

When two sibling elves, Fay and Eddie, come across an old carving knife with the words, “what’s carved with me will come to be” on the handle, they decide to carve and paint a pot of gold, a large stone cottage, and finally a fairy tale castle. But with each wish granted comes more and more complications. Can they find a way to return to their peaceful life?

Be the Awesome Man
By Dennis Gazarek

“Be the Awesome Man” presents frank advice for today’s generation of underachieving young men. Written for young men and their parents, it gives proven methods for taking responsibility and control of one’s destiny. Combining old-fashioned wisdom with practical advice, this book offers a better way of life for young men who want to break out of mediocrity and underachievement.

Towards the Light: A Journey of Freedom
Eva Henn

A memoir about the author’s family and their horrendous and terror-filled escape from Hungary during its 1956 Revolution. An emotional and heart-wrenching tale of a refugee family’s survival and new arrival to Canada. Any reader will find the story frightening but also heartwarming as the author emphasizes the power of family and family love.

by Peta-Gaye Nash

Bushyhead is the story of a young girl, Miranda May, who is teased at school because of her bushy hair. She wishes she had different hair. Her mother takes her to a children’s hospital where the children in the ward have no hair. The story is a gentle introduction to the topic of compassion, self-esteem, black hair pride, looking for solutions that help others, and about cancer and hair loss.

Fitness Guru: Financial and Physical
Howard Pell

Upon retiring, Pell recognized that without consistent attention and focus his financial and physical well-being could take a beating. First, he devoted himself to the financial aspect. Then, as he is a man on the move, travelling internationally, he felt his physical well-being needed attention. The result of all this retirement reviewing and re-examination, two super books that can help you improve your retirement years.

 Night Madness
Courage, Sacrifice and Betrayal
by Rick Pyves

What began as curiosity about family history and family roots became a literary output of pride and praise. Pyves wrote two books about his family’s service during the wars of the 20th century, two outstanding books filled with sentiment, respect and recognition of the sacrifices his family made for the nation. The books are filled with emotional recall and moving praise that increase readers’ appreciation of the men who have sacrificed so much for Canada.

Rag Dolls and Rage: Why Did I Put Myself Through This?
Sheila E. Tucker

Am I a glutton for punishment? Well, no. No more than anyone else. So why, if the events in my book happened so long ago, did I want to open Pandora’s box?

The reason I began writing Rag Dolls and Rage ten years ago was my own need to “get it all out.” To make sense of my turbulent childhood. Memories suppressed for decades were demanding attention.

This first reason eventually turned into three.

The second being: to help others who were scarred by their early experiences and to provide their friends and family with greater insight into those events. This understanding comes in later chapters of my book chronicling visits to my discerning therapist. Some of these conversations are carefully documented. And fascinating, I promise you.

My third objective is to raise money for charity through sales of my memoir. I wanted something meaningful to come from my unhealthy early experiences.

And what that “something” is, is SAVIS (Sexual Abuse and Violence Intervention Services). I chose this organization to receive my donations because they do important work in the community. For instance, they have a 24-hour crisis line; accompany victims of abuse to courts or to hospital and visit schools and retirement homes to talk about rights and boundaries. Also, they advocate, supporting victims of human trafficking and conflicted teens, offering counseling and seminars.

I wish a service like SAVIS had been around when I was on the receiving end of repeated physical and verbal abuse. I could have benefited greatly from the counseling and assistance they provide. Today, there are boys and girls, women and men, who are dealing with similar ongoing trauma. Thank goodness there is more recognition and help available. However, such organizations are often not adequately funded. SAVIS has an office and several fulltime salaried professional workers, and they also have a vast array of volunteers who, for example, answer the crisis line and can speak to distressed people in multiple languages. SAVIS deserves our support.

To cut a long story short, writing my memoir turned out to be much bigger than therapy. It became a vision of how I could help others.

Many who have read Tucker’s book. Here are just a couple of my reviews:

Sheila Tucker is avidly involved in her community work with SAVIS.

Copies of Rag Dolls and Rage can be purchased on Amazon or directly from her site at Rag Dolls and Rage.


5. We need your help

Do you have any suggestions that you think could help to improve our website?

  1. Which area do you feel is most useful?
  2. Which area would you remove?
  3. What area would you like to see added?

    Here are areas which I use:

  • Health and safety
  • BOOKz
  • COOKz

Send your feedback to


6. How long are you going to live?…CALCULATOR

A number of visitors have requested we repeat this ‘calculator.’ We are adding our “How long will you live?“ calculator again.

Barring unforeseen incidents such as accidents, natural disasters and such, there is no way to guarantee a long life. Common sense adherence to good diet practices, regular moderate exercise and sensible precautions, one will live a long time. 72 years is the average old-age life in the industrially advanced countries of the globe, with Norwegians living the longest.



7. The best “RECIPES” site for home chefs


There are many, many sites offering good recipes, cooking directions and kitchen tips, Yummly, Allrecipes, Simplyrecipes, to name a few and they are all very good. If you like personality, try Alton Brown but don’t be fooled, Brown’s career began in acting, not cooking. Ina Garten is a favourite because her recipes are very tasty but they are more complicated in the making.

My favourite recipes site at this time is FOOD TALK DAILY 
The site displays tight snapshots of the dish of the recipe. The recipes are give you background details but if you are impatient, just “jump to the recipe” and poof…you’re there: recipe details, ingredients, instructions and handy tips, all in short, point form on individual cards. The beauty of the site, good tasting recipes notwithstanding, is that you can read background information if that’s your interest or you can jump to the recipe, clean and simple from almost anywhere.

Clean, succinct, easy-to-make, and good tasting results. I like this recipes site.






  1. Mark your calendar

Aug 19: WAG Writers Advisory Group – Bus. mtg
Sept 1: Critiquing evaluators meet
Sept 15:    New York Times Bestselling author
                 WAG Association Guest Speaker:
                 Alka Joshi


We wish you a safe and healthy summer.


Richard, Fermo and the Director

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