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The Backing Bookworm

Eliza Starts A Rumor

Jane L Rosen came on my radar after I read and enjoyed her previous book Nine Women, One Dress. Now she's back with a story filled with secrets, lies and life struggles of four women.
As with Nine Women, One Dress, Eliza Starts A Rumour starts out with a lighter feel. But as the stories of these women collide, secrets are revealed and the timely, emotional issues take over the story. These issues had more depth than I had originally expected and included: mental health, parenthood, marriage, and different traumas (I won't go into details due to spoilers, but I will include a trigger warning at the end of my review). 
There is a lot of drama between these four women and while I found it to be a page turner, it also felt like the book was trying to do too much resulting in a bit of a chaotic and contrived feel. I liked getting different POVs from women from different generations, but there is a large cast and I sometimes found it hard to distinguish who was who, particularly when a few of the characters had names that began with the letter A. But the ending will give readers a solid kick in the feels and those who enjoy tidy endings will like how things wrap up here.
This suburban drama had more depth than I was expecting and with its timely issues it would make an excellent book club pick for readers looking for a slower paced but relevant story featuring female friendship, resilience, betrayals, and motherhood.
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

[Trigger Warning & possible spoilers below: .......

sexual assault, agoraphobia, repressed trauma, #metoo]

My Rating: 3.5 starsAuthor: Jane L RosenGenre: Contemporary FictionType and Source: trade paperback from publisherPublisher: BerkleyFirst Published: June 23, 2020
Opening Lines: Eliza Hunt sat in the parking lot of her local Stop & Shop. Her neck was soaked in sweat, her hands trembling uncontrollably.

Book Description from GoodReads: The author of Nine Women, One Dress delivers a charming, unforgettable novel about four women, one little lie, and the big repercussions that unite them all.
It wasn't supposed to happen this way. When Eliza Hunt created The Hudson Valley Ladies' Bulletin Board fifteen years ago she was happily entrenched in her picture-perfect suburban life with her husband and twin preschoolers. Now, with an empty nest and a crippling case of agoraphobia, the once-fun hobby has become her lifeline. So when a rival parenting forum threatens the site's existence, she doesn't think twice before fabricating a salacious rumor to spark things up a bit.

It doesn't take long before that spark becomes a flame.

Across town, new mom and site devotee Olivia York is thrown into a tailspin by what she reads on the Bulletin Board. Allison Le is making cyber friends with a woman who isn't quite who she says she is. And Amanda Cole, Eliza's childhood friend, may just hold the key to unearthing why Eliza can't step out of her front door.

In all this chaos, one thing is for sure...Hudson Valley will never be the same.

Funny, romantic, raw, and hopeful, this is a story about being a woman and of the healing power of  sisterhood.

Kitchener Minor Baseball

KMBA Practice Schedule


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Honeypot Marketing

Facebook Ads and What to Do When They Fail

Facebook Ads help can easily help your business market to the right audience, but there’s more to it than just sending out an ad and hoping you get bites. Read on to find out what you need to do when your Facebook Ads fail.

What’s New?

New in marketing this week:

  • TikTok replaces YouTube as the top VidCon sponsor.
  • YouTube adds new control options for shorts remixes.
  • LinkedIn Profile introduces Create Mode.
  • Instagram launches reels ads in all regions.

TikTok replaces YouTube as the top sponsor at VidCon – TikTok will be the title sponsor of this year’s VidCon US. It takes over a YouTube position every year since 2013, barring 2020, when the event was cancelled due to the pandemic.

YouTube Adds New Control Options for Shorts Remixes – With YouTube rolling out its TikTok-like Shorts in more regions, it’s also adding new options to give channel managers more controls over how Shorts creators can utilize their content. Including new analytics in the main app to help track Shorts’ performance.

Introducing Creator Mode On Your LinkedIn Profile – Creator mode is a new introduction as part of a recent Profile update. Turning on creator mode more prominently displays your content and encourages others to follow you.

Instagram Launches Reels Ads in All Regions – Instagram is pushing ahead with the expansion of Reels ads, with the new format to be made available in all regions from today.

What’s Working?

By setting up your campaigns right, Facebook Ads will drive high-quality engagements that produce value for your business.

They are often a much more profitable way to market your business than other advertising channels.

It’s important to set them up correctly to avoid Ads that fail or do not perform.

So let’s show you what to do so that your Facebook Ads succeed.

Top Reasons your Facebook Ads may be Failing ♦ Aggressive Retargeting

Retargeting can lead to Ad Blocking.

If you’re serving the same people through the web and see the same Ads, they’ll feel hunted and feel their privacy has been violated; this is also annoying for customers who have already been converted or made a purchase.

♦ Leads Funnel

Build a funnel, so it’s specific to their position in their Customer Journey.

People further down the funnel will receive new content and messaging to help you further nurture them.

Jab. Jab. Jab. Right Hook.

♦ Overly Broad Targeting

Relying on the Facebook AI to choose which people to target could be helpful if you have a newer service and are unsure of your targets.

For those who have an established service or product, broad targeting won’t help narrow down the specific audience you intend to reach.

♦ Be Specific & Narrow Your Audience

You want to make the most of your resources, so it’s beneficial to use narrow targeting.

Narrowing on a slightly smaller audience and focusing your ad spend there can produce better results.


♦ Cold Audiences

Audiences can be ranked from cold to hot, with the primary difference being how aware they are of your brand, product, and services. 

These targeted users might be aware of your business but aren’t familiar with the details and everything you offer. 

You want to avoid targeting them until you’ve warmed them up, or they most likely won’t convert.

♦ Warm Your Audience

It is important to re-engage your cold audience and ensure that you do not lose them forever.

You want to warm them up a bit before you spend resources targeting them with your offer.

Reintroduce these cold audiences to your product or service with fresh ad content, and start to build your connection.

♦ Not Using Audiences

Targeting your ads to a broad selection of people with hopes that they click or interact, is not an effective way of advertising.

Not using audiences leads to:

  • Indirect advertising efforts
  • Less engagement
  • Wasting your time, energy, and budget
  • Low conversion rates

♦ Use Custom & Look-a-Like Audiences

Why spend resources on people who aren’t interested in your product or service?

It is important to target based on real data with Custom Audiences.

Target your ads to specific audiences, and get your content in front of the eyes of the people it was designed for.


♦ Over-Targeting

Choosing a niche that is too small makes it harder for you to target effectively.

Only a percentage of the people you are targeting will see your ad, and an even smaller percentage will click.

You need a large enough audience to avoid having little to no Reach.

♦ Understand Your Audience

It’s not always about having the most people to target; it can come down to choosing the right niche.

A niche can be too small, and therefore, your resources are wasted on only a few people.

Find a niche that has enough of an audience to target.


♦Inconsistent Messaging

How well does your ads copy match the messaging of the content that it leads to?

Inconsistencies in messaging can lead to low conversion rates as the user may feel they aren’t in the right spot.

♦ Match your Message to your Content

Having your ad messaging match with your content (e.g., a landing page) helps your conversions.

Strong message match reassures people they’ve come to the right place.

Avoid having the CTA (Call to Action) go to your homepage.


♦ Neutral Message, Adding No Value

Neutral messages tell your reader something unpleasant or offer usual information.

Your audience needs to get something out of the ads they are clicking.

If it’s not useful, you’re most likely not getting the intended Reach.


♦ Use Positive or Negative Sentiment

What is your audience getting out of your content?

Give your audience the juicy information from the start to capture their attention.

Strong Call-to-actions can lead to more conversions.


♦ Manual Bidding

Manual bidding is available only for selected placements and is set when determining your budget.

If you lose the bids, you could potentially spend without any Reach.


♦ Automated Bidding

Facebook will work with its algorithm to find the lowest cost for what you’re bidding on.

It benchmarks your bids against other advertisers and determines how competitive getting your customers’ attention is.

Let the algorithm bid for you so that it can bid properly.

Winning With Your Facebook Ads

Keep it relevant – The content must be targeted and not generalized. CTA is important to focus on the leads funnel.

Target – Audience engagement is essential, and using niche marketing strategies helps your ads succeed.

Use the Algorithm to your advantage – By automated bidding process and boosting the content.

Focus on frequency – Number of times a post has a direct relationship with increment in engagement.


If you loved this read, then you’ll want to check out some of our other great reads:

Social Messaging and 8 Ways to Use It To Grow Your Business

Building your Brand in 2021

New Social Media Platforms You Should Consider In 2021

Using Cornerstone Content to Create a Winning Inbound Marketing Plan 10 Clever and Effective Lead Magnet Examples that will Generate Leads and Awareness

The post Facebook Ads and What to Do When They Fail appeared first on Canada's Leading SEO, Social and SEM Digital Shop.

Andrew Coppolino

Eggplant or aubergine: call it delicious

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You might know them as eggplants or you might know them as aubergines, but they are exactly the same plant. The English prefer the latter name, while in North America we use the former.

The eggplant is part of what is known as the “nightshade family,” the same family in which you’ll find potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers and tobacco. It’s also one of those food items that we call a vegetable but is really a fruit – and even more specifically, eggplant is a berry.

♦Steaming hot stuffed eggplant from dim sum (Photo/andrewcoppolino.com).

Ranging in length from just a couple of inches to a foot, the eggplant can be a wide range of colours too. There are Japanese and Asian eggplants and Italian and baby eggplants. The most common variety is the larger pear-shaped eggplant that is at peak season between August and September. The skin of older eggplants is tough and generally needs to be removed before used in cooking applications.

Cell structure science

One story of the large purple egg-shaped plant and how it might have reached further regions of the world is that an early version of it, likely originating in India or southeast Asia, may have at one time simply floated to another distant land and was eventually brought to North America.

It turns out that the cell structure inside the eggplant’s flesh would have allowed it to float – and it is the same cell structure that makes cooking, and especially frying, eggplant a little bit tricky.

Eggplant has a sponge-like flesh by virtue of miniscule air pockets between the plant’s cells. When the flesh is cooked, the structure collapses and, depending on the variety of eggplant, becomes either creamy or solid and therefore of a firmer texture: that can be a benefit, of course, depending on the dish that is being cooked.

It is used in classic dishes such as baba ganoush, moussaka and melanzane alla Parmigiana. It also pickles quite well and as such can make a significant contribution to a salad or an acidic element on a charcuterie board.

To salt or not to salt? ♦Ready for eggplant parm (Photo/andrewcoppolino.com).

Given those dishes, chefs will have different objectives when it comes to cooking the vegetable: they will either want a creamier eggplant or a stiffer, firmer eggplant. The other factor when cooking eggplants is that they tend to cook down into a much smaller volume than what you started with at the same time that the air pockets soak up a lot of oil when they are frying. Dégorger, a process of salting a vegetable like eggplant in order to remove excess water, is thought by some cooks to improve pan-frying slices of eggplant and see them cooked more quickly before soaking up too much oil.

Decades ago, before less bitter eggplant varieties were bred, the dégorger process was thought to alleviate the vegetable of some of its bitterness; however, less bitter eggplants are now produced and many cooks don’t see an appreciable difference between a salted eggplant and an unsalted one. Otherwise, another preparation strategy that might be recommended is to partially cook eggplant slices for a short time in a microwave in order help them absorb less oil.

Caponata: an eggplant classic, hot or cold

India, China, the Middle East and Greece all love eggplant, but if there is region of the world that sees it as something of a defining vegetable it is southern Italy and Sicily. Catania, sitting just under Mount Etna on the east coast of Sicily, is one of many places that cooks caponata in its varied regional fashion.

The dish is often agrodolce – a bit sweet and sour. Done properly, Catanian caponata isn’t a stew like, say, the popular Provençal dish ratatouille. Chopped eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, onions and celery are each sautéed separately to harness their individual flavours and particular textures by cooking each to their optimum degree. The ingredients are assembled and some sweetness (such as honey) is added along with white wine vinegar, green olives, capers, a few hot pepper flakes, a little tomato sauce and a drizzle of anchovy juice. A garnish of mint becomes a nice addition. The dish can be eaten hot or cold.

A final note: eggplant, a vegetable which hails orginally from hot tropical climates, doesn’t keep well in the cold of a walk-in cooler: the chill damages the internal tissue and leads to brown discolouration and changes in its flavour.

[Banner image/Artemas Ward, via Wikimedia Commons]

Check out my latest post Eggplant or aubergine: call it delicious from Andrew Coppolino - World of Flavour.

Elmira Advocate


TAG of course stands for Technical Advisory Group. Although conceived by two Woolwich councillors in deception and deceit, quite frankly there is some very strong talent on the committee.Without slighting the others let me suggest that Wilson Lau is looking really good and Dustin Martin has a critique of Lanxess's alleged "2021 Comprehensive East Side Groundwater Report" that is excellent. Well done! ......................................................................................................................... What is nowhere to be found on the Agenda is a discussion of TAG member, Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach's November 2020 Appeal to his fellow TAG members. While I can appreciate if there are some background efforts being made, the fact is that Sebastian's concerns are legitimate and strongly based upon both common sense and available undisputed facts and data. Tha fact that Lanxess and Ramin Ansari are so "snakebitten" about this issue is to damn bad. They like their predecessors have moved heaven and earth to diminish, minimize, ignore and avoid the contamination that flowed from their property through the Gap area and over to the low lying soils on the Stroh property. ...................................................................................................................................... It seems odd to me that two e-mails that I sent TAG plus local politicians are on the TAG Agenda yet Sebastian's written concerns from seven months ago are not. I'll be blunt. Unless or until a proper and honest investigation of the soils in, around and EAST of the north end of the Stroh Drain has occurred then everything else involved with the Site Specific Risk Assessment of the Canagagigue Creek becomes merely a sham and a coverup. Having the guilty polluting parties in charge of the investigations and cleanup has always been an abomination. They have no shame, no guilt and no integrity and they keep proving it over and over again. TAG are trying hard but are vastly outgunned, outfinanced and overpowered by corrupt local politicians putting money, power and influence ahead of Woolwich citizens. As always.

Code Like a Girl

Five Reasons Why Teaching People to Code Helps Level Up Your Skills

What’s a better way to prove to yourself that you know something than by teaching it to others?

Continue reading on Code Like A Girl »

Check It Out WPL

Jesse Thistle

As the US edition of Jesse Thistle’s bestselling memoir From the Ashes was released, he spoke with Ed Nawotka about “The Frontlines of Colonialism.” Over 100,000 copies of From the Ashes has sold in Canada so far.

My book is a quest back to myself, back to my family, but it’s also to show the effects of colonization on this generation. — Jesse Thistle

Read the interview on PublishersWeekly.com

Kitchener-Wilmo Hydro

Important Information About Customer Care Options During COVID-19

Unless you are making a payment, appointments are required to visit Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro Inc.

Please read the following before coming to our office:

  • If you are feeling ill, please do not come to Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro’s office.
  • Unless you are making a payment, an appointment is required to enter Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro’s office. Email or call us at 519-743-3600 to book your appointment. 
  • In compliance with the Region of Waterloo’s Face Covering By-Law, a mask or face covering is required when visiting Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro’s office, except for those who are exempt.
  • We have adjusted our in-person customer service hours to 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • There is no change to customer service hours for online and telephone service. Our staff will be available to respond to email and telephone enquiries Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Self-serve, online options

We have made it easier than ever to conduct business transactions online. You can:

  • View your bills, track your electricity consumption, and pay your bills through My Account.
  • Pay your bills from the comfort of your own home through your bank or credit card. Note: A service fee applies for credit card payments.
  • Complete and submit residential and business forms online using a computer, mobile phone, or tablet.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. Learn more about our Customer Care options during COVID-19.

To report a power outage or power emergency, please call 519-745-4771.

Code Like a Girl

Angular 12: What’s New?

The wait is finally over.

Continue reading on Code Like A Girl »

Code Like a Girl

Microsoft? What it’s like to work for one of the most valuable companies

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work for a big reputable name, such as Microsoft? Maybe you are at a transition in your…

Continue reading on Code Like A Girl »




Barndoor Creative

Queen Street Yoga Teacher Training Preview


ACO North Waterloo Region

Heritage Can Work with Development

Note: The views expressed below are my own.

Gail R. Pool

I got involved in heritage restoration because I had retired and had the opportunity to fix up a 100-year-old house and needed information on how to do so properly.  The previous owner had photos of the house and so it was a great opportunity to do it right. I was able to do the work with advice from various heritage practitioners and groups.

However, as an advocate for social justice, it seemed that there were many buildings going up near me that did not serve the working people of our city.  So, while I advocated for heritage preservation, it was difficult to hear people say that heritage conservation was contrary to housing needs.  So, when the Social Development Centre of Waterloo Region conducted a study of social displacement, it was clear that many of the properties also involved the demolition of heritage properties.  Some people have suggested that heritage preservation got in the way of affordable housing.  So, the question is:  does heritage conflict with our responsibility to provide housing?  Does it conflict with our need to have more density in the urban area and preserve farmland?

The short answer is No. Heritage advocacy does not conflict with affordable housing. Some have said that high rise buildings provide housing.  True, but for whom? When heritage is demolished for a highrise, it does not lead to any additional affordable housing.  There are jurisdictions where affordability is a condition before development is approved.  In many jurisdictions, a certain percentage of any new builds must be a certain percentage below market value. Fortunately, the City of Kitchener is planning on making affordability more of a reality to people on a lower income.

In reflecting on the question of heritage vs affordability, there have been a number of developments where affordable housing was lost.  The lowrise heritage buildings on Mill Street housed as many as 20 households.  Yet, when the developer wanted to build a 12 storey building, they did not intend to provide affordable housing until they were challenged by the neighbours and heritage advocates.  The home of Jacob Baetz, an important figure in Kitchener’s history was lost.  He built as many as fifty homes a year in the early part of the 20th century.  He built the old Kitchener market, St Andrews Presbyterian Church, St. Matthews Presbyterian and the Victoria Public School.  Although he is a member of the Regional Hall of Fame, we do not even have a street named after him.  The home he build on Mill street could have been incorporated into the development but the developers refused.  In fact, that development now will provide much need town houses for families who cannot afford a detached home.  Even though heritage was lost, the current development is preferable to the condo units initially proposed.

There is another issue that concerns me, however.  That is the idea that heritage does not mean very much to the wider community.  In trying to preserve heritage, I am seen as being someone who hangs on to the past and anti modern.  Many people think that heritage advocates are elites who feel that the past overrides the housing needs of today and the future. In short, heritage advocates are elitist.

When I think about it, it seems that if anybody is elitist, it is those behind the real estate investment trusts (REITS).  REITS frequently demolish heritage in the name of more housing and even affordable housing but what do they really provide?  Other elites buy condos and do not live in them.  Rather, they rent the condos out at a cost which is profitable for them. The city has no mechanism to enforce low-cost units nor can it require a development be rentals rather than condos.  The very idea of an affordable condo is a false one.  The very cheapest one-bedroom unit of about 600 square feet costs $300,000 and then there are monthly condo fees and taxes that put these developments out of the reach of low-income people.  I am not sure that a person on minimum wage could even afford the fees and taxes, much less the cost of the initial investment.

But let me address the question in another way. Heritage can and has in the past work hand in hand with affordable living in this city.  Here are some examples.

1) The Registry Theatre on Frederick Street, originally the region’s registry office, was converted over a number of years and now is a venue for live events attractive to a wide variety of audiences that include plays, dance, folk music, jazz and community events.  Prices are low for events, often at $20 per ticket.  The Registry Theatre is available for children’s groups, presentations, conferences, recitals, literary readings and anything else for $350 per night. There are few venues which provide a space like the Registry Theatre for such a small amount.

2) The Victoria Public School was at risk of demolition in the 1980s.  Many people were opposed to the demolition because it had quality architecture but also because they had memories of attending school.  There were interventions from prominent politicians as well as mass demonstrations to oppose the demolition.  It was built in   1910 and opened as a school. The City of Kitchener bought the building in 1989 and renovated it, also adding new buildings on the site to create 116 affordable rental units. Many original interior elements were retained, including the stairwells and terrazzo floors. The heritage exterior has survived largely intact, from the foundations to the original slate roofs.

3) St Mark’s Lutheran Church at 825 King Street near Grand River Hospital is an example that deserves praise for combining significant heritage architecture with affordable housing.  In that case, the charity Indwell plans to work within the building’s footprint by adding several floors above the church hall to create 40 rental units. The sanctuary, a spectacular space with significant architectural value, is to be repurposed as community space, something that is not present in the immediate area.  A community space at this location is much needed for local arts and cultural events, a drop-in space or anything else that residents may wish to have.

Investors can still make money and preserve heritage. Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust owns the Lang Tannery and has kept that building intact and have improved it.  A number of tenants, including startup companies at Communitech, now occupy downtown spaces to do their innovative work.  The same real estate trust owns the Google building on Breithaupt, which has a modern portion and a large older section.  Allied Real Estate Investment Trust also owns the former Interior Hardwood Company factory – one of the first brick-and-beam factory conversions in downtown Kitchener factory at Victoria and Joseph.  All of these buildings are on Kitchener’s municipal heritage register.  These are multimillion-dollar investments and the buildings have been modified so they can be used by companies to create new technologies that create wealth for our community… and taxes for keeping our community a good place to live.  In short, heritage, innovation and a dynamic economy can co-exist.  It is not a choice between the past and the present and allowing a good mix will serve us well into the future.

Check It Out WPL

Giller Master Panel

In honour of National Indigenous History Month, the Scotiabank Giller Prize is hosting a panel discussion Monday, June 21 at 7:00pm EDT. Celebrated Indigenous writers Cherie Dimaline, Drew Hayden Taylor, Waubgeshig Rice and Katherena Vermette will be discussing co-opting of voice, Indigeneity during a pandemic, surviving trauma and more. Learn more at cbc.ca

Other Master Panels planned for 2021 include 2SLGBTQ+ (July) and The Art of Translation (August). You can watch the previous master class panels on the Giller Prize’s YouTube channel.

The Giller Prize is also hosting regular book clubs featuring the authors from their 2020 longlist.

James Davis Nicoll

Let Me Be Lighter / Ariosto By Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s 1980 Ariosto is a standalone mundane alternate history novel (but one which contains within itself a fantasy alternate history novel).

Italy’s warring states have set aside their mutual enmity in the name of common defence. The Italia Federata protects all of its member states from foreign aggression, whereas formerly each principality and republic could rely only on its own strength and that of an ever-shifting network of allies. 

Ludovico Ariosto is but a poet, not the Il Primàrio who expected to keep all of the Federata’s saucers in the air. Il Primàrio Damiano de’ Medici is, however, Ariosto’s patron. Italy’s problems are Damiano’s and by the transitive property, Italy’s problems are Ariosto’s.

Small wonder the poet finds escape in fantasy.

Pull the Plug

PTP 354 - June 19, 2021 - Classic Rock Bands, Bye-Bye Cake, and Sucks to Suck


- Carol Baskin’s Cameo

- George Pettit’s Cameo

- Matt Stewart’s Cameo

Reject March by Minuscule Mayhem

Buzzfeed Break

- Which Cake Has to Go?

Myself to Blame by Drop Dead City

Sucks to Suck

- Naked woman taped at a steakhouse

- Congressman wants to change Earth’s orbit

- Woman stuck in a chair needs to be freed with jaws of life

- Man gets swallowed by a goddamn humpback whale

Wait by Mark Martyre feat Stacey Dowswell


- Greatest Classic Rock Bands

Charades by Sarah Bernardo

Closing/Rec Room

- JJ Wilde

- Confessions of the Idiots

- Lifeforms by Angels and Airwaves

- Fresh, Fried & Crispy

- High on the Hog on Netflix

- Loki trailer

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Knox Waterloo Presbyterian Church

June 20, 2021

National Indigenous Peoples Sunday


Call to Worship

One: We gather to share in God’s dream of abundant life for all.
All: We gather to give and receive gifts of deep emotion, deep wisdom, and deep love.
One: With gratitude we gather as a community to praise God, to seek transformation,
All: and to celebrate the power of the Spirit who is always moving.

Hymn #301 Many and great, O God, are your works
© Words: Joseph R. Renville, 1842, trans. Philip Frazier, 1929, alt.; Music: Dakota melody, harm. ©1995 Emily R. Brink, Faith Alive Christian Resources. OneLicense # 84459


Land Acknowledgement – Jennifer Yessis

Prayer of Confession
#199 If I have been the source of pain
Translation Copyright (c) 1992 The Pilgrim Press, Contributors: Janet W. May, Pablo Sosa. Text: Translation Copyright (c) 1992 The Pilgrim Press. OneLicense # 36695

Lord’s Prayer – Knox Chancel Choir

Assurance of God’s Grace

Peace Invocation: The Peace of the Earth
Words: Guatemalan traditional, translated by Christine Carson, Music: Guatemalan folk melody © 1998 Iona Community, GIA Publications OneLicense #57518

The peace of the earth be with you,
the peace of the heavens too;
the peace of the rivers be with you,
the peace of the oceans too.
Deep peace falling over you;
God’s peace growing in you. (Repeat)

A Story for All – When we were alone
David A. Robertson and Julie Flett


Sermon The Rev. Mary Fontaine

Reflection That the world might know you
Words & music David MacGregor, © 2002 MacGregor, David CCLI#2580326

Life and Ministry of Knox Waterloo

Invitation to the Offering

Hymn of the month: For all the children (v.3)
words & music David Lohman© 2007 David Lohman Music, All rights reserved, Used with permission from resource “Songs for the Holy Other”

Prayer of Thanksgiving and Hope

Hymn: This Path we Walk
© 2016 Words: S. Curtis Tufts; Music: Traditional
From “Apology Towards Reconciliation: 30th Anniversary of the Untied Church’s Apology to First Nations Peoples”


Sending Song: God speed you on your way (v.2)
Words & music Shona Murray & Shirley Erena Murray
Words © 1999, 2000 Murray, Shirley Erena; Music © 1999, 2000 Murray, Shona CCLI #2580326

God lead you to the new,
Places and points of view,
Roads to take,
Friends to make,
More life to travel through (x2)


Worship Leaders: The Rev. Hugh Donnelly, The Rev. Courtney Crawford, Mary-Catherine Pazzano

Tech Team: Ben Breen, Kathleen Forde, Deb Lacoste

Copyright: CCLI License # 2580326. Onelicense A-713805 Images and videos used with permission.

Elmira Advocate


Chemical Exposure Risk Assessment of the Downstream Canagagigue Creek ............................................................................................................................ A well embedded TAG member with historical knowledge has provided a report to TAG & Lanxess titled "Vulnerabilities of the Old Order Mennonite Farm Community". She through observation as well as some discussion has flatly stated what I have only presumed and assumed for decades. That this is only coming to light at this very late date is unfortunate. It is possible however that a certain amount of discretion and confidentiality may have been promised to the Old Order Mennonite families. They had talks with the Asst. Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Waterloo way back in 1997 after sediment and floodplain soil testing (95-96) exposed dioxins and DDT at high levels well above criteria in the creek where it passes through their property. That the Region participated in these talks is exactly what a Health Department should be doing. That the Region have not pushed extremely hard for cleanup long ago speaks volumes to our inherently corrupt political system. .................................................................................................................................. It seems obvious to me that Uniroyal Chemical and local friends including Woolwich Council did not want a timely and appropriate cleanup of the creek. Back in 1997 it was nearly thirty years after the ongoing daily discharges from overflowing pits, ponds and lagoons ended. It is now nearly another twenty-five years later and it still isn't done. Of course the talk and discussion is ongoing and a threatened, pretend, risk assessment may be less than a year away but that of course guarantees nothing as far as cleanup. Rest assurred those in charge of the Risk Assessment of the Creek, namely Lanxess, GHD and the Ministry of Environment (MOE/MECP) will mathematically and otherwise ensure that the "cleanup" is affordable such that the corporate successor to Uniroyal does not sue the Ontario government (MOE/MECP) for a major financial contribution to the "cleanup". As for the 50-60 year delay, that has all been to the corporation's benefit as dioxins, DDT, PAHs, PCB's, VOCs and so much more have flowed, eroded, and been flushed via storms and flooding further downstream into the Grand River below West Montrose. Every pound of toxic contamination not in the first five miles of creek downstream from Uniroyal/Lanxess, is a pound less to be excavated, transported, treated etc. ................................................................................................................................ Here is a small sample in the report of the increased exposure and in my opinion health effects resulting from toxic exposures. "Mennonite children play and swim in the creek and floodplain area. Their forts and swimming holes can be found along the Creek. With no access to TV or computers, Mennonite children play (and work) outside more than children in other communities." "Some families report illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid disorders, liver and other cancers, and miscarriages and reproductive problems." .................................................................................................................................... That our authorities with full knowledge have allowed this chemical exposure to fester and continue for so long is disgraceful. Have we as a society decided that Old Order Mennonite lives are not worthy of our care and protection? Or should I say more accurately that their lives and health are not worth as much as the financial cost of cleanup that either Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura/Lanxess or even the Ontario Ministry of Environment are willing to pay?

Check It Out WPL

A Side of Romance

Are you a foodie? Do you like to cook or bake? Do you enjoy relaxing with a good romance? Are you looking for a light read that offers an escape from the day-to-day? If you answered “yes” to any of these, you’ll want to check out this list of “10 Delicious Books About Food, With a Side of Romance” at BookRiot.com


A Response to Sue Johanson's Q&A


Barndoor Creative

The Beauty On Your Block


The Backing Bookworm

Survive the Night

I've been a fan of Riley Sager's books since I read The Last Time I Lied three years ago. Survive the Night is Sager's upcoming bookish offering to his readers and I was thrilled to receive an advanced copy from the publisher.
This book had an interesting and eerie (but not quite believable) premise that was set in the early 1990's pre-cell phone era which gave Sager some leeway to trap his characters into precarious situations. Although this first half was slower to take off, it had good tension, but I had that niggling feeling that I was waiting for ... more.
Things picked up in the second half and the creepy feel continued with a small cast of characters (featuring unreliable narrators), but the execution became convoluted with lots of movie references (most I didn't get) and Charlie's confusing 'movies in her mind'. To be honest, I think this book would have been amazing as a short story.
In the end, this was a unique read that oozes a chilling, uneasy vibe. It had a few implausible plot points (particularly from a female POV) requiring the reader to suspend disbelief, but I enjoyed the 1990's era and the 'locked room' feel within the car. Even though this wasn't my favourite work of Sager's, I look forward to reading his future books. 
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Penguin Group Dutton for my advanced digital copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

My Rating: 3 starsAuthor: Riley SagerGenre: SuspenseType and Source: eBook from publisherPublisher: Penguin Group DuttonFirst Published: June 29, 2021
Opening Lines: Fade in. Parking lot. The middle of night. The middle of nowhere.

Book Description from GoodReads: It's November 1991. George H. W. Bush is in the White House, Nirvana's in the tape deck, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.
Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it's guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it's to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she's named after, Charlie has her doubts. There's something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn't seem to want Charlie to see inside the car's trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she's sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie's suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?

What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse played out on night-shrouded roads and in neon-lit parking lots, during an age when the only call for help can be made on a pay phone and in a place where there's nowhere to run. In order to win, Charlie must do one thing--survive the night.

Andrew Coppolino

Possible poké picks

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Poké is a delicious treat to eat — and it can be a cool one too, as the weather gets hot.

Here are a few picks for poké from three spots around the region.


Hawaiian poke box, Knife and Pestle
The K&P guys are new-ish on the scene, based at Wooden Boat Food Company on Hurst Avenue, Kitchener, but they are rolling out some very good dishes.

When it comes to poké, it’s one of their strong suits. They often have a sweet-heat salmon pokéand citrus salmon poké, served with Jasmine rice and seaweed salad.

♦Hawaiian poke box at K&P (Photo/Knife & Pestle).

Tuna bowl, Beertown
Raw yellowfin tuna, sweet mango, avocado, edamame, radish, spiced peanuts, rice noodles, cucumber, cabbage, cilantro and sesame soy dressing.

Big umami, The Poké Box
Big Umami (banner photo) is the most popular poké bowl: it’s filling and delicious with salmon, ahi tuna, cabbage, avocado and green onion.

As do other bowls, Big Umami has shoyu, a foundational soy sauce rich and dark brown and salty. Furikake is a flakey seasoning that adds umami richness. Tempura bits add texture.

Check out my latest post Possible poké picks from Andrew Coppolino - World of Flavour.

Andrew Coppolino

Ancient blood oranges

Reading Time: < 1 minute

A less familiar Mediterranean fruit — and one that has had a certain historical prominence as an export in Sicily — blood oranges are a sweet-tart variety of orange with a dramatic purplish or maroon colouring and often a variegated sort of design.

Categorized as moro, sanguinello (with echoes of the word “sanguine”), tarocco or Maltese, blood oranges get their colour, like blueberries, from chemicals called anthocyanins (while regular oranges draw on carotenoids for their pigments). You can often find ones with yellowish hues too.

A Hollandaise-based sauce using blood orange juice and zest is called a Maltaise.

They might have a slight raspberry aroma, and if you look closely at a cut blood orange, the coloration tends to be most prominent at the blossom end. The coloration is, in part, a result of cooler temperatures during fall and winter in the Mediterranean.

The tarocco di Francofronte, in the province of Syracuse, Sicily, has been grown in the town and environs since the Middle Ages and as early at the 9th century. It remains a top producer there.

However, in some places, the cost of picking the oranges has been prohibitive plus imported oranges are sold for less; sadly, the Sicilian blood oranges are left on the trees to rot and fall to the ground, a useless windfall that is victim of economics.

Over the past several years, it has been possible to find blood oranges in many supermarkets and specialty food shops. Give them a try sometime.

Check out my latest post Ancient blood oranges from Andrew Coppolino - World of Flavour.

KW Motion

The Top Latin American Restaurants in Kitchener / Waterloo

Top 10 Latin American Restaurants in Kitchener/Waterloo KWMotion, June 18th It is often said that authentic spots for Mexican food are especially difficult to come across in Canada in comparison to the U.S. You may be surprised by the amount of restaurants in K/W owned and operated by Latin Americans. Though some of the restaurants …

The Top Latin American Restaurants in Kitchener / Waterloo Read More »


Carrie Snyder: Obscure Canlit Mama

Approaches to absence

Do I have a simple Friday message? I do not.

On Monday, I went for a solo run in the park. On Monday mornings, early, no matter the weather, no matter my mood, for weeks, months, years (more than a decade, at least), I’ve run or walked with my friend Nina, who has been our neighbour for 18 years, and my friend since we lived across the hall from each other on campus, our first year of university. This past weekend, she and her family moved away.

I’m still working out how to approach this absence.

I started by hand-writing Nina a letter and sending it in the mail. It felt like it approximated the feeling of the kinds of conversations we’ve had, over the years; the letter wasn’t about anything special, just the particularities of the now, and unlike an email or text, I folded it up and stuck it into the envelope and no copy was kept to remind me of what I’d said, it was of its moment, she was the recipient, no one else, and like our walks, it came and it went.

An observation: when I sat to write the letter, on paper with pen, it felt like Nina was present with me; I don’t get the same sensation when composing an email. (side note: Why is email so awful? I have a few theories …)

On Tuesday, a fox trotted near where I was stretching in the front yard; I feel that we know each other, as we see each other often, early in the morning. She’s very beautiful, her orange fur mottled with greys and blacks. She crossed the road, then sat for a moment, and watched me watching her.

That afternoon, I biked to pick up our first CSA box from Fertile Ground farm: greens, greens, greens! On Saturday, I’ll walk to pick up our first CSA box from Little Fields Farm, because, yes, for the second summer running, I belong to two CSAs; I am a fan of women-who-farm.

Please send salad recipes!

On Wednesday, everyone was out of the house, active, with friends. I took my mom to get her second dose of vaccine. The workshop session was an easy one for me: I got to watch my friend Melissa in action, vocal coaching. Mark your calendars: the X Page Performance “Little Things” will be live on Zoom, July 7th, at 7PM. Tickets are free, registration opens here on June 23!

On Thursday morning, I met my son in the park for a run. My grown son, who now lives away from home. I ate healthy food all day (greens for lunch, more greens for supper), but my back ached and I didn’t feel fabulous. Napped on the couch, groggy, too late in the day. Walked over to visit neighbours, still groggy. Trying to remember how to be social again. (Trying to remember what exactly I’m doing with my life, that too.)

Today, it rains. I did a longer yoga session this morning (yoga last night, too, with my friend Kasia; look for more offerings from her this summer, some online, some in-person). Started my time in this studio reading and meditating.

After that, email. (Trying so hard not to start my days with email!)

Now this. Then lunch (more greens??). Laundry. Writing, revising. I want to cook lentils with spinach for supper, and braised bok choy on the side. But the kids will want to order in (our Friday ritual). Which of us will prevail?

I neglected to invite anyone over to our backyard this evening, a Friday ritual I’d intended to start again, and managed the past two Fridays in a row. But it’s raining, with a big thunderstorm forecast for this aft. Excuses, reasons: It’s raining. And inertia. And maybe social anxiety. Who knows? I’m trying to remember how to be in the world again, how to host, how to invite, how to converse, how to connect in real life, in ways that make sense and are sustainable. Y’know?

Go easy, my friends. Enjoy your weekend.

xo, Carrie

Kitchener Rangers

Roman Schmidt Signs with Kitchener Rangers

The Kitchener Rangers are excited to announce that we have signed defenceman Roman Schmidt, our second-round selection (36th overall) in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection Draft. Head Coach and General Manager, Mike McKenzie stated: "We are very excited to welcome Roman and his family to the Rangers organization, when we drafted Roman we had hoped he would become a Ranger and it is very exciting that two years later it is now a reality. We feel he will be a huge part of our team moving forward and we are excited to get to know him and get working with him when we are back at the Aud in the fall."

Knox Waterloo Presbyterian Church

This Week at Knox – June 18


June 20 10AM – Indigenous Peoples Sunday
June 20 – Elder Election Ends
June 21 7PM – Connecting Together
June 27 10AM – Pride Sunday

We acknowledge that Knox Waterloo is located on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Neutral Peoples.


On Sunday, we welcome the Rev. Mary Fontaine, Presbyterian minister and director of Hummingbird Ministries, a ministry of healing and reconciliation of the Presbytery of Westminster, BC.

Download this week’s bulletin.

Livestream the service.
Listen on 98.5 CKWR FM radio.
Access the Knox YouTube channel.

Make a gift to Knox

Year-to-date Donations through May are about $35K below expectations while expenses are running $31K less than budget, resulting in a net shortfall of $4K below budget. Thank you for your generous contributions in May helping to greatly reduce our 2021 deficit.

A message from Knox Treasurer Dave Dougall on behalf of the Finance Committee.

STILL TIME: As Knox Waterloo grieves with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation at the discovery of the unidentified graves of 215 children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, we invite everyone to paint a rock orange–or decorate it using the colour orange–to symbolize our solidarity with Indigenous siblings. You may drop your rock off at the church (in a box under the mailbox, parking lot entrance) by 9AM Sunday. They will be used in worship and later arranged into a public display of our grief and solidarity.

Read a statement by the Ministers of Knox regarding the discovery the unidentified graves of 215 children found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C.

Read a joint statement from the current and former Moderator of the PCC regarding residential schools.

You may be wanting to learn more about Residential Schools, a very sad chapter in Canadian history and in the history of the church. Click on the image to see what books on this subject can be found in the Knox library.

Next Sunday Knox celebrates Pride. Send Knox pictures of you with rainbow colours or symbols of Pride or Allyship. Some of them will be used in worship on June 27th.
Email your pictures to Hugh ♦

The final Connecting Together event of the season will be held on Monday, June 21, 7PM. It will be an evening of song with Stacy Guse and her group The Unraveling. If you would like a link to this Zoom event, please email Liz. The Connecting Together leadership wishes to extend thanks for everyone who has been involved in and supported this ministry, and they hope to continue connecting again in the fall.

While Knox will be marking Indigenous Peoples Sunday this week, the Global Partners Team at Knox also wants us to remember World Refugee Day, June 20. You can find more information at this site.

Professing Members of Knox Waterloo are encouraged to submit their online or paper ballots for Elders. Deadline is Sunday, June 20. Ballots were distributed last month to members. If you have any questions, email Ruth Song.

“The land is sacred; it belongs to the countless numbers who are dead, the few who are living, and the multitudes of those yet to be born.” – A quote by a member of the Penan people, Sarawak state, Malaysia


♦ Facebook  ♦ YouTube  ♦ Instagram

Copyright © 2021 Knox Waterloo Presbyterian Church, All rights reserved.

Code Like a Girl

3D Printing. No code, no Money

My most popular video yet and the most fun I have had sharing my experience as a tech enthusiast is when I 3D printed my African continent earrings. Simple but very profound. I learnt so much about 3D printing but also about myself when I was creating this content.

3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing where the model is created by layering filament on top of each other. But before we get to the end product- where does it start?

I have recently discovered that as much as I appreciate and respect programming languages, I am probably more of an aspiring no code developer. Which brings me to the super exciting part of making these earrings. I created them with no code and basically no cost.



  • Computer with internet connection
  • Filament
  • Access to 3D printer
  • Open mind and enthusiasm!

Step 1: Of course you have to give the printer something to print. As a beginner, if you aren’t someone who has experience with software like autoCad, your options are to download builds from other people. By browsing through websites, I used Thingverse, you can find all kinds of things to print. People all over the world upload their creations and you can just download it and use it yourself.

The file is downloaded as an stl. file. this is the format of the file that we will prepare in the next step.

♦Options from Thingiverse which you can download for own use.

Step 2:

We slice the file using a slicing software. Slicing the the 3D model is basically slicing it into individual layers which will be printed. Most printers seem to have their dedicated slicing softwares that you can use.

Once sliced, you save the model and prepare to print.

Step 3:

As a member of Goto10 in Malmö, I have access to their Flashforge 3 3D printers (and more).So with my print in hand and enthusiasm, I went over to print my earrings. Because the file which I downloaded had only one earring I had to print twice. This is one of the limitations of not making your own creations, you have to work with what you are given.

But with each earring only taking 18 minutes to print, it was not much of a problem.

Within in an hour I had a new pair of earrings.

♦♦1) The start, the printer creates a platform to build the model on. 2) The design of the earring starts being printed

Proudly wearing my earrings, I wonder to myself what the possibilities could be and I am almost certain that before buying something in the future I will check whether I can print it myself 😄

3D Printing. No code, no Money was originally published in Code Like A Girl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Code Like a Girl

Endorse People Publicly, and Other Actions for Allies

Each week, Karen Catlin shares five simple actions to create a more inclusive workplace and be a better ally.♦Illustration by Katerina Limpitsouni of unDraw1. Endorse people from underrepresented groups

In a recent edition of “The Broadsheet” newsletter, I read an excellent example of a public endorsement by an ally.

The newsletter summarized a New York Times article about Dr. Rochelle Walensky of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, explaining that her communication about mask mandates led some people to question her leadership. When asked about it, Dr. Anthony Fauci explained that it’s a job with a steep learning curve. He then went on to endorse her with:

“Give her a little time. By the end of one year, everybody’s going to be raving about her. I guarantee it.”

Here’s another example of a public endorsement. Dr. Daniel Grossman, a white man, identified a long list of reasons why Dr. Jamila Perritt, a Black woman colleague, should be verified on Twitter. (She had recently been denied without any explanation.)

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 — @DrDGrossman

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Now it’s your turn. How will you endorse someone from an underrepresented group in the coming week?

2. Advocate for paying ERG leaders

As you may know, most people who work on employee resource groups (ERGs) do so in addition to their day jobs. They put in extra time and energy to create these communities for their organizations, which rarely provide them with any additional compensation.

However, there seems to be a new trend towards paying ERG leaders for their work.

Recently, LinkedIn announced that they would start paying their ERG leaders a $10,000 yearly bonus.

In a blog post last Fall, Twitter declared that resource group leadership “is essential to Twitter’s success — it is not a ‘side hustle’ or ‘volunteer activity.’”. Because of the importance of this work, they introduced a new compensation program to recognize the leaders formally. (They did not share the details of the compensation.)

And last summer, Justworks wrote about their new rewards package for ERG leaders. It includes “cash compensation, additional stock options, budget for external participation in ERG conferences, access to management coaching, and formal mentorship — if interested.”

Do you know if your organization compensates ERG leaders for the additional work they do and the value they add? If not, consider circulating the LinkedIn announcement and advocate for doing something similar.

3. Ask new hires about their experience

In Improving Workplace Culture Through Evidence-Based Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Practices, Wharton researchers Stephanie J. Creary Ph.D., Nancy Rothbard Ph.D., and Jared Scruggs summarized their recent study of over 6000 working adults. It’s a treasure trove of ideas to make a workplace more inclusive.

Here’s just one suggestion from their report: Ask new hires who are members of underrepresented groups for feedback on their hiring experience and ideas about how to make it better.

What a simple idea, and perhaps one that you’re already doing? If this is you, I’d love to hear about what you’ve learned and potentially share it in a future newsletter (with your permission). Please leave a comment below and tell me about your experience. Many thanks.

4. Call out privileged stereotypes in technology interfaces

Last week, Apple held its annual Worldwide Developer Conference, announcing several new products and technologies. One theme was accessibility, including new features that Apple claimed would provide everyone, disabled or not, with a better user experience.

Apple also updated its developer documentation with guidance on designing and writing more inclusively. As Carolina Milanesi, a consultant who helps technology providers with their corporate social responsibility initiatives, wrote on Twitter, “this is not just about gender, race and accessibility but also about economic status and privilege.”

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 — @caro_milanesi

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How do economic status and privilege intersect with technology products? Here’s one example from Apple’s new developer documentation: the security questions that an app uses to confirm a user’s identity might be based on experiences that not everyone has had. For instance, What was your favorite subject in college? What was the make of your first car?

The next time you answer security questions for an online service, or interact with any kind of technology, reflect on whether it reflects privileged stereotypes and generalizations. If you spot something, take a minute to send feedback to the organization.

And if you work in interface design, here’s Apple’s advice:
“Basing design decisions on stereotypes or assumptions inevitably leads to exclusion because generalizations can’t reflect the diversity of human perspectives. Avoiding assumptions and instead focusing on inclusion can help you craft experiences that benefit everyone.”

(Many thanks to Todd Wells, who brought Milanesi’s tweet to my attention.)

5. Say “enslaved people,” not “slaves”

In my previous newsletter, I wrote about observing Juneteenth, explaining that it commemorated the date that people in Texas heard about the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. In doing so, I used the word “slaves.”

Newsletter subscribers Brenna Kutch and Keena Smith were quick to point out that the word “slave” is dehumanizing. Instead, they recommended using “enslaved people.” Here’s why. By using “enslaved people,” we put more of an emphasis on what was done to them, separating their circumstances from their identity.

I’m overwhelmed with the support I get from all of you, my newsletter subscribers. The fact that two people took the time to provide me with feedback means the world to me. I learned from them, and I’m grateful.

If you’d like to read more about using “enslaved people,” check out this Slate article, Slave or Enslaved Person, by Katy Waldman.

That’s all for this week. I wish you strength and safety as we all move forward,

— Karen Catlin, Founder and Author of Better Allies®

Copyright © 2021 Karen Catlin. All rights reserved.

Being an ally is a journey. Want to join us?

😍 Follow @betterallies on Twitter, Medium, Instagram, or Pinterest

✉️ This content originally appeared in our newsletter. Subscribe to “5 Ally Actions” to get it delivered to your inbox every Friday

📖 Read the Better Allies books

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Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies® approach.


Endorse People Publicly, and Other Actions for Allies was originally published in Code Like A Girl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Check It Out WPL

The Warsaw Orphan

Fans of Historical Fiction should be eager to read Kelly Rimmer‘s latest book, The Warsaw Orphan, this summer. This is an interesting story loosely based on real events in Warsaw, Poland during World War II that has its emotional moments as Rimmer vividly describes the war-time atrocities, bleakness and terror that were felt on the streets of Warsaw during Nazi rule.

The Warsaw Orphan has a slower pace, but I was impressed by Rimmer’s depiction of the era – from the German propaganda, rumours, and their ruthless actions, to the fear of the Polish people – which were balanced with glimpses of family and friendship. The story felt a bit heavy with dialogue, but the characters were well-developed, and even though a few weren’t likable, they had believable faults which helped showcase different aspects of the war.

The story is told through the points of views of Elzbieta and Roman, young people who deal with events and emotions quite differently. It’s through their eyes that readers feel the despair and desperation of the Jewish people living within the ghetto walls, and those trying to help them escape.

This is a poignant story that doesn’t hold back as it describes the horrors of war. But while it can be brutal in its telling, Rimmer also gives her readers glimpses of hope within strong themes of courage, strength, and resiliency. Put your hold on WPLs copies now!

— Laurie P.

Elmira Advocate


Of course all the laws, rules and regulations highly favour proponents of new gravel pits, not the nearby residents who have lived, worked and contributed to the community often for decades. Steve Kannon of the Woolwich Observer has in the past referred to the Ontario Aggregate Resources Act as a cudgel, hammering citizens' complaints and concerns into the dust. Yesterday's Observer carried the following story also written by Mr. Kannon titled "Maryhill residents gear up for a gravel pit showdown". For the record both the former Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and its' sucessor the Local Area Planning Tribunal (LPAT) have substantially favoured proponents versus citizens/residents for decades. ........................................................................................................................................ Former councillor Bonnie Bryant is one of the local citizens objecting to the proposed pit outside Maryhill as it is so close to the village itself, homes, businesses and farms. There is also a nearby gravel pit causing cumulative negative effects. Capitol paving are leasing the land and allegedly the farmer will farm the land before and after each phase (5 of them). Of course there is the old saw that the land will be restored to prime farmland after excavation. That nonsense was well illustrated to be impossible by soil experts at the proposed Hunder Pit between Conestog and Winterbourne a few years ago. Bacteria, fungi and other microbial life helpful to crop production develop over decades in situ. Removing topsoil and putting it in a pile for a lengthy periodtotally disrupts the capability and viability of these lifeforms. ................................................................................................................... To date Woolwich's Planning Department are in support of the proposed pit suggesting that all the proponent funded studies are in order and that mitigation of negative effects will be acceptable. Council meets virtually this Tuesday and citizen Delegates (Virtual) are hoping to convince Council otherwise. This proposed pit is simply Same Old b/s, Same OLd b/s. It's a dance with the results intentionally rigged by the province. Yes there have been a couple of surprise victories over the years such as the refusal of the Hunder Pit as well as the refusal of the proposed gravel pit in West Montrose. That too as I recall was a Capitol Paving project.

House of Friendship

Reducing Barriers to Addiction Treatment

♦A partnership between the Region of Waterloo, Sanguen Health Services, Stonehenge Therapeutic Services, and House of Friendship will make it easier for those struggling with addiction to get the help they need.

In May, House of Friendship’s Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinic (RAAM) began providing service one day a week at Kitchener’s Consumption and Treatment Services site (CTS).

Participants don’t need a referral or appointment for RAAM clinics and can receive same-day medical support and counselling.

“To say that the CTS staff are excited about this partnership is an understatement,” said Violet Umanetz, Sanguen’s Director of Harm Reduction and Overdose Prevention. “Our team believes that people deserve to stay alive, but also to thrive, to be connected, to be included, to have choices, and to have options.

“The RAAM team’s willingness to provide services on-site at the CTS will reduce so many barriers, and meeting people where they are already comfortable goes so far in helping people take the first step in a process that can be intimidating at the best of times.”

House of Friendship Addiction Services Director Tara Groves-Taylor said that this move is part of a larger Region-wide strategy to reduce barriers to addiction treatment.

“This is a needed step to build a strong continuum of harm-reduction services in our community,” said Groves-Taylor. “People experiencing addiction and substance use require options that provide the right services at the right time.”

To learn more about RAAM and program locations and hours, visit www.raamww.ca.



The post Reducing Barriers to Addiction Treatment appeared first on House Of Friendship.

Andrew Coppolino

Saturday is Juneteenth

Reading Time: < 1 minute

It’s Juneteenth, or Freedom Day in the United States, but it has relevance everywhere.

Here is column from last Juneteenth in which I and Julianne Hazlewood, who was sitting in for Craig Norris, spoke with Waterloo Region chef (and excellent singer!) Derek Hines about what the date signifies.

(As an interesting sidebar, check out the Netflix series, High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America.)


Julianne Hazlewood: Derek, Juneteenth dates to 1865. What is its significance?

Derek Hines: It was the date the last state in the Union recognized the Emancipation Proclamation. Two years after Lincoln freed the slaves, the news got to Texas.

You can imagine how excited they were to learn they were actually free. It’s known in the south as Black Independence Day.

JH: And what are the food links in that long history?

DH: That’s interesting. It happened the way a lot of food things happened to people. People come from a place and they bring what they can with them.

When they can’t find what they normally cook with, they substitute what they can find. That’s certainly true of slave cuisine that’s sparked an entire food movement in the states.

For more, please visit cbc-kw.

Check out my latest post Saturday is Juneteenth from Andrew Coppolino - World of Flavour.

artsawards Waterloo Region

Cathy Farwell - 2019 Arts Award Waterloo Region Winner


James Davis Nicoll

Tigers Eating People’s Faces / The Chosen and The Beautiful By Nghi Vo

Nghi Vo’s 2021 The Chosen and The Beautiful is a standalone fantasy reimagining of The Great Gatsby.

Chic athlete Jordan Baker is one of the Louisville Bakers. She is also Vietnamese (or as Americans of Jazz Age America call it, ​“Tonkinese”); she was saved from certain death by Miss Eliza Baker when Jordan was just a baby. Jordan’s social set see Jordan as delightfully exotic, a perfect China1 doll whom they certainly don’t mean when they discuss the need to expel Asians and other races from the US in a bid to keep America white. 

Despite the background anxiety of the impending Manchester Act2, which will both hinder immigration from unworthy nations and facilitate the return to said nations of persons no longer deemed suitable for the US by its white elites, Jordan’s life is a whirlwind of parties, booze, and casual lovers of both sexes. This giddy existence is going to be greatly complicated by close chum Daisy Buchanan.


HIV Myth Busting


The Backing Bookworm

From Blood and Ash

This book is allll over social media and has loads of hype but what got me intrigued was the idea of a young woman, whose destiny was chosen for her. Those in power control her every experience and interaction but little do they know; she has secrets of her own. This first book in the popular Teen Fantasy series features a story filled with suspense, action, romance, vengeance, and betrayal.
I'm not a regular Fantasy reader but I found myself quickly pulled into Poppy's life. There are some good twists and a decent (if predictable ending) but this is Armentrout's first foray into high fantasy and, if I'm being honest, it kind of shows. I wasn't a fan of the info dumps describing her world/characters and I found her explanations about the different groups of characters convoluted, but my main beef was the excessive foreshadowing making some aspects of the plot obvious early on. That burns my biscuits.
My favourite part of the book was Poppy (though I was not a fan of her overly complicated full name Penellaphe). She was trained her entire life to fulfill her sacred destiny, but I loved that she had kick-some-serious-ass skills that she keeps secret but also puts to good use. Unfortunately, readers often get stuck in her repetitive inner monologue which made the middle of the book d-r-a-gggg.
This was a good read but didn't quite live up to its hype for me. Even though I had some issues with it, From Blood And Ash was a fun story with a premise that features a mishmash of Fantasy tropes, good banter, great action and some saucier scenes too. I'm still undecided whether I liked the book enough to read the second book in the series. 

My Rating: 3.5 starsAuthor: Jennifer L. ArmentroutGenre: Fantasy, TeenSeries: #1 in the Blood and Ash seriesPublisher: Blue Box PressFirst Published: March 29, 2020
Opening Lines: "They found Finley this even, just outside the Blood Forest, dead."

Book Description from GoodReads: Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.
A Duty

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

Andrew Coppolino

Take your temperature

Reading Time: 2 minutes

There are a couple of physical and tactile tests that you can do to check if your expensive strip loin or fat, juicy lamb chop is done cooking and ready to eat.

By making the “okay sign” with your thumb and forefinger and using a finger on your opposite hand to press gently on the meaty part of the base of your thumb where it joins the palm, you can roughly estimate the degree of doneness by poking your protein with a finger.

For example, thumb and forefinger held together will give you a feel for what is rare. Thumb together with the middle finger is basically medium rare, while thumb and pinky tightens that part of your lower thumb which approximates a steak that is well done (and so sad). It’s a good estimation, but it is guess work.

It’s better to get yourself a thermometer.

A simple probe thermometer costs as little as $10 and gives you more accurate temperature readings for any kind of food. There are much more expensive and programmable probe thermometers that have alarms and bells and whistles and cost $25, but they aren’t necessary if you don’t want to spend the money. Some higher-end professional devices sell for $100 or more.

A simple probe thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat you are cooking will give you an excellent indication of degree of doneness. With something like a beautiful steak, you don’t want to go past the point of how you like it cooked – because there is no way back. And if you have concerns about cooking chicken to a safe temperature, a thermometer is the best guide rather than guessing or simply hoping that it has been in the oven long enough.

The last steps to that perfect piece of protein is to remove it from the heat a couple of degrees below the temperature you want it to be: the meat will continue to cook a bit longer with residual heat. Then, cover the steak or chop or chicken breast loosely and let it rest for at least 10 minutes so the juices reassemble after being in the heat.

And be patient: cutting into it too early will result in a lot of the juices – and flavour – being lost.

Check out my latest post Take your temperature from Andrew Coppolino - World of Flavour.

Cult KW

Let’s do it for Canada. Let’s do it as Canada.

Canada Day is coming up soon, preceded by the rest of the “Celebrate Canada” events recognized by the Department of Canadian Heritage. It begins with National Indigenous Peoples Day, on the summer solstice.  The traditional Quebec holiday known as Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, now Fête nationale du Québec, happens June 24th.  June 27 is Canadian Multiculturalism Day.  […]

Check It Out WPL

Pandemic in a Picturebook

One moment everything was normal. Children got up in the morning and went to school. They chased each other at recess and sat next to each other at lunch. They hugged, laughed and smiled. Then all at once, everything changed. Schools shut down. Playgrounds closed. Everyone went inside and shut the doors. There was no more playing, hugging or close contact of any kind.

It has been 15 months since the pandemic changed the way we live. As difficult as it’s been for adults, it’s been especially challenging for children to adjust to this new way of life. Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham describes exactly how our world changed in terms that young children can understand. Everyone who was outside went inside. We baked, played games and watched TV. We waited. We worried. We hoped. We changed. The outside world changed too. Parks were empty. Animals ventured into the streets. Nothing was the same.

♦Outside, Inside tells the story of the last 15 months without ever mentioning the words COVID, virus or pandemic. Each page is filled with bright, vibrant pictures that illustrate what happened to our world. Every character in the book is based on someone in LeUyen Pham’s life – friends, family and community leaders. Many of the scenes depicted are reflections of real events including a baby being born at the height of the pandemic to a COVID positive mother.

This book is an excellent tool to help children process their emotions. Their lives have been a rollercoaster of lockdowns, closures, upheaval and chaos. This story can be a starting point to open up conservations about the difficult feelings they may be experiencing. It will give them a sense of hope that brighter days lay ahead. It is a good reminder for adults as well; we all need to hang in there. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

— Lesley L.

Elmira Advocate


This is why the small village of Heidelberg have been left drinking water from a contaminated (gas & diesel) supply for so many years. This is why tiny West Montrose residents were at risk for decades with their bacteria laden raw water supply. On the other hand the town of Walkerton had better infrastucture but were laden with incompetent employees (2), incompetent local politicians and incompetent, underfunded Ontario Ministry of Environment (thank you Premier M. Harris). Walkerton also had a much larger population than Heidelberg or West Montrose and when the residents suddenly fell sick en masse, it was a crisis. A very public crisis as the depth of the incompetence resulting in E. Coli contamination unfolded. People died - unfortunately nothing unusual and in fact I expect that if the crisis had been about seven sudden, difficult to explain deaths only, I'm sure our authorities would have done exactly that: explain it away. The problem was the 2,000 other people who were violently ill, hospitalized and bed ridden. A coverup was beyond even the capabilities of our biggest professional liars. ................................................................................................................................ E. Coli is a sudden and dramatic killer. Benzene, toluene, xylenes, NDMA and a plethora of other industrial solvents, degeasers and by-products are not. They do their work slowly and inexorably. They cause a multitude of health injuries and sicknesses over a period of years and decades not hours, days and weeks. Cancer is but one of the endpoints for industrial discharges whether in air, groundwater or surface water. Of course our authorities can and do explain those away as sometimes being lifestyle choices i.e.smoking & drinking , bad diet etc. .......................................................................................................................... Politicians prefer to spend taxpayers money where it will do themselves the most good, for example with Arts buildings, arenas, and of course the LRT in Kitchener-Waterloo. Infrastructure such as roads and buildings are visible. Water protection and treatment not so much. Hence unless there is a crisis such as the 1989 Elmira Water Crisis (NDMA) there is little incentive to go whole hog and do the right thing. In fact the Region, the Township and the province (MOE/MECP) didn't even come close to doing the right thing in Elmira. The cleanup within thirty years of the Elmira Aquifers have failed and even the guilty parties admit that. The Uniroyal (Lanxess) site remains a toxic mess although allegedly it is "contained" although the parties saying so are the same ones who promised to clean up both the Aquifers and the Canagagigue Creek. Neither have been accomplished. ...................................................................................................................................... I have to date received one response back regarding the proposed Heidelberg water supply and my e-mails to the Region of Waterloo and their consultants, Stantec. I am advised by the Region that "...your input on the historical aspects of the local area are noted." Hmm "historical aspects". Really? I believe that the treatment of the soils and groundwater is ongoing. Oh well now that my concerns have been "noted" I should be able to rest easy. Right? Our regional politicians would never sell out local Heidelberg residents with an inadequate water supply/treatment would they? Hopefully at the worst they would only lie and minimize the source of the contamination not underfund a new supply or underfund proper treatment. Hopefully.

James Davis Nicoll

Time To Sleep / Sleep and His Brother (James Pibble, book 4) By Peter Dickinson

1971’s Sleep and His Brother is the fourth volume in Peter Dickinson’s series of James Pibble mysteries.

Sacked from the police for reasons unexplained, James Pibble is spending too much time at home, at least in the view of his wife. She decides to give him a reason to leave the house. Having overheard a conversation that hints of unspecified criminality, she orchestrates a meeting between McNair House’s Mrs. Dixon-Jones and Pibble.

The meeting begins oddly. On arriving at McNair, Pibble is greeted by two enigmatic dumpling-like children.

Learning and Leading

Finding the Fuel to Excel

Since March 2020, I have been in a hyper state of reflective practice. The global pandemic flipped my work life upside down - causing me, and really the entire education world in Ontario, to re-evaluate how teaching and learning works when we are not face to face with our students. 

In addition to the pandemic, there have been a number of other events (George Floyd, BLM, US election, the Ford government, the 215 children in BC, etc) that have caused me to be more disciplined in looking after my mental health by entering into a reflective state with respect to my life, how I see myself, and what I need to do to become a better version of myself - in all aspects of my life (partner, parent, educator, friend/ally).

Between the curveballs thrown at me as a classroom teacher and the things happening around me with respect to race and equity, I have had to examine my personal leadership resources and take stock of what I have in abundance, what I am depleted of, and where I can get more of what I need. The Catholic Leadership Framework identifies cognitive, social, and psychological resources that effectively enact leadership practices. I have spent a significant amount of time thinking about how I am doing in terms of my problem solving ability, my professional practices and how they lead students to success, dealing with my emotions, being proactive, resilient, and optimistic. As the school year comes to an end, I can say that the reflective practice I have been engaged in has allowed me to "check in" with myself often and evaluate what I am doing well and where I need to pay more attention. 

My constant "check ins" lead me to want to engage in activities that would positively feed me. Mentorship sessions with leaders inside and outside of the WCDSB, the Catholic Leadership Through an Equity Lens initiative, and coaching the Girls Who Game program at my school are the main things that brought me a sense of value and joy. Those three things provided me with the fuel I needed to keep making a positive difference in myself and the staff and students I work with no matter what was happening around me.


Through the lens of The Catholic Leadership Framework, my practice of reflecting on what is working and what isn't working helps me set direction, build relationships, support desired practices, improve the instructional program, and secure accountability. When I think about the purposeful conversations I have had with formal leaders this school year, I immediately recall learning about the importance of setting high expectations and meeting the demands of the different stakeholders I work with/for. The Catholic Leadership Through an Equity Lens initiative provided me with the opportunity to share my leadership discernment story, the importance of building trusting relationships, and staffing the instructional program in a purposeful way to serve the diverse needs of our students and community. Leading the Girls Who Game program allowed me to work on being accountable to my administrators, the outside groups supporting the program, and most importantly, the students themselves. The program also stimulated growth in staff members who were part of the collaborative process, allowed me to monitor progress in student learning, and allowed me to help build a sense of internal accountability in myself and the other adults working with me. 

As I approach the end of this very interesting and unprecedented school year, I am walking away from it feeling successful. The stress and adversity lead me to dig deeper into who I am, the blessings I have in my life, and where the fuel is to keep me going in the right direction. 

Check It Out WPL

Madhur Anand

Early this month, Madhur Anand, an ecology professor at the University of Guelph was presented with the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction. Her book, This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart, is the story of her parents, herself as well as other family, friends and even Anand’s colleagues. Learn more, including the unique physical set-up of the book, at cbc.ca

Andrew Coppolino

Mark Pagett of Lancaster Smokehouse

Reading Time: 5 minutes

On a Tuesday afternoon at two o’clock, the dining room at Kitchener’s Lancaster Smokehouse is oddly quiet. Usually, the place is humming with a lunch crowd that evolves busily into dinner and more hum.

Even when the customers and staff have gone home at night, The Lanc is busy. The restaurant’s smoke “pit” runs virtually all night as it low-and-slow creates the meats on the menu. That’s roughly the 100 pork shoulders and another 100 briskets the kitchen will go through in a single week. Add to that approximately 25,000 racks of ribs served in a year.

Yes, it’s a busy place, but this afternoon is an anomaly, notes Mark Pagett, The Lanc’s chef and kitchen manager. Even he’s somewhat surprised because it’s a rare moment when the restaurant is this quiet (granted, it might also be that it’s -20 degrees C today, along with the usual industry slow down that happens in February).

Soon, however, Pagett will be back at it, organizing the crew, and plating and executing dinner service. He’s been with the restaurant almost seven years.

Hundreds served
Those full-on shifts can be crazy for the cooks because The Lanc dining room, at just over 100 capacity, is so busy. On a packed Saturday, they can be on wait from 12:30 in the afternoon until 9 p.m. and end up easily serving hundreds of customers.

“Sometimes there’s no break or down-turn around two or three o’clock. It can be crazy going from lunch to early dinner and beyond,” Pagett says.

Pagett, a Kitchener native and St. Marys High School grad, didn’t really know what he wanted to do as a career, or even just a job, during most of his time at school.

But there were moments when executing good food with a time constraint was part of family life: at home, he and his father would challenge each other to pizza or burger contests. It got competitive.

“I believe it was in grade 11 when I took what was the equivalent of Home Ec. at high school. I soon realized that I was the only one who took it seriously. Everyone seemed to be taking it because they needed that credit,” says Pagett.

When he started listening to the instructor, it became apparent that cooking was something he was interested in doing as a career. “I liked the classes, and right after grade 12, I applied to Conestoga College for their culinary program.”

♦Massive brisket nachos (Photo/The Lanc).

A graduate of the two-year culinary management program, Pagett did a co-op time at Kitchener’s King Crab Oyster Bar and Grill, a once popular venue on Victoria Street that has since closed. “I trained under two Justins. There was Justin O’Brien, who now owns Obie’s in Cambridge and Justin Bronson who has moved out west.”

After a few years at King Crab, Pagett went to northern Italy for a few weeks to live in Bolzano in the Italian south Tyrol. “I learned to say, ‘Where’s the bathroom?’ and other than some food terms that’s about all I remember,” he says laughing.

“The food was so good,” he adds. “The family I lived with would go to the fishmonger in the morning and then to the butcher, baker and cheese maker. Every day. It was very different than from here.”

Learning at breakfast
Pagett also spent some time at Cora’s, the breakfast restaurant. He was in the kitchen as a line cook, expediting orders and did a turn in front-of-house. “I feel that breakfast is frowned upon as just fast food. But, as a cook, learning a really busy breakfast line is hard. You might have 50 different plates all in a row and all with different eggs, meats and sides and mods, allergies and all that stuff,” Pagett says. “It’s really fast paced even compared to here.”

♦A moment when the kitchen is quiet (Photo/WREats).

After a few years, he joined the staff at the Smokehouse. “That was after I lost a job opportunity during an interview at a vegetarian restaurant because I have a tattoo of meat,” he says with a smile.

Ink or not, Pagett points out a gap that many cooks face: should someone wanting to be a cook go to culinary school? Lots of cooks don’t–and some are quite famous (and rich). “Is it worth it? Pagett asks. “If you want to be a cook, you can go cook. But going to school will really help and teach you a lot of background and give you basics and fundamentals quickly. Those are essentially for learning and growing and being a really good chef,” he adds.

Some basics not glamorous
He then points out the not-so-glamorous elements that are vital and which you may not learn cooking on the line: “The basics of finances and running a business. At Conestoga, I learned a lot about costing, which is very useful to know and understand. I learned that and how to be disciplined, focussed and really good at what you are doing.”

It comes down to getting the best dish out that you can, at whatever style of restaurant you are working in, according to Pagett.

He notes that the basic instruction is critical, but he says he’s been lucky being able to pursue some creativity at The Lanc. “There’s always an opportunity to learn more. Working here, Tim (executive chef and co-owner Tim Borys) and the Corrigans, the owners, have given me the chance to grow. I’ve been able to take the reins on several projects.”

♦One of many trays that come from a busy kitchen (Photo/Lanc Facebook).

That includes, as just one example, Bourbon-pairing dinners upstairs in The Lanc Loft, which was a five-course menu that was his to explore and create. “If I have an idea, I run it past them and we can do it,” he says. “Cooks need that chance.”

Pagett notes that the basic culinary school instruction is critical, but he adds that he’s used that as a basis to pursue some creativity at The Lanc. “There’s always an opportunity to learn more. Working here, Tim (executive chef and co-owner Tim Borys) and the Corrigans, the owners, have given me the chance to grow. I’ve been able to take the reins on several projects.” That includes Bourbon-pairing dinners upstairs in The Lanc Loft, a five-course menu that was his to explore and create.

“If I have an idea, I run it past them and we can do it,” Pagett says. “That’s a great thing about working here. Cooks need that chance.”

Check out my latest post Mark Pagett of Lancaster Smokehouse from Andrew Coppolino - World of Flavour.

Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Comerce

Manufacturing Under Increased Attack from Ransomware | Waterloo Study Reports

Robert Jolliffe, Owner, MicroAge Kitchener

Attacks from ransomware are on the rise, as reported regularly on the news. The most obvious of these attacks was the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack in the United States this spring. This attack shut down deliveries of gasoline and heating oil all across the Eastern USA.

A new report from Waterloo-based eSentire has found that six foreign “gangs” have claimed over 290 victims and $45 million dollars in ransom in just the beginning of 2021. These six gangs (to be fair, these are organized crime syndicates) are not the only groups that are using ransomware to extort money from businesses. The Dark Web (unlisted websites and communities dedicated to criminal activity) actively sells ransomware starter kits and gives advice to those would-be hackers who want to collect from unsuspecting businesses.

The size of ransom demands is increasing also. A 2020 report from Coveware found that ransomware payments (the amounts criminals demand to unlock your systems) have increased dramatically since 2018. These average demands have increased from well below $10,000 to over $100,000 over just 2 years.

Insurance Is Getting Out of the Ransomware Business

Insurance companies are suffering badly from ransomware, and they are starting to get out of the business of providing Cyber Insurance. For instance, AXA, one of Europe’s top 5 insurance companies, announced recently that it is suspending insurance coverage for ransomware extortion payments. If insurance companies will not cover the costs of these payments (AXA cited the rapid rise in costs as a reason) this will result in bankruptcies of small businesses throughout the world.

According to a paper released by the Institute for Security and Technology (Combatting Ransomware) the average business experiences 21 days of downtime due to these attacks, and takes almost a full year to recover completely. The average payment has now risen to $312,493 USD in late 2020.

Unfortunately, authorities have no ability to stop these attacks. The wide open nature of the internet, and the deeply connected computer systems used by virtually everyone today makes ransomware a blight we are stuck with. If Insurance refuses to cover these costs, businesses will be in big trouble.

The State of IT Systems Makes Ransomware Inevitable

Ransomware attacks IT systems through end-users who are unaware they are letting the attackers in. Usually, this is through Phishing emails, where some staff member innocently gives the hackers access to the system.

Today’s ransomware attacker does NOT immediately go to work. They know that a lot of companies have done some basic steps to prevent an attack, so most of the time they evaluate the weaknesses in the system before they encrypt the business data.

Despite the increased knowledge of this crime, the reality is that far too many businesses still do not take this threat seriously. Ransomware is becoming so much worse because the targets are just so easy to attack.

At MicroAge, we often perform an audit for customers when we first work with them. We are shocked to find the number who do not actively check their backups, and for whom those backups have not worked in some time. We also find that most customers do not have up-to-date computer patches, despite thinking that this is taken care of. Even in those companies that have IT staff or have outsourced their IT, we find a large percentage are not actively monitoring and performing even basic maintenance activities.

Modern ransomware attackers start auditing your systems in a manner that’s not that different than we at MicroAge would do. They find out which machines are vulnerable, and if they can, they disable the safeguards that keep you safe.

Active Management is the Only Option

Active management of your IT systems is really the only option to really prevent Cyber Crime today. This requires a few tools, and the dedication of some time.

  • Companies need a Remote Management and Maintenance tool – often called an RMM.
    • These tools come in different levels with different capabilities. The best are about $15 to $20 per month per computer.
  • Someone needs to monitor this data, daily. Allocating about 1 hour per 50 computers is appropriate.
    • If the someone above does not have either an RMM or training to use it, this needs to be more like 8 hours a day.
  • You need a top-tier anti-virus, and ideally, an AI-powered tool to automatically shut down any encryption as it happens.
    • The good RMM tools and some Anti-Virus can detect “weird” activities and stop it – which also shuts off that users’ computer. Better safe than sorry.
  • Someone needs to spend time every day checking backups and at least weekly ensuring they are working and can be restored.
  • Someone needs to install security patches as they are released, at least to test them, then deploy them to your systems.
  • Turn on 2 Factor Authentication for everything you can. I know it’s annoying. Turn it on anyway.
  • Make sure you at least measure how often your staff falls for Phishing attacks. There are a variety of tools to achieve this. Make sure you are using one, and know where your weaknesses are.
  • Make sure that you regularly review your system and know what the newest threats are from

If you don’t have someone doing these activities (and most part-time people don’t really have the time to do it right) then you need to get on that right away. If you think this kind of thing won’t happen to your business – let me give you my number. You’ll need it sooner than later.

Subcontract Your IT Management If You Can’t Do It Yourself

Most companies with less than 50 computers are not able to afford a full-time staff member nor the software tools they should have to do their job. A good IT professional today is making over $80,000 a year once all their benefits and overheads are included.

If you find yourself in a situation where you do not have a full-time IT staff (and especially if they are working on high-priority, urgent business activities like getting product out the door) then take a serious look at outsourcing. There are lots of great companies in the Waterloo Region area that provide Managed IT Services. The term “Managed IT Services” basically means outsourcing the steps I outlined in the previous section.

Finally – Don’t Be Complacent

There is a reason the US Government, Canada, Europe, and most of the rest of the world are telling their small businesses to get serious about this. It is a tidal wave of pain coming and there are way, way too many businesses that don’t take it seriously.

If a ransomware attack does hit you, be sure you get help as soon as you can. Turn off everything – pull the main switch on the power. Call some professionals and hopefully, it isn’t too late.

Robert Jolliffe
MicroAge Kitchener


About MicroAge Kitchener

MicroAge Kitchener is an expert in industrial IT and supports Kitchener, Waterloo and surrounding areas. Services include application and server hosting, virus scanning, spam filtering, local and off-site backup solutions, network cabling and monitoring, security system access and monitoring, data migration, and virtual CIO services.  No matter the IT requirements, MicroAge is the single source partner that works towards finding the perfect solution for your business. To learn more visit www.microage-kitchener.ca, email us at sales@microage-kitchener.ca or call us at (226) 336-6259.

The post Manufacturing Under Increased Attack from Ransomware | Waterloo Study Reports appeared first on Chamber of Commerce KW.

House of Friendship

Tech for Good is Changing the Odds

Local children were able to attend STEAM camps through Launch Waterloo and Google, regardless of their family’s situation.

A meeting of minds has led to a creative collaboration that is changing the odds for children in Waterloo Region.

At House of Friendship’s virtual Annual General Meeting on June 15, Sandy Currie and Tobi Day-Hamilton shared the story of how Google, Launch Waterloo and House of Friendship came together to provide STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) camps to children living on low income, opening up doors of possibility and new opportunities, regardless of family income.

Sandy and Tobi shared how everyone came together around a table at Google to come up with new ways to reach children who otherwise wouldn’t get a chance to learn the technology that is such an inherent part of our world.

“We wanted to help kids and break down the barriers to science and technology, because we know this is the future,” said Tobi. “We want to make sure that children are not just consumers, but creators of technology.”

With support from Google, and working with House of Friendship and other agencies to identify children who would benefit from the STEAM programming, Launch Waterloo started PD Day Camps in 2019.

A short video highlighted a “STEAM tournament” where children competed against each other while learning the science of flight, and how to manage forces like thrust and gravity. Together, the children created rockets with the tech they learned in an afternoon.

“We went away from that day, feeling so good about what we did for the kids,” said Tobi. “But that was just one day. So, how do we make that a lasting relationship with kids? Because if we are really going to change the odds, we have to do more than one day. We have to wrap around these kids and give them the support they need to be successful.”

Sandy shared how one shy student opened up after attending multiple camps, becoming more and more confident as time went by.

“It was heartwarming, to know we were making a little bit of a difference,” said Sandy.

Ultimately,  Launch Waterloo and Google hope to create STEAM programming for children modelled after minor sports – with kids registering to join teams for a six-week season, complete with coaches. mentors and teammates.

“Kids need that support system. They need to know someone is cheering them on,” said Tobi.

“Together, I believe that we can change the odds for the most vulnerable in our community,” said Sandy.

Executive Director John Neufeld encouraged attendees to find the ways they can “change the world” in their own unique ways, by changing their proximity to the issue, changing the narrative, staying hopeful, and doing uncomfortable things.

“I believe that’s what we started to do in Waterloo Region five years ago, sitting around those tables together, trying to get proximity to the issues of homelessness and kids growing up in low-income neighbourhoods. This is how the magic happened.”

House of Friendship honoured this year’s recipients of the Buhr Legacy of Friendship – employee groups of local tech companies, represented by Axonify, Bonfire, Brock Solutions, Google and Vidyard. This recognition, named in honour of former executive director Martin Buhr and his family, is handed out every year to those who exemplify House of Friendship’s values of compassion, inclusion, justice, dignity and hope.

The post Tech for Good is Changing the Odds appeared first on House Of Friendship.

House of Friendship

Buhr Legacy of Friendship 2021

This year’s Buhr Legacy of Fellowship, presented at the Annual General Meeting on June 15, honours employee groups of local tech companies who are supporting the mission of House of Friendship to make this a better community for everyone, living out our values of compassion, inclusion, justice, dignity and hope in very practical ways.

Watch this inspiring video to see how employees at Axonify, Bonfire, Brock Solutions, Google and Vidyard are making a difference every day through their volunteer efforts at House of Friendship.


To learn more about the Buhr Legacy of Friendship, or to find out about past honourees, click here.

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René Therrien delivers webinar “Integrated hydrological modelling of surface and groundwater” for CentrEau (French)

Dr René Therrien, l'un des fondateurs et développeurs en chef d'HydroGeoSphere, a récemment présenté un webinaire (en français) sur l'utilisation d'HydroGeoSphere pour la «Modélisation hydrologique intégrée des eaux de surface et souterraines» au CentrEau (Centre québecois de recherche sur l’eau). Un résumé du webinaire suit, et vous pouvez regarder la présentation sur le site CentrEau.

Nous sommes très heureux que les hydrogéologues du monde francophone aient désormais une parfaite introduction à HydroGeoSphere et aux avantages de l'approche de modélisation hydrologique intégrée dans les études des ressources en eau.

Résumé : Les modèles hydrologiques intégrant les eaux de surface et souterraines visent à simuler la partie terrestre du cycle hydrologique. Ces modèles considèrent généralement un écoulement 2D des eaux de surface couplé à l’écoulement 3D des eaux souterraines et, dans certains cas, le transport de masse et d'énergie. Ils sont de plus en plus utilisés pour anticiper, par exemple, les impacts potentiels sur les ressources en eau des variations climatiques, des changements d’occupation du territoire, ou l’augmentation de l’utilisation de l’eau. Ils peuvent aussi contribuer à la gestion durable de l’eau. Des développements et applications récents du modèle HydroGeoSphere, qui fait partie de cette catégorie de modèles, seront présentés, ainsi que les défis et opportunités associés à ce type de modèle.

Cliquez ici pour visiter le site Web de CentrEau voir la présentation!

Dr. René Therrien, one of the founders and chief developers of HydroGeoSphere, recently delivered a webinar (in French) on the use of HydroGeoSphere for “Integrated hydrological modelling of surface and groundwater” to CentrEau (the Quebec Water Research Centre). A summary of the webinar follows, and you can watch the entire presentation on the CentrEau website.

We’re very glad that hydrogeologists in the French speaking world now have a perfect introduction to HydroGeoSphere and the benefits of the integrated hydrologic modeling approach in water resources studies.

Summary: Hydrological models integrating surface and groundwater aim to simulate the terrestrial part of the hydrological cycle. These models generally consider 2D surface water flow coupled with 3D groundwater flow and, in some cases, mass and energy transport. They are increasingly used to anticipate, for example, the potential impacts on water resources of climate variations, land use changes, or increased water use. They can also contribute to sustainable water management. Recent developments and applications of the HydroGeoSphere model, which belongs to this category of models, will be presented, as well as the challenges and opportunities associated with this type of model.

Click here to visit the CentrEau website and watch the presentation!