Living North of 7

Bancroft, one of the most beautiful and most talented areas!

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New tax has local Funeral Directors seeing red

Licensed Funeral Directors Tim Baragar and Jeff Neuman are sounding the alarm bells over a new tax program that they say will make life difficult for estate representatives in Ontario.

Licensed Funeral Directors Tim Baragar and Jeff Neuman are sounding the alarm bells over a new tax program that they say will make life difficult for estate representatives in Ontario.

Tim Baragar has been in the funeral business for a long time. He received his Funeral Director’s in 1982 and since 1996 he has operated Baragar Funeral Home in downtown Bancroft.

Baragar makes it clear that his service does not end at the cemetery. He and Funeral Director Jeff Neuman do their best to help families obtain pertinent documents and ensure that a loved one’s affairs are in order.

And that’s why Baragar and Neuman are sounding the alarm bells over a newly rolled-out tax that took effect on Jan. 1. The Estate Administration Tax (EAT) was part of the 2011 Provincial budget and the tax, its timelines and its penalties, are something these Funeral Directors think everyone needs to be aware of.

“It is frightening to see how this government has simply slipped this in without any discussion that I know of. It will have a major impact on all of us at some point,” Baragar says. “We need to be making lots of noise to hopefully get this revoked.”

The new tax program that Baragar finds frightening requires an executor to assess, appraise and value any and all property owned at the time of death.This EAT appraisal includes anything that is not passed directly to a spouse or passed through joint ownership. Assets that are being gifted to charities also need to be included in the valuation. The tax is then calculated and needs to be paid immediately to the Province of Ontario as a deposit. The calculation goes like this – $5 for each $1,000 of the first $50,000 and then $15 for each $1,000 of the value of the estate over $50,000. Read more

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All these pretty signs are pointing to an election!

voteAll these pretty signs are pointing to an election!

I think elections should be treated like job interviews. If I were interviewing a candidate for a potential spot on my municipal council I would likely ask the following questions.

Please tell me about the moment when you decided to run for council?

So far, any regrets with throwing your name into the competition?

Let’s cover some broad themes.

  1. Quality of life:

What will you do to keep this part of the world liveable?

How will you make this a place that can sustain jobs?

How can you make this a place that can support the needs of an aging community?

How will you balance the needs of tourists with the needs of seasonal residents?

  1. Policing:

If we have no say in how much we pay for policing will you at least advocate for the kind of policing we might want? Things like trail patrols and foot patrols?

Will you advocate for officers to get out from behind the tinted windows and walk through our communities, building trust and relationships?

(admittedly this is a leading question)

  1. Communications:

How will you communicate with your constituents?

How will you encourage more input and community engagement?

What do you think about social media? Do you think you should always be professional in what you publish – even when you’re not in a council meeting? Read more

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Hastings County Member Municipalities Offical Candidate Lists

Hastings County is made up of 14 member municipalities and for ease I created the list of all members certified lists of candidates in your municipality, just click on the link. As this is a work in progress, we have tried to locate all municipalities and as soon as we can we will have the complete list (we saved you the headache 🙂


Town of Bancroftcountyofhastings

Township of Carlow Mayo

Municipality of Centre Hastings

Town of Deseronto

Township of Faraday

Hastings Highlands

Township of Limerick

Township of Madoc

Municipality of Marmora & Lake

Township of Stirling Rawdon

Township of Tudor and Cashel

Municipality of Tweed

Township of Tyendinaga 

Township of Wollaston


Is the Bancroft election a bit offside?

After speaking with my father, who is running for Reeve in Carlow Mayo we of course talk about the upcoming elections on a regular basis. I find it interesting and I of course learn a great deal about municipal politics from him as I am new to it. He sent me the Official list of candidates for Carlow Mayo and I in turn went to see my ward which is Bancroft….there isn’t one.

You see under the Municipal Elections Acts Examination of nominations 35.1 the first Monday at 4pm following nomination day, the Town Clerk should have certified that all candidates met all the requirements. So far there is no Official list of candidates….what does that mean. Good question and I do not know.

It is now Wednesday so my next question is, why?



Bancroft is having an election (a real one)!

bancroft-ontario-crestThat’s right folks we are having an election now as I have been informed that two new candidates are throwing their hats into the ring. Barry McGibbon has already filed in Dungannon Ward and another will file this morning in Bancroft from my understanding. This has taken us from an acclamation to an election.

What does this mean for us? We have been given a democratic right to make a choice … before it was just status quo. Now we have an opportunity for change (that is if you want change). The Town of Bancroft has had its challenges to say the least for a few years now and maybe just maybe having new blood will bring new perspectives, new skill sets to the table which I feel that would be beneficial to our community.

Like the rest of you, I will need to listen and hear what all candidates have to say. I do not know them (although have met a couple of them briefly at town functions) except for one incumbent with whom I had the pleasure of working alongside with regards to our public transit system the TROUT.

For a list of the present candidates click here

We have been handed a real opportunity here and I hope that all members of the community will take the time to first get the information you need to make an informed decision and secondly VOTE.

The deadline to file is Friday and who knows maybe we will get another surprise candidate.

Urban Girl xoxo

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Urban Girl: Mayor Jenkins “Forded” at Bridge St. Grand Opening

As I walked home I was chuckling to myself as Mayor Bernice Jenkins had just been “Forded” by an older adult regarding what was going to happen to our public transit system the TROUT. I have to give it to the Mayor Jenkins as she responded eloquently and appeased the community member.

The question still remain to what exactly is going to happen to our very unique public transit system.

But to the real reason we were there, the grand opening of our new bridge. I for one am ecstatic that it was completed on time as Station Hill was getting to be a pain…literally. Being a walker that shops daily for supplies … going the long way home was becoming a pet peeve.

Mayor Jenkins opened the ceremony thanking the contractor, and the Engineering Firm ,Project Manager, Town Staff and the Manager of Public Works…yes kudos all around.

Even though the bridge was closed new ideas came from it. Bancroft now has a defined “Theatre District” thanks to the hard work and creativity of Barb Shaw. Barb had been hired as the Event Co-ordinator that pulled together different weekend events to keep the customer traffic flowing in the area.

All said and done…great job by some very great individuals that came together to keep our community growing.

My own shout out to our community media who do the “real” reporting…Hughie, Louie and Dewey ( said with the greatest respect).

Urban Girl xoxo







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RE: Do we really need a publicly funded transit system in North Hastings?

rural public transit, bancroftIn response to the personal opinion article in the Weekly News last week with regards to the TROUT Transit Service we have here in the county, I must respectfully disagree with the writer.

The question raised was if we really need a publicly funded transit system in North Hastings? To this I must say the answer is a resounding yes. I agree that as a nation we rely too much upon Government funding in general. However, I disagree that filling TROUT gas tank creates more greenhouse gases. Public transit reduces CO2 emissions by 37 million metric tons annually.

Public transportation not only provides individuals a way to reduce their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions it also provides an affordable alternative to driving. Doing so saves the average household over $6,000 per year when using public transit.

Perhaps being a woman, I have a different perspective on hitch hiking my way to the grocery store. Perhaps if you are a single North Hastings Bancroftmale with a bike and have the physical ability to commute long distances, this way is feasible to travel in this manner. As a single mom in the past, I biked many places with my child riding in the back bike seat with 4 grocery bags hanging off both bike handlebars. Let me tell you, doing such going uphill is nearly impossible to do safely nor is it possible in the winter months.

I would not feel safe sticking out my thumb for a ride by myself or with my kids, nor would I want my mother or grandmother to do this either. With 90% of the TROUT being used by women it allows us the freedom to go places safely. If one relies upon getting to a doctors appointment by hitch hiking you may find many appointments missed.

One must look at the larger picture with regards to revenue and public transit. If a person is “stuck” at home and unable to travel then no revenue is being generated at all. However if public transit is made affordable and available to our residents then money is spent in businesses that would normally not see that foot traffic.In providing public transportation you also will require the services of a skilled mechanic, also a driver and support staff thus creating jobs and revenue.

To all the volunteers, a huge thank you for all you do! One day we may all find ourselves in the position where public transit is our only option. Having this wonderful service in our community will then be something we are grateful and supportive of rather than a service to complain about.

Nicole Duncan, Bancroft


Originally published in The Bancroft Times.

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Leave it to the kids, gradually

Ever thought about the potentially negative consequences of leaving a lump sum inheritance to your adult children??  Now, what could possibly be negative about an inheritance??  Well for starters, how about the risk that it could be squandered or at the very least, not used in the manner in which you had envisioned?  And let’s not forget marital breakdowns.  Fortunes have been lost in these battles that can go on for several years.

First of all, why would anyone be concerned about what their children / beneficiaries do with their inheritance??  Let’s face it, many people have trouble managing their finances, or lack thereof.  Just tune in to the show Till Debt Do Us Part!  In this “I want it all and I want it now” society, I’d say people are less financially secure than ever.  Do you really want to see everything you’ve worked for (assuming you don’t spend it all!) squandered on the latest gadgets and designer clothing?

Some people have gone to great lengths to include complicated instructions in their wills and/or establishing trusts, to control their assets after they die.  These methods can be effective but at the same time, are complicated and can also come with ongoing fees, and then need for someone to manage them, ie: a trustee for example.  For these reasons, I believe many people simply choose to avoid this type of planning completely, feeling it’s too complicated.

What it there was a cost effective way to do this that didn’t require a trustee or ongoing tax filing or any type of supervision??

There is a strategy called a “gradual inheritance concept”.  This involves the use of certain types of annuities that are triggered on death.  Instructions are put in place during one’s lifetime and upon death, the annuity(ies) get funded and the beneficiaries will receive an income stream, rather than a lump sum.  The income can be structured however you choose, ie: for life or for a fixed period of time.  This plan can be particularly beneficial for minors and financially dependent beneficiaries.  The best part, it requires no ongoing management (trustee) or tax filing, there are no fees and the income is guaranteed, much like a pension.

Like any estate planning strategy, this is merely one of the many tools available to those who seek advice and ask questions.  Unfortunately, many people simply accept the status-quo as their default estate plan and don’t realize the true potential to do some wonderful things “posthumously”.  Charitable giving can also be incorporated into this plan giving one the ability to continue supporting their favourite charity, eternally.  The sky really is the limit in what you can do.

Author: Grant Miller – Independent Financial Advisor


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Support the kids today for they are our community leaders tomorrow

On March 1, Maynooth Public School will be hosting the local band Camaraderie for an evening performance at the beautiful Hastings Highlands Community Center. Being a small rural school located  24 km north of Bancroft, Ontario it is a primary/junior school serving approximately 100 students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6.


Camaraderie consists of 7 local women that have come together to perform for local events and to help with raising funds for different causes. Along with the evenings entertainment the school will be holding a silent auction of local artists. Donations to the silent have come from all over our community that includes 2 prints donated by Ketha Newman, an original by Valerie Loney, a print by Nancy Brooks of the school , a signed item from the Bare Naked Ladies and the framed photograph by Lylis Designs /Gail Burstyn. There is also a variety of other donations that have come in to show the support to the school.


Principal Lisa Resmer said “that the funds will go to our schools literacy goals as well as to help cover costs of out of school learning opportunities. Given our rural location, transportation costs are high. Fundraising provides us with money to offset these costs , giving our students the opportunity to travel”.

We here at Living North of 7 believe in helping our community through our blog by giving  a public forum to promote local events and showing how our community comes together by working  together.

Tickets are $15 each or 2 for $25 which include coffee, tea and of course the ever famous dessert buffet. Tickets available at the school, Treehouse, Harvest Moon, Maynooth General Store or by calling Lisa at 613-338-2816.

So on March 1, head to the community centre and enjoy the night with friends and family while also contributing to the kids that will one day be the leaders of our community.

Urban Girl xoxo

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The Sustainable Exchange 2013 in The Blue Mountains, Collingwood, Ontario

The annual Sustainable Exchange event is focused around providing well-researched information and excellent networking with other sustainability professionals, all working towards implementing Sustainable Plans in their communities. While having coffee before the Exchange started, I spoke with Susan Elstone , presenter and Environmental Coordinator from the City of Oshawa, who explained that part of their community Sustainable initiatives is to provide some very popular workshops on canning, composting, gathering seeds, how to buy & use food to avoid waste and various gardening topics.  We have some local entrepreneurs giving similar great seminars here, and it seems logical that pursuing active collaboration among those individuals and groups could be really beneficial and help to expand the many educational opportunities available.

The mayor of The Blue Mountains welcomed everyone to their community. The Blue Mountains have an extensive Sustainable Plan called The Blue Mountain Sustainable Path , which was instigated by the Municipality. It relied heavily on over 100 community partners to create and implement it. They have found that “it costs more not to be sustainable than to invest in it”.  They have also found that they have benefitted greatly from creative Tourism Experience Packages, some of which have been recently developed by our Chamber of Commerce.

The first speaker was Joel Hilchey, Inspirational Speaker, whose ideas about sustainable communities were unique.  He was very creative in his demonstrations about the need for good leaders to take risks. He made the point that in the realm of sustainability it is often necessary for individuals promoting the concept to risk being shot down, as many people do not understand the concept or the need and benefits of being truly sustainable. He emphasized that great leaders are only successful because they take risks, especially when they approach these risks in an intelligent manner by moving forward with confidence and conviction but not foolishness! It is not the ideas that we have that matter as much as what we do with them.  Very successful communities, he said, did not become significantly better by following the status quo. Continue reading