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The Independent Sept. 26, 2013 : Page 1

Vol. 1, Issue 4 Firefighters plan new training centre in 2014 Building also to house fire artifacts Thursday, September 26, 2013 Prices drop; yields seem promising farm leaders say Heather Wright The Independent Crop strong despite poor weather Tim Williams, Petrolia’s Pioneer Hi-Bred representative, just finished a tour of local fields and agrees; this year’s bean crop is strong considering the weather. “The soybeans had a really tough start with a lot of rain and they had a hard time emerging from the ground,” says Williams. “After a bumper crop last year it will be going back to reality this year. Don McCabe, vice president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture says the beans which came off before the heavy rains this weekend were very dry and of good quality. And he says the rains shouldn’t be a big problem. “It is not like we’re really pressed for time yet,” he says “it is still early in the season and there is lots of time to get the wheat in the ground.” And while farmers are taking off beans, Williams says it may be a while before the corn crop is ready to be harvested. He’s estimating it will likely be late October before the combines move through it. But Williams says when it does come off, it will be good. “I think Marianne VanderSpek photo Heather Wright Jeff Sanderson uses the last light of the day to work his field south west of Edy’s Mills recently. Farmers are The Independent likely to be out long hours as the soybean harvest is set to begin. Corn crops likely won’t come off the field until the end of October. Petrolia-Enniskillen volunteer firefighters may soon have a The summer may have been filled with unusual weather, but it doesn’t seem to have harmed the local grain crop. Across Central Lambton, farmers are beginning to take off their soybean crops and Enniskillen farmer Kevin Marriott says most are “pleasantly surprised” by what they’re finding. “There is the odd field off and they’re looking promising,” says Marriott, a former director of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “They are not as good as a year ago but a year ago was an exceptional yield…so far it is a pleasant surprise.” were going to have a better crop than last year; “Last year was good and this year is going to be a very good crop,” says Williams. “The corn got off to a really good start and never Don McCabe looked back.” McCabe agrees saying estimates across the province show about 160 bushels an acre for corn – above Ontario’s yearly average. And while it will be a strong year, Williams says it won’t be as good financially. Commodity prices, he says, have dipped between 20 and 40 percent from last year at this time. “It is not going to be like last year where everything…was perfect and turned to gold,” says Williams. “There is still profit margin in it… there is still room to make money…with a good yield there is an opportunity to have a profitable year.” new place to train and a place to preserve the past. Chief Lawrence Swift says the association has begun a $150,000 fundraising campaign to build a new training facility behind the current fire hall on Centre St. It will also house some of the department’s extensive historic artifacts. Swift says the department needs space to provide training to its members. “The training that we do, basic training that firefighters do, has evolved,” says Swift. “We have challen -ges providing our members training. We have to go off-site in small groups or we make do with what we have.” Swift says recently they went to one of the firefighters new drive shed to practice bringing people up and down stairs. “We had our heavy equipment and axes and we took some chunks out of the wall.” The new facility will be similar to a garage with a very basic interior but designed to take the wear and tear of regu -lar training. It will also have equipment demanded by the Ministry of Labour for training exercises. Swift adds with volunteer departments across Lambton County doing joint training, Petrolia’s training center will be well used. The first floor of the building will house some of the department’s old log books and two of the department’s earliest vehicles. “Because we were one of the first fire departments in On -tario and having a long history…we have all those historical log books,” says Swift. Some of the entries are unusual to say the least. “They’re one line saying something like, all the firefighters were drunk and the barn burned down.” There are also accounts of the three established depart -ments fighting over town fees. Petrolia paid the first depart -ment on scene and that lead to a fierce rivalry. “There would be fist fights…or the building burned down while they were arguing about who was there first.” See TREASURES on Page 2 4219 Oil Heritage Road, Petrolia 519-882-1090 1-855-864-4962

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