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The Independent Nov. 07, 2013 : Page 1

Vol. 1, Issue 10 “This has changed my life:” Lafond Heather Wright The Independent Mario Lafond rubs the tensor bandage on what used to be his foot. His eyes squint in pain as he rubs the already worn bandage. The pain isn’t just physical, it is also mental as he thinks about the future for his young family. On Oct. 9, Lafond arrived at his job at SofSurfaces in Petrolia for his 7 am shift. He had a coffee and headed out to the floor to work at one of the presses with a coworker. As they worked on the lids being made at the plant, the other worker needed a new grinder. He left the press and the machine stopped. Lafond says he didn’t think it was supposed to move and then he heard the sound of hydraulics starting. “I feel a little pull on my pants and the press is coming down,” he says as he struggles to control his emotion recounting his story while sitting in the hospital bed jammed up against the stairway in his home. “And I can’t get my foot out…I could feel it,” he cried. Lafond says his coworkers did all they could but they couldn’t act fast enough. “By the time he could get the machinery stopped, the press was down… “As soon as I heard the crunch I realized something was wrong…I looked at (my coworker)…I seen his face almost go white.” Lafond says it seemed to take forever to free his foot. “To me it felt like 10 minutes but it could have been four or six minutes.” By the time the press was opened the foot was crushed. The Ministry of Labour is investigating and has issued several orders to SofSurface on issues including guarding of machinery and surrounding the training of workers to the temp agency which has been Lafond’s employer for the past year and a half. Lafond was rushed to hospital in London after the accident. Doctors knew almost immediately the foot could not be saved. But they kept it on for 72 hours to try to improve the circulation in the lower half of his leg, which they first feared would also be lost. Now Lafond is left with the scarred heel of his right foot. Doctors tell him will help as he learns to walk with a prosthetic. Lafond says he’s in “constant pain...I haven’t gone a day without severe pain.” His wife, Krystal, is up every three hours giving Lafond the pain medication he needs. SEE ACCIDENT on PG 3 Thursday, November 7, 2013 Heather Wright Photo WE WILL REMEMBER THEM Veterans Emery Christie (right) and Ted Paisley watch as wreaths are laid at the cenotaph in Victoria Park, Petrolia on Sun Over 100 wreaths were placed as memorials and will stay at the cenotaph until Monday’s Act of Remembrance which begins at 11 am. Petrolia water system needs less work: McCharles Heather Wright The Independen t It is not as bad as they thought. Petrolia Mayor John McCharles says an engineer has recently looked at what repairs will be needed in the Petrolia water treatment system and it is not nearly as expensive as officials had expected. In the past few years, engineers had said the water system would need about $18 million worth of repairs in the next six years. But McCharles says the town wanted to take a second look. Petrolia is in the middle of water rate negotiations with Enniskillen Township. Enniskillen is considering whether it will continue buying its water from Petrolia or work with the Lambton Area Water Supply System, which is offering a guaranteed rate for 25 years, which will save ratepayers about $309,000 a year. As the municipality continues negotiations to keep Enniskillen Township as a water user, the town thought it would be a good idea to review the capital plan to see if all of the work needed to be done in the hopes of being able to offer Enniskillen a better deal. “We talked to the engineers to get a better idea of what capital projects we must absolutely do in the next ten years and there are a few that will have to be done,” says McCharles. “But it is a lot fewer than what we had first thought. “Instead of $18 million, we’re probably looking more like $10 million over 10 years.” McCharles says the town will still have to put aside money for those capital projects, but the news means Petrolia can offer Enniskillen a better deal. “We can actually reduce or need for capital reserves a fair amount and that would bring the water rate down.” SEE WATER on PG 3 4219 Oil Heritage Road, Petrolia 519-882-1090 1-855-864-4962

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