Monday, December 29, 2014


Sad news today of the passing of Fort Erie Councillor Rick Shular today.

Can't say much more except to offer my condolences to his family. My mother died on this day many years ago so it is especially sad for me. One of the reasons that the Christmas Season is difficult for me.

Funeral arrangements:

Family will receive friends on Thursday, Jan. 1 at Benner 
Funeral Services, 1105 Benner Ave. in Fort Erie from 7 p.m. 
to 9 p.m. Services will also be hosted by the Masonic Lodge, 
the Fort Erie Kinsmen and the Royal Canadian Legion.
Visitation will continue from 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. 
on Friday, Jan. 2.
A service will be held at St. Paul’s Anglican Church on 
Saturday, Jan. 3 at noon. Burial will follow the service.
The family has asked that donations be made to Community
 Outreach Program Erie, Meals on Wheels or St. Paul’s
 Anglican Church.

(Editor's Note:  When our mother died, we had the same challenges with regard to her 
funeral. It was difficult for relatives to get to Buffalo during the busy holiday season and we 
had to delay her funeral until January 3. And then we heard that the gravediggers were on 
strike, so her burial was delayed for several weeks. A very difficult time for everyone so I 
have a great deal of empathy for the family and friends of Rick Shular.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Another Christmas and the end of another year.

Not exactly the happiest time for me and some of my friends, but we'll go through the motions and try our best to make merry. I, for one, will be grateful when it's all over.

There's always next year to look forward to with the hope that 2015 will be better.

It's times like this that I wish for the simpler days of yore where we weren't constantly blasted with news of terrible events and hyped-up reports designed to scare the heck out of us.

The lies posted on so-called "mainstream media" have made many lose their own sense of what is right. People have been manipulated into voting against their own best interests because the media has been complicit in pandering to the worst fears and prejudices of the general public. Christmas has become a huge retail greed event as evidenced by the insanity of "Black Friday" shopping.

I have fond memories of Christmases years ago where family gathered and shared in the spirit of the season. We went to Midnight Mass; we gave as much as we could to the Salvation Army; and our Christmas Dinner table was full of friends and relatives, many of whom would have been alone for the holidays.

That is the Christmas Season in my mind. Sharing, not getting. Kindness, not self-satisfaction. Reflection, not judgment.

And most of all, humility. Christ was born is a stable, we are told. How is it that all this overblown salute to conspicuous consumerism is in any way related to Christ's humble beginning?

It's a question that I ask myself every year and am still waiting for the answer.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Well, that's the best we can do for now. This is the guy behind a number of companies. Black Bear Homes. Clap Board Homes, etc. The house that was "sold" on Cherrywood was not really sold. It now sports a dollar store "For Sale" sign. Houses being built on Schooley Road are way over-priced and the property at Queen's Circle that has been stripped down to the studs is listed at close to a million.

This guy has a long history of scamming investors. He served jail time for bilking family members and even his pastor out of millions. And he has recently settled in town with his many business names and owning exactly nothing in his own name. The phone number provided for Black Bear Homes is a Welland/Font Hill telephone number.  He used to live in Fonthill in a rented house there. We're not sure where he lives now, but he has five children so they may be difficult to hide in a small town like Ridgeway or Crystal Beach.

What we don't need is another con artist in town. Enough already.  Please look at the previous post and read the links provided.  

Gary Fraser has been appointed to the Crystal Beach Business Improvement Area Board and he is a convicted fraudster.   Please call town hall and demand that he be removed from that position.

An on-line petition may be a good idea. Meanwhile, don't let this Grinch ruin your holidays.


It seems that the powers that be are determined to place medical marijuana grow ops in residential areas.  Heard just this morning on CKTB radio, Niagara Falls Councillor Carolyn Iaononni says she was "blindsided" by a recent application to rezone two former properties to allow for "a nursery to grow plants, shrubs and trees." The application for the former Kimberly Clark plant and the Redpath Sugar building are slated to be  medical marijuana grow operations. Residents  were not informed that the "nursery" was to be a medical marijuana grow op. If they had known, they would have "turned out in droves" according to Iaononni. She stated that she is not against medical marijuana grow ops, but she does not want to see them in residential areas for many reasons, including security concerns.

It seems now that the neighbours only recourse is to appeal the rezoning to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).  And we all know how that usually turns out.  Similar to a situation in Fort Erie where a medical marijuana grow op is slated for a site in a residential neighbourhood.

Monday, December 8, 2014


Plenty if Gary Fraser's past is any indication. Below are newspaper articles regarding Fraser's history of fraud for which he served time in jail.

  1. Scam Artist Bilked Family, Friends Out of  $2 Million.
  2. 30 Month Sentence For Fraud Artist Who Scammed His Pastor.
  3. Warning/Complaint About Gary Fraser.
  4. Fraser cons in the Muskokas
  5. His Port Colborne Cons
  6. 3 Years Jail Sentence. Officers warn he will con again once he is out.
Of course, Gary Fraser claims that he has changed and that he has learned his lesson. Odd though, he's gone into the same line of work that he was in when caught bilking people of millions of dollars: selling dreams through investment opportunities.

He recently set his sights on Crystal Beach and is the go-to guy for a series of investments in Crystal Beach. Somehow he and one of his followers, Arlene White, were appointed to the Crystal Beach BIA. So far, there is only a post office box in Crystal Beach listed as the business address of Black Bear Homes, Ltd. (Not to be confused {cough-cough}with Black Bear Developments.)  President of Black Bear Homes is listed as Audrey VandenBerg at that P.O. Box; she's reported to be Fraser's girlfriend. (Correction: Gary Fraser identifies himself as the president of Black Bear Homes, Ltd.) 

It doesn't take long to find those buildings associated with Fraser and the investors behind him. The stripped former tourist home at Queen's Circle that is listed for close to $1 million, once completely refurbished. The house next door was torn down to its footings. Next, a remodeled cottage on Cherrywood that reportedly "sold" for over $400,000 that is worth less than half that amount. We're still waiting to see who "bought" that place; it closes on the 15th of December. Real Estate company is allegedly an in-house company. Fraser's investment company also bought the former Pines restaurant and refurbishment is underway. Supposed to have re-opened last month. Still waiting for that.

The crown jewels to this operation are the houses being built on Schooley Road near Smalls Road and Glen Spring. Priced from $487,000 for a 1477 sq.ft. house without a garage to $598,900 for a 1954 sq.ft house without a garage.  All are on small lots and do not look well-made at this stage. Inflated prices are not making neighbours feel confident for the future. Will probably end up like the places on Cambridge that never sold and are now rented out. Only an idiot would pay that much for such places, in my opinion.

Again, we're not against smart development in Crystal Beach, but these overpriced houses will do nothing to draw people to the area, especially when the spokesman for the company is a convicted fraudster. I was tipped off to Gary Fraser and his past history by a local real estate agent.

So, the village of Crystal Beach may have escaped the plans of a high rise developer only to fall into the clutches of a convicted felon. We worry about the few who may have invested in this man's latest scheme, believing that he is a changed man.  If he was "so changed" he would have gone into a completely different line of work, not fall back right into the investment world.

Please beware of this man's history before you get involved, invest, or buy into his dreams. Several years ago, a similar scam took place in Crystal Beach. Silent investors lost a lot of money but no charges were ever filed.  There are still a few remnants of these people remaining in town. Another reason that Crystal Beach suffered after the amusement park closed was the influx of these vultures, who took advantage of the low prices and desperation. These "investors" could pay cash (Crystal Beach was red-lined so no mortgages) and rent them out to the poor and those on Social Services. Almost destroyed the Beach. 

Let's not repeat that sad history.

UPDATE: The house on Cherrywood was "sold" then the deal fell through and another deal was supposed to have gone through, but there is now a generic "For Sale" sign on the property.  Also, the "mortgage company" used in the past by Fraser has been busted by the SEC but is still operating. Company names change frequently and there is no actual physical address for the various companies that are undertaking the developments. 

Like others before me, I am requesting someone to send me a picture of Gary Fraser so that it can be posted here. In an aside, when one person met Gary Fraser, she counted her fingers after shaking his hand. It is suggested that others take that as a warning.

Friday, December 5, 2014


A Ceremony to Re-Dedicate the Plaque that replaces
 the original one that mysteriously went missing. 
3:00 O'clock in the Afternoon
at Queen's Circle, Crystal Beach
Performance by 
Crystal Beach Public School Choir 
Guest Speakers
Unveiling of Plaque
We invite all to attend. 

I remember well the original dedication of the refurbished Queen's Circle and the plaque that was unveiled on that beautiful June day in 1999.  Then Mayor Wayne Redekop gave a great speech to the schoolchildren who attended.  He urged them all to take care of the circle because it was the birthplace of what we now call Crystal Beach.  A local theater group performed a historical recreation of the sacrifices of the Burd Family which had placed a memorial in the circle close to a hundred years earlier to honour the son who gave his life in WWI.  The Ridgeway Lioness, of which I was a member at the time, provided lemonade and cookies for the event and the service club's name was included on the plaque as a sponsor for the refurbishment of the circle.

On Sunday, Mayor Redekop is expected to be a guest speaker and many of the original sponsors will be in attendance to see the replacement of the plaque that has suffered through years of vandalism.  Too bad that some in the community have no respect for the rich history of the once Chautauqua-style meeting place at the circle, named for then Queen Victoria. From Queen's Circle came the amusement park just south on the shores of Lake Erie.  It is only right that this hallowed ground be celebrated and preserved for all. 


I am encouraged that the Niagara Parks Commission is taking another look at an improved marina on the Niagara River along the Niagara Parkway.  Janice Thomson, chair of the NPC, has set forth a two-pronged approach to the marina that currently stands on NPC property on the river near Fort Erie. In the Bullet Media article, Thomson states that the first priority is to find a company to operate the marina for the 2015 season. The marina contains 135 berths and has a small concession stand and washrooms.  It is definitely in need of a major overall.  The consensus of opinion from a June, 2014 open house into the matter, was that any new marina project should take into consideration the neighbouring residents.  

Homes along the scenic Niagara Parkway pay some of the highest property taxes in the region and many were upset about an earlier planned development that would have taken a large chunk of the parkway to convert into condos and a huge retail area and marina. I got a laugh from the statement by Economic Development Tourism Corporation honcho Jim Thibert that he was unaware of the new direction the NPC is taking with regard to the marina until he was contacted by Bullet Media. Hah! And keep him out of the loop, please.

 Many of us remember his ill-fated attempt to help a developer build a golf course on the Niagara Parkway. That's when he plucked Kimberly Zanko out of a customs brokerage and paraded her before the press in his dog and pony show in favour of the golf course.  Except, Stella Ziff lived on the Parkway and took the developers to the OMB and won. Flash forward and Thibert championed the huge Kuwaiti development for the marina and found out what the people who pay big bucks to live on the Parkway think about "Winston Churchill's Favourite Sunday Drive" being cut to shreds for a commercial development. Another grandiose Thibert dream that failed when the NPC pulled the plug on the development. Add that to Thibert's big idea of buying the horse race track and you might get a clue why I think he should be fired.

It took a lot of effort to stop the Bay Beach Condo Tower on our public beachfront property. The residents along the Niagara Parkway on both above and below the Falls will not take lightly to their magnificent parkway being ruined by a foreign developer's plans.  Keep it local and keep it within proportion and look for the area.  All one needs to do is look across the River to the Buffalo side to see how a community can screw up its waterfront.  Buffalo is slowly reclaiming its waterfront for the public and great strides have been made at the mouth of Lake Erie and the Niagara Rover, but so-called "Riverside" is still a mess. Why would Fort Erie want to copy that?

Monday, December 1, 2014



The new council was sworn in. Certain new members were able to hide their hypocrisy long enough to take the oath of office.  The Great Unwashed were not in attendance, according to sources that were in attendance. I have a feeling that they are now completely out of the loop, having served their purpose. I do wish that the present council focuses on the average people of Fort Erie, not just the members of the Chamber of Commerce's will.  There is much to be done and budget deliberations are coming up.  Let's see if this council keeps the taxes as low as the previous council.  All the rest is rhetoric.

 Yesterdays the first day of the new council, headed by the old/new mayor. This is where the rubber meets the road and the "campaign for change" will be put to the test.

To those who feel they have been left behind while the politics of retribution have played out in council for the last for years: do you think that the Chamber Maids are going to represent you? Of course not. They owe their place on council to their supporters on the CofC and they will be loyal to their benefactors above the average taxpayer.

 For, where else have four of those elected in 2010 subjected to billboards, bad publicity and lawsuits? At least, some who voted against The Four, think the lawsuits will end now that three have been defeated.  Clue: you have no idea what is in store going forward. The town is on the hook for numerous potential lawsuits, once the original conflict of interest lawsuit is complete. Certain councillors, newly-elected, will come under scrutiny for their part in the lawsuits.

And I will be here to report on and call attention to every little detail of their existence on council. Especially the work of the Chamber Maids.

Too bad I can't afford a billboard or two.