Archive for Judy Stacee-Cleaver

Business As Usual!

It’s business as usual for Mincom New Choice Realty.

They wouldn’t let a little thing like a fire in the building slow them down, no matter how much damage was done. In fact, most people, including their clients, weren’t even aware that the office had been uninhabitable for more than a week.

On Monday, November 20th, Mincom Jo was diligently working online at the office keeping up with her courses. Around 6:00 pm, alarms started to sound. Following protocol, Jo left her computer and joined residents in the lobby to find out what was happening. Unfortunately, it was not a drill.

There was a fire in one of the residential units. The occupants were lucky enough to escape unharmed. Things happened pretty quickly and it wasn’t long before firetrucks and ambulances were on the scene. Mincom Jo didn’t even have enough time to exit in her vehicle before being blocked in.

City buses weren’t far behind, their crews offering people a warm place to sit and handing out blankets. The building on Church Street has a very high occupancy of seniors and everyone was helping those in need. One resident was taken to the hospital with chest pains as was a fireman with minor injuries.

Sadly,  the unit was completely gutted by fire and there was extensive smoke damage throughout the building. The main floor commercial area where the Mincom New Choice offices are located suffered a lot of water and smoke damage. The water knocked out their server/internet room, and between that and the smoke, our Mincom Jo and her team mates were forced to work remotely.

Clean up started right away. Once the water was soaked up and the wet drywall and flooring were removed, the team was able to move back in and work. Meanwhile, the repairs continued. As an added fashion bonus, they had to wear masks to protect their throats from the lingering smell of smoke.

Mincom Jo Sporting The Latest in Anti Smoke Fashion

Mincom Jo summed the whole thing up pretty accurately,

“At the end of the day, everything can be replaced. No one was seriously injured and that’s the most important thing. It’s a great community here at Village Gardens. The building superintendent Ron and manager Janice went without sleep to make sure everyone and everything was looked after. A heartfelt thank you to them and to the contractors who worked tirelessly to get our lives back to normal. Also, many thanks to the first responders for getting things under control so quickly, for keeping the fire from spreading and becoming a major disaster.”

It’s good to know that nothing, not even water, smoke and fire keeps our Team from serving our clients.

More Than The Need For Speed

Chris Cleaver drives an altered 1932 Dodge, but not to work. He turns the AA Fueler loose at the drag strip where its 3,000 HP hemi works to turn seven second ¼ miles reaching speeds approaching 200 miles per hour. The blown “supercharged” engine runs on methanol. It’s a different world…roaring engines, screaming tires and fire suits. Oh, and parachutes to slow you down at the end of the run.

It doesn’t matter how hot it is out, full fire gear is required!

For Chris, drag racing is more than just a hobby. He invests a lot of time, energy, money and skinned knuckles. “I’m not a mechanic”, he says. “The engine was built by Keith Black and I take care of maintenance and everything else but the machine shop work.”

Judy is in the pInk when working as pit crew – Photo Credit Darwin Kent

On event weekends in the summer, you’ll probably find Chris and his wife, Judy Stacee-Cleaver, at one of the province’s four major drag strips competing with members of the Ontario Nostalgic Drag Racing Club (ONDR). “There’s lots of traveling and many racers come from all over the USA and Canada to participate,” says Judy. “They bring Funny Cars and Jet Cars which are very fast, and motorcycles and snowmobiles too. “And it seems like everyone has a golf cart to tow their dragsters to and from the staging area and to scoot around and visit old friends.”

Chris lets everyone else do the driving…in the golf carts

Judy plays an active role in the racing operation and among her other duties gets Chris lined up in the groove (approaching the starting point), then tows the car and him back to the pit after the run. Family friend and sponsor Johnny Bergeron is quite often along and is a main part of the crew.

Life in the "pit"

Life in the “pit”

The dynamic duo race at Toronto Motorsports (the old Cayuga Dragstrip); Grand Bend Motorplex, on the shores of Lake Huron; St. Thomas Raceway Park, just outside of Port Stanley on Lake Erie; and at Shannonville Motorsport Park, near Belleville and have made many friends along the way. ONDR usually has their season finale at St. Thomas, which hosts a Thanksgiving event called the Turkey Nationals. It’s very much a family affair and along with many other clubs, there will be young kids racing their “Junior” dragsters, with their parents sending them off.

This puts a whole new meaning to the term “Kiddie Car”

Often you’ll even see dogs wearing ear muffs as they take in the races.

No chasing cars for this fellow, fully geared up to protect his hearing

There will also be many campers and RV’s as members enjoy a weekend of fun which winds up with a festive turkey dinner.

“It’s a sport that brings together people from all walks of life, with many different jobs and functions,” says Judy. “And I’m here to support my husband. “It’s very exciting, although the faster he goes the more nervous I get. “But, there are a lot of rules and many safety considerations.” For instance, racing on methanol is somewhat safer than gasoline. Methanol has a lower burn temperature and is easier to control in case of fire — and a methanol fire can be put out with water. On the other hand, it takes more methanol to generate the same energy as you would from gasoline. That means that the car gets lighter as the methanol burns off during the run and the dragster can become less stable as you near the finish. “It’s about learning, challenging yourself,” Judy points out and Chris adds, “It’s all trial and error.”

The nostalgia and camaraderie appeals to Chris, perhaps even more than the “need for speed”. “That’s what I really enjoy,” he says. In the Nostalgia Drag Racing world, friendships last longer than a few months of preparation and a blistering seven second rush on the strip.

 

Preserving Tradition

It’s that time of year when driving around the Durham Region is nothing but a delight to to the senses. The smells, the sounds and especially the colours are overwhelmingly gorgeous. Mother Nature was totally on board for driving and exploring this particular Thanksgiving long weekend. The temperature was warm and the skies were sunny (most of the time). It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in the Durham Region, a leisurely drive on a beautiful fall day is sure to lead you to discover something you didn’t even know was there.

This weekend we discovered a little bit of history at Tyrone Mills, a traditional water-powered mill. Built in 1846 by James McFeeters and John Gray, it is one of Canada’s oldest water-powered grist mills.

For the past 38 years, the mill has been owned and operated by Robert (Bob) Shafer and his family. Bob is very hands-on at the mill. As he talks about it, you can hear in his voice how important it is that they preserve the traditions while maintaining a neighbourly atmosphere in an intimate setting. He explains, too, how the mill has managed to survive.

“In 1846 this was a flour mill, shipping flour as far as Great Britain and the US. As things changed in the late 1800s, the small country mill couldn’t afford new machinery to keep up with the times, so it became a feed mill. In the 1950s the saw mill was added. Since then, it has been an apple cider producer, a bakery, a historic landmark and a vital part of the community”.

Bob has tried to preserve as much as possible of the mill’s interior and as a result, when you step inside you are transported back in time. You will find the apple press, millstones and a woodworking shop.  You are Immediately enveloped with the smell of apple cider and fresh home made donuts.

If you’re lucky you can catch Bob baking bread in the outdoor wood-fired clay oven.  The oven itself is made of clay from the property and straw from a local farm.

Robert (Bob) Shafer Making Bread In The Wood Burning Clay Oven

A scenic walk along the dam will help you burn off some of calories from those delicious donuts.

The lumber yard can supply board and batten, tongue and groove flooring, V joint paneling, clap board and cedar for decks and fencing. They specialize in unique or unusual lumber—the kind of thing you won’t find at Home Depot. There is also a blacksmith shop to explore.

The wood shop is a wood worker’s paradise.

 

Bob was looking forward to a tradition he started when we spoke.  On the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend they host a dinner for family, staff, and friends. They even cook some of it on the wood stove. This was their 31st celebration dinner.

The Tyrone Mills is open year round, seven days a week with few exceptions. You will be sure to fall in love with this little bit of Canadian history and culture that has been so carefully preserved for you to enjoy.

Absolutely!

Traveling across the country to visit your Grandpa is quite an adventure for a seven-year-old. Of course our seven-year-old, Keianna, happens to have adventure in her blood—her Grandpa, Chris, drag races cars. Keianna knew that she and her mom, Toni-Marie, had a pretty exciting visit to look forward to. Well, Grandpa and Judy did not disappoint.

Toni-Marie, Chris and Keianna

Judy had done her homework and when she saw pictures of Keianna on facebook dressed in equestrian gear, high atop a horse, she knew exactly where to take her: Absolute Equestrian Centre, located right in Bowmanville.

Absolute Equestrian Centre has 100 acres, with two indoor arenas and three sand rings. It’s a very high end facility offering full indoor board, pasture boarding, and lessons in several disciplines of riding. There have been riding camps throughout the summer and they also host shows, clinics, pony clubs, birthday parties and fairs.

Keianna was thrilled, but then realized she didn’t have any riding gear with her. No worries. Absolute Equestrian had everything she needed. Never one to miss out on an adventure, even Mincom Jo was outfitted and given a quick riding lesson.

Keianna made it pretty clear she knew what she was doing and bonded with her ride immediately.

Mincom Jo may not ride much but she does have a way with the horses.

It wasn’t long before Keianna was showing Mincom Jo the ropes.

It was a wonderful day for everyone, creating memories to cherish.  Absolute Equestrian is the place to go for your riding needs, whether it’s your first time or if you’re well experienced.

The hardest part is always saying, “Good Bye”. To the horses… and to Keianna and her Mom. Absolutely!

 

All Aboard!

These are busy times. The world just seems to be going faster and faster. Maybe not faster than a speeding bullet, but while we all try to get through our lives as Superman/Superwoman, one of the hardest feats to accomplish is being able to spend time with family. What’s more powerful than a locomotive? Spending time with family on a locomotive!

We may not be able to leap tall buildings at a single bound but we can certainly share the “Adventures of Mincom Jo and her Dad” on the York-Durham Heritage Railway.

The York-Durham Heritage Railway train is a heritage coach diesel locomotive from the 1950s that travels between Uxbridge and Stouffville through the beautiful Oak Ridges Moraine. The current Stouffville-Uxbridge line was built in the 1860’s by William Gooderham, a well-known distiller from Toronto.

There is always on-board entertainment, a snack bar, souvenir stand and a wealth of knowledge about the heritage of Canadian railways of South Central Ontario available. During various times of year there are also specially themed adventures like “A Day Out With Thomas“, the “Teddy Bear Train“, “Halloween Train” and “Santa Train“, to name a few. Jo and her Dad, Yosh, opted for “Boxcars and Beer – The Cheese Train” to spend some time together.

Yosh and Jo

Boxcars and Beer – The Cheese Train, is a unique “taste of Ontario” experience, featuring artisan cheeses from across Ontario paired with handcrafted beer from The Second Wedge Brewing Company of Uxbridge. Fromager Cecilia Smith and brewery owner Joanne Richter hosted the trip and guided our duo through five amazing beer and cheese pairings. It was quite an enjoyable education. To make things even sweeter, Desbarres Chocola provided a tasting square featuring organic beans from the Dominican Republic which produce a quality cacao with deep chocolate and red fruit notes.

Upon reaching historic downtown Uxbridge, our delighted duo, Jo and Yosh, were able to deboard the train and make a beeline to The Passionate Cook’s Essentials where they stocked up on some of the cheese and chocolate they had tasted on the train. There was also an option to visit the brewery or the Uxbridge Farmers’ Market. Jo was really pleased with the day…

“I really enjoyed being able to walk around Uxbridge and being able to support the local cheese, chocolate and beer makers was a big plus. Finding out that Uxbridge is considered the “Walking Trail Capital” of Canada was cool. I also met some friends that happened to be on the Family car with their son. They had musicians and balloon artists to entertain the kids and said it was wonderful. Luckily the rain stopped and we had lovely weather when we got to Uxbridge”

Yosh was so impressed with the beer samples he went back to Uxbridge the following Friday to visit the brewery…

“I was able to do some more sampling and bought some great beer. I liked that it’s all local businesses, and they make delicious beer. It’s really a great idea to have the sampling on the train.”

From what we can see, there are enough options for everyone to get on board with a ride on the York-Durham Heritage Railway and have themselves a super day!