Media Coverage

Saturday, 25 October 2008

The Life and Times of Lupis

The Life and Times of Lupis.

January 04 – 1995 to October 24 – 2008

It was a fateful day in summer 2004, I was married to a wonderful lady by the name of Charlene, living on York Street in St. Catharines. I took a trip to the local SPCA, and decided to view the dogs which were available for adoption.

Amongst all the dogs, a young dog, about 6 or 7 months old with a beautiful upturned tail, and wolf-life appearance stood out amongst the crowd. He barked and barked his head off. I decided to take a look at him and requested that he be brought to a private room where both my wife and I could have a closer look. With a glint in his brown eyes, he did not stop barking. The agents there advised us that he will be a "barker" if we decide to take him. Already having one brown shephard mix at home, we decided to adopt him, and call him Lupis as he looked like a wolf.

Lupis was very well behaved, although very loud and barkey. Upon examination by a vet, we were informed he was indeed part Wolf. He spent several years with us in our home on York street until 1997 when Charlene and I split up, and I moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Sadly due to some medical complications, Max had to be put down in late 1997.

Lupis enjoyed the farm and spent many hours outside, as well as travelling around with me in my 1986 Jeep CJ-7 camping, hiking, and canoeing in places like Algonquin Park, and Frontenac park.

Once Lupis managed to escape his leather harness when my Jeep was parked outside a store, and got loose in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It was a hot summer day in 1997 and through his exploits managed to burn his feet badly and had to be treated by the vets, wearing socks with ointment for several weeks after the incident.

Being outdoors, even in the cold, harsh winters in Northern Ontario where temperatures routinely reached -40C, was where Lupis was happiest. He had is own backpack fitted just for him as well as special boots called "muttlucks" which kept his feet from freezing and icing. Instead of a collar, Lupis had a "halti" which was similar to a horse halter to protect his neck.

Whether it was in deep winters, or climbing the peaks of Killarney Park Lupis was happiest outside as a trail dog. He spent many, many nights under the stars in his natural environment with me camping in remote wilderness areas in Ontario.

In the year 2000 my wife Tori and I decided to get our transport truck drivers license and start driving long distance for a living. As a love of travel, Lupis was in his prime. He got to do the things he enjoyed the most. Sit in the passenger seat and watch the world go by. He has travelled from east to west, and North to south. Lupis set foot in the Gulf of Mexico, and the deserts of Texas, travelling to almost every state and province in North America. He spent many nights sitting in the front seats of our truck watching the other trucks and dogs at truckstops all around North America.

His last big trip was through Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia in summer 2007 where we managed to go and climb some of the mountains in the Bridgetown Nova Scotia area where we own some land.

As time went on, he was plagued by the ravages of time and had several operations for various things, including removal of large lumps, etc. In early 2008 his hips started troubling him and he started to have difficulty walking. He still participated in gentle hikes and lots of canoe trips around Ontario as it was easy, low-impact work.

On Thursday, October 23rd Lupis was going for a hike in WoodEnd conservation area and had difficulty breathing, and started throwing up, and could not walk. We aborted the hike and he had difficulty breathing throughout the night.

On Friday, October 24th, 2008 we took him to the Martindale Animal Clinic at 08:30hrs where they weighed him in and again he vomited on the scale. They rushed him into the back room to find that part of his throat muscles had spasmed and collapsed. He was unable to survive without a breathing tube, and had fluid on his lungs.

The university of Guelph could have performed an operation on him which would have repaired the muscles in his throat, however he would have to have a tracheotomy and be transported from St. Catharines to Guelph unconscious. The doctors at the university felt that with his age, he may not have survived the operation, and it would simply "buy some time" before other complications caused the inevitable. No amount of money or operations could save him at this point.

On Friday, October 24th, 2008 at 13:40est it was with a heavy heart we decided to have the throat tube removed, and Lupis passed from this life peacefully while being held by myself and Tori.

It happened so fast. One day our happy-go-lucky and long-time companion was as healthy as ever, and within 24hrs he had succumbed to his affliction and passed away in our arms.

Lupis was my friend, loyal companion and confidant for almost 15 years. His memories will be treasured and he will be deeply missed by everyone whose life he touched. He will be cremated and his ashes returned in an urn, to stay with us for the years to come.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Like his toes, Henry "Barefoot Stew" McDonald’s spirit was free

TAMPA — He had size 11 feet, wide like paddles. Heels sullied and cracked. Toes calloused by pavement and carpet and sand and whatever. Soles thick like, well, shoe leather.

"Oh, he could grind a cigarette out with his feet," said his brother, Duncan McDonald.

Henry "Barefoot Stew" McDonald died Tuesday after a battle with vascular problems. He was 83.

He never had much use for shoes. He had a couple of pairs he wore to funerals and church when his family insisted. Once, a flight attendant infuriated by his dogged insubordination thrust him knitted booties to wear on the plane. They didn't fit.

Shoes didn't make sense. Check your hands, he theorized. Your fingernails aren't trapped up all day. Don't they look healthier than your toes? And furthermore, why should anyone even care?

It came down to freedom.

"Take a look at a baby sometime," he told the St. Petersburg Times in 1988. "You put shoes on a baby, and the first thing the baby does is take them off. It's a natural thing."

He grew up during the Great Depression, a time when many of his friends didn't have shoes. Rather than make them feel bad, he dumped his under a bush before school and let his piggies fly free. His mother never knew.

In the Army Air Corps, he flew bombers sans shoe. Later, he worked as a general's aide. The general insisted Mr. McDonald wear shoes with his uniform. He compromised — he'd wear them through the parking lot and into the office. Once he was through the door, the shoes were a goner.

Eventually, the general stopped wearing shoes, too.

In the 1950s, he raced stock cars on the NASCAR circuit. It's where he earned the nickname "Barefoot Stew," because, well, you know.

"He could hook his foot over the accelerator panel," said his brother, 79. "The last guy that came off the gas into the first turn won the race."

Feet aside, he was not a sloppy dresser — quite the opposite. He dined shoeless at Bern's Steakhouse, the Don Cesar and Studio 54 in New York, sometimes in tuxedos. Once, he deboarded a plane clad in a decadent gray three-piece suit, white button-front shirt, camel hair coat and tie. No shoes.

It was snowing.

He found talents that suited him. Mr. McDonald was one of the first people to ever waterski barefoot.

He was strong and handsome, a towering 6 feet 4. He wowed crowds by lifting tiny female performers in the air at Cypress Gardens, heels skidding along the surface at high speeds.

Waterskiing gave him notoriety. He found work doing sports commentary on ABC's Wide World of Sports. He got bit roles in movies and commercials. He modeled as a Marlboro man and for Vitalis hair tonic.

He taught waterskiing in Tampa and judged national and international barefoot waterski events. In 1992, he was inducted to the Waterski Hall of Fame.

The film industry always interested him. He once served as president of the Florida Motion Picture and Television Association. He scouted locations for major motion pictures like Parent Trap II and H.E.A.L.T.H.

His North Tampa house was cluttered with stacks of newspapers and documents reaching the ceilings. He tiptoed around piles, but he knew where everything was. And, really, he didn't care what anyone thought of it.

He rode motorcycles without shoes, getting tickets and appearing in court several times, always defending his right to naked toes. People who were grossed out needed to loosen up, he figured.

Once, when a woman asked why he didn't wear shoes, he asked her why she didn't wear a bra. It wasn't to be rude — he just wanted to make a point about freedom.

Admirers everywhere looked on, toes cramped and bound by leather and laces.

"A lot of people come up to me and say, 'I hate shoes, too. I wish I could do that,' " he once told the newspaper. "I just tell them they can."


Henry "Barefoot Stew" McDonald
Born: Feb. 20, 1925.
Died: Aug. 26, 2008.
Survivors: brother, Duncan and his wife, Sandra; sister, Kate McDonald Meier and her husband, Robert; brother-in-law, Donald S. Beyer; several nieces and nephews.

Services: none planned.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Brain region for adventurousness reported found

"Long before it's in the papers"
July 01, 2008

Brain region for adventurousness reported found

June 25, 2008
Courtesy Wellcome Trust
and World Science staff

Sci­en­tists have iden­ti­fied a brain re­gion that they say en­cour­ages us to seek ad­ven­ture.

Lo­cat­ed in a prim­i­tive part of the brain, it's ac­ti­vat­ed when we choose un­fa­mil­iar op­tions, the re­search­ers said. This sug­gests try­ing out the un­known of­fered ad­van­tages to our ev­o­lu­tion­ary an­ces­tors, they added.

It may al­so ex­plain, they went on, why re-branding of fa­mil­iar prod­ucts en­cour­ages to pick them off the su­per­mar­ket shelves.

Re­search­ers showed vol­un­teers a se­lec­tion of cards, each with an im­age the vol­un­teers had al­ready seen. Each im­age was as­so­ci­at­ed with a spe­cif­ic chance of a re­ward.

Par­ti­ci­pants were al­lowed to choose some im­ages over oth­ers in hopes of the prizes. As the game went on, the play­ers could al­so fig­ure out which choice would pro­vide the high­est re­wards.

But when un­fa­mil­iar im­ages were in­tro­duced, the re­search­ers found vol­un­teers were more likely to take a chance and pick one of these than go on with fa­mil­iar—and ar­guably safer—op­tions.

Bian­ca Witt­mann of Uni­ver­s­ity Col­lege Lon­don and col­leagues used brain scan­ners that mea­s­ure blood flow in the brain to high­light which brain ar­eas were most ac­tive dur­ing the game. They found that when the sub­jects chose a new op­tion, an ar­ea of the brain known as the ven­tral stria­tum lit up.

The prim­i­ti­vity of this brain re­gion sug­gests ad­ven­ture-seek­ing is com­mon to creat­ures rang­ing from hu­mans to sim­pler an­i­mals, Witt­man ar­gued.

"Seek­ing new and un­fa­mil­iar ex­pe­ri­ences is a fun­da­men­tal be­hav­iour­al ten­den­cy," she said. "It makes sense to try new op­tions as they may prove ad­van­ta­geous in the long run. For ex­am­ple, a mon­key who chooses to de­vi­ate from its di­et of ba­na­nas, even if this in­volves mov­ing to an un­fa­mil­iar part of the for­est and eat­ing a new type of food, may find its di­et en­riched."

When we do some­thing that turns out to be ben­e­fi­cial, we're re­warded with a flow of spe­cial neu­ro­trans­mit­ters, or sig­nal­ing chem­i­cals, in the brain that cre­ate a good feel­ing. A key neu­ro­trans­mit­ter as­so­ci­at­ed with re­ward is known as dopamine. The feel­ing of sat­is­fac­tion en­cour­ages us to re­peat the ad­van­ta­geous be­hav­ior.

The ven­tral stria­tum is one of the key ar­eas in­volved in pro­cess­ing such re­wards, Witt­man and col­leagues said. Al­though the re­search­ers couldn't tell from the scans how nov­el­ty seek­ing was be­ing re­warded, Witt­mann said it's probably through do­pa­mine.

Our taste for ad­ven­ture may al­so make us vul­ner­a­ble to ex­ploita­t­ion, Witt­man warned. "I might have my own fa­vour­ite choice of choc­o­late ba­r, but if I see a dif­fer­ent ba­r re­pack­aged, ad­ver­tis­ing its 'new, im­proved fla­vour,' my search for nov­el ex­pe­ri­ences may en­cour­age me to move away from my usu­al choice," said Witt­mann. This "old wine" in a new bot­tle syn­drome, she added, "is some­thing that mar­ket­ing de­part­ments take ad­van­tage of."

Re­ward­ing the brain for nov­el choices could have a grim­mer side ef­fect, ar­gues Na­than­iel Daw, now of New York Uni­ver­s­ity, who al­so worked on the stu­dy. "In hu­mans, in­creased nov­el­ty-seek­ing may play a role in gam­bling and drug ad­dic­tion, both of which are me­di­at­ed by mal­func­tions in do­pa­mine re­lease."

The re­search uti­lized the brain-scan­ning tech­nique known as func­tion­al mag­net­ic res­o­nance im­ag­ing, at the uni­ver­s­ity's Well­come Trust Cen­tre for Neu­ro­im­ag­ing. The find­ings ap­pear in the June 25 is­sue of the re­search jour­nal Neu­ron.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Gone For Summer 2008...

Recently I was recruited by an outdoor camp in Ontario Canada which needed an outdoor educator.

From mid-June to early September of 2008 I will be off to teach underprivileged and disabled children white water rafting, canoing, and other fun stuff.

If anyone needs to get in touch with me for an emergency, please get in touch with Brian on my friends list here on MySpace and he will get a message to myself or Wolfsgrrl

Have a great summer everyone, I'll miss you all!

This will be my last blog for quite some time.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Jeanie Peterson - Barefoot Hero

Hilltop Hero

Jeanie Peterson is tough. She's smart. She's committed to improving her Tacoma neighborhood. So what if she goes barefoot? "I'm not the kind of person who's afraid of things."
Published: May 25th, 2008 01:00 AM | Updated: May 25th, 2008 06:44 AM
It's 2 a.m. on a Saturday, cloudy but dry. Forty-eight degrees. Perfect for a barefoot walk through the Hilltop.

Jeanie Peterson takes off down South Grant Street wearing a sweat shirt, shorts and no shoes. She's in search of knuckleheads.
• Related video: Meet Jeanie Peterson

Drug dealers. Gangbangers. Car prowlers. Drunken hooligans. Derelict landlords.

They're all "knuckleheads" to Peterson, a short, stout woman who learned how to fight as a young girl in Montana and has been honing the craft ever since.

Peterson, 54, is director of community initiatives for the Hilltop Action Coalition. Before that, she was the volunteer board president of the HAC, one of the oldest and most effective citizen groups in Tacoma.

The group is one of the reasons the Hilltop is no longer a war zone, according to police. In 1989, Tacoma made national news when a shootout erupted on South Ash Street between people at a crack house and a group of residents that included U.S. Army Rangers. No one was hit.

Today, neighbors and police agree the neighborhood's dramatically improved.

And Peterson is one of the reasons that the HAC has survived and


She's an unusual citizen activist, not only because of her frequent lack of footwear and a flair for theatrics. She once lugged a garden cart full of empty liquor bottles into City Hall to make a point. But she also stands out because while other activists often work behind the scenes organizing citizens, Peterson is willing to be out front, walking the neighborhood and doing research on her computer into the wee hours of the morning.


Peterson walks quickly this morning, pulled along by her large dogs Took and Mia, scanning for anything that's out of place.

A broken traffic sign. A stream of water in the gutter – a sign of a broken water line at a vacant house. A car that looks abandoned.

She jots notes about these things in a pad she wears around her neck. She'll fire off e-mails to the proper officials when she gets home to her computer. She walks less often these days than she once did, maybe a couple of times a week.

It's a quiet morning. In an hour and a half of walking, Peterson encounters just three knuckleheads – a teenager shouting vulgarities up the street, and a pair of young men with no apparent destination. Drug dealers, she figures, waiting for a car to come along with a buyer.

"Evening," Peterson says as she passes them on the sidewalk.

One of the men mutters something about keeping her dogs away. There's a touch of fear in his voice.

"Pooches," Peterson calls to her dogs and tugs at the rope.

The men cross the street and keep walking.

Peterson stops and stares. There's nothing discreet about her surveillance, and she shows no sign of fear when the men reverse course and begin walking back toward her, passing her again but from the other side of the street.

Peterson waits a moment and begins following them, watching to see what happens.

Nothing. The streets are empty this morning except for Peterson, her dogs and the aimless knuckleheads.

The streets are quiet a lot more often now than when Peterson arrived in 1993.

In the '90s, drug dealers who figured out that Peterson was helping drive them out of the neighborhood retaliated by poisoning three of her cats, Peterson said. A man with a gun once parked in front of her house and yelled threats as she stood on her porch.

Peterson threw up her hands and yelled back, "I'm right here."

The guy probably wouldn't shoot, she figured, and if he did he'd probably miss. Knuckleheads don't know how to use handguns.


Peterson spent her early years in rural Montana. Her older brothers baby-sat while her parents hung out in the bars.

She found refuge watching John Wayne movies on TV. John Wayne saved her life, she says. He gave her a moral compass.

Her family moved to Fife when she was in eighth grade. Her father came out for a job with a chain-link fence business.

In the late 1960s, Fife High School was one of the last public schools that required girls to wear dresses. Peterson helped put an end to that. She organized a protest where 60 girls showed up in pants one day. Soon after, the School Board changed the rules and allowed girls to wear slacks. Within six months, they were wearing blue jeans.

After high school, Peterson quit drugs – she once punched a principal during an acid flashback because he stepped on an imaginary rabbit – and became active in the Pentecostal church and the larger "Jesus people" movement.

"I replaced drugs with getting high on Jesus," she said.

She did some welding for her dad for a while before moving to Rapid City, S.D., where she worked as a water-meter reader.

From there, she moved to Des Moines, Iowa, to attend Open Bible College. She chose it because it was the only Bible school she could find that offered Hebrew and Greek classes to freshmen.

In 1974, Peterson was working security at an Iowa hockey arena. Part of the job was telling young men they couldn't take their beers into the seats.

After just one year at Bible college, Peterson moved to Moline, Ill., where she worked as a police dispatcher. It was her first taste of law enforcement, and might have been a good fit. Like John Wayne, she does not tolerate criminal behavior.

She was fired from the dispatcher job after telling off the sheriff's daughter.

No one would call Peterson a law-and-order conformist. She goes barefoot whenever possible in part because her feet get hot, but it's also an act of rebellion.

Peterson moved to Tacoma when her father became sick with cancer, and she later went to work at a U.S. Postal Service bulk-mail facility in Federal Way. She worked there 10 years before she hurt her back and retired on a medical disability.

That's when she found her true calling, the setting for her moral compass.


Peterson and her roommate moved from the East Side into the Hilltop in 1993, lured by the affordable real estate. She knew about the neighborhood's dangerous reputation, and they decided the only way they could live there was if Peterson did what she could to clean up the neighborhood.

She started as a block leader, baking "friendship" bread for her neighbors and teaching them how to use tools such as phone trees to make life uncomfortable for drug dealers. Walking the streets when most law-abiding folks are asleep was another way she could help.

She's hardly ever scared. She's always had big dogs, which helps. And Peterson and others say there's an unwritten code on the Hilltop in which even the knuckleheads pay a grudging respect to people such as Peterson who are from the neighborhood.

"I'm not the kind of person who's afraid of things," Peterson said.

Peterson's housemate, Andi DuMont, said she realized they became a target when they took on the bad elements, but she knew Peterson could handle herself. That knowledge gave DuMont confidence. Her attitude became, "If you mess with me, I mess with you," she said. "I know I've got backup."

After a couple of years, Peterson emerged as a leader within the Hilltop Action Coalition. She developed a reputation as a smart and hard worker, someone who was willing to put in the time researching issues instead of popping off to city officials about cleaning up the neighborhood.

People who work closely with Peterson say that's the reason why city officials take her seriously, even if she shows up at City Council meetings in a jester hat and no shoes.

"She is very, very smart," said Sally Perkins, a Hilltop resident who's known Peterson since Peterson first moved into the neighborhood. "Do not underestimate how hard she works. She's good at digging deeper."

When police couldn't get enough criminal evidence to shut down a drug house, Peterson and the neighborhood figured out they could use code violations.

A sewer line broke, giving officials an opening to inspect the house. They ended up finding $30,000 worth of repairs that needed doing, Peterson said. City officials made a deal with the woman who owned the house, allowing her a low-interest loan if she agreed to not allow her drug-dealing son back into the house.

The Hilltop Action Coalition was instrumental in the creation of the state's first Alcohol Impact Area, which bans stores from selling certain high-alcohol beverages. The group, and Peterson, are also credited with pushing Tacoma's crackdown on properties overrun with junk and weeds.

Peterson meets regularly with City Manager Eric Anderson. They co-chair a group of city officials and neighborhood residents called Tidal Wave of Change that looks for ways to improve the neighborhood. The group was instrumental in Tacoma's recent crackdown on nuisance yards.

"She knows how to help connect the community with the city staff," Anderson said.

Peterson also has the ear of Police Chief Don Ramsdell. She speaks to new police recruits, at the department's invitation, telling them what the Hilltop neighborhood expects of them – and how the neighborhood will help them do their job. She tells the new recruits to get to know the community liaison officers – who work closely with neighborhood groups – and to take advantage of the wealth of "intelligence" that block leaders can provide.

And she warns them to not blow off a call.

"If you just drive by, your sergeant is going to get a call," Peterson tells them.


It's that kind of accountability that helped turn around the Hilltop, said Greg Hopkins, a Tacoma police officer who's worked with Peterson for years.

"We didn't like it at first," Hopkins said of the nagging. "But I think it had to happen to get us where we are today."

Peterson has gained the trust of the Police Department because she spends time researching issues, and has proved trustworthy when police give her information, Hopkins said. It's not always apparent when police are working on a problem house, for example. Police feel they can tell Peterson what they're doing, he said.

"Even though she's an odd duck, people recognize her effectiveness," Hopkins said. "The cops love her."

David Alger, executive director of Associated Ministries, called Peterson his "most unusual" staff member. The Hilltop Action Coalition is a program of Associated Ministries, although it's in the process of establishing itself as its own nonprofit.

Peterson has earned the respect of city officials because she does her homework, Alger said.

"She's real," said the Rev. Gregory Christopher, senior pastor at Shiloh Baptist Church. "She's as real as they come. She has no underlying motivation other than to make the community better."

Peterson "advocates from a position of knowledge, not just opinion," Perkins said.

Sometimes that frustrates other neighborhood activists. A few years ago when some Hilltop residents wanted the Department of Corrections to stop releasing sex offenders into the neighborhood, Peterson took a different approach. She talked with DOC officials, studied sex offender recidivism, and visited the state's Twin Rivers Sex Offender Treatment Program at the Monroe Correctional Complex.

She learned that 93 percent of offenders who successfully complete the treatment program do not commit a new crime.

Now Peterson travels to Monroe whenever a Level 3 sex offender is about to be released into one of the Hilltop's two transitional houses, and she meets with the offender.

Peterson said she listens to offenders talk about their crimes, and their release plan. The treatment program teaches offenders to be forthcoming about what they did.

She's probably made 15 trips to Monroe, and only occasionally rejects an offender. In one case, it became clear that the man's friends were all gang members and that he initially lied about it, she said.

By working with the DOC, fewer offenders end up homeless on the Hilltop, and the state is more selective about who's placed in the two transitional houses.

"People say, 'Jeanie should say no to all of them,' but if I did we wouldn't be able to say no to the ones we really don't want," Peterson said.

Herman Diers, who worked with Peterson for years at the HAC, sees the benefit in Peterson's approach, even if doesn't match community sentiment.

"She was able to strike a terrific win-win situation by confronting the DOC with the unfair number of sex offenders relocated to the Hilltop," Diers said. "She has gotten the attention of the DOC."

Hopkins admitted that he was sometimes frustrated with Peterson's approach to the issue.

"But it's realistic," he said. "She knows the offenders are coming back."

In January, Peterson began receiving a salary for the first time for her work with the HAC. She had decided to see if there was a way she could get paid for some of the work she does for the neighborhood. Government officials had stopped her disability checks four years earlier after a psychiatrist concluded her back pain was really in her head.


As the price of real estate on the Hilltop has soared, Peterson has seen some former block leaders move out because they could no longer afford the rent. It hasn't driven out homeowners yet, but she worried about some of the wealthier people moving into the neighborhood. They don't realize why it's important to be involved in the neighborhood, she said.

"We're sitting pretty cush and pretty now," Peterson said. But she sees graffiti and knows what it means. She still sees the Crips and the drug dealers in the neighborhood, even if they've taken their dealing underground or to other parts of town.

Without constant vigilance, Peterson fears the Hilltop could return to the days when there wasn't one working streetlight between Sixth Avenue and 25th Street because the drug dealers shot them all out, and when whole blocks were boarded up.

"We could be back to that in one summer," she said.

So she keeps walking barefoot in the middle of the night, and she keeps meeting with city officials to talk about things such as junk cars and derelict landlords.

It's her job now, but it's more than that.

It's something she's compelled to do.

"I believe that people should, once a year, justify their existence on this planet," Peterson said. "And on my birthday each year I have looked at my life the previous year with that type of scrutiny. If the day comes that I am not a positive addition to the planet, then I am just taking up air and should 'give up the mortal coil,' as they say."

Jason Hagey: 253-597-8542


Age: 54

Occupation: Director of community initiatives for the Hilltop Action Coalition

Born: Rural Montana, near Missoula

High school: Fife

Moved to Hilltop: 1993

Housemates: Andi DuMont and Bruce Roberts. DuMont was making porcelain dolls and met Peterson, who was doing ceramics. They became friends and Peterson offered DuMont and her son a place to live when DuMont was divorcing. "She offered me a safe haven," DuMont said.

Nickname: Pooh. (A boyfriend told her she was like Winnie the Pooh because she was into eating and her friends.)

Estimated number of Pooh items in her bedroom: 600

Hobby: Surfing the Web for nature and wildlife photographs

Estimated number of animal photos on her computer: 200,000

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Inland Shipwreck Found!!

Sunday, January 13 - 2008
10:30 – 13:45
Start: 10:20
Roads: Dry / Clear
Visibility: 24km
Temp: -4C
Area: Welland Canal
Vehicle: Black Sunfire
Weather: Overcast, Cold
Trail Conditions: Wet & Muddy
Hikers: Tori, Wolf, Chuck
Plan: Find Land-Locked Shipwreck

A bit of background on this shipwreck. A few years ago there was a re-print of an article in a magazine called "Niagara This Week" by Chris Irwin, which portrayed a photo of a shipwreck. The article states he was driving down an old road in Thorold he did not know existed and ended up at the Old Seaway property. Irwin followed the road past the old streetcar abutments, and eventually found a shipwreck in the Old Welland Canal. No other useful information was found. The St. Lawrence Seaway has closed a lot of the roads in the area and the details in the article were sketchy at best.

At one point, Tori and I visited the Lock 3 museum in an attempt to find details about this wreck but there were none. All attempts to contact the author of the article failed.

Tori, Chuck and I made several excursions to this site to reveal negative results. However until now, the canal system was full of water. This time of year, however, the canal is empty and we have the opportunities to explore the area with significantly less danger and very low or non-existent water levels. Hopefully we will find the wreck today.

10:30 – We started our journey by checking out the old streetcar abutments by Walker Industries. The area was sadly still flooded and we decided to head for the west corner Lakeview Cemetery and began at the far west corner. We parked Chucks black sunfire and geared up and headed towards the now empty flood pond behind Walker Industries. We were pleasantly surprised to see the water levels were very low at the old hydro facility, and the flood pond almost completely drained.

10:50 We came to the edge of the old lock to see half a dozen cars piled up, now rusted from their time spent underwater. The old locks were spectacular to see. We followed the locks to find a small pond area that was now also empty. Tori with her rubber bots on was the only one able to venture into that area and explore. She noted that in some areas, a thick, black, oil like sludge was sighted. Evidence of the contamination of this area from the ships passing through here for over a hundred years. Tori did notice some old pilings from docks which once stood in the area as well as some antique bottles.

11:30 We ended up at the base of an old lock right, near an overturned car. We stopped for a few photographs then proceeded to climb up the side of the lock and follow it along to the other end. To our surprise: there we found the shipwreck.

Formerly sitting in about 10m of water, the ship sat facing south east in about 1-2m of water. We could see all the parts such as the prop-shaft, boiler cradle (boiler long removed), decking, and the shape of the wreck. We got some photos and decided to go around to the other side of the lock for closer inspection. The ship sat at a 45 degree angle across the locks, almost blocking them completely.

12:00 We arrived at the base of the old lock to find the shipwreck looking back at us. We grabbed a few more photos and observed the wreck. The main deck looks to have fallen into the hull, albeit still intact. Chuck found a rubber boot, but it was a modern rubber boot and we decided to leave it on the bottom. The wind was cold and blew directly towards us. Sadly the frigid waters prevented us from getting a closer look at the wreck. Perhaps in a drysuit or wetsuit before the canal is refilled.

12:35 We began the hike back to the car.

12:40 We felt a shift in the wind and now could smell the odor from the nearby dump at Walker Industries and as well the rotting kelp from the water as most of the area was now not submersed. We crossed back across the drained pond and Chuck stopped to investigate some of the old bee bottle necks Tori had seen earlier, but most of them were relatively new bottles.

Chuck was happy that today he was able to set foot on that island off in the distance which he wanted to explore in summer when the entire area was covered in 5-10m of water.

13:00 we arrived at the base of another large lock set, normally full to the top with flowing water, now subdued from the lack of flow. We stood on the old piled up cars and grabbed some photos and examined the vehicles. Some were fairly new with disc breaks and front-wheel drive motors, others were very, very old with a huge v8 engine in it. After some more photos we climbed back out of the lock and headed back towards the car.

13:45 We arrived back at the car, parked in the cemetery and headed for home. Wolf wore his faded glory boots, gaiters, blue insulated jumpsuit, black hat and goggles. Tori wore her rubber boots, black pants, purple turtleneck with beige hat and winter parka. Chuck wore his winter boots, black nylon pants and blue bingo-hall shirt with beige britches jacket. We were all very excited about the find. We need to find more about this wreck, how it got here, were it was build, and how old it is. Sadly we can only safely get to this site during the winter when the canal area is empty. We could go in the area in scuba but it may be very bad visibility and dangerous current in this location.

I would guess by the location of the shipwreck that it may have drifted to this location over the years and got stuck somehow where it currently lay. What a fantastic find!