Say Cheese Mr Premier

From Christina Commisso Milton Canadian Champion

McGuinty attends tweetup

Local tweeters were greeted by an unlikely party-crasher Friday night — Ontario’s premier.Dalton McGuinty surprised about 25 people gathered for a meet-up among Twitter friends, better known as a ‘tweetup.’

“I want to be introduced as a fellow tweeter, and as Dalton,” the premier told organizer Robin Griffin in the parking lot of Shoeless Joe’s, before entering the party.

Griffin, of Milton, had previous correspondence with the premier over the social-networking site. “It all started when I tweeted that my daughter had a nightmare Dalton McGuinty was closing down her school.”

McGuinty tweeted back: “Ensure your daughter I’m not closing down her school and kiss her goodnight.”

Griffin, an experienced tweeter, has previously organized three tweetups. McGuinty is relatively new to the twittersphere, having only launched an account this past August. Despite entering late in the game, he has more than 5,300 followers and, according to Griffin, does all his own tweeting.

Last week, Griffin was contacted by McGuinty’s staff inquiring about the event. “I was told he really wanted to come since he’s never been to a tweetup, and he’ll be driving through the area Friday. But his head of security said I couldn’t tell anybody. It was the biggest secret I ever had to keep.”

But it didn’t take long for the twitterverse to become aflutter with the news once McGuinty entered the Main Street eatery.

“I respect him a little bit more for taking that chance,” said Ward 6 Councillor Mike Cluett, who attended the event. “A lot of his policies are unpopular, and you always run that risk of someone yelling and screaming.”

However, everyone treated the premier with respect, said Cluett, adding there was “an excitement in the air.”

While the event was non-political — with the premier spending about an hour-and-a-half asking attendees and Shoeless Joe’s patrons about themselves — Cluett did manage to bring up one local issue.

“I was helping take a picture (of McGuinty) and I said, “One, two, three, hospital expansion! I think the message was received. Even just getting the premier of the province to say the words ‘Milton hospital expansion’ is great.”

Event-goer Brian Best did a double-take when he saw the premier walk into the restaurant.

“His visit definitely humanizes him a bit more. It’s something you don’t see happen a lot with people in higher levels of government.”

Griffin said she’s honoured McGuinty found the time to stop by her event. “He’s a very important man in this country and he took the time to meet me, and I’m just a simple taxpayer.”

Days following the excitement of McGuinty’s visit, one burning question remains on Griffin’s mind. “How am I going to top this guest? 

How you can help

254PM UPDATE

http://www.insidehalton.com/community/milton/article/918192
(From the Milton Canadian Champion online)

Fire victims thankful for donation offers, but decline

The family whose home was destroyed by fire after a gas main ruptured yesterday has asked the people of Milton to save their donations for those who truly need them.

Hamid Khan, who lived in the Bennett Boulevard home with his wife, eight-year-old son and five- and three-year-old daughters, said he appreciated the sentiment behind the donations but added that he had insurance to cover the damage and a “good job” to provide for his family during the days ahead.

He added: “God bless those who want to give.”

So far Shoeless Joe’s, the Salvation Army and Mattamy Homes have offered to act as drop-off locations for giving families.

See article for more…

1159AM UPDATE

Many thanks to the people who over the last 18 hours have emailed me offering to help these families in need.  Its been a busy time for a lot of people involved from the fire / police department, to the Union Gas employees working until 330AM last night to the dozens of volunteers to help out at EC Drury school for the heating centre.

There are currently plans in the works with Salvation Army to co-ordinate a drop off for the famlies involved in the fire and I should have an update soon.  So far to my knowledge there are 2 other locations for people to drop off items.  One location is Shoeless Joe’s in Milton (thanks to Z1035 tweeting that info) and the other location is the Mattamy Sales office at Derry Road and Trudeau.

If you want to drop off at the Mattamy Sales office you can go during business hours (today 1PM to 8PM, Friday from 1PM to 6PM, Sat & Sun 11AM to 6PM) up until this Sunday December 19th.

I’ll try to find out the hours for Shoeless Joes and update this post as soon as I can.

Kashif from the Hawthorne Villager, who is a good friend of the family involved also is accepting any items people are willing to donate.  His email is kashifabrar@gmail.com

I should also have an update on a bank account to help out the family as well.  Stay tuned!

More details to come!