At the coffee shop

The Stanley Bridge Centre is proud to introduce a new feature, What’s Perking at the Coffee Shop. Customers at the Kensington Bakin’ Donuts are invited to share what’s on their minds in a place where the conversation flows as freely as the coffee and there’s plenty of news from free local papers to digest along with tasty fare from the menu.

What’s perking at the coffee shop

The Kensington Bakin’ Donuts is the perfect spot to find out what’s percolating in the community and in people’s lives.

 Why is it so hard to find cheap manure?
Jim Brown story and photos.

Greg Gillis, Indian River

Something many Islanders likely wouldn’t give much thought to, unless they were serious gardeners, landscapers or farmers, was on the mind of Indian River resident Greg Gillis on May 18.

“Manure,” he said bluntly.

“I wish there was more manure (aka compost) around.”

No so long ago he was able to go to the nearest Island Waste Management Corporation recycling facility (the Waste Watch Drop-Off Centre in New London) “and they had this nice and cheap compost.

“I’d take the wagon out get the stuff. I wouldn’t use it on the garden, but I’d use it for the lawn and for flowers,” he said.

“I was there a little more than a week ago and they didn’t have any yet and they didn’t have any last summer or the summer before.”

Gillis recalls the recent good old days when: “You’d just bring a trailer and load your own. I was talking to one of the workers out there and I asked if they were going to get some and they basically said they didn’t really think so.”

So what’s he going to do for compost for his plants and lawn?

“Buy it, I guess. As opposed to five bucks a trailer load, this is like $40 for compost.”

He went on to say: “If you make your own compost you can probably put it on your garden. Because you can be selective about what goes in it.”

Gillis said he’s already found the compost he needs, but it’s from a local business.

“It’s a thing that’s close to my heart,” he joked.

 Woman peeved at Legislature antics
Pat Goodwin, Hamilton, April 29
Jim Brown story and photos.

Pat Goodwin

The PEI Legislature was on Pat Goodwin’s mind on April 29, and not for a good reason.

“My beef is with (Liberal) Alan McIsaac because he made a mockery of the session in the legislature the other day by contesting what the schoolkids wanted for the animal to represent PEI – the red fox,” said Goodwin, from Hamilton.

Independent MLA Bush Dumville had put forward a resolution, based on a submission by Grade 5 students from Montague, asking for the red fox to be named as PEI’s animal emblem. That prompted McIsaac to put forward an amendment of his own to confer the honour on the Holstein cow instead.

And things degenerated from there.

“Why that couldn’t be the end of it, I don’t know. That was such a childish response to a lovely submission by these schoolkids,” she said.

“Don’t politicians have better things to do? That’s so small, so ridiculous. Stop doing that!”

Instead, MLAs should spend more time “taking care of the sick and the elderly and the poor.”

If there’s going to be a heated, time-wasting debate on naming a provincial animal, “take it out into the street. Don’t spend the legislature’s time doing that,” she said.

“It was absolutely ridiculous.”

 Not a fan of roundabouts
Lori Clark, Blue Shank Road, April 13
Jim Brown story and photos.

Lori Clark

Roundabouts are “ridiculous” and a waste of taxpayer money, says Lori Clark, who lives on the Blue Shank Road.

The new Kinkora roundabout, slated for construction later this summer, was on her mind April 13.

“I think it’s ridiculous. It’s in the middle of nowhere. Yes, it is a bad intersection, but is a roundabout really the answer?”
And she had some harsh words for the Stanley Bridge roundabout.

“It’s ridiculous also. It’s flat as a pancake for one thing, and my husband drives right over the top of it every time we go through there and I don’t know if it’s because he just doesn’t like it or he just doesn’t care,” she said with a laugh.

Engineers did raise the centre a bit, but not enough, Clark went on to say.

“And last year they piled snow in the middle of it….Snowbanks…I feel the same thing is going to happen over in Kinkora,” said Clark.

“I don’t think we need any more. Maybe in Charlottetown. But in some of these rural areas I don’t think roundabouts are needed.”

The excessive tax dollars and other costs just don’t justify them, said Clark.

She went on to say heavy farm equipment and tractors and trailers have a difficult time navigating through them.

“I think we have more than enough roundabouts.”

 Surviving an encounter with a giant sinkhole
Jim Brown story and photos.

It’s not every day you see a 20-ft-deep chasm open up in the Irishtown Road, big enough to swallow a car and make it disappear from sight.

It was so big it made the national news.

Lorne Arsenault

Kensington residents Lorne and Marjorie Arsenault were driving along that road on Easter Weekend when they were stopped by the giant sinkhole. It was certainly on their mind when they visited the local Bakin’ Donuts shop on April 3.

“Really bad,” said Lorne, who predicted that section of the road wouldn’t reopen until May.

“A woman (car) almost ran into it” while they were there.

The Arsenaults, who had lived in Kensington since 1985, had never seen a sinkhole of that gargantuan size before and they hoped they would never see another like it.

Marjorie Arsenault

“It’s a freak of nature,” said Lorne’s wife, calling it a pretty scary sight.

“There was crack…a wobble in the road and it just let go.”

The car that almost got gobbled up, stopped only just in time, she said.

“It was close. Very, very close.”

Lorne also had something to celebrate that day, his birthday, for which he received a free muffin from Bakin Donut’s staff, topped with icing.

 A special place in her heart
Jim Brown story and photos.

Margate resident Debbie Lemon moved to the Island from Ontario a few months ago. She loves everything about her adopted home, but there is a special place in her heart for a stretch of Highway 6 in Stanley Bridge that goes past the wharf.

“It’s just magical,” she said, during visit to Bakin’ Donuts on March 11.

Debbie Lemon

“There is just something about it…Different times of the day, different sunsets, different lighting. It’s just one of those things. I have to pull in, I have to sit in my car, get out of my car, walk along where the boats are.”

Lemon estimates she’s taken more than a hundred photos along that stretch in the six months she’s lived on the Island.

“And then I send them off to everybody I know,” she said. Lemon added, with a laugh, she’s a little “embarrassed” about her obsession.

“There’s a certain serenity about it. I like that you can see the vibrancy of the red clay in the distance and I walked down where they built the new building…and it just felt right. It’s such a lovely spot.”

An uncanny resemblance
Jim Brown story and photos.

The Kensington Bakin’ Donuts shop is a busy place on most days, with a constant ebb and flow of customers. You never know who you might meet when you drop by for a coffee or a meal. It could be a friend, a co-worker, a family member, a distant relative or perhaps someone you’ve shared posts with on social media but never actually met. Or maybe, in a more improbable series of circumstances, someone who is almost a spitting image of yourself!

That’s what happened a while back with Leigh Adams, who lives in Kensington and is a regular at the local Bakin’ Donuts.

Mr Adams got the shock of his life one day when he walked into the coffee shop, where he was greeted by friends and came face to face with someone who looked almost like himself.

It was just a face on a poster, but it gave him quite a start.

There, in front of him, was a giant of English literature, William Golding. Mr Golding could almost be Leigh’s Doppelganger. Except, of course, for the minor detail of his passing in 1993.



On Feb 25, at about 9:45 am, we caught up with Freetown resident Vanessa Bulman. She’s a mother of four whose children attend Somerset Elementary School in Kinkora. Bulman is worried about the future of small schools after last year’s harrowing school review process in which five schools were originally recommended for closure. The list was then reduced to two, before Premier Wade MacLauchan announced his government would keep all Island schools open.

Vanessa Bulman

Somerset Elementary was not on the original list, but Bulman isn’t entirely reassured.

“We just got through an amalgamation debate in the last year and it’s almost the end of this school year and the next school year is coming up. Are they going to try to close schools again or amalgamate more areas?

“I just see the value of the smaller schools in our area and the importance they have, especially in the more rural communities…having the rural kids with like-minded (kids)…It’s nice to have the country kids going to the country schools and the city kids going to the city schools. I am optimistic for our school. I certainly fear for some of the schools around the province though.”

Keeping small schools open “makes more sense than driving (children) farther to a city school that’s already…overpopulated.”

Jim Brown story and photos.