“Get outside your comfort zone.” We often hear that expression, which is akin to those tired bromides about thinking outside the box, or pushing an envelope. No doubt it is fine once in a while to become uncomfortable. We often get “set in our ways,” fall into a routine, or even worse, a rut, and we tend to stick with the familiar and safe. It is always good to once in a while, try something different, challenge dif- ferent parts of our brain, attempt to de- velop new talents. Well, a few weeks back, many of us were not at all comfortable as we found ourselves surfing in a hail storm on Highway 34 south of Alexandria. The water was so high in some spots, the term “flooded engine” was taking on a literal twist. Never seen anything like it. This adventure had begun only a few minutes earlier. We were making our way back from theWilliamstown Fair when mean-look- ing, trouble-filled clouds appeared on the horizon. You do not need to be an expert to know when a sky is angry. The sky opened a few minutes south of Alexandria. Smack! Something bounced off the windshield. A stone? A bird? No. This was a hail stone, the size and weight of a curling stone. OK, it was the size of a baseball, or a golf ball. Mother Nature was angry that day. She unleashed a shower of hail that battered all vehicles in her path. It is funny what you think about during such moments, such as those ads that caution that, over time, windshields can

cording to the BMO survey, one-third (32 per cent) say they will have signifi- cant trouble paying their bills while at school, while 27 per cent will have just enough money to cover their ex- penses. The Canadian Federation of Students notes that average student debt is almost $27,000, and according to the Canada Student Loan Program, most students take nearly 10 years to pay off their loans - with some taking the maximum 14.5 years. Poverty can strike fear into the hearts of the most courageous. Speak- ing of strikes, have you noticed how spectacular the lightning storms have been again this summer? The experience can be thrilling, if you and your valuable belongings do not get zapped by a bolt. Weather events can be dangerous, and they are all very different. Weather lovers are in their element at this time of year because the conditions are as vola- tile as ever. We have at our disposal all sorts of gizmos that help us track, predict and measure our atmosphere. But so far nobody has developed a meter to gauge the reactions that are provoked by extreme weather events. Some laugh, some cry, some rush to unplug the TV set. Some veer away from pets, believing that animals actu- ally attract lightning. Like the weather, everything changes, eventually. And the things that scare or challenge you will, in most cases, make you a better person, in theory. If you are lucky, you will live to tell stories about your adventures and claim that there was nothing quite like it.

Nothing quite like it

can regain Argenteuil after losing to the Parti Québécois in the spring. Obviously, a big factor in the Septem- ber 4 vote will be the student move- ment. Remember how people used to la- ment about how young people took lit- tle interest in politics?Well, dans la belle province, they are very much engaged in the political process now. For all you youngsters who are head- ing off to a post-secondary institution soon, or planning another “strike” or boycott, please try to relax. According to the BMO 2012 Student Survey, while the majority (59 per cent) of students in Canada are excited about the upcoming school year, the poll showed that paying for school is causing more stress than their academ- ics. One-quarter (27 per cent) are very stressed about paying for school, more so than finding a job after graduation (22 per cent) or achieving success aca- demically (20 per cent). According to Statistics Canada, the average under- graduate tuition in Canada is $5,366. The total cost for post-secondary edu- cation, including tuition, school sup- plies, housing and other expenses, amounts to $14,500 a year, or nearly $60,000 for a four-year program. Ac-

become compromised by tiny nicks. With visions of imploding windshields dancing in our heads, we pulled over to the side of the road, activated the haz- ard lights and reached for the cameras. A gazillion hail stones were unleashed, hitting the car with cringe-inducing thuds. After what seemed like an hour, the pelting stopped. As motorists drove back onto the highway, the rain came and went, con- vulsing between torrential downpours and light sprinkles. Near Alexandria, Mother Nature was really ticked. A river – OK it was more like a creek -- was roaring down Main Street. Base- ments were flooded; in low-lying areas, water lashed the floor boards of bat- tered vehicles. This must be what is like to be lashed in a squall on the high seas. After a few moments of hydroplan- ing through town, the conditions im- proved, and suddenly, everyone could return to their comfort zone. Ahhh. In the retelling this will morph into a yarn about the Great Hail Storm of the Summer of 2012. Speaking of jolting and unique experi- ences, what do you make of the crazy Québec election campaign? Exactly. It will be interesting to see if the Liberals




30,1 cm 3 / 1,3 kW 3,9 kg / 8,6 lb Scie à chaîne à essence MS 170

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(cm 3 )

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MS 180 C-BE

50,2 45,4 56,5 40,2 45,4 31,8 55,5 59,0


4,2 / 9,3

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MS 230 MS 250

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MS 250 C-BE

MS 261 MS 290

MS 291 C-BE

MS 362


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Thanks to the Presscott Russell Community Development Corporation and John Candie for their generous contribution

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