Thursday, January 31, 2008

MALASPINA UNIVERSITY-COLLEGE OPEN DOOR


OPEN DOOR AT MALASPINA

UNIVERSITY-COLLEGE

Are you curious about what goes on behind closed doors at university?

Malaspina University-College is hosting Open Door Week at the Nanaimo campus Jan. 28 to Feb. 1.

“Teaching faculty from all areas are planning to open their classroom doors to allow colleagues, staff, students and the public to see how and what they teach,” said Geology professor Steve Earle.

“The objective of this event is to start dialog about teaching and learning, and give everyone a chance to explore some of the exciting programs that are available at Malaspina.”

Malaspina offers over 200 degree, diploma, certificate and masters degree programs. Specific classes available during Open Door Week cover a variety of topics including children’s literature, modern western culture, commercial law, archaeology, studio recording, science education methods, ceramic wheel throwing, fraud awareness, writing drama and much more.

Open Door Week coincides with exam week in Nanaimo area high schools, said Earle. “Typically high school students have a lot of free time between their exams,” he explained. “We extend a special invitation for them to visit Malaspina, check out a few university classes and see what we offer. This is a great opportunity for high school students who are exploring options for post-secondary education and for anyone thinking about returning to school.”

All regular classes will remain in session during Open Door Week. Classrooms will be open to the public at the discretion of individual faculty members.

For a complete schedule of classes participating in Open Door Week, refer to the website at www.mala.ca and click on the Open Door link.

Open Door Week is an initiative of the Malaspina Faculty Association Professional Development Committee and the Malaspina Teaching and Learning Centre.


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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

COASTAL RENAISSANCE NANAIMO OPEN HOUSE

COASTAL RENAISSANCE NANAIMO OPEN HOUSE

BC Ferries is hosting an open house in Nanaimo this Saturday to give the public an early preview of it's newest vessel the Coastal Renaissance.
You can view the Coastal Renaissance the Saturday Feb. 2/08 at the Assembly Wharf , 11 Port Way, Nanaimo from 12 noon until 4:00 pm.
This vessel should be sailing on the Departure Bay - Horsehoe Bay route beginning in March after completion of crew training.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

BC PARENTS GAIN ACCESS TO ONLINE EDUCATION RESOURCES

BC PARENTS CAN PARTICIPATE

IN THEIR CHILD'S SCHOOL COMMUNITY


Parents of B.C. students in kindergarten through Grade 12 can now access educational resources online through LearnNow BC, a partnership between the Province and the Virtual School Society, Education Minister Shirley Bond announced today.

“Children whose parents are involved in their learning are often more successful in school,” said Bond. “The new Parent Information Network will make it easier than ever for parents to participate in their child’s school community, no matter where they live in B.C.”

The Parent Information Network (PIN) is a one-stop online resource for parents looking for up-to-date information relevant to their child’s learning and experiences at school. The information component of the site contains several topics, including:

  • A Learning Support section that includes information on tutoring, literacy and supports for ESL and students with special needs in B.C.
  • A Parent Involvement section that outlines the various ways parents can participate in their child’s school community.
  • A Health and Safety section that includes information about daily physical activity and healthy eating guidelines in B.C. schools, codes of conduct, and information on seismic upgrades to schools in B.C.
  • A section on Graduation that outlines the requirements for graduation from the B.C. school system and includes information about post-secondary education and career planning.
  • A Learning Options section that highlights the types of schools and learning methods available in B.C.

The site, which was built in consultation with B.C. parents and the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, also includes information on early learning and adult education programs available for B.C.’s lifelong learners. The interactive component of the site features video clips and provides a forum to facilitate communication between parents around the province. The network allows parents to create and attend virtual meetings, so more parents can get involved in the B.C. education system while reducing the amount of travel necessary and, in turn, helping to create a greener B.C. Parents and guardians can access the Parent Information Network through the LearnNow BC website at www.learnnowbc.ca.

“Every parent wants what’s best for their child, and the technologies we've used for LearnNow BC are helping to reach children in ways that best help them learn,” said Gordon Milne, president of the Virtual School Society. “Through the new Parent Information Network, we’re now able to help parents support their children to achieve success in their learning – and we welcome input from parents around the province on ways to improve the site.”

Parents are an important education partner, and we are committed to giving them a greater voice in the B.C. education system,” said Bond. “The Parent Information Network provides vital information that will help unite parents in an interactive, provincial dialogue.”

The Parent Information Network fulfils a throne speech commitment to provide parents with up-to-date information on programs and research that can help their children excel in school.

The Ministry of Education and Virtual School Society launched the Parent Information Network in Vancouver today, as part of the second annual Parent Congress, where more than 130 parents from around the province shared their vision for the future of education. The Parent Congress helps fulfil government’s throne speech commitment to communicate directly with B.C.’s education partners and seek their ideas for positive change. The Parent Congress complements conversations at the Learning Roundtable, the Teacher Congress and Student Congress.


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Monday, January 28, 2008

ALZHEIMER'S GROUP WALK

INVESTORS GROUP WALK FOR MEMORIES

A sunny Sunday afternoon at Bowen Park was the site of the Alzheimer's Group Walk for Memories.
There was a good turnout of participants for the walk which was also supported by community minded business such as Starbucks and of course Investors Group.
For more information you can visit the website www.walkforfmemories.com or contact the Alzheimer Society of B.C. 250-245-7939.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

SNOWFALL WARNING FOR NANAIMO AND AREA

DON'T PUT AWAY YOUR
SNOW SHOVEL


Environment Canada Issued the following warning at 4:36 am Jan. 26/08

SNOWFALL AMOUNTS OF 5 TO 10 CM EXPECTED OVER THE SOUTH COAST EXCEPT 15 CM OVER HOWE SOUND AND WHISTLER. UP TO 15 CM OF ADDITIONAL SNOW IS POSSIBLE OVER THE INLAND SECTIONS OF THE NORTH AND CENTRAL COAST. THIS IS A WARNING THAT SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL IS EXPECTED OR OCCURRING IN THESE REGIONS. MONITOR WEATHER CONDITIONS..LISTEN FOR UPDATED STATEMENTS.

A COOL MOIST PACIFIC SYSTEM CONTINUES TO SLIDE SOUTHWARDS ALONG THE COAST THIS MORNING SPREADING SNOW OVER MOST REGIONS. SNOW WILL BEGIN OVER EASTERN VANCOUVER ISLAND AND THE SUNSHINE COAST THIS MORNING SPREADING OVER SOUTHERN REGIONS THIS AFTERNOON. SNOW MAY BECOME MIXED WITH RAIN OVER AREAS NEAR THE COASTLINE THIS AFTERNOON AS TEMPERATURES RISE SLIGHTLY. FLURRIES WILL PERSIST IN BEHIND THE FRONT THROUGH SUNDAY. PLEASE REFER TO THE LATEST PUBLIC FORECASTS FOR FURTHER DETAILS.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

THIN ICE ON NANAIMO LAKES



WARNING SIGN ON LONG LAKE
IGNORED BY SOME LOCALS
The recent cold spell has resulted in ice forming on some Nanaimo lakes. For Nanaimo this is not a usual event and it rarely results in ice you can actually walk or skate upon.
While residents are reminded to stay off the ice, it does make for an interesting change while you enjoy a pleasant outing in the accompanying sunshine.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

NANAIMO HOSPITAL SMOKE FREE MARCH 1 2008

SMOKING BANNED AT
NANAIMO REGIONAL HOSPITAL

It is reported in the local press that all Vancouver Island Health Authority property will be smoke free as of March 1/08. Of course Nanaimo Regional Hospital falls into this category so hospital staff will be required to butt out on all Hospital property.
Smoking had been permitted within a certain distance of doors and windows but now the entire property will be out of bounds for smoking.
VIHA staff will be offered help to kick the habit and it is reported that some exceptions may be made for mental health patients who smoke heavily, as quitting cold turkey is not likely a viable option.
Editors Comment: If a hospital visit is in your future, you might want to go after the withdrawl stage is complete, or at least be prepared for some grumpy workers. :^)

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

BC STUDENTS FILM FESTIVAL REEL VUE 2008

BC CELEBRATES 150 YEARS

STUDENTS TELL THEIR STORY

The Province, together with the BC School Trustees Association and numerous film industry partners, is introducing a new student film project and festival called Reel Vue, Education Minister Shirley Bond announced today.

“A film festival is a great way to celebrate BC’s 150th while also giving voice to B.C. students,” said Bond. “So many wonderful stories make up the rich past of our province, and who better to tell those stories than our young people – our future.”

Reel Vue 2008 will incorporate submissions of student art, music and writing on the theme of history, and the concepts of choice, home, humanity, space, and time, in recognition of BC150 Years. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 22, 2008. Film experts will review the submissions, select some of the best, and, based on the potential for a single and strong narrative, group the students into five teams of three. These students will be named in March.

Selected students will gather for a week in early April at the Gulf Island Film and Television School, or GIFTS. There, teams will collaborate with the assistance of an industry professional assigned to guide them through the process of reworking their art into a larger narrative, telling their stories through film.

Films will be screened at a festival-like event in June. The students will also have the opportunity to enter their films into the BC Media Educators Film Festival and the Vancouver Student Film Festival.

“Unlike so many other film competitions, the centre of this one is storytelling, which is the hardest part of making a film, and the truest part,” said David Hauka, Vancouver Film School’s head of film production. “It’s about being able to say something that speaks to people. That’s the power of this particular program.”

Reel Vue may be repeated in future years with different themes, like the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. More information and submission guidelines can be found at www.reelvueonline.com.


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2008 VANCOUVER ISLAND SHORT FILM FESTIVAL

THE ENVELOPE PLEASE........
AND THE WINNERS ARE....

Back Row:
Festival organizers Johnny Blakeborough and Matthew Letttington, Best Writing and People's Choice winner for 'Eyewitness Accounts' Graham Stark of LoadingReady.Run.com, Best Technical and Best Film Award winner for 'Sticks & Stones' de Villiers van Zyl, VISFF volunteer Tami lyn Joseph.

Front Row:
Winner Best Student Film for 'Bad Brownie' Chad Schroter-Gillespie, Nanaimo Arts Council President Rosina Solylo, winner of Best Performance for 'Brownie Points' Nicole Nattrass, winner People's Choice for 'Eyewitness Accounts' Paul Saunders of LoadingReadyRun.com.


Vancouver Island’s film community is alive and well.

The third-annual Vancouver Island Short Film Festival was a huge success, with two amazing crowds enjoying twenty-one incredible short films over two nights.

“It was a spectacular night,” said Johnny Blakeborough, festival co-organizer. “We expected a good turnout in our third year, but things went even better than we hoped. We had almost 500 people turn out to the Malaspina Theatre, we put on a great show and got a great response from the crowd. This was the best festival we have done”

Awards were given out in seven categories at the end of the second evening.

de Villiers van Zyl won the Best Film prize for his short ‘Sticks & Stones,’ a compelling documentary about a homeless man living in Winnipeg. ‘Sticks & Stones’ also won the award for Best Technical Production.

Graham Stark and Kathleen de Veere won the Best Writing Award for their short comedy ‘Eyewitness Accounts,’ which shows an event at a shopping mall from many perspectives. Stark is the creative force behind LoadingReadyRun.com, a Victoria based website that films and posts a new movie once a week every week and has done so for the past 4 years. Last year, they also won the Best Writing award. In 2006 they won Best Writing, Best Performance and the People’s Choice Award.

Local Actress Niccole Nattrass won the Best Performance Award this year for her very funny role in ‘Brownie Points,’ a dialogue originally written for the stage about the world’s oldest living brownie.

The Best Original Music award went to Simon Berman for the movie ‘Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat,’ a psychedelic, experimental film that started off the show.

This year a new category was created to help foster local filmmakers - Best Student Film. Chad Schroter-Gillespie won the award for his black and white experimental film ‘Bad Brownie’. Chad is a Malaspina Media Studies student and hopes to have a career in film.

The Festival took place on January 18th and 19th at the Malaspina University-College Theatre.

The Vancouver Island Short Film Festival is a Nanaimo Arts Council event. For more information, please visit the website www.visff.com or contact admin@visff.com or 729-3947.


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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

HIGHER RISK OF MISCARRIAGE LINKED TO CAFFEINE

PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD REDUCE
OR ELIMINATE CAFFEINE

A new study, to be published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, finds that pregnant women who consume 200 milligrams or more of caffeine a day — the amount in 10 ounces of coffee or 25 ounces of tea — may double their risk of miscarriage.
Many obstetricians already advise women to limit caffeine, although the subject has long been contentious, with conflicting studies, fuzzy data and various recommendations given over the years.

Pregnant women should try to give up caffeine for at least the first three or four months, said the lead author of the study, Dr. De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.

“If, for whatever reason, they really can’t do it, think of cutting to one cup or switching to decaf,” Dr. Li said. “Stopping caffeine really doesn’t have any downside.”


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CANADA'S FIRST ENHANCHED DRIVERS LICENCE

LAUNCHED IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

Canada’s first enhanced driver’s licences (EDLs) will be available in British Columbia for use by eligible B.C. residents driving to the United States, Premier Gordon Campbell and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day announced today. EDLs are proposed as an alternative to the passport that will be required to enter the United States at its land and water borders no earlier than June 2009.

“The enhanced driver’s licence is a new, voluntary option for drivers that allows for more convenient travel to the United States,” said Premier Campbell. “Since 2006, British Columbia has worked with the Government of Canada and Washington state to develop an enhanced driver’s licence that will meet the new U.S. requirements at the border. This new licence will encourage closer social ties with our U.S. neighbours and support economic growth on both sides of the border. I congratulate Washington Governor Chris Gregoire for her persistent and hard work with me in reaching this step.”

“We have worked hard with the U.S. government to ensure that legitimate trade and travel across our borders are not disrupted as a result of the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI),” said Minister Day. “We are encouraged to see that our efforts are leading to recognition that enhanced driver’s licences can serve as an acceptable alternative to passports to enter the United Stats at its land and sea borders.”

“We have strong social and economic ties with British Columbia; it is our number one trading partner,” Washington Governor Chris Gregoire said. “We wanted to find a way to boost security at our border without hampering trade and tourism. This is particularly important with both the 2009 World Police and Fire Fighter Games and the 2010 Winter Olympics in British Columbia fast approaching. I commend Premier Gordon Campbell Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day for collaborating with us in Washington to ensure we maintain our strong relations.”

The B.C. EDL program will begin as an initial phase in which 500 EDLs will be offered at designated Driver Services Centres in Richmond and Cloverdale. Eligible participants must be Canadian citizens, born in British Columbia, and hold a valid B.C. birth certificate and a valid B.C driver’s licence.

This initial phase will allow the governments of Canada and British Columbia to test the effectiveness of the program and, based on the results, the program could be extended to all Canadian citizens residing in British Columbia.

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is now accepting volunteers. For information about eligibility, the B.C. EDL Participant Guide is available online at www.icbc.com, or by calling 1-866-296-6054. Appointments must be booked in advance.

The WHTI is a U.S. law, now in effect for air travel, that will require all travellers, including U.S. and Canadian citizens, to present a valid passport or other secure document when travelling to the United States from within the western hemisphere. Alternate documents to a passport include NEXUS and FAST cards.


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Saturday, January 19, 2008

IF YOU HAVE LOST YOUR WALLET CHECK WITH POLICE FIRST

NANAIMO RCMP DETACHMENT
HAVE MANY UNCLAIMED WALLETS


The local daily press reports the Mounties have collected between 50 and 60 unclaimed wallets and wonder why no one has called to claim them.
It is reported that every day a good citizen drops off at least one wallet they have found, and weekends usually add three or four to the collection.
These wallets contain drivers licences, birth certificates, credit cards, library cards and in some cases even money. One wallet came in still containing $1500.00.
People are encouraged to check with police if they have lost a wallet; before they go through the trouble of ordering new id etc.
The RCMP also encourage people to report their wallet lost so it is easier to get wallets back to their owners, as finding the owners of lost wallets is not always easy.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

KFC/TACO BELL CLOSED BY HEALTH AUTHORITY

RESTAURANT ORDERED CLOSED
FOR THE SECOND TIME IN SIX MONTHS

For the second time in just less than six months, the Health Inspector ordered the KFC/Taco Bell restaurant, located at 6896 Island Highway North Nanaimo, to close their doors until health issues were addressed.

On July 18/07 the company was ordered to “cease and desist serving/ dispensing/ preparing food for the public.” At that time this facility was given a high hazard rating citing 3 critical violations and 3 non-critical violations.

On Jan. 9/08 the company was once again told to close their doors until all infractions had been corrected. On this inspection, the Inspector gave the restaurant another high hazard rating citing 3 critical violations and 2 non-critical violations.

The facility has since re-opened, presumably because they have met the conditions set out by the Health Inspector.

A company operating under a well known name such as KFC; would hardly be suspected of operating a food preparation facility which has to be ordered closed every six months or so.

The other KFC outlets in Nanaimo have never been ordered closed, so it would seem to be a store specific issue. However, if a restaurant is running a slip-shod operation, in the area of food safety, the public should be aware.

If you would like to see how your favorite restaurant rates, in the food safety department, you can check them out by clicking here.

Editors comment: The last time I drove past this outlet it appears to be not very well attended to, even from the outside. I witnessed garbage strewn about near the back door, dirty sidewalks and just generally a run down appearance.


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Thursday, January 17, 2008

SITE OF FATAL ACCIDENT

PEARSON BRIDGE AT STEWART AVENUE
SECOND TRAFFIC INCIDENT IN RECENT HISTORY

The fatal accident which claimed the life of an 86 year old Nanaimo resident occurred at basically the same place as another accident.
Only a few days ago, work crews were seen welding a section of broken handrail which has been damaged by another, out of control vehicle. The earlier incident did not result in the vehichle actually going over the embankment but did break through the metal handrail.
The railing is obviously designed for pedestrian safety and not intended to stop a few tons of steel running out of control.
Perhaps it is time to consider designing and installing a barrier suitable of halting a vehicle at this section of highway.
It would be interesting to determine how many accidents have actually occurred at this stretch of road, which obviously has been in it's present state for many years.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

CAR PLUNGES INTO MILLSTONE RIVER


86 YEAR OLD DIES
IN SPITE OF BRAVE RESCUE EFFORT
It is reported that three witnesses including off duty RCMP officer Shane Nicol risked their lives in an attempt to save the lone occupant of the vehicle, who was later recovered by a commercial dive team.
The frigid waters of the Millstone 'took my breath away' said Const. Nicol, who with one other had been able to break out the rear window and took turns trying to cut away the victims seat belt.
It appears the out of control vehicle had turned left onto Pearson bridge when it crashed through the guardrail and tumbled down the steep embankment into the freezing river. The victim had not been identified, pending notification of next of kin.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008


BC FERRIES ALLOWS RESERVATION CHANGES
ON ITS MAJOR ROUTES

BC Ferries is pleased to announce that it is enhancing its reservations system. Customers are now able to change reservations via telephone or online if their travel plans change.
“BC Ferries is pleased to introduce this service enhancement for our customers, which allows for greater flexibility if one’s travel plans are modified,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Customers who find they are unable to make their pre-booked reservation can now contact BC Ferries up to one hour ahead of the originally scheduled sailing time and change their reservation. A change fee OF $9.00 will apply.
Reservations are currently offered on the three Lower Mainland – Vancouver Island routes, as well as on the Horseshoe Bay – Langdale route.
For full details regarding this reservation enhancement, visit www.bcferries.com.

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NANAIMO CITY COUNCIL PAY INCREASE


CITY COUNCIL PAY INCREASES BY 4%

Retroactive to Jan.1/08 City Council will see their salaries increase by 4% which is based on averages paid to similiar sized municipalities in the province.
Mayor Korpan's salary will increase to $76,911 from $73,751 while councilors salaries will rise from $24,443 to $25,539.
Since 2005 the Mayors salary has increased by nearly $10,000 and councillors salary has increased by nearly $4,000.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

ONLINE TUTORING BENEFITS BC STUDENTS

FREE ONLINE TUTORING
INCLUDES MORE GRADE 11 SUBJECTS


Grade 11 students in B.C. are now able to access online tutoring for five additional subjects through LearnNow BC, a partnership between the Province and the Virtual School Society, Education Minister Shirley Bond announced today.

“Students have asked for flexibility and choice in learning so we’re happy to offer them the one-on-one help they need to maximize their learning potential, especially with exams right around the corner,” said Bond. “This online tutoring service helps students to discover their strengths and successfully complete their studies.”

The Grade 11 courses that are being offered through LearnNow BC include Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Math and Physics.

“With the growing popularity of online learning, B.C.’s education system is adapting to the changing face of technology,” said Bond. “Almost 25,000 students have used LearnNow BC’s tutoring service since the site was launched one year ago and its popularity is growing quickly.”

Seventeen courses are now offered with online tutoring to all B.C. students at LearnNow BC.

  • Grade 10: Essentials of Mathematics, Principles of Mathematics, and Science.
  • Grade 11: Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Principles of Mathematics, Physics and Social Studies.
  • Grade 12: Applications of Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, History, Geography, Geology, Physics, and Principles of Mathematics.

Students can access course content, sample tests and tutoring by visiting LearnNow BC at www.learnnowbc.gov.bc.ca. The website offers Grade 11 students taking any of the courses four ways to learn:

LearnNow BC has also recently expanded to include kindergarten to Grade 9 programs. LearnNow BC and the latest expansion of its online tutoring fulfils government’s 2006 throne speech commitment to provide B.C. students with new options for learning and to help them successfully complete their studies.


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E & N RAIL STATION TO BE RESTORED

NANAIMO E&N RAIL STATION
RESTORATION TO BEGIN


It is reported that a project management company will first assess what work will be done and then lay out plans for the restoration project.
The historic Nanaimo site was badly damaged by an arson fire last August but the excellent work of the Nanaimo Fire Department is credited with saving the building.
The estimated cost of $2,000,000.00 to restore the building is being paid for by insurance.

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$105 MILLION DOLLAR OFFER FOR HARMAC PULP MILL


GIANT MALAYSIAN MULTINATIONAL
OFFERS TO BUY TROUBLED HARMAC

It is reported in the local press that Sinar Mas Group which owns Asia Pulp and Paper have offered to buy Harmac mill in Nanaimo as well as two other mills; one in MacKenzie and the other in Halsey Oregon.
All three mills are presently owned by the Oregon based Pope & Talbot company which has been under bankruptcy protection for sometime now.
The offer should be good news for over 500 people whose livelihood depends on the mill. The city of Nanaimo also benefits from taxes paid by the mill to the tune of $2.65 million dollars.
Area businesses of all kinds obviously benefit for the payroll the mill provides Nanaimo and surrouding locale.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

NANAIMO HOUSE PRICES UP 13%

AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE OVER $329,000.00

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board's annual statistics show an increase of 13% in the average house price from 2006 to 2007.

Total number of single family residential units sold during this period were also up by 13% with a total of 5,837 units being sold during the year.

This of course is good news for anyone wishing to sell their home, however, it is not so good for those people wishing to enter the real estate market for the first time.

For current Nanaimo House Prices use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

HARBOUR LYNX FERRY OFF TO IRELAND

HARBOUR LYNX FERRY
GOING TO NEW HOME IN IRELAND

It will take several weeks before the ferry arrives at it's new home via a transport ship on which it was loaded yesterday.

 
The ferry had provided downtown Nanaimo to downtown Vancouver service but had proven unprofitable for previous owners who finally declared bankruptcy.


The ferry had been outfitted with a new engine and had been expected back on the run. However the new company which had purchased the ferry decided it would not be a viable operation and never did provide the much anticipated downtown to downtown service.

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HARMAC MILL OFFER ON TABLE


OFFER TO PURCHASE HARMAC PULP MILL
The local press reports that the Asia Pulp & Paper company from Indonesia has put an offer on the table to purchase the troubled Harmac pulp mill in Nanaimo. The undisclosed offer has the deadline of Feb. 15 to finalize the offer made by the large Indonesian firm.
Asia Pulp & Paper is a large company and is looking for secure supplies of pulp of which there is a worldwide shortage. This should be good news for the Harmac mill, as that is the type of softwood pulp they produce.
If the deal does in fact go through it is not expected to result in any major changes at the Harmac mill.
While still not final it is still welcome news to the 500+ employees whose future has been uncertain for many months now.

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SURPRISE NANAIMO SNOWFALL

NANAIMO WAKES
TO SURPRISE BLANKET OF WHITE


Nanaimo residents awoke this morning to about 2 to 3 inches of the white stuff, which had not been predicted by the weather gurus.
As of last night at 11:30pm the weather report was still calling for rain, even though the white stuff was falling with a vengence.
It would have slowed people down this morning having to clear their cars and perhaps shovel their driveways, but in typical Nanaimo fashion it was raining and melting by 7:00 am.
The rest of Canada can't understand why we wetcoasters make such a deal about a little bit of snow, but that's the way we get, living in Canada's banana belt.
A reminder, that some of your plants might appreciate gently shaking off the snow, as it was quite wet and heavy and was weighing down the shrubbery.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

NANAIMO PROPERTY ASSESSMENT CONTINUES TO RISE

NANAIMO PROPERTY CONTINUES TO INCREASE

The average Nanaimo residential property value has increased to $338,000.00 as of July 1 2007. This represents an increase in assessed value of between 5 and 25 % since 2006.
The average residential property value in Nanaimo in 2005 was $211,000.00 and prior to 2005 the average values had been relatively flat according to the deputy assessor for Vancouver Island.
Residents are reminded that an increase of 25% on their assessed property value does not mean their taxes will increase by 25% as taxes are affected by the mill rate set by the city.
City taxes overall are expected to increase by another 7% this year, due in part to the Convention Center.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS LIST

Basic items you will need to survive for 72 hours:

  • Water - at least two litres of water per person per day (including small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order)
  • Food - that won't spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (remember to replace the food and water once a year)
  • Manual can opener
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Candles and matches or lighter (remember to place candles in sturdy containers and to put them out before going to sleep)
  • Battery-powered or wind-up radio (and extra batteries)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Special items such as prescription medications, infant formula and equipment for people with disabilities
  • Extra keys for your car and house
  • Some cash in smaller bills, such as $10 bills (travellers cheques are also useful) and change for pay phones
  • A copy of your emergency plan including contact information

Recommended additional kit supplies:

It is always a good idea to have extra supplies on hand. Here are some recommendations:

  • A change of clothing and footwear for each household member
  • Sleeping bag or warm (foil) blanket for each household member
  • A whistle (in case you need to attract attention)
  • Garbage bags for personal sanitation
  • Toilet paper and other personal care supplies
  • Safety gloves
  • Basic tools (hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, fasteners, work gloves)
  • Small fuel-driven stove and fuel (follow manufacturer's directions and store properly)
  • Two additional litres of water per person per day for cooking and cleaning


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COASTAL RENAISSANCE OPEN HOUSE


BC FERRIES INVITES YOU TO PREVIEW

MV COASTAL RENAISSANCE

MV Coastal Renaissance to host a series of open houses

BC Ferries will host a series of open houses to allow the public an early preview of its new ship, Coastal Renaissance. The vessel will officially commence service on the Departure BayHorseshoe Bay route in mid-March upon completion of crew training.

“BC Ferries is proud to showcase Coastal Renaissance and give the public an opportunity to see the many outstanding features this vessel has to offer,” said David L. Hahn, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “Just as the name of the vessel indicates, Coastal Renaissance signifies a new beginning for BC Ferries. This vessel is unlike anything British Columbians have known in the past and we invite our customers to experience the difference for themselves at one of the open houses.”

The MV Coastal Renaissance will be available for public tours at the following times:

Location:

Date:

Time:

Canada Place, 999 Canada PlaceVancouver Way,

Sunday, January 20

12 noon – 5:00 p.m.

Assembly Wharf, 11 Port Way, Nanaimo

Saturday, February 2

12 noon – 4:00 p.m.

Ogden Point, 187 Dallas Road, Victoria

Saturday, February 9

12 noon – 5:00 p.m.

Coastal Renaissance, the first of three brand new Coastal Class vessels, offers the latest in marine design and technological advancement, state-of-the-art safety systems and environmentally sensitive features. These features, along with a commitment to maximizing the customer experience, are intended to connect all travellers with the beauty and splendour of the west coast.

Inside, discover the fine tastes of the Coastal CafĂ©, the comfort of the Seawest Lounge and the relaxing atmosphere of the Sitka Coffee Place with 180-degree panoramic views. The Coastal Class ships boast the largest Passages Gift Shops in the BC Ferries fleet at 1500 square feet. Take a stroll on one of the vessel’s spacious outer decks and let the children check out the play equipment in one of the two Kids Zones.

The 160-metre Coastal Renaissance will carry 1650 passengers and crew and 370 vehicles and 1650 passengers and crew at a speed of 21 knots. The ship features a diesel-electric propulsion system/power station that is one of the largest and most economical in the world.

BC Ferries invites you to tour the vessel and plan your first trip on the brand new Coastal Renaissance.


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Monday, January 07, 2008

BC EMERGENCY PROGRAM

ARE YOU PREPARED
FOR AN EMERGENCY?


The two large earthquakes off the west coast this weekend, once again brings to the forefront, the need to be self sufficient in case of a major emergency.
You should be able to take care of yourself for at least five days in the event of a major disaster. All of the usual things we take for granted will be suspended during such an emergency. Power will likely be out which means you may not have water, the ability to refuel your car etc. Stores would also be closed so you would not be able to purchase food or other necessities for several days.
It is, and will be up to you to take care of yourself and family in the aftermath of a serious event.
To see how to best prepare for major events such as flooding, earthquake, tsunami etc. visit the BC government Emergency Program site by clicking here.

CITY OF NANAIMO
EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION SYSTEM

If you are not already signed up for the emergency notification system, you should sign up today. When you are registered you will automatically receive a phone call and or email advising you of any serious event.

The most recent use of the system was notifying residents of the boil water advisory in December.
To register for this service visit the registration site by clicking here.


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Friday, January 04, 2008

NANAIMO WEATHER WARNING

ENVIRONMENT CANADA WEATHER WARNING
Issued at 6:07 am Jan. 4/08

SOUTHEASTERLY WINDS OF 70 TO 90 KM/H ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP FOR WEST VANCOUVER ISLAND EARLY THIS MORNING. SOUTHEASTERLY WINDS OF 60 TO 80 KM/H ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP FOR GREATER VICTORIA, SOUTHERN GULF ISLANDS AND EAST VANCOUVER ISLAND THIS MORNING. SOUTHEASTERLY WINDS OF 50 TO 70 KM/H ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP FOR SUNSHINE COAST THIS MORNING AND FOR GREATER VANCOUVER LATE THIS AFTERNOON. THIS IS A WARNING THAT POTENTIALLY DAMAGING WINDS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING IN THESE REGIONS. MONITOR WEATHER CONDITIONS..LISTEN FOR UPDATED STATEMENTS.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

NEW BC BIRTH CERTIFICATES

BC BIRTH CERTIFICATE

MORE SECURE

B.C. will today begin issuing one of the most high-tech and durable birth certificates in the world.

The new B.C. birth certificate is made of high-security plastic, making it extremely durable and enabling more than 20 security features. Some visible security features include:

  • When held to the light, irregular marks on the front and back of the certificate align to form a maple leaf;
  • Two transparent windows – one with a colour shifting property and one with three floating maple leaves;
  • Unique watermark/shadow features; and
  • Larger size makes it impractical to carry in a wallet or purse, reducing the chance of loss or theft.

The new certificate is similar in format to a passport and British Columbians have the option of choosing between two types of certificate – one with individual information only and one that includes parental information. Both certificates are the same size and replace the former large and small size of birth certificate.

The introduction of this certificate will not invalidate existing B.C. birth certificates for the foreseeable future and the cost of a birth certificate in B.C. will remain at $27.

People born in B.C. can apply for a birth certificate at any Vital Statistics or Government Agent office or they can print an online application form and fax or mail the form along with the applicable fee to the Vital Statistics Agency. Additionally, later this month, the Vital Statistics Agency will introduce a new online ordering system so that British Columbians will have the convenience of being able to order birth certificates online. All certificates are mailed or couriered to clients from the Victoria Vital Statistics office.

British Columbians interested in learning more about the process for ordering a birth certificate can visit the BC Vital Statistics Agency website at www.vs.gov.bc.ca.


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BC ELIMINATES MANDATORY RETIREMENT

PEOPLE NOT FORCED TO

RETIRE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

As of Jan. 1, 2008, employees can choose when they want to retire. Changes to human rights legislation protect all people 19 years and over from discrimination on the basis of age. This means people cannot be forced to retire.

The law will apply to most workplaces in British Columbia, except those regulated by the federal government.

The change to B.C.’s Human Rights Code – introduced last May – is the result of a recommendation from the Premier’s Council on Aging and Seniors’ Issues. The change gives mature workers in British Columbia choices to continue their contribution to the workforce, if that is their wish.

As the growing population of mature workers reach retirement age within the next decade, eliminating mandatory retirement will allow the workforce to retain people with significant skill sets and experience. People who choose to retire at or before age 65 will be able to continue to do so.

Until the new law is in force on Jan. 1, age discrimination protection under the Human Rights Code applies to adults 19 to 64. The change is not retroactive, meaning that it does not compel businesses to rehire an employee if the person has already retired.

Further information is available at: www.ag.gov.bc.ca/mandatory-retirement/.


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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY OF CANADA NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

New Year's Resolutions

By Dr. David Butler-Jones

Resolutions tend to be taken with a grain of salt, a bit like making a promise to ourselves that we know we probably won’t keep. When it comes to our health, though, and that of our families and communities, it’s always a good idea to put in that extra effort to make some positive changes.

So as Canada 's Chief Public Health Officer, I want to offer some practical and achievable tips that can be part of making 2008 a little healthier, and hopefully, a little more personally fulfilling -- not just from my own perspective, but also in keeping with how we approach public health here at the Public Health Agency of Canada.

We know that how we live, where we live, our work, education, economics, income, the environment and other factors, all influence our ability to be healthy. These factors are essential challenges we must face as a society if we hope to improve and sustain health. There are also some personal choices to influence our own health, and they may not be too difficult.

If we take even some of them to heart, they really can improve our odds for a happy and healthy year:

  • Eat well and be active. This one might be obvious, but sometimes it’s the obvious things we overlook. Obesity is an increasingly serious public health issue in Canada, but small changes in lifestyle can add up and have a positive effect. Just cutting out one sweet soft drink a day could reduce your weight by ten to fifteen pounds a year. And think about opportunities to keep active, even if it’s just a few minutes of extra activity each day: stretching, a short jaunt with the dog, parking a few blocks from work, or better yet, cycling to work. It all helps.
  • Flu Season. ‘Tis the season for colds and flu. Get your flu shot, cover up your coughs, sneeze into your sleeve, and wash your hands often. These are good ways to reduce your odds of catching and spreading the flu and other infections. And, if you’re sick, stay home. This not only helps you get some much needed rest while you recover, it spares your co-workers from catching your infection.
  • Keep a Healthy Kitchen.Treat your own kitchen as you would expect in a four-star restaurant. Wash your hands (again!), keep food preparation surfaces clean, cook meats to the proper temperature before serving, and keep things cold that are meant to be kept cold. Bacteria that cause food poisoning thrive at room temperature.
  • Be Safe. Winter means icy steps and slippery sidewalks, so please be careful and be aware of the dangers of falling. Indoors, you can take some simple steps to keep your surroundings a bit safer by, for instance, reducing clutter, installing handrails on stairs, childproofing the family room, upgrading fuse boxes, and installing and checking the batteries on smoke detectors. It's best never to smoke, but if you do, go outside or somewhere where non-smokers don't have to breathe it with you. Outside of your home, please buckle up your seatbelt, wear your helmet, and avoid unnecessary risks.
  • Travel Smart. Vaccinations are not just for fighting the flu. Smart travellers think ahead, consult their family physician or travel clinic, and receive the appropriate immunization and get good travel advice before they leave home.
  • Be an active part of the community. It may not be obvious, but being active and engaged in society makes a big difference in terms of both your individual health and that of your community. Volunteer, vote, join, reach out to people, help your neighbour. There are connections between physical health, mental health, and the social networks and connections you keep. And be green, because building and being a part of a healthy community also means trying to reduce your environmental footprint, for your own health, everyone else’s, and for the future.
  • Chill out. Modern life is full of stresses and seeming contradictions, from miracle fixes to magic pills and conflicting advice about what and what not to eat. But if I’ve learned anything over the years, and if history has taught us anything, it’s the importance of taking “everything in moderation, including moderation.” That means take life seriously, but not so seriously that it becomes a barrier to good mental and physical health. What’s more, whatever your circumstances, make the best of them and enjoy life. Be passionate about something, and if you make a mistake don't beat yourself up about it -- find a way to make it better or get someone to help you to do so. We are not on this journey alone.

Any or all of these resolutions will help keep you and your family safe and healthy, and will even contribute to the overall health of your community. This is what public health is all about, and what the Public Health Agency strives for: healthier Canadians and communities in a healthier world. It sounds like an impossible task, but together I think we have a very good chance of succeeding.

Dr. David Butler-Jones
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada


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GREEN NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

10 GREEN RESOLUTIONS FOR 2008

Environment Minister Barry Penner encourages all British Columbians to ‘think green’ when making their resolutions for 2008.

The following are 10 simple ‘green’ resolutions you may want to include on your list this year. They are all relatively easy to fulfill, may save you money, and will help British Columbia in the fight against climate change:

  • Drive less. Make a point of using public transportation, walking, carpooling or biking to work or school at least once a week. If you must drive, consider grouping your errands into as few trips as possible.
  • If you’re buying a new car, consider switching to a newer, fuel-efficient model or – even better – to a hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicle. You may even be eligible for provincial sales tax and motor fuel tax reductions.
  • Take advantage of modern technology at work: avoid excessive paper use (i.e. read documents on your computer screen whenever possible instead of printing them, and if you must use the printer, print on both sides of a sheet of paper), and stay clear from unnecessary traveling by using video-conferencing, web-conferencing or conference calling whenever possible.
  • At home, caulk and weather-strip doors and windows to prevent heat from escaping. Consider installing a programmable thermostat to regulate temperature more efficiently.
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs and, if possible, switch to Energy Star appliances, such as high-efficiency, front-loading washers and dryers.
  • Choose locally grown, organic foods. Organic growers rely little on fossil-fuel-based pesticides and fertilizers, and consuming local foods significantly reduces emissions associated with shipping.
  • Turn off the lights in empty rooms and, instead of leaving your computer and other appliances on ‘stand-by,’ turn them off completely at the end of the day or when they are not in use.
  • Reduce waste, reuse containers and ‘disposable’ products (for example, wash and reuse plastic cutlery), and recycle.
  • Switch to a low-flow showerhead.
  • Compost kitchen waste.

Last month, the B.C. government introduced the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act, which puts into law the most aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets in North America. The act sets British Columbia’s target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020, and was passed unanimously by the legislature.


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