Saturday, March 31, 2007

High Speed Hope 2

Rural Ottawa could be fully wired for high-speed Internet by August

Who writes these headlines ??? How can you be "fully wired" to a wireless connection ??

Rural residents of Ottawa could be hooked up to the high-speed information superhighway as early as August, after city council approved a partner to deliver broadband Internet service to every home in the city.

Members of the city's rural affairs committee met on March 22 to approve a public-private proposal from New Brunswick-based Barrett Xplore Inc. (BXI) to deploy a Motorola-based fixed wireless broadband platform designed to cover 100 per cent of the rural Ottawa market.

The city received proposals from BXI, Inukshuk Wireless Inc., and Storm Internet Services. Of them, BXI's was deemed the "best value" for money by staff and consultants who reviewed them.

In this case, BXI will employ both line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight technologies to get residents hooked up. The company expects to need between 20 and 30 towers to deliver wireless broadband to rural homes, two-thirds of which already exist. The company may need to install about 10 new towers, each about 100 feet in height, in various locations, said BXI's CEO John Maduri.

The company proposed to offer various service rates to residents ranging between $30 and $60 per month for residential service and between $60 and $150 for business and enterprise packages.

The topic has been bantered around in Montague since last fall... I wonder if it might be a good time to jump in with the City & Barrett to ensure all of our residents have access too ... While the problem has been solved for me, I believe in order to attract industrial and residential development, all areas of the Township need access to affordable high speed. If the Township needs to partially subsidize one-time construction costs to achieve this, I'd be in favor it.

Reunions ...

Being away from home sure does make you appreciate your loved ones. I was in TO working last week, and "my ladies" missed me terribly. Nice to know you're loved.

To show them that being away a week was not the end of the world I showed them a video that aired on CNN Friday. The story was about a sailor, just home from Iraq after being away 7 months. He surprised his 6 year old son at school, who was unaware of his father's return home.

The piece comes from KING 5 News in Seattle, "Tears of Joy" . If your eyes don't well up at the sight of that little boy's face, you had better check your pulse.

My heart bleeds for all of those poor children whose parents won't return alive from that stupid war.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Get out of town ...

Ya don't say .... The teachers union supporting the Libs ....

Imagine that.

Teachers' union boss a big fan of McGuinty

The outgoing president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) is leaving her job with good marks for the province's Liberal government.

Despite lingering concerns about "inadequate" base funding for school boards, Rhonda Kimberley-Young told The Recorder and Times "we've seen education as a whole make gains" under the government.

She attributed much of that to the respect she said Premier Dalton McGuinty and his education minister have shown educators.

"That's very much been a real change in attitude from the (Progressive Conservative) government we had before that didn't necessarily listen to our concerns, let alone take them seriously," said Kimberley-Young.

Few would be surprised to hear Kimberley-Young speak well of the current government, given the strife of the Harris/Eves years.

But critics have accused the McGuinty government of simply buying labour peace with teachers' unions by caving in at the negotiating table.

Indeed teachers won increased wages and more preparation time in contracts that were essentially negotiated with Queen's Park.

Boards had little choice but to sign on and many, including both the local public and Catholic ones, have since complained the contracts have compounded their financial struggles.

"Certainly we have no trouble defending the fact that some working conditions are a little better because they are the learning conditions of students," explained Kimberley-Young.

Asked her opinion of the present-day Progressive Conservatives under Leader John Tory, Kimberley-Young hardly sounded like the OSSTF will endorse them in this October's provincial election.

"We want a strong publicly funded system that's open and accessible to all students. We don't want to see the system be segregated," said Kimberley-Young. Tories are bringing to the table are the same things the Tories brought to government when they served in Ontario," she said.

OSSTF is particularly concerned, she said, that the party continues to promote a tax credit for parents whose children attend private or independent religious schools.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Goes without saying .. I say

Smaller chocolate bars 'could reduce obesity'

The Brits have got it figured out .....

Plans to shrink the size of chocolate bars, crisp packets and other snacks were unveiled yesterday by the Government's food watchdog in a bid to tackle obesity in Britain.

The Food Standards Agency [FSA] wants manufacturers to make smaller portions more widely available. Currently, smaller packets of crisps and confectionery are usually restricted to supermarket multi-packs and come at a price premium, the agency said.

This is something that's concerned me for a long time ... have you noticed that as the standard serving size of cola has gone up ... the waist line of the average soul has gotten wider ??

When I was a kid, you drank from a bottle, 280 ml. Then came cans, same size. Then the cans got bigger.. 341 ml. Now it's getting hard to buy a can ... 591 ml's occupy 80% minimum of rack space.

Am I on to something here ? This is not rocket science. Eat less, move more. That's how you do it. Simple.

Today's Rideau on You Tube

Today's Rideau ... featuring a friend, who happens to be lucky enough to both work at and live in the Lockmasters House at Poonamalie.

Chocolate merger ?

From Forbes:

When Cadbury Schweppes confirmed earlier this month that it planned to break itself into two sugary pieces, separating its confectionery and soft drinks businesses, Chief Executive Todd Stitzer said he wanted to build "the biggest and best confectionery company in the world."

The U.K. candy and soft drinks company may achieve that through buying the U.S.'s largest chocolate company.

Hershey acquired the license to manufacture and sell Cadbury products in the U.S. in 1988 after Cadbury failed to make any headway in the U.S., mainly because of sales and distribution difficulties.

If Cadbury bought Hershey, it would be able to take back the North American rights to these brands. However, if Hershey were sold to a third party, Cadbury would regain the rights to these brands in any case.

While Cadbury is a major player in the U.K. chocolate confectionery market, its international business has been built primarily on sugar confectionery, and the British company may want to redress that balance in the U.S.

Would a merger such as this help the Smiths Falls situation ... who knows... but it appears Hershey is steadfast in it's plans .... so a change in management surely could not bring any worse news !!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Made in Canada no more....

Gildan Activewear is closing all North American operations closing 5 plants, laying off 1800. More of the same ...

What really struck me about this story was this ....

Vice-president Cam Gentile said the cost to produce 12 T-shirts in North America is $3 higher than in Central America.

Wait a minute here ....

You mean to tell me that you're closing 5 factories, putting 1800 of my fellow NA's out of work over .25 cents a T-shirt....

I would gladly pay $2 extra dollars ... or more. Or 50 goddam cents more for a chocolate bar, if that's what it takes....

When I was a kid, I remember everything that was made in Canada was clearly marked with a common tag .... what the hell ever happened to that ? We had better put a stop to this now .... or there will be nothing left.

Bring back the "Made in Canada" tag ... and buy it.


I bet it wasn't the "Head & Shoulders" he was lookin' at ....

MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) - A man landed in hot water after police say he hid a tiny camera in a shampoo bottle to watch two of his female roommates as they took showers.

Police said Thibodeau made a compilation video of one of the women, but they have no evidence he transferred the files to the Internet. It wasn't yet known how long the shampoo had been wired.

Death by Sister ...

I cannot believe a human could be so callous to kin ....

A cancer victim has accused his sister of condemning him to death by refusing to donate her bone marrow for a life-saving operation.

Father-of-three Simon Pretty is likely to die from leukaemia within months unless he receives a transplant.

His sister Helen, 43, is a perfect match but he says she has turned down the chance to save his life. Without the donation Mr Pretty – who has a rare tissue type – could be dead by the end of the year leaving his wife Jacqueline to raise their children Rebecca, eight, Jack, six and Benjamin, three.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Hershey PA update

From Patriot News, PA

Six hundred to 650 jobs could be eliminated at two Derry Twp. chocolate plants under a proposed settlement between The Hershey Co. and Chocolate Workers Local 464.

Dennis Bomberger, business manager of the union, said the cuts would occur over a three-year period. The cuts represent more than a fourth of the 2,200 union members who work at the main chocolate plant at 19 E. Chocolate Ave. and the West Hershey facility.

If members don't approve the settlement, "the negotiating committee believes the alternative is even worse," he said. ......Ya don't say .....

RELATED: Know your enemy .... a profile of Richard Lenny, Hershey CEO and how we ended up in this horrible position.

ALSO RELATED: Sources (ok well, I) have noticed that Hershey Corp. has 4 boardrooms rented today in the Delta Hotel, Dixie Road Mississauga .... wonder what's up now ?

Is there a doctor shortage ?

Apparently not ...

A little late off the mark on this ... The Mar 22 edition of the R&T has this story ... here's the title ..

"Smiths Falls delving into MD recruitment, councillor says town"

Anyway, it raises some important points to me .... I did not know this:

Last year, the municipality had its bid to be declared an underserviced area in terms of access to family doctors turned down by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Underserviced designation qualifies a municipality for incentive programs to bolster efforts to lure new doctors, including financial assistance for recent medical school graduates to open a practice.

The ministry declined the application, pointing out the region, including Perth, Rideau Lakes and Merrickville-Wolford, has 31 doctors - the exact number it should have based on its population.

I thought it was difficult to find a doctor in the area ... I'm fortunate, I've had the same one all my life, until his passing about 4 years ago, another GP took his practise over. Thankfully, haven't needed them all that much. Knock on wood ... hard. "My ladies" all go to another GP.

I'm blogging tonight from beautiful downtown Mississauga (sic), stuck here as an obligation to my employer. I'm wondering .... Does a doctor get paid the same per service if he's in Ottawa, North Bay, Smiths Falls or TO ???

If they do ... I gotta wonder what the hell goes through someone's mind to choose this s$%thole of a city over say living on the Big Rideau for the same price for a house?????? No traffic jams. Re-developed hospital coming.

Doesn't seem like a tough pick to me.

Springfield, Montague Twp.

Kinda got a ring to it, don't cha think ?

Ummmmm.... No thanks.

Storing millions of bundles of intensely radioactive waste fuel underground in heavily populated southern and eastern Ontario is rapidly shaping up as a geologically safe choice, according to the nuclear industry.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Bush Comedy

Funny .... but it scares the s#$t outta me. There's just sooo much of it. Is it 2008 yet ?

Great Moments in Presidential Speeches

President Bush at his best

BUSH: The 10 most stupid moments of his life

Moments with George W. Bush

Sap to Plastic ?

This is interesting....

Scientists have discovered that an obscure type of bacteria can turn maple syrup into natural polymers that can be used to make biogradable plastic-like materials.

It turns out that a form of bacteria called alcaligenes latus also has a sweet tooth, and behaves particularly ravenously when exposed to maple sap and syrup.

NRC researchers found that the bacteria not only thrive when added to maple syrup, but also transform the sugars in the sap into a family of natural polymers that can be used to make plastic-like materials that are biodegradable – everything from "green" food packaging to drug-delivery films that dissolve harmlessly in the body.

"We're not talking about plastic to replace the petroleum industry, we're talking about biopolymers with unique applications in the food and medical industry," says Jalal Hawari, a senior researcher at the NRC's Biotechnology Research Institute.

"In eastern Ontario, if you looked around for places that have natural sugar maples, there's plenty of untapped capacity," says Stephen Page, a senior market development officer for Agri-Canada.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Filet of Jose

Housewife convicted of frying husband

SAO PAULO, Brazil - A Brazilian housewife was convicted and sentenced to 19 years in prison Friday for killing her husband, chopping his body into small pieces and frying it.

She then hacked Jose Raimundo Soares dos Santos' body into more than 100 pieces, which she boiled and fried before hiding in plastic bags beneath a staircase in her house.

... the killing was either part of a black magic ritual or an attempt by the wife to collect life insurance worth about $34,000.

The best part:

"She claims masked assailants entered her house, killed her husband and then forced her to cut up the body and fry it because that would prevent the stench of a decomposing body from alerting neighbors".

Unions: Gone the way of dinosaurs ?

Are unions going extinct ? Should they ?

I haven't made any secret here of my distaste for organized labour. It's pretty hard to be focused on defeating the business competition when union and management are battling each other every 2 or 3 years. I certainly don't think that it's any coincidence that Hershey has announced the closure of the Smiths Falls factory as part of their "global supply chain transformation", with no other concrete plans revealed. I'm thinking that the threat of yet another strike, following the 6 week shut-down and $14M clean-up cost due to salmonella contamination likely made this a pretty easy decision to make.

Today's PA Times-Leader has a story Crossroads for unions speculating that union's day might be done.

“One thing that we know is that 40 years ago, labor unions were the Tyrannosaurus Rex of politics,” he said. “Today, they are a smaller, less-dangerous dinosaur. Whether they’ll soon be extinct remains to be seen.”

A half century ago, about a third of American workers were members of unions. Federal labor statistics show that’s down to 12 percent, after a loss last year of more than 325,000 workers from union ranks."

Need more evidence ? Instead of lay-offs.... whose hiring ??

Much of the economic growth in recent years has been in the Sun Belt, including states with little history of union support but with eagerness to welcome good-pay jobs.

“They give ‘em just about anything they want to locate here,” said Robert Shaffer, president of the AFL-CIO in Mississippi, where the state recently offered an incentives package worth some $300 million to Toyota. The Japanese automaker will build an assembly plant in Tupelo, bringing 2,000 jobs to an area that has seen other jobs move overseas.

So, I'm thinking.... if you have a good job, with benefits, pension, a decent wage,etc... why strike ? If your not liking your job, well ....i'm quite sure anyone was welcome to use the door ... permanently. And guess what ... there's at least 100 just waiting to get in. Well, there was.

Hershey has 2500 lay-offs remaining to be announced... they have 2 unionized & 1 non-union plants in PA ....

Care to make a wager on what ones get hit ????

Friday, March 23, 2007

Successful Sympatico migration

Very happy to report that my set-up package did indeed arrive as promised today, and the installation & set-up of the modem and wireless router went off almost without a hitch !!

My speeds are as promised in the 1 Mb range, or about 150 Kbps. Compare this to dial-up, at best 56 K or 5 kbps, and you have one happy man !

Oh .. this looks FUN !

Ultralite stops for a re-fuelling in Smiths Falls

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hershey: Bittersweet news

Elaborating on that "cryptic comment" in the Ontario Legislature Minister of Economic Development and Trade Sandra Pupatello told the R&T Tuesday Hershey officials "....were unwavering in their plans to close the Smiths Falls plant as announced last month."

On the other hand, Pupatello said Hershey officials displayed "a high level of sensitivity for how the town is affected" by the closure.

That's the bitter news .... we've had enough of that already. Here's some sweet stuff :

Company officials, however, were interested in assisting with efforts to attract other manufacturers considering the site for their operations, said Pupatello.

"Hershey wants to help us if there are others who want to (move) into the plant."

She said Hershey has invested "tens of millions of dollars" into the facility in recent years and would prefer to see it remain in use rather than mothballed.

She said the province wants to maintain a positive relationship with Hershey to limit the negative effect of the plant closure.

I'm delighted to hear that Hershey will help with finding another owner for the plant .... that can only be good news. I've heard rumours that other manufacturers were interested in the facility, but treated them as just that. Maybe a silver lining yet ?

Horsin' Around

...with my new camera

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Green" fuel -- An opportunity for our area?

Iogen in talks to build ethanol plant in Canada
OTTAWA -- After threatening to build outside the country, Ottawa-based Iogen Corp. is now negotiating with the federal government to locate its long-promised cellulosic ethanol plant in Saskatchewan, a prospect made more likely after Monday's budget allocated $500-million to help underwrite such renewable fuel facilities

Toronto-based Greenfield Ethanol Inc. and its joint-venture partner, SunOpta Inc., are planning to construct a small commercial-scale plant that produce ethanol from fast-growing poplars or aspens that are not used by the forest industry.

The firms are now scouting sites in Ontario and Quebec for a plant that would produce 40 million litres a year of ethanol from trees.

Greenfield now produces 275 million litres of ethanol, mostly from its plant in Chatham, Ont., and is planning to add two additional 200-million-litre plants, one in eastern Ontario and one in southwestern area of the province.

Maybe an opportunity for Smiths Falls and area here ??

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

RRC shut down update

In what should have been it's own article ....

The Recorder & Times reports the following update to the shut down of Rideau Regional Center.

In the first session of the legislature since the Hershey announcement, Sterling urged Premier Dalton McGuinty to delay the planned 2009 closure of the Rideau Regional Centre (RRC) and to approve the long-awaited hospital redevelopment.

"With 1,500 residents facing layoffs, we not only need a solid plan for Smiths Falls' future, we need action now," he said at Queen's Park.

Responding to Sterling's question in the legislature Monday, Minister of Economic Development and Trade Sandra Pupatello said the RRC closure plan is "moving ahead."

However, she said the province is working with local politicians around alternatives for the site and added "the Ontario Realty Corp. is working diligently, in terms of releasing the site, to see what can happen on that site in the future."

I guess we know where the Lib's stand ...on with the carnage !

A legacy destroyed ...

What would Milton do ?

Milton Hershey's rock star status lingers in his namesake village partly because his influence didn't stop when he died in 1945.

The trust he left to educate underprivileged children has ballooned to several billion dollars, and the Milton Hershey School in Derry Twp. is increasing to a record-high enrollment of 1,700.

The trust gave $50 million to build the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, which employs thousands of people. Large swaths of land controlled by the trust have resisted the development of strip malls and hotels.

It was almost automatic for him to devote himself to others

"Milton still really matters a lot," said Michael D'Antonio, author of "Hershey: Milton S. Hershey's Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire and Utopian Dreams."

Evidently not enough !!

RELATED: From Recorder & Times- Not Good :(

Hershey spokesman Kirk Saville said in a message that he had no details on who would attend the meeting on behalf of the company, or what they were prepared to discuss.
The company, he said in a statement, is "committed to working with government and community leaders to assist our employees and the community with this transition."

Pupatello (Minister of Economic Development and Trade)also revealed she travelled to Pennsylvania last week to meet company officials.

In a cryptic comment, she told the legislature, "I spent two hours with the leadership at Hershey in Pennsylvania on Friday. They made it very clear what their future is as a company."

Ummm ... that doesn't sound so cryptic to me ....

No wonder he's mad ...

Hershey brass lose '06 bonuses

Failure to meet sales, earnings goals cost executives
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Of The Patriot-News

High-level executives at The Hershey Co. didn't receive a bonus last year because of the company's failure to reach its sales and earnings objectives.

Richard H. Lenny, Hershey's chairman, president and CEO, and the others on the executive team came up empty. The candy company fell short of its sales growth targets of 3 percent to 4 percent and its earnings growth targets of 9 percent to 11 percent.

Lenny received a bonus of $2.4 million for his performance in 2005.

Monday, March 19, 2007

High Speed Hope

for Cat Lover and many other rural residents ......

Coalition pushes use of TV waves for Net

"WASHINGTON–A coalition of big technology companies that wants to bring high-speed Internet access to consumers over television airwaves hopes a device to be delivered to U.S. federal labs this week lives up to its promise.

The six partners – Microsoft, Google, Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp. and Philips NV– say they can meet that challenge. The prototype device, built by Microsoft, will undergo months of testing.

If the device passes muster, the coalition says, it could have versions in stores by early 2009."

"Saving Smiths Falls"

Just listened to the piece on the Steve Madely show from this morning... recommended listening. A brief synopsis:

Arnold Kimmell, Quicky CEO, a 47 store operation, promises three actions if the Hershey plant in Smiths Falls closes:

1. Quicky currently carries 72 different Hershey products, this will be reduced to 5 or less

2. Hershey products will not be given prominent placing in stores

3. There will be no special marketing of Hershey products

Mr. Kimmell noted Hershey sales are down 12% chain-wide, 45% in SF.

Dennis Staples noted that a meeting with Hershey officials is scheduled for the first week of April, details of when, where in Smiths Falls, and most importantly with whom from Hershey, PA should come later this week.

I'm proposing another rally to REALLY show these people what this operation means to our Town .... More thoughts on that later...

Staples noted that there has been 70M USD in improvements to the plants, including some work last week !!

Scott Reid spoke more of his proposed website at

CFRA is really on top of this issue, and is an important and very valuable ally in the fight to keep this plant here. Keep it up !!!

This is not startin' out so hot

After 80 mins 37 secs ... I think Sympatico has figured out just what I need ... where I need it.

The telemarketing firm that called Friday had me signed up for DSL Basic Lite 256k, better than dial-up, but not high-speed either. I was wondering why it was only $25, and asked the specific question "This is not Ultra-lite is it ??" Obviously the ultra part threw her off... her answer was no.

Anyhow, my call was initially answered by tech support, the gentlemen tested my line and found it sufficient to qualify me for DSL Basic. $35/mo. 1 Mbps. Fine. He sold me on a wireless router and then told me he was sending it to my old address.


Is this the address my modem is going to as well ??

"I don't know, sir. What is your new address ??"

blala rd ... Smiths Falls..

How do you spell that ??

Huh ?? Are you in Canada ?? Haven't you heard of the Hershey plant ?

"Uh, well no sir, don't be shocked, I'm in INDIA."

E'nuff said.

"Let me transfer you to Customer Service to change the address."

After a 20 min wait on hold, I got through. First off, are you in Canada ??

This guy knew his stuff ... but he had to undo everything the guy in India did with my account... it was messed up that bad.

So, after some polite negotiation, I ended up with DSL Basic, $35 month, unlimited bandwidth. There was supposed to be a 4 gb cap, but I got it to unlimited for signing a 1 yr contract.

This modem should arrive Friday. We'll see.

LFLA PC nomination race

Glenda has a post profiling the three candidates for PC nomination in the newly-formed LFLA riding. This race promises to be hotly contested with 2 candidates with strong political experience (Jay Brennan and Brent Cameron) and Randy Hillier, who needs no introduction in these parts.

I'll be posting about this race more in the future i'm sure, but for now this post is important reading for anyone who resides in this riding.

Hershey saga

Mayor D. Staples & MP Scott Reid, MPP Bob Runciman and Quickie CEO Arnold Kimmel had a lengthy interview on Steve Madely's show on CFRA this AM. I only caught the tail end ... I'll be listening later here. Mark Sutcliffe (filling in for Lowell Green) is discussing the issue on his show as well...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

E.T. phone home

For a chuckle ... anybody else see anything ?? ;-)

Featured Links

Add your favorites to the comments (G-Rated please !)

Satellite tracker

The Redneck Astronomer

CBC vintage OKA crisis I like clip 7 best ...

Friends of Science Climate change info .. from get this ... climatologists !!

Newsweek April 1975: The cooling world Thanks to SDA.

Billy Pepper .. guitarist extrodinaire !!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Now this is BIG NEWS

At least to those of us who live in Montague ...

I received a phone call, just moments ago, from the friendly tele-marketing gang representing Bell. I just about hung up on her when ....she got this out just in the nick of time ....The phone giant has finally taken pity on some of us rural folk, and is now prepared to offer me DSL at home. Wow.

After years of refusing to pay for Ripnet's excessive $65/month and ridiculously low bandwidth caps/high overage charges, I'm finally getting high-speed at home. 25 bucks a month. $15 installation. No contract. They claim next Thursday my modem should arrive... I'll let you know how the installation goes.

Man, I really feel sorry for my neighbour who just a few short months ago paid $250 installation and signed a three-year contract with Ripnet. Ouch.

I get it ... now

You'll have to excuse me .... I wondered here why someone from China would pass by my blog ... and I get it now.... It wasn't my reference to Russian spy satellites that brought that visitor here. Blogs must go on some list somewhere of recent posts... but that brings me to another topic. Almost as fun as putting my thoughts down, is seeing where people that visit here are from. I've already had visitors from most provinces, many US States, China, Australia,Spain, Saudi Arabia and the UK. Other notables include The Globe & Mail and someone from the Ontario legislature.

To more experienced bloggers ... do you watch who might pass by your site ??

Too much fun.

Smiths Falls This Week goes online !

One of our local newspapers has finally decided to get with the late 20th century and make it's jump to the online world.

In case you missed the full-page ad in today's edition of Smiths Falls This Week, Runge Publishing has made it's family of local community newspapers (including back issues !) available on the web. While I'm not a particular fan of the format (pdf's of entire editions, as opposed to ordinary html publishing), this is a good step forward. Going the pdf route makes searching next to impossible, and the files are in the 8 Mb range so you'll have to be patient if you stuck on dial-up. I suppose that goes without saying, you are patient if stuck on dial-up ! Like me, sometimes.

Can The Reckless be far behind ?? I really like the competition between the two .. there's even some hard news sneaking into the EMC lately, making The Reckless somewhat close to a bi-weekly.

Simply go to and sign up for a free username & password.

Cry me a (Rideau) river ....

Kemptville's feeling left out .... Several years after the Hwy 416 brought people and prosperity to town, the municipality is whining about (of all things).... too much growth. New arena, housing developments and that evil corporate satan Wal-Mart's coming to town (with the usual crying you hear ... haven't we heard all this before ???) .

"We also require provincial help because if we don't have the money to put the infrastructure in the ground, then we're going to have to slam the door on growth," Mayor Bill Gooch said in an interview.

"And I don't think the premier would want that to happen."

Sorry Kemptville, you've got all the help you're gonna get .... time for our turn at the taxpayer trough !!

Impeding Doom

"Chesterville's woes mirrors those of Smiths Falls in face of Hershey's departure"

If you need some solid evidence of the impending doom faced by Smiths Falls, you need not look any further than 75 km's east on Hwy 43. And multiply the effect 10x.

We are all aware that Chesterville is the former home of a large Nestle factory. What has the effect been on the village ??

"There's hardly anyone in the streets any more," says Robert Harper. "It's dead quiet. There's just nothing here. Nothing that pays very good, that's for sure."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A strange visitor

Shortly after my last post, a strange visitor came knockin' on my door with no referring URL...
Domain Name
IP Address
221.213.80.# (CNC Group Yunnan province network)
CNC Group Yunnan province network
China (Facts)
39.9289, 116.3883 (Map)
Chinese (China)

Now, I dunno how anybody in China would come across my blog ... unless it was my reference to "Russian Spy Satellites" in my last post.

Let's conduct an experiment, just because we Canadians can ...

Sundogs & rednecks

This morning, as Lowell pointed out to his listeners, a "sundog" appeared over the Ottawa sky. Despite my curiosity for all things weather & space, I've never heard of or seen this phenomenon. Wikipedia defines it as this ..

"A sun dog or sundog (scientific name parhelion) is a relatively common atmospheric optical phenomenon associated with the refraction of sunlight by small ice crystals that make up cirrus or cirrostratus clouds."

Since my attention was drawn to the subject, I thought I'd share some pretty cool links ...

Ever wonder what is flying around up above us ... on this site you can identify satellites flying overhead in real time... On a dark summer night, I'm sure I've seen some of them going by... including Russian spy satellites.

Tony Darnel "The Redneck Astronomer" has a great site full of info for the novice and intermediate star-gazer. He has directed an excellent video, posted on YouTube, entitled The Hubble Deep Field: The Most Important Image Ever Taken. Very cool, especially since the soundtrack starts with Pink Floyd's "Shine on You Crazy Diamond."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

MSM Hershey round-up

A busy day in the local media ... Scott Reid (MP, LLFA) was on CFRA's lunch bunch talking about Steffi's new un-justice plan, and the environmental front.

The afternoon show featured Mayor Dennis Staples talking about, well, you know. Not too much we haven't heard before ... one highlight of the chat ..

Harris: Can you tell me why Town councillor Dawn Quinn has basically said in a quote " It's a done deal, it really hits hard but we have to be positive". Is that just a difference of opinion in how final this is ?

Staples skirted the question like a pro, and Harris let him away with it.

Staples had mild criticism for McGuinty and crew. He started trying in 2004, it took 16 months to get a meeting with cabinet over the RRC... but with the Hershey announcement we have
" ... some serious attention from the Premier and cabinet"

Michael Harris seems to have taken a keen interest in Smiths Falls' cause.... while I'm not a huge fan of his show, this is really good news. He has a fair following in the afternoon and a lot of ink in the Ottawa Sun. This story doesn't seem to be falling victim to the "drive-by" media and that's a very good thing.

You can listen to both peices here ...

In a story in the Citizen the signatures keep coming in for the petition started.... tonight the count is 10483.

"Kirk Saville, the media relations spokesman for the company, said he was not aware of the petition"

Complete BS .... Corporations are well aware of what is being said about them everywhere . In fact, I have reason to believe they have been lurking around these parts ... I keep getting an unknown ISP from somewhere in middle America, with no referring URL ... hmmm

Wonder who that could be ??

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hershey-John Tory "Let's stay on this "

John Tory is on CFRA right now (again). He has been able to get a good dialogue going with Hershey management in PA, and management has agreed to meet with employees later this month. Great news.

While very cautious about the outcome of these talks, Tory says it is a positive direction. Undecided on the usefulness of a boycott, he understands the emotion behind it.

He (again) said his plans to move PS jobs out of TO .... "applies directly to devastated communities like Smiths Falls"

He concluded the interview by saying "Let's stay on this" ..... INDEED !

Is Hershey the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back ?

Interview will be posted shortly here .... dial-up friendly.

Winter Reflections

-click to enlarge-
Hwy 511, North of Brightside, South of Calabogie.

PC leader feels Falls' pain

"Tory said he could feel a “real sense of devastation” from the townspeople in the wake of Hershey’s announcement that it is shutting down its chocolate factory in the town and moving production to Mexico next year. "

“I will offer my co-operation to the government in helping to identify any way in which we can preserve jobs in Smiths Falls, at Hershey and in the area of care for the developmentally challenged.”

Tory expressed frustration that the Ontario government has “indicated no willingness” to discuss the future of the RRC. "

I want to know what John Tory has up his sleeve for us ... We've got his ear, there is an election in the Fall ... PRAY for a Conservative government. We all know what Dalton & the boys are doing:


How's this for thanks ...

Decorated soldier beaten up in hometown
Morrisburg, ON

"OTTAWA -- A Canadian soldier awarded a medal of valour for braving enemy fire in Afghanistan is angry after he says he was jumped from behind and taunted by four men who beat him up in an Ontario bar this weekend.

Fitzgerald said Monday he'd only been in the bar about 20 minutes when he was struck from behind."

Master Corporal Collin Fitzgerald will be on 580CFRA shortly, you'll be able to hear his interview about 0830 here.
1300 hrs-posted now.

He'd like to have a "go" at the 4 thugs who gave him 3 fractures, 10 stitches and 2 chipped teeth, amongst other injuries.

I wonder how that would turn out.

While he was deployed, his mother was told by a friend that he was safer in Afganistan than he was in "that Nick's bar" ...

Turns out he was right.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hershey boycotts: A good idea ?

Loyalist College has pulled the plug already. Quicky CEO promises not to market aggressively.

The union is begging for it not to spread.

Is it a good idea ? Done effectively (and that means nationally), I think it is. I think it's the only hope. Show Hershey you will not be buying their products any longer. Let the bottom fall out of their market in Canada.

From what I have read about the issue, and that's lots, it appears this is a plan that has been in the works for a long time and about half completed.

It worked with them before.

Patriot-News, PA

"When a sale of The Hershey Co. was explored in 2002, a torrent of community criticism was unleashed over the possible job losses and economic punch to the region. "

"Robert Vowler, president and CEO of The Hershey Trust Co., which has 78 percent voting control of the chocolate company, said he doesn't see any similarities between now and then. "

Show him.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Mini Y2K (yoto) ?

I woke up this morning so happy to find that all 3 PC's in my house successfully survived the devastating impact of the supposed mini-Y2K. All are resting peacefully in their happy home, time successfully updated. I don't know what I might have done had they not endured the trauma... uh maybe.. update the time myself and then set it back again three weeks later ?

What's tomorrow's crisis ?

UPDATE: Just noticed that despite my PC reporting the correct daylight saving time, blogger's timestamp is incorrect.

Dear God, the sky is FALLing !

Don't they deserve better ?

This week's EMC brings a story about a Thursday deadline for signing a petition on behalf of Broadview Nursing home in Smiths Falls. Seems the home is in desperate need of renovation after 40 years of service to our community. The issue is near and dear to me as this is where my grandmother spent her last years following a stroke. In my visits I noticed only extremely good care offered by a dedicated and compassionate staff, in fact many attended her funeral.

"The key issue affecting the home..... is the approval of licencing in only 15 year increments when this service has historically been given a perpetual licence with annual contract agreements."

This is evidently tying up bank financing for the renovations.

Please, don't tell me I live in a land where the comfort and care of our seniors is being compromised by licencing and finance issues. Say it ain't so.

I'd rather live in a country where the contributions to our society by these people is honoured and respected. Rewarded by the knowledge that if you find yourself in need of this type of care it is available and dignified.

Please visit the OLTCA and voice your support for this worthwhile effort. It's important.

While I commend the EMC for the lengthy piece on this ... I have to wonder why the front page is graced with the announcement of a play at the high school and this story is on pg. 6 of the second section ??

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A beautiful couple ...

One of my hobbies ... I'll start with my "best foot forward".

"Click to enlarge"

Shot at the Migratory Bird Sanctuary Ingleside, ON.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Protect our kids !

Two local arrests this week have brought my attention to this topic, yet again.

First the headlines -

OPP charge ex-officer with sexual assault

A retired OPP officer is accused of sexually assaulting a young male in the Killaloe area more than 20 years ago.

FBI child porn probe leads to Ontario arrest
Canadian Press
MERRICKVILLE, Ont. — Ontario provincial police have arrested an eastern Ontario man on child porn charges thanks in part to information provided by the FBI in San Francisco, Calif.

Around 15 years ago we had one of these sickos exposed in the area. Victims in the double digits. He’s got his own little piece of real estate now in a real warm place. Good riddance. Anyhow, two things horrified me about this. One was the era and location of his deeds… I could well have been one of his “targets”. Second , and most troublesome was the fact that I knew the individual.. He was a customer at a business that I worked at… A tad odd, little old man . Perhaps, as the French call them, un homme rose. I served him. I was nice to him…yuck !! Point is I didn’t know. How could I have known ? Look at the at the above case. A retired cop, for gods sakes !!

There is just no way to tell who they may be …And those tigers are about to change their stripes as you or I. I don’t know about you but, I ain’t battin’ for the other team anytime soon.

I think it’s time for an on-line sexual offenders database, such as those in the US… and if they are ever released, a lifetime requirement to wear a GPS tracking device.

I can hear the thug-huggers screaming already..

But what about privacy ? Well, given the Privacy Commissioner has given the ok for corporations to install GPS tracking devices in fleet vehicles … I’m ok with it. Companies are installing these devices with increasing frequency, and I don’t blame them. It guarantees their vehicles are being operated in accordance with company standards… so I want these devices on the ankles of all predators, if only to ensure they are using their ..uh,well, you know… in accordance with decent standards.

But will make them a target !! Compare the number of these fine individuals who have been targeted as a result of being on one of these websites to how many kids have been raped and murdered by convicted then released offenders … Bettin’ that numbers not even close. Not that I care.

But that’s a life sentence…. Well, I’m just wondering just when it is the victims get their pardon by HMTQ. Oh ya, here’s a “faint hope clause” for them ..
The mental health system.

So…. I’m thinking leave farmer bob and his shotgun alone, and start registering diddlin’ Don....… and let me in on his

dirty little secret.

It’s worth it.

What the Yanks are saying ..

Some insight : A shift to corporate "culture" at Hershey

"Lenny’s job at Hershey was to come from the outside and restructure it from a community to a corporation. This realignment means he has finished the job.

You can bet your pension check that Lenny will not have completed his job in Pennsylvania until Hershey is an amusement park and production is restructured into Nestle. "

Well said :

"With all of the corporate rhetoric aside, the closing of the Hershey plant in Smith’s Falls, Ont., was Richard Lenny’s shock and awe, and the recent acquisition in India was his Abu Ghraib. "

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Hershey: More bad news

From Patriot News, PA:

"The Hershey Co. has purchased a nearly 200,000-square-foot building in Monterrey, Mexico, where it expects to begin making candy later this year, according to reports in Mexico.

Hershey spokesman Kirk Saville would not discuss details yesterday. "I don't have any information to share on that," he said. "

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

RRC soon to be the Seniors Hospital of Eastern Ont ?

I'm trying to put my finger on just what John Tory has in mind with his plan to move jobs from TO to some Eastern Ontario communities.

One has to assume that any plans for an increase in the PS in this area would utilize the RRC facility. Brent Cameron, candidate for PC nomination in the newly formed LLFA riding has an interesting proposal on his blog, calling for the establishment of a network of seniors hospitals across the province. There is a long term care crisis in Ontario, with over 100 people in hospital awaiting more appropriate facilities on any given day in Ottawa alone. My grandmother languished in the Perth hospital for over a year before she found space in a local nursing home. These are beds that are not being used for surgical care, doctors and nurses that are not treating emergencies.

We have a hospital-like facility ready & waiting for a new tenant.

Problem. Solution.

Seems simple to me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

John Tory to the rescue !

Are they listening ?

Three days after I asked Where is John Tory ?, CFRA is reporting in the noon news that he is in Smiths Falls this afternoon, revealing more of the plans he spoke of yesterday.

Of his plan to move some PS jobs out of TO he states :
" Smiths Falls is exactly the kind of community I'm talking about"

Compare this to the NDP's plans to make companies account for leaving Canada or the Lib's ill-fated attempts to convince Hershey to change their plans but still close RRC and offer no alternative use. Hands down this plan is the best hope we have to avert disaster in the area.

Lay it on us, John. We're listening.

March 7 UPDATE: No new details on Tory's plans were released at the meeting yesterday.

Monday, March 5, 2007

I love this ....

It appears to me there is a crack or two developing in the armour of the eco-freaks. First last week we had the story of Al Gore's electricity bill that is 20x higher than the rest of us poor saps. Not only that ... his consumption has gone up over 20% since the release of his propaganda film. Kinda took the shine off that Oscar, eh Al ?

Neo has a post at HOM about a poll gone horribly wrong for David Suzuki. When Suzuki didn't like the results he childishly pulled the plug. Showing the true power of blogging, some crafty souls managed to grab the code, allowing votes to still be counted. Maybe he'll get the message. Not likely.

All this is not to say I don't care about the planet. I do. But the eco-freaks can start telling me how to run my life when we start burning garbage for power (instead of building a mountain of it in the middle of our capital city), building windmills, and cities stop dumping poop in our oceans, lakes and rivers from Halifax to Victoria.


Polar bears going extinct ? Nope ... turns out that's a lie too.

"If the polar bear is the 650-kilogram canary in the climate change coal mine, why are its numbers INCREASING?"


Kate at SDA has an article from Newsweek April 1975: The Cooling World

Sometimes you just gotta have faith

John Tory has been found !!!

He's been working on a plan. Typical, while others talk, Conservatives deliver.

John Tory had a 10 minute interview on the afternoon show on 580CFRA. Wanna know what he said ??

He's gonna bring PS jobs out of TO and put them in places like Smiths Falls and Cornwall. Even OPSEU is friendly to the idea. Music to my ears.

Well worth the listen. Scroll down through the Mon March 5 entries. Dial-up friendly.

UPDATE: Even the Libs think it's a good plan ... from CBC

Ontario Opposition Leader John Tory promised to move 10 per cent of provincial government jobs from Toronto to rural communities, if his Conservative party is elected in the fall.

But even the current Liberal government said it is open to the idea for Smiths Falls in the wake of the Hershey plant closure announcement.

"It's certainly something to be considered," said Municipal Affairs Minister John Gerretsen on Friday. "We're fully aware of the economic impact and obviously the personal devastation it'll have on many individuals within the Smiths Falls area."

Maybe a silver lining ???

Sunday, March 4, 2007

If you live in Smiths Falls ...

ya might be a redneck ....

A local contribution to Google Video. "Redneck figure skating"

Link doesn't seem to be working ... click here

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Citizen of the Year:Mayor Dennis Staples

Throughout the last two weeks I've followed the Hershey saga with great interest, like everybody else in this area. Mayor Dennis Staples has been an excellent voice for Smiths Falls, handling the media onslaught like the seasoned municipal politician he is.

Smiths Falls is fortunate to have an effective leader like Mr.Staples to guide us through the rough times ahead.

Where is John Tory ?

On the local front, municipal and some provincial politicians appear to have done their best to convince Hershey not to close the Smiths Falls plant. Heck, Dalton even called Rick Lenney, Hershey CEO. Lenny didn't give ol'Dalt the time of day but, no matter, the attempt was made. H.Hampton even showed his face in town Thursday.

Tuesday's Record News coverage of the rally at the plant points out that Norm Sterling sent an assistant, much to the dismay of some in the crowd. Evidently they weren't aware that the "assistant" is seeking the PC nomination for the newly formed LLFA riding.

Where is John Tory ? Apparently he met with council early in the week, but nary a public statement. While he might well have name recognition in TO, I'm betting a good many in our area couldn't name the PC leader if asked. Given that in the upcoming Provincial election the Town sits in a new riding, so there will be no incumbent, this might spell trouble for Conservatives. The south end of the riding is currently held by a Lib. I'm still predicting a win, but i'm not so sure it's a completely safe riding.

A golden opportunity lost.

Caledonia: A summer of discontent ahead ?

Much like the Taliban, I'm suspecting that the Natives occupying Douglas Creek are gearing up for an all-out spring/summer offensive.

With the profits flowing from those ever-popular contraband cigarettes (you know, the ones that come in baggies), one has to wonder where all of this money is being funnelled. Hopefully, not to add to the cache of weapons. Do those people who choose to smoke the cheap "Indian brands" know just where their money is going ? I'm betting 75% don't.

OPP commissioner Julian Fantino stated last week that the force needs to hire additional officers to deal with the crisis. "We just can't sustain this . . . There's got to be a resolution," Fantino said. "When you think about some 5,000 police officers rotating through (Caledonia) over the last year -- 480,000 hours of police officer work that should have gone elsewhere -- and all that time there's this negotiation stuff that appears, to me at least, to be going nowhere."

Never mind that these hours could have been spent catching diddlers,crack dealers or any other variety of "undesirables", those 480k hours add up to a whole lot of dough, money that could have been spent on health care or education.

Fantino is critical of the federal government for not getting involved in the crisis, I think his position is justified. Indian Affairs is clearly a federal responsibility, and the Conservatives have been MIA. In fact, Fantino claims he has not been in contact with any federal officials regarding the crisis. I expect better leadership than that, from both parties.

It's time the Feds move in and relieve Dalton and Julian of the crisis. It's clear they lack the intestinal fortitude and leadership skills to get this done.

Before someone dies

Friday, March 2, 2007

Hershey: A sober second thought

The area is still reeling from the news last week that Hershey has given the Kiss of Death to Smiths Falls. Our very identity .... gone next year. Smiths Falls This Week has an interesting editorial comparing the stages of grief to the fallout that has happened since that awful news last week.

I'm still stuck in the anger phase, but not at my original target. When the news first broke, I was pissed... How could Hershey, a company unlike any other with it's rich history of employee and community support, pull up roots and move to Mexico, of all places. I have a feeling that if the company was consolidating operations in PA it would be a much less bitter pill to swallow.

Once again, Clive & the readers over at TDPC got to the bottom of the real story before any of the MSM. In a comment posted here on Feb 23, an anon poster gave some insight to the real reason this has happened:

"You can thank Mr. Steve O'Neil, ex-union chief steward at Hershey's for beginnning this terrible voyage. The corporate way, whether we like it or not, you don't keep sending business to a place where the union/ management relations is unpredictable (ie strike 2004)at the Smiths Falls plant. We all knew this would happen but Steve and his posse of followers thought that this would never happen. Go ahead and call Steve and ask him how he feels now. Ask him how he's going to like his pension, and when he has no reply, ask him how he feels about 395 people not getting a pension. Way to go Cement Head', i guess the CAW's motivational speakers made your head swell as you 'attempted' to lead the union in 'your' way, not the right way. "

Earl MacRae touched briefly on the subject in the Feb 27 Ottawa Sun with these noteable comments....

"Says a plant worker of many years, now retired, a well-respected businessman, asking not to be named: "During the contract talks a few years ago, the union local president at the time was totally inflexible. One of those hard-nosed 'this is the way it is' types. They went on strike for several weeks. Then this January, in the new talks, the union votes 59% to strike if necessary."

"It's been a terrific place to work at, you won't find a better employer than Hershey,"

So I ask - if this is the case, then why would 60 % of your co-workers vote to strike if necessary, given the bitter strike 3 years ago, knowing the $14M bill & lost production due to the salmonella contamination. Add to this the 30% rise in the value of the Canadian dollar, and you've got yourself a recipe for disaster.

Think of it from the perspective of a board member making decisions in Hershey, PA. On one hand we have this plant in Canada, that had a strike 3 years ago, and is willing to go out again, if they don't get what they want. On the other hand, you have this eager workforce willing to work like, well, mules, for 10% of what it costs to produce the same product. Oh, and we also have this pesky problem - our profits are down 10% in the last quarter and the shareholders are gonna be ugly if we don't do something. Honestly, what would you do ??

"these things sure didn't help the relationship with a company that has always treated its workers and the community unbelievably well."

Gee, do ya think ??

Howard Hapton (NDP leader-ONT) was in Town last night .... Go home, Howard -- You, Buzz and the rest of the CAW got us into this trouble in the first place.... we don't need any more of your kind of help !!

March 4 UPDATE:

Hershey,PA held a rally today, media accounts are saying 200 employees & concerned citizens came out. Sounds like a disappointing turn-out, given that 2500 employees are facing lay-off.

To Rick Lenny -- there is still time to stop this. Re-considering your decision to close the Smiths Falls plant would be the best possible advertisement that your company could hope for.

Montague Public School not making the grade

The C.D. Howe Institute has released Ontario's Best Public Schools:An Update to Signposts of Success and the results from our local schools are a very mixed bag.

Of most concern to me was Montague Public's Grade Three test scores. The school reported only 46. 9% of students meeting provincial standards. The report further states that Montague is in the 8th percentile of schools of similar socio-economic status. Conversly this means that 92% of similar schools score better. Beckwith Public had a pass rate of 73.6 putting them in the 80th percentile. Chimo and Merrickville scored well also, Drummond and North Elmsley are around the provincial average, with Duncan J. Scholar joining Montague with troublesome results.

How can this be ? What can be done to improve? Trust me, I'll be looking for answers.

h/t to Neo

More Montague Madness ..

It seems some of my fellow residents of the 'gue can't resist airing their beefs in the local newspapers .... Clive has a post over at TDPC commenting on the the letter submitted to Smiths Falls This Week by a former Montague Township councillor. For space reasons, I'm not going to re-hash the letter ... Clive presents a very good counter argument that I agree with.

Tuesdays edition of The Reckless hailed a victory speech from Hal ... He's been fighting the animal control by-law for some time, and it seems his suggestions have been listened to. An article on page two of Smiths Falls This Week details a common sense approach to animal control in our Township. But... when is council going to tackle cat control ??? My pooch and the corgi's should be pissed, those felines running around unlicenced and all ....

Another question ... when are my fellow Montague residents going to stop airing Township dirty laundry in the local papers, and bring it back to the blogosphere ?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Well ... I'm off !

After lurking since the municipal election last fall around Clive's blog, I've decided to venture out on my own. As the title would suggest, here you'll find out everything that's important to Smiths Falls and surrounding areas. Oh, and your likely to see a comment or two on provincial, federal and international issues too.

What will happen when you take the top 1500 jobs from a Town of less than 10000 ? Will the Town wither and die, as predicted by many, or will there be a rebirth and future prosperity.

Stay tuned and don't you dare touch that dial !