Sunday, February 28, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Friday, February 26, 2010)

Northern BC works the crowd at the Olympics, putting together some talking points for Smithers and the Chamber acknowledges its best, all part of the news cycle for the weekend.

Daily News, front page, headline story
NORTHERN B. C. ON THE PODIUM AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES-- Away from the glow of the medals and the performances, local officials were busy trying to spread the word of economic opportunity in Northern BC, the Daily News outlines the efforts of those involved in the Showcase of Northern BC at the Vancouver games.

British Columbia Communities from 100 Mile House north and west to Haida Gwaii have been busy putting together resolutions of interest, all to be presented to North Central Local Government Association AGM which is planned for Smithers from May 5-7. Among the Prince Rupert concerns will be municipal funding, ferries, EI, fishing and empty schools, the deadline for the writing up their thoughts is March 5.

The latest developments for Naikun were explored in the Daily News, as we outlined on the blog last week, Naikun is currently in the midst of layoffs , reducing the work force of 17 employees by 25 percent. A financial plan  designed to conserve cash until further word is heard from BC Hydro and their Clean Power Call which may involved Naikun's Haida Gwaii wind power project.

Basketball again was the main attraction of the Sports section, with a review of the PRSS Rainmakers upset at the provincial finals and salute to the culture of basketball in the city at some of its key levels.

(Archive for Daily News Articles for February 26, 2010 )

The Northern View
Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce hands out business excellence awards -- Shaun Thomas is on the dinner circuit this weekend with a review of the Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence awards from Saturday night (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
No new items were posted to the CFTK website on Friday.

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North
No new items were posted to the CBC Daybreak site for Friday

The full list of current Daybreak North Interviews can be found here

The Daily News
Northern B.C. on the podium at the Olympic Games
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Daily News
Friday, February 26, 2010 

Northern B.C. was front and centre at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games on
Feb. 23.

More than 150 delegates experienced the Prince George and a Northern Decade for British Columbia Showcase at Vancouver’s Robson Square.

Shaun Stevenson, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for the Prince Rupert Port Authority, has been in Vancouver this week and attended the showcase.

“We’ve been meeting with shippers, ocean carriers and new terminal developers through a number of roundtables,” Stevenson said. “Everything from Japanese coal buyers looking at the ports of Prince Rupert and Vancouver. There has been a great deal of things going on. I have been here to represent the port.”

Hosted by Initiatives Prince George, the Showcase focused on Northern B.C.

“This diverse region boasts propulsive trade and investment opportunities in transportation & logistics, forestry, mining, green energy, and industrial development. Northern B.C. is also home to the Port of Prince Rupert’s new Fairview Container Terminal, the first Asia-North America trade corridor in 100 years. This state of the art terminal provides shippers with unparalleled reliability, speed and cost efficiencies in moving their products between Asia and North American markets,” stated Initiatives Prince George in a press release.

The Showcase is part of a larger series of events and outreach opportunities to promote British Columbia’s core industries, diverse regions and communities, and investment and job-creation potential.

Events promoting every region are taking place throughout Vancouver and Whistler, including the BC International Media Centre (BCMC), BC Showcase and the Asia Pacific Business Centre at Robson Square, the BC Canada Pavilion at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Terminal City Club, and the Whistler Discovery Centre.

According to Stevenson, Initiatives Prince George had been planning the showcase over the last three years to be part of the platform at the 2010 Olympics.

“There have been a number of events here to bring businesses together and explore opportunities for investment in B.C. Overall the 2010 Olympics were always positioned as a way to leverage the profile of our province. We’ve participated where it’s practical to put Prince Rupert on the map,” Steveson added.

Stevenson said people in the business of shipping are aware of Prince Rupert, but not always aware of new opportunities. “I also attended a lunch hosted by CN on Wednesday.”

Correction: preamble in the Naikun story above has been changed to reflect the lay off situation at the company, original copy said that there had been 17 lay offs at the company, it should have read  "lay offs to their workforce of 25 percent", we apologize for the error.  

It's the economy (Weekend Edition, February 27 and 28, 2010)

 Europe's cracking structure, Greece looks to its exiles for help, and employment pressures in China some of the items for the weekend.

Globe and Mail-- Takeovers grow difficult for banks
Globe and Mail-- Cracks appearing in euro currency union
Globe and Mail-- Bulk of stimulus as worst over, critics say
National Post-- On the Chopping Block
National Post-- Euro has become a 'subprime' currency
New York Times-- European Union Moves Toward a Bailout of Greece
New York Times-- Network News at a Crossroads
New York Times-- Financial Reform Endgame
USA Today-- Warren Buffett sees housing market bouncing back by 2011
USA Today-- U.S. airline, union disputes could disrupt flights
Guardian UK online-- Greece urges expatriates to help cut its debt
Guardian UK online-- British firms face onslaught from tar sands campaigners
Guardian UK online-- Sterling faces pressure as election looms, but who's next?
Times online-- Don’t mess around with inflation targets
Times online-- Lenders shy back as Greece makes €5bn cash call
Telegraph UK online-- Don't go wobbly on us now, Ben Bernanke
Telegraph UK online-- Fiscal tightening - to cut or not to cut, that is the question
Telegraph UK online-- Germany and France agree to rescue Greece, with conditions
Melbourne Herald Sun-- Loan delays hurt NAB
Melbourne Herald Sun-- Experts bank on RBA rate rise
Sydney Daily Telegraph-- Part-time working mums have healthier kids
Sydney Daily Telegraph-- Company director John Harvey to go homeless
People's Daily-- Chinese vice premier calls for more efforts to develop west China
People's Daily-- China's massive stimulus plan proved effective: Chinese Premier
China Daily-- China to increase housing supply this year: Premier Wen
China Daily-- China still faces serious employment pressure - Premier Wen
Times of India-- Sensex breaks free after budget, gains 237 points in week

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Showdown Sunday!

A few more minutes on Friday night and it very well may have been a very different match up this final Olympic Sunday in Vancouver, Slovakia which for all intents and purposes looked relegated to the Bronze medal game by midway through the second period, battled back and provided some nervous moments for Canadians, coming within a goal post or two of sending Canada into overtime and whatever fate that might have portended.

In the end, Canada's path towards the gold medal game remained in view, a furious final two minutes testing the faith of the heartiest of Team Canada fans but with a victory in hand, the stage was set for Sunday afternoon at the Canada Hockey Place.

Where two of the fiercest rivals in sport today will once again renew acquaintances,  as the USA and Canada join battle for Olympic gold.

Canada with twin visions of a hard fought loss to the Americans one week ago combined with the knowledge of just how fast that American attack can lay waste to long sought dreams (ask Finland) will need to summon up every last second of desire and seek to contain an American squad that can match them for speed, physicality and all important goal tending.

Not since a little border skirmish called the War of 1812 has there been this much attention generated towards the meeting of these two nations. The prices for tickets for Sunday's showdown going well beyond Super Bowl benchmarks, the price of a suite at Canada Hockey Place listed at 138,000 dollars enough for a sizeable dent on a mortgage in many Canadian cities (in some an entire house), individual seats range anywhere from 15,000 to 1,000 dollars depending on how close you wish to be to the action.

For Team USA the quest is clear, come out fast knock the Canadians off their game and frustrate their gameplan execution at every instance, the Canadians who were found frequently in the American zone last Sunday have but one ambition, put puck behind Ryan Miller.

It was Miller who last Sunday stymied the Canadians, leaving them to shake their heads by games end sending their coaches to the video room to try and unravel the mystery to the back of the net, expect more traffic in front on Miller on Sunday afternoon, hoping to reduce his vision on those howitzers from the point,  looking to bounce in rebounds if such a thing is provided.

For Canada's Roberto Luongo, this is the shot he's been shooting for, the opportunity to lead his country to gold on their own ice, in his very own rink, the script could not be any more fascinating for a finale.

We've been treated to some fascinating hockey over the last thirteen days, the speed of the game amazing, the passion from the players riveting, the drama of the results mesmerizing.

It is only fitting that the final act of these Vancouver Games should bring together two so similar teams, two teams that play the game in the same style, with similar values and the same passions, Wednesday Canada was treated to another chapter in a storied rivalry with Russia, a game that exorcised many of the past demons of Canadian hockey   built up over the decades.

Sunday, a rivalry that has grown over the decades as well will resume, not bitter enemies but respectful rivals, with a shared joy of the game and a equal desire to be top of the heap. It should be a most memorable afternoon with which to bring down the curtain on Vancouver's showcase to the world.  

National Post/CBC-- Pressure game for Canada, U.S.
National Post/CBC-- Babcock wants win, not miracles
National Post/CBC-- Scouting the gold medal game

First posted to the HockeyNation blog 

It's the economy (Friday, February 26, 2010)

Off the radar Iceland still poses financial problems, Greece prepares to talk to Germany about debt and need a job, China's looking, some of the items for Friday.

Globe and Mail-- HBC tries to build on Olympic momentum
Globe and Mail-- Iceland stares into Icesave abyss
Globe and Mail-- Fears rise about a return of ‘Japan-bashing'
National Post-- Ottawa to launch investigation into Toyota recalls
National Post-- Cash makes Canada 'a land of opportunity' for acquirers
National Post-- Let’s deflate the expectations bubble
Vancouver Sun-- Independent movie theatres wary about HST
New York Times-- Defying Global Slump, China Has Labor Shortage
New York Times-- Afflicting the Afflicted
New York Times-- Fannie Loses $16.3 Billion and Asks Treasury for Aid
USA Today-- Haunted hotels' ghost stories can be good for business
USA Today-- Fannie Mae seeks $15.3B more from U.S. after $16B 4Q loss
Guardian UK online-- Greek PM to hold crunch talks with Germany
Guardian UK online-- UK's escape from recession stronger than first thought
Guardian UK online-- Iceland delegation walks out on £2.3bn Icesave debt repayment talks
Times online-- Analysis: is Gordon Brown free?
Times online-- A worrying lack of cover
Telegraph UK online-- Pound slides as figures underline scale of UK recession
Telegraph UK online-- Recovery? Who are you trying to kid?
Telegraph UK online-- Don't be fooled: GDP was actually revised down
Melbourne Herald Sun-- Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey says boom times will return within three years
Melbourne Herald Sun-- ANZ shares gain 2 per cent on market update
Sydney Daily Telegraph-- Discounts are sending retailers broke, says Gerry Harvey
Sydney Daily Telegraph-- The return of the bank CEOs
People's Daily-- "Labor shortage" reflects employee expectations for more benefits
People's Daily-- China's economic macro-control to be tested in 2010
China Daily-- China's January NPL drops as credit tightened
China Daily-- China trade boon for Australia
Times of India-- Fingers-crossed: Will markets tune into FM?
Times of India-- 'Fair returns from Zain deal'

Tsunami Advisory in effect for British Columbia coast

The 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile early Saturday morning is resulting in Tsunami alerts being issued up and down the Pacific coast and westward towards Hawaii, Australia, Japan and beyond, including advisories for British Columbia's coastal waters.

The quake which took in place at 10:30 pm Pacific time Friday night, has resulted in heavy damage in Santiago and Concepcion, Chile, with the latest report deaths toll from the tragedy listed as over 140 thus far, strong aftershocks have continued to rattle the area through the morning leaving residents worried about further damage and death.

With such a large quake on the coastal region, the very real threat of Tsunami is now the ongoing concern for much of the nations  of the Pacific, with Hawaii the area of  most concern at the moment. (listen live to Hawaiian radio as they prepare for the arrival of the tsunami in their region)

Australia, New Zealand and the nations surrounding and to the northwest have all issued their own warnings or advisories as the waves move across the Pacific.

In British Columbia a Tsunami advisory has been issued for coastal regions. No significant wave is expected in local waters, and there is little in the way of a severe impact anticipated for BC, but there are expectations for strong localized currents that could put low-lying areas at risk.

Emergency officials in B.C. have warned people to stay out of the water and away from beaches, harbours and marinas. The arrival of the first wave is expected to arrive off B.C.'s south coast by 3:11 p.m. today.

Further advisories and details will be provided by the Pacific Tsunami warning centre and the Provincial Emergency Preparation program as required.

Update: 1:30 pm People in low-lying areas of the exposed B.C. coast are being advised to move to higher ground

Update: 6:20 pm The Provincial Emergency Program ended the tsunami advisory for British Columbia

Some sites with background on this event can be found below:

USGS website
Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre website
Provincial Emergency Program website
CBC Radio News feed

Friday, February 26, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Thursday, February 25, 2010)

BC Ferries hears the concern from the North coast, Metlakatla prepares for its canoe to come in and some background on the potential for an employee owned mill in Eurocan, some of the items of interest from Thursday's news files.

Daily News. front page, headline story
BC FERRIES SAYS IT'S WILLING TO HEAR RUPERT'S CONCERNS-- With Prince Rupert city council marshaling forces against BC Ferries plan to introduce a Tswassen to Prince Rupert run, the Ferry sercive is changing its approach a bit. With November's controversial session still leaving resentment in the community, the Ferry Service says that they are willing to hear the city's concerns,though there isn't any indication yet what form that renewed contact will involve.

The Metlakatla Development Corporation is getting ready to take possession of the latest attraction from the community across the harbour from Prince Rupert, as part of their Canoe Quest, the Metlakatla Development Corporation was awarded a 123,000 dollar grant from the Norther Development Initiative trust to commission the creation of the 65 foot black canoe, holding traditional Tsimshian artwork on it. The canoe is set to be delivered to the North coast this spring.

The Daily News caught up with the details of Terrace's plans to attract a federal penitentiary to that community, as we outlined on the blog last weekend, Terrace is hopeful of using land near its airport as the home for a new prison in British Columbia, a plan that would create full time jobs for the community not only at the new institution but in spin off industries around the region as well.

Thursday's sports section featured a look at the progress of the Prince Rupert Rainmakers senior basketball squad currently playing in the provincials in Kamloops, a review of the Midget Seawolves playoff season was provided as well, with details of their unsuccessful bid for the Midget zones in Terrace this weekend past.

(Archive for Daily News Articles for February 25, 2010 )

The Northern View
No new items were posted to the Northern View website on Thursday.

CFTK TV 7 News
Forestry changes raise local eyebrows -- CFTK outlines some of the background on the recent decision of the Ministry of Forests to relocate the North coast office to Haida Gwaii (see article here)

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North
Co-op'ing a mill -- Kitimat's Mary Murphy, outlines the hopes of that community to turn the former Eurocan mill into an employee-owned co-op. (listen to the interview here)

The full list of current Daybreak North Interviews can be found here.

The Daily News, front page, headline story
BC Ferries says it's willing to hear Rupert's concerns
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Friday, February 25, 2010 

BC Ferries said it is certainly willing to listen to Prince Rupert city council if the invitation is extended.

The ferry service company has not committed to holding another consultation meeting in Prince Rupert later this year, but according to a Ministry of Transportation letter sent to city council by Minister Shirley Bond, the ministry said they have asked BC Ferries to conduct “greater community consultation with affected communities,” over their proposed Tswwassen-Port Hardy-Prince Rupert route.

At Monday’s city council meeting, staff was asked to prepare another letter for the Ministry outlining how the proposed circle route would affect the community. They also wondered if they could invite BC Ferries executives back to the North Coast, this time to listen to their concerns.

“Given that when BC Ferries did come to Prince Rupert, it was not for consultation but for information sharing, I wonder if we might invite them back for consultation?” asked City Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne.

“We will also be talking to every mayor of every community from here to Prince George about this issue,” promised Mayor Jack Mussallem.

Tourism Prince Rupert executive director, Bruce Wishart, composed a letter last month asking that the ministry to step in because of the potentially negative impacts a change to the schedule would have on the local economy.
Bond’s letter, dated February 10, stated that the ministry’s primary concern was the economic well-being of northwestern communities.

“I appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with me regarding BC Ferries’ proposal to reduce the number of sailings between Prince Rupert and Port Hardy during the summers. Opportunities to increase tourism in the region are deserving of our consideration, and BC Ferries proposed changes to Route 10 (Prince Rupert-Port Hardy) may be one such opportunity that might also off-set the rising cost of ferry service,” wrote Bond.
Mark Stephenson, Public Affairs executive director for BC Ferries, said that the ferry operators would also be surveying opinions across Highway 16 to discover how the proposed changes would affect them.

“What we have been doing is awaiting further feedback, and that is the next step in the process,” said Stephenson.
Much has been made of the proposed changes towards the assembly point for the Northern Expedition - which is currently Prince Rupert, but would change to Tswwassen if the plan were to be implemented. It would mean that employees would have to move to the south coast in order to remain employed with BC Ferries, or take the unlikely step of flying down to Vancouver before their scheduled shift.

“There really wouldn’t be any significant job loss with the proposed changes and I think its been blown out of proportion,” said Stephenson.

North Coast MLA Gary Coons begs to differ with Stephenson on that point. Coons has been vociferously opposed to the plan, claiming at least 100 casual labour jobs would be lost. “If they crew out of Tsawwassen, we will lose those jobs,” he said.

With files from Monica Lamb-Yorski

The man most likely to find that his luggage has been lost on the way home from Vancouver

"Take off the outer veneer and the stench is horrific" --  One of the less inflammatory of thoughts from Pravda correspondent Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY currently sharing his observations of Vancouver with his Russian readers.

One gets the feeling that the games of the 21st Olympiad haven't been among one of Russia's favourite memories, beyond the fact that their hockey team was sent out of the tournament at the hands of Team Canada, it would appear that when it comes to sour grapes and boorish commentaries, the Russian media is trying to rival the Brits for the Gold medal of obnoxiousness.

In a rather unbalanced (in more ways than one) review of Russia's time spent in pursuit of Olympic excellence, Mr. Bancroft-Hinchey sent home his observations of the Canadian psyche, which he detailed as retentive and cowardly, the True North Strong and Free, really nothing but a skinny and weakly bro to a beefy United States.

On and on his ramblings went, trashing the Canada he invented with every paragraph, providing the kind of viewpoint made famous over the last two weeks from the British tabloid press, a collective we suspect never wandered much farther than the local gin bar.

Come to think of it, Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey sounds, like the kind of guy who, as we outlined previously, probably fits right into that sub culture of journalism, as does his paper it seems.

At one time the Official voice of the Russian government, the Truth as it translates into, has long since descended into the pit of the sensational tabloids best found at the checkout counters, or at the bottom of better bird cages and kitty litter trays everywhere.

Purchased from the government when Russia's economy was imploding in the nineties and on line as they say since January 27th, 1999, it now features such astounding reports as Apocalypse Predictions: Threat from the East and Fire from the Sky; Hillary Clinton's Invitation to Russia Sounds Like a Belch of Cold WarAliens Land in Russia and Give Obama a chance (bet he just loves that endorsement)

Though we did find the photo review headline of Canada's hockey game with the Russians instructive, The Red Machine runs into a Maple tree.

The pronouncements of Pravda have not gone un-noticed, nor have they gone without response. Thus far some 733 replies have been posted under the story, the majority of them apparently from Canadians, who have probably provided Pravda with more hits in a day than would normally be the case.

In most cases, the replies are far more entertaining and as it turns out better researched than the work of Mr. Bancroft-Hinchey, though in fairness he does seem to fit the new Pravda writing mantra of if there is no news, then invent it.

Should Pravda ever decide to let him go however, we think we can help them out with a pretty competent replacement.

We know of a small town mayor in British Columbia that can throw out the invective and bombast with the best of them, if Pravda drops us a line we're sure we can find them a phone number and a chance for them to hook up with him, you never know he may want to change careers one day .

Fifty years of ghosts chased away in one night

Wednesday nights total domination of the once feared Russian hockey machine provided no shortage of instant therapy for the ever anxious Canadian hockey fan. For those with particularly long memories, Wednesday night's victory brought to an end a fifty year drought in Olympic hockey, giving Canada it's first victory over a Russian squad since the 1960 Olympic games, the unofficial beginning of the long running Cold War of the ice.

Beyond soothing the jangled nerves after last Sunday's disappointing loss to the USA and a too close for comfort match with the Swiss earlier, Canada's 7-3 victory in the quarter final has finally put down those undercurrents of panic among the Canadian fan.

Canada's performance on Wednesday was about as perfect a game as one could ever hope to find, the first twenty of the sixty minutes among one for the ages as the Canadians came rushing off the opening face off, leaving the Russians reeling by the end of the first period.

Line after line played the body, took the shots, made the passes and absorbed and delivered the hits, a text book example of all that Canadians hold dear when it comes to how they want to see the game played. For a bonus as though to remind the hockey world that reports of our demise were premature, Canada finally found it's scoring touch after a preamble of games had proven to be more frustrating than instructive.

If Hockey had the knock down count, the game would have been over by the mid point of the second period, a wobbly Russian favourite clearly overwhelmed by the onslaught. The names of the stars of the NHL silent on the scoresheet and on the ice as Ovechkin, Malkin, Kovalchuk, Datsyuk were all but invisible, contained and dominated by Canada's forwards and defencemen who shut down some of the most impressive names on paper, who couldn't bring all that potential to the ice when it was needed the most.

Canada's ability to shut down the powerful Russians while turning on the offence should banish the talk of "what's wrong with our game" for at least a few years now, such is the faith that Team Canada has shown towards it's rising stars in this tournament, many of whom played a key role in Wednesday's victory.

It was a night for a complete team to shine, from the youngest of players eager to show that the decision to select them to the team was a wise one, while the oldsters on the squad reaffirmed the faith of Steve Yzerman with their own stellar performances.

The speed of Team Canada was astounding, the hits punishing,  those twin pillars of Canadian hockey played in a fashion that found favour with the Canada Hockey Place crowd who came perhaps nervously ready to party and by games end once again had dreams of Gold medals dancing in their heads.

There's no doubt that Canada saved their best game for when it was needed the most, when survival was on the line, and now two more dates with destiny beckon, each offering the chance for reward or the bitter bile of disappointment, from Wednesday night's performance the early money should be on reward.

The night brought a team together as an imposing unit with a clear mission in mind and focused on how to get there. At the same time, it was a night that united a country in revelry, reassured that all was well in the land from where the game has come.

When the television numbers come in, we suspect that CTV will find that they controlled the nation's television sets for a good chunk of time, a captive audience more engaged with the night as each of Canada's 7 goals lit up the scoreboard.

Canada next plays the Sovakian squad on Friday night a 6:30 start in Vancouver, over confidence at these times is a as dangerous an opponent as the one on the ice, but one gets the impression that Canada has learned that lesson from the early rounds, with the realization that only with hard work, dedication and an adherence to our style of play, will a gold medal be provided for the homefront medal case.

That work ethic was in full view on Wednesday, we expect nothing less than a repeat performance on Friday and if all goes according to plan, another on Sunday afternoon when a gold medal will be but sixty minutes away.

Globe and Mail-- The noise and the glory
National Post/CBC-- Still much work to be done

This item first appeared on the Hockey Nation blog

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's the economy (Thursday, February 25, 2010)

When the going gets tough, the folks ask Canada, Wall Street rocks the house and Greece has a Rolling Stones moment, some of the items for Thursday.

Globe and Mail-- Role of banks eyed in Greek debt crisis
Globe and Mail-- Bombardier inks $3.1-billion sale of C Series jets
Globe and Mail-- The art of defusing the green protests
National Post-- Europe seeks Canadians' advice in debt crisis
National Post-- How to survive RRSP silly season
National Post-- CIBC sets its sights on market leadership
Vancouver Sun-- Pulp mill ready to make green energy
Vancouver Sun-- In Good Spirits: Vancouver bartenders recall favourite Olympic moments
New York Times-- On Wall Street, a Romance With the Curling Stone
New York Times-- Bernanke Defends Fed’s Ability to Supervise Banks
New York Times-- Greek Debt and a Weak Job Sector Weigh on Investors
USA Today-- Fed chief: We're looking into firms betting on Greek default
USA Today-- Tracking the stimulus: Some jobs cost more to create
Guardian UK online--UK debt 'will push retirement age to 70'
Guardian UK online-- Mitsubishi to build £100m UK wind turbine factory
Guardian UK online-- The Falklands can no longer remain as Britain's expensive nuisance
Times online-- Police clash with strikers as EU seeks more cuts in budget crisis
Times online-- Europe revises down British growth forecast
Telegraph UK online-- Germany debt chief hints at Greek rescue
Telegraph UK online-- Alistair Darling is a dead man talking, and he’s taking sweet revenge
Telegraph UK online-- Icesave repayment talks collapse
Melbourne Herald Sun-- OzMinerals make a loss
Melbourne Herald Sun-- Pledge on Pluto LNG
People's Daily-- 'China to witness 9.8% GDP growth'
People's Daily-- Jilin Special: Jilin 2010 provincial plan sees growth amid challenges
China Daily-- Chinese shares hit one-month high as government promises to support key industries
China Daily-- Tengzhong withdraws proposed acquisition of Hummer
Times of India-- Govt set to spend $10bn on e-governance
Times of India-- SBI plans Rs 20,000cr rights issue

City council scoresheet for February 22, 2010

The Wednesday, February 24 edition of the Daily News featured their regular scorecard on city council issues, this one featuring the deliberations and votes from selected items of the February 22 session.
This weeks feature appeared on page three of the Wednesday edition, Councillor Kinney was absent from the nights deliberations.

Question One: A grant of $2,000 will be given to the organizers of Hobiyee 2010 to help offset the costs of hosting the event on Feb. 26 and 27 at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.
How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard-- Yes
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Absent
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne-- Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Yes

Question Two: The city will send a letter to surrounding communities asking for donations to help offset the costs of Hobiyee 2010.

How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard-- Yes
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Absent
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne-- Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Yes

Question Three: The city will write to the Ministry of Education expressing concerns around empty school buildings in Prine Rupert and the School District being unable to sell them. The letter will also ask for clarification whether the buildings are taxable.

How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard-- Yes
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Absent
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne-- Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Yes

Question Four: Council approved a total payment of $23,200 to the SPCA for the kenneling of domestic animals purusant to the 2005 Service Agreement. On January 25, 2010 the SPCA asked for $70,000 to help with its $224,000 yearly costs.

How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard-- Yes
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Absent
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne-- Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Yes

Question Five: Keith Stephen of 1917 McNicholl Avenue received approval for his application on a development variance to build an oversized auxiliary building for an RV, motorcycles and a workshop. The garage will b 30' x 40' x 22' on two of his four lots. Originally City Planner Zeno Krekic had advised council to deny the application, but after discussion council voted to allow Stephen the variance.

How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard-- Yes
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Absent
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne-- Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Yes

Question Six: The city will act as guarantor for a loan to the Prince Rupert Golf Course Society in the amount of $40,000 for 36 months so the society can take advantage of purchasing some second hand equipment for the golf course.

How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard-- Yes
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Absent
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne-- Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Yes

Question Seven: March is declared as Easter Seals Month by the City.

How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard-- Yes
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Absent
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne-- Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Yes

Question Eight: March to be endorsed by the City as Community Social Services Awareness Month.

How council voted:

Mayor Jack Mussallem-- Yes
Councillor Anna Ashley-- Yes
Councillor Kathy Bedard-- Yes
Councillor Nelson Kinney-- Absent
Councillor Gina Garon-- Yes
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne-- Yes
Councillor Joy Thorkelson-- Yes

City Hall Tracker February 22. 2010

Reports from the planning department, guarantor status for the city for a Golf course loan, discussions on donations and proclamations highlighted the second meeting for February of City council.

February 22, 2010

Notice of Closed Special meeting of council for February 22, 2010

Agenda for Regular Council meeting of February 22, 2010

Agenda for the Committee of the Whole Meeting of February 22, 2010

In Attendance:

Mayor Jack Mussallem
Councillor Kathy Bedard
Councillor Anna Ashley
Councillor Gina Garon
Councillor Sheila Gordon-Payne
Councillor Joy Thorkelson

Absent from Council

Councillor Nelson Kinney

Minutes for February 22, 2010

(Committee of the Whole meeting minutes for February 22, 2010)

(Regular Council Meeting minutes for February 22, 2010)

Daily News Voting summary
(Summary printed in February 24th edition)

Attendance at City Hall to date archives
Next council meeting scheduled for March 8, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Wednesday, February 24, 2010)

A whale rescue is just part of the day for the crew and passengers of a ferry, Hobiyee is set to get underway this weekend and the SPCA has plans to remain open for the remainder of 2010, some of the items of note for Wednesday's news cycle.

Daily News, front page, headline story
LOCALS RESCUE BABY WHALE NEAR SMITH ISLAND-- A north coast whale rescue  is the subject of the Daily News' front page efforts for Wednesday, as George T. Baker recounts the work of Captain Dean Robinson and Taylor Ryan along with a number  of passengers aboard the regular Kitkatla to  Prince Rupert ferry run.

A review of the weekend of extra curricular activities associated with the All Native Basketball Tournament as the Daily  detailed the crowds for post game celebrations as they took to the streets of the city post bar closure time, festivities that for the most part the Daily reports caused few problems for the 20 plus officers on patrol during the overnight period over the weekend. In addition to the display of basketball skill and cultural activities the tournament is expected to have injected close to 4 million dollars into the local economy.

A preview of Hobiyee, the Nisga'a celebration of the New Year which is taking place in Prince Rupert this weekend, the two day festival will be centered mostly at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.

The sports section played a little catch up with the weekend events of the high school basketball season, with a review of the PRSS Junior Boys oh so close quest for the zones banner and the successful championship season for the PRSS Junior Girls. There was a review of the end of the high school wrestling season as well and Patrick Witwicki shared his thoughts on the recently completed All Native Basketball Tournament.

( Archive for Daily News Articles for February 24, 2010 )

The Northern View
BC SPCA committed to keeping Prince Rupert shelter open through 2010--
Despite drastically decreasing financials, the BC SPCA has offered reassurance that for the remainder of 2010 at least the local animal shelter will remain open, the shelter's fate came up for discussion in the community in the wake of a funding shortfall and recently announced reductions in grant totals from the city of Prince Rupert (see story here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Suicidal Woman Rescued by Traffic Services Officer -- The timely intervention of a Terrace based RCMP officer has resulted in the rescue of a suicidal woman in the Hazeltons (see article here)

CBC Radio British Columbia, Daybreak North
Kermode Cam-- The CBC discovers more about the Kermode cam set up Harreson and Stephanie Waymen, who hope to observe the behavior of a rare Kermode bear, as it prepares to leave the slumber of its winter den (listen to interview here)

The full list of current Daybreak North Interviews can be found here.

Daily News, front page, headline story
Locals rescue baby whale near Smith Island
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

They didn’t trust what they were seeing at first.

Captain Dean Robinson and Taylor Ryan are fairly seasoned seamen, but even they had never come across such a pitiful sight on the ocean – a baby humpback whale dragging a crab float rope around its fluke.

Although the two men had always suspected there would come a day when they’d encounter a whale in some sort of distress, they were still skeptical as they approached the whale, thinking it was simply a wayward crab float that had somehow wandered eastbound from Hecate Strait.

Except that these crab floats were moving fairly fast and as Ryan said, “crab floats aren’t supposed to move at all. That’s the whole point of crab floats. The only time they are moving is when they are filled with crabs or something.”

“Well, we could see in fact that it was a whale when we approached because it was spouting out water,” recounted Ryan.

Robinson and Ryan came across the entangled whale near the west coast of Smith Island on a normal ferry run from Kitkatla to Prince Rupert last week. The whale was struggling mightily to free itself, but as Robinson got a closer look he said he could tell that the baby was losing the fight.

Realizing that they could be the whale’s last hope, and realizing he hadn’t much time to spare, Robinson pulled the rope carefully off of the fluke. Ryan and passenger William Stewart, one of 20 passengers making their way from Kitkatla to Rupert that day, helped him by pulling back rope and gathering in the floats.

Forty years ago, humpback whales were placed on the endangered species list across the globe after governments feared the mammal had been hunted to near extinction.

Hunting whales in Canada is illegal, but whales are still facing obstacles out on the water - including large ocean vessels and fishing tools such as nets, traps and rope.

Last year, local tour guide Doug Davis brought a dead baby humpback into harbour after he found it floating by Lucy Island.

The skeletal remains will be donated to the Northwest Community College campus in Prince Rupert. How this one got caught in the crab float isn’t known. But Ryan wasn’t surprised, reflecting back on it.

“Yeah, it has probably happened more than once with a crab float in Hecate Strait, but we’ve never seen it before,” said Robinson.

Luckily, this baby did not meet the same fate as the last one. Although the young whale was alone and not with its pod, Ryan said that once it was freed, the whale moved away slowly and then gradually picked up speed.

“When we were working to free it, it just sort of laid there calm, like it knew we were there to help,” said Ryan on Sunday as he fished for bass by the Metlakatla ferry dock.