Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Tuesday, March 23, 2010)

A local educator begins her quest to raise awareness of educational issues, the School District reaches decision day on school closures and Nathan Cullen has some thoughts on the potential privatization of Ridley Terminals, some of the items of interest from the Tuesday news files.

Daily News, front page, headline story
TAKING STEPS TO IMPROVE COMMUNICATION IN EDUCATION-- Tulani Ackerman's Steps for Students campaign got off to a successful start on Saturday as the Prince Rupert edcuator and members of her Steps for Students committee held a three hour launch event at the CHSS track. It is the first of a number of events leading up to Ackerman's cross province trek to Victoria to deliver the message of educators, parents and students as to what needs to be done to improve British Columbia's educational system. Her quest to raise awareness of the issues will take her to many communities between her Canada Day start and her planned arrival in Victoria in August. The next local event takes place in Prince Rupert on April 24th when students will host a student dinner, where they will present speeches, a video presentation and serve dinner for their guests.

School District 52 trustees are set to make a decision on the controversial school closure issue, with tonight's Open School Board meeting the last opportunity for parents, teachers, students and other interested observers to offer up their opinions on which of the three schools marked for closure should close their doors. Up for discussion following the public consultation portion of the meeting will be the fates of Westview, Roosevelt and Port Edward School.   

Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen offers up a his thoughts on the prospect of a potential privatization of Ridley Terminals, outlining his concerns over Monday's article from George T Baker which identified a consortium  of coal and forestry interests as seeking to acquire the Terminal. Cullen explained that his instincts are to say "No" to the idea of privatization but that he is willing to "stay open minded and  listen to options."

Tuesday's Daily News caught up with the RCMP Community warning of last week. As we outlined on the blog on Friday, the RCMP as well as School District 52 had issued a notice to parents to be aware of what is being considered a near abduction. The Tuesday edition reiterates much of what the RCMP outlined with their warning of last week.

Hockey dominated the Sports section on Tuesday, with a review of the success of a Prince Rupert aboriginal youth hockey team which took first place at a Williams Lake tournament, as well the Daily recapped the season that three Prince Rupert residents had playing Junior B hockey in Sicamous this past year. 

The Northern View
Barking up Asian tree-- A review of the plans of Coast Tsimshian Resources to gain further access to the markets of Asia (see item here)

The Northern View
Queen of the North Officer now charged -- Details of the latest developments stemming from the sinking of the BC Ferry Queen of the North in March of 2006 (see item here)

The Northern View
Christmas carols may make a return -- A review of the discussion of School District regarding concerns over absence of the status of Christmas music and themed items from School District class rooms (see item here)  

The Northern View
Voting set to being for Nisga'a Lisims-- Voting day arrives for members of the Nisga'a nation as they prepare to elect a new President, the polls open Thursday from 8 am to 8 pm (see item here

The Northern View
Port Authority starts community fund-- Some background on the community fund started by the Prince Rupert Port Authority to help celebrate the City's 100th centennial (see item here

The Northern View
School District won't be submitting deficit-- School District 52 won't be following the lead of other School Districts in the province in submitting a deficit budget to the provincial ministry of education (see item here)

The Northern View
Credit Union celebrates 70th-- Northern Savings Credit Union reaches another milestone of 70 years of service to the North coast, the Northern view offers up some details on their past, present and future (see item here

CFTK TV 7 News 
Orphaned Cougars On Their Way From Smithers to Calgary Zoo -- CFTK outlines the new travel plans and eventual  home for some relocated cougars from the Smithers Wildlife Shelter (see article here)

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North 
No new items were posted to the Daybreak North website on Tuesday

Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now. The most recently posted items for this week can be found on the weekly archive for Daybreak North click here

The Daily News, headline, front page story
Taking steps to improve communication in education 
By Monica Lamb-Yorski 
The Daily News 
Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Under sunny skies on Saturday, students, teachers, parents and interested community members helped teacher Tulani Ackerman accrue 464.4 km toward her StEps for Students campaign. 

 Ackerman and members of the StEps for Students committee held a three-hour event at the CHSS track on Saturday where people could sign petitions and letters and learn more about the campaign. 

It was the first of several events planned before Ackerman embarks on a trek across the province this summer to gather stories and ideas about the provincial education system. 

She will leave Prince Rupert on Canada Day and arrive in Victoria in August where she plans deliver the information she’s gathered to Premier Gordon Campbell and Margaret MacDiarmid, the Minister of Education. 

MLA Gary Coons was one of the morning walkers and said he thinks Ackerman’s project is a great cause. 

 “I’ve mentioned it to my caucus and I know there are a few MLAs across the route that are putting their support behind the project. It’s a great initiative Tulani’s got going, to bring awareness to the issues.” 

In the future, Coons plans to make a statement about the project in the House. 

 “I think these days when you have so many budget concerns and issues, not only in education, but in social services and supports to kids, I think kudos to Tulani and everybody else that’s supporting her for doing this.” 

The intent of the project, Ackerman explained, is to promote communication between students, provincial government, parents, teachers, administrators and community members. 

Her main concerns are class sizes, appropriate funding for all curriculums and building better communication between all involved. 

At the track on Saturday there were people walking who represent all those groups. And there was also a strong youth presence. 

Musicians from PRSS performed on a stage in the centre of the field, and many peers were there to support them, while Owen Alexcee and Erika Martin were conducting interviews for a video. 

 “People felt the event was very successful,” Ackerman said afterwards. “They enjoyed talking and connecting. There were petitions and surveys that people could fill out and we had a beautiful day.” 

The event did exactly what organizers were hoping, she added. “We started to get an idea of how people in the community feel about the education system. We can start to collaborate as a community. If anything, I want to thank people for coming out and supporting us. We had over 100 people. The distance in kilometres we covered is half way between Houston and Burns Lake.” 

The next event will be a student dinner on April 24, where students will give speeches, show a video and serve dinner. The place and time will be announced.

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