Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thanks For Supporting My Son and I For Shave For The Brave

Thanks to everyone who sponsored Ryan and I over the past little while. This event was very personal for both of us and we were proud to participate.

Ryan and I raised $562.00 between us and we are very proud to be able to do that. It is also worth mentioning that Ryan's school Holy Trinity Elementary has raised $14,943.23 when I last checked. That is great for their first year at it. This is a great effort by the students, teachers and parents of everyone involved.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Please Support me for Shave for the Brave

Hey everyone, I just registered for Shave for the Brave. Currently my family is feeling the 
horrible effects of cancer on multiple fronts and I want to try and do something to help. My son is also doing it and I want to do it too.

Please go to my personal page and pledge a few bucks if you want to help. 

Thanks in Advance, Craig

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Racist Graffiti Is A Stain On Our Town

The Torbay Town Council is offering a $1000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible for defacing signs in and around our town (or illegal dumping of garbage but the graffiti issue is more important in my opinion). It is a shame that in the year 2012 we need to be dealing with racist fools, but deal with them we should. If possible we should charge these criminals with a hate crime which carries a much tougher sentence then simple vandalism and make examples of them.

This is what the Criminal Code of Canada has to say about hate crimes.
Section 319: Public incitement of hatred
319. (1) Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Wilful promotion of hatred
(2) Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.
So it seems to me that when a person starts putting racist statements on signs in our community they are certainly promoting and inciting hatred towards a particular group in our society. Painting the "N" word all around town is disgusting in this day and age when our town is growing and we have families moving here from all around the world.

I was speaking to my kids at supper time about this issue and I had a hard time explaining it to them because I didn't want to use the word painted on the signs. They have grown up with neighbors from many different ethnic groups and races and they have never treated any of them differently.

Racism is a learned behavior and not something that comes naturally so it is no wonder that children are not racist until someone presents it to them. That is why it is so important to stomp this out right now before it gets worse. Hopefully these idiots are caught soon enough and made to pay a significant penalty for their ignorance. This is not something that we should put up with and if anyone sees this happening please come forward and report it to the authorities. We are in the midst of our Torbay 250 celebrations and I think that we should be celebrating how far we have come in the last 250 years and not regressing to what it was like back then as far as racism is concerned.

Police Release Video of Torbay Armed Robbery

This is a video of an armed robbery that happened at Needs Convenience Store on Bauline Line in Torbay on March 13, 2012 at around 8:45pm. Thankfully this is not something we have to contend with every day but one armed robbery is one too many.

The suspect is described as about 5'11" with a slight build. Police say he was wearing a black and light blue hoodie, black track pants and a green and black bandana, which covered his face.

Anyone with information is asked to call the RNC or Crime Stoppers.

The Torbay Easter Egg Pick-me Up and Market

This Sunday at the Kinsmen Center the town will be hosting the annual Easter Egg Hunt and Market. The market opens at 9:00am with many vendors so please come out and support our local businesses and have a good time.

Easter Market 9:00am - 4:00pm
Easter Bunny pictures 1:00pm-2:00pm
Easter Egg pick me up: 2:00pm

Don't forget to bring your own camera for the pictures.

Lets all get out and have some fun with the kids and support local merchants. Happy Easter!!

Please check back to Torbay's website if the weather does not cooperate.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Local Business Page

I am putting a local business page on my site to promote local business and to try and provide a central location to find business in our area. If you want to be on it please let me know.

Purple Day - Supporting Epilepsy Around the World

Like so many other diseases I never gave Epilepsy a second though until it effected my family directly. I have watched my nephew Liam learn to live with this disease the past couple of years and it has effected me immensely. I have watched my sister and her family struggle with this day in and day out and witnessed their ups and downs. What makes it even tougher is that I have to do it from a distance because there is only so much you can do when you live so far apart.

It is times like these when you are trying to raise awareness for a particular issue that the internet and social media become so important. Let us keep hoping and supporting these types of initiatives because without everyone banding together we will never find a cure.

Check out the Purple Day website and please visit Liams Facebook Page to learn more about him and his life with epilepsy. Liam's Journey - Epilepsy

No Easy Fix for Bullying: School Councils - VOCM

Well it seems like the school council is taking the easy road on this issue and blaming the parents. While it may be true that parents involvement in their kids education has an effect on how they behave at school, it is not fair to lay it all at the feet of parents.

It seems that at every turn the school board and council is making it more difficult for teachers to do their jobs and to try and control the kids. There doesn't seem to be effective punitive measures in place at the schools to deter students from making the wrong choices. If there are no consequences for undesirable actions then they are more likely to continue down the wrong path. As the students get older the chances of the changing their ways may be less likely. With policies that push kids through primary and elementry school regardless of whether they know the material or not is certainly not encouraging kids to do their best.

Another example of how the schools are soft and not holding students to account was the policy they passed about cheating. Allowing students to have a rewrite of an exam if they are caught cheating with no adverse consequences and not requiring students to pass assignments in at the required deadline is another example of children not being tough and encouraged to act in a responsible manner.

When the The President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils says that parents are not volunteering as much, so that means that they are not engaged in the education of their children is total foolishness. Not all parents have the time to volunteer especially during working hours but that doesn't' mean they don't spend hours doing homework and helping them with assignments. Most parents are very involved in their child's education and development because it doesn't stop at the schools when the bell rings at 3:00.

What about all those hours spent at piano, dance, karate, swimming, hockey, softball, soccer, beavers, sparks etc, etc, etc....

All of those activities require parent involvement and participation and certainly contribute to the well being and maturation of our children. The schools should concentrate on teaching children and hold them accountable for the work they are supposed to do and enforce the rules of the schools. Don't try and blame the parents for the pitfalls of the education system and pass the buck. 

To read the article on VOCM go here

I got this link from a reader and thought it was appropriate for this particular story.

4th Annual AA Towing Texas Hold'em Fundraiser

This Saturday, March 31st our softball team will be holding our annual fundraiser for our upcoming season. Everyone is welcome to come out and have a good time. The festivities get under way at 7:30pm at Liddy's Lounge and it is a $20 buy in for the first hour and $20 top up at the end of the first hour(2 max). This event has been well attended the last three years and we are looking forward to having another great year.

Just as a side note, this fundraiser has turned out to be more that just a fundraiser for our ball team over the past few years. We actively give money to different causes going on in our community and I am sure this trend will continue. I think it is a testament to the people who run our team and the players in general when we give to other people who need it. I am not sure about the exact amount but it has certainly been over $500 in the last couple of years. Obviously the main reason is to raise money to play ball but it is nice to also contribute to worthwhile causes as well.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Should Torbay Take Cash or Land From Developers?

That is a question that seems to be on the top of many people's minds in Torbay the last little while and certainly in the last week. Deputy Mayor Geoff Gallant has been highly visible in media circles over the last week advocating for the town to be acquiring land instead of taking a fraction of the value in one time cash payouts from developers. Geoff and I have discussed this a little bit and we are pretty much in agreement on this issue as far as wanting to get the best return for the tax payers when new subdivisions are developed. With that in mind Geoff may be a little more rigid in his desire to get 10% of the land where I think we could be a little more flexible on what we get from contractors in new developments.

I wonder if we should have a policy that varies based on the size and location of the development. Some things that I would like to see is that we require developers to put in all water and sewer infrastructure even if it is not currently available in that area right now. That would enable to the town to expand our water and sewer to new areas of the town more cheaply in the future if we actually intend to do that. It would not be fair though to make the developers do that extra work and then to also take a portion of their land as well for green space.

I would also like to see all new roads built in our town be required to have curbs and sidewalks put in by the developer as part of the initial design. When I look at developments like Forest Landing I wonder why council didn't require this, many of the roads in that area have narrow shoulders and they are mostly built up and will eventually have issues with the shoulders washing out and the roads being damaged. The town will end up having to pay to fix like all the other roads. We can see that curbs built into the roads actually make then survive spring run off and washout better. A good example of this is Torbay road and Indian Meal Line where they have the curbs, those roads seemed to require yearly upgrades and repairs prior to the curbs being put in.

Another thing worth considering is the fact that almost all developments in Torbay are large lot, the developments themselves have a considerable amount of green space by default. We as tax payers and by extension the town, don't own this green space however and I guess it is not really green space by definition. It would be different if we were talking about the typical 50x100 building lot that we often see in fully serviced subdivisions in St. John's and some areas of Torbay. In those cases I would most certainly like to see some extra green space dispersed throughout, considering the houses are on top of each other and eliminated the rural feel of our town.

I hope this issue gets resolved and we find a happy medium that is not punitive to developers and at the same time beneficial to the town. I don't know how many houses have been built over the last ten years in subdivision developments, but it is clear that the town has not been enforcing this 10% of land per development. I wonder how much money we have accepted in lieu of land over the years and what actually happened to the money. One advantage to the town getting land is the fact that council are less likely to squander it like they potentially could do with a cash settlement. I am sure that we all have a list of things we would like to buy if we suddenly had a significant influx of unexpected cash. Certainly there are many worthwhile projects that the town could use some extra cash for.

With all the development in our town the last number of years and the expected continuation of the construction, we as a town need to assure that we get the most out of it. We need to secure a future for the families in this town to ensure that we have parks and other services for our residents. I don't know if that means that we need to acquire land, take a fair cash payout or some combination of both. I know that a lot of emphasis has been put on the 30,000 cash payout for a piece of land that the Deputy Mayor estimated is worth over 100,000. This is not the main argument for me though because eventually the town would get more money from an actual dwelling built on the lot with the fees, and taxes we would get every year. Considering that property taxes is the main source of income for municipalities it is a significant amount of money we would be giving up over the long term depending on how many extra houses we are talking about.

In order to get to the bottom of this issue we need to put the money aside and look at it for what it really is. Do we want to protect green space in our town and make land owners turn over a portion of their land in exchange for being allowed to develop it? Or do we want to allow developers to slap a house on every square foot of land still left untouched and hopefully get some extra cash that we can use for services for the residents?

I guess we will all get to have our say on the Motion Drive Extension, I believe there is a public information session on April 4th. with relation to this particular issue and anyone who wants to have a say should go and take the opportunity.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Torbay 250 Great Big Sea is a go!

At the Torbay council meeting tonight a motion was passed to approve approximately 113,000 dollars to pay Great Big Sea for the concert at Upper Three Corner Pond Park this summer. There is going to be an official launch of the Torbay 250 celebrations this Friday at the Kinsmen Centre and Lieut.-Colonel William Amherst himself is going to be making an appearance. Well at least someone dressed up like him and according to Councillor Tapper the town has secured an authentic replica uniform from Nova Scotia for the event.

For more on the Recapture of St. John's and Colonel Amherst check out this link

Anyway I wonder if the good colonel had come ashore in Torbay under current conditions would he be able to recapture St. John's? Certainly his element of surprise on the French would be gone because they would smell the shit off him from the sewage running into Torbay bight before he reached Signal Hill. He would have had to hope for a favorable wind to disguise his approach to have any chance.

This Great Big Concert has been a cause of concern for me and others ever since we got wind of it a few months ago. It isn't just the financial part of it that bothers me but the potential traffic and crowd control that is going to come along with it. This concert final price tag is certainly going to be quite a bit higher that simply the  cost of the band considering all the plans they have.

There is not going to be any parking available at the ball field or on the Bauline Line so how are we going to get the 5000 + people that council is hoping is going to be attending the concert. That is right I said 5000+ people crammed into that soccer field with no parking in walking distance. The plan as I understand it is to shuttle everyone to the concert grounds and try and cut down on the amount of traffic in the town.

Personally I think this concert is going to be a big flop and I hope I am wrong because ticket sales will ultimately determine if this concert is a financial success or a big tax bill for the residents of our town. The town has already secured $55,000 in a grant to help pay for this and they are hoping that other government funding and sponsorship's will pay for most of the concert....I hope they are right because it is not only this concert we have going on but a multitude of events all through the year.

People have voiced concerns to me about traffic and crowd control and also security. Not to mention all the money we have put into that soccer field is going to be a waste once it gets trampled and torn up for one event. Where are the kids supposed to play soccer after the concert if the sods are destroyed, hopefully we don't have rain that day or the damage will be a lot worse.

I have also heard people suggest that they are worried about the grave yard across the street being vandalized. Councillor Tapper assured me that measures are going to be in place to control traffic and prevent people from parking on the road and from vandalizing the field and I would assume the graveyard even though I didn't specifically ask him about that. These are all valid concerns and I have no idea if the town has taken all this into account during their planning or not. I have to believe that they did because it would be a total disaster if they haven't.

Ok everyone the tickets are going on sale soon and I think they are $31 in advance and around $42 or something like that at the gate. You had better get out early and get them because there are only enough tickets for every adult in the town and you know they are going to sold out in a hurry......we hope.